Category Archives: Applying to study modern languages

Oxford Is Open!

Come and visit us this summer to discover what student life at Oxford is really like.

After two years of online open days, Oxford is once again ready to welcome prospective applicants and their companions! Regardless of which universities you are interested in studying at, open days are an important opportunity for you to get a feel for the cities and/or campuses in which you might be spending three of four years. We recommend visiting lots of different universities if you can to find out which places make you feel most at home.

Here at Oxford, we have University-wide Open Days running on Wednesday 29 June, Thursday 30 June and Friday 16 September. These days offer an ideal opportunity for you to explore Oxford, find out more about our courses, tour colleges and quiz our tutors and current students.

It will be busy and you will probably leave feeling that there just wasn’t enough time, but you will also have a really good idea of Oxford and whether it might be the university for you. The secret to open days is definitely planning, so do explore all the information given here.

It is not mandatory to register for an Oxford Open Day, although we strongly recommend that you do in order to receive our university newsletters, full of top tips on how to make the most of your day.

The Taylor Institution Library (commonly known as the Taylorian) 

In terms of Modern Languages, we will be running sessions across these days in the Taylor Institution Librarybetween 10:30am and 3:30pm. These will be a great opportunity to learn about our Modern Languages courses, talk to our tutors from our different languages, tour the Taylorian, and pick up prospectuses.

We do not take bookings for these sessions, but places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. You can take a look at the programme here for more details.

We look forward to welcoming lots of you to Oxford and the Modern Languages Faculty very soon!

Opportunity Oxford

Students at an Opportunity Oxford event

Today I’d like to introduce you to Opportunity Oxford, our university’s flagship widening participation programme. Modern Languages entered the programme with a pilot scheme last year, and we have more than doubled the number of language students enrolled for this coming summer.

Opportunity Oxford is a bridging course that happens between the time you receive an offer of a place on an undergraduate course with us in January of Year 13 and the start of the degree course itself the following October.

It consists of:

a welcome day in February,

an online academic course in the summer during July and August,

and a two-week residential in Oxford in September.

It’s part of the university’s drive to recruit students with the highest academic potential, whatever their background, and is open to students who are on track to meet the academic requirements of their chosen course and come from either an area with low progression to higher education or an area of socio-economic disadvantage, or both. Among those students, where admissions tutors feel they might welcome some introductory sessions on a few of the study skills needed for the degree course, plus a taste of Oxford student life before the course proper gets underway, they can decide to include an invitation to the Opportunity Oxford bridging programme in the offer of a place on the degree course .

Here are some students on the programme talking about their experience:

If you’re considering applying to Oxford and think you might be interested in or eligible for the bridging programme, then don’t worry: you don’t have to do anything at all from your side. Just apply to Oxford through UCAS in the normal way. If you’re eligible for the programme, we’ll know from the widening participation data that UCAS includes with your application. And then, once admissions interviews are over, if the subject tutors in your college think you might find the scheme helpful, then they’ll include an invitation to take part in Opportunity Oxford with the acceptance letter you receive in January.

You can find more details of what Opportunity Oxford is and how it works here.

We’re looking forward to welcoming this year’s Opportunity Oxford cohort to the bridging course this summer. And among those of you currently in Year 12 and thinking of applying to Oxford later on this year, some will be getting an invitation early next year to join the 2023 bridging course with us.

We’re Back!

We hope you all had a restful break with family and friends over the last couple of weeks, whether you were observing religious traditions or hunting for chocolate in the garden (or both!)

Here at Oxford, Trinity term is already underway and it looks to be another busy one, albeit much sunnier than the last!

To ease us back into the new term, here are a few exciting events and opportunities to get involved in over the next couple of weeks!

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Modern Languages Subject Day – Tuesday 10th May, Exeter College

If you are a Year 11 or 12 student who is interested in exploring your options for University, then this day is perfect for you! This Subject Day will include opportunities to experience sessions in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. 

To register for your place, please fill out this form, which should take around 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The deadline to apply is Tuesday 3rd May at 9am.

If you have any questions, please contact outreach@exeter.ox.ac.uk.

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Songs We Learn From Trees – Thursday 5th May, The Queen’s College

On Thursday 5th May, at 4:30-8pm, the Queen’s Translation Exchange are running an in-person workshop and readings based on Songs We Learn from Trees, the first anthology of Amharic poetry in English.

Sign up here to attend!

Sign up for free here to discuss and celebrate Ethiopian poetry in an evening of readings by Ethiopian poets and their translator, followed by a drinks reception.

The event will feature the following poets:

  • Misrak Terefe
  • Bedilu Wakjira
  • Kebedech Tekleab
  • Alemu Tebeje
  • Hama Tuma [virtually]
  • Mihret Kibede [virtually]

with translator and anthology editor, Chris Beckett.

The poets will read from their own and other poets’ work in the anthology, as well as answer any questions the audience may have about the thriving poetry scene in Addis Ababa.

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Modern Languages Open Day – Saturday 7th May, Examination Schools

There’s still a week left to sign up to attend our in-person Open Day at the Examination Schools, here in Oxford.

The Open Day will offer an overview of our modern languages courses and a general Q&A for prospective students in the morning, with individual language sessions and a companions’ Q&A session occurring in the afternoon. Academics, current students and members of staff from the Faculty will all be in attendance to answer your questions and give invaluable insight into studying languages at Oxford. You can view the full event programme here.

Please note that booking for this event is compulsory – you can register your attendance here

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Modern Languages Summer School – 15th-19th August, Wadham College

Wadham’s annual Summer School programme is an excellent opportunity for Year 12 state school pupils to be an Oxford languages student for a week.

Students on Wadham’s Modern Languages Summer School, taken from Wadham College’s website

Throughout the week, pupils will take part in an academic programme, live in College, meet student ambassadors studying at Oxford, and receive information, advice and guidance on applying to university. 

The Summer School is completely free and Wadham will provide financial support to pupils to cover any travel costs.

You can find out more information and the application form here. Applications are currently open and the deadline to submit is Friday 3rd June at 5pm.

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Faculty Open Day Reminder

It’s not too late to register your place at our Modern Languages Open Day at the beautiful Examination Schools (75 – 81 High St, Oxford OX1 4BG) on Saturday 7th May!

We’re so excited to be able to hold this event in person again and to welcome prospective students and their families/teachers to Oxford after two long years, and can’t wait to see as many of you there as possible!

The Voltaire Reading Room in the Taylor Institution, the University’s centre for the study of Modern European languages and literatures

As a reminder, our Modern Languages Open Day will cover ALL nine of the languages we offer here at Oxford: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Modern Greek, Czech, and Polish. Most of our Joint School degree subjects will also be represented. The event is aimed primarily at Year 12 students and their parents/guardians/teachers, but Year 11 students who are starting to consider their options are equally welcome to attend.

The Open Day will offer an overview of our Modern Languages courses and a general Q&A for prospective students in the morning, with individual language sessions and a companions’ Q&A session occurring in the afternoon. Academics, current students and members of staff from the Faculty will all be in attendance to answer your questions and give invaluable insight into studying Languages at Oxford.

You can view the full event programme here.

Please note that booking for this event is compulsory – you can register your attendance here. Due to restricted places, only one parent/guardian/teacher may accompany each student for the morning session.

We look forward to seeing lots of you soon!

Modern Languages Summer School

Calling all Year 12 French, German and Spanish students from UK state schools – an exciting opportunity awaits!

Wadham College are running their annual Modern Languages Summer School in Oxford from Monday 15th August to Friday 19th August 2022. This is a wonderful opportunity for Year 12 students who are interested in pursuing a degree in Languages to get a feel for life at university and at Oxford more specifically.

Throughout the week, pupils will take part in an academic programme, live in College, meet student ambassadors studying at Oxford, and receive information, advice and guidance on applying to university. 

This Summer School is completely free and Wadham will provide financial support to pupils to cover any travel costs.

Students on Wadham’s Modern Languages Summer School, taken from Wadham College’s website

In terms of the academic programme, pupils will engage in a seminar series led by Wadham’s language tutors, including language classes in their selected language of study (French, German or Spanish) with opportunities to try other languages as beginners (including German, Portuguese and Russian).  They will also complete an assignment on a main topic with feedback from tutors.  Pupils will also be able to receive support from current undergraduates and from the College on making successful applications to top universities.

Students talking to a Wadham Student Ambassador, taken from Wadham College’s website

Wadham are delighted to be able to run this Summer School event in-person, allowing participants the best experience of life at the university. The feedback from last year’s Summer Schools was hugely positive with a third of participants subsequently securing offers to study at the university.

You can find out more information and the application form here. Applications are currently open and the deadline to submit is Friday 3rd June at 5pm.

Don’t miss out on the chance to be an Oxford student for a week!

Modern Languages Open Day – Book Now!

It has been wonderful to meet so many students (both virtually and in person) at our language-specific open days over the past few weeks. However, we are delighted to be able to welcome prospective students to Oxford for our Modern Languages Open Day on Saturday 7th May. The event will be held at the Examination Schools, located on the High Street.

This event is a fantastic opportunity for students who were unable to attend our more recent open days, or for those who are interested in learning about our other language courses, as this Open Day will cover ALL of our languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Modern Greek, Czech, and Polish. Most of our Joint School degrees will also be represented at the event.

Students working in the Taylor Institution, the University’s centre for the study of Modern European languages and literatures

The Modern Languages Open Day is aimed primarily at Year 12 students and their parents/guardians/teachers, but Year 11 students who are starting to consider their options are equally welcome to attend. The Open Day will offer an overview of our Modern Languages courses and a general Q&A for prospective students in the morning, with individual language sessions and a parents’/guardians’/teachers’ Q&A session occurring in the afternoon. You can view the full event programme here.

Booking for this event is compulsory – you can register your attendance here. Please note that, due to restricted places, only one parent/guardian/teacher may accompany each student for the morning session.

We look forward to seeing lots of you in May and welcoming you to the Modern Languages Faculty here in Oxford!

Opportunities Galore!

It’s a busy time here at Oxford, particularly for Modern Languages! As there are so many fantastic events and activities for young linguistics taking place across the University over the next few weeks, we thought we’d give you a run down of these exciting opportunities and how to get involved. All here in one place, just for you!

So, without further ado…

German Open Day – MS Teams, Saturday 19th February

It’s the last chance to sign up to our German Open Day this Saturday, 11am-3pm! This event offers a unique opportunity to gain greater insight into the German degree course here at Oxford, listen to some fascinating taster sessions on topics such as German Film and Reading a Medieval Manuscript, and speak directly to our wonderful academics and current students.

Take a look at the programme and reserve your place here!

Somerville Year 12 Study Days – MS Teams, 22nd-25th February

Somerville’s virtual Study Days will feature taster lectures or workshops run by Oxford University academics, which offer a challenging and entertaining introduction to university-level study of various subjects.

Click here for more info!

The sessions are open to all Year 12 students at a UK state school who are taking a related subject, and/or are thinking about going on to study a related subject at university. Students will also have the opportunity to hear advice from admissions and outreach staff about applying to Oxford and Cambridge, and to ask the college tutors and current undergraduates questions about their subject of interest.

The Modern Languages session is taking place on Thursday 24th February, 4-6:30pm, on the topic of ‘German Poetry Without Words – The Creative Magic of Language’.

Please note: There is no need for any knowledge of German (although helpful); the session is open for everyone interested in a degree in Modern Languages, including joint degrees and/or Modern Languages with a beginner’s language.

More information about all of the subject sessions and how to apply for a place can be found here, under the heading ‘Year 12 Study Days’.

Spanish & Portuguese Open Day – St Anne’s College, Friday 25th February

Our Spanish & Portuguese Open Day is taking place in person at St Anne’s College this year, between 10am and 3pm. Just as for German, this event is a great opportunity to learn more about our Spanish and Portuguese degree courses, experience taster sessions, and talk to academics and undergraduates from those subject areas.

Take a look at the programme and reserve your place here!

Modern Languages Study Day – St John’s College, Wednesday 9th March

Click here for more info!

The Modern Languages Study Day at St John’s is open to all pupils currently studying at non-selective state schools and sixth-form colleges in the UK, in Year 12 (Lower Sixth) or equivalent, studying a Modern Language at A-level (or equivalent) as well as pupils studying History and English who are interested in starting German from scratch.

This day-long event offers pupils the opportunity to find out about studying Modern Languages at the University of Oxford. Pupils will attend academic taster sessions, receive a tour of St John’s College, and find out about the Modern Languages undergraduate degree and application process from tutors and current students.

Further information about eligibility and how to apply can be found here.
The deadline for applications is Monday 21st February at 4pm.

Oxford German Olympiad – Round 2 is now open for entries!

For those who don’t know, the Olympiad is a large competition for learners of German from Year 5 upwards. Not only does 2022 mark our 10th Oxford German Olympiad, but this year, the Oxford German Network is also celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Oxford-Bonn Town Twinning and the 80th anniversary of the first four White Rose resistance leaflets.

Therefore, we have two Round 2 tasks to choose from this year: Celebrating 75 Years of British-German Town Twinnings and The White Rose Project: Resistance Leaflets.

Thanks to our generous sponsors White Rose Project, Oxford-Bonn Link and British German Association, there are exciting cash prizes for the winners of each task.

Further details about the tasks can be found here. The deadline for all entries is 10th March 2022.

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Hopefully that’s enough to keep everyone busy for a while! Do check out the links we’ve highlighted in this post for more information. See you next week!

BAME Humanities Study Day 2022 – Apply now!

Following a successful two-year run, University College, Magdalen College and the Faculties of History and Modern Languages are delighted to announce that the virtual BAME Humanities Study Day will return on Tuesday 12th April 2022!

This event offers UK state school students with Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) heritage an exciting opportunity to engage with academic taster sessions from across the Humanities subjects, and also to access support with the Oxford admissions process.

Last year, students chose to attend two academic taster lectures on fascinating topics such as:

  • Is a robot a human? Ancient dreams of a technological future (Classics)
  • Representing the First World War (History)
  • Sixteenth-century French Women’s Writing: Challenging Gender Expectations in selected works of the Dames des Roches (Medieval & Modern Languages)
  • Islam and Politics in the Middle East (Oriental Studies)
  • Decolonise Art History? (Art History)
  • Medieval English and Arabic Devotional Texts (English)

These talks offer students the opportunity to engage with topics which lie outside of their school curriculum and introduce them to studying subjects they love at university level. Like last year, these taster sessions will be supplemented by interactive admissions workshop delivered by outreach colleagues from across the collegiate university with assistance from our fantastic student ambassadors.

Screenshot from BAME Humanities Study Day 2021

There will also be an opportunity for participants to ask lecturers and current students questions about studying the courses they are interested in. Last year, this opportunity to engage with academics of BAME heritage was a highlight for several of the participants with one commenting that their favourite part of the event was:

“Seeing people of colour in academia! All the professors were such wonderful people and so down to earth and their talks were so engaging.”

Another participant commented:

“Originally, I wasn’t sure about applying to Oxford at all, but this study day gave me more confidence in my ability and made my voice feel more important and valued, something which often does not happen at school.”

If you are interested in attending this year’s BAME Humanities Study Day, you can apply here until 20th February when applications close. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity!

Thank you to the Faculty of History for the information about last year’s BAME Humanities Study Day. The full event report is available here.

THE UNIQ EXPERIENCE

by Simon Kemp, Associate Professor of French and Co-Director of Outreach

What are your plans for July this year? Might you have four days to spare, say from July 10-13 or July 17-20? Might you consider spending them with us in Oxford, getting a taste of our modern language courses in the daytime and a feel for what student life is like in an Oxford college in the evenings?

Once the exams are over and the students have gone home for the summer, for many of us Oxford academics the next thing on the horizon is the UNIQ summer school. I’ve been teaching on it for several years now, and it’s always one of the most rewarding parts of my year. In modern languages we invite between sixty and eighty sixth-formers from state schools across the UK to join us for a four-day course of language and cultural study and an experience of student life. It’s aimed at people who are just finishing Year 12 in England and Wales (Year 13 in Northern Ireland and S5 in Scotland), who are interested in studying modern languages at university and curious to check out what Oxford is like. We run courses for students of French, Spanish and German, all of which include some language work and broader cultural studies designed to give you a taste of the university course as well as helping with your sixth-form studies. Plus, every course also offers a dip into some of the other languages and cultures you might choose to pick up from scratch in a degree course here, such as Portuguese, Russian, Italian, or Beginners’ German. Our undergraduate ambassadors look after you through your stay, and can tell you anything you want to know about being a student here. Plus, for those who are interested, there’s information and guidance about applying to study at Oxford as an undergraduate both during the summer school and in the run-up to the admissions process in the following autumn.

If you’d like to find out more, all the information about Oxford’s UNIQ summer school programme is here:

UNIQ website

Applications close in less than two weeks on Monday 7th February at 11pm, so act now if you think this could be for you, and please tell others who you think might be interested. I hope to meet many of you this summer.

Come and Explore Languages at Oxford!

Here at the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, we organise and run a range of open days for prospective students and their parents and guardians. Open days are one of the best ways to get a real feel for a University, helping students to make informed decisions about their futures.

Over the course of February and March, we will be holding our language-specific open days, designed to provide greater insight into our undergraduate degree programmes. In comparison to our wider open day in May, language-specific open days are smaller and more focused in their scope, allowing more time to explore a subject in depth.

For example, the German open day offers an introduction to German film, linguistics, and different types of literature. On the Spanish and Portuguese open day, you can explore medieval Iberian literature and learn Portuguese in 15 minutes. The Italian open day will introduce you to Italian literature’s biggest names from the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods.

So, if you’re thinking about applying to study languages at Oxford, or want to find out more about a particular course, these open days offer a wonderful opportunity to meet some of our tutors and current students, come along to academic taster sessions which will give you a flavour of what it’s like to study languages, and ask lots of questions.

Below are the details of our 2022 language specific open days. You will need to book a place at these events, which you can do via our open day website, where you will also find the event programmes.

  • German: Saturday 19th February, 11am – 3pm, Microsoft Teams
  • Spanish & Portuguese: Friday 25th February, 10am-3pm, St Anne’s College
  • Italian: Saturday 5th March, 11am-1.30pm, Microsoft Teams
  • Russian and Slavonic Languages: Saturday 5th March, further details to be published soon.

You may have noticed that there is no specific open day for French: students interested in French should attend the Faculty’s main open day in May or one of the University open days in July or September. Keep your eyes peeled for more information about those events in future blog posts.

We look forward to having you along to our language-specific open days – don’t forget to book your place!

While you’re here: a reminder that applications to our 2022 UNIQ programme are still open! You can read more about this fantastic opportunity for UK state school students in last week’s blog post, or head to the website for further information.

Apply now!