To continue with the theme of my last few blog posts, I decided that this week I would share my timetable with you. When I was applying to the University, I spent hours searching for ‘week in the life’ videos on YouTube and the official university websites. I stumbled across OxVlog, which was great – but (at least when I was applying) it didn’t have a week in the life of a modern languages student.
Given that languages work very differently to other humanities subjects, I want to try and help remedy this lack of information. However, before I start, it will probably be useful to explain exactly what I mean when I say that languages work differently to other subjects in the Humanities.
Take History, for example: if you study History, you will have one or two tutorials a week, and have lectures to go to. Maybe some seminars. But that’s it for contact time. Apart from that, you will have to do (a lot) of reading and write essays.
This structure applies to PPE, English Literature, Classics, Theology… but not modern languages; a languages student has a lot more contact time. This is because we have translation classes, grammar classes, seminars and speaking classes on top of the lectures and tutorials. That’s not to say that we have more work; it’s just different, because we need to develop different skills to those studying something like English or PPE.
So what does a typical week look like for a language student? Well, this is what this week’s timetable looks like for me:
12-1pm, Translation into Russian (class)
2-3pm, Introduction to Russian Modernism (lecture)
4:15-5:30pm, Translation from Russian (class)
[DEADLINE: translation from Russian due at 4:15pm – i.e. in class]
10-11am, Gogol’ (lecture)
4-5pm, Russian conversation (class)
[DEADLINE: prep presentation for 4pm – i.e. in class]
9-10am, Derzhavin (lecture)
10-11am, Russian Love Story (lecture)
12-1pm, 19thC Russian Literary criticism (lecture)
[DEADLINE: hand in résumé on the film À bout de souffle by 12pm]
2-3pm, Termes d’adresse et débats politiques (lecture)
3-4:30pm, French conversation (class)
9:45-10:45am, French grammar/translation (class)
11-12pm, Stendhal (lecture)
3-4pm, Tutorial on 17thC French plays
[DEADLINE: discursive essay, in French, about les enjeux littéraires due anytime before midnight]
[DEADLINE: essay on the rules and boundaries of 17thC French theatre due at 3pm – i.e. in tutorial]
[DEADLINE: translation into Russian, due before 5pm]
Now, my timetable varies from week to week – this week seems particularly Russian-heavy in terms of contact time and French-heavy in terms of deadlines – but this will give you a good idea of what you can expect in your second year of a language degree at Oxford.
I really hope that this has been helpful! If you’d be interested in a video about my typical week (including extracurriculars), let me know in the comments – if there is some interest I would definitely be up for making one.
Till next time,