University of Oxford

Doing languages at Oxford is probably the most fun degree you can do. You will never be bored. The amazing books I read made me understand much better why people act the way they act and why they think what they think. It allowed me to look at history and the present in complex ways. Understanding literature and talking about it isn’t easy. But the training you’ll get will make you formulate your thoughts and force you to argue with someone who is not only intimidatingly intelligent but who is also probably the leading expert in the field. It sounds scary. But they will take you seriously and it will encourage you to think critically about everything you ever read. That skill will stay with you for life. You will also end up fluent in whatever language you chose. And learning languages is absolutely essential. Tolstoy’s War and Peace can never be as great in translation. But it is very practical, too. I currently work as a broadcast journalist at Russia Today TV in Moscow. Of course I use my Russian every day. But German, as well, I use on a regular basis. For example when the German Chancellor came to St Petersburg I was asked to simultaneously translate her speech live on air. Without the long hours of translation classes I could never have done it.

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