31 March 2013
The recently-elected President of the School of Modern Languages has stepped into The Interpreter’s virtual office to have an informal chat with us about the future of the School. Playing host to seven different departments, Modern Languages is a School with a lot of presidential competition, and also, a number of challenges. Conway is majoring in German & International Relations and comes from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He claims to love learning languages, cooking, debates, travelling, politics and socialising. Stefan’s fundamental point is that the School’s staff need to strengthen its connection with students, and in this interview he touches on key issues such as the year abroad, the importance of activities like the Modern Languages Football Cup and states that the best cuisine in the world is the Indian.
The Interpreter : In your experience as a Mod. Lang. student, what do you feel about your experience so far in the school?
SC : Generally speaking, I have had a positive experience with the School of Modern Languages, but I feel there’s a lot more that can be done, especially relating to organisation and communication between students and staff. As a very organised person myself, I at times find the disconnect between students and faculty infuriating.
TI : What was your main motivation to run for President of the School of Modern Languages and what are your fundamental proposals to improve it?
SC : As a student of both modern languages and IR, I feel I can bring a unique ability to promote a greater amount of inter-school collaboration, something I feel is severely lacking in most schools right now. Therefore, I propose a greater amount of both inter-language and inter-school activities, similar to that of language football. I believe there are a number of small changes that could be made throughout the school that would make an immense difference. Things like more detailed reading lists, especially from certain professors would very alleviate a lot of confusion around our assigned work.
TI : I imagine this Department is one of the hardest to be President, considering that it hosts 7 different subjects, with different needs and problems. Do you see this as a challenge?
SC : I feel that running a school with so many departments will inevitably be a challenge, but I feel it offers the greatest amount to work with.
TI: What do you think of the Year Abroad programs of this University? Are there some improvements to be made?
SC : In general, I feel St Andrews has a really great study abroad programme, but I think there’s a lot that can be done to improve it. I would love to broaden access to a larger number of university places in a more diverse range of locations. As someone who spent time at a German Gymnasium, I really cherished the ability to learn alongside native speakers, something I feel lacks from work placement.
TI : In a globalized world like ours, where it is highly unlikely one will ever be absolutely unable to communicate with others, what value do you see in studying a second language?
SC : As someone who loves travelling, I view learning foreign languages as a way to better understand the cultural subtleties in a given society and really believe that better we can communicate, the better we can understand one another and get along.
Favourite place in the world? Vienna
Language you would love to learn? Hungarian
Hardest language to learn? Chinese
Best cuisine in the world? Indian
What one item would you take to a desert island? Coffee