I choose Aston University becasue it offered the course I had been looking for and also, it is right next to, if not in, Birmingham's city centre. Great location! I also think that it is very advantageous for Modern Foreign Language Students to go on a placement abroad whilst at University because it offers students a great opportunity to experience working life.
Aston is a small university, which means that you always see a familiar face on campus. This is especially true in the School of Languages and Social Sciences (LSS), in which lecturers know who you are. Birmingham also has many benefits. As an Aston student I never lived further than 15 minutes from the city centre, which made life so convenient. Everything is within reach and, for England's second largest city, relatively cheap. Birmingham is multi-cultural and has a lot to offer. It's the perfect student city: big, varied and affordable.
I enjoyed most of my modules in both parts of my degree, German and English. On the German part I particularly enjoyed 'German - Past and Present', a module in my first year in which the focus was on the development of the German language and its variations. During my second year I chose TESOL as a module, which prepared me for my placement year. I would say this was what made this course perfect for me. For my year abroad, I got the opportunity to work as an English Teacher in a Primary School in rural Sri Lanka for seven months, which was an amazing experience! The teaching was a hard but rewarding job. I was able to put into practice what I had learnt in theory at university, and was also able to experience and explore a culture and language completely different to my own. As a result of this experience, I am much more confident to stand up and speak in front of a big crowd.
When I graduate, I plan to go into further education either to teach German or English as a Second Language. Therefore, my current degree is a great basis for this career. To pursue a career in teaching, apart from needing the marks to get onto a teacher training programme, relevant experience is also vital.
My year abroad has also given me opportunities to grow personally. I had to learn to communicate without knowing the community's languages and I had to adapt to an entirely different culture and way of life. The most striking thing I got out of this experience, is that it made me believe more in myself and the people around me, no matter what the circumstances. I learnt to appreciate the small things in life, like a grade 5 boy writing me a good-bye letter in English, when he didn't even know the English alphabet when I first arrived at his school. The year abroad is the most rewarding thing I have ever done!
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