By Osian Wyn Morgan
At the National Eisteddfod last year, Cardiff University’s ‘Welsh for All’ scheme was launched by First Minister Carwyn Jones with the intention of providing free Welsh Lessons for students at Cardiff University. Twelve months later, it was announced that the provision of free Welsh lessons will be expanding as a result of the success of the programme in the last academic year.
Over 200 students took advantage of the Welsh for All programme during its first year. Courses were offered at beginners level but as the scheme begins its second year this October, it will provide courses at different levels – foundation, intermediate, and advanced courses – in addition to the beginners course. These courses will be provided as an intensive course, or as a nine-week course, which will run alongside the students’ University Course.
So why learn Welsh? Whether you’ve lived in Wales all your life or have recently moved to Wales for University, you will soon come to realise that Cardiff, as the capital city of Wales, has a lively and exciting Welsh speaking community. With roughly 11% of Cardiff’s population speaking Welsh fluently, you will soon become familiar with the beautiful Language. Through hearing Welsh spoken on the streets, or by reading the bilingual road signs, the Welsh language will certainly be a part of your university experience in Cardiff. So why not learn a bit of Welsh – one of the oldest languages in Europe – and take part in the vibrant Welsh speaking community here in Wales?
Learning any language is a great experience and develops your academic and personal skills as well as your interest in a particular language and culture. Even though Welsh might not be as widely spoken as Mandarin, French or Spanish, learning some Welsh provides you with the opportunity to communicate bilingually with over half a million people here in Wales. Learning some Welsh will also look fantastic on a CV. Employers in Wales are eager to employ graduates who are able to communicate bilingually, so having the opportunity to develop your Welsh language skills whilst at Cardiff University will allow you to enhance your employability prospects, particularly if you choose to live and work in Wales after you graduate. You’ll also be able to read the Taf-Od section of Gair Rhydd and reach 100 per cent completion of the newspaper.
In addition to the benefits of learning Welsh, taking part in the Welsh for All scheme is a brilliant way to meet new people and to get to know people from all over the world who share the ambition of learning the language. As well as the weekly lessons, the Welsh for All scheme arranges activities and socials for it’s learners to practice speaking Welsh outside the classroom, which is a great opportunity to make new friends and to talk to fluent Welsh speakers in their mother tongue.
So if you’ve never said a word of ‘Cymraeg’ before, or if you’re hoping to improve your understanding of the Welsh language and develop your existing skills, why not join the Welsh for All scheme this October.
If you have any queries or questions, feel free to contact Nia Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org