Feeling Positive

After receiving my results for Semester 1 a few weeks ago I guess I can officially claim that “I am an Arts student”! This semester I will be going down to three (from the normal four) subjects in order to be able to work and study at the same time. I am trying my best to fit in working as a veterinarian in private practice and with the final year veterinary students in the university teaching hospital in Werribee (somewhat of a logistical and sometimes stressful challenge). It feels like I haven’t had a holiday but I am not complaining! I am grateful to feel so interested in what I am learning every day and to be working with such welcoming and knowledgeable veterinary teams, until I fall in a tired heap that is. 😉

I just wanted to mention a subject that has completely changed my outlook on life and future career since March 2019 – Wellbeing, Motivation and Performance (WMP). This is a first year Positive Psychology subject from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and is available as a Breadth subject.  After falling in love with the semester plan in the first lecture (whole weeks dedicated to topics such as Gratitude, Motivation, Resilience and Emotions!) I spoke to my lecturer Rachel Colla to see how I could find out more or get involved. I had heard whispers about Positive Psychology in the veterinary profession as a tool to combat mental health but didn’t know much else.

Rachel let me know that the 2019 World Congress for Positive Psychology (WCPP) happened to be in Melbourne in July. Of all the places in the world the biennial international Positive Psychology conference happened to be in my home city (if that is not a sign I am heading in the right direction, what is?) and that a bunch of international positive psychology superstars would be descending on my home town in the semester break. I signed up to be a volunteer and that’s how I came to spend all my waking hours from July 18-July 21 surrounded by all things positive. I was lucky to meet so many brilliant and engaging people from a multitude of different backgrounds but above all it was inspiring to see how the people who have taken risks with their careers are now the ones doing the work they love in their own self-created jobs.

I am so grateful to both Rachel Colla and Sue Salamito (my WMP tutor) for encouraging my involvement and being so generous with their knowledge. The fantastic WMP team has been incredibly welcoming and supportive and I hope to use my knowledge from Positive Psych not only in my future work but in the way that I live every day.

I guess the underlying theme here is don’t be afraid to talk to people about your interests – there are so many individuals and groups at this university who want to help you and support you but they can’t do this unless you show them you are interested and willing to have a go. Just ask.

The funny thing is, the main reason I came back to university was to study philosophy and I haven’t taken a single philosophy subject yet. So far Positive Psychology, Sociology, Spanish and Gender Studies are keeping me on my toes and I am excited to continue finding out about the other things I never even knew existed before starting a Bachelor of Arts. Vamos!


Screenwriting: the vaguest, most obscure course at the University of Melbourne

Here it is folks, what you’ve all been waiting for – a guide to the most obscure course offered at the University of Melbourne! I wish I was joking.

 

When people ask what I’m studying, the reactions all vary. Some think it’s awesome – some ask me what on Earth screenwriting actually is. No matter the response, it’s always accompanied by a “I didn’t even know that was a thing you could study!”. Which is why I’m sitting here, writing all the ins and outs you need if you want to consider studying screenwriting, or are just wondering what the course entails (sure, the University of Melbourne site is slightly informative, but is it? Is it really?)

 

Firstly, I’d like to put out there why I chose to study screenwriting. Unlike almost all of my peers, it isn’t because I was a film and TV fanatic. Wild, I know. I haven’t seen every Hitchcock movie, nor do I watch a different film everyday like my good friend Jamie. I struggle to keep up with the TV Tonight gossip, and I haven’t seen Breaking Bad. But I do love to write, more than anything on the Earth, and I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives. I’m also a history and physics fanatic, but I was too dumb to be an astrophysicist, and too smart to study history full time because I knew it would likely lead to nowhere. So I found a career where I can incorporate all three of my primary passions, and here I am; one semester into screenwriting, and I can’t see myself doing anything else. If you have the same or a similar problem, consider writing for film and TV – the possibilities of what you can create are endless, and the limit only stretches as far as your writing ability and budget.

 

The Screenwriting stream at the School of Film & Television only takes in around 20 people per year, and if you really want to get in, you have to write your little heart out. There’s a writing component you submit in response to one of the prompts that is provided for you, and it isn’t even a script – it’s an 800 word short story that can take any turn  you want. One thing they stress is that they aren’t looking for anything, just the makings of a good writer and a decent imagination. Seriously, you can write about ANYTHING. And that’s one thing you quickly learn throughout the year; this isn’t high school, they aren’t trying to prepare you for anything other than your own career. They don’t care what you write about, just that you use the tools they eventually teach.

So, studying screenwriting. It’s lit. I write, I study films, and I’m going to (try and) break into an industry I have always admired and idolised. Sure, I’m only one semester in, but if writing is something you’re interested in, hit me up for some more screenwriting tea and I can give you even MORE information.

I do feel like I’ve gone on a bit of a tangent, but here are the facts:

  • If you love to write, consider screenwriting.
  • If you love movies and are good at English and Drama, look into it.
  • If you love television and can imagine yourself writing your own show, consider screenwriting.
  • If you just binged Stranger Things and want to make something just as cool, maybe check whether or not you have any original ideas first, and THEN consider screenwriting.
  • This course and the general career is hard. You’re constantly being pressed for original ideas, and you can’t slack off. There’s a lot of added pressure considering only 20 people are accepted into the course, and it’s drilled into you. But don’t let that turn you off.
  • There’s no course in Australia quite like the one the University of Melbourne offers. The VCA has such a prestigious reputation that every course associated with it pretty much lives up to it, and the opportunities you are given are pretty amazing.
  • Everything you learn during your course WILL be relevant to breaking into the Film and TV industry.
  • If you have multiple interests and can’t imagine giving any of them up, also consider screenwriting. The piece that scored me an interview was based around Anne Boleyn’s execution – you really CAN have it all!! You don’t have to give up all your passions just to have a sustainable career (maybe get back to me in ten years about that)

So, that is all I will be putting out about screenwriting specifically. I mainly wrote this because there wasn’t much information when I was looking into it as a high schooler, and I hope this has maybe helped at least one person get all the information. If you’re wanting to have a look at the University website, here’s the link: https://study.unimelb.edu.au/find/courses/undergraduate/bachelor-of-fine-arts-screenwriting/

So, that’s all for now. Until next time Jaffy readers xx


Veterinarian? Sociologist? Dancer? Hmm

¡Buenas tardes!

I’m Nicole, a Jaffy (Just Another Fabulous First Year) Bachelor of Arts student, though if I’m being honest I should probably tell you that this is my third degree, officially Mature Age now. Yes, I have an addiction and it is called Learning. *sigh*

The path to where I am now hasn’t been quite straightforward – I graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2016 but have decided to return to study to create a career using my unique mix of degrees and follow new passions. I have no idea where I am going but moving to Spain in 2017 definitely changed my mindset about static careers and following the status quo. I’m focusing on the journey and not the destination ¡qué será, será! Current thoughts are sociology, philosophy and positive psychology but really, Arts is so varied and my mind is being lit up by so many different subjects I can’t make a decision just yet!

I am language obsessive compulsive and so far have Swedish and Spanish under my belt, hopefully with more to come. There is nothing on this earth more satisfying and challenging than going from looking at foreign characters on a page and hearing sounds that sound like Elvish (yes, this is what Swedish sounds like to new ears) and ending up having full conversations and writing essays in that language like it has always been a part of you. I’ve enrolled in a Diploma of Languages to maximise the subjects I can take in my Arts degree and study on exchange in Latin America in a few years.

Outside of uni I work as a veterinarian, yes I still love animals and always will, but I am seeing what other pathways are available to someone with a veterinary degree and an open mind. Being the Salsa and Flamenco dancing fiend that I am you can find me at any of the Latin or Flamenco nights in Melbourne or in the dance studio I built at the back of my house for midnight dance sessions. Have I already mentioned obsessive?

I love being back on campus surrounded by so many progressive people and opportunities, it feels like I have found where I need to be. Last semester in Arts was incredibly eye opening and fulfilling in a number of ways and I am glad I made the decision to return, even though a few people disagreed with my decision. I’m afraid I am now beyond the point of following other people’s expectations for my own life and am just seeing where my interests take me. My current challenge is trying to be less of a Scientist and more like an Arts student, adapting my brain to a more “conceptual and critical” style of thinking rather than my very “black and white, memorise this” scientific formula style. I am enjoying this and can’t wait for Semester 2 to begin!

Looking forward to having you on the adventure  ¡hasta la próxima!


Decisions, decisions, decisions. \(º □ º l|l)/

 

 

Well, I couldn’t get back soon as I had promised. I’ll admit, I was drowning in the sea called Assignments and it certainly wasn’t pleasant. Furthermore, my first winter here has been too kind, so I decided to go on hibernation for a week, occasionally responding to my mom’s messages letting her know I’m alive and breathing. Because we all know what happens if we don’t do that. (⊙_⊙)

 

 

As you all may know by now, I procrastinate. Like a lot! I mean, I used to be a fairly organized person but I guess that part of me is on an indefinite hiatus for reasons unknown.

So, let me tell you a little bit about my emotional journey until now. Honestly, the UniMelb offer letter came knocking at my door just a few hours before I was going to send my acceptance to another university. And I’m glad I procrastinated responding to that college or, I would’ve totally blown away my chance at UniMelb. But hey, I’m pretty meticulous when it comes to ‘adulting’, I’m just trying to make my story sound a tad bit dramatic for some…flavor.

 

 

However, it is true that I almost accepted the offer from another college.

I was free for almost two months before my semester started at UniMelb and I was on Cloud 9. Although my life was in a state of pandemonium between 2017 and 2019, I felt some faith being restored after I received the offer from UniMelb.

28 days prior to flying to Melbourne I was losing my mind. Reality hit me like a firetruck. Like, I was going to miss my room, my bed, my music album collection, my library, the walls, the fan, the weather and most of all… my parents (yeah, I was getting there okay? (メ` ロ ´)  )

I wasn’t ready. I knew I wouldn’t be able to come home in another two years and at some point, I remember considering turning down the offer from college (real mature, huh?). I mean, I was freaking out okay? I hadn’t been away from home; especially moving to another continent, as far as Australia hadn’t even popped up in my wildest dreams. And most of all, I knew I was gonna have to face her.

 

Responsibilities. Ever heard of her? Oh, we don’t see eye to eye. But we’ve come to a compromise now. No, I can hardly get along with her so we’re not friends. Please don’t misunderstand. But I’m trying. She’s an annoying brat who starves for my attention. And I get yelled at by my parents because of her every.single.time.

Anyways, the next steps I had to follow after receiving my offer letter was enrolling and registering for classes, finding a place to stay, figuring out a way to earn a living and so on. And I had absolutely no clue where to start. Then, I came across Stop 1 on UniMelb website, a team catering to student services online. They really saved me. All I needed to do was drop queries and they got back to me with solutions to literally every single problem. Trust me when I emphasize on “every single problem“. They’ll help you with the matters that might seem trivial to you. So, if you want to shoot questions, just head to Stop 1 online on the university website and you’ll thank me later.

And that’s how I got Melbourne/UniMelb ready in a span of 28 days.

I had an early flight to Melbourne from Abu Dhabi (my home *sobs) and I remember it clear as a day how I was sitting on my bed, clutching onto my suitcase tightly, feeling anxious, excited and empty all at the same time about leaving home. I was travelling alone so this whole situation was overwhelming and I remember crying to my mom saying “Maybe, this was all a bad idea. I’m not going. I’m scared. Please let me stay”.

 

 

Of course, she smacked me back to my senses.

Sometimes, chasing your dreams can be terrifying but it’s okay. We’re not alone. You’ll soon realize that everyone who has chosen this path are a bunch of brave, scaredy-cats just like you and I. °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

Now we can all panic together and worry about the responsibilities lying ahead of us. Huehuehue!

 

 

I know that moving away from home can sound frightening at the moment. Let me tell you, it’s just a matter of time. You will move on from the fears that you experience while making decisions and anticipating about the future. A piece of advise for all the small bubs out there is, don’t let your fears come in the way of your dreams. The issues that you may consider as the first-world problem may not be as life-threatening as you imagine. And you’ll know that only when you face it. Besides, you’re not alone here. You’ll find friends who’ll become your family. UniMelb is not an intimidating place tbh. The uni really provides numerous services to help students feel at ease. They even help you with your assignments. This is not a paid promo, it’s real.

Also, don’t get influenced by random Google articles about Australia. I’ve major arachnophobia (I’m not sure if this is the right spelling but I’m not brave enough to google it. Basically, spiders and I can’t stay in the same room). And those silly Buzzfeed articles said this place was infested with them and my friends shared terrifying posts about the serious case of those creepy crawlies on Instagram and I swear to God, I came here all equipped with spider-repellent sprays. And they’re still waiting to be used in my closet. Touch wood. I don’t want that sh** crawling up my legs at night.

 

 

ANYWAYS, come to Melbourne with an open mind, free from pre-determined stereotypes or assumptions. Let the place surprise you, okay?

 


Dear Diary, welcome to winter break!

Hello everyone, Lia here, your resident SpiderPig.

Congratulations! You made it through the first semester.

Or if you’re starting mid-semester….

Congratulations! Welcome to Melbourne University!

Today marks 4 days since the last day of exams and let me just say, thank god it’s over.

However, that being said, I’ve been on holidays for two weeks now. Why you ask? Because as a first-year science student I chose the worst combination of subjects; accounting (breadth), computing, biology and calculus 2. Unfortunately for me, the accounting and biology exam fell on the Tuesday the 11th, the computing on Wednesday the 12th and calculus 2 on Thursday the 13th. So you can only imagine what a freak I was during SWOTVAC.

Anyway exams are behind us now. We are officially moving forward to **drumroll**…. SEMESTER 2!!

So for this post, I thought I’d discuss two things. Firstly, my step-by-step method of choosing subjects and how I will avoid the mistake of an impossible workload for next semester. So without further ado, I give you:

Agenda item 1: STEPS FOR ENROLLING (most applicable for degrees that don’t have many core subjects)

  1. Make a list of pathways for your course
    • Hopefully, you did this in the first semester but if you didn’t, start looking at which pathways you’d like to head in and what major you’d like to choose. It’s important to have more than one pathway so that you are giving yourself options in case you decide you don’t like something
  2. Look at the prereqs
    • As stupid as it sounds, I went into university thinking I could be an engineer without taking math. After you figure out what pathways would suit you, look at what subjects are offered later on in the course to see if you need to take any subjects now as a pre-requisite
    • Unimelb Student Handbook: https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/
  3. Look at subject reviews
    • This is a really good tip for subjects you’re on the fence about. It’s good to find out what the work-load is like from past students to know if this subject will suit you this semester. My two favourite websites for reviews are:
      • StudentVIP: https://studentvip.com.au/unimelb/subjects
      • UMSU’s Counter Course Handbook: https://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/counter-course-handbook/
  4. Think socially
    • It’s always a good idea to talk to any friends you have to see if they are taking any subjects you are, that way you can organise to be in the same lectures or tutes
    • Also, have a look at the UMSU events on, if you’re interested in attending the Bevs and Bands on Tuesdays/Thursdays it’s a good idea to avoid lectures around that time
  5. Simulate a timetable
    • Now that you’ve done the hard part and narrowed down your subjects, have a look at the different combinations of classes that you could be attending. This way you can have a timetable suited to your work/social life balance
    • Timetable simulator: http://timetable.ruar.ai

 

Secondly, I’d like to discuss my brief opinion on each of my subjects. If you read the above steps you’d know that there are other places I could have expressed my opinion on the subjects but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give you a brief chat here. If you’re interested in studying Acct10001, Comp10001, Biol10004 or Mast10006, please keep reading. If you aren’t, scroll down to the picture of Spider Pig for the rest of the post.

Agenda item 2: MY SUBJECTS: REVIEWED

  • Accounting Reports and Analysis
    • Difficulty (without experience): 8/10  (with experience): 7/10
    • Why: For someone who has never done accounting before it was a very content-heavy subject considering there were only 3 contact hours a week. There’s a lot of places to get help and the consultations are helpful but be prepared for a horrifyingly long exam.
    • Advice: Attend all the tutorials, they are extremely helpful in understanding the lecture content
  • Foundations of Computing
    • Difficulty (without experience): 6.5/10  (with experience): 4/10
    • Why: People who have experience coding don’t have a huge one up on those who haven’t but knowing how to code and problem solve is a big part of this subject. The worksheets on Grok (10%) are fun and a quick way to learn how to code. The projects require a lot of time and effort. I ended up coding for 30 hours on each project if that’s any indication.
    • Advice: Although the Grok worksheets seem to cover the lectures, they should not be a substitute because the lectures cover small things that could be examinable.
  • Biology of Cells and Organisms
    • Difficulty (without experience): 7/10  (with experience): 3/10
    • Why: Having done Biology in year 12 I found this subject only slightly challenging. I think the hardest challenge is memorising content. There are a lot of concepts to know off by heart and if you don’t understand them there is a low chance you’ll be able to apply them in the exam.
    • Advice: As soon as you get stuck on a concept, seek out help. Don’t leave it until SWOTVAC or else it will be harder to remember the concept when it comes to exams.
  • Calculus 2
    • Difficulty: 5/10 (I didn’t put with/without experience because you need Specialist 3/4 as a pre-req anyway)
    • Why: The lecturers for this subject are really thorough and the lecture notes make it so easy to follow along. There is a lot of resources available for help such as Math Space, the consultations, study groups, the lecturers, etc. This subject does take a bit of effort but the weekly assignments are really helpful for understanding the lecture content. Also, there are so many opportunities to set up study groups for this subject.
    • Advice: Do the worked exercises and get yourself a study group.

Alright, that’s it from me! Thanks for tuning in to this edition of Dear Diary. In the next Diary entry, you can expect to hear from me about the best ways to form relationships (friendships and romantic) on campus and through Melbourne University.

See you next time lovies,

xoxo SpiderPig


Hey there! 👋

Hey guys!

Now that exams are finally over, I thought I’d get around to publishing my introductory post as a new member of the JD blog team.

My name is Sam and I’ve lived in Melbourne all my 18 years. I’m a first year Science student at UniMelb, currently enjoying my break after having to spend upwards of two hours on public transport getting to (and back from) uni five days a week during the semester 😢.

Besides whining about the pains of public transport, in my time as a writer for this blog, I plan to share my experiences as a jaffy in the hope that some of you might find benefit in my first year perspective of life at Melbourne Uni, and ultimately enjoy your time at UniMelb as thoroughly as I’ve enjoyed my first semester here.

~ Till next time 👋


Hello nerds

Helloooooooo readers! My name is Sunnie, and I’m a first year student at the University of Melbourne. Gah!!! It sounds pretty awesome to say that.

 

In opposition to the mainstream UniMelb student, I am studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Southbank campus, majoring in Screenwriting. Yes! That is a thing you can do here, if you’re determined enough.

 

So, a little bit about me. I’m freshly 18, a 2001 baby who loves Melbourne. I have lived in Victoria for 5 years all up, NSW for 6 and QLD for 7 – I promise that all adds up. I mainly just read, write and watch television when I’m not at school or working, or I’m forcing my friends to read my writing and favourite books, or watch my favourite TV shows. I have a Harry Potter tattoo!! And I love any and every aspect of world history, particularly anything British. Sometimes I play netball or touch footy to mess this whole nerd writer thing I’ve got going on, and sometimes I just spend whole days in bed. Moving on!

 

And a little bit about screenwriting – I’m sure you’ve heard of the VCA, short for the Victorian College of the Arts. Theatre kids dream of going there to study acting, musical theatre or dance – it’s pretty well known for it! Well, in the deepest darkest corner of the oldest building at the VCA, where no one sees the light of day, we screenwriting kids take our classes (uni melb – pls give us some windows). It’s an audition only course and I was absolutely astounded and beyond excited to get in, as I had been dreaming of it since 2016. It’s kind of a big deal no biggy tho haha.

 

I’m very excited to share my first year experiences with you guys, so you can laugh and laugh again and just experience my crazy life. If you’re a year 12 student – drop out now! If you’re a first year – drop out ASAP! And if you’re a teacher – it isn’t too late! I’m totally kidding. I love University and though it can be a struggle sometimes, it’s so far one of the best times of my life. Hi Mum! I miss you, thanks for reading.


Potato says hi!

I realized I’ve been staring at my laptop screen for a good 5 minutes wondering how to throw my introduction at you.

 

 

Anyways, call me Loey (say low-ee). ٩(◕‿◕)۶

My life’s pretty ordinary. Picture a broke international student.

 

 

I’m pursuing Master of Global Media Communication here at UniMelb, and Semester 1 just walked out of my door today. Left a stack of assignments on my desk as a parting gift too. So, before going MIA, thought I’d drop by and say hi!

I’m a master procrastinator, an efficient one at that. So if you wanna procrastinate and still get good grades, I’ve got you covered.

 

 

I might make an appearance next week to talk more, give you details about what you can expect from my posts. Perhaps a few academic essays and case studies later, I’ll sound more intellectual and organized.

 

 

See you soon, fellas!


Dear Diary, It’s Me

Hey there fellow readers, I’m here to roll out the red carpet and introduce myself as one of the new first-year writers for the Jaffy Diaries.

As my first semester of university is coming to a close, I figured that instead of buckling down and studying for exams, I would sit here and write a few things about my transition into uni and what you as a reader can expect from me as a blogger.

Look, to be honest, I was pretty honoured when I found out I had been selected to be one of the writers for the Jaffy Diaries. Especially, considering how bad I was at English in High School. But, (Rule #1 of university) we don’t talk about our high school grades anymore. Anyway, they told us we could have pen names, which is like super cool, so for the sake of my next two blogs (because that is how quickly I’ll want to change my name again), please call me Lia. They also told us we can add gifs so prepare to be GIFted constantly.

 

So.

About me:

  • I am 18 years old and fresh out of high school #living #the #jaffy #life
  • My profile pic is spider pig (#TheSimpsons) because why not?
  • I’m (stressfully) making my way through my first semester of the Bachelor of Science @ Unimelb
  • I love volunteering and donating (blood/clothes/money)
  • I’m pretty good at maths and science
  • I, like most people in the world, have no idea what I want to do in life
  • I have Airpods (shallow, but you gotta flex sometimes)
  • I’m actually from a public school (rare) in the west (rarer) and I had a lot of trouble making friends in the first few weeks (not that rare)
  • I recently went through a few family tragedies which will be its own blog post
  • I have 4 exams in the first 3 days of the exam period and I’m low key bragging about it (odd flex but okay)
  • I can’t sing but I can absolutely try to belt out Miley Cyrus’ The Climb if you ask nicely 🙂

What I hope to blog about in the next few months:

  • Best techniques and tips when it comes to choosing your subjects for each semester
  • My most successful ways of connecting/making friends
  • Best opportunities to boost that resume at uni
  • Grieving/mental health issues and studying (depressing, yeah, but I just want people to know they’re not alone)
  • Best jobs for students to make money while studying
  • Fitting in with/without religion at Uni

So if your a friend, a foe, a stranger, my parents, my lecturer or just someone who can read, please stay tuned for my next edition of Dear Diary.

xoxo Your friendly neighbourhood Spiderpig, (aka Lia)


Should you learn a new language at Melbourne Uni?

Hey guys!

So it’s only been about *checks watch* 5 months since I last posted, and I’m all about breaking records, so I think I did well!
How’re things? The metaphorical kids? Great!

Anyway, I thought I’d talk to you a little about what it’s like learning a new language at Uni. It’s something I wanted to know more about before I started, so I hope you will find this helpful. (and of course if you have any more questions, just comment them down below!)
First off, a little about my experience!
So, in High School I learnt French for approximately 3 years. I sucked. It was absolutely abominable and sometimes I sit and wonder whether I really learnt anything in those three years. What I thought it had taught me was that I was bad at learning languages.

Never has Dwight Schrute been more right in his life.
I’d been forced to learn French, a compulsory subject at my school, and so there was really no real passion or reason for me to learn the language properly. I wasn’t interested! If you’re not interested in what you’re doing, then it’s really not going to get you anywhere, and that’s the real truth.
I’d always wanted to learn Japanese though. When I found out I got into Melbourne Uni, I spent a long time figuring out what classes I should take. I had my major of course, but what was I going to take for my extra breadth subjects?
It took quite a while doing the back and forth dance, until I decided to take (at least what I saw in my mind) as a leap of faith. I was finally going to learn Japanese. It was officially a thing.

I was so nervous going into my first class. SO NERVOUS. Knowing I had previously done so badly in French didn’t help.
I remember sitting down in my first class like a lost lamb, definitely about to pee itself. Not actually, but I’m building a scene, guys. I was a nervous wreck anyhow even without the pee thing.
My new teacher walked in speaking half to himself and half to the class in full on Japanese and…you should have seen me! It was like Dobby all over again. I was looking at the other people on my table though, and thankfully they also looked equally as scared. THANKFULLY he then started to explain in English. I was still in the general vicinity of my utter confuzzlement from the Japanese, but it was a step back. And then he went back to the start. And I swear to you, it was one of the most enlightening and hilarious classes I’ve ever attended. The teacher was super engaging, looking at all the students, walking in between our tables and making things as simple as we needed.

Okay, here is an outline of how taking Japanese 1 actually works.
You have 2 classes a week which go for 2 hours each. They’re specifically called seminars, not lectures, which (at least for Japanese) means the teachers are more interactive with the students. They chat to you, have more time for questions and they often look at your work during classes.
These seminars are not necessarily with the same teacher. Whatever classes you put in your timetable determine what teacher you get. So there might be 6-8 seminar one classes and 6-8 seminar two classes. You *might* get the same teacher, but the chances are slim.
For Japanese 1 I got two different teachers and they were both amazing. The way the seminar classes work is that the first one goes through a lot of the vocabulary you have to learn and goes through the grammar. The second seminar is revising over that stuff and also looking at Kanji (‘a system of Japanese writing using Chinese characters’). In this way, the teaching styles are going to be quite different between seminars, so it’s really good. And that’s what’s really great about having two teachers – if you don’t understand what one says, you can just revise it with the other.

Now, this is only my experience with Japanese 1 (and 2), so other language classes tend to be a little different. I’ve had friends taking German 1 and Italian 1, having completely different experiences. It seems to be that because Japanese is an Asian language and the others being European, the approach has to be different. From the people I’ve spoken to about German and Italian, the classes tend to focus a lot more on grammar than the Asian languages because the vocab is easier to grasp without having to learn new characters.

In answer to my original question in the title, ‘Should you learn a new language at Melbourne Uni?’, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Is it something you’re passionate about learning? If so, YOU TOTALLY SHOULD. Curiousity leads to great things, and you should explore where that leads to. Learning a language is always great, but you have to be prepared to work hard for it. Are you going to continue to work hard? That’s another important question. Like everything else, it takes around 10,000 hours to master something. You’ve dedicated so much time to your other passions, something that may have started out as a small curiosity or interest and has since become something you can’t live without. What’s saying learning a language won’t become one of your greatest passions? That it might help you in your future career? To help you meet new and amazing people?

What benefits have I had so far in learning a language?
SO, I only started at the beginning of this year, so this is short-term benefits guys. However, I think it’s important to note because those short term goals will give you the motivation to continue in your study, making it all seem worthwhile!
In taking Japanese 1 and 2 at Melbourne Uni, I have met so many amazing people. I met many in the Japanese classes themselves (4 classes in total between the 2 seminars a semester), but also online and elsewhere. I found this app called ‘Hello Talk’ where you can talk to people from other countries, helping to correct eachother’s mistakes as you learn the other’s language. I’ve been trying out my new language skills and I’ve seen how much I’ve grown. I’ve literally become friends with people living in Japan right now! It’s a long leap from what I learnt in French, that’s for sure.
When I buy Japanese food I can often read what is on the packages, and understand basic grammar functions to correct ill-translations on Google Translate. That’s such a freeing feeling!
I’m also about to go on holiday to Japan where I can further test out my skills. In my classes I’ve also learnt a lot about culture, so all that will come in handy when I travel!

So I ask you, do YOU want to learn a language? Don’t let anyone tell you whether you should or should not learn a language, it’s completely up to you! If you are interested, I encourage you to try. You may be surprised by the results!


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