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Hi!

This is my first time posting on here!

I am really glad I have found this forum because I am racking my brains trying to think of the "best" solution. I know that I need to make a decision by myself but I would really appreciate it if I could obtain some advice from people who are also or have also been in my position.

My A language is Spanish and I would like to have German as my B language and English as my C language. I really would like to take a master's degree in CI in either Germany or in Austria. My main options are:

  • Köln
  • Heidelberg
  • Graz

If I'm not mistaken, it would be only possible in Heidelberg to choose Spanish as my A language, whereas in Köln and Graz it would have to be my B language and German my A one. They only require you to have a C2 level and to pass their entrance exam.

I would like to know if any non-native German speaker on the forum has successfully taken the master's degree in CI at any German university where German had to be the A language.

As already mentioned, I do have Heidelberg as an option, where I could choose Spanish as my A language, however I want to know if anyone has already had a similar experience.

Thanks!

Navik

asked 31 Mar, 06:58

Navik's gravatar image

Navik
1114


whereas in Köln and Graz it would have to be my B language and German my A one. They only require you to have a C2 level and to pass their entrance exam.

That's enough of a reason to cross those two training institutions off your list. Studying a language combination that isn't yours would make no sense: Omitting that your A language needs just as much of work and improvement as your other languages would be a recipe for disaster.

Finally, the reason why Heidelberg's curriculum doesn't seem all too convincing to me: there seem to be little hours devoted to C->A training, the focus being primarily on A<>B. Being part of the German higher education, they don't have set years and timed curricula per se, but semester exams, which you can take at will. And several times. Overall, everyone seems to graduate one day, and therefore, the diploma might not have the same value as the ones of more selective courses. Also, in my experience, the 2-3 years the foreign students spend abroad has a huge toll on their A language.

I think it might make more sense to go live in Germany to improve your German, but do one thing at the time, hence not study conference interpreting there. Once you have met the required language proficiency, you could consider this EMCI course.

All that, assuming that you have already made sure that ES<>DE would offer you actual employment opportunities.

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answered 04 Apr, 05:24

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦
7.6k141829

edited 04 Apr, 05:34

Hi!

Thanks for your reply, Gaspar!

I also believe that my A language should be my native language, Spanish, and I should just cross any programme off that doesn't give me the chance to have Spanish as my A language. I just wanted to ask because I sent an email to the university of Köln and they told me they had already had students whose mother tongue wasn't German, however, I was a bit taken aback at their response. Although they assured I would have to strive to pass the exams, specially C-A (Interpreting from English into German), it seemed to me that it shouldn't be too complicated.

Regarding the programme offered at the university of La Laguna, I believe it's a really good programme, however, it's way too expensive. I mean, comparing the prices I would have to pay at Heidelberg or Köln, La Laguna would be too much. Obviously the price might also be higher because it's a better programme, however, I still would like to study in Germany. I'm also considering Mainz as an option, where I could choose Spanish as my A language.

On a side note, I really forgot to mention that I also have another language that I would like to add as a C language, which would be Finnish. I have been learning this language for a few years now, however I'm a bit lost on how to add it as a C language. I mean, spending some time in Finland would be the best option, but I also need to align everything with my current partner. Any tips on how to add such languages? I guess I should probably ask this question in a separate thread, though.

(06 Apr, 10:45) Navik
1

Regarding the programme offered at the university of La Laguna, I believe it's a really good programme, however, it's way too expensive. I mean, comparing the prices I would have to pay at Heidelberg or Köln, La Laguna would be too much.

Considering that those courses last at least two years (but foreign students tend to linger around for 3-4 before obtaining their diploma), it means you'll have to pay rent there for a longer period of time than on the La Laguna course.

Between the costs of living and the additional Semestergebühren for the additional time required outside the Regelstudienzeit, you might find that La Laguna is actually less expensive.

Also, a comparison between two courses that most likely won't allow you to become a conference interpreter at the end of the day, and one that will give you a shot at it, is one you shouldn't make.

You'll not only lose money, but precious years of your life, pursuing an out of reach goal because of the limitations you'll have chosen to burden yourself with.

Re. language addition, there have been several threads about the topic already on this site. Dig around a bit, most advice is generic.

(06 Apr, 13:54) Gaspar ♦♦

Hi!

Thanks! I see your point and it makes sense.

In my last year in university I remember that most of my teachers told us that one shouldn't just jump right away into a master's degree in conference interpreting after finishing a bachelor's degree. I can see that this piece of advice has already been often given on this site.

My question would be then: How crazy would be to do a bachelor's degree in the country of my B language, in order to improve my current level?

I mean, I'm not talking about choosing a random bachelor's degree, I would do something related to languages or even translation, however, having already done a bachelor's degree in translation and interpreting, I find the idea a bit "repetitive". Nonetheless, it's true that it might also give me the chance to even add another language, such as French, which I currently speak at a B2 level. I obviously know this is not enough to use it as a working language, but perhaps I could use the new bachelor's degree to improve it and I think ES (A), EN (C) DE (C), FR (C), FI (C) or ES (A), DE (B), EN (C), FR (C), FI (C) wouldn't be such a bad combination after all.

I have always wanted to live in Germany, and I know I must spend some time there in order to improve my German level, but I also need to get to know and understand the culture better.

*A-C-C-C-C would be especially useful in the European Institutions as far as I know, whereas A-B-C-C-C would be better for the private market.

(07 Apr, 10:01) Navik

My question would be then: How crazy would be to do a bachelor's degree in the country of my B language, in order to improve my current level?

Doing a B.A. in economy, political science, law or international relations would make sense. It'd strengthen your German even as a mere C language.

*A-C-C-C-C would be especially useful in the European Institutions as far as I know, whereas A-B-C-C-C would be better for the private market.

I'm not sure whether ES<>DE has any potential at all on the private market, and if so, in which region. You should research that very carefully. Universities are spouting out graduates with combinations that lead straight to unemployment. Those who do their market research ahead of time avoid the subsequent huge disappointment of only finding out their combination is useless once it's too late to work on it.

(07 Apr, 15:16) Gaspar ♦♦
1

I teach at Heidelberg, albeit not on the ES Department, and I feel there are some misconceptions as to how the course works.

The CI MA at Heidelberg in some aspects exists in a little bubble of autonomy within the university. At HD, courses are taught by combination, direction, and mode. That means that with ES A, DE B and EN C you'll have twice as many classes in ES-DE as you have in EN>ES, simply because you're not taking ES>EN classes, which you would be taking were EN your B. (That said, we don't offer ES>EN, anyway.) There are 90 minutes of supervised instruction per week per mode, direction and combination (so 6 hrs for ES<>DE, and 3 for EN>ES). As for all CI courses, you're expected to practice extensively outside class. It is true that you have some leeway as to when you sit your semester exams, and we will sometimes even discourage students from sitting the exam if we don't feel they are ready but trust they will be six months down the line. This however means you will have to resit the entire module the following semester. You have to pass the respective exam in the earlier semester to be admitted onto the subsequent module. You have to sit all of your final exams at the very end of the degree in the same session, so you wouldn't be able to take your ES<>DE exams first, and ES>EN half a year later.

You can resit any exam once. Failing the same module twice means you're failing the degree. Obviously, overall numbers vary. Earlier this year we graduated three people with EN/DE as their A or B languages. When they started, there were about 20 students in the cohort. Generally, we have an intake of around 18-20 students per year, out of which around 10 graduate.

There are pros and cons to both Heidelberg or La Laguna. Getting in touch with the respective course coordinators can help you identify the course that works for you. For ES in HD, that person would be Christina Moser.

(28 May, 07:31) Felix_Chechien
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question asked: 31 Mar, 06:58

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last updated: 28 May, 07:31

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