Learning a language
Learning ‘from scratch’
Many of our undergraduate students are studying an East Asian language for the first time, and we structure our courses with this in mind. You do not have to have studied a foreign language before in order to apply for our programmes. We also welcome students who may have had some experience of learning Chinese, Japanese or Korean prior to coming to us, as we can tailor our courses to meet different learning needs.
*Note: If you start on our specialist Japanese courses, we will be contacting you over the summer prior to your arrival with information how to self-study the Japanese hiragana and katakana syllabaries. We expect you to be able to read and write those syllabaries before your arrival, but will help you to consolidate your knowledge during intro week.
We believe in the importance of language teaching in relatively small groups, which means you will have plenty of chances to practice with your classmates and gain feedback from your tutors. It also makes for a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Native and non-native speakers
You will be taught by specially-trained native speakers of Chinese, Japanese and Korean for much of your first year. In later years, however, you will also be taught by non-native speakers who have been through the same process of learning the language and have special insights into the challenges you might face.
Speaking, listening, reading and writing
Our language courses aim to develop all of your language skills from the very first year of study. You will have plenty of opportunities to talk and write in your chosen language, but also to translate, and summarise materials, or watch and discuss films and television programmes. Specialist skills such as interpreting are also taught on some courses.
The instruction in our courses is intensive as we aim to give you the opportunity to achieve an advanced level of proficiency in your chosen language by the time you graduate. Students on all courses regularly take the highest levels of the international Chinese, Japanese and Korean proficiency tests.
If you decide to focus you degree on East Asian culture and society, instead of language, through one of our East Asian Studies courses you can still take nonspecialist language modules which allow you to learn Chinese, Japanese or Korean at a less intensive pace.