Looking back to when I first visited the University of York at the 2013 open day, I only focused on the basics. But amidst the excitement of taking in the essentials like the campus, the course and the abundance of ducks, I remember seeing posters and leaflets plastered everywhere branded with the letters ‘LFA’. I didn’t take much notice back then with so much going on, but Languages For All is something extra from the department of Language and Linguistics which really helps the University of York stand out from other universities.
Languages For All is an amazing facility where students (that’s any student, not just those in the languages department) can take 19 week courses with one 2 hour class per week, in a large variety of languages ranging from highly spoken ones such as Mandarin, Spanish and German to even dead languages like Latin and Medieval Greek. And the best thing is that even though it costs £120 for the general public, for University of York students your first year-long course is free. (Hard to believe I know!) Courses start of at level one (beginners) and go all the way to level 5 in some languages (Degree standard) so whether you want to start a new language from scratch or pick one up again from A-level or GCSE you will find your level somewhere in between.
So what’s the point?
Well as a languages student, I’m always looking to learn new languages and especially for those interested in a career in languages, more is always better. However, in a world that’s becoming more global in terms or business and industry, a language might be just what you need for your CV to help you stand out and get that dream job you have in mind, whether you do law, maths, history of art or anything in between.
But languages aren’t just helpful for life after university. With more and more courses introducing work placements abroad, a LFA qualification could not only prepare you with some survival skills when you go to a particular country, but could also help you stand out in the application process. It’s also a great way to prepare for travelling, so you can enjoy and get the most out of your experiences.
So today is a Wednesday afternoon, which is generally a free afternoon for sports and extracurricular activities. And although many students will already be looking forward to a night at Salvation (York nightclub) for Salvation Wednesday’s it’s time for my class in level one Mandarin (it’s just as crazy). Starting off with the basics in October, it was extremely daunting at first to just look at the Chinese characters. However, now we’re already at a level where we can speak confidently about the time of day, the date etc. read basic characters and even conduct a conversation. For most LFA courses you can choose your class from a number of days, so if you’re too busy with sport on a Wednesday, there are other options available.
So what are you waiting for? Whether it’s for travelling, preparing for the future, or just fulfilling a new year’s resolution, learning a language at York is a rewarding and free experience, there’s nothing to lose!
For more information about Languages For All, including a list of available languages and how-to-apply, click here.