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?

Learning another language will open up new opportunities and give you perspectives, skills and attributes that you might never have otherwise encountered: personal, professional, social, and economic. The advantages of learning a foreign language can be broadly divided into three main categories.

The benefits of learning a language

Although English has become a global lingua franca over the last several decades, not everyone speaks English. Ever-increasing levels of international trade and business, tourism, immigration, and globalised workplaces mean that we have more intercultural encounters than ever before, with people who may or may not speak English and who come from different cultural backgrounds. The reasons to learn a foreign language have therefore never been stronger. As Professor Joe Lo Bianco (University of Melbourne) said, “It is a disadvantage to not know English, and it is a disadvantage to know only English”.

What language will you study?

Language courses at RMIT can be studied at either undergraduate or postgraduate level. Depending on your program you can select between one and three years of language study through the Bachelor of International Studies (Languages) or undertake take one or more language electives in any other program of study. You can begin your language study at your existing proficiency level, i.e. complete beginner or more advanced (see individual language pages for details of how to take a placement test). 

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 program. These include Exchange (with partner institutions), Study Abroad (with non-partner institutions), Study Tours (Global Intensives), Work-based (internship) programs, and other short-term programs. Further information on the programs are now available.

Societal/personal reasons

Language study gives us the opportunity to understand the cultural and historical contexts that shape the information, ideas, beliefs and customs of people and societies around the world, and in turn encourages us to question the “universal truths” that we take for granted in our own culture: it is only when faced with a different worldview that we can really start to understand our own. Learning another language encourages respect for people from other cultural backgrounds by providing an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature. This leads to an increased appreciation of cultural diversity by expanding our view of the world and diminishing the barriers that cause distrust and fear, thereby fostering positive intercultural communication.

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 Nations 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.

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