Why I Chose to Study French

by | Jan 9, 2024 | Languages and Cultures, Undergraduate | 0 comments

Hello! I’m Sara and I’m currently in my second year of my English Literature and French degree. The main reason for which I decided to study French at Manchester was because I knew the French course in the first year of studies focused on making sure everyone had the same level of French, whether you had studied it at A-Level, or it was your first time learning a new language.

The first-year modules run all year long and for Joint Honours students like myself, there is no choice of modules in the first year. Everyone takes the ‘Identity in Modern France’ module, introducing you to French history, ranging from the French Revolution to May 1968. Everyone also takes a grammar module, though the hours for this module depend on whether you are an ab-initio or post-A-Level student. The grammar can at times be difficult, but this is where the tutors are invaluable. Aside from the time spent in seminars, each tutor will have office hours, which are times where students can pop into their office and ask for any clarification. I would really recommend making the most of these hours, especially after receiving feedback because the tutors are always so helpful in showing students exactly where they made mistakes.

The third module for Joint Honours students is the ‘French Cultural Studies’ module which is open solely to those who have already studied the language. As the name suggests, the university allows us to explore different facets of French culture through films and literature. This module was without a doubt my favourite in my first year because we were constantly being introduced to different pieces of French culture that we would not have studied otherwise.

Though it might seem as though having no choice in your first year would be restrictive, in hindsight this was the best way to be exposed to a range of topics, allowing us to make more informed choices in our second year. For example, I really enjoyed the literature we were taught in first year, so I picked a literature module that I’m excited to study in this year’s second semester: ‘Temptations of the Tragic.’

Outside the classroom, there are many opportunities to practice your French; perhaps you decide to join the Languages society, or even the ‘Alliance Française.’ If you do however wish to expand your other interests, there are many societies that are bound to appeal to you, from a coffee society to even a taekwondo one!

The beautiful thing about this university is that it is located in the heart of Manchester where there is never a shortage of things to do. So, when grammar rules and the work of Molière is proving to be too much, hop on a bus into the city centre and go to the cinema, or even one of the many coffee shops in the Northern Quarter to romanticise your studying.

Written by Sara Hamdani, a 2nd year BA English Literature and French student