Taking a Language as an Optional Module
In previous posts I have mentioned that over the past year I took an Italian beginner module as part of my physics degree. It was a bit of a random choice as far as modules go with no specific intent behind it. I wanted to learn Italian for no other reason than loving the culture and wanting to learn the language for the sake of learning the language.
Now that I have completed a full year of learning, have taken the tests and got the results back, I thought I’d share my thoughts on why language modules are worth taking, regardless of your degree course.
If, like me, you don’t quite know what you want to do in the future, having a basic understanding of a language on your CV can be a real boost and set you out from the rest of the crowd (or so I am told). Nowadays, whatever industry you go into, it is likely that you will have to be communicating with offices and workers all over the world. I don’t claim to be able to speak Italian fluently but feel that, if nothing else, I could grasp the basic idea of what someone is trying to communicate.
Some people disagreed with my initial decision to take a language module. Some think it’s better to focus solely on the thing you are here to do (physics in my case) but I found that having the midweek break in my learning and the pause to look into another area gave my motivation a kick-start for the end of the week. Repetition is great for building new skills but having a reprieve can also be a huge benefit.
There is no denying that I had to make sacrifices within physics in order to pursue Italian lessons, I had less time for physics and had to choose not to take some of the physics modules available but I’d argue that benefits outweigh the cost. Languages are taught in a completely different way to the rest of my modules so I never found the workload to be a stress. It kept things different and interesting even if there was a lot to cover.
I also loved the opportunity to branch out and work with people from different backgrounds. Language’s are open to all so you don’t know who you might be learning with, what degree course they might be studying or what stage in their learning they might be at. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet new people while also learning an essential skill.
I’ve always enjoyed learning languages. To my mind, something about them just seems to make sense and I like the idea that I can communicate with an entirely new culture.
I won’t be carrying on with Italian into my third year but that is by no means a criticism. There is simply so much that I want to look into in physics this year that it isn’t practical for me to carry on with Italian. Had I not taken it last year though, I would be having huge regrets right now and would encourage anyone who is hesitant to give it a go!