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Iain's blog

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

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I think I’m turning Japanese….

Konichiwa. Senshuu, Nihongo wa benkyoo o shimashita. Watashi wa Iain o desu.

Or for those of you who don’t speak Japanese:

Hello. Last week I studied Japanese. My name is Iain.

Yes, rather than spend the first few weeks of my holiday proper (after saying goodbye to all my friends) just moping around I decided I would learn Japanese. I’ve been interested in Japanese culture, the country and the language for quite a while now; it might be part the reason why I study a Japanese martial art, or maybe because of it. So I decided that whilst I had the time I would take advantage of the university’s Languages For All programme and learn some basic Japanese.

The Languages For All scheme runs two different types of course, you can either study the language of your choice as an intensive course for a week, as a weekly course over the semester or self-study using the online and library based facilities. The intensive courses run in January and June and comprise of 4 hours per day for 5 days culminating in reading, oral and aural tests to check you have learnt something over the course of the week. The weekly course are for either 1 x 2 hour or 2 x 1.5 hour sessions in the evening and again have tests to check understanding at the end.

The courses themselves are free, you just need to buy the textbooks, which cost me around £35 for the two which covered Beginners level 1 and 2 so not too expensive in the general scheme of textbooks. The courses were intense, there is a lot to cover in 16 hours of teaching before the revision and tests on Friday so you do need to be keen and switched on. However, everyone is in the same boat and I made some good friends from my time on the course. I enjoyed the first week so much that I signed up to do the second week.

It did mean that I had to give up two weeks of my holiday, but I wasn’t planning on doing anything and it meant that I got to sit in Alexandra Gardens and have lunch every day. I even managed it when it was little cloudy and overcast, just because I could. Image credit.

Courses are available in:

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Mandarin

They are looking to add more courses including Arabic and Russian soon. The best thing about them is that they are free for Cardiff students, and you can count up to 30 credits per year towards your degree mark in most schools (it’s 10 credits per course). There are a variety of levels from beginner to intermediate and beyond if you want to continue your learning. You can read more about the courses offered and the details at the Languages For All website. It can even help with a year or part year abroad with the Global Opportunities scheme and looks good on your CV.

Domo arigato (thank you), until my final blog about my graduation which is on 16th July.

Siyonara (goodbye).

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