Add a language to your degree



Always dreamt of living and working overseas but don’t want to commit to a full language degree? A language doesn’t have to be a standalone degree, it can also be an add-on. Enhance other degrees by combining them with foreign language skills. The best part: Language degrees are subsidised by the government to fill skill shortages, so you pay less for a language than for most other Humanities topics. 

Flinders University offers a variety of degrees around languages that can lead to a multitude of different pathways and job opportunities.  

Languages offered at Flinders are: 

Depending on your language of choice, you can choose from different degrees. 

5 ways to study a language at Flinders:

1)  As a Diploma in Language  

  • 3-year, part-time degree in conjunction with any Flinders Bachelor degree, adding one extra year to your overall program. 

2) As a Bachelor of Languages 

  • 3-year, full-time degree: the highest concentration of study in languages.
  • In addition to the above, you can also take cross-institutional minors in:
    • Chinese 
    • German 
    • Japanese 

3) As a major (36 units) or minor (18 units) as part of a 3-year, full-time degree in the: 

4) As an elective  

  • With any degree in which you have at least 4.5 units available 
  • Duration of 1 semester 
  • Some electives are taught in English 

 5) As a non-award topic 

  • Study a language without enrolling in a degree 

Prepare for a career of the future 

In Australia, there is a tendency to assume that language study is a little redundant as English is widely spoken across the world. What is important to note though is, that learning a language is a way to learn about a country, a culture, a society – it’s a foundation. There are many practical benefits to being able to communicate with people in their language. 

Especially people looking to study Asian languages need to be aware of the economic, political and educational opportunities arising with ties to Australia growing continuously. Developing an understanding of the language and culture is essential for successful partnerships between different countries. Hence combining Indonesian with a major in International Relations or Politics for example can be a solid foundation for a career in government departments or global businesses. 

Indonesian lecturer Tom Power explains, “Let’s take Indonesia as an example. I hope our Generation Z, will get an awareness of the importance of Indonesia as an economic partner and the opportunities relating to that. If we can equip the next generation of Australian leaders with expertise in Indonesia, that will be a major step in the right direction to consolidate and deepen ties between our countries, which has been a political goal for decades.  

“In the next couple of decades, we are going to inevitably see a deepening of economic ties because Indonesia is becoming much, much richer. The country has a huge population – it’s the fourth-most populous country in the world, a G20 country, a top 10 economy in terms of purchasing power, so all these factors will inevitably make Indonesia a more important economic partner. 

“By the time students who are at university now are building their careers and potentially moving into executive or management positions, Indonesia will be very important and this will provide more economic opportunities for Australians. Indonesia is going to become increasingly essential to the livelihoods of Australians. Being able to communicate with Indonesians in their own language, will put you in a much stronger position personally and in terms of a career.” 

Which career opportunities do I have with a language degree?

When it comes to studying Languages, these degrees will not only benefit you if you are looking to work in the fields of teaching or translation/interpretation. It is also a misconception that languages will only benefit you when working abroad. Language degrees will help you in any international workplace. This can be in an international company in Australia or elsewhere, not just in the country your language is spoken. 

Italian lecturer Dr Stefano Bona points out “Many people think Italy is only about music, art and culture. Italy is, however, one of the largest economies in the world. Engineering, aerospace, home automation and medical eyewear are all areas of excellence. So say you work for an Italian company or with an Italian supplier in Adelaide, obviously speaking the language is going to be a major benefit because it will help you grasp certain situations more easily.”  

With a curriculum designed with your future in mind, you’ll gain highly employable expertise in communication, critical thinking, research, planning and negotiation in a different language. 

So, why study a language?

Even when completing extended periods of language study at high school, it is often very difficult to develop a degree of competency in a language that would allow you to communicate fluently with people in the country. Strong ability with a language is something that is cultivated either through tertiary study or by living in a country in which the language is spoken. 

Many students mention they got a better understanding of their native language simply by learning a foreign language. English grammar is often not covered in depth in schools but is explained in detail when learning a foreign language as students need to be familiar with the grammatical structures of a language to be able to speak it properly. 

When studying a language at Flinders, no previous knowledge is required. Our courses are offered for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. Advanced level students may be able to skip the beginners’ topics and enter directly into the second-year courses through the Advanced Placement Scheme.  

Going by his own experience, Stefano highlights how speaking a second language will make you more open-minded, “I started questioning myself about why we say things the way we do. Often language reflects a whole way of life. Learning a second and third language, really helped me think in other ways and showed me that what others are doing is also meaningful in a different context. It put things into perspective. The experience of learning a language and understanding someone else’s cultural issues is immensely beneficial for social inclusivity.” 

Gain valuable transferable skills and boost your career

No matter which career you are striving towards, being multi-lingual will set you apart from other applicants and increase your chances in a progressively competitive job market. Adding a language to your degree will increase your opportunities around the world and broaden your horizon.  

Flinders’ close industry links will let you put your language skills into action through placements covering any field from film festivals and care facilities to ethnic radio stations and community organisations. Plus, you will be able to gain practical experiences overseas by studying parts of your degree abroad through our international exchange links. 

 Stefano confirms, “Being fluent in another language is a game-changer. You may not find the immediate application for it but at some point, it will come in handy. So if that interest is there, go for it.” 

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