I've started my applications to several CI schools, in English A and French B. Specifically, I am an English A, Korean B, and French C - but not all schools offer that combination so to some I've applied En-Kr-Fr, to others En-Fr.
I consider English to be my A language, since I feel most comfortable expressing my thoughts and logically organizing them in English, not Korean, although I was born in Korea. I lived in an English-speaking country for about 6 years, and am now completing a BA conducted entirely in English.
Today I received an e-mail from a UK university stating that they cannot accept my application since "I am not an English A", despite me having explained my A language situation in the statement of purpose. I clearly stated that due to personal circumstances I feel most competent in English as A language, and also attached several English proficiency exam results, including a 119/120 TOEFL iBT score. Also, A US university contacted me, and have switched my A and B - which is quite uncomfortable for me, but to which I complied thinking my application could otherwise be annulled like the previous one.
I guess from the universities' pov, it could seem like I'm imposing English as an A because Korean is just such an uncommon language combination - and I do understand that it's quite logical to deduce that one's 'native' language is one's A language. But I'm worried other universities will decline my application based on the same reason. I don't want to work with Korean as A, since, well, it's not my A language, and I won't be as competent! :(
I wonder if anyone else has had this issue in applying or working with their language combinations - their 'native' language not being their A language, and how they've dealt with it.
My background is similar to yours and I'll get to it in a bit. Firstly, from your post I get the feeling that you are not 100% convinced yourself that EN is indeed your A language. I'm not sure how you presented yourself to the university in question but if it's in the same tone as you present yourself here I'm not surprised they're not taking your word for it.
You use sentences such as "I consider English to be my A language," and "I feel most competent in English as A language." This, to me, sends a very clear message: you are not sure if your EN is strong enough to be your A. As the others mention, it could indeed be that the university doesn't believe your EN to be strong enough for CI. On the other hand, if English is your A language then you say, "English is my A language." Period. Full stop. No hunches or room for guessing. I learned this from a friend who's an interpreter at the UN and it's served me VERY well.
My A language is EN and I speak it at a native level (to me it is my native language) but by definition my mother tongue is PT (even if I used to speak it with an accent till not too long ago). It never even occurred to me to have PT as anything higher than a C but when I went in for my CI school tests the trainers kept questioning my combination. I explained my background and looked every one of them in the eye every time I affirmed that English is my A language.
Still, I must say I felt a little singled out during training anyway. I speak American EN and my trainers are from the UK so when they heard an unfamiliar expression they often questioned my EN. I had to sit there and explain, for example, that yes, Americans do say "take the cake," not "take the biscuit."
Best of luck!
answered 27 Nov '13, 09:12
At what age did you learn the language? Did you complete your secondary education in English? Who did/do you speak English with since your childhood?
Was your language level assessed by a professional conference interpreter?
answered 23 Nov '13, 08:10
From what I saw during my own experience... sometimes it's all about marketing.
It's not fair, because there are plenty of people who grew up speaking one language to their parents and English (or whatever) everywhere else, and the general public (and yes, sometimes even old-fashioned European interpreting program directors) hold strange views of acculturation and immigration (at least strange to this American*), and will refuse to believe a candidate when they insist on what their A language is, simply because of how things are presented.
On the other hand, there are cases where someone insists they are an Arabic A- because they spoke Arabic to their mother at home while attending schools in Paris their entire lives.
So are you presenting yourself to schools as a Korean who speaks a very high level of English and spent lots of time in the United States and watched Sesame Street as a kid? Or are you presenting yourself as an American whose parents are Korean and happens to have spent a lot of time in Korea growing up? Sometimes that can make all the difference, at least when it comes to their openness and willingness to let you sit a test.
Like Gaspar suggested in the comments, try to call them and ask for an interview in English over the phone, and think about how you sound selling your case.
*No one in my family has spoken anything but English in 2 generations, and more than once I still found myself having to explain to people that I am indeed an English A, despite a not-very-English last name. :/
answered 22 Feb '16, 06:42