Ways to learn a new language at Essex

If learning a new language has been  sitting on your list of things to do, right next to ‘get fitter’ and ‘eat healthier’, you’re not the only one. It’s one of those things that’s always in the back of your mind; you know it would be worth doing because it gives such an edge when it comes to applying for jobs, but you just never seem to get around to it. Well, I have a great news for you. Being an Essex student, there has never been a better time to learn a new language and there are so many ways you can go about it.

Choose a language degree

The university offers great courses in languages. For those who take the Intensive Initial programme on their first year, the university might also cover the fees of the summer school abroad. I was lucky to go to International House in Valencia after my first year and came back being near to fluent in Spanish… and with a pretty nice tan!



Combined degrees / optional modules

A Language Degree might not be your thing, but Essex offers a whole lot of combined degrees, such as Business Management and Modern Languages, International Relations and Modern Languages, Art History with a Modern Language, and so on. Many degrees have optional modules, and you might be able to choose a language and get credits for it, so no more excuses 🙂


Year Abroad

Yes! Essex has an impressive list of study/work abroad options! Even if you don’t speak the language of the country you would like to go to, you don’t need to worry; many universities offer modules in English. You can practice the language, get to know the culture and experience life in a different place. I went to Mexico for my year abroad and it was definitely a life-changing experience. I did some fascinating courses that are not as easily accessible at Essex, such as Mayan Language and Mayan Epigraphy. I also got addicted to habanero chilli, learned to dance Cumbia, met so many people with  different views and helped me reflect on everything I thought I knew about the world. I spent some time in the desert too, hiked beautiful mountains and swam in turquoise thermal waters. Every country you choose might open a whole new world for you.


Languages for All

This is another opportunity you can’t miss! LFA is a study option that you can take as evening language classes alongside your degree. There’s no  additional cost to take these classes for a year, so it’s definitely worth it! You can study Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, or Spanish. You will have set times for classes and a tutor, so no more pushing it to another day 🙂 ! I did Russian in my first year and I enjoyed it so much that I continued in the second year, in spite of a fee. I think it’s totally worth it!

LfA will give you skills, satisfaction, certificate of completion of the course and credits towards your Big Essex Award, but it is worth noting that you will not get the academic credits for it. If you do need a course which will give you academic credits, check out the Essex Modern Language Certificate.

Language Cafés

If you don’t want to commit to regular classes, find out about Language Cafés in the Language and Linguistics Department! I attended the Russian and Spanish Cafés in previous years and I think it is a really pleasant way of learning! The sessions are led by current students (native speakers of the taught language), who organise games, conversational classes and resolve any language mysteries students struggle with, over some coffee and cookies.


Essex is such a multicultural university! Being here, you don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to be able to socialize with native speakers. You can get to know people from the country of your interest or people just like you, who want to learn about it. All you need to do is just go out there and make some friends! There are French societies, as well Bulgarian, Chinese, Nordic, Japanese, and many more! Some of them organise language classes, but there is also so much more to it! Go to Modern Languages Movie Nights, practice Spanish small-talk, get to know Japanese music, just surround yourself with it and have fun!



Whatever works for you, just do it! This is the right time!