Now in its third year, the Babbel Language Scholarship awards £2000 and a one-year Babbel subscription to one student who wants to explore language learning further. Each year, we’ve had to choose just one person who has languages at the heart of their studies.
In 2022, we chose Tom-Louis Flohrer, a student at the University of Glasgow, as the recipient of the scholarship in the United Kingdom. We asked Tom-Louis a few questions about his life and his goals to see how he’ll use the scholarship to dig deeper into language.
An Interview With Babbel’s 2022 UK Language Scholarship Winner
Would you introduce yourself to our readers in a few words?
Hi there! My name is Tom-Louis and I am a final year student at the University of Glasgow, reading Economics and Philosophy. Over the past four years, I had the pleasure to teach English in China, represent my university at global case competitions and collect valuable internship experience. Each of these experiences allowed me to develop as a global citizen.
At Babbel, we share a true passion for learning languages. What does learning a new language mean to you?
Being able to learn a new language allows me to connect with people from different parts of the world. With today’s technology, it is extremely easy to overcome language barriers by using online translators. However, not every expression can be translated into another language. There are several expressions that are specific to a language and mirror a nation’s cultural heritage. For instance, it is almost impossible to translate the Chinese word Yuán Fen into English. Language is therefore more than just a means of communication; it is also a means of extending and enriching our understanding of different cultures.
How many languages do you speak? What is your preferred method of learning?
In addition to speaking fluent German and English, I am also able to keep up with a conversation in French. Due to my visual learning style, I prefer reading in a foreign language and watching movies with subtitles. Yet, my best learning occurs when the knowledge I gain is actually applied. As a result, I prefer to surround myself with people who speak the language; this enables me to improve my language skills through speaking and listening. That is why I have joined several international student societies event over the past years. Additionally, I always welcome the chance to improve my language skills through language trips.
What motivated you to sign up to the Babbel Scholarship? How did you hear about it?
As we speak, I am just about to finish my undergraduate degree. There is no doubt that these years have been the best of my life so far. I believe it is important to invest your energy into the things you enjoy the most. Thus, my enthusiasm for academia led me to apply for master degrees at the start of my final year. The ones I find most interesting all happened to be in the United Kingdom, and I was lucky enough to receive offers from a few universities I really wanted to attend. British universities, however, charge high tuition fees in comparison to European institutes. Therefore, Babbel not only provided me with the perfect scholarship opportunity but also allowed me to participate in what I have always enjoyed: creative writing. On top of that, I am a huge fan of the Babbel App!
To apply for the Babbel Scholarship 2022, you wrote an essay about how speaking a new language has enriched your life. Of all the anecdotes you shared with us, which one do you find the most meaningful?
Great question. In my opinion, we tend to underestimate the benefits of learning a new language. As a result of learning a new language, there is a much larger community to engage with and learn from. As for me, it was the transition from a German community to a much broader and more tolerant English-speaking community. So, the key takeaway from my essay is that learning a new language enriches life in so many unique and different ways. This is why I argued that learning a new language may just be the best decisions you will ever make.
How do you foresee the use of different languages in your future career?
Ideally, I would like to work in an international setting. Thus, I am confident that foreign languages will play an important role in my future career. As a first point, I believe that speaking multiple languages will be an invaluable skill at the workplace, as it will allow me to communicate with a wider range of people. Furthermore, I believe that being able to read and write in multiple languages will be beneficial to me in my future career, as it will allow me to access a wider range of information and resources. Lastly, I think learning different languages will also make it easier for me to travel the world and work in a variety of countries in my future career.
How do you plan to use your prize fund?
Specifically, I intend to use Babbel’s generous prize money to contribute directly to my tuition fees for a Masters Degree, as I believe one should always invest in education. Thus, Babbel supports me greatly in obtaining my favourite master’s degree. What is more, I would also like to contribute a fraction of the prize fund to a language trip to France. That is why I cannot wait to begin my one-year subscription and finally become fluent in French.