Long Language Courses

#1
Does anyone know anything about these? Maybe been on one?

The rough gen I have is that they are 15 month courses at Beaconsfield, followed by a tour as an interpreter (so plan on 2 years out of std cap badge activites).

Thing is, 15 months sounds a bit hard core - I get the impression they expect you to live in and study etc.

I am really fishing for more info before I make any more moves.
 
#2
django_strikes said:
Does anyone know anything about these? Maybe been on one?

The rough gen I have is that they are 15 month courses at Beaconsfield, followed by a tour as an interpreter (so plan on 2 years out of std cap badge activites).

Thing is, 15 months sounds a bit hard core - I get the impression they expect you to live in and study etc.

I am really fishing for more info before I make any more moves.
pm inbound
 
#5
django_strikes said:
Does anyone know anything about these? Maybe been on one?

The rough gen I have is that they are 15 month courses at Beaconsfield, followed by a tour as an interpreter (so plan on 2 years out of std cap badge activites).

Thing is, 15 months sounds a bit hard core - I get the impression they expect you to live in and study etc.

I am really fishing for more info before I make any more moves.
a bit hardcore cos they expect you to study? the bastards.

actually it's all changed with modern technology. because of the demands of modern military students' outside lives, you will now find yourself effortlessly "sleep-learning" - they give you vocab tracks to download to your MP3 player and you play them on speakers in an endless loop whilst you sleep.

saves all that pesky "studying" ;)
 
#6
Yeo-Man, I think I know the guy you're alluding to.

Hmm.... yes and no. The first five months ( ish ) are pretty painful as you struggle to adapt to the intellectual ( mostly memory ) challenge, and there some intense periods of feverish study pre-exams but overall it isn't too bad. Initially its a sprint, and one which causes quite a bit of stress, but thereafter its a long run.

Its easy to persuade yourself that it is very difficult, but by comparison with any field-formation we are very lucky. I am no massive intellectual, but am managing to have a pleasant social life in London while doing reasonably well on the course.

Its definately worth looking into.

Professionally - If you want to be part of the solution in Iraq / Afg, by helping us engage with the locals rather than plodding around their place helping to smash it up, it is great.

Personally - As an intellectual challenge it is pretty big, but I'm glad I'm giving my brain a beasting after letting it atrophy for a while. Also for the Dari / Arabic guys its an opportunity to begin to understand a completely different culture from a much closer standpoint than a non-speaker. As for Pashto - unlucky... not many cultural challenges there, unless you're a fan of Bacha-Bazii ( and why not, if you're a Para? :-D )

Career-wise - Don't think its much good for a career minded-regular. The few regulars here are generally doing it with a view to realising a personal ambition / doing something different ( with commercial potential ) prior to getting out. As an investment, I would be suprised if you'd regret it - the courses here are packed with some very intelligent and ambitious TA guys who know that in exchange for some hard work and tours they can earn a good deal for KBR and the like, or return to their Security-related work with significant experience and promotion prospects.

The new courses started yesterday, the next intake will be in January.

Charlie
 
#7
Yeah, maybe I should clarify - on the course, are you expected to live in, married unaccompanied for 15 months IN ORDER TO Study/bond with coursemates etc. followed shortly by a 6 month tour. This might be a problem (Divorce?)... as opposed to just being expected to study. Which is harsh enough I agree, but there you go.
 
#8
There are quarters at DSL-can't comment as I lived in but people seemed happy enough. Living in accom ain't wonderful but the bar is/was ok and there is a good spread of people there. You won't all be heading for the same job. It can be a bit of a culture shock as the environment will not be what you are used to and-frankly you are at the bottom of the food chain. That said the quality of the tuition is (generally) excellent and you are 2 mins from the M40 and 10 from the M25 so handy for doing one. Also the kebab van on the main drag does a fekkin ace spicy chicken on fresh pita (drools over desk)
 
#9
Ah but Kebab sauce maketh a marriage not. I can't see Mrs Django taking the news well that she is to stag on unaccompanied mit kinder, while I am 25 miles down the road, then on an Op tour.

I understand the necessity to live in on courses, but surely on one as long a 15 months they might apply sense?

(Django chokes on his own tea at re-reading this last comment - he is fully aware that application of sense is NOT in the heirarchy's lesson plan - or at least is only included in stealth lessons of the type mentioned above with IPODs while sleeping...)
 
#10
Not sure about specific course requirements, but I am 100% sure there are MQs currently available on the patch as DSL Beaconsfield, and not all are taken by civvy instructors. Nice area, too.

The good news, no PAYD in WO&S or officers mess. The better news, there is a far better kebab van down in the old town by Nat West Bank, handy for those nights at the vodka bar socialising/scrapping with the locals. The local pubs are little better than gastropub/winebars, but there are a few decent ones about if you know where to look.

Worth a 25 mile commute for the occasional nuptials in my opinion.
 
#11
devexwarrior said:
... the quality of the tuition is (generally) excellent
Umm.... :? .

devexwarrior said:
and you are 2 mins from the M40 and 10 from the M25 so handy for doing one.
Yup. Beaconsfield to Central London can be done in about 45 mins outside of rush hour. And, what with classes finishing at four most days, 3 on Wednesdays and 12 on Fridays, you needn't spend too long in traffic.

I've mentioned this in PM, but just to clarify - there is absolutely no requirement to live in, although in the first couple of months its probably easier to bash your brains

I wouldn't reccommend it either - my only real objection to DSL ( patchy teaching aside ) is it's awful Mess, easily the worst I've lived in. PAYD or not, its old, underfunded, under-cared-for, poorly run ... even the RAF don't like it!

In summary - yes, the teaching can be frustrating, the course can be tough and the mess is awful, but generally its intellectually rewarding, a stable routine which is history for the remainder of the Army and bodes well for an interesting tour and good prospects if you leave. And you can get stacks of drinking / phys done too. Which is nice.

The only thing that can really ruin it for you is your own attitude. Go into it with the right one, and you will reap what you sow. Its easy to moan, but how many officers at RD could agree that their current job matches the paragraph above?

Charlie
 
#12
Not sure I'd agree with the messing at DSL, officers is a bit shakier than the WO&SM (done both) but generally OK from my experience. I'm not much of a one for motorway service station style messes, microwave meals or plastic flowers, so it suits me there and the absence of PAYD is a pleasant relief.

Interesting comment about crabs, they seem to spend more than enough of their time flouncing around the mess and littering up the place, and I heard the incoming (?) RSM is a crab himself. :?

As for Beaconsfield itself, well, let's just say we liked it so much we moved to be as near to it as we could afford, and would happily move nearer if we could. It was the home of Disraeli, G K Chesterton and Enid Blyton, it has two kebab vans, 2 or three Indian restaurants and was famous for chucking Tony Bliar out on his ear when he tried to run in the local elections back in 1982. Aldershot it isn't!

Can't comment objectively on recent language tuition standards, they were certainly highly regarded a little while back.
 
#15
I spent nearly 2 years at DSL as part of the permanent staff as a SNCO. Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the tour. Speaking to students they thought it was the business as well. What you must look out for is getting used to be called by your first name by young Pte's. Military it is not! Well, in the classroom anyway. It is a fantastic location, but very pricey. The next RSM is certainly not a crab, however he is RMP!
 
#17
I haven't been to Beaconsfield for about 10 years or so now, so the following might be a bit out of date.

There are quarters available, and the officer ones are a damned sight better than the awful OR stuff. You're also closer to 'school'.

The officers on my course had posts to go to where they needed to speak a language. (JACIG, Embassies, that sort of thing) I can't really comment on what your career/promotion prospects will look like after you've been away from RD for 15 months on the course and then have to do a tour. If you want a mental challenge, you'll definitely get one. Starting from scratch, as I suspect you will be if you do the full 15 months, you'll have a reasonablyy sized hill to climb, and the initial shock is considerable. The working day is arduous, but considering you'll be spending the guts of a whole day, five days a week, doing one subject with a very low student/instructor ratio means that you'll pick things up very quickly.

You will be expected to do homework. If you don't you'll really struggle. At the end of the day, languages, when you take out the grammar and odd rules, are all about words. Learn as many as you can fit into your head. I used to write down every word that was used during the day that I didn't know and learn it that night for a bit of self-imposed homework. Sometimes that approach can run to 2 or 3 sides of A4 a day. Trust me though as it is well worth it.

The instructors are mostly foreign nationals, and I've heard the quality of instruction varies as a result. This isn't a dig, but if you're trying to explain complex grammatical structures and rules in a second language you can imagine there is scope for a bit of confusion now and again. However, each wing has its own UK instructors. Russian Wing in particular had two or three outstanding chaps, a couple of whom remain in post.

Expect a bit of a culture shock about 6 months into the course. This is usually when the guys who are linguists by trade turn up to do their 11 month interpretership. For the most part, the officers on my course didn't bat an eyelid, but there are always one or two who get the hump that their little officer club has been crashed by a bunch of ORs, especially when they just slot right in and start jabbering away to the instructors in the language you chaps have been wrestling with for the past half a year. Contrary to the above posts, they won't call you mate, bum fags off you or otherwise behave any differently than they would in a real unit. That said, you are all in it together and you'll find that course drinks, liaison visits and interpreting exercises out of camp get a bit tedious if you're going to expect them to tug forelocks and stand to attention at every turn. Also, when you go off camp, the bloke(s) you are interpreting for don't care that you're an officer and the other bloke is a SAC; he's only interested in getting his message across, and the one who does it most efficiently gets his thumbs up. Apart from anything else, the troops will be happy to help you out if things get messy, so try not to f*** them around.

Finally, the course is an excellent experience. It does give you the opportunity to really make your head hurt and give your brain a good workout. You'll also get some in-country language training so a free holiday with spends chucked in. All the best, and good luck.
 
#18
Jorrocks said:
BLUESKINNEDBEAST said:
What you must look out for is getting used to be called by your first name by young Pte's.
Why?
Simply because you are in a classroom for nearly 18 months, and you spend a lot of time interacting with each other and the instructors feel that having to call someone Sir or Ma'am every 2 seconds is a waste. What used to piss me off was walking down the corridors of some of the wings and hearing a young Pte/SAC shout halfway down the corridor to Rupert if he wanted a brew! First name terms was supposed to remain in the classroom only. But if the said officer couldn't be bothered to pull the said individual up why should I.

Granted, Lt Col upwards usually were still referred to as Sir or Boss
 
#19
I have had a chat with MCM Div and doing this course now, would for me, blow any vestiges of a career out of the water (done other things that have filled time, so none to spare now).

A shame, but maybe I'll get languified at a later date when they select me for that gucci overseas posting...

Thanks for all the replies - it certainly gave me more to think about and check back with MCM Div.
 
#20
Spoke to the Warrant Officer who organises recruitment for the courses and have been told I must complete an MLAT exam by October.

Thought I would drop a line to see if anyone on the board had done one of these exams before or new the best way to prepare for one. Also, if anyone has any idea where these exams are held I'd be grateful for any info you can pass my way, thanks in advance!
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
D Army Reserve 0
C The Intelligence Cell 3
Unknown_Quantity The Intelligence Cell 1

Similar threads

Latest Threads