One of our first graduates of BA Modern Languages: Chinese 


First students to have studied Chinese graduate from the University of Exeter

The first students to have studied Chinese have graduated from the University of Exeter 

The Modern Languages Department celebrated with the first students to graduate from the Chinese (Mandarin) BA programme in July. The group of 34 have also studied other languages, as well as Chinse culture, art, history, politics and literature. Many have spent time learning overseas at top Chinese universities, such as Peking (PKU), Tsinghua or Fudan as part of their degrees. The University of Exeter is the only university in the South West to offer Chinese as a language to undergraduates. Its introduction comes as China’s influence in the world continues to grow, and having a knowledge and experience of the culture of the country will give the graduates an advantage as they enter employment. 

Professor Sally Faulkner, Head of Modern Languages at the University of Exeter, said: “Being able to master the most spoken language in the world is a useful skill for students to have as they prepare for the world of work, particularly when this is combined with fluency in another language. It is important that universities are able to offer a range of world, and not just European, languages. We have been offering Chinese as a language option since 2013, and now students can combine the study of Chinese with another subject like history or sociology”.

Jordan Coates, who studied Chinese, German and Spainish and is graduating this year, said he chose the subject because he thought it would be useful with career prospects in the future. “As Chinese is my third language, I've just taken Chinese language modules and no Chinese cultural modules. These cover the basics for language learning: speaking, listening, reading, writing, but also we cover quite a lot of cultural differences between China and the West which are fascinating, and often very essential to actually understand and interpret the language,” he said. “It's definitely helped improve my perseverance skills! I think that because it's so different to western languages it has given me a different perspective to language learning. You really can't directly translate from English to Chinese because it really doesn't work. In the long-term it should also help me stand out in the job market not only because it's a useful skill, but also because it shows I'm willing to challenge and push myself.” Jordan spent three weeks in Shanghai at East China Normal University as part of the Study China programme where he studied Chinese and participated in cultural classes and excursions. Following his graduation, he is now going to spend a year in China, with internships at a bilingual travel magazine and a social enterprise which works to offer innovative education programmes to state school pupils in Beijing. He also plans to spend six months studying Chinese language and culture at Hubei University in Wuhan.

Students can choose to study Chinese at undergraduate level either alongside one (or two) other languages, alongside a choice of other subjects as a Combined Honours programme, or as a bespoke Flexible Combined Honours programme. Find out more details on our website.

Date: 2 August 2017

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