Literatures, Languages & Cultures

What’s it like to be a virtual language ambassador?

Recent French and Spanish MA (Hons) graduate, Anna, talks us through her final year experience.

Through an ambassador programme, language students at the University of Edinburgh are encouraged and supported to share their experiences with younger learners in local schools.

Photo of Anna
Anna graduated in 2021 with an MA Hons degree in French and Spanish

Recent French and Spanish MA (Hons) graduate, Anna, took the opportunity in the final year of her degree programme when she was studying remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answering a call for students to volunteer with Dunoon Grammar School on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll, Anna recorded videos about her pathway to and through studying languages, including what it was like to study at the Universitat Autonoma in Barcelona then work as an English Language Assistant in the French Alps on her Year Abroad.

Having wanted to build stronger connections with universities to show its young people the “amazing paths that languages can take them on”, the School then used the virtual resources to promote its course choices in French, German and Spanish.

Learning how to tell a story

Anna decided to volunteer for the project as she’d previously done some outreach work, in-person, and really enjoyed it.

“When I was at school”, she explains, “I wasn’t really sure what a language degree was like, especially the Year Abroad, and I know a lot of students often have many questions about going abroad. I hoped to be able to help as many students as I could, and encourage students to study what I think is the best subject in the world (languages!).”

“Completing the project in my fourth year gave me the opportunity to reflect on my studies as a whole, and in particular my Year Abroad. I was able to think about what went well, and less well, what I enjoyed most during my studies and what I would change or what advice I would give to students starting out on a similar journey.”

“I’ve learnt how to tell a story – and make it personal! My Year Abroad in particular was full of twists and turns, but I really wanted to make sure the students could relate to my degree experience, so it didn’t seem entirely alien to them. I wanted to communicate with the students on a personal level.”

The best thing is to take every opportunity that you can – you never know where it will take you!

Anna's advice to students starting out in language learning

Are you a language teacher seeking a student ambassador?

We work with primary and high schools to share our passion for languages with younger learners and spark their interest in higher education.

Email us about finding a language ambassador

Read about our students virtually bringing a German carnival to a local primary school

Are you interested in studying languages at LLC?

We offer one of the widest range of languages of any UK university, including all six official languages of the United Nations, and eight of the languages of the European Union. We also offer an extensive range of joint degrees, for example, two languages, or a language with another humanities subject. We are unique in Scotland in offering students a full academic year abroad within the four-year honours programme, regardless of whether you spend the year studying or working. Opportunities to build professional skills include the ambassador programme which involves outreach with schools and communities.

Find out more about undergraduate study at LLC

Related links

Alumni and futures - what previous students are doing with their degrees

Edinburgh Local - find out more about the University's work with schools and communities