UK-first ‘Languages for All’ University scheme enrols 2,500 in first year
21 May 2015
More than 2,500 non-language students at Cardiff University have learned a new language completely free of charge in the past year as part of a flagship scheme designed to increase international student mobility.
The University's Languages for All scheme – the only programme of its kind in the UK – proved so popular in its first year that teaching capacity will now be doubled, with two new languages and a self-study option also being added to its offering.
Under the scheme, students can enrol on studies across eight different languages alongside their main degree discipline free of charge.
Courses are offered at a range of levels and intensities, from two to 20 hours per week, at beginner to advanced-level, in languages including Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Mandarin and Russian.
New figures show that that 75% of those who enrolled on Languages for All in 2014 were undergraduates, the majority of whom were studying Business, Law and Politics and Biosciences. Spanish, French and German were the most popular languages for the 2014 intake.
Tuition is run at lunchtimes and evenings so that it does not clash with students' studies. Intensive courses are offered between semesters, and the new self-study option will offer remote learning in 25 different languages.
The scheme forms part of the University's international student mobility and employability agenda and is part of a wider drive to increase the number of students having at least four weeks' overseas experience to 17% by 2017.
The new-look Languages for All scheme will be launched at an event for staff and students hosted by the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, at the Students' Union later today (21 May).
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, said: "In a competitive global job market, offering students the chance to complement their studies with a choice of languages offers a distinct advantage, aiding their employability and international awareness. We're unique in the UK by offering university-wide language tuition with no fee to students, and this is testament to our commitment to driving a progressive outward student mobility agenda."
Dr Catherine Chabert, Director of Languages for All, said: "Against a well-reported backdrop of declining take-up of modern foreign languages across the UK, the success of the programme proves that there is huge appetite among students for the acquisition of languages alongside their studies, something further reinforced by a recent independent survey by the University Council for Modern Languages.
"Clearly, the provision of optional language courses by universities is recognised as playing a vital part in supporting the internationalisation and employability agendas, and the exceptional strength of take-up when Languages for All was first launched proves this. We're now meeting this high demand by bolstering the programme to cater to the language needs of all students. As a University, we're proud to be at the forefront of language teaching, igniting a love of languages among students and helping to equip them with stand-out skills for the job market."
Laura McAdam, a third-year Chemistry student, who's learning Japanese through Languages for All, said: "Learning a language alongside a degree can open up new opportunities, and of course if you have it on your CV then that can be a great talking point for an employer. It can open up job options, too – so for example if something comes up in Japan and I have a good level of Japanese naturally that's going to offer me an advantage. It's been good to be able to learn it in a relatively short amount of time too, it's giving me a real sense of accomplishment."