Tag Archives: Spanish

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 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!

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.

*********

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!

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!

UNIQ 2022 – Applications now open!

After two years of online delivery, UNIQ 2022 is delighted to be able to welcome Year 12 students back to Oxford! UNIQ 2022 will combine the best aspects of our residential summer school and sustained online programme to offer a hybrid UNIQ programme to 1600 students across the UK. 

UNIQ logo

What is UNIQ?

UNIQ is Oxford University’s flagship outreach programme for Year 12 students at UK state schools/colleges. It is completely free and prioritises places for students with good grades from backgrounds that are under-represented at Oxford and other universities. The UNIQ programme offers a fantastic opportunity for these students to immerse themselves in the Oxford environment, sample some of our teaching, and try out life as an Oxford student.

What does the programme entail?

UNIQ 2022 offers both an in-person residential in Oxford and an online support programme. Taking place over several months, UNIQ starts in April, with academic courses in the summer, followed by university admissions support.

During the summer residential, students have the opportunity to experience life as an Oxford undergraduate by staying in an Oxford college and exploring the city for themselves. They will also get to know some of our Oxford undergraduates and work with our academics in face to face lectures, labs and tutorials.

What does this look like for Modern Languages?

For Modern Languages, there will be courses available for Spanish, French, and German. All three courses enable students to explore the language, literature, theatre, film, and linguistics of each discipline, while also providing the opportunity to have a taster of four other European languages at a beginners’ level.

Our aim is to give students a taste of what it is really like to study Modern Languages at Oxford, and to provide a sense of the breadth of our courses – including several of the languages you can study here as a beginner.

UNIQ student testimony

What are the benefits?

Throughout the UNIQ programme, students will explore subjects they love and gain a real insight into Oxford life, helping them to prepare for university, and decide what is right for them. UNIQ also enables students with similar interests in local regions and across the UK to connect with each other through social and academic activities.

Most UNIQ students go on to apply to the University of Oxford and they also get help to prepare for our admissions tests and interviews. In general, UNIQ students who apply to Oxford have a higher rate of success than other applicants.

How do I apply?

We welcome applications from:

  • Year 12 students from England and Wales, in the first year of A level studies or equivalent
  • Year 13 students from Northern Ireland, in the first year of A level studies or equivalent
  • S5 students from Scotland, studying Highers or equivalent

The online application process is quick and easy – it only takes 15 minutes! – and can be completed via the UNIQ website. Applications close on Monday 7th February at 11pm.

You will need:

  • the name of the school where you did your GCSEs (or equivalent) or your Nationals if you are a Scottish student.
  • the name of your current school.
  • your first and second choice UNIQ courses.
  • your teacher’s surname and email address.
  • a list of your qualifications.

As UNIQ is an access programme, admission to UNIQ 2022 will be based on a range of criteria that relate to students’ academic potential and socio-economic background. You can read more about this here.

UNIQ student testimony

Good luck to all applicants!

FRENCH AND SPANISH FLASH FICTION COMPETITIONS NOW OPEN!

We’re delighted to announce the return of our ever-popular French and Spanish flash fiction competitions for school students. If you are learning French and/or Spanish in Years 7-13, you are invited to send us a *very* short story to be in with a chance of winning up to £100. Read on to find out more…

What is Flash Fiction?

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

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!

Spanish flash fiction results 2021

We recently launched our annual Spanish Flash Fiction Competition, which closed in 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 Spanish. We had a brilliant response, with entries coming in from across the UK and beyond, and in total we had more than three hundred submissions.

The judges praised the high standard of the entries across both categories. 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.

We are pleased to say we are now in a position to announce the winning entries.

In the Years 7-11 category, the winner is Sophie Hobbs in Year 10. The runners up were Adam Noad in Year 11 and Abisola Daodu in Year 9.

The judges also highly commended Joe Gutierrez Thielen, Jonathan Visan Gherghe and Isabella Ooms.

In the Years 12-13 category, the winner is Ada Janowicz in Year 12. The runners up were Sofia Hoad in Year 12 and Eden Farber in Year 12.

The judges also highly commended Hannah Newton and Mariam Siarli.

¡ Felicidades! If anyone is curious to read the winning entries, here are the top stories from each category.

Sophie’s story

«Empecemos».

Sólo podía oír el sonido intermitente del reloj que rompía el silencio ensordecedor. Quería esconderme en la oscuridad; el miedo me estaba matando. Sentía las miradas congeladas del enemigo, tan feroces e implacables como la tormenta afuera.

Avancé. De repente, todos se callaron, y la luz siniestra creó una sombra retorcida sobre el campo de batalla.

Ojalá el caballo caiga en mi trampa…

Agarrado por la preocupación, pensaba que sería capturado por el caballo: él estaba a punto de atacarme. Sacrificios. Amenazas. Peligros inexplicables.

La reina del contrincante había muerto.

Respiré.

He sobrevivido.

El rey estaba indefenso…

«Jaque mate».

Ada’s story – ‘La lava’

Un brebaje arremolinado de fuego líquido. Rojo. Caliente. Imparable. Quemando con una ira insaciable, se desliza por la tierra sin destino, pero con determinación. Como si alguien hubiera abierto una estrella y la dejó para sangrar por todas las tierras verdes, convirtiéndolas en una cáscara de lo que alguna vez eran. Belleza peligrosa. La herida de la estrella sana, y la vida vuelve a surgir del infierno ardiente que plagó la tierra. El agarre del río de las llamas cesa con el tiempo, pero la cicatrización permanece. ¿Las tierras? Atormentadas por un eco de hermosa destrucción.

Congratulations to our winners, once again!

Oxford Modern Languages Online Open Days

We’re delighted to be able to share news of our forthcoming Open Days for sixth-form students who may be interested in studying Modern Languages at Oxford. These would normally take place in Oxford but this year we’re running a series of online events sharing information about some of the many different languages we offer – potential applicants can join us from the comfort of their own home! There will be opportunities to chat to tutors and current undergraduates, as well as some events with live workshops and taster sessions.

The open day schedule for February and March 2021 is as follows:

  • Friday 26 February – Spanish and Portuguese
  • Saturday 27 February – German
  • Saturday 27 February – Russian and other Slavonic Languages
  • Saturday 13 March – Italian

In many of the courses we offer you can study a language from scratch, so please don’t be put off from attending if you aren’t studying any of these languages at A level!

For detailed programmes for each event, and information on how to book, visit the ‘Open Days’ page on our website. You can also find a series of videos about studying languages at Oxford on our YouTube channel, and there are specific playlists associated with the Spanish/Portuguese and Russian/Slavonic languages open days.

Later in the year we’ll also be holding an online version of our Faculty open day, where you’ll also be able to learn about some of the other languages we offer. Keep an eye on this blog and on the ‘Open Days’ page on our website for updates.

We’re looking forward to meeting you!

Student Snapshot

Over the last few weeks, we have shared with you some of the material we would normally tell you about at an open day. Dr Simon Kemp, Tutor in French and Co-Director of Outreach, gave us a video overview of what it’s like to study modern languages at Oxford… but do the current students agree?

We asked three current undergraduates to tell us a little bit about their experience of studying languages with us: Dalveen is in her first year studing Spanish and Linguistics; Alex is in his second year studying French and History; Charlotte also studies French and History and is in her final year. Here they give us a glimpse of what Oxford has been like through their eyes.