Higher Line Modern Languages
Why choose French, German or Spanish?
The first reason for choosing a language is that speaking it is good fun. If you ask any of your language teachers they will tell you that they still get a “buzz” from speaking and understanding French (or Spanish or German). The second reason is that it will give you access to more courses at better universities (University College London for instance is making knowledge of a Modern Language other than English an entrance requirement) and to a wider range of more interesting careers.
Languages go well with almost any other subject, pupils have combined them successfully with the sciences, maths, economics, history, politics, music or art. A lot depends on what you are thinking of doing as a career. Some pupils that have applied for medicine for instance have been asked whether they would like to study medicine for a semester at a European university in the foreign language. Another who is studying Art History has been offered a place at the Sorbonne if she would like to do part of her course there.
There is quite a gap between the finishing point of GCSE and the start of the AS course. Bridging this gap is easier if you have a good grade at GCSE, ideally we like people to have an A* or an A, but some have gone on to study French successfully with a lower grade.
Further Important Information
Obviously the more contact that you have with the country where the language is spoken the better and those that go to France (or take part in the Stonyhurst Spanish or German language exchanges), for instance, regularly find the listening and speaking examinations easier, but by learning a foreign language you will also learn a lot about yourself and your own identity too.
Higher Education and Careers Options
In the recent past not too many people have gone on to study just a language at university, many have though combined it successfully with other subjects: Law and French for instance at Exeter or Leeds, French and Spanish at Bath or Nottingham; some have gone on to study another Language altogether, Chinese at Oxford or Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. There are some fantastic jobs now available to linguists including, diplomacy, working for the European Union, journalism,or the world of International Finance. Famous people that have found Languages useful include Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, William Hague, Foreign Secretary, Kate Adie, BBC journalist, John Le Carré, author, Garry Lineker, sports commentator and former footballer, or Iain Balshaw, OS, international rugby player.
The Examination Board that we use for all three languages is Edexcel. There are two exams at the end of Poetry, an eight to ten minute oral and a two and a half hour paper that tests listening, reading and writing skills. At the end of Rhetoric there is another oral and written paper that consists of three sections: an essay on a book, play or film, translation and a general essay. Broadly speaking we study the language through looking at various topics; for AS these are: Youth Culture and Concerns, Lifestyle: Health and Fitness; The World Around Us: Travel, Tourism, Environmental Issues and The French-Speaking World; Education and Employment; and for A2: Customs, Traditions, Beliefs and Religions; National and International Events, Past, Present and Future; Literature and The Arts.