I recently graduated from my University and I’m officially an engineer (Robotics and Automatic Control). Now I’m about to continue my education in this field for 3 more semesters. I can continue my studies in my native language (Polish) or I can choose to study in English.
Robotics is quite difficult and there’s a lot of technical jargon I need to be familiar with. After 7 semesters I can say I am familiar with it - but only in Polish.
Continuing my education in English would be a greater opportunity because my University provides interesting programs where you get to study and work with companies from automotive industry at the same time + then there are apprenticeships and potential international summer trips where I could work abroad and learn a lot.
The problem is that I’m completely unfamiliar with that technical/engineering jargon in English. All my classes would be in English, I’d need to communicate and study in English. I’d need to do my diploma in English.
I’m quite fluent in the language but I’m terrified by that jargon/engineering aspect of my studies.
I was told there will be some additional classes where I could work on my technical English but the thing is that I will have to be able to attend classes from day 1. I will be able to improve over a couple of weeks but I’m worried I will be helpless these initial weeks before I get to know more of the vocabulary. I was also told that teachers will be forgiving enough and even offer an explanation in Polish whenever possible but that’s just words. I can’t be sure how that’s going to play out. There’s a risk I will be the only one who’s behind the rest and I will constantly need to catch up or ask others for help.
I have to make the decision over this weekend and on Monday, I have to finally decide whether I’ll continue in Polish like the vast majority of the students or join the few who will continue in English.
I must admit I have no idea what to do. Studying in English would be a great opportunity but that would also be a great challenge. That’s both exciting and terrifying.
Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Learning technical vocabulary in a field you master and in a language in which you are fluent is actually rather easy, at least in my experience. Start now reading interesting things in your field: technical papers, good web sites about robotics, … and watching videos.
One interesting possibility is to go through one or several of the Coursera courses on robotics, they’re typically based on video lectures which also provide subtitles. Some of the courses must be followed in real time but for many there’s the possibility of watching all videos from a past edition: binge watch those, as if it were a TV series. You’ll get a lot of vocabulary in no time and maybe complete your education. There are also some in Spanish, which you may like watching later on.
Thank you for your advice and also thank you very much for these resources!
You’re welcome. In case you don’t find any available, interesting course in Coursera, you can try other online learning platforms: Udacity, MIT, …
So far I’m receiving a lot of encouragement from friends, especially from those at LingQ. That inspires me but the struggle is real…
Now just take a sit and imagine you 3, 4 years in the future, would you regret about to continue you course in polish?
Would you like to master in your area ? Because , you know, being an engineer is good, but an engineer fluent in english OMG, companies will beg to have you.
If I were you… I will no even thing about it, certainly continue the education in English.
Have a sense of humor.
I just got a list of classes I’d be attending if I were to continue in English and that’s terrifying. I’m wondering if just continuing in Polish and then doing some reading and studying in English on my own wouldn’t be the better option. I’d be sure I can manage the material that will be challenging no matter the language and I’d also gain vocabulary and technical knowledge in English, I’d just need to acquire it on my own in my spare time. I’d be giving up on potential apprenticeships and holiday programs that the University said would try to arrange for students who’d continue in English. I’d also miss on classes that would be lead by people from actual automotive industry and that’s a potential job in the future.
I feel my head’s about to explode, that may seem like a simple decision to make but for me it’s quite a problem.
In your position, I would certainly do it in English. You will gain much more in terms of job opportunities and there are probably other benefits. It probably won’t be as difficult as you think.
I have been living in Austria working also in a technical area (astrophysics). I have learned German while here, but all my work has always been in English. I read and write basically nothing in German, and although I do use the language at work, basically all work related activity is done in English. I have a few times needed to use German for work stuff. For example, I have a bachelors student and we speak only German. It is really not that difficult even though I have only limited experience with this stuff in German. I find it even quite fun to do and I wish I had more opportunity to work in German.
I hope you have been able to make the decision with a slightly easier mind. I am coming to this discussion too late for my comment to count in any way, but I have the feeling that, simply by posting here about the possibility of studies in English, you were trying to persuade yourself that it was the best thing for you. I wonder what you chose. Whatever it was, it will be all right in the end.
After considering all the facts, I decided to study in Polish and read some technical material on my own in English using LingQ.
I got into possession of some new information regarding continuing in English and it got much less attractive than I thought. The material I’d have to study would be more difficult than I expected + this apprenticeship program is a big MAYBE. It’s most likely to be a month or two in Germany during holidays. I’d have to pay for transportation and living there from my own money and for working there I’d be getting 10 euros a day… The Dean of the University was promising that they would try to get some extra funds to make this offer more appealing to students (last year nobody decided to go to Germany on these terms) but I’ve been studying here for almost 4 years now and I know that they usually don’t keep their promises
I think studying comfortably in Polish + doing something on my own where there is no stress and pressure is the best choice I could do in my situation. Plus, I think some people may find it more attractive (from the employer perspective) that I had the motivation to do something extra on my own rather just rely on school. I truly believe that doing my best in Polish + working on my technical English + learning Spanish at the same time will make me an attractive job candidate.
I also heard from people who employ people for the automotive industry that they lack candidates who already speak English. Not technical English, but just English One guy said that last time they were looking for new employees 120 people applied and only 3 or 4 were able to communicate in English at all… they hired some even though that wasn’t communicative enough because they needed new employers.
I’m feeling more than fine with my English right now. I can communicate quite easily so today I’m ahead of many people. The best thing is that I see my friends who study with me have no desire at all to improve their English. There was this meeting and like 10 people from the industry and each and every one of them telling us that they need people who speak English and if they don’t they won’t find a job and still my friends laughed and said that they’re just not good at English and so be it. I think that these numbers are accurate because I see that 90%+ of students have big difficulties with the language and there’s barely anybody who can hold a short chit-chat…
I feel really good about myself right now because with my current English level + my future plans I believe or, at the very least, hope I will be way more attractive to employers in 1,5 years when I will be looking for a job. Let’s add some basic Spanish to the mix and everything should be OK.
The only thing that bugs me is that all the people in the industry would be even more excited if I were talking German as it’s the dominating language next to English but I don’t feel like learning German. I used to study it at school and today I can barely remember some words and I just don’t like the language. I guess I’ll stick to what I like which is Spanish. I think it’s better to speak English and Spanish than just English anyway.