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Learning languages at Sydney

9 September 2020
An inside look at how languages can broaden your horizons
At the University of Sydney, we teach languages through cultures. From extracurricular enrichment to scholarship support, our students share some highlights and key opportunities from their language learning experience.
Headshot of Sanya

"Future me will be two languages cooler." – Sanya, current student studying two language majors

“Beyond grammar and vocabulary, there's a lot of transferable skills to learn like critical and analytical thinking, as well as history, literature, societies and more. In my Languages degree, we examined the importance of Australia’s Indigenous cultural and linguistic history. This emphasised the weight for language students to turn inward before we turn outward to the world.”

Sanya Kulshreshtha
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Languages)

French and Francophone Studies and Korean Studies

Languages give access to the unique identities and experiences of people around the world.
Headshot of Junnade

Junnade, current Arabic, French, Global Studies and Design student

“I’ve learnt how important it is to understand the sheer diversity of language speakers – no language community is a monolith. Being able to pick my majors from a wide pool of subjects also means that we don’t have to choose an ‘either-or’. With two languages and a double major, my dream is to use this multidisciplinary expertise to design solutions to the world's humanitarian crises.”

Junnade Ali
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (International and Global Studies
Arabic Language and Cultures, Design and Global Studies
Diploma of Language Studies
French and Francophone Studies

Never underestimate where languages can take you.
Indigo dressed in a traditional Bavarian dress holding a jar of gummy bears as she represents the German Society at the University's welcome week

Indigo representing German Society at USU's welcome week

"At first I thought that majoring in a language would confine me to a narrow field but, along with my second major, it has opened many doors! Participating in a language society with the University of Sydney Union (USU) is a great way to practically develop your language skills in a relaxed social space – all while partaking in rich student-led activities from weekly conversation groups to movie and trivia nights.”

Indigo Chambers
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies

Germanic Studies and Psychological Science


Athanasios at a Sydney University Greek Society (SUGS) event

“A conversation with a teaching staff from the School of Languages and Cultures gives you a window into their global expertise and high-quality education. My language subjects have been extremely fulfilling as our lecturers shed light on new perspectives. The school is also very supportive of student initiatives. I’ve been able to organise and promote cultural events. Joining a USU language and cultural society is a natural complement to pursuing a language major!”

Athanasios Kallos
Arts and Economics student

Modern Greek Studies and Econometrics

I started at Sydney as a language beginner. Since then, I’ve advanced my speaking skills and cultural knowledge far beyond what I thought was possible!
Taylah at the ancient ruins of Jaresh, Jordan

Taylah at the ancient ruins of Jerash, Jordan for the OLE in-country unit

“Creative assessments such as video presentations helped me consolidate my language skills as I applied new linguistic material and structures. I also learnt another language with the Open Learning Environment (OLE) in-country unit. The immersive experience taught me the contextual significance of languages.”

Taylah Cousins
Bachelor of Arts

Spanish and Latin American Studies and Film Studies


Alvina at the New Colombo Plan 2020 Scholarship event at Parliament House

Alvina at the 2020 New Colombo Plan Scholarship event in Parliament House

“The faculty’s scholarships and prizes have encouraged me to advance my language skills – eventually being able to write a research paper in another language. I was also awarded the New Colombo Plan Scholarship, a signature initiative of the Australian government which supports language training, study and internships across the Indo-Pacific.”

Alvina Lock
Commerce and Arts student

Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies and Marketing

Learning two languages has emphasised the role and importance of all languages – not just as communicative tools, but key aspects of identity and culture – even within Australia.
Marina on the rooftop overlooking the city of Paris, France

Marina on exchange in Paris, France

“There's more we can do as individuals, along with government and policy, to embrace and protect our communities’ multilingual diversity. Overseas study has also significantly improved my learning. Having access to travel scholarships gave me a peace of mind financially, and boosted my self-confidence while studying in two different countries.”

Marina Liu
Arts and Languages student

French and Francophone Studies, Italian Studies, and Government and International Relations


Amelia in her room while studying remotely

Amelia's #usydonline workspace for her virtual overseas unit of study

“Despite the travel ban, I got to experience Italy with the intensive virtual OLE in-country unit with a partner university. It was exciting to learn from Italian teachers through online workshops and live city tours via Zoom. We gained fundamental language skills, had daily chats with local students and cooked along with Italian chefs. Engaging with real-life content was very rewarding!”

Amelia Byrne
Media and Communications student

French and Francophone Studies

*QS World University Rankings 2020

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