Everyone's heading for the language gym

Published: 1 January 2009 at 10:41

New Year sparks new idea for improving the mind and job and travel prospects through language learning

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Anglia Ruskin University is offering people the chance to start the year off with a new kind of New Year’s resolution. The new January semester will see the launch of the University’s new Language Gym which aims to give everyone a head start when it comes to learning languages.

It is one of the projects in the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) funded Routes into Languages Programme, promoting language study (www.routesintolanguages.ac.uk).

The Language Gym will help to raise accessibility and promote flexibility of language learning for the local community, by giving people the chance to come into the University to use a choice of packages in the University Language Centre, including self-access programmes, taught University modules and one-to-one tuition in a wide range of languages. Membership costs start from £20 per month.

The programme mirrors standard gym membership with people signing up for languages, instead of exercise: Bronze membership is a self-study package, supported by dedicated self-study advice from the University and giving full access to the University Language Centre for a wide range of languages, and Silver membership is a flexible system of one-to-one or group tuition in a wide range of languages.

Gold membership is the premium membership which sees enrolment on a University Anglia Language Programme credit-bearing module in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, German or Russian.

The first year of Routes into Languages (East) with funding from the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has shown a healthy increase in the uptake of languages according to language experts.

Sarah Schechter, Director of Languages Enterprise at the Department of Languages & Intercultural Communication and Project Manager for the Routes into Languages East Consortium, at Anglia Ruskin University said:

"This latest language initiative is designed to make people think about the many opportunities that could present themselves if they made the decision to learn a new language in the New Year."

"Developing a love for languages and all the different cultures is a lifetime asset that widens people’s horizons – whether in terms of travel or career prospects and that has got to be something worth checking out for 2009."

Consortium partners Anglia Ruskin University, University of Cambridge, University of Bedfordshire and The Open University have all reported positive results from the programme. The University colleagues are successfully collaborating on a number of exciting initiatives to open up opportunities for language learning.  Although the main Routes into Languages activity is aimed at the 14-19 range, examples include all ages and generations. 

For further details please email routes@anglia.ac.uk

Sarah Schechter is available for comment on 07709 797192 over the holiday period.