Language studies

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

Why learn a language?

Though English may be a global lingua franca, not everyone speaks it. International business, tourism and immigration mean that we have more global and intercultural encounters than ever before. It has never been more beneficial to learn another language; no matter which one you study, you will gain new perspectives and skills that you might never have otherwise encountered.

Societal reasons

Studying a language helps us understand the cultural and historical contexts that shape the information, ideas and customs of other societies. It encourages us to question our “universal truths”: only when faced with a different worldview can we understand our own.

Language helps us understand the relationship between communication and human nature, teaches us to appreciate diversity, and diminishes barriers like fear and distrust.

Travelling in a country where you speak the language can greatly enhance your experience. It also gives you access to a whole new culture: art, music, dance, literature, fashion, cuisine, film, philosophy, and science.

Professional reasons

As more companies operate globally than ever before, knowing another language can greatly enhance your employability. Even in small companies, the ability to speak a second language can give you a competitive edge.

Government agencies, NGOs, tourism, engineering, education, law and justice, economics, communications, entertainment, scientific research, and a broad array of service sectors all have needs for people with multilingual skills. Even if a potential client or colleague speaks English, the best way to understand their needs is to speak their language.

Cognitive reasons

Studies have demonstrated the cognitive benefits of learning another language. The known benefits include memory improvement, a longer attention span, and a reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s). It has been linked to increased creativity, analytical skills, and reduced bias in decision-making.

Graduates often cite language subjects as some of the most valuable, referring to their increased ability in problem solving, dealing with abstract concepts, and listening skills. Studying a language can also improve your knowledge of English, your grammar and vocabulary skills.

Which language will you study?

Language courses at RMIT can be studied at either undergraduate or postgraduate level. You can begin your language study at your existing proficiency level, from complete beginner to more advanced (see individual language pages for details about placement tests).

A three-year major in the Bachelor of International Studies (Languages) can be undertaken in Chinese, French, Japanese and Spanish. Electives in any RMIT course can be undertaken in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.  

We focus on practical and applied language skills to enhance your linguistic and intercultural communication abilities, and to foster your intellectual and cultural engagement with the countries where the language is spoken.

You can undertake a variety of overseas study experiences depending on the structure of your course. These include exchange with partner institutions, study abroad with non-partner institutions, study tours (global intensives), work-based or internship programs, and other short-term programs. Learn more with RMIT Exchange, or head to Mobi to search our exchange partners.

Frequently asked questions

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer