Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge

Scott is a first-year MML Undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge. He comes from a Northern working class background and is interested specifically in the exploration of the gender dichotomy. In his spare time Scott enjoys going to the gym to take part in Olympic weightlifting and when at home walking his two dogs, Odin and Caesar.

1. What is your course and where do you study it?

I study MML (Spanish and Ab Initio Russian) at Trinity College, Cambridge

2. What does your course entail?

There are two sides to the MML course: the language and the cultural side. The amount of language work in the first year depends on whether you study from ab initio, in which case you have more contact hours per week (eg. for Russian I have 5-6, but for Spanish only 2-3). For the cultural Scheduled papers, there's not much choice for papers in first year, so instead they'll be introductory to a lot of different topics. For Spanish, that means different time periods and parts of the world (mostly literature but also some film); for Russian, the course covers a large period of history/literature/art/film so that you can discover what interests you most. Outside of the ideal expectation of being able to visit your respective countries during the holidays, there is the year abroad, where you can study or work in your chosen country; the Russian department also usually helps organise a 3-week language trip to St Petersburg after the first year.

3. What is your favourite part of the course?

My favourite part of the course has so far been being able to explore my interests in Gender in society in not only different time periods, but hugely different cultures. Following on from this, the way the course has been designed, to make you critically engage with all types of sources (novels, paintings, film etc), has allowed me to begin thinking about the topic in ways I may not have even considered enjoyable before, which for me has been through analysing paintings and film, both which I have found I really like.

4. What would you improve about the course?

The number one thing I wish had been made painstakingly clear to me before I arrived at Cambridge is just how intense (first term) ab-initio Russian would be (all ab-initio languages are intense, but Russian particularly so). Whilst I often thought it unnecessarily tough, it is done with the goal of helping you begin to engage with the texts in the original language as soon as possible, and staff are aware of its difficulty and are sympathetic to you. And after Michaelmas, my experience has become exponentially better, and I am really enjoying the course and look forward to future paper choices.

5. What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I currently have no idea what I'd like to do once I graduate but know I would like for it to directly relate to travelling and learning about new cultures.