Category Archives: Spanish

SPANISH FLASH FICTION 2022: THE HIGHLY COMMENDED ENTRIES (Y12-13, PART 2)

Following the publication of the winning and runner up entries, we are excited to present the first set of highly commended entries for the Year 12-13 category of this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition!

A huge well done to all our highly commended entrants! Without further ado, ¡venga, vamos!

La libertad, por fin

Photo by Oscar Ivan Esquivel Arteaga on Unsplash

Para Esteban, la vida en la cárcel fue un alivio. Por la primera vez en su vida, no tenía responsabilidades. Sin alquiler. Sin seguro de coche. Nada de pasear al perro. Nada de problemas. Ahora, Esteban era feliz y libre. Aún más, estaba libre de Paula. Había llevado demasiados años para que él se dé cuenta del prisionero que había sido en el exterior. Y aunque la prisión fuera severa para sus amigos, Esteban conocía la verdad del adagio: las circunstancias extremas exigen medidas extremas. Además, estaría fuera en unos años, y solo él sabía dónde estaba enterrado el dinero.

Aarav Ganguli, Year 12

Photo by Darinka Kievskaya on Unsplash

Atrapada

Me persiguió por la habitación con una expresión furiosa y un comportamiento aterrador. Corrí por cada rinconcito, siempre un paso por delante de los monstruosos gritos que salían de su boca. Como si estuviera en una misión para capturar a un ladrón, continuó mirando con esa mirada de fuego. “Te atraparé”, dijo. De repente saltando sobre mí como un guepardo capturando a su presa, me levantó. Su rostro estaba contorsionado por la ira y el estrés, mirando mis ojos inocentes con los suyos llameantes.
“Toto, Estas mal comportada” y “dejalo” me regañó.
Creo que quitaré los trajes de mi lista de juguetes para masticar.


Marina Michelli-Marsden, Year 12

Photo by Jay Mantri on Unsplash

Monumento

Ninguna luz podía llegar al bosque. El sol se oscureció y luego
desapareció por completo- tan mucho que dudas de que hubiera estado
allí en absoluto. En cada árbol colosal se talló un nombre, estiramiento
alrededor del tronco como un niño extiende sus brazos alrededor de su
madre, desesperada por la seguridad que aporta. La madre naturaleza
se preocupa por ellos ahora. En este monumento a los muertos sin
duelo por las mentes humanas, sus nombres la estropean
permanentemente mientras asume la carga de su recuerdo. Otra caída;
otro crece, y los esconde.
Sus nombres la queman. Llora. Cura.

Libby Rock, Year 12

Los navíos del Mundo Nuevo 

Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Habíamos visto fuegos en el aire, fantasmas y espíritus. Dioses benévolos siempre habían venido del agua inconmensurable. Y por eso, reímos cuando vimos los navíos, navegados por barbaros. Caras sucias, barbas largas. Piel increíblemente blanca. Una neblina de sondeo indescifrable.

Se acercaron. Un enjambre, encerrado en metal. Continuamente se tocaban sus cabezas, sus corazones y sus hombros. ¿Un lenguaje? Cuando copiamos su ademán, cayeron de rodillas y lloraron.

Repitieron algo una y otra vez.

Mis labios se contorsionaron en formas extrañas, y dije “Ah-or-a, so-is Cri-stia-nos”

Cuando vieron nuestros pendientes, oí la emisión ‘oro’.

Todavía no sabía lo que significaba.

Anna Couzens, Year 12

Photo by Espen Bierud on Unsplash

La Retirada

Con una sonrisa tenue brilla el tono ópalo de la luz de la luna, compartiendo su cielo con las estrellas llorosas, solo separados por el vacío interminable de la galaxia. Pequeñas hogueras iluminan las montañas con un resplandor infernal y atrevido, y los dedos largos de la llama exponen las caras vacías de los que huyen. Con los pies tan entumecidos como sus corazones, el dolor de su pasado brilla como lágrimas en los ojos. Agarrando sus chales y abrigos, intentan en vano, amainar el lacerante frío y batallan contra las garras de la muerte.


Matilda Lawson, Year 12

¡ Felicidades a todos!

********

MFL Teachers – don’t forget! You can:

  • Sign up to our mailing list here to get updates about our schools events and activities, and for a chance to win £100 of vouchers for your department;
  • Learn more about and book on to our MFL Teachers’ Conference (23-24 September) here.

    Any questions: contact us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

SPANISH FLASH FICTION 2022: THE HIGHLY COMMENDED ENTRIES (Y12-13, PART 1)

Following the publication of the winning and runner up entries, we are excited to present the first set of highly commended entries for the Year 12-13 category of this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition!

A huge well done to all our highly commended entrants! Without further ado, ¡venga, vamos!

            Buenos Aires, julio de 1977

Photo by Pavel Neznanov on Unsplash

El lunes, yo vi a un fantasma.

Miraba el atardecer por la ventana, cuando apareció repentinamente en aquella propiedad sombría frente a mi casa. Todo encapuchadito, sin rostro, siendo empujado por dos polis que lo llevaban al sótano del edificio. Mi mamá me dijo que dejara de decir bobadas. ‘¿No conocés la historia de Pinocho?’ me regañó, pero te lo juro que le vi y que oí su llanto espeluznante por la noche. Me quedo esperando para ver si habrá otros fantasmas. Anteayer hubo uno, ayer dos y hoy tres.

Todos entran, pero ningún sale. 


Adam Noad, Year 12

Ahogamiento

Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

Supresión. Estremecimiento. Miedo.

Agua fría envolvió su cuerpo. El frío le arrastró a las profundidades del mar. Las mortíferas olas se alzaron sobre el joven. Miedo recorrió su cuerpo como un rayo que no lo soltaba. Una ola gigantesca se lo tragó y cayó la oscuridad. Cuando abrió los ojos y trató de respirar, solamente pudo percibir vagamente que se hundía cada vez más. Sus gritos de auxilio fueron inútiles. La profundidad del mar se lo había tragado para siempre. La vida puede ser nuestro mayor oponente: todo forma parte de la huida del ahogamiento en pensamientos desagradables.

Supresión. Estremecimiento. Miedo.


Nicole Puhr, Year 12

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

Soy una cuchara de plástico.

Fui hecha en China. Comprada en Amazon. Volada al Inglaterra. Conducida con cientos de las mías a una escuela.

Recogida por un niño emocionado. Dejada por un niño emocionado. Tirado a la papelera por un profesor cansado.

La bolsa estaba rota. Fui dejada en la calle. Transportada en un río por la lluvia. Llevada al mar por la corriente.

Eso fue hace años.

Las olas me han desgastada. Pero sigo aquí. Los pájaros y los peces me han comida. Pero sigo allí.


Debería sentirme mal. Pero no siento nada.

Porque soy una cuchara de plástico.

Toni Agbede, Year 12

La Mar

Photo by Michael Olsen on Unsplash


El miedo me ha envuelto. Tenía una tarea. Una tarea imposible. La brisa marina salada mordió mi cara, ordenándome que tuviera éxito. La naturaleza se ha convertido no sólo en mi señora, sino también mi torturadora en este barco. Las olas turquesas acarician el barco. Quiero unirme a su reino azul.

“¡Capitán, concéntrese!”

Una tarea imposible.

Las balas de lluvia aporrean la cubierta del barco. La verdadera ira de la mar. Me palpita la cabeza. Nuestro destino es desconocido.

Negar su exigencia sería imposible. Sus ojos de azul zafiro perforan mi alma.

Me someto a ella. 

Polly O’Sullivan, Year 12

Photo by Nsey Benajah on Unsplash

El marinero, tratando de mantenerse despierto, cuenta las constelaciones, pintadas por el universo para guiarlo.

Un silencio escalofriante, roto solo por olas oscuras que empujan su barco hacia adelante.

De repente, una voz de miel llena el aire salado. La canción espectral rueda, como un tsunami, hacia el marinero, y gira dulcemente su cabeza hacia el océano.

Entonces la ve. Sus ojos apenas por encima de las olas, brillando más que la Estrella del Norte, lo orientan hacia ella.

Se zambulle, luego grita mientras el océano llena sus pulmones, y desaparece en las aguas negras.

Todo vuelve al silencio.

Daria Pershina, Year 12

¡ Felicidades a todos!

********

MFL Teachers – don’t forget! You can:

  • Sign up to our mailing list here to get updates about our schools events and activities, and for a chance to win £100 of vouchers for your department;
  • Learn more about and book on to our MFL Teachers’ Conference (23-24 September) here.

    Any questions: contact us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

SPANISH FLASH FICTION 2022: THE HIGHLY COMMENDED ENTRIES (Y7-11, PART 2)

Following the publication of the winning and runner up entries, we are excited to present the second and final set of highly commended entries for the Year 7-11 category of this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition!

A huge well done to all our highly commended entrants! Here are the final stories – disfrutad!

Photo by ammar sabaa on Unsplash

Mi corazón latía muy rápido.

Corrí lo más rápido que pude, me dolían las piernas, pero no me detuve. No pude. Me agaché en un callejón y me quedé allí.

Respiré demasiado rapido.

Sombras altas aparecieron en la calle. Me levanté y corrí de nuevo.

Mi cabeza y mi corazón latían juntos como dos tambores.

Me escondí detrás de dos contenedores negros. Cuando dejé de jadeando fuertemente, el silencio era ensordecedor. No habia lugar para esconderse.


En ningún lugar.

Escuché que algo se movía. Y alguien me agarró.

“¡Te encontré!”

¡Qué lástima! Ahora era mi turno de contar.


Julia Chermanowicz, Year 8

La hermana pequeña

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

Oscuridad.  Silencio. Frío.  Escondida sin brazos, sin piernas.  Soy tan indefensa como un bebé en el útero pero este útero no puede protegerme. 

Mis hermanas curvilíneas con sus mejillas rosadas y sus pestañas opulentes.  Qué perfectas.  Parecen presumidas, caras pintadas y ropa hermosa, floriada.  Es verdad que soy celosa.

Siempre soy querida. Nunca soy respetada porque todo el mundo dice que soy la más mona y la más mimosa.  Pero tengo que esperar en la oscuridad hasta que los gritos de mis hermanas terminen.  Abiertas a la fuerza, por las manos impacientes, finalmente la luz.  Soy el bebé muñeca rusa.

Lilia Perry, Year 8

Photo by Emin BAYCAN on Unsplash

Simplemente comprometido y extraordinariamente agudo e inteligente. Nadie podía ser tan despiadado como él – un adversario hábil.

Había perfeccionado su técnica, podía eliminar al enemigo sin dejar rastro. Su pasión era sostener el cuchillo; no necesitaba ninguna ayuda – él era autosuficiente.

Pero hoy, se sintió cansado mientras veía secarse la sangre.

¿Se estaba volviendo viejo?

Mientras pensaba, la puerta de su oficina se abrió lentamente con un chirrido. Escuchó la voz aguda de la enfermera. “Tu paciente en Terapia Intensiva se ha recuperado. ¿Otra vida salvada, eh? Ella rió.

El cáncer todavía tenía una batalla trascendental que ganar…

Ayesha Nusrath, Year 10

Photo by Lewis Parsons on Unsplash

El año pasado, mi familia fue de vacaciones y me dejó en casa. Me sentí sola. Decidí irme de vacaciones solo, fuí a la casa de vecinos. Primero fuí a casa de Diana, hice mucho ruido fuera de su puerta. Ella me dio de comer, era pescado. Cuando estaba llena, fuí a pasear por mi casa. De repente me sentí cansada, comencé a pensar sobre cómo mi familia me dejaría fuera y no me lleves de vacaciones. No es justo, mis hermanos fueron a Barbado, Francia e Italia e ir nada y jugar voleibol. Después de todo, soy una gato.

Caitlin McGowan, Year 9

Photo by Jordy Meow on Unsplash

Fue noche. La Luna era una cuchilla afilada en el cielo, y las nubes me parecían monstruos; animales feroces con un hambre insaciable para la violencia. Acabó de empezar a llover.  Estaba dando un paseo en una calle tranquila, pero llena de edificios destruidos, llena de familias llorando para sus parientes que habían dejado la Tierra. Podía oír pistolas al fondo, y el olor a sangre me dio miedo. 

La guerra cuesta mucho. Cuesta mucho para la gente, para los soldados luchando para sus países y para el mundo. No puedo decir mucho en cien palabras, pero por favor, dejéis.

Pragvansh Bhatt, Year 11

¡ Felicidades a todos!

SPANISH FLASH FICTION 2022: The Highly Commended Entries (Y7-11, Part 1)

Following the publication of the winning and runner up entries, we are excited to present the first set of highly commended entries for the Year 7-11 category of this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition!

A huge well done to all our highly commended entrants! Without further ado, ¡venga, vamos!

Photo by Aditya Saxena on Unsplash

Julia tenia una bufanda que le encantaba y le hizo feliz. Era muy bonita; roja, azul et verde. Luego, un día, se fue volando. La bufanda voló por un tiempo y aterrizó en un niño pequeño triste en Londres. La bufando se quedo con él por un día y después de hacerlo feliz, se fue volando otra vez. En españa, la bufanda aterrizó en una niña llorando y la hace feliz otra vez. Por última vez, voló de nuevo a Francia. Este vez se encuentra Julia y se queda con ella. Las cosas siempre vuelven si está destinado a ser.

Sofia Smith, Year 10

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

Hipnótico. Su voz me arulla de un lado para otro como olas de suaves en un día de verano. De un lado para otro, nuestro conversación baja y fluye. Las rocas se sientan inocentemente cerca de la costa, espectadoras a nuestro amor.

Ella me lleva más cerca.

Los ojos inquietante ellos me atreviendo a apercarse. Las mejillas fríos y sonrojadas. Más cerca. El pelo cascada se enreda firmemente por todo mis extremidades. Asifixante. Como un puño enorme, las olas golpean contra las rocas. Salvaje y despiadada. Audiblemente rompiendo mis huesos.

Nunca confías en los ruidos que escuchas en el mar.

Isabella Rickard, Year 11

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

El Invierno

Solo pueden amarse unos a otros en el invierno. A medida que las hojas caían de los árboles, su amor florecía. Muchas noches de conversación llevaron a cenas a la luz de las velas. Se abrazaban cuando las noches eran frías y largas. Sin embargo, cuando el cielo comenzó a iluminarse y el aire llevó la dulzura de la emoción del verano, su amor se vio obligado a detenerse. Pero como hacen los amantes, esperaron en tándem el uno al otro. Siempre prometiendo que no se separarían el uno del otro el próximo invierno.

Roxy Cole, Year 9

Photo by Jeremy Hynes on Unsplash

–¡Pero veo una ardilla! ¡Mira… hay su cola desapareciendo en el árbol!

Corro frenéticamente hacia mi humano. Me mira perplejamente. Una vez más, no entiende la enormidad de la situación. Las ardillas, mi archienemigos, son criaturas salvajes pero engañan a mi humano para que crea que son lindos…

–Max, deja de ladrar. ¡Es solo una ardilla!

Pero, no sabe lo que nosotros los perros sabemos. Las ardillas planean destruir nuestro territorio, un jardín cada vez.

–¡Rápido, la ardilla está escapando! ¡Tengo que decírselo a mi humano! ¡Es mi trabajo proteger mi jardín!

Max, silencio por favor.


Y otra ardilla escapa…

Poppy Rhodes, Year 11

La chica en el espejo

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

Estoy mirando a una chica que he visto antes. La odio.

Sus gafas se sientan en la punta de su nariz y las hacen más grandes sus ojos. Tiene los dientes más amarillos que la mantequilla, que salen de su boca. La piel en su cara redonda está roja gracias a tantos granitos. 

La ropa que lleva es vieja y sin estilo. Su camiseta es demasiada pequeña para esconder su estómago, y de un verde claro. Los vaqueros que tiene están muy sucios.

Con lágrimas en los ojos, me alejo del espejo.

Reema Hindocha, Year 10

¡ Felicidades a todos!

SPANISH FLASH FICTION 2022: The Winners

We’re delighted to publish the winning and runner-up entries for this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition. We’ll be publishing the highly commended entries for both French and Spanish over the coming weeks.

Thank you and well done to everyone who entered. The Spanish judging panel commented the following about all the entries we received this year:

It was a pleasure to read such a fantastic range of short stories for this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition, and we would like to thank everyone who submitted an entry. We were particularly impressed with the level of creativity and storytelling skill on display and choosing just twelve winning entries was really challenging. Our winners, runners-up and highly commended entries stood out to us for their innovative angles or perspectives, their interesting reflections, engaging style and, in some cases, for the expertly developed twists in the tale!

Without further ado, here are the stories! We hope you enjoy reading them as much as the judges did.

YEARS 7-11

WINNER :

Photo by Amelia Barklid on Unsplash

Salvavidas

Me debatía a ciegas, luchando con el oleaje implacable que estallaba sobre mí. El mar, aplastándome sin el más mínimo matiz de clemencia, me iba arrastrando a tirones cada vez más dentro del abismo, y me entraron ganas de gritar. Las palabras, sin embargo, no tenían más sentido
que el borboteo de las burbujas arremolinándose a mi alrededor.

Pero a través de la marejada, de repente, emergió una voz. Un susurro que logró amortiguar la tormenta. Un hilo de esperanza. Una luz. Me rogaba que nadara hacia el salvavidas, y despacio, dejándome guiar por la voz…

Me bajé del alféizar.

Leila Zak, Year 11

RUNNER UP:

Ella

Photo by Inga Gezalian on Unsplash

Paso mi vida bailando en sus sombras, respirando su éxito, viviendo en sus debilidades. Sus pensamientos se derraman sobre los míos; un deslizamiento de irracionalidad. Sus emociones caen sobre las páginas de mis sueños.

No he tenido más remedio que mirar mientras sus dudas toman el control de mi mente y la furia se arremolina en los pozos más profundos de la insoportabilidad.

Mirándola ahora, mis sentimientos no se calman. Su identidad es como una enfermedad. La ira aumenta una vez más, las voces me rodean, pero no puedo hacer nada. Porque si lo hiciera, rompería el espejo.

Raffaella O’Callaghan, Year 10

YEARS 12-13

WINNER :

Photo by Kamil Feczko on Unsplash

La Caja Negra

El agua era una mano fría agarrando mi boca, asfixiándome, extinguiendo mi voz. Un silencio atronador. Dulces olas y brutal presión: se interponen entre vosotros y yo. 

Contengo la verdad. Esa que devora la carne de adentro hacia afuera, como si fuera un parásito. Contengo conversaciones importantes, no simplemente saludos y despedidas, sino un remolino de miedo y angustia y catástrofe. Contengo corazones golpeando pechos, latiendo a un ritmo incontrolable. Un sentimiento indescriptible. Contengo promesas incumplidas, pensamientos en voz alta, esperanzas truncadas. Uñas clavándose en las palmas de las manos, sangre agolpándose en los oídos.

Debéis buscarme. Tenéis que encontrarme.

Emilia Roy, Year 12

RUNNER UP:

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Espoleo a mi torbellino blanco. Mi vestido es la onda, su piel es la cresta. Juntos rugimos a través de la sequidad infinita, con la meta de lograr lo que nadie ha conseguido antes: capturar al sol. El intruso nos ha dificultado la vida bastante. Ya puedo distinguir el disco ardiente ante el cielo jóven dispuesto a relevar la luna. Pero no voy a dejarla. Estiro mi mano. Es como si toque el tizonazo. Ella quiere salir pero ya no es posible. Un picado, chispas y luego parece que el mundo suspira por primera vez en años. Somos libres.

Karolin Rendelmann, Year 12

¡Felicidades a todos los ganadores!

Flash Fiction results 2022

In December 2021, we launched our annual Flash Fiction competitions, which closed at the end of March. The competition was open to students in Years 7 to 13, who were tasked with writing a short story of no more than 100 words in French and/or Spanish.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

We had an incredible response, with entries coming in from the UK and beyond! In total, we received over 1350 submissions across the two languages!

The judges were very impressed with the quality of the entries. We would like to thank everyone who entered the competition and commend you all for your hard work and creativity in writing a piece of fiction in a different language. This is a challenging exercise, and a significant achievement – congratulations all!

We are delighted to be able to announce the winners, runners up and highly commended entries in this week’s blog post.

French

In the Years 7-11 category, the winner is Mahdiya Gul in Year 10. The runner-up is Elsa Rea in Year 9.

The judges also highly commended Sara Bjelanovic, Steph Harper, Khalen Kumarapperuma Arachchige, Archie Lewis, Saba Sabir, Chaitanya Sapra, Heba Shahzad, Anna Skrypina, Gabriella Sweeney, and Lulu Wills.

In the Years 12-13 category, the winner is Devon Chandler in Year 12. The runner-up is Maia Forbes in Year 12.

The judges also highly commended Rose Bourdier, Ellen Burton, Jasmine Channa, Charlie Cross, Sascha Entwistle, Lucy Fan, Carmen Gessell, Thomas Hilditch, Betina Tello Peirce and Harriet Tyler.

Spanish

In the Years 7-11 category, the winner is Leila Zak in Year 11. The runner up is Raffaella O’Callaghan in Year 10.

The judges also highly commended Sofia Smith, Isabella Rickard, Roxy Cole, Poppy Rhodes, Reema Hindocha, Julia Chermanowicz, Lilia Perry, Ayesha Nusrath, Caitlin McGowan, Pragvansh Bhatt.  

In the Years 12-13 category, the winner is Emilia Roy in Year 12. The runner up is Karolin Rendelmann in Year 12.

The judges also highly commended Adam Noad, Nicole Puhr, Toni Agbede, Polly O’Sullivan, Daria Pershina, Aarav Ganguli, Marina Michelli-Marsden, Libby Rock, Anna Couzens, Matilda Lawson.

Félicitations! / ¡Felicidades! If anyone is curious to read the winning stories, we will be publishing them in the coming weeks.

Congratulations to our winners, once again!

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!

Last Chance to Enter our Flash Fiction Competitions!

With just over one week to go until the deadline, there’s still a chance to enter our Flash Fiction Competitions in French and/or Spanish – don’t miss out on your chance to win £100! A reminder of the competition details and how you can enter can be found below…

What is Flash Fiction?

We’re looking for a complete story, written in French or Spanish, using NO MORE THAN 100 WORDS.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

What are the judges looking for?

We’ll be looking for imagination and narrative flair, as well as your ability to write in French or Spanish. Your use of French or Spanish will be considered in the context of your age and year group: in other words, we will not expect younger pupils to compete against older pupils linguistically. For inspiration, you can read last year’s winning entries for French here, and for Spanish here.

What do I win?

There are two categories: Years 7-11 and Years 12-13. A first prize of £100 will be awarded to the winning entry in each category, with runner-up prizes of £25. The winning entries will be published on this blog, if you give us permission to do so.

How do I enter?

The deadline for submissions is noon on Thursday 31st March 2022. If you would like to submit a story in French, please do so via our online submission portal here. If you would like to submit a story in Spanish, please do so here.

You may only submit one story per language but you are welcome to submit one story in French AND one story in Spanish if you would like to. Your submission should be uploaded as a Word document or PDF.

Please note that, because of GDPR, teachers cannot enter on their students’ behalf: students must submit their entries themselves.

If you have any questions, please email us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.

Bonne chance à tous! ¡Buena suerte a todos!

5 Reasons Why I Love My Joint Schools Degree…

…and Why You Might Too!

2nd year Spanish & History student at Balliol College, Georgie, explains why she loves her choice of degree course and why others might want to follow in her footsteps. Take it away Georgie!

At the age of 15 or 16, I’d always feel a mild degree of panic when asked the question “What do you want to study at uni?” It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the various subjects available to study at university, especially if you enjoy a wide variety of the subjects you take at school.

I studied the International Baccalaureate in Sixth Form, in which you take six subjects, so the thought of narrowing down to a single specialism felt very alien to me. But I soon came across the option to study a Joint Schools degree (also called a “Combined Honours” degree at some unis), and this seemed like a very attractive deal.

At Oxford, it is possible to take a Modern Language alongside a Humanities subject – Classics, English, History, Philosophy or Linguistics. This is a four-year course, with one year spent abroad, in which prelims (the first year) doesn’t count towards your degree, and your final exams take place at the end of your fourth year.

Balliol Hall from Fellows’ Garden – taken from Balliol’s website

I’m midway through my second year at Balliol studying History and Spanish, and I absolutely love my degree, but I still believe that Joint Schools studies are notoriously mysterious. Read on as I try to bring some clarity to the subject…here are 5 reasons why I love my Joint Schools degree:

1. Breadth of Study

Taking a Modern Language and a Humanities subject means you take roughly half of the courses that a single-honours language student takes, and half the courses that a single-honours humanities student takes. Your modules are taken from the two distinct schools. A first-year taking History and Modern Languages, for example, would study two history papers, two foreign literature papers, and two language papers.

Studying two subjects automatically doubles the number and variety of modules available to you.  The courses for both languages and humanities are extremely rich and there is a huge degree of freedom to explore your interests and choose your specialisms.

As a joint-schooler, I can access all the History modules offered to single-school students, and, since I take half of what they do, I do not have bend my studies around period or geographical requirements.

Photo by Benigno Hoyuela on Unsplash

While straight History pupils must, at some point in their degree, study both “British Isles” and “European and World” papers from a range of different historical eras (early modern, 20th century, early medieval, etc.), joint schoolers have more freedom to choose not to study certain periods or geographical areas. As a joint-schooler, it is possible, for example, not to study a British History course during your entire time at Oxford.

2. Studying One Enriches the Study of the Other

While modules are taken from the two distinct schools, and do not explicitly blend the subjects, studying one subject really enriches the study of the other. The skills learnt in taking a modern language, such as rigorous literary analysis and attention to detail, can be applied to great benefit in the study of your other subject. Equally, studying humanities modules can bring perspective to your reading of foreign literature, as well as greater awareness of socio-political concerns.

It is possible to choose modules from different subjects which complement each other. To give two concrete examples:

A Classics paper, “The Latin Works of Petrarch”, could be taken alongside “Medieval Italian Literature: 1220-1430″.

Or a History paper, “Enlightenment and Revolutions: 1650-1850″, could be taken alongside the French “Modern Prescribed Authors I”, specialising in Voltaire and Diderot.

The lateral links to be made in blending the two schools are extremely exciting.

3. It’s Impossible to be Bored

As you might have guessed by now, it is virtually impossible to be bored! If you are the type of person who likes to have multiple subjects to focus on at one time, Joint Schools are perfect due to the breadth of study and the freedom to tailor your course to your interests. It should also be said that the Joint Schools courses are carefully designed so that you have a normal workload! You won’t be bored but you also won’t have unmanageable amounts to do!

In the same day, I might translate a passage from a modern Latin American novel, read up on early medieval representations of gender, or complete an essay analysing a Spanish Golden Age ballad. There is always more to learn and read about; Joint Schools degrees can make you think in new ways and broaden your world outlook.

Photo by Redd on Unsplash

4. You Meet a Wider Variety of People

As a second year, my regular weekly timetable consists of: a history tutorial and/or a literature tutorial, a language tutorial, two language classes, two lectures, and (for this term only) a history seminar. This is the biggest workload I have had so far, and schedules vary greatly over the three years spent in Oxford. 

Classes and lectures are run through the Modern Languages Faculty, and, through these, it is possible to meet students from all over the university. Tutorials may be held either through the college or at another college, where your tutorial partner/s come from a different college. Taking more classes, from different schools, widens the variety of people with whom you interact and makes for a very interesting set of daily conversations!

5. The Year Abroad

A huge attraction for taking Modern Languages is, of course, the Year Abroad. Usually taken in your third year – apart from students of Beginners’ Arabic or Beginners’ Russian who go in their second year – the Year Abroad offers the opportunity to spend some time working in industry, teaching, or studying in a foreign country.

Edificio Metropoli, Gran vía – Madrid, Spain. Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

When studying Modern Languages at Oxford, the norm (but not the rule) is to take two languages. As a joint-schooler taking one language alongside a humanities subject, you can devote your entire year to immersing yourself in your single target language; the opportunity to improve your language skills and culturally enrich your life is unparalleled. When you get back to Oxford, by fourth year, you will have a wealth of experience and cultural knowledge from which to draw upon in your studies!

I can honestly say I love my degree. Studying two subjects – in my case History and Spanish – has meant I’m never bored of work, especially because I can productively spend time searching for places to go on my Year Abroad! If I were to go back in time about 3 or 4 years, I’d tell my past self to stop worrying about trying to choose a single specialism. Each subject offers such a broad variety of choice and an incredible degree of freedom to tailor your studies around your interests.

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Thank you Georgie for that wonderful insight into the joys of a Joint Schools degree course!

A reminder that we are still taking bookings for our Italian and Russian & Slavonic Languages Open Days, both taking place on Saturday 5th March. You can book your place here – don’t miss out on the chance to learn more about these exciting courses!

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!