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Sonia — Bachelor of arts majoring in Italian and cultural studies
Why did you choose to study
I had studied Italian since I was five,
and it seemed like a logical choice to
pursue it at a tertiary level. When I
started university, I hadn’t yet had the
chance to travel overseas, despite
already being reasonably fluent in
Italian. I had hoped that engaging in language study at
university would allow me to travel and study abroad.
What was the best thing about your course?
It was great to be placed in a setting where virtually everyone
was at a similar level of language proficiency. I felt that I was
able to learn more and practise my skills with peers whose
level of language prowess matched (or exceeded!) my own. It
provided me with the motivation to excel rather than just
cruise by and rely on established knowledge.
What was the worst thing about your course?
Sometimes it would be difficult to follow certain lectures, given
they were all conducted in Italian. While this was a good
challenge, it presented a problem if a class was missed.
Although lectures were often recorded, I felt that, from a
comprehension standpoint, it was imperative to actually
What did your course involve?
It was compulsory to attend tutorials and lectures, but in my
final year of study I had the opportunity to complete a
language subject in Italy for a month. It was by far the greatest
experience of my life, and I would recommend studying
abroad to anybody interested in pursuing language study.
Have you found work in your field?
I currently work in the publishing industry. The languages field
is extremely niche and, while I didn’t pursue a career in an
Italian-speaking workplace, I feel that the skills and
knowledge gained through my language study definitely
contributed to me gaining employment after university. The
great thing about studying languages is that it forces you to
gain the confidence to venture out of your comfort zone. I
found that my speaking confidence increased exponentially
through studying Italian, as I had to sell my ability to speak
Italian to peers and assessors. This skill became extremely
handy when it came to job interviews, as that process
certainly involves a degree of ‘selling yourself’!
What advice would you give to students considering
Languages are fantastic to study at a tertiary level, as the
coursework and assessment is incredibly different to anything
else you can study. It provides you with a break from any
other forms of assessment you might be working on, not to
mention setting you up with a skill that will remain with you for
life. Getting a job in the field after graduating may be difficult,
but the best way to approach it would be identifying in what
way your language study might be useful in a workplace. And
remember — networking is the key to success!
According to the 2012 national Course Experience Questionnaire
survey, language graduates were very happy with their teaching
and their overall experience, but not so much with the skills they
gained. Competition is tough for those entering the workforce,
with 35 per cent of graduates still looking for work several months
after completing their studies. A large proportion (38 per cent) of
language graduates went on to complete further study. Starting
salaries were average at $49,292.
FOR FURTHER HELP...
• To compare the pros and cons of languages with other
fields of study, see the table on page 60 and the institution
profiles in Section 4.
• For more information about careers in this field, see the Job
Guide website at http://jobguide.thegoodguides.com.au.
• For ratings of postgraduate languages courses, see The
Good Universities Guide to Postgraduate Courses.
Who’s still there in second year
RATE OF RETENTION
RETAINED AT THESE
For an explanation of abbreviations, see page 587
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