Timor-Leste is one of Australia’s closest neighbours, but few people realise just how close.

Flights from Darwin to Dili take just over an hour. Despite its geographic closeness, Timorese expertise and speakers remain a rarity so Tetum is a highly-sought after skill.

Australia is Timor-Leste’s largest development partner providing Tetum speakers a unique chance to play a part in Timor-Leste's development goals.

Tetum is one of the official languages of Timor-Leste and has linguistic influences from Portuguese and Malay. Because of its grammatical simplicity, Tetum students usually move quickly in their language progression.

Program Aims

ANU is the only university in Australia that offers Tetum and offers a specialised and flexible approach.

Students will read and engage with Tetum-language media, write and speak the language using correct grammar and communicate with nuance and confidence.

Students will debate a range of issues including Timor-Leste-Australian relations and will gain in-depth knowledge of cultural issues and current affairs in Timor-Leste and the wider region.

Career opportunities

Timor-Leste is uniquely placed between Southeast Asia and the wider Pacific. Australia-Timor ties and Timor-Leste connections between other regional countries are increasing through international security, trade and development projects offering a range of dynamic careers such as:

  • Communications
  • Consulting
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Diplomacy/ Foreign Affairs
  • Environmental policy
  • International development
  • International business
  • Interpreting and translation
  • Journalism and media
  • Linguistics
  • Oil and gas
  • Policymaking
  • Publishing
  • Research and academia
  • Start-ups

Courses on Offer

TETM1002         Tetum 1

TETM1003         Tetum 2

TETM2004         Tetum 3

TETM2005         Tetum 4

Study Online

The four Tetum language courses are not offered on campus, but are instead available 100% online. Tetum can be studied as part of an ANU degree, as a non-award subject or cross-institutionally, and is taught through Open Universities Australia.

Online classes are not self-paced, and students will need to log in to a weekly online classroom to attend a minimum of 1.5 hours of classes. All students will need access to a computer, camera (inbuilt or external), a headset with microphone, reliable internet and a smartphone or scanner.

Interested in learning more about the program or how to enrol? We would love to hear from you! Get in touch using our languages enquiry form.

Global Learning Options

Students have multiple opportunities throughout their studies to study in the Pacific, and are encouraged to have that immersive experience to complement their language learning.

Most short programs are supported by the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan, with grants provided to students to assist with travel and/or living costs. Please contact the College Student Centre for more information or visit the global programs website.

Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team