NedStark
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I've been thinking about learning a foreign language but I really don't know how to go about it. At university I want to study Economics but is there any programme out there that let's you learn a language alongside your degree in your own time?

Im not looking for a joint degree, I want a straight Economics degree but just want to learn either German, Spanish, Mandarin, or Japanese.

Also would anyone advise against this, due to the heavy workload?
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BaconEmperor
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(Original post by NedStark)
I've been thinking about learning a foreign language but I really don't know how to go about it. At university I want to study Economics but is there any programme out there that let's you learn a language alongside your degree in your own time?

Im not looking for a joint degree, I want a straight Economics degree but just want to learn either German, Spanish, Mandarin, or Japanese.

Also would anyone advise against this, due to the heavy workload?
You have two main options.

The first is that your university may let you take upto 30 credits in a discipline outside of your main degree, you could then take 30 credits is language modules (no literature) for a language at your university through years 1,2 and 3 and leave with a degree in BA/BSc Economics with German/Spanish/Chinese etc. This isn't a joint honours degree and many university offer this.

The second is that your university may have some kind of foreign languages centre where you'll be able to take extra modules in a foreign language whilst studying for your main degree. To find out if a specific university offers this type into Google "NAME OF UNIVERSITY foreign language centre"
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returnmigrant
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Some Unis (for instance Bristol) allow you to do a unit or two outside your main subject area which could include a language depending on your Dept/course, or some Depts provide 'casual' language lessons that you might need either for topic work or general interest.

As above - most Unis have a 'Language Centre' or some other way for students to learn/improve a language outside your course. This place usually also provides English language tuition for overseas students.
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NedStark
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(Original post by BaconEmperor)
You have two main options.

The first is that your university may let you take upto 30 credits in a discipline outside of your main degree, you could then take 30 credits is language modules (no literature) for a language at your university through years 1,2 and 3 and leave with a degree in BA/BSc Economics with German/Spanish/Chinese etc. This isn't a joint honours degree and many university offer this.

The second is that your university may have some kind of foreign languages centre where you'll be able to take extra modules in a foreign language whilst studying for your main degree. To find out if a specific university offers this type into Google "NAME OF UNIVERSITY foreign language centre"
(Original post by returnmigrant)
Some Unis (for instance Bristol) allow you to do a unit or two outside your main subject area which could include a language depending on your Dept/course, or some Depts provide 'casual' language lessons that you might need either for topic work or general interest.

As above - most Unis have a 'Language Centre' or some other way for students to learn/improve a language outside your course. This place usually also provides English language tuition for overseas students.
Thanks for the advice, I'll look in to this.

But as for the workload, do you think it's manageable or will it be too much?
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Burty123
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Just one example, Loughborough allows you to do a language as 20 credits of an economics degree if you choose to


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BaconEmperor
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(Original post by NedStark)
Thanks for the advice, I'll look in to this.

But as for the workload, do you think it's manageable or will it be too much?
No worries and that's a very personal question, only you can decide how much work you can handle. Personally I think it's very easy to learn a language while studying a completely different subject because it requires you to use different skills, people assume if they take up something new that it will mean they have less time for their other commitments but what''s more likely is that your new activity will instead occupy all those hours when you're just sitting at home bored surfing youtube or checking your facebook etc. So in conclusion yes definitely possible IMO.

Another important factor would be have you ever studied a language before? If not then it will be more difficult for you.
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NedStark
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(Original post by BaconEmperor)
No worries and that's a very personal question, only you can decide how much work you can handle. Personally I think it's very easy to learn a language while studying a completely different subject because it requires you to use different skills, people assume if they take up something new that it will mean they have less time for their other commitments but what''s more likely is that your new activity will instead occupy all those hours when you're just sitting at home bored surfing youtube or checking your facebook etc. So in conclusion yes definitely possible IMO.

Another important factor would be have you ever studied a language before? If not then it will be more difficult for you.
I studied Spanish and German at GCSE, getting a B and A grade respectively. I haven't taken any to A-Level. Would taking GCSE languages mean I am capable (or atleast have the skills) for a new one at Uni?
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BaconEmperor
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(Original post by NedStark)
I studied Spanish and German at GCSE, getting a B and A grade respectively. I haven't taken any to A-Level. Would taking GCSE languages mean I am capable (or atleast have the skills) for a new one at Uni?
Yeah that will be enough but languages are subjects you can't cram for, you need to be working on them several times a week so if you put in the work then you'll certainly be able to cope. Makes sure you study a language you'll enjoy, don't just think 'Mandarin will be great for jobs' because the more you enjoy studying the better your level will be
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NedStark
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(Original post by BaconEmperor)
Yeah that will be enough but languages are subjects you can't cram for, you need to be working on them several times a week so if you put in the work then you'll certainly be able to cope. Makes sure you study a language you'll enjoy, don't just think 'Mandarin will be great for jobs' because the more you enjoy studying the better your level will be
I'd probably go for Japanese then but it's completely different from Spanish or German. That's the problem I'm worried about. The letters aren't similar at all.
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BaconEmperor
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(Original post by NedStark)
I'd probably go for Japanese then but it's completely different from Spanish or German. That's the problem I'm worried about. The letters aren't similar at all.
It'll be VERY difficult to get to a high level in Japanese without visiting the country, I'd recommend looking into degrees titled 'Economics with Japanese' if you're serious about learning Japanese. These courses would only involve the Japanese language modules (no cultural ones) and your main subject would still be Economics (Hons). Otherwise you'll be able to get far with Japanese but not very close to fluency.

EDIT: I don't want to discourage you from studying a language, I love languages and would encourage anyone to learn a new language but make sure your goals are realistic based on the time you'll be dedicating, the difficulty of the language and your language learning experience.
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amyc123
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I'm doing a nursing degree at the moment, which means I have uni and placements plus shorter holidays. But I have still found the time to re-teach myself German and to learn Spanish from scratch. I'm not going to claim to be fantastic but I can now have a basic conversation in three languages. If you enjoy it, you'll find the time.
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NedStark
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(Original post by amyc123)
I'm doing a nursing degree at the moment, which means I have uni and placements plus shorter holidays. But I have still found the time to re-teach myself German and to learn Spanish from scratch. I'm not going to claim to be fantastic but I can now have a basic conversation in three languages. If you enjoy it, you'll find the time.
Thanks for this, I probably will try Japanese since I've always wanted to learn it. I just have a few questions:

Have you taught yourself it, or have you attended a class somewhere?

And secondly, by basic how basic are we talking here?
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amyc123
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(Original post by NedStark)
Thanks for this, I probably will try Japanese since I've always wanted to learn it. I just have a few questions:

Have you taught yourself it, or have you attended a class somewhere?

And secondly, by basic how basic are we talking here?
I got an A in GCSE German in 2010 but I haven't used it at all since then, so my ability had pretty much dropped to zero but I think it's still there somewhere. I bought some German text books to re-learn it and I'm also using DuoLingo on my laptop and phone.

I'd never done Spanish before in my life but using Rosetta Stone for 3 months and DuoLingo for a couple of weeks I managed absolutely fine in Barcelona. I was able to talk to the staff in cafes, read signs, etc. even though most were in Catalan and not Spanish.
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Juichiro
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(Original post by NedStark)
I'd probably go for Japanese then but it's completely different from Spanish or German. That's the problem I'm worried about. The letters aren't similar at all.
You will need roughly 3-4 years to get to an advanced level of Japanese. Also, learn your kana first and your kanji afterwards, after that, learning Japanese is a really nice ride in the park.
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NedStark
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(Original post by Juichiro)
You will need roughly 3-4 years to get to an advanced level of Japanese. Also, learn your kana first and your kanji afterwards, after that, learning Japanese is a really nice ride in the park.
4 years seem a bit much, but I guess learning a language is by no means quick. I'll have see how I can manage my time when I get to Uni (in a years time).
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chronic_fatigue
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I did German up to AS and I have picked it up again. My mum bought me a Hugo German Complete series when I first started learning German some years ago so I use that, speak to my Swiss and German family friends then read newspapers and books. There are some Podcasts free on itunes for various languages. They are a little basic things like how to say hi, talk about your town that sort of thing. I have heard the Teach Yourself *insert language* series are good. I think speaking to a native is important, there are sites dedicated to language learners looking for skype chats.
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NedStark
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(Original post by chronic_fatigue)
I did German up to AS and I have picked it up again. My mum bought me a Hugo German Complete series when I first started learning German some years ago so I use that, speak to my Swiss and German family friends then read newspapers and books. There are some Podcasts free on itunes for various languages. They are a little basic things like how to say hi, talk about your town that sort of thing. I have heard the Teach Yourself *insert language* series are good. I think speaking to a native is important, there are sites dedicated to language learners looking for skype chats.
Glad to see there's a lot of resources (that skype chat looks good) out there, I'm almost certain that I'll try Japanese now but the only concern for me is, will I have enough time to complete it around a degree?
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amyc123
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(Original post by NedStark)
Glad to see there's a lot of resources (that skype chat looks good) out there, I'm almost certain that I'll try Japanese now but the only concern for me is, will I have enough time to complete it around a degree?
Time management is the key to everything. I would have thought an economics degree is unlikely so have a ridiculous amount of contact hours?

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NedStark
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(Original post by amyc123)
Time management is the key to everything. I would have thought an economics degree is unlikely so have a ridiculous amount of contact hours?

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From what I've heard I don't think it has much contact hours, it's more personal work. About 12 hours a week, I'm not sure how the compares with other degrees though.
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amyc123
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(Original post by NedStark)
From what I've heard I don't think it has much contact hours, it's more personal work. About 12 hours a week, I'm not sure how the compares with other degrees though.
You'll have plenty of time then. I had 6 hours contact time then worked a 35 hour week on placement and still had time to practice my languages. Good luck.
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