Mature student looking to study Chinese with no foreign language exp... Realistic? Watch

JimJimJim
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Hi all.

I'm 24 and am looking to start an Access to HE course in Humanities and Social Science this September. (Never did A levels).

I was wondering if anyone here had got onto a Asian language (joint honours alongside something non language related to be precise) course without studying any other foreign language at even GCSE?

SOAS say it is preferred but not necessary. A lot of the others say a language must have been studied at GCSE/ A level first.

I will contact Unis direct but wondered if anyone had first hand experience?

Many thanks
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Squaresquirrel
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I did German at GCSE, but I did all sciences at A level and got accepted on to a biochemistry degree at Leeds.

I hated biochem and successfully switched to Chinese but I was unable to go on the year abroad so was forced to drop out.

A few years later I got accepted on a Japanese course at SOAS. At SOAS I've met a lot of people without language qualifications who have got on to Asian language degrees. It's all about your personal statement I think, if you have a strong one I think you're likely to get in.
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JimJimJim
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Thanks for the reply Squirrel, that's quite reassuring.

I have over a year or so before it would be starting so could always start studying the language in my spare time to give me something to write on my Per Stat.
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Squaresquirrel
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(Original post by JimJimJim)
Thanks for the reply Squirrel, that's quite reassuring.

I have over a year or so before it would be starting so could always start studying the language in my spare time to give me something to write on my Per Stat.


Ye, just learning the basics is a good idea to put on your PS. When learning I would advise to think about what bit's you enjoy, so on the PS you can say "I like learning ____ because of _____". Also look at what parts of the culture you enjoy, maybe read a book or two on something you find interesting. Good luck with it all!
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Snufkin
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(Original post by JimJimJim)
Hi all.

I'm 24 and am looking to start an Access to HE course in Humanities and Social Science this September. (Never did A levels).

I was wondering if anyone here had got onto a Asian language (joint honours alongside something non language related to be precise) course without studying any other foreign language at even GCSE?

SOAS say it is preferred but not necessary. A lot of the others say a language must have been studied at GCSE/ A level first.

I will contact Unis direct but wondered if anyone had first hand experience?

Many thanks
It is more than possible. Many Access students with no language experience go on to do language degrees. There was a guy on here a year or so ago who went to SOAS to study Nepali after doing an Access course, I don't think he had any language experience either. Obviously if you can do a GCSE in any language (it doesn't need to be Chinese), that will help your application, but it isn't a requirement.

I suggest you email the SOAS admission tutor and say that you are thinking of applying but don't have any language experience, ask them what they would advise you do to make a competitive application. Far too few applicants do this, but admissions staff are there to answer your questions, so ask!
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sabina37
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(Original post by JimJimJim)
Thanks for the reply Squirrel, that's quite reassuring.

I have over a year or so before it would be starting so could always start studying the language in my spare time to give me something to write on my Per Stat.
If you're looking to learn the basics before you start the course at uni, I'm currently doing a beginners' Chinese course through the Open University and would definitely recommend it. It's very flexible as you can do it all at home, however still get feedback from your tutor through assignments etc.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by sabina37)
If you're looking to learn the basics before you start the course at uni, I'm currently doing a beginners' Chinese course through the Open University and would definitely recommend it. It's very flexible as you can do it all at home, however still get feedback from your tutor through assignments etc.
Bad idea. It is stupidly expensive and you get very little for your money. The OU isn't very good at languages.
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sabina37
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(Original post by Snufkin)
Bad idea. It is stupidly expensive and you get very little for your money. The OU isn't very good at languages.
Yeah I do agree that the cost is an issue. I'm only able to study through the OU because my school has offered it to me for free. But if you can afford it I do think it's a good way to make a start on a language before studying it from scratch at uni, and personally I think the course is pretty good considering it's a self taught one. I may be wrong though and I do agree that it may not quite be worth the high cost.
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Barumaru
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Hi Jim

I was in exactly the same boat as you last year, hopefully i can reassure you. Im currently doing a humanities access course i have also never studied a foreign language. However i have a couple of offers from Unis for Japanese Studies, i will be firming the offer i got from Sheffield. The East Asian Studies department there is really great from what ive seen.

Without a language GCSE under your belt your personal statement will be really important, u must show them that you are committed/dedicated to Chinese. I would recommend teaching yourself some basics if u can, I did with Japanese. It beefs up ur personal statement quite a lot and shows your already dedicated enough to learn some

I hope this helps
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