Taking advantage of the opportunity: language study at university

In a world in which English has become the lingua franca, knowing it is no longer an advantage. More and more, employers are looking for people who have great language skills are effective communicators in a second or third foreign language.

It is never to late to start and with the right opportunities and determination, you can master a new language. At the University of Sheffield, we are fortunate to have the Languages for All programme. Through it, you have the chance to learn a new language or polish one of the foreign languages you already know. The choice is yours if you want to opt for a clean start or apply your passion to a language you already have some knowledge of.

My experience with languages at university consists of two five week courses and two years of  MLTC modules. I have been to two Give it a Go courses, one for Spanish and one for Japanese. To my intense disappointment, I was not able to find a third one for my third year, something which bothers me still. These courses give you a basic intro to the language and can be seen as sort of “survival language skills”; you are able to ask for food, directions and shop by the end of each course. These are very good to test if you enjoy a language, before choosing a Languages for All module.

Along with this, since my second year, I continued with my study of French, picking it up where I left it in secondary school and continuing to study it, until the end of my third year. I was able to qualify for a Languages for All fee waiver, which meant that I was able to do it on a not for credit bases. Doing this meant that I was able to put more effort into it in weeks in which my course was less demanding, and prioritise according to my course demands. The fact that I was doing it for my own pleasure was also an added bonus, as I did not have to worry about the grades and assignments as much as I did with my other course work.

In a world in which so much emphasis is put on global awareness and global communication, knowing a second foreign language or a third is an advantage. Additionally, learning language is an immersion into a different culture with an unique way of life, which I think everyone should try. Plus, according to The Guardian, research shows that learning a foreign language is very beneficial to the brain.

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