University of Bristol Sporting opportunities

freddy-hare-tbIn my opinion, sport is the best way to meet like-minded people at university and its importance in terms of academia cannot be underestimated – there is so much evidence testifying that sport helps you perform better academically. Fortunately, Bristol offers a plethora of opportunities for students of all abilities but, unlike at many schools, none of it is compulsory so it’s up to you to take the initiative.

The range of sports on offer is quite incredible from the more conventional football, rugby, cricket, hockey to some which you may never have heard of such as Krav Maga . A friend of mine now plays American Football for the Bristol Cudas after they caught his eye at the Freshers’ Fair (the best place to find out about the sports available).

The best thing about sport at Bristol is that if you’re really good at a sport, you can represent one of the university’s prestigious teams but equally if you just want to try one out or play socially, that’s also possible. For example, I play 11-a-side football every Wednesday afternoon on the Downs in a superbly organised Intramural league and I play hockey on a Sunday down at Coombe Dingle if I have time. There is also a social cricket league in the summer.

The facilities are Bristol are very good and they are there to be used! Up near the Stoke Bishop halls, there are tennis courts, squash courts, basketball courts,… Coombe Dingle has got the university’s rugby, hockey, football pitches and floodlit tennis courts whilst the Pulse Gym is located right next to where most lectures take place. Classes like circuits, spinning, yoga are included in a Sports Pass and it’s possible to book out the sports hall for 5-a-side football, badminton or netball for example.

As I say, it’s up to you to get involved and be pro-active!

Freddy

Tagged with:
Posted in French, General, German, Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American, Italian, Russian and Czech

My Year Abroad

Reflecting on Freddy’s post below, I thought I’d also give a bit of insight into what I got up to on my Year Abroad. My first half of the year was spent studying in Mexico, which was the absolute dream. Studying is definitely the more social option and I had a lot of weekends free to travel around the various parts of the beautifully diverse country that Mexico is. I chose to stay out there for Christmas, which meant that I had a month more to travel as my second placement didn’t start until February. From then on I worked as an intern at an art gallery in the south of France, an entirely different experience, yet one which I also learned a lot from. My one slight regret was not choosing to be in Latin America for the second half of my Year Abroad, as I could have stayed out and travelled for the rest of the summer. So, I completely agree with Freddy – choose your placements strategically!

I have just sent off an application to teach in Colombia after I graduate, as part of the British Council Language Assistantship. Two-language students at Bristol cannot do this during their Year Abroad because the scheme requires you to work for the entire academic year, and we have to spend four or five months in each of two countries. If this application falls through, I’ll be paying the Bristol Careers Service a few more visits next term!

 

Bryony

bryony-michaelson-tb

Tagged with:
Posted in French, Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American

My Year Abroad

The highlight of any language degree at Bristol is, without a doubt, the opportunity to spend your third year abroad.  It’s a fantastic chance to immerse yourself in a different culture, meet new people, get invaluable work and life experience, travel and, of course, improve your languages.

The Bristol Year Abroad is a lot more flexible than at other universities – as long as you work and/or study for 4 months (or 8 months if you do Single Honours) in any country where they speak the languages you study, you fill the requirements. So if you study French and Spanish, you could spend 5 months in Paris before going to South America for your 2nd half. You can work in both, study in both or do half and half.

In terms of academic work, you have to write two 3,000-word essays in the target languages but it can be on anything so you can choose a topic that really interests you.

It’s worth bearing in mind that there are over 15 months in which to take full advantage of your Year Abroad, because you could start at the end of your 2nd Year exams.  I spent the summer in Madrid, teaching English, before heading to Porto in September to study at the University there until January (coming home for Christmas obviously…!). After a quick turnaround, I was off to Colombia to work for 4 months in a city called Medellin for a non-profit company. In June, I went to Brazil to get my Portuguese back up to scratch and there happened to be a football tournament on (!) so I spent 2 months there before returning to Colombia to travel for a bit.

So, as far as the University is concerned, I studied in Portugal and worked in Colombia. My stays in Spain and Brazil weren’t “official” but I made a point of being in places where my languages would develop.

My advice for planning a Year Abroad would be: Be creative, be selfish, be adventurous, save up for it if you can!

Freddy

freddy-hare-tb

 

Tagged with:
Posted in Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American

Final year in Languages

It has been strange settling back into university life after being on my year abroad. Everyone told me I would have an amazing time and I certainly did! I can’t help but think every now and again “What was I doing this time last year?” and it’s almost always more exciting than studying in the library! I hear most other language students talking about how they want to go abroad again as soon as they finish this year!
But for now it’s the final push: putting into practice all the things I’ve learned in the past three years.
It’s been difficult at times to get back into the routine of writing essays and attending lectures but it’s also been great to share experiences with everyone on my course and see how much we’ve all changed. I’ve started new activities and I’m looking forward to a year of working hard balanced with plenty of fun and relaxing, so watch this space.

Ellie

eleanor-davies-tb

Tagged with:
Posted in French, German

End of Term 1

Hi everyone! It has been a hectic term but I’m feeling extremely rewarded having just handed in two big coursework assignments over the last couple of weeks. They were both 3000-word essays and the deadlines were one week apart, so managing all of this was quite stressful as I also had presentations to prepare, and commitments to meet for my part-time job. The essays were on French tragedy from the 17th Century, and the state of democracy in Latin America — if you’re looking for a taste of university life, I spent most evenings working till around midnight, and incidentally, on deadline days I ended up working through the night until the following morning with less than an hour to spare before submission at noon.

 

But, now that these have finally passed I can relax a little more and get ready for my exams in January. I have two, some people have more, others less, and others none. The first term will end this Friday, before everyone will go home for holiday before coming back in late January. My exams are in the same modules (French tragedy and Latin American history), so revision should be an orderly matter of catching up on my reading and going over the key themes/subject areas. As an arts student, my exams are written and will require me to produce two or three essays during a two- or three-hour period.

 

Otherwise, I will be spending the holidays in parts of Germany and France. It will be a welcome break where I can see my family and catch up on my job search, or look into Master’s programmes for next year. That’s all for now, looking forward to our Google Hangout next month!

 

Kind regards,

Nayuta

 

nayuta-shoji-tb

Tagged with:
Posted in French, Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American

Looking back on a busy autumn

I’m perched by a window in the ‘beautiful’ building that is the Arts and Social Sciences library. Deadlines are now very much in view, which is slightly daunting: one essay on Hugo Chavez’s democracy and the other on the cultural prominence of Rabelais and Ronsard Renaissance texts. Time to crack on.

Although I miss it, I have stopped playing University hockey to allow myself a bit more time for final year commitments; “commitments” somehow evokes reluctance, which is, of course, my complete opposite position..! I don’t specifically mean academic demands, but also engagement in projects both within and outside the School of Modern Languages. Throughout the term I have been going to events set up by BristoLatino, a student-led cultural group which runs a website where students can submit various blog entries on “all things Latin American.” Every fortnight there are screenings of Latin American films in the cinema room of the Multimedia Centre. Last week we watched Nostalgia de la Luz, a film by Patricio Guzmán which draws parallels between astronomers based in the Atacama Desert researching humanity’s past and the struggle of many Chilean women who still search in the desert for the remnants of their relatives executed during the Pinochet dictatorship. Highly recommended, for the record. I think we’re all feeling a bit out of touch with our language having now been back in the country for a few months after the year abroad, so keeping it up any way we can is pretty vital.

Outside the faculty I have been tutoring Spanish at one of the local high schools. It is part of the Bristol Schools Plus programme, a national programme aimed at reducing educational inequality. Without wanting to sound too clichéd, it has honestly been so rewarding working with kids from various backgrounds, whose first language is rarely English.

I initially started my term meeting with a very charming French tandem partner, but, after leaving my phone at one of the bars on Gloucester Road and losing their number, I’ll be needing to go to one of the Erasmus Exchange evenings to find a new friend (soulmate…?)

Hasta la próxima / à la prochaine!

– Bryony

bryony-michaelson-tb

Tagged with:
Posted in French, Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American

Hello and introductions!

Hi Everyone, I’m Nayuta! This will be my blog for the year, hopefully you’ll find plenty of useful little things on here!

I’m in the fourth year at Bristol and I’m studying French and Spanish — I’ve had a great time since I arrived here in October of 2011. This year I’m living in St. Andrew’s, near Montpelier rail station with four other friends, most of whom I met in my halls (I was in Goldney) during the first year.  I’m an international student, and at the moment I’m trying to decide what to do next year after I graduate. So far I’ve applied to some graduate schemes, but I may decide to go onto further study, either in London or another country!

I also need to stay on top of my studies and keep my deadlines in mind. This term (Teaching Block 1 started in late September and will go through to early February next year) I have two assessed essays to submit before the Christmas break, and two more exams (one in Latin American Modern History, and another on Racine and 17th Century French Tragedy) in January. The grades I make here will be important as they will count towards the final classification I receive when I graduate!

I also have a part-time internship with the University which requires about 10 hours of my time per week, but allows me to gain good work experience whilst studying at the same time. University offers plenty of opportunities to develop your skills (important when it comes to job-searching), so I’ve also joined the Debating Society this year.

With all of this, I will be pretty busy this year, but I will be leaving you with updates at least once every two months. Here’s to us all having a good year, and, if you’re looking, to you finding your dream university (even if it’s not Bristol)!

– Nayuta

nayuta-shoji-tb

Tagged with:
Posted in French, Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American

Coming back to Bristol

Having been away from Bristol for 15 months, it was certainly a bit strange to be back on Woodland Road, in the ASS Library and going out on the Triangle. That said, Bristol is a truly special city, especially for students, and getting back into the swing of things was far from difficult.

I am starting my fourth and final year here where I study Spanish and Portuguese. All language students are required to spend a year abroad, splitting time equally in countries where their chosen languages are spoken. I’ll be writing a separate blog on this in the next few weeks.

One of my ‘concerns’ of coming back this year was that a lot of my friends from first and second year who did three-year courses had left and that I’d be starting again on the friend front. Fortunately, with so many languages on offer at Bristol (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Czech,…), there remains a very strong fourth-year cohort. Added to that, engineers, medics, dentists and people who may have repeated a year are all still around so you’re still bumping into people you know.

Work is the main priority this year of course (not easy after a year out…). This year counts for 60% of our degree so a lot more time is being spent in libraries but everyone is in the same boat and incredibly supportive of one another.

I’ll be writing various blogs throughout the year on a range of different topics – year abroad, sport at uni, Bristol PLuS Award and things I wish I’d done at Bristol are some of the themes that will be covered.

– Freddy

freddy-hare-tb

Tagged with:
Posted in Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American