Foreign Languages Centre

Jack TwomeyA student's view

Jack Twomey completed his MSc in Modern Applications of Mathematics 2016/17. 

Why did you decide to study Japanese/Chinese?

When I was a young child, my family would often welcome foreign students to our house to experience a home stay and to attend a nearby language school. Although we had students from many different countries, the majority were from Japan and would often want to spend time with the (at the time!) cute little boy of the household. Because of this, I developed a then subconscious appreciation of Japanese people and their culture, and as I grew up I became interested in Japanese food, history and culture. When I visited the University of Bath for an open day, it was mentioned that classes were offered in Japanese, and this prompted me to begin self-studying Japanese as preparation for these classes - and since then I have never stopped!

Whilst at university, I met and made friends with many Chinese students who taught me so much about the rich culture of China, to the point where I couldn't resist attempting to learn Chinese for myself! Although Chinese has a reputation for being very difficult, I used my experiences with Japanese as motivation, and began self-studying (with the help of some of my friends!). After a few months, I enrolled in a Chinese class, and this challenged me to work harder and exposed me to many new areas of the language.

Why did you choose to study at the university of Bath?

Having the free language classes available to students was a big factor for me choosing to study at Bath. Although I had been self-studying Japanese to begin with, I knew that having a qualified teacher and access to the many resources here could only benefit my progress.

What do you like most about your language course?

When you are taking classes, it becomes much easier to ask specific questions and have someone qualified to teach you the more difficult areas. It's also great to meet other students who are learning the same language as you.

Why has learning Japanese/Chinese been useful to you?

Although it wasn't the intention, learning languages has helped me to be much more employable and gives me something to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. However, personally the greatest benefit I've found is all the friendships and experiences I've had as a result of being able to speak other languages. My experiences travelling have definitely been enriched by being able to use the local language, and soon I will even be moving to live in Tokyo!

What has been your highest achievement in your language studies?

Whenever I have a conversation in Japanese or Chinese with a native speaker, I feel a great sense of achievement. Although I've taken exams and achieved qualifications, for me the biggest motivation and the biggest successes are felt every time I'm able to use a language that I've worked hard to learn.