Modern and Medieval Languages (U15)
“Cambridge hasn’t changed me into someone I’m not — like I feared it might, but rather, at Churchill, it’s enabled me to become myself.”
Harry Ward (U15) is from Grimsby in Lincolnshire. Both his secondary school and sixth form (Humberston Academy & Franklin College) were non-selective and state-funded and he is the first generation of his family to go to University.
Harry is in the final year of his MML undergraduate degree at Churchill. He spent much of his third year abroad studying Spanish, where his interest in specialising in contemporary urban culture in Latin America took him from Mexico City to an internship in São Paulo.
Due to his family’s financial circumstances, the provision of bursary support from the College has played a crucial part in Harry’s ability to take up his place and thrive at Churchill. He receives a full Cambridge Bursary which helps with maintenance costs but the support he has also received to study abroad and develop his language skills has enabled him to access vital opportunities that would otherwise have been closed to him.
In the summer vacation of his second year, he was supported by travel grants from the College and the new Alison Finch & Andrew Webber Fund for Modern Languages to spend a month in Rio de Janeiro. He was also able to take up the opportunity of a 7-day study trip to Madrid in the Easter vacation which was made possible thanks to a grant of £300 from the Alison Finch & Andrew Webber Fund to cover the cost of transport to the airport, flights, insurance and accommodation. This was his first time in Spain and afterwards, he felt better prepared for his audio-visual exam as well as more confident for his year abroad. He is in no doubt about the importance of providing such support for MML students at Churchill:
“Receiving the funding meant a great deal – I wouldn’t have been able to carry out the trips without the funding I was awarded. Spending any length of time in a foreign country has its obvious benefits to MML students and, since Churchill welcomes such a great proportion of state-schooled students in comparison to other colleges, ensuring there is the funding for them to access this sort of opportunity is of particular value. The funding for travel that I’ve received has transformed my Cambridge experience in ways I’d ever imagined.”
Harry has also greatly valued the diversity of backgrounds in the student body at Churchill, which he feels results in a breakdown in prejudices that marks it out from other colleges; ‘I’ve been made to feel that my contribution here is legitimate and valued’ and he is clear about the solidarity and support that everyone shares at the College:
“Everybody helps and inspires each other to do their best, without there being an overly serious or intimidating atmosphere. This is great for everybody’s personal development and self-confidence. Being part of this community, amongst people I admire so much, is inspiring to me – and it has been this way since my first day. Cambridge hasn’t changed me into someone I’m not — like I feared it might, but rather, at Churchill, it’s enabled me to become myself.”
For Harry, the highlight of his time at Churchill thus far has been the people, who in his eyes make Churchill what it is and he feels; ‘proud and inspired to be part of this community’.
In his spare time, he enjoys exercising and relaxing with his friends because ‘it reminds me that you have to approach life in a light-hearted way’ and he is also a CAMbassador the admissions office at University outreach events. Looking ahead he would like to have a career in which he can continue to use his languages and having the opportunity to fly business class one day wouldn’t hurt either!