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Widen your horizons - learn a new language

Languages at BU

During Semester 1 2020 all 1-1 appointments with the Language Adviser, as well as workshops, inductions and conversation clubs, will take place online.

At BU we know just how significant language skills can be, so if you want to learn a new language or brush up your existing skills we can help you.

The Languages@BU area on Brightspace is open to all staff and students. It contains detailed self-managed learning guides in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese for complete beginners to advanced.  All the supplementary audio and video files which support the course books available from the library can be accessed via links to the relevant folders in Panopto.

Languages@BU also has an information and registration section where you can sign up for the language and level you require. On signing up you will be invited to an induction where we will explain in more detail the resources available for language learning. Inductions are run regularly in the first few weeks of the academic year and in the New Year. Staff and students signing up at other times of the year will be invited to a 1-1 meeting with Paul Barnes, the Language Adviser, who will explain everything in more detail.

How to sign up for languages

To get started with language learning, go to Languages@BU unit on Brightspace

Register your interest by clicking on "Begin" in the sign-up section on the Languages@BU home page. This way we know how many students and staff are interested in language learning and are in a better position to help you. Once you have registered, we will invite you to an induction or arrange a 1-1 meeting where we can explain in more detail how everything works and give you some tips and advice towards successful language learning. Inductions take place several times per week in the first few weeks of both the autumn and spring terms. Timetables and sign-up sheets for these inductions are also available on the BrightSpace unit. At other times of the year you can make 1-1 appointments with Paul Barnes, the Language Adviser.

The Language Adviser

The Languages@BU resources are overseen by the Language Adviser Paul Barnes who is available in the Languages office (DL126) in The Sir Michael Cobham Library at regular times. He can offer advice on the most appropriate materials for your individual needs, as well as give guidance on language-learning techniques.

Facilities and resources

Languages@BU has resources and links to courses in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese. Self-managed learning guides have been produced for most of our paper-based course books in the library.

All the supplementary audio and video files for all the language resources in the library can be accessed by simply clicking on the book image of the course you require.

Conversation Clubs, facilitated by students who are native speakers of the target languages, run in the autumn and spring terms to give language learners an opportunity to practise what they have learned. Language learners can sign up for these clubs via  Languages@BU in Brightspace.


There are two sections on Brightspace associated with language learning:

Languages@BU where you can find materials and information to help you learn or improve French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic
English Language Support, which is designed to help you improve your English language accuracy and skills.

Working abroad

If you are hoping to work or study abroad we encourage you to use the Languages@BU resources to improve your existing language skills or learn a language from scratch. Even knowing a little of a language before going to live in a different country can enhance your experience significantly.