Roding Valley language students

The fourth in a series of inspirational days for potential language learners took place at Magdalene College on Tuesday 25th September. whynotlang@cam is organised by the Language Centre, together with the Faculties of MML, AMES, and Magdalene College. Among the participants were ten students from Roding Valley High School, Loughton. Here is their account of the day.

the experience was so aspirational and enlightening that we all would love to take languages to a higher level; even with the homework!

Trishan Mandalia

"Ten students from Roding Valley High School, Loughton, visited Magdalene College, Cambridge, to learn about languages.

The students attended a seminar which highlighted why languages are vital in the global market, as they can open many doors to increase employability for students.

Trishan Mandalia, one of the Roding Valley students, said: "We then went to a classroom to experience French language taught at a higher level.

"Our geographical knowledge on France and insight into French heritage were stretched as we took it upon ourselves to complete various tasks such as listening to music and identifying grammar or linking phrases together."

The students then went into groups to discuss Mandarin, Arabic and Russian.

Ross Dowsett, who attended sessions on Russian and Mandarin, said: "Upon entering both sessions I was merely a beginner, ignorant to language beyond English and French.

"Studying Russian and Mandarin gave me an insight into a different style of language learning and alphabets and personally I loved the whole experience."

Zoe Faires, who attended the Mandarin and Arabic sessions, said: "I had Mandarin first and it was interesting to learn but the pronunciation was difficult. I didn't expect to enjoy Arabic but it was really good to learn the basics and alphabet. I'd love to do it again."

The response to the tasters was very positive and the students would like to have another attempt at learning the languages experienced during the day.

Trishan said: "At the beginning of the day most of us weren't really heading towards learning languages at a higher level; however the experience was so aspirational and enlightening that we all would love to take languages to a higher level; even with the homework!

"Language learning can fit in with most degrees, either as a single programme, for example French, as a joint pathway (French and Portuguese, or French and Law) or as an addition studied in the language college to whatever degree you do!"

Headteacher Paul Banks was delighted with the success of the day.  He said: "The learning of an additional language is something that is so important to our students and it is great that some of our most talented language students had the opportunity to visit Magdalene College and experience learning languages at one of the top universities in the world."

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