Centre for Language Studies
What is it about
The Centre for Language Studies (CLS) teaches 13 languages in all: Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Spanish, Tamil, Thai and Vietnamese. It offers a wide range of language modules in these languages, spanning all levels from elementary to advanced. These modules are available to FASS students as part of their major requirements (Area Studies students) and as unrestricted electives. They are also offered to students of other faculties who may read them as breadth modules. In addition, in cooperation with the International Relations Office, the CLS has been conducting language programmes for students who are preparing to go on exchange to China, France and Germany. Students who have acquired knowledge of the languages elsewhere during or prior to their NUS course of study can be admitted to higher level modules by means of placement tests which are usually conducted before or at the beginning of each new semester. Information on the modules offered by the CLS and placement test dates is available from the CLS General Office or its homepage.
Exposure to the target language community and its culture is highly beneficial for language acquisition. For this reason, the CLS organises language immersion programmes on a regular basis, which include typically an intensive language course, homestay or contact opportunities with native speakers, and excursions and visits. Currently, its immersion programmes, usually of three or four weeks' duration, cover the following countries: France, Germany, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
The various language programmes also organise or participate in co-curricular activities on a regular basis to promote the use of the target language as well as to enhance students' understanding of the target cultures. Such activities, some of which are organised or sponsored by external cultural institutions, include screenings of movies, sketch performances, cultural festivals and weekend homestays with native speakers in Singapore.
In today's fast globalising world, where international boundaries no longer constitute barriers to the movement of people, knowledge of foreign languages is an important asset which helps unlock doors. Learning a foreign language cultivates an open and inquisitive mind and allows students to gain deeper insights into the life, culture and business practices of the foreign country. It will naturally also improve their mobility after graduation and allow them to advance their careers abroad. Employment prospects both in the public and private sectors are bright for graduates with working knowledge of a foreign language. Working knowledge of a foreign language is usually considered an important asset by multinational corporations, government ministries and statutory boards (such as IE Singapore, EDB, MFA, MINDEF and STB), and Singapore companies seeking to expand overseas.