Two students from Saint Margaret’s Academy in Edinburgh recently joined us for some work experience here at LINCS. Below is a short interview about their experience.
What are 3 facts you didn’t know about languages?
– The population of people in the world who learned English as their second language is larger than the population of native speakers.
– The Cambodian alphabet is the biggest in the world (74 characters).
– Studies have shown that learning a second language can improve your memory.
– Spanish has several words that can’t be translated into other languages, such as sobremesa, which means that you stay at a table after a meal to share conversation over coffee or wine.
– About 2⁄3 of all languages are from Asia and Africa.
– Over 20,000 new French words are created each year.
What are 3 things about working and studying in a university that you didn’t know?
– Most of it is up to you and life can be more flexible (studying).
– I didn’t know how many places there were to study. It motivates me to study more.
– I didn’t know that University professors’ salaries were public as most people like to keep them private.
– Studying in a university is much more independent than I thought it would be.
– Around 95% of students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating.
– Higher training, higher employment.
What is your motivation to study a language (or languages)
As my family only speaks English at home, we tend to speak English when we go abroad. Although we make an effort to speak in the country’s language when saying things like hello, thank you or please, I feel ignorant as the people in that country can always speak a lot of English. I want to make other people’s lives easier.
My motivation in studying languages comes from my future plans in travelling the world and being able to speak the language of the country that I plan on visiting or living in. It’s very motivating for me.
What are your career plans, and what role might languages play in that?
I have always been interested in law and politics. I like watching global conferences where many languages are spoken, and it has drawn me to look into translating. I was thinking of possibly studying law and the Spanish language, or even just Law and politics. This could lead me to interpreting in a political field which would touch on both of my interests.
In university I am interested to learn further about languages and possibly learn a new one like Chinese so I would be studying a language and then going to study interpreting and translating right after. I would like to interpret for business purposes and medical purposes.
My career plan is to become an interpreter or a translator in the future because I enjoy languages, and being able to translate and interpret text and conversations to another language.
What is your favourite thing about studying languages?
I enjoy seeing my progress in languages. This time last year I only knew very basic Spanish but as I started the more in-depth Nat 5 course, I have seen a lot of improvement. When I am out in my daily life or even watching a Spanish show, I am noticing how much more I can understand. I could probably give a brief summary at the very most, but it shows progression. It motivates me to continue learning the language as the outcome could be very useful.
My favourite thing about learning languages is learning new words and slowly being able to have a conversation in that language. It’s a very rewarding feeling that I treasure.
Where do you think languages can take you?
Knowing another language can open up so many opportunities for you. If you visit a different country, for example, knowing only one language limits what you can do as there is a low chance that everyone can speak your language. Knowing a second language doubles your chances of being able to communicate with other people.
Studying a language and knowing one opens up lots of opportunities and work placements in the future. Learning a language also opens up the ability to being able to communicate with people all around.
What advice would you give to someone considering studying a language but are unsure?
It’s easier than you think. It does require a lot of work but once you get the gist of the language and how sentences are structured, it is very enjoyable. It’s a very rewarding experience as well. Once you get the hang of something it is difficult to forget it, so it strengthens your knowledge of the language and makes learning new things easier.
Studying a language can be very intimidating for someone. I still remember coming into Scotland for the first time and not being able to communicate with anyone and it felt like I could never learn English; but with time, you will be able to learn it and understand it. Make sure to not force yourself and take it at your own pace is my most important advice.