For students in higher education, your university is the easiest place to study a foreign language. It offers a range of opportunities, including specific language courses, language laboratories, exchange programmes and Internet-based tutorials.
Specialist language degrees
In some countries, language degrees include lessons in the target country’s literature, history and culture as a way of providing a broader context for the student. In others, courses concentrate entirely on the language itself and the student’s ability to speak and write it.
Languages are often studied as a minor component of a combined honours degree. These courses frequently involve work placements abroad, which is a practical way to experience a different working culture.
Open language courses and extra-curricular classes
It is possible to study a language at university, even if it is not related to your degree. Free courses are often available in languages that are considered particularly useful from a business or cultural perspective. Extra-curricular courses may also be available in “rare” languages that are outside the university’s main remit.
Whether you wish to supplement your language course with some extra practice or to learn a new language in your spare time, the majority of universities offer language laboratories to all students, usually free of charge. Modern laboratories are often digital, with computers able to link to other students and to offer techniques such as voice-recording, Internet-based games and language DVDs.
Most European higher education institutions have bilateral exchange agreements and networks already established, which help students study abroad as part of their undergraduate course.
There are two main student exchange organisations - AEGEE and AIESEC.
AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe) - also known as the European Students’ Forum. AEGEE offers a variety of resources for language learning via the Internet. These include traditional language courses as well as games, language quizzes and forums to interact with other students.
AIESEC - the world’s largest student organisation. AIESEC focuses on leadership skills and on making a positive impact on society.