We’re nearing the end of the first semester of the academic year and everyone’s already in the holiday spirit! Unfortunately for me, the holiday spirit will have to be put on hold till I finish two more tests next week. I may or may not be internally crying. On the bright side, I had just survived through two tests this week: one of which was the Reading and Listening test for French Stage 2 in the Global Graduate Award in Languages.
“What is this Global Graduate Award?” you may ask. Keyword: ‘may’. I don’t want to put words in your mouth… or do I? Anyway, the University of Surrey offers a series of free extracurricular courses for languages and sustainability and these are called the Global Graduate Awards in Languages or Sustainability respectively. It’s a full-year course that you can take alongside your course of study and it is credited if you are an undergraduate. However, if you are a postgraduate student, it is a non-credit course but you will receive a certificate of completion after passing the course. It would be an excellent addition to your repertoire when it comes to employability.
Did I mention it is free of charge? Yes, you read that right. I even bolded the words to get the message across better. It’s a free course, so why wouldn’t you join? Well, the only caveat is that some of the classes that you might be interested in joining may clash with your timetable. I had a tough time with that because my timetable is usually quite packed with lectures, tutorials, and lab sessions. However, I was able to avoid any clashes because I chose classes that were on Wednesday afternoons. If you didn’t know, Wednesday afternoons are kept free across the student body within higher education institutions for students to rest or do extracurricular activities.
I’m really sorry to those who are interested in the Sustainability course as I have not personally gone through the course myself. I do, however, know that it touches on topics about environmental issues, economic aspects of sustainability, and social issues associated with sustainability. This would probably be a great addition to your CV if you were studying a course like business management or engineering, for example.
The Global Graduate Award in Languages offers 11 different languages, from Arabic to Spanish, from which you can choose to study for the year. Each language course also has different levels (stages, as the university calls it) so it doesn’t matter if you are an absolute beginner or you want to continue developing your skill in the language. For all I know, you could be like me and not know a lick of Mandarin save for a few words like 奶茶 (nǎichá). If you don’t know, that means ‘milk tea’ which is an absolute necessity for boba-lovers like me (and you, probably). In fact, I also know 珍珠 (zhēnzhū) which means ‘pearl’, a term to refer to the tapioca balls in bubble tea. Put those together and you get 珍珠奶茶 (zhēnzhū nǎichá) which means ‘pearl milk tea’. See? You’re now set to order bubble tea wherever you are. I didn’t learn this from the Mandarin course but from friends who were kind enough to teach me everything about bubble tea. Anyway, you can learn Mandarin if you would like!
Back in Malaysia, before coming to the UK, I studied Japanese and French for a few months in Inter-Cultural Language School (ICLS) in Subang. That gave me a jumpstart in both languages so I was able to jump straight into Japanese Stage 2 in my first year of university. As there was no further stage for Japanese, I decided to move onto French Stage 2 this year to keep up my French skills. I find French a little harder to learn though, I’m not sure why. It does help that it is somewhat similar to English (more than Japanese, anyway) but my downfall is actually the speaking and listening aspect of the language. The French ‘r’ sound is always a problem. Other than that, French is actually really enjoyable to learn! My French teacher is Marie-Jo Morelle and I love her enthusiasm when she teaches.
In the Japanese class however, I was taught by Dr. Sun Young Yang. The interesting thing about her is that she also teaches the Korean classes. She’s Korean but lived and studied in Japan for a period of time before coming to the UK. She was also very supportive when she taught us. We would go through the grammar in a structured way every week, which I find to be useful. If you know the basics of Japanese, it is split into 3 writing systems which are used together in daily use. They are Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji with Kanji being the writing system that is most similar to Traditional Chinese. Kanji is usually learnt a little later on in the Japanese language due to its complexity. In GGA Japanese Stage 2, we only learnt the absolute basics of Kanji but it was not a requirement in the written exam. This was especially great for someone like me who struggles with Kanji.
The classes are held every week, like I’ve mentioned. At the beginning of the academic year, you should watch out for the application period for the courses because if you miss out, you won’t be able to apply till the next year because it is a full-year course. There is a portal for the Global Graduate Award courses where you can apply and review the status of your application, which is available at the beginning of the academic year.
If you have any burning questions, do feel free to email us or leave a comment! Click here if you want to find out more about the courses. That’s all for me for now, so I’ll see you guys next week! I’ll give you a hint about next week’s blog post. It is something the Malaysian Society has been working towards for the past few weeks. 😉
See you next time!