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Sign up for Trinity’s Languages, Power and Cultures Programme

More than 70% of Year 12 students who participated in Trinity’s Languages, Power and Cultures Programme 2023 and applied to Cambridge, have received offers.

These students, from state schools, have received offers for subjects including History, Classics, English and Anglo Saxon Norse and Celtic. Outreach Coordinator, Amber Silk said:

This is a great outcome and we’re really proud of the programme. We encourage interested students in year 12 or equivalent to take the opportunity and sign up for this free programme by 3 March.

The Languages, Power and Cultures Programme features online interactive lectures, a careers panel with alumni and a residential at Trinity College (travel and food expenses covered.)

Lara, a student at Cirencester College, who took part in the programme last year, and now has an offer to study Anglo Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Trinity, explains what she thought of the experience.

Lara in the Wren Library during the Languages, Power and Cultures Programme.

Was the programme what you expected?

It was completely different to what I expected as I felt the online lectures were really interactive and I felt like I could contribute to the discussion which made it more engaging. Visiting the Classics Faculty during the in-person visit only emphasised that aspect, as I was able to meet other like-minded students and we could bring our ideas together for fun, meaningful discussions in the sessions.

What did you feel like you gained from the programme and from studying the topic of Languages and Power? 

Ultimately, it developed a lot of my own thoughts which I felt more confident in bringing forward into my current A-level studies and also demystified what Cambridge is like as I realised I felt comfortable in the academic environment.

The academics and outreach staff were really encouraging, suggesting ways I could pursue the topic further through wider reading, which I could incorporate into the programme’s essay competition afterwards, and also giving me the confidence to apply to Trinity.

Why did you sign up in the first place?

I was inspired to sign up as it gave me the opportunity to not only expand my knowledge around my own subject areas at A-level but also the areas I wish to pursue at university, while also giving me the opportunity to experience a little bit of what teaching is like at Cambridge.

Trinity’s Amber Silk said the College had created the Languages, Power and Cultures Programme to engage prospective students with what it would mean to study languages. The initiative is intended particularly for those underrepresented at Cambridge and those with limited knowledge of university study.

She said:

Exploring your subject interests beyond school is one of the best ways to prepare for studying at university and for applying to Cambridge.

We know that students with fewer specialist language teachers in their school face increased barriers when considering further language study, so we wanted to provide an experience of real university learning.

At Cambridge, language study can involve analysis of artwork, film and texts, and exploration of history, politics and culture, beyond learning vocabulary.

Emma Widdis, Professor of Slavonic Studies, whose specialisms include Russian film, is one of Trinity’s academics teaching on the programme. She said:

Students can apply for degrees involving languages at Cambridge with no prior knowledge of a particular language – what you need is an interest in the world, and in culture, and an aptitude for learning.

Languages, Power and Cultures participants will, for example, study the ways in which Russian poets responded to the revolution in 1917; they will also think about how totalitarian societies try to control language and culture as a way of controlling people.

The focus on understanding and operating in different societies makes Cambridge language graduates highly employable, according to Professor Widdis. Her students have become diplomats in the Foreign Office, management consultants, filmmakers, lawyers, human rights advocates and journalists.

Trinity alumnus Edward Cunningham said Cambridge’s Modern and Medieval Languages course equipped him for a career in management consultancy.

Language is everywhere. With Modern and Medieval Languages you can study texts, tales and histories in French, Spanish, or Portuguese for example, but there’s so much more to it than that – there’s more than just Languages.

Get beneath the surface and you find a whole range of styles and vocabularies that split the words you would use with a teacher to those you might use with a friend.

Recognising, adapting to, and enjoying those nuances has so far made all the difference in business for me, too. Precise yet agile communication are of paramount importance day-to-day at McKinsey.

Find out more about the Languages, Power and Cultures Programme and sign up by Sunday 3 March. The programme is free and covers travel and food expenses.

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