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Posts Tagged ‘University’

German appeal

Why did the English speaker from Canada come to Germany to learn about North America in English? Sounds like the start of a corny joke, but many English-speaking students are flocking to German universities as a range of English language courses prove more appealing than those in the UK and the States.

Germany was recently named in an international league table as the most supportive country for overseas students. The appeal? English-speaking students never have to utter a word of German in order to complete their degrees.

As it stands, Britain ranks third in the same table, but risks losing this spot due to government policies making it harder for overseas students to study in the UK and to stay in the UK afterwards, whereas there are very few barriers for international students in Germany.

Tuition fees in Germany are significantly lower than the UK and far lower than in the US, where tuition fees can be as high as $50,000.

Germany is currently at the forefront of true internationalism in its education system, with many university lecturers being so proficient in English that an outside observer might not be able to tell who is a native speaker and who is not.

Since the cap on tuition fees in the UK has been lifted and universities can now charge up to £9000 per year, as opposed to a price in many German universities of 500 Euros per semester, will more UK-based students opt for an English-speaking degree from a German university?

It remains to be seen, although if you’re planning to trade in life in England for a German adventure, we’d recommend learning the language, as it’s a really valuable skill to bring home to the UK jobs market!

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When it comes to language learning in the UK, the figures aren’t great. Less and less students are taking languages but we’re hearing more and more stories about the increased importance put on learning them. So where do we stand?  I think that more needs to be done to encourage young people to study languages and there must be a clearer policy when it comes to languages in education.

Since 2004, studying a language at GCSE has been optional in the UK, however the new English Baccalaureate will only be awarded to students that take GCSEs in language subjects. Furthermore, there are set to be changes to the way league tables are calculated to encourage more students to take languages, and Universities like UCL will soon only consider applicants who have studied a language at GCSE level.

We are giving young people such mixed messages when it comes to studying languages. One minute languages are optional but then they won’t get the English Bac without them – is this a case of a bit too little, too late? With schools and students both unsure of where they stand when it comes to language learning, the current situation is too contradictory and I think that languages should again become compulsory to ensure the UK remains competitive and that British students get the best future job prospects.

As business becomes increasingly international, languages have become a crucial skill for employers, but we’re finding fewer and fewer British graduates with strong language skills as those that took their GCSEs once languages were no longer compulsory are now coming out of the education system. This needs to change if we want young people to have the best chance of finding a job and if we want British business to remain competitive.

What do you think?

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The CBI has caused controversy this week by announcing that University students should pay more for their loans and tuition fees. However an aspect of its report that has been lost amongst this debate is its advocacy of boosting language learning.

In the CBI’s press release, its Director-General Richard Lambert said, “Business should engage more with universities, both financially and intellectually. More firms should help design and pay for courses for the benefit of the current and future workforce, and more firms should offer students practical work experience. In return for this extra investment of time and money, business will want to see more emphasis given to certain subjects, such as science, technology, engineering and maths. Languages are also seen to be important, and the Task Force argues that more should be done to prepare students for the world of work, and teach them the generic skills that will help smooth their pathway into employment.”

According to the report, many companies have already committed to helping the cause, pledging to offer more internships and graduate positions. Although that’s a great start, is it enough? Can more emphasis be put on languages when it’s not even compulsory to study them at school? What could be done to better prepare students for the world of work? And how should companies help design academic courses? Let us know your thoughts.

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The credit crunch has caused a wide range of problems – but some are more obscure than others. A graduate from Monroe College in New York is suing the University, because like many graduates and experienced professionals worldwide, she hasn’t been able to find a job in the four months since finishing her degree.

Trina Thompson said that the University’s careers service had promised contacts and advice for job hunting but not provided them. She’s therefore asking for her tuition fees to be re-paid – all $70,000 of them.

This got us thinking – could we see similar lawsuits against recruiters?! Hopefully not – recruiting professionals will always be able to find positions for candidates, even during the tough times. It’s just a bit harder. But whether we can help or not, customer care should remain at a high level. If you’re looking for a job with languages, take a look at our latest positions here.

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Where have all the linguists gone? Making modern languages optional at GCSE must be having a knock on effect, as Universities are now facing the effects of less students applying to study languages.

The University of the West of England is stopping courses in French, German and Chinese for the next academic year as they only received 39 applicants, compared to other subjects which saw a 14% rise in applications. This comes as Queen’s University Belfast announced plans to close its German department.

This is just another example of the damage that a drop in language learning is causing. In a few years’ time this will have a significant effect on the business world too, with a shrinking pipeline of linguistic talent. At the recent European Award for Languages held by CILT, Baroness Coussins quoted some interesting research from Cardiff Business School, which found that the UK loses £9 – 21 billion from lost contracts every year due to our lack of language skills. That’s a phenomenal amount of money that could be helping restore our economy, but with news like this, the situation doesn’t look like it’s going to be improving in the near future.

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