By Poddy Wilson @poddywilson
As for all modern language students, there comes a point in your degree where you have to wave goodbye for the dreaming spires for a year, and for me, that point is rapidly approaching.
For some students, who are, for instance, reading a Middle Eastern language, or are on an ab initio course, they usually fly the coop in the second year, but as a French sole student, my year abroad will take place in the third of my four years. Personally, this was a factor that I felt was important in deciding on my university course, as it has allowed me to spend the first two years with a really solidified friendship group, and then to have a break from studying before coming back to undertake the joys of my dissertation and finals…!
You’re given a serious amount of freedom in terms of deciding what it is you want to do on your year out, provided that you spend a minimum amount of time there. A large proportion of people choose to work as a language assistant in a foreign school, or to study at another university, whilst others look for a job or an internship. I was fortunate enough to be accepted onto a foundation year course at a drama school in Paris, beginning in October. Whilst I know that it’ll do my French speaking the world of good to learn to act in my second language, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly nervous!
Besides that, I am also a massive country bumpkin with very limited savvy or common sense! It’s fair to say I am a little intimidated about making the big move all by myself, and having to be an actual real-life grown-up for once, but actually I think it’ll do me good to get a flavour of the post-university world, before coming back to libraries and tutorials.
Largely though, I am feeling increasingly wistful as I now approach the end of my second year. I’m very conscious of the fact that, when I come back from France, my friends who are on 3-year courses will have already graduated and left. When they’re revising for the exams, and having all of their Last-Evers, I’ll be a Channel away, and won’t be able to share that with them. I know that I’ll be able to come back for my college’s ball, which will be this time next year, but it’s hard not to get wistful, being in the knowledge that this is the last time we’ll all be together as a group for a while. I’m making a big effort, in the last fortnight, to fill my diary with as many group activities as I possibly can. I’ll miss being in Oxford – who wouldn’t? – but the next phase of my life is just ahead, and I’m determined to be ready for it.