Portuguese (Beginners): Sascha Stollhans
Sascha, from Germany, studied Beginners' Portuguese at the University Language Centre (ULC).
Why did you choose to study a language at The University of Manchester?
I'm a PhD student and Teaching Assistant in Linguistics, and I work on Germanic and Romance languages. Therefore, I've always had a natural passion for languages, and I've wanted to learn Portuguese for quite a while.
Studying Portuguese is helping me with my PhD project, and it's great to get to know a different culture. It's not only a fantastic hobby to have, but also a useful and invaluable skill to acquire.
Apart from class time, how much time did you spend a week on your studies?
It was a demanding course, and I definitely had to put work in. However, my tutor always made sure that we could meet the demands of the course, and that we had enough time in class to revise and practise. On average, I probably spent about two to three hours a week on my studies outside of class time.
How did you find your course in terms of level?
It was a beginners' course with a great level of progression - we made good progress every week, while not being stretched too thinly.
What did you most enjoy about your course?
I enjoyed meeting lots of people from different backgrounds who all had an interest in studying Portuguese. The atmosphere in class was fantastic - it was good fun, and it was great to see how much progress we were making.
Being a language teacher myself, I must admit that I tend to be rather critical of other language teachers - our tutor was outstanding though. He used a variety of interactive teaching methods and always made sure everyone felt at ease, while being challenged at the same time.
Have you been able to put your newly acquired language skills to use outside the classroom?
Yes, our tutor was always happy to recommend Brazilian and Portuguese music, and we even read a short novel in Portuguese.
What advice would you give to someone intending to study a language at the University Language Centre?
Just do it.
The Language Centre offers a great range of European and non-European languages. The classes are taught by expert teachers who are passionate about their subjects, and it's amazing to see how much you can learn within a short period of time.
Try to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible, by listening to music or reading books in the language you're studying. It doesn't matter if your goal is to become fluent, to learn something about a different culture, to meet new people, or to improve your understanding of language in general - learning a new language is always going to be worth it. It's a great skill to have and it will look good on your CV as well.