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How studying languages can expand your world

22 October 2019
Gain a competitive career edge with languages and cultures
In this interconnected era, cross-cultural and multilingual skills are integral to navigating the world around us. We talk with two of our former students who are making their mark through languages.

Through our new Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Languages), you can join Australia's most employable graduates (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020). Combine your passion for languages and cultures with practical skills in multilingual translation and high-level intercultural competency.

Endorsed by National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI), our new combined degree allows you to choose from 11 majors, including Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Hebrew (Modern), Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Modern Greek and Spanish.

Amelia Lemondhi

After graduating in 2007 with first class honours and majors in Indonesian Studies and Asian Studies, Amelia Lemondhi founded her own interpreting business where she is now an accredited interpreter and translator in Indonesian and English.

She has since served at high-level bilateral meetings where she worked alongside officials such as Indonesian President Joko Widodo, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Amelia Lemondhi interprets between former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Indonesian President Joko Widodo

Amelia Lemondhi interprets between former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Indonesia's President, Joko Widodo. Photo: Supplied by Amelia Lemondhi

 

Amelia’s clients have ranged from Australian and international governmental bodies to media companies and banks, including the United Nations and World Bank. Amelia is now based in Jakarta where she frequently travels throughout the country for work. She regularly returns to Australia where is also an interpreter for the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre.

How has studying a language shaped your career?

Studying with the School of Languages and Cultures allowed me to get to a near-native level of proficiency in the Indonesian language, and go into areas such as literature, history and human rights. I also studied Italian, and went on fantastic exchange programs and in-country study opportunities that allowed me to enhance my language skills.

Why study languages at university?

It’s an exciting challenge to learn a new language. People say it gets harder to learn a language after a certain age, but I don't believe that to be true. Learning languages keeps you young. The more multilingual you are, the greater the assets you have. Australia is a multicultural country so workplaces need people with multilingual capabilities – whether it’s translation, business, international relations, law, finance, technology or consulting.

The more multilingual you are, the greater your assets. Australia is a multicultural country and workplaces need people with multilingual capabilities.
Amelia Lemondhi, Languages graduate and interpreter/translator

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of pursuing studies in languages?

I encourage you to learn as many languages as you can! Get that scholarship, go on that exchange or internship program, pursue an honours year or do further studies – anything to build your skills and enhance your career prospects.

Heath Sloane

Heath Sloane graduated in 2017 with three majors: Chinese Studies; French and Francophone Studies; and Hebrew (Modern). He is based in Beijing, China, as a Yenching Scholar where he is undertaking a master’s degree in International Relations at the prestigious Yenching Academy at Peking University – known to many as "China’s Harvard". Heath is one of only 140 scholars selected from a pool of more than 5000 international candidates.

Before this, Heath was Public Affairs Officer at the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies where he routinely spoke Modern Hebrew and utilised his multilingual and cross-cultural skills in his work with diverse ethnic and religious communities.

Heath Sloane leans on 3D letter featuring a heart and YCA

Heath Sloane, who graduated with majors in three different languages, at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China. Photo: Supplied by Heath Sloane

Why did you study three languages?

Languages are powerful tools that allow us to access, study and interpret diverse worldviews. When presented with the opportunity to study at an institution with a broad variety of language offerings, I had no hesitation in pursuing three language majors to develop a deeper understanding of other cultures. Studying a language other than English can be a challenging endeavour, but the reward far outweighs the difficulty.

Languages are powerful tools that allow us to access, study and interpret diverse worldviews.
Heath Sloane, Languages graduate and Yenching Scholar

Why is studying languages important?

People-to-people connections are growing at an unprecedented rate. As technological innovations, immigration and global markets bring us closer to one another, we need to cultivate the skills to capitalise on opportunities generated by these trends. Any graduate equipped with language skills and cross-cultural competency can be an agent of change in shaping Australia’s future.

What's your main takeaway from studying languages?

Studying languages can be one of the most fulfilling choices of your life. Textbooks can only teach you so much: seek opportunities to learn, apply and refine your language competencies that go beyond the classroom.

 

Study two or more languages with Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Languages) degree or combine language studies with the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees.  
 

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