Bonjour! Hola! Namaste! – Languages at Keele

Posted by Arshia on January 13, 2015

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“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”

– Frank Smith

When asked what you would do with a million dollars, a pretty common answer is, “I would travel the world.” A lot of people with this dream (myself included) imagine themselves exploring beautiful countries like France, Italy, Japan, Morocco and Malaysia and falling completely in love with the culture, history and language of each country. For those of us who aren’t millionaires (yet) and would like the opportunity to learn languages right here in Toronto, York U is the perfect place to start.

If you’re a total francophile like me, you might be interested in studying French at university. Glendon, York U’s liberal arts and bilingual campus (also my home campus), is an excellent choice for studying French and Spanish. If you prefer staying at the Keele campus, no problem, you can still learn French there!

Through the Department of French Studies, you can:

a) Major or minor in French Studies, a BA that is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of language, literature and linguistics.


b) Take courses in French. You can enroll in these courses even if you’re not majoring or minoring in French. 

Whether you prefer option a) or option b), you may have to take a placement test, which indicates your level of comprehension in French. Contact the Department of French Studies to ensure you take the necessary steps in completing this possible requirement.

What’s special about taking French at Keele?

  • EFY (A French-speaking social club run by students)
  • An exchange program with the Université de Montaigne in Bordeaux, and l’Université Paris-Est-Créteil (France)
  • The Multimedia Language Centre (MLC)
  • Certificates of Language Proficiency in French

Of course, not everyone is interested in learning French. You might be more keen to learn other languages, such as Japanese, German, American Sign Language (ASL) or Jamaican Creole. Keele offers courses in these languages and many others through the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics (DLLL).

Meet some York U Students who love languages!

Meet Tisna

A third-year linguistics major at Keele who is an avid fan of the language and culture of Korea.

Tisna in Korea
Tisna at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, Korea

Upon the recommendation of her Korean professor from a previous course at York, Tisna participated in the Toronto Korean Speech Contest, where she won second place in the beginner’s category. As the first place winner was unable to accept it for personal reasons, Tisna was then offered a scholarship to study Korean at the Catholic University of Korea for the summer!

Tisna is currently taking a full-year (6-credit) course in Intermediate Modern Standard Korean, in a small class of about 20 people with engaging material to develop her reading, listening and writing skills. One of the best things about her class, she says, is that although grammar is a vital part of their course, they also learn a lot about Korean culture by watching Korean TV shows, and by talking about food, music and places to visit in Korea.

Meet Haya

A second-year International Studies major at Glendon who is also taking Korean at Keele.

Haya and education
Haya’s thoughts on education.

Along with taking a full-year course in Elementary Modern Standard Korean, Haya is also completing the French requirement that comes with being a Glendon student. “I’m glad to be able to take these language courses as they’re very beneficial to my career path in diplomacy”, she tells me.

I asked Haya what she enjoys about language courses at Keele and she shared this:

“I feel that the courses are taught really well through interaction between the student and the professor. The classes are small, so the comfort level with the professor is high enough for a student to confidently communicate with them in the language they’re learning. I really enjoy holding conversations in Korean with my professor.”

Another cool way to pick up a language:

The Wor(l)d Cultures Buddy Project

Exclusively for students registered in programs housed at the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics. It’s a new, creative way to explore another culture by hanging out with a first-language international student.

So don’t worry if right now you sound like this:

Image Source

Because once you’ve practiced enough at York U, you’ll eventually sound like this:

jean dujardin biscotte
Image Source

Arshia is a third-year international studies major at Glendon College. She no longer blogs regularly for the YU Blog but may post on occasion as a guest-blogger.

See other posts by Arshia

  • Megan

    I love your blogging style Arshia! Keep it up

  • Sunera

    Fantastic post Arshia!