The Language Centre for non-language students
Whether you’re interested in perfecting your Arabic or starting up Korean, the Language Centre offers a bunch of opportunities to students outside of their home department.
Many degrees at Warwick offer the flexibility to allow you to formally incorporate a language module into your studying. In the Maths department this is found under the “Unusual Option” module choice. However, if this option isn’t available on your degree course you are still able to take the Language Centre courses for a fee as an extra qualification alongside your degree.
This piece is written from my experience of taking the 30 CAT “French for Business I” module as part of my Maths degree, some of the details may differ for different degrees and languages.*
What is offered?
The Language Centre offers courses in nine languages: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. Each language is split into levels, with some languages offering a wider range of courses and levels than others. As a student from another department, you will be expected to state any previous qualifications you may have in the language and to take a placement test that may differ depending on your level and language. The levels are coordinated to the Common European Framework of Reference (from A1, beginner to C2, mother tongue) and many of the beginner courses have an accelerated option for faster learners.
For some of the languages, a wider variety of courses are also offered to students who are already at least at the B2 level, giving a more diverse way to approach and appreciate the language. For example, for advanced learners of French the following courses are available: French for Business, French through Translation, French Language through Film, French Language for Contemporary France.
Modules can either be taken with the weighting of 24 or 30 CATs.
Why take a language module?
Learning a language is quite unique in the fact that, unlike learning Hilbert’s Basis Theorem, it can be taken straight out of the classroom and into real life. It doesn’t matter whether you want to perfect ordering a coffee in Italy or to speak to a relative in their mother tongue, language is a skill that will help you to connect with the people around you.
If you want to join a global business or have the opportunity to study abroad, this qualification won’t go unnoticed.
Adding a language to your degree brings diversity which can both make it an enjoyable breather from your main course of study and a good way to showcase and engage other ways of thinking.
Whilst this will vary from course to course, for a 30 CAT module you are expected to put in about 10 hours of work each week.
From my experience the weekly workload is split up as follows: 2 hours of face-to-face teaching in a class of about 10, a 1 hour online Zoom “Conversation Class” organised between students in a group of 3 and then between 2 to 4 hours of formal homework, whilst the rest is time to make up yourself.
The examination of the module is split up into a 10% writing and reading exam before the Christmas holidays, an essay worth 25% due in as coursework during the second term, and then an oral examination (40%) and writing and reading exam (25%) during the summer exam period.
*For more information, visit the Language Centre’s website here!