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Student Perspectives

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Alfie Vaughan

Alfie - MML (French & Portuguese), Trinity Hall


Follow your interests and passions rather than what you think you should study, and the rest (eventually) falls into place. Since I started studying French at school, I became fascinated with the ways that languages differed in how they communicate the same information. This interest only grew when I started learning Portuguese (as well as other languages), after which I realised I could only satisfy this interest by pursuing further study in languages. The Cambridge course exposes you to a wide range of material, much of which you won’t have encountered during A-levels. You end up with interests in subjects and topics that you would never have even considered before trying them in first year.

A typical day as an MML student really varies from student to student. There are so many different options to choose from, both with languages on offer and cultural elements (literature, film, history, politics etc.). I’m specialising in linguistics this year, so much of my time is spent reading various theories in this field to prepare for my weekly essay. I still get to keep up my language work though, with weekly translation classes and target language cultural seminars in fourth year.

A highlight of my time at MMLL was definitely the Year Abroad. I spent half a year in Porto and the other half in Paris, interning at translation companies in both. Being able to travel, use your target languages and gain cultural experiences that you just cannot have in the UK is invaluable, not only for your linguistic and cultural development, but also your personal development. Next year, I am studying for a Master’s in Linguistics, which will hopefully lead to a PhD and then eventually an academic career.