Studying a language can be very rewarding. Not only will you be able to communicate with people from a different country than your own, you can get an insight into a whole new culture. I studied Chinese as a part of my degree, and it has been a lot of fun getting an insight into Chinese culture and society as well as understanding the language. Here are some reasons why you study a language, and how you can do it at Portsmouth.
It’s not as difficult as you think
Many think learning a new language is very difficult, and this stops them from doing it. But if you use the available resources around you it doesn’t have to be that hard. You can find language classes at the university, and possibly in private collages and evening schools around the country, or you can try and find a tutor who is willing to help you. Make friends whose first language is your target language. And you can also explore the vast range of language learning apps such as DuoLingo and Memrise.
Empower your employability
Knowing a second language can be very helpful when applying for a job. We live in a globalised world where more and more jobs are international. If you know more than one language it can sometimes lead to your dream job. It will definitely add something to your CV.
Discover a new culture
Knowing the language of a culture you might be interesting means you can actually feel and be a part of it. As your level increases you will be able to understand the jokes and humour, discover new music, foods, art and so much more. My Chinese class were invited to perform Chinese songs and play Chinese instruments at the annual Chinese New Year’s Celebration event in Portsmouth – very fun!
Enhance your traveling experience
Many English speakers seem to think the whole world speaks English so there is no need for them to learn another language. Let me tell you this is wrong. If you enjoy traveling you will definitely benefit from speaking the same lingo as the locals as it can help you connect with them on a different level. You will be able to get around on your own, and hear the stories of the people. It is the best feeling.
Building on the previous point, it is a lot easier to make friends on your travels if you speak the same language! It can lead to life-long friendships, memories, and invitations to come visit.
You can live abroad!
If your level of fluency improves, you might even want to try living in a country where they speak your target language to get a better insight into their culture and ways. This is definitely a rewarding challenge for life. Personally I have lived in two countries where they speak languages which are not my mother tongue. And let me tell you, having lived in these countries I understand the banter, the jokes, the culture, and the people a lot better. For example, I remember watching Bridget Jones years before I moved to the UK. And yes, it was a funny film at the time, but it was not until I rewatched it after having lived in England for a year that I realised just how English the film is. All the banter and jokes about Christmas jumpers, etc. I only understood after living here!
Learn a language at Portsmouth
At Portsmouth you can often learn a language as part of your degree, or just for interest. As part of your degree you can have a language in your degree title (like mine does, International Relations and Languages), where the language is a very integrated in the units. This is, however, a very big commitment and a lot of work, so alternatively many can also choose to do a language unit in second year, and I believe this also applies to courses from other departments. The third option is to do a language for interest via IWLP. You start off in Level 4, and through first and second years you can do a language course for interest, not part of your course, for free! Perfect if you aren’t sure a language is something you want to do as a degree! I’ve heard the workload and pace of the course is manageable because the teachers realise you are doing this for interest and that you do have other coursework.
In addition you have the Global Café in Park Building every Wednesday where you can meet language partners and practice your target language.
My tips for learning a language
Definitely attend classes, do your homework, and use your teacher’s knowledge for what its worth. I am a master at procrastinating and leaving everything until the last minute, but you simply cannot learn a language the day before the exam. Language-learning is a curve. It goes up and down, and the more your practice the better you get. Have a look around, Portsmouth is a very international university and people come here from all over the world. So even if the university may not offer classes in the language you wish to study, maybe someone is willing to teach you in their spare time.
Sorry this post is mainly about Chinese but it’s the only language I’ve got experience studying at university. There are, of course, many other interesting languages as well such as Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese!
Do you study a language? And if not, is there a language you would really like to learn?