Why learn a language?
We live in a multilingual, multicultural world. Being able to communicate in more than one language will allow you to seize global opportunities and will put you on a par with your multilingual international peers. Only 6% of the world's population speak English as a first language and 75% of the World's population don't speak any English.
Employers value language skills for their potential to open up new markets and the ability to communicate with customers and clients. Surveys regularly show that businesses recognise foreign language skills among their employees as beneficial. You do not necessarily have to be fluent in a foreign language as many employers are looking for people with conversational competence. Learning a new language today, or building on what you already know, will make you more successful in your academic and future career in the global economy, and will have a profound benefit to the quality of your life, socially and intellectually.
"I went to China last year to volunteer at a panda breeding base and had the opportunity to practice my Chinese. Having previously been to China I knew how difficult it could be with the language barrier, but learning Chinese just made the experience a whole lot easier and enjoyable."
Learning a language is not just about being able to speak it, but also learning about other cultures and different attitudes and values. By understanding cultural differences you will become more aware of your own culture, and more appreciative of diversity. You will interact better with people from different backgrounds and will adjust to new environments more easily. This set of skills and attitudes is highly desirable in the global marketplace and contributes to a better society for all.
"I feel that I have made huge progress over the year, and I am looking forward to communicating more effectively with my Spanish friends in July! My favourite part of the course was reading Spanish aloud, learning more about Spanish and Latin-American culture, and learning vocabulary. No matter what grade I achieve in the exam, I have enjoyed the module and know that I am more proficient in the language than I was this time last year."
Valerie, Spanish Post-Beginner
The ability to communicate in another language develops a number of competencies, skills and attitudes which are critical for your success at university and beyond. You will develop your critical thinking, ability to compare and contrast, practice gathering, analysing and assessing information and improve your observational skills. You will also become more aware of your own language and this will help you to become a more effective communicator. Language learners are flexible, take risks and are willing to overcome obstacles. All of these skills are highly rated by lecturers and employers.
"I never had an interest in languages, as I know English. But I decided to take French and broaden my scope. I really enjoyed learning something new, growing as a person and also, it was fun taking a break from my Law modules. The breakdown in assessment made it fun for me. Every assessment challenged something - writing, listening, speaking etc. and this really kept me on my toes."
Whitney, French Beginner
IWLP classes are multilingual, multicultural environments where you engage with people from different backgrounds, with different behaviours, customs and values, working together to achieve a common goal. An IWLP class offers you a global environment not dissimilar to the one many employers seek graduates to work in. It is also an enjoyable experience which gives you the opportunity to make friends with people from around the world.
"I would strongly recommend learning another language, it is very rewarding and enjoyable. It also holds the advantage that many employers require foreign language skills."
Callum, Spanish Advanced
If you were to recommend an IWLP language class to others what would you say?
"I would say they really should give it a try. Learning a new language is actually quite an advantage these days. It can fill your personal interests and probably in your future career as well. The IWLP has quite a number of language options so they can pick from those which will suit their interest and/or need."