My Experience with Surrey’s GGA Program

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language but felt stuck with online platforms? As a student from a small city in Pakistan, I was drawn to languages like Spanish, Turkish and maybe even a bit of French (thanks to a friend who made it sound so cool) but let’s just say my enthusiasm fizzled out faster than a deflated balloon at a birthday party. Then, I stumbled upon something that changed the game—the Global Graduate Awards (GGA) program at the University of Surrey.

Run by the School of Literature and Languages, the GGA program offers students a chance to learn new languages while also exploring their cultural backgrounds. From Arabic to Chinese Mandarin, the options are as varied as a buffet spread at a wedding.

Not only was I curious about the language itself, but I also saw it as a golden ticket to unlocking the secrets of food science and nutrition in Germany—a country known for its wursts and pretzels. As I envisioned myself navigating the bustling streets of Berlin, conversing fluently with locals and immersing myself in the vibrant culinary scene, German seemed like the perfect fit.

Now, here’s where the fun begins. Instead of easing my way in with a stage 1 module like a sensible person, I decided to dive headfirst into stage 2. Needless to say, chaos ensued. And let me tell you, it was a bit like trying to swim in the deep end of a pool without knowing how to doggy paddle. Suffice it to say, I was in over my head.

Picture this: we’re discussing our university accommodations and apartment mates, and the tutor turns to me and asks about my living situation. Now, here’s the thing—I’m living in a single apartment, so I don’t have any roommates. Simple, right? Well, not exactly.

In my eagerness to respond in German, I blurted out, “Ich habe kleine Mitbewohner” instead of the intended “Ich habe keine Mitbewohner.” Translation? I accidentally told my class that I have small roommates instead of saying I have no roommates at all! Talk about lost in translation!

But hey, where there’s struggle, there’s also growth, right? With the help of some patient tutors and a healthy dose of trial and error, I slowly but surely started to make progress. Sure, I may have butchered a few phrases along the way (sorry, German speakers), but every mistake was a lesson learned.

What truly sets the GGA program apart is its accessibility to all students, regardless of background or experience. With no financial barriers to entry, the program opens its doors wide to aspiring linguists from all walks of life, fostering an environment of inclusivity and diversity that is truly commendable.

Looking back on my GGA adventure, I can’t help but smile at how far I’ve come. From struggling to string together a sentence to actually having conversations with native speakers, it’s been a wild ride full of ups and downs.

So, if you’re like me—a student with big dreams and a thirst for adventure—I urge you to give Surrey’s GGA program a shot. Who knows, you might just discover a whole new world of language and culture waiting for you on the other side. And if you’re worried about making mistakes or embarrassing yourself in language class, don’t be! Embrace the learning process, laugh at your blunders, and remember that even small slip-ups can lead to big laughs and unforgettable memories.