What the language you study at uni says about you

Who knew Exeter even offered Portuguese?


Congrats! You’ve got into university and now you’re spending nine grand per year on what you could have learnt off Duolingo.

A language degree does give you bragging rights about your year abroad though, until you realise most people do one too. But you still get to impress people with your fancy language degree because, hey, fluency in Chinese or Arabic or Russian  isn’t common- unless you count the millions of native speakers around the world who speak it a lot better than you.

Well, it’s never too late to apply to a postgrad in law or business!

Mandarin Chinese 

If you thought you were going to have some fascinating conversations with the owners of your local Chinese supermarket or restaurant, you might want to re-think. Good luck understanding anything that native speakers say when you don’t speak the dialect. But you’ll have fun shopping for Chinese snacks whilst leaving any memory of Cadbury in the past because you’re too cool for that now.

Or, you’re going to be a fancy business tycoon in the future. Either way, kudos to you. It’s a beautiful language and you were almost certainly the smartest person in your A-Level language class.

Arabic

You are a masochist. No, seriously. You’re not spending the next four years sipping tea and practicing calligraphy every class. You’re going to spend the next four years wondering why there is an exception to the exception of every single grammatical rule in this language. I still don’t get it either.

And you’re going to spend even more time staying silent in the company of your Arab friends. They’re Syrian, Sudanese, Emirati, and Moroccan and you have no idea what they’re saying even though they’re all speaking in Arabic.

At the end of the day, there are two reasons that you picked to do Arabic: a) that you wanted to be different , or b) You’ve spent a year living in Dubai as a child.

Even if you’re an atheist, you’ll come back from Jordan saying ‘inshallah’, ‘mashallah’ or ‘wallahi’ (bro) every other sentence.

French

I don’t know a single person doing a French degree who isn’t doing it because it’s the one language they did in school.

You also hate Emily in Paris but you can’t help wonder if that’s what you look like when you visit France. Don’t worry, because if you can order a pain au chocolat, you’re already a million times better. And you’ll be able to look down on those uncultured swines who can’t pronounce words like ‘hors d’oeuvre’ or ‘grenouille’ or ‘brice de meaux’.

You also might come back after your year abroad with a bit of snobbery. No matter whether you become a wine snob, an art snob, a film snob etc.  But at least you’ll be a sexy snob.

German

Three words. You’re a gem.

You wanted to stay Euro-centric for your business aspirations but you’re boujee. You will grow to love the language because unlike others *cough* Arabic *cough* , German is logical. People will be impressed that you’re taking on German, but not impressed enough to ask why you’re studying it.

You might even buy a dirndl on your year abroad, but once you get back to Exeter, you’ll shoot down any idea to wear it to Oktoberfest nights out. You wouldn’t be caught dead in those cheap polyester costumes – your dirndl will become sacred. 

Spanish

You started studying Spanish in Year 7 because you didn’t want to be basic like everyone else who continued with French since Year 3. Now, you don’t really know why you’re still studying it but it’s easy enough and you’re vibing with it.

If you chose to take this from beginners, you probably are combining it with post- A Level French or even Italian just to give your CV a leg-up above anyone who is studying one language.

Italian

You defo chose this because you watched Call Me By Your Name and wanted a sexy romance on your year abroad too. You’re into the classics, but you’re not pretentious about it, although you do an awkward tight-lipped smile if people ask if you got rejected from Oxbridge.

Russian

You are probably in the midst of a communist phase. And that’s not a bad thing because you are very chill about it. You’re even chill talking about studying Russian with the many classic Exetah business studies students from Surrey, even though they definitely think you’re one of those Gen Z commies.

You 99.9 percent likely think that young Stalin is hot. I don’t blame you because its true. Then again, that just proves you have taste.

Persian/ Turkish

You probably do an Arabic degree and chose one of these two . After you tell people that you study Arabic, you will then say “but I study Persian/Turkish too”. One semester on and you’ll introduce you degree like “I do Persian/Turkish but I also study Arabic”. You should bask in your new-found glory and coolness.

Portuguese

I have only just found out that Exeter actually offers Portugese.

I didn’t know how I could describe you because I am still not even fully convinced that you exist.

Korean

We get it. You like K-pop.