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Widen your horizons - learn a new language

Languages at BU

At BU we know just how significant language skills can be, so if you want to learn a new language 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. It also links directly to our SansSpace Virtual Language Centre which contains all the supplementary audio and video files to support the course books which are available from the library. The SansSpace Virtual Language Centre is available 24/7 from any device so you can work on your language skills when and where it suits you best.

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 come to an induction where the available resources for language learning will be explained in more detail. 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.

The language adviser

The Languages@BU resources and the SansSpace Virtual Language Centre 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.

The SansSpace Virtual Language Centre gives language learners access to all the supplementary audio and video files for all the language resources in the library with a simple click of the mouse. The software also enables you to record yourself in your target language and compare your pronunciation with that of native speakers.

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.