Eleanor’s passion for modern languages leads to a scholarship at The University of Manchester
Congratulations to Eleanor Bramley, a former student, who left college in summer 2020 and has been awarded a scholarship for her degree in French and Arabic at The University of Manchester. We were delighted to catch up with Eleanor to find out how she is enjoying her degree and what tips she has to share with students who are interested in studying modern foreign languages as well as advice on applying to university and plans she has for the future.
What course are you studying at Manchester University?
I am currently in my first year at the University of Manchester, studying a joint-honours degree in French and Arabic.
What led you to choose this particular course?
I loved French throughout school and at A-level so I knew that I wanted to carry it on at university alongside something else. Arabic intrigued me as it was unlike anything I had ever studied before, with a brand new script and alphabet to learn. I also knew that in certain countries, for example Morocco, that these were the two main languages so I knew they would go well together.
You mentioned that it is a four-year course, does it include a year out in industry or abroad?
In the third year of my course, I have a year abroad to practise my languages, whether that be studying abroad or actually working in industry. I think that because I study two languages, I will work in French industry in the summers either side of my year abroad and then spend the actual year abroad studying at university in an Arabic-speaking country.
What are you particularly enjoying about the course?
I am really enjoying my course so far, though the Arabic can be quite tricky at times. I would say that my favourite part of the course is the French Cultural Studies topic which includes learning about the arts, literature and cinema for example, which I find most interesting. Arabic is certainly a challenge but is an enjoyable one! I am really looking forward to learning more about the different cultures in the Middle East and how they differ from our own.
What A-levels/experience did you need to apply?
To apply for my course, I had to achieve AAB or better at my A-Levels and one of them had to be in French.
Do you have any plans for the career path you would like to follow after you have graduated?
After I graduate, I think that I would love to live and work abroad for a while, whether that be in a Francophone country or in the Middle East. I am interested in translation so I will definitely look into becoming a translator for my future job, but I would be happy with any job which allowed me to maintain high levels in my languages.
How are you finding the learning at university – how different is it from A-levels?
Personally, I have found studying at university is very different from A-levels and college as there is a lot more independent learning. Also at the minute, studying everything online makes it seem a lot more impersonal. They are hoping to introduce some more in-person teaching as soon as the situation improves, so hopefully that might make a difference. Also due to online teaching it has meant that I haven’t been able to meet many of my classmates in person yet, so I look forward to doing that one day.
With regards to the scholarship, did you have to apply for this or were you selected based on your A-levels and coming from a state school?
I did not have to apply for the Brode scholarship, and I did not even know I qualified for it until I received the email congratulating me! There were 20 of these particular scholarships awarded to my year and I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky recipients. I was given it due to my A-level results, A*A A, having a passion for Modern Languages, coming from a state school, and coming from a lower-income family. The scholarship is a £5,000 award per annum for up to four years of study. I know that the University of Manchester has many donors and there are a number of different scholarships that students can receive from across all subject areas, but I am unsure of how many exactly.
Any tips you can pass on to current sixth form students about applying to university, what’s important to include on the application etc?
I think when applying to university, it is important to make sure you have read the course description year by year in detail to make sure that you are definitely going to enjoy your university experience. Depending on what course you are applying for, I would say that mentioning a couple of books that you have read surrounding that field always boosts an application as it shows you have a keen interest – just make sure that you have actually read them because you do not want to be caught out in an interview! I think it is also important to outline other aspects of your life on your application, for example your hobbies, interests, and maybe even related work experience, to give the university an overall view of the person, not just the academic side.
Any other interesting points you may like to add
Despite it being a challenging time and under strange circumstances to start university, I would still say I am having a positive experience and look forward to seeing how things progress, both in terms of university life and my course.