How different is learning languages at uni?Watch
With regards to post a level languages, the learning becomes much more independent. At a level you may have been given vocab lists to learn related to the topics you are discussing. At uni, at least in my case, this didn't happen. You still discuss topical issues, but you will be expected to learn appropriate vocabulary yourself in order to express your opinion clearly. This doesn't mean you have to produce your own vocab lists ( unless you want to ), but you need to read around your subject, and through that, pick up the vocabulary you find useful or necessary. If I'm honest, although it won't feel like it, you pick up specialist vocabulary naturally if you read around it enough. For example, if you are studying secularism in France, you may be asked to read some news articles about the topic, and through that, you will come to recognise the vocabulary you need to know from reading enough articles. Ultimately, it's more about applying your knowledge of the language to express your opinions. You learn to write in a more academic style in your second language. It sounds frightening but honestly it's fine and you will become used to it (this is coming from a guy for whom languages do not come easily)
For beginner languages, it's much similar to a level in that you will be given vocab to study and grammar to practice to help you build a strong foundation, but the way you will be taught will be much more practical. That is to say, you won't be describing your house in your beginner language, but perhaps learning how to open a bank account, or reading scenarios about academic situations you will face on the year abroad in that language.
Hopefully this will help, and remember every uni is different in its teaching style, so check with them
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