Growing up bilingual, Diploma of Languages student Rosalind Moran was always able to appreciate the world around her from different cultural perspectives. Her experience living in France as a child ignited a passion for languages which she has been able to cultivate further since beginning her studies at ANU. Now in her Honours year of her Bachelor of Philosophy (PhB), Rosalind knew from early on that she wanted to study both Mandarin and Portuguese, but realised it would be difficult to fit both languages in around her other study commitments. Enrolling in the Diploma of Languages in her second year helped Rosalind learn Mandarin the way she wanted to, without obstructing her PhB studies.
As part of her Diploma, Rosalind joined an International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) program at Peking University. She completed Chinese 1 prior to her arrival in Beijing, where she spent one month on the Banco Santander Scholarship.
“The program was beneficial for my language skills in that it took the language out of the classroom, and I was forced to use what basic skills I had. I found that even in one month, my ear for Mandarin improved quite a bit, as did my pronunciation.”
Rosalind returned home upon completion of the program, but it wasn’t long before she was heading abroad again. Midway through her third year, she began a nine month program at Taiwan National University on the Ministry of Education’s Huayu Enrichment Scholarship.
“It was during my stay in Taiwan that my Mandarin skills really came together, owing to long-term immersion and the chance to develop a social circle using Mandarin.
“It was also very beneficial to my studies because I decided to challenge myself and learn traditional characters. Now I feel more confident reading traditional, but returning to ANU and having to study in simplified again means that I have a relatively good understanding of both.”
Rosalind’s language-learning experience in Taiwan helped her bridge the gap to return to ANU and enrol in more advanced courses.
“It really boosted my confidence in my speaking abilities. The school didn't allow us to speak anything other than Mandarin, and we were regularly asked to give speeches in Mandarin either from memory, or by improvising. It meant being thrown into the deep end, but I really relished the challenge. It was fun!”
Back home, Rosalind has had an equally positive experience studying Mandarin. “Studying languages at ANU gives you a lot of opportunities for interpersonal communication because students always talk about their lives and experiences in the process. You really get to know your teachers and classmates – building relationships, learning content, and enjoying yourself at the same time.”
Some of her favourite university experiences have been with her language instructors. “The teachers at ANU always make an effort to teach in Mandarin. I enjoyed how friendly they were. They spoke to their students as equals.”
Ultimately, the best thing about the Diploma program has been the doors it has already started to open. “Speaking another language has always been such a powerful and enlightening ability. It provides a chance to see inside other people’s cultures and to appreciate so many interesting aspects of these which just aren’t translated into English. And life is richer if you can reach beyond your own perspective and challenge yourself and your own culture's worldview.”
If you share Rosalind’s love for languages, check out the new multilingual section of Woroni, the official ANU student newspaper. Rosalind will serve as the editor of the multilingual section beginning 2017.
Find out more about the Diploma of Languages here.