A Day in the Life of a Joint Languages Undergraduate Student

Strand Campus' Quad

A day in the life of a Joint Languages Student

Elizabeth, Modern Languages (French & Spanish) BA

At King’s, there are several language combinations available at undergraduate level. At King’s, we’ve got combinations with Management, Philosophy, English and History, you can even take a language as a total beginner (known as ab initio and available for French, German, Spanish or Portuguese) – a great way to broaden your skills when you reach uni!

But many language students choose to study two languages in the form of a joint honour’s degree, meaning each language accounts for an equal part of your study.

I’m studying French and Spanish, so my contact hours are split evenly between the two. A typical day at King’s is made up of both lectures and seminars – usually, each module will have one of each – lectures tend to have a larger audience and all the students on the module attend. Whereas in seminars, the students taking the module are split up into much smaller groups and the class is dedicated to discussing and sharing ideas. I’ll talk you through what a typical day at uni is like for me.

First up – a language seminar. This is an hour dedicated to the practice of speaking in the target language. In the past, I’ve been in groups as small as three for this exercise, which is brilliant as you have more time to speak and practice. These classes are led by native speakers, so it really is a great way to test your language skills. This seminar is accompanied by a language lecture at another time in the week, where broader topics such as grammar and textual analysis are taught and discussed.


Students learn the languages by reading both modern and classic texts in the classes

Next up in the day would be a lecture for my elective module, in this case, French Political Thought. To be clear, some modules are required for language students – mainly the language modules themselves – as ultimately achieving fluency in the languages is our goal over the four years of study. However, this means that you can also choose more specific modules as your ‘electives’. For me, these have ranged from everything such as French literature, History of Iberian dictatorships and French politics to name a few. In today’s French Political Thought lecture, we discussed philosophical and political French texts from the 20th century, from some of France’s most well-known thinkers – that’s right, Sartre and Camus featured.

Then it’s probably time to get some lunch. Thankfully there are plenty of options around Strand Campus, inside and out of uni. Bush House, new home to the student union, provides cheap lunches and coffees in the Shack, and there’s also King’s Kitchen if you’re in the mood for something hot. There are loads of comfy sofas available too making these great spots to hang out and catch up with friends. Apart from that, there’s plenty of other options on the highstreets (including a Greggs! And yes, of course, a Pret) just a few minutes away from uni.


Film screening event hosted by the SPLAS society

Classes run from 9am to 6pm, but I don’t usually have more than three a day. After 6pm is when the society meet ups and extra curriculars begin. Joining societies are great ways to meet other students who share your interests. There is a SPLAS society (SPLAS – short for Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies – you’ll hear this a lot at King’s!) and a French Society at King’s, which run events that aim to involve the culture of the language. For example, SPLAS society is known for organising Salsa nights where Mexican food is available. You can also sign up to projects related to the department; for example, last year I was part of the SPLAS play, a student production of Spanish theatre sponsored by the department. It was a great experience and a great way to meet other students from all years of the department! There are also plenty of other ways to get involved, from department newspapers and more.

Read more:

If you enjoyed Elizabeth’s post, check out Tamina’s post on “Reasons why you should study languages at university”.

You can learn more about the Modern Languages BA that King’s offers here.

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