Taking a language as an optional module – OurWarwick

Taking a language as an optional module

Are you a keen linguist like me and want to learn a language without compromising your degree? This blog explains how you can simultaneously learn a language and pursue you degree.

Here at Warwick you can take a wide variety of optional modules (given that your degree permits it) which allows you to broaden your horizons. I personally chose to do a language option because I wanted a change from the (sometimes) mundane and repetitive nature of my own degree and would encourage you to also do it! There is so much to choose from, whether it be Japanese, Arabic or Russian. Here I will be explaining my own experience and giving out some key advice.


1.       Change from your usual degree

It is very refreshing to be able to stretch yourself beyond what you are used to. The range of learning modes and activities including speaking, reading, writing and listening mean the lessons are always varied and never boring – an interesting change from sitting at the back of a lecture hall!

2.       Meet new people

Being the only first year in my class has really encouraged me to speak to people I would not usually come across. Unlike in lectures with vast amounts of people, language classroom activities encourage to interact which over weekly lessons, helps build relationships.

3.       Learn a life skill

Apart from a language being a useful skill in the world of work, it can also help with getting onto a year abroad course. For example, for study in France, Germany or Spain, you need to have language skills at or above Level 5 on Warwick’s Language Centre programme of courses. If you’re like me, then learning a language is simply for fun and a great way to see yourself progress.


1.       Sign up on time

Language modules are very popular and if you want to save yourself the hassle of long queues make sure you enrol within the first two weeks!

2.       Choose a level most appropriate for you 

I initially started on Spanish 1 but considering my background and experience in other European languages, I found the pace a bit too slow, so I switched to Spanish beginners accelerated where I found myself more engaged and challenged. Ensuring you choose the right class will mean you stay interested and motivated.

3.       Keep up to date

Do not forget that languages require work and only attending your weekly lessons is not adequate! Attempt to keep up with homework, exercises and utilise online resources. At university, you are expected to be much more independent and you are very much in control of your own learning, so it is important you are consistent and play your own active role if you really want to succeed. 

Some external resources to keep you up to date:

·       BBC or news outlet to develop reading fluency and acquire new vocabulary

·       Duolingo to maintain vocabulary

·       Memrise to do quizzes (for example, to revise a tense)

·       YouTube for cultural content and listening skills

·       Language exchange by Study Happy allows you to practice speaking and interact with natives (there’s also refreshments!)

·       Support sessions by the Language Centre – however make sure to book in advance

·       Study groups with people in your classes to practice every skill

In conclusion, I would most definitely encourage everyone to do an optional module outside of their degree as it has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my academic experience in first year. There are a wide range to choose from even if languages aren’t your thing.

More information can be found at https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/languagecentre/academic/


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