Frequently Asked Questions

If you'd like to find out more about what it's like to be an ASNaC student, we'd recommend watching our Access videos – these were updated a lot more recently than these FAQs, and feature a lot of current students telling you what they love about ASNaC!


  1. Do I need to know X language before starting?
  2. What do I need to have read?
  3. What's the workload like for ASNC?
  4. What is this "ASNaC Pub" I keep hearing about?
  5. Legends speak of an ASNaC lunch - tell me more.
  6. Does the committee organise any outings for ASNCs?
Q: Do I need to know X language before starting?
Absolutely not! All of the languages are started from scratch so there is no need for any prior knowledge. Latin is the only course for which some prior knowledge is accommodated, since it is is run at two levels, one for those who've studied it before, and one for those who don't. In Fresher's Week, there are grammar workshops too, to make sure that everyone is on the same page ready to start learning the languages.
Q: What do I need to have read?
Nothing! There are suggested reading lists that you can dip into before coming here, including a list compiled by the Society, but they're there for your interest, to let you pick a few things for when you really can't wait to learn more; no subject-specific knowledge is assumed and all courses are taught from scratch. You're not expected to arrive here already knowing everything about Icelandic politics in the early middle ages, for example.
Q: What's the workload like for ASNC?
A: Generally in the first couple of years, you will have one supervision essay to write per week, and then maybe some extra reading for lectures, and translations to do for language classes. It is a significant amount of work (*cough* more than English students *cough*), but it's manageable, and people definitely find time to have fun and do plenty of other activities with the rest of their time. (You've got to come to ASNaC Pub, of course!) If ever work does seem a little overwhelming, supervisors are really understanding and there are great support systems in place.
Q: What is this "ASNaC Pub" I keep hearing about?
By long tradition, the popular weekly lecture for Part I Old English literature concluded at on a Friday evening and was followed by a brief trip to the pub. The current pub of choice is The Castle, on Castle Hill, or occasionally the Granta, much closer to the Department. An ASNaC presence in one pub or t'other is assured throughout termtime, and is frequent outside it. A jolly old time is had by all, further facilitated by the occasional and random re-appearance of long-departed ASNaCs who peddle their boring tales of yore. Stay there all night every week or just wander in for a quick pint every so often - either way you'll be welcomed warmly (if not coherently).
C: Legends speak of an ASNaC lunch - tell me more.
Well, that's more a command than a question, but OK.

What better way to start the week than with a hearty meal? Every Monday the Society's catering officer provides a sumptuous repast of the likes not seen outside the Hall of the Slain, costing a mere two pounds fifty sterling. The service starts at one o' clock, and for a fair few hours the common room fills with hungry students: come for the food, stay for the company.
Q: Does the committee organise any outings for ASNCs?
A: Yes! Every year in January there's a 3-day ASNC Trip to an exciting destination of ASNC interest, organised by the Society Presidents – previous destinations include the Isle of Man, Argyll, Northumbria, South Wales and Kent!

Every so often, the Society actually organises a more serious form of event, generally in the form of our yearly Black Tie Dinner, and occasional lectures from individuals of varying eminence. Less formal than the the Department's official guest lectures, these generally tend towards the lighter side of all things ASNaC, but also provide a great chance to mingle with a few of the great names you'll know from your textbooks, without all the lecturers and grad students trying to overshadow you. There are also social and welfare events such as film nights, formal halls (fancy dinners in Colleges), craft evenings, parties and so on, several times per term.