Language Centre

Frequently asked questions

We have listed some of the most frequently asked questions below. If yours isn’t here, send it to Yvonne at

How do I register?

Register through your home department when you select your optional modules for the year. If your department is participating in the online Student Choices pilot, select a language and fill in the requested information. In both cases, your request will come straight through to the Language Centre.

What level will I be assigned to?

We place you on the basis of prior experience, and assess you if your case is not clear-cut (for example, you have studied some, but have no qualification, or have studied outside of the UK).

Here are a few examples:

No experience: Level 1, complete beginners

  • GCSE A-C: Level 3
  • AS Level: Level 5
  • A Level: Level 7
  • CEFR C1: Level 11

Can I take a language as a module if I’m a complete beginner?

This depends on the degree you’re taking. Each department has its own rules – contact your administrator to find out.

I did a language at GCSE, but I can’t remember anything. Can I start over?

Many students are in your case, and once you get going you will find you remember more than you thought. You can’t start over, but we make sure we refresh your memory at the start of our modules to make sure you’re not left behind.

I really didn’t enjoy languages at school – will it be any different here?

We focus on teaching you to communicate independently, through a range of approaches and using varied materials. Our interest is getting you to learn and be able to speak, write, and understand the language in the real world. We won’t ask you to reel off set phrases by heart for the sole purposes of passing a test – instead, you will reverse engineer the language and use it in realistic communicative situations. Where appropriate, we use authentic materials to give you an insight into the culture.

I want to study a language, but not as part of my degree.

You can take an evening class in Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian or Spanish. There’s a fee to pay, but we keep it as low as possible for students. You can find more information and sign up on the evening classes page. Alternatively, you can use the self-study resources in the International Lounge (Herbert Manzoni K 1.24).