John Moran Educational - Trust Making financial awards to support the entry into higher education
 
Student Profiles

The Trust has made awards to over forty two deserving students from the Merseyside region since it was set up in 2003. Here’s more about what these students did with their awards, and what it meant to them:

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Profile fifteen 

I’m an 18 year old student from Liverpool and I live at home with my mum. I’ve just finished sixth-form at Holy Family Catholic High School where I studied English, Psychology and Spanish for my A levels and managed to gain the grades AAB, which means I have been accepted for my Spanish and Italian course at the University of Manchester, which I’m very excited about! I love learning languages because I find new places and other cultures really interesting. I also enjoy foreign films, rock music, socialising with friends and the martial art Tae Kwon Do. I can’t wait to get to Manchester and live on my own, meet new people, have new experiences, and improve my fluency in Spanish as well as starting a brand new language in Italian.  I’m even looking forward to the year abroad. This money will make all the difference to my university life, especially as I am moving into halls which is an extra expense.   I know that money will be tight even though I plan on working, but I wouldn’t want to miss out on such an important part of my education and my life in general.

I'm now at the end of my first year of university, and glad to say I've finished all my exams and I am just awaiting the results in the summer. Looking back over the year I believe it has been one of the best in my life.  There have been so many great firsts; starting university, learning Italian, living away from home, and meeting new friends, to name but a few. I have to say that my award from the John Moran Educational Trust has helped so much in easing my way into university life. It went towards my accommodation in halls of residence, and meant that I had to worry about working less this year, and could focus on the experience and my studies. I'm already looking forward to next year when I will be living in a student house. I should also be able to pick more of my modules. I plan to take up Portuguese.

I'd like to say again, how thankful I am to have received the award this year. I know my first year would have been a lot harder and less enjoyable without it.

I found that going back to Manchester to begin my second year was a much more comfortable and relaxing experience than the nerve-wracking days before starting university in the first year, when everything was so new to me. I now had a group of friends there, a sense of how classes and lectures worked, and I knew exactly where I would be living; in a basic house with a few friends and one friend of a friend. Everything definitely seemed familiar and I was very happy to be going back for a fresh new year. 

My second year was less intense than my first year; less  nights out and more nights in with friends or time for study. I also started working in Yates' as bar staff to earn some extra cash to keep things afloat, but after 6 months of work I decided to quit during the second semester as it was demanding and I needed more time to study and relax, although I had to tighten the purse-strings. I was excited to be able to pick many of the modules I took this year; it meant that I could choose things I enjoyed in the first year or new things I had no prior knowledge of but was interested to learn. Of course, I still had to take my core language modules in Spanish and Italian, but in addition I was able to take up a new language in Portuguese and to study Sociolinguistics, Translation and take a TESOL module, instead of the Culture or Literature options. In my last year I plan to take many of the follow-up modules to these. I spent lots of my time looking for work placements abroad for my third year, as I had decided I'd like to gain some work experience rather than attend a foreign university. I also decided to divide the year almost equally between Spain and Italy. Eventually, I found two placements which I'm very excited to embark upon next year - although the idea of living and working abroad is daunting, it will surely be one of the best experiences of my life. I'm going to start my placement as a teacher in a language school in Madrid in September and live there for 4 months before returning home for Christmas.  I will then be starting my second placement as an administrator in a manufacturing firm in Milan and living there for the next 5 months. I can't wait! If I was to give anybody in my position a piece of advice, then I would emphasise how important it is to start looking and applying for placements as soon as possible, and en masse, because it's not easy at all to find somewhere that will offer you a position.

In the third year of my course it was compulsory to spend most of the year abroad. We were given the option to either spend the whole year in one country where they speak one of our chosen languages or to split the year between two countries where they speak both of them. I chose the latter, as I thought it was important to develop my confidence and language skills in both languages rather than just one of them and I also liked the idea of exploring both Spain and Italy further. I was next presented with the decision of whether to attend a university whilst abroad or find a work placement. I thought that although I would undoubtedly have fun attending a university, I would rather gain some work experience during this year, which might better prepare me for my future career. Therefore my final plan was to work as an English teacher at a language academy in Madrid for the first 4 months and to work as an intern at a chemical factory in Lombardy for the second 4 months.

Looking back upon the year as a whole I think it has been an invaluable experience; I've learnt various new skills and even how to behave in a professional environment. This is not to mention of course that there is a notable difference between my level and fluency in both languages now compared with beforehand; I can now confidently discuss any given topic and even laugh and joke with native speakers. I find that words and expressions come to mind with great ease now.

Spain and Italy have been two very different experiences for me. In Spain I taught 40 hours a week and had an unusual timetable which involved a 3 hour lunch break. The combination of this, the fact that the work was in English and the little pay I received was quite disheartening. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekends when I could take advantage of all the delights of the city... socialising, going to parks, markets, the cinema, etc. Madrid is one of the best cities I have ever visited and I'm still in touch with some of the people I met there. In contrast I only worked 30 hours a week in Italy, received decent pay and used my Italian, so I was much happier with my work situation. The work involved filing, shredding paper, translating documents, updating presentations; a mix of things. However, I was living in a remote place so it was only possible to travel and visit somewhere with a bit more going on a couple of times. I managed to see Milan, Bergamo and Florence; which were beautiful.

The final year of my degree began after returning from my year abroad, so my language skills were much improved and after a year of work I came back to my studies with fresh enthusiasm, which certainly came in handy due to the newly increased workload! This year I've had a lot on my plate and I've worked hard. There's still been fun and socialising but less frequently than before. This year I decided to take part in an extra optional module which involved reading and listening to Spanish short stories in audio-book format and discussing them each week. Ultimately we wrote and recorded our own Spanish audio books and the best ones were later selected to be a part of a University of Manchester publication, in which mine was included.

On results day I was delighted to receive Upper Second Class Honours in my BA in Modern Languages: Italian and Spanish, feeling that all my hard work had paid off. Graduation was a proud day for all of us. It was lovely seeing my course mates in their caps and gowns and being presented with my degree in front of my family and friends. Going to university has been the best experience of my life and I feel it has enhanced my future career prospects. Next year I am beginning a Masters in Translation which is the area I have most excelled in and enjoyed during the course of my degree.

I cannot thank the John Moran Trust enough for all their financial aid. I feel that my training and education over the last few years has widened my interests and benefitted my future immensely.