Melbourne has a wide variety of languages you can study. Currently, you can choose from Swedish, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Russian and Arabic. There a few different ways you can incorporate a language into your degree. If you’re an Arts student, you can simply pick a language as your major or a minor. If you want to do your arts majors in other areas, you can alternatively apply to do a Diploma in Languages where you effectively do a separate course on top of your degree. The catch is that you have to do an extra year at University unless you want to overload. Some languages however let you do courses over the summer like the Spanish intensive where you do the second year of the diploma over 6- 7 weeks during the summer break. This enables you to go straight to third year level Spanish. Doing a language can be very challenging if you start from scratch. You will effectively squeeze what you would normally learn over four years in High School into two semesters. It requires you do a lot of independent study in order to keep up with the workload. There are ways you can do this and have fun. There is a university club for every single language you can study at Melbourne and most of them generally include senior students who will tutor you and organise socials where you can have conversation practice. Another way to get the best of studying a language is go on Study Exchange or Study Abroad for a semester or two. Students often come back fluent in their chosen language. Don’t be freaked out by the cost of exchange. There are a lot of grants you can get from the University as well as a government scheme called OS Help which can give you a loan of up to $6000 which you can add to your HECS. That included with the $2500 you get given from the University is 75% of what it generally costs to go on exchange.
Languages courses are generally structured into three different streams. These include a Beginners stream where you start from scratch and two post-VCE streams which include an intermediate stream and an advanced stream. If you have studied a language previously and want to continue it into uni, the faculty will allow you to sit a test to see which stream you’re best suited for. Don’t freak out if they put you in the advanced stream and you don’t feel up to it. It’s normally a fairly easy process to transfer.
The structure of each subject is different to your average Arts degree. In your first year, the main focus is basic grammar, vocabulary together with listening and speaking. Your assessment is divided up into a series of homework exercises, oral exams and an end of year written exam. As the course progresses into second year, you do less and less grammar. In your third year, you get to choose from elective subjects. These range according to language but generally focus on studies of film, literature and cultural development. These subjects can be challenging as you have to apply all the skills you have learnt from the grammar subjects and are required to write 1000 words essays in your chosen language.
There is a decent choice of electives, largely focussed on literature. Linguistics subjects however are rarely offered. The core subjects Italian Language and Culture 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, and 3A are compulsory. You will generally have three seminars every week where you focus on reading, writing, speaking and listening.
The same structure occurs for the other language courses.
A note on Languages: we understand there are many more languages taught at the University, but have received no reviews thus far. If you have any comments on your particular language studied please submit through the Submit tile on the CounterCourse home page, or follow this link.