Ever wanted to try a new language, but didn’t know if it would suit you?
At Cardiff University, we have a programme called Languages for All (LFA). This is a free service the university offers to all its students from first year undergraduate to final year PhD allowing you to take up to three different language courses per academic year. As a science student, who has a passion for languages and travel, this is a wonderful opportunity to pursue a hobby as well as being accredited!
Each language course gives you 10 credits, if you complete it. If you try it and change your mind; you don’t have to continue the next semester. On the other hand, if you do like the classes, you can either progress from beginner to advanced in one language, jump into whichever level you’re currently at, or swap between different languages each semester. So basically, you can apply for any language at any level during any semester throughout your degree.
So now, the most important question, what languages does the university offer? You can study Welsh as well as 9 foreign languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Arabic. So far, in my two years at university, I’ve taken a mix of Advanced Spanish and German with beginners Italian and Mandarin Chinese! Honestly, it was one of the main reasons I applied to Cardiff University. If someone offers to teach you a skill for free and have it written onto a formal transcript (which is a great bonus for employers), why not make the most of this?
From a social perspective, it is a wonderful opportunity to meet people from outside of your academic school and from all study years. Attending the courses also gives you a chance to be in a more informal learning environment. The classes are small- typically up to 15 students (I’ve once had a class of only 4 which does push you to interact more with both the people and the language). Because of how small the lessons are, you can ask the teacher questions about anything you don’t understand or have a particular interest in at any time: before, during or after class. Just like university lecturers, the teaching staff are friendly and can be reached at any time by email.
Another bonus is that you can choose when you’d like to have your language classes- most of them run in the evenings at 5-7 or 7-9 and repeat on different days so you can organise it around your other activities. The classes run for 9 weeks with a mini test at the end, leaving the first and last week of each semester free for you to settle in or finish off the rest of your coursework.
The other type of course offered is a more intensive “crash course” which gives you a full week of classes Monday-Friday at the end of each semester after exams. In addition to these, the university provides lots of language learning resources online through its “Autonomous learning” scheme as well as books and other materials available in the libraries.
If you’re interested, you can find more information on the LFA website https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/student-life/languages-for-all
Applications open on Monday, September 9th so don’t forget to apply! https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/new-students/before-you-arrive/apply-for-free-language-courses
Apart from language classes, you may be interested in travelling abroad or volunteering. The Global Opportunities programme has links with many organisations worldwide and provides bursaries for travelling abroad so you may want to check this out too! https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/why-study-with-us/global-opportunities