Tag Archives: Spanish

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!


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


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.


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.

Spanish Flash Fiction: Commended Stories

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

Today we bring you the final collection of stories from this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition, having seen the winners, runners up, and highly commended entries in the last couple of months. Here we have some of the commended stories. A huge well done to everyone who took part in the competition and particularly to those who were commended by the judges.

Reminiscencia de mi abuelo

Una sonrisa infantil brillaba en su cara, tan inocente, a pesar de la frente arrugada y la piel envejecida. Sus ojos llenos de mil tonos de azul admiraban el paisaje perfectamente imperfecto. En su expresión, había una pura alegría de vivir – estaba sentado en un banco precario, acurrucado, los rayos del sol cayendo sobre su frágil piel manchada de pecas. Contaba historias, como si fuera un niño liberado de las cargas de la vida.
Años después, me siento en el mismo banco; sin embargo, todavía siento su presencia, a pesar de que él no está aquí.

(Flora Moayed, Year 10)

Una Noche En Madrid

Madrid. Las calles estaban llenas de color. Deliciosos olores vagaban por el aire. El ajetreo u bullicio ruidoso de las noches hizo que las calles cobraran vida. Fuera de un restaurante, se sentó una niña sabor de sus churros riquísimos. El azúcar cubrió sus labios que lamió con deleite. Las farolas eran estrellas que guiaban el camino. Sonriendo y charlando, la gente pasaba caminando; ocasionalmente alguien se detenía para entrar a un restaurante.
La noche era joven.

(Martha Pearce, Year 11)

El buzón

La chica siempre devoraba esas cartas, que llegaban – ¡inesperadas! – en
su buzón rojo, oxidado.

Sus dedos temblaban cuando abría los sobres sepias y acariciaba cada palabra
…hasta que las letras florecían. Una avalancha floral. El sonrojo dulce y el amarillo tierno.
Cada sílaba podía oír el ritmo de su intención y recordaba cada pieza del rompecabezas
olvidado, desde hace años.

Pero la chica no podía transcribir la voz de su mente en palabras de tinta

entonces el remitente pereció,

una falta de humanidad.

(Martha Wells. Year 12)

Spanish Flash Fiction: Highly Commended Stories

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

We’ve had the privilege of reading the winning stories in this year’s Spanish Flash Fiction competition, as well as the tremendous runners up. But, happily, it’s not over yet, as today we take a look at the highly commended entries.

Ayer, Hoy y Mañana

¿Es el cielo? Me pregunté ayer. Me aferraba a la espalda de mi madre. Estábamos rodeados de árboles verdes y masticábamos hojas de eucalipto entre otros koalas. Éramos felices. Esto era Australia, mi casa.
Ahora estoy despierto y solo. Estoy luchando por respirar, hay fuego por todos lados. Mis patas ya no pueden agarrarse a este árbol. ¿Dónde está mi madre?
Brazos fuertes me levantan y me alejan de las llamas. Los vendajes sanarán mi piel quemada. Somos los sobrevivientes tristes, rotos y perdidos. Detrás de los vendajes hay esperanza, mi madre será rescatada de los fuegos. Prevalece la humanidad.

(Maia Delin, Year 7)

El pescador

Durante horas y horas evadimos la red. El hombre tuvo que rendirse pronto. Miré el otro pez nadando por la libertad, de repente la red estaba debajo de mí, me había distraído yo. El pescador me levantó del agua. Miró a mis ojos y vio el cambio de felicidad para la culpa. El hombre admiraba mi cuerpo elegante. Golpeé el agua y sentí el frío en mi cara. Fui libre una vez más, pero supongo que volverán.

(Elizabeth Brawn, Year 9)

El río rojo

La masa de gente se retuerce en el caos. Caras con ojos asustados, revoloteandos para todos lados. Bocas abiertas. Proyectiles vuelan y el mar de cuerpos se bifurca. 
Las calles están manchadas, y un río de color rojo fluye hacia la plaza mayor. El aire se llena con gritos y el impacto de los misiles. Alguien gatea enfrente de mí con manos escarlatas.
A la izquierda puedo ver un niño riendo, y en mi nariz, puedo oler el aroma de los tomates. 

(Antonia Veary, Year 12)

Todos pensábamos que era un mito Masai. qué error. Sentado junto al fuego crepitante hecho de ramas secas de acacia, respirando el aire fresco de las tierras altas y escuchando la música de la noche africana. Una cacofonía de sonidos del arbusto de los grillos, búhos y la risa distante de una hiena. De repente, todo estaba tranquilo. una manta de silencio espeluznante nos envolvió. Vi sus ojos primero, como cuchillos de oro que perforaron en nuestras almas. Su elegante cuerpo negro emergió del arbusto, nuestros corazones latiendo era el único sonido que se escuchaba. el leopardo negro existe.

(Siena Cheli, Year 12)

Spanish Flash Fiction – The Runners up

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

A few weeks ago, we shared with you the winning entries of this year’s Spanish flash fiction competition. We hope you enjoyed them as much as we did. This week, we are pleased to share some of the stories that came a close second. Here are the brilliant runners up…

Tan cerca y tan lejos. Tus ojos son azules como el océano profundo, tu pelo es un río que fluye, su color es tan oscuro como la noche. Tu piel brilla levemente en la luz de la luna perlada. Bailas en las ondas del agua cristalina. Tu mano se extiende hacia mí, invitándome a unirte a ti en las profundidades zafiros. Extiendo la mano hacia ti, cayendo lentamente en tu abrazo acuoso. Tu belleza se vierte en mi cuerpo y apenas puedo respirar. Alcanzo tu mano pero fluye lejos, solo fuera de mi agonizante agarre. Tan cerca y tan lejos.

(Alec Müller, Year 9)

Necesitamos hablar. No me quejo de tu trabajo, porque todo el mundo tiene que trabajar, lo sé. A menudo mis padres me lo dicen.
Pero estoy harta de sus métodos insuficientes y incompetentes. Eres el monstruito debajo mi cama! Quiero tener miedo, sentir que voy a morir de miedo! Y de momento? Nada. No tienes inspiración.
Carcajadas a medianoche? Aburrido.
Luces parpadeantes? Débil.
Parece que no intentas. Y estoy decepcionada. Si pudiera, se lo diría a mis padres. Pero pensarían que soy mentirosa. Por eso, esta carta.
Porfi, monstruito. Intensifica tu juego.
La chica encima de la cama.

(Honor Reynolds, Year 11)

Lleno de nervios, embarcó en su mayor reto profesional hasta entonces. Empezó a calentar el aceite después de haber limpiado sus palmas sudadas en su delantal y respiró profundamente; sintió como si toda su carrera lo hubiera llevado a este momento. El ajo chisporroteante llenó la habitación con un fuerte olor y un calor que no hizo más que aumentar la tensión. Mientras rebanaba las cebollas, una lágrima cayó por su mejilla.
Brincó; sintió una mano en su hombro. “Relájate… son sólo mis padres. Les encantará.” su novia dijo.
Tal vez tenga razón, pensó ¿Qué podría salir mal?

(Nina Goodland, Year 12)

Es una frase rara, ‘sin techo’.
El hombre se sienta, como siempre, acariciando a su perro y cantando fuerte. Siento el peso de las monedas frías en los bolsillos, y le compro su café con nueve terrones de azucar – fumar durante tantos años le ha destruido las papilas gustativas. Cuenta relatos de su carrera en la marina, y de aventuras románticas en tierras de las que yo nunca había oído. No creo que sean verdaderos, pero es un narrador increíble.
Samuel no tiene techo; se ha construido un hogar de historias y canciones, y latas  de comida para perros vacías.

(Hugo Brady, Year 12)

We think you’ll agree that they gave the winners a real run for their money. ¡Felicidades!

Spanish Flash Fiction Results 2020

Late last year we 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 terrific response, with entries coming in from across the UK and beyond, and in total we had nearly four hundred submissions.

The judges commented on how difficult the selection process was, given the high standard of so many of the stories submitted. We would like to thank everyone who entered the competition and say well done to you all for your hard work and creativity in writing a piece of fiction in a different language – it’s no easy feat and you should be proud of yourselves!

We are pleased to say we are now in a position to announce the winning entries. So, without further ado, here are the winners of the 2020 Spanish Flash Fiction contest …

In the Years 7-11 category, the winner is Haneen Ali in Year 11. The runners up were Honor Reynolds in Year 11 and Alec Muller in Year 9. The judges also highly commended Maia Delin in Year 7, and Elizabeth Brawn in Year 9, and they commended Flora Moayed and Martha Pearce, both in Year 10.

In the Years 12-13 category, the winner is Caspar Pullen-Freilich in Year 12. The runners up were Nina Goodland in Year 12 and Hugo Brady in Year 12. The judges also highly commended Siena Cheli in Year 12, and Antonia Veary in Year 12, and they commended Luca Lombardo in Year 13 and Martha Wells in Year 12.

¡ Felicidades! You’ll be receiving your certificates in the post soon.

And if anyone is curious to read the winning entries, here are the top stories from each category. Some of the other stories will be featured on this blog in the months to come.

Haneen’s story:

La sustancia roja espesa goteaba de mi cuchillo. Acababa de hacer la sopa de tomate. Una mezcla confeccionada con cuidado, me hicieron falta sangre, sudor y lágrimas para perfeccionarla- pero al fin y al cabo, valió la pena. Antes el tono pálido de fresas verdes, ahora brillaba al rojo vivo, como sangre saliendo a borbotones de una herida recién cortada. Su olor, ligeramente dulce, un poco salado, me recordaba a la última brisa suave de la playa; el último soplo antes de que se murió el verano.
Borré la sustancia roja espesa de mi cuchillo, satisfecho con mi creación.

Image by Security from Pixabay

Caspar’s story:

El Hallazgo

1529.  Caminamos incansablemente por el laberinto de cedros y helechos salpicados de ranas punta de flecha. Las copas de los árboles se estremecían por la disonancia de los monos aulladores que oscilaban de liana en liana. Los quetzales enjoyados despegaron de la copa de los cedros como si fuesen guerreros mayas en fuga. Su plumaje verde esmeralda relució en el sol veteado. Atravesamos un barranco casi asfixiado por el peso de la hojarasca y poco después, atisbamos el contorno de una conurbación imponente de ciudadelas estucadas y estelas jeroglíficas. Delirantes y deslumbrados nos preguntamos: “¿Será esto un espejismo?”

Huge congratulations to all the winners, and many thanks to everyone who entered the competition. If you’re also interested in the French competition, keep an eye on this blog for the results in the next couple of weeks…