International Students

Student profiles

Michalina from Poland student profile

Student Profile

About me

Name: Michalina
Course: Modern Languages and Linguistics BA
Study mode: Full time
Where I’m from: Poland

Choosing Newcastle

Newcastle University is ranked as one of the best in UK in regard to German, the main language I study so it was simply the best choice. It also offers less popular languages like Quechua, Italian and Portuguese – the last one being my dream since my journey to Portugal years ago. The award-winning Career Service and one of the highest employability rates in UK are definitely a massive advantage as well. Not unimportant was the city itself: as student-friendly as it only could be, easy to reach by train, bus or plane, vibrant and affordable.

Studying at Newcastle

My language modules are led by native speakers who not only teach us the language but also the culture of their countries and provide practical information about them which is very useful given the fact that we are going to live their during our Year Abroad. Other modules are taught by specialists who usually conduct a research on their own and are happy to enable us to contribute. Apart from that, University hosts professional meetings and conferences on the topics related to the course that give opportunities to meet experts and potential future employers. All of that makes the course amazingly valuable and helpful.

What I like best in my course is its diversity. One day I study prenatal brain development to understand how children acquire language, on the following I read about Portuguese conquest in the 16th century to write an essay on contemporary German artists on the third. There are no constraints, no things beyond our reach and if we find anything more interesting, we are encouraged to explore the topic and are equipped with tools to do it.

My favourite module has undoubtedly been Language Acquisitions which deals with how we learn language both as children and later. It is a challenging, cross-disciplinary problem, requiring critical thinking but bases on really fascinating experiments with newborns and children. What is more, we can use this knowledge to actually plan and conduct our own experiment at the last your of our degree. 

I believe Newcastle University has a great theory-practice ratio that equips students with technical and background knowledge as well as useful skills. I, for example, in regard to languages spend half of my time learning grammar, vocabulary, culture and history but the rest is devoted to practical issues like listening, speaking and writing. What in my opinion makes Newcastle University stand out is its huge focus on employability. Meetings with graduates and employers, sessions on careers and interviews, Career Service offering advice on career paths available straight after the graduation prepare me for my job without me even thinking about it. I feel confident about my future because I know my lecturers know what is in demand and do their best to make me the best possible employee.

Spending the third year abroad is compulsory for Language students and said to be a truly life-changing experience. People who come back and not the same as those who have left, they are more confident, more resourceful, have obviously near native language knowledge and rich experience so interesting for employers.

Clubs and societies

Societies have been a great way of adding a social side to my degree. Modern Languages Society has helped me get to know better people from my course and make some real friends for a lifetime. It organises themed social events, the best of which are the Halloween party and the end of year ball. On the other hand, I have joined Salsa Society having absolutely no experience in dance and over one year I have changed my two left feet to a pair of normal ones. If anyone had told me before I had come to the University that I am going to be a salsa dancer, I would not have believed but it has happened! This year I am a member of the Debating Society. We meet once a week to conduct a more or less formal discussion and then spend some time together in a relaxed atmosphere. I have met great people there and gained confidence in public speaking.

Funding my studies

University is the best place to finally take a grip of yourself and become fully responsible for your budget. You can track your bills and discover where the money go, how organised you are and how strong your will is. Moreover, you can estimate how you will deal with finances in the future when you have your own household and take some steps to prepare for that moment. My advice is to set an expense tracker notebook as soon as you come to the Uni. It may not sound as the most exciting thing to do but it allows you to develop skills that are going to be useful for the rest of your life (and avoid troubles like noticing you are broken in November). I have done it and now I am not scared of dealing with financial matters anymore.


University accommodation during my first year was probably the best choice I could have made. It was hassle-free, both me and my parents were confident with it, sure of security and safety. I stayed in Richardson Road, just 5 minute walk from the main University buildings and 10 from the city centre. It has been a great community of students, constantly willing to help and understand each other. There have always been someone to talk to. I have made there more friends than during the rest of my life!
This year I live with my friends in private-rented accommodation in a peaceful part of the city but not that far from the campus. We were prepared for a challenge while organising it but it proved to be rather easy and straightforward, all local landlords being used to students. There was no problem with arriving in the middle of a month or disappearing for Christmas.

Living in Newcastle

Newcastle is just what every student needs. It is buzzing with life, has some legendary clubs and pubs as well as a few lovely coffee- and teahouses for more peaceful meetings. The city is really safe so there is no problem with studying late in the library and going home alone. The campus is located just next to the city centre and most of the student accommodation are within walking distance but if you do not fancy walking or want to get somewhere else (by the seaside, for example?), there are buses and the metro. Personally I love Newcastle for its spectacular views of the river and the bridges.

Career aspirations

I am planning to become a professional translator. When I arrived at the University my idea was to learn one or two languages perfectly and I was sure it would be enough. University staff have shown me that there is a great number of additional skills I need to develop in order to achieve my goal and, what is more important, have given me opportunities to do it. Apart from practicing translation and interpreting as a part of my degree, I have become a Student Language Ambassador, written articles to the foreign language magazine ‘Gift of the Gab’ and made contact with past students who now work in translation companies. All that allows me to show my skills and my passion for languages and understand how the job market works. I am going to spend the next year, my Year Abroad, on a work placement and probably being a translator assistant. Such experience is irreplaceable.