Time, once again, for one of our profiles of current students, this time from Emily Ronald who will be starting her second year with us in the Autumn and has taken the time to look back over the past year and the shift from school to University:
“Salut! My name’s Emily Ronald and I’ve just completed my first year at Stirling University studying for my BA Hons degree in French and History. My first year studying French at Stirling has been amazing. I come from a very small rural area and so was a little nervous at first about moving away from home and beginning my studies at a university level. However, all my worries and doubts disappeared on the first day of term. The French department is simply fantastic, the tutors are all friendly and approachable, and put my mind at ease about the transition from secondary school to university straight away.
The materials that we have covered in our first-year classes have been really interesting and challenging (in a good way!), and have opened my eyes to wider Francophone cultures that I had previously been oblivious of. French is taught in three different classes; writing and grammar, speaking, and culture, in addition to a weekly lecture. I’ve enjoyed all the classes this year, but in particular the weekly parlé class, as it gave me the opportunity to improve my speaking in a friendly atmosphere.
Stirling was my first-choice university alongside another Scottish university, so I had to make the tough decision between the two of them. However, after attending one of the open days at Stirling, I fell in love with the campus and my mind was set. It’s safe to say that I made the right decision, as Stirling now feels like a home away from home to me. I’m looking forward to continuing my studies in September and I’m hoping for another excellent year!”
Many thanks to Emily for this great post and we hope that second year (and beyond!) lives up to expectations.
Congratulations to Brigitte Depret, part of the French at Stirling language team, who has just been conferred HEA Fellow status – fantastic news!
What better way to start the new week than with another student profile? Paige Hepburn has just finished the first year of her BA Hons in French and English and has sent us this post with her thoughts on the past year and the semesters ahead:
“My name is Paige Hepburn and I have just finished my first year at Stirling University. I had my heart set on Stirling since high school because of the option to do a combined degree. I want to become a high school English teacher so the idea of doing Education alongside my English degree really appealed to me.
In first and second year at Stirling University you have the opportunity to choose three subjects, which is the perfect chance to explore your options and pursue your interests. I chose French as my optional module because I thoroughly enjoyed studying it at school and because of my personal ambitions to be fluent in French, but I had never thought about doing a French degree.
I chose the Beginners’ module because I had been out of education for a few years before attending University and was worried I’d forgotten everything. I’m so glad I did! The Beginners’ modules are designed to bring a complete beginner up to the appropriate level. For me, the course was a fast-paced refresher and consolidation of everything I had learned so far. My seminar tutor, Brigitte Depret, was fantastic. She was so enthusiastic and really brought the French to life, and the fact that she was a Native French speaker was a bonus!
By the end of my first year I realised I had enjoyed French so much that couldn’t imagine not studying it in the future so I changed my degree to a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in French and English Studies. French has opened my eyes to the option of teaching English as a foreign language, in France of course! At the end of next year, I will have the opportunity to spend a year in France, working as an English Language Assistant through the British Council which, as a future teacher, would provide invaluable classroom experience as well as the perfect setting to immerse myself in the French language. Studying French at Stirling also gives you the opportunity to study abroad in France or a French-speaking country as part of your course. I can’t wait to embrace these opportunities. I’m so excited for next year!”
Many thanks to Paige for sending this post and we’re looking forward to seeing where the next few years will take you, both in terms of time abroad and on the modules that lie ahead!
Much more to follow on this a little later in the Summer but, in the meantime, a quick photo of three of our French at Stirling students – Nicolas Masdorp, Stefano Intropido and Paloma Mondragon – who are currently enjoying a Summer School with our partners at the Ecole de Management in Strasbourg where, as well as attending classes at the EM, they are benefitting from a fantastic range of activities, including a visit to the Council of Europe!
On the day our finalists have received their degree results (félicitations à toutes et à tous!!), it seems particularly appropriate to post congratulations to all those French at Stirling students who have been awarded prizes for outstanding performances across our year groups.
In Semesters 1-3, we run both an Advanced stream (for all those with Higher or Advanced Higher French, or equivalent) and a Beginners’ stream (for those with no formal qualifications in French or whose previous studies are from years and years back) and we award prizes in both streams. This year, Prize for the Best Performance by a Year 1 Student in the A Stream goes to Jennifer Graham who is studying Professional Education (Primary) with a Specialism in Modern Languages and the Prize for the Best Performance in Year 1 by a B Stream student goes to English and French student, Laura Castane Bassa.
Best Performance by an A Stream student in Year 2 goes to International Politics and Languages student Stefano Intropido (who was also recently awarded a Stevenson Exchange Scholarship) while Charlene Hoag, who is studying French and History, has won the Prize for the Best Performance by a former B Stream student in Year 2 (Advanced and Beginners’ streams merge in Semester 4).
Our annual Simone de Beauvoir Prize for French which is awarded every year to a graduating student on a French programme for the best performance across their Honours modules has been won by David Vescio who has been studying French and Spanish with us, and Hannah Northfield, who has just completed her BA Hons in French, has been awarded the Translation Prize for French, thanks to excellent grades in translation assessments across her final year.
Many, many congratulations to all our prize-winners from all of French at Stirling!
The last of the student profiles for this week comes from Andrea Kolluder who has also just reached the end of the first year of her degree programme here with us:
“Hello, my name is Andrea. I’ve just finished first year on my Integrated Master’s degree in International Management and Intercultural Studies. I’m studying French and Spanish as the language side of my degree. I will also be spending my 5th year studying for the Master Grande Ecole component of my degree at the Ecole de Management in Strasbourg, which I am already excited about even though it is still far away on the timeline.
My choice of Stirling University was perhaps a little unconventional. To put my life in a nutshell, I am from Hungary originally but I have spent most of my life living abroad. I finished secondary school in Ireland and took a much longer gap year period than most. I spent some time training to be a tour guide, worked in tourism in three different countries and four years later I ended up in Scotland for my university education.
My decision to coming to study here at the University of Stirling was mostly based on the degree options available. I found the courses available really suited all the things I wanted to gain a more in-depth knowledge of in order to continue to grow in my understanding of languages and cultures. After all, I am hoping to make a living out of being familiar with foreign languages and cultures.
The great location of Stirling also played a big part in my decision. I really liked the idea that Stirling is so close to major cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh without actually being in the middle of the busy large cities. To me this meant less distraction from my studies, with the option of having fun in a bigger city still close at hand if the mood were to strike for a change of scenery. I never actually made it to any of the open days for Stirling University before making my decision to come here, but once I arrived in Stirling I knew straight away that I had made the right choice. The gorgeous campus looked even better in real life than in the pictures I had seen online. It was of course even more lovely as last September was actually beautifully sunny and mild.
I have found studying French at Stirling very interesting and comprehensive. I have always been a bookworm, so I particularly enjoyed being introduced to so many different types and styles of French literature. The background history paired with the pieces of literature was a new way of improving language skills for me, but I feel like it really helped my French and I’m looking forward to the materials of the years ahead. My ultimate goal is to be able to read Alexandre Dumas’ books in French someday. Still have a long way to go, but I feel that the years of study ahead will help me get there.”
Many thanks to Andrea for this great blog post and we look forward to posting a review of Dumas in some future semester!
We’re on something of a roll with student profiles and I’m really pleased to be able to post another article by one of our current students, Craig Stephen, who has just completed the first year of his degree at Stirling:
“Bonjour! My name is Craig and I will be entering the second year of my Sports Studies degree in September. “Sports Studies degree?” I hear you say. “I thought this was a blog about French at Stirling?” Well you’re not in the wrong place. Don’t panic.
I have always enjoyed studying French. So much so that I had to travel to a different high school to even study Advanced Higher French. Before beginning my time at the University of Stirling, I started a degree in French and International Relations at the University of St Andrews. For a multitude of reasons, however, I realised that it wasn’t for me. So, after two years of studying I took a year out to regroup and figure out where I wanted to redirect myself. Having been involved with playing and coaching basketball, I figured that it would be smart to follow the sport route. And where better to study sport in any way, shape or form than the Scottish University of Sporting Excellence!
Even though I made an almost 180 degree turn from where I started, I still knew that I wanted to continue my French. So being able to choose French as an outside subject from my degree programme was a blessing and a no-brainer. What I worried about most (for no good reason I must add) was that I would struggle jumping back into academic French, in the same way that I struggled jumping into academic French after leaving high school. What helped me the most was that French at Stirling provided us with bridging materials to help us get to grips with what studying French would look like. And it certainly helped me to brush off the cobwebs from the back of my brain where all my French vocabulary was stored.
The department is one of the friendliest I have ever come into contact with. Tutors have a genuine interest in what they are teaching and want to transfer that knowledge to you. The content is engaging and always relevant to understanding how modern France got to where it is today. Everybody is approachable and willing to help you when you ask for it. There is always a positive atmosphere which makes attending class a worthwhile experience, but also an enjoyable one.
My advice? Get involved with French at Stirling. There are a wide range of subjects that offer a joint honours degree with French – I’m waiting for Sports Studies to be added to that list! – as well as the single honours. And even if you don’t plan to take French as part of your degree, I can guarantee once you enter the department they will make you feel so at home and you’ll learn so much that you don’t want to leave.”
Many thanks to Craig for this great article and, of course, we’re sorry that Sports Studies and French can’t currently be combined – something for us to think about for future semesters! In the meantime, we’re delighted Craig is carrying on with French into his second year and wish him all the best.