My stay in France was a great experience—not only did it do wonders for my level of spoken French, but I also gained work experience which I hope will benefit me when searching for a job after university.
Alasdair Macdonald, from Crossford, Fife fitted in a lot during his four years at University and achieved a first class honours in Psychology and French.
The 22-year-old took a year out after his second year to work in a vocational French High School as an English Language Assistant. This was arranged through the University and the British Council scheme.
'My stay in France was a great experience – not only did it do wonders for my level of spoken French, but I also gained work experience which I hope will benefit me when searching for a job after university. The challenges of living and working in a new country, not to mention teaching in front of a class of teenagers, greatly improved my confidence'.
Following the recommendation of the University’s French department, Alasdair successfully applied for a Carnegie Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship- a scheme intended for Scottish students undertaking an undergraduate degree course at a Scottish university, who have shown exceptional merit at university, and who would like to devote time to conduct independent research of direct benefit to their academic work.
'I received funding for a three-week research project examining the evolving representations of the Occupation portrayed in French cinema during the post-war period. Roughly two weeks of the project were spent in Paris, where I was able to conduct research at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Cinémathèque Française, as well as the specialised archives of the Institut d'histoire du temps present'.
'The scholarship gave me a great insight into the challenges of academic research projects, and the materials collected formed the basis of my dissertation topic during my final year'.
Alasdair also spent eight months volunteering with a local mental health charity- Action in Mind. He befriended a young person who was dealing with mental health concerns and helped run a weekly peer-support session for adults from the local area.
'Volunteering gave me the chance to further the theoretical knowledge obtained from psychology lectures and gain practical knowledge by getting to know people with mental health issues and stigma'.
Alasdair sums up his time at Stirling as: ‘Informative, enjoyable, and motivating.’
Dr Cristina Johnston, Deputy Head of Literature and Languages, said: 'Alasdair is a very talented linguist and I’ve been delighted to see him succeed on so many fronts during his time at Stirling'.
'To be awarded a Carnegie Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship while still in second year is an incredible achievement and this year Alasdair has also won our Translation Prize, our Research Prize for his dissertation, and the Simone de Beauvoir Prize which we award to the best performance from a final year student in French. We wish him every success in the future!'