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Meet your Modern Foreign Language PAL leaders

Settling into University can be daunting. Here are some quick tips from your PAL leaders on how you can begin to feel at home in both the Department and the University.

"Everyone feels outside of their comfort zone at some point in first year. But a few seconds of courage can go a long way. That can be signing up for a society, asking someone from your flat if they want to go out for a coffee, or asking a question when you don't understand something covered in class. As for the latter, PAL sessions are a great opportunity to do this. We have been where you are, so we understand, want to answer your queries and help you build your confidence."

Mollie, BA German and Spanish

"Speaking a foreign language can be terrifying but it’s also the best feeling. First year taught me that you can’t wait until you’re perfect to take a chance, and put yourself and your ideas out there. You can’t be bulletproof, but you can be courageous. Take full advantage of all the opportunities available to you at York!"

Maddie, BA German and Spanish

"First year can feel overwhelming and scary, but as Yale Professor Amy Chua once said: 'Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery.' Learning another language and opening yourself up to make mistakes is really brave. Work hard and have fun. You’ve got this!"

Ailsa, BA French and Spanish

"The first year of university can seem daunting no matter what subject you learn, but don't give up! Being able to communicate in other languages may be hard work but it's a special skill to have and opens up so many possibilities. As psycholinguist Frank Smith said: 'One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.'"

Sophie, BA French and Italian

"First year is such a uniquely daunting experience, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Do not worry if you feel overwhelmed at first - everybody does, after all, you are learning an entirely new way of thinking. Remember to enjoy yourself and surround yourself with good people, you’re going to have the best time!"

Melissa, BA French and Italian

"You might feel overwhelmed and out of your depth at the beginning of first year, but stick with it. Everyone’s in the same boat, so surround yourself with a good support network of friends. You’re all in it together."

Olivia, BA Spanish and Italian

"One of my favourite quotes comes from a friend responding to complaints of having the language ability of a toddler, with 'y’know a toddler’s only been learning for a couple of years too, and toddlers generally don’t have student loans or other distractions, their focus being largely on food and rampant destruction.'"

Amelia, BA Spanish and Italian

"First year is the time to ask questions, and the PAL sessions are the perfect place to do so. Throughout my first year the PAL sessions were a great place for me to seek guidance and reassurance regarding any concerns or queries I had about all aspects of university life. Make use of us, we’re happy to help!"

Orla, BA French and Italian

"Being a fresher can be daunting, but if you stay positive and be open to new opportunities, you will have the best time!"

Helena, BA Spanish and Italian

"First year can be very challenging, not only because of the transition from college to the university, but also being far away from your hometown. However, it is an amazing opportunity to rise up to new challenges that we, PAL leaders, are more than happy to help you with!"

Anita, BA Spanish and Linguistics

"First year is probably a big change to what you’re used to, but once you settle in you’ll feel right at home. Make the most of being a fresher, and do the work to set yourself up well for second year. It’s all a learning curve, and everyone goes through it, and we as PAL leaders can give you advice; we went through exactly the same thing this time last year!"

Harry, BA French and Spanish

"My best tip for first year is remember you’re not on your own - everyone is feeling stressed and unsettled but no one is showing it! Make the most of First year, it’ll pass in a flash!"

Lauren, BA Spanish and Linguistics