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Hi, I’m Paris, a recent International Tourism Management with a Language (Spanish) graduand. Alongside my final year studies, I decided to study German with Languages for All and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Intrigued? Read on to learn more about this fantastic offering!

What is Languages for All?

Languages for All is an exciting initiative run by the University of Chester that offers a series of evening courses allowing students (and members of the public) to develop competencies in a vast array of languages including Japanese, Polish and French, just to name a few! As a (partial) language student, this was definitely of interest to me, even more so with the student price of just £100 for the whole year! That said, students on ANY course can enrol, so don’t panic if you don’t study a language as part of your degree, and the £100 is even refunded back to you if you attend 80% or more of the course. This is part of theLanguages for All programme, which is for full-time and part-time students studying a degree at Chester.

Why German? What level did you study?

Given my desire to work in the corporate world upon graduation, I felt that German would be the most suitable and beneficial additional language for me to study. From my casual use of Duolingo over summer 2020, I had some prior knowledge of the language but was by no means conversational. Fortunately, the detailed class level descriptions available online and the Virtual Open Evening made it easy to determine the most suitable course for my ability (German, Year 2). In fact, one of the great things about the Languages for All programme is the variety of courses for all levels of learners, from complete beginners to those with near-native proficiency!

What if I end up in the ‘wrong’ class?

Having part of my degree in Spanish, I was already familiar with learning languages and so I was grasping the German language quicker than anticipated. My original lecturer noticed this after two sessions and suggested I move into the Year 3 class to accelerate my learning. I knew that this was the best option for myself and so, following a successful trial class, I decided to make the move. Importantly though, this decision was by no means forced! Basically, if you find yourself in the ‘wrong’ class, you can move if you want to (subject to numbers), so don’t worry too much!

What did you learn in the course?

One of the best aspects of the Languages for All programme courses is that the sessions are not focused solely on the target language’s vocabulary and grammar, but the culture of the country(ies) in which it is spoken too. For example, did you know that pigs are considered lucky in Germany (Glücksschwein)? Linking to this, the courses are not restricted to a prescribed syllabus, meaning there is lots of choice and flexibility in the materials studied. If you are keen to learn a certain element of your target language or culture, just ask!

How manageable is the workload?

The beauty of these courses is that they have a very relaxed pace and homework is considered ‘beneficial’ rather than ‘essential’ (although I would certainly recommend doing it, as languages take lots of time and dedication to learn). Each of my weekly classes were two hours long and made a welcome change from my typical studies. You need to be organised, but it is definitely possible to do your degree and complete one of these courses at the same time!

What are your next steps?

Having recently completed the course, I am extremely pleased with my progress in the language. I feel confident in my German linguistic abilities enough that I would happily interact with natives in the target language, and I think my ideas, although relatively basic, would be conveyed clearly and understood. Once international travel resumes fully, I would love to travel to Germany, Switzerland and Austria to try out my skills!

In terms of further studying, all of the other students in my class are progressing into German Year 4 (to the best of my knowledge). I would also be doing this but with relocating to a different part of the country for my new job, it is just not possible. Nonetheless, I am eager to continue my German studies as I believe this has been a great foundation to the language and having it on my CV has been an added benefit too!

Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend the Languages for All programme to students interested in studying a foreign language alongside their degrees. If you are interested in enrolling, learn more here.

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undergraduate languages