“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart.”
- Nelson Mandela
This revolutionary politician could not have portrayed the sentiment any better. Language is a weapon and when used appropriately can win over anything. After all was it not the charisma of the young senator Barack Obama in his speeches that won millions of hearts, or the soft yet commanding dream of Martin Luther King which revolutionised the face of America, or the handsome Che Guevara's earnest desire and radical ideas that led to the fall of the Batista regime.
Around the world we are privy to the many cultures and languages that exist and are shaped by years of travel, colonialism, wars, economic growth and the passing of time. English is not how it used to be spoken in the 15th century; neither is Spanish, Italian or French. All languages grow, change and evolve with time.
Learning a new language can never harm; rather it is rewarding. Instead of the everyday “good morning” you can say “Bonjour”, or the “How are you?” can be replaced with “nǐhǎo ma”. To get you started in your language learning endeavours Star Lifestyle has put together some of the places in Dhaka where you can learn new languages and add one more skill to your repertoire!
French at Alliance Francaise
Located in Dhanmondi, Gulshan and Uttara, they are a convenient location for learning French. An official Language in almost 29 countries, this is the language of poets and of love. The courses available range from Adult Extensive to Adult Intensive courses with various levels ranging from 160 hours to 360 hours.
Level one, which is the beginner's level, is a one year course divided into four semesters with classes held on weekdays and weekends. The weekday classes start at Tk.5,000 per semester and the weekend classes are Tk.6,500 per semester.
There are four more levels after this, each with a variation in the number of semesters. Exams are held accordingly and soon you will find yourself speaking fluently in this amorous language. Admissions will commence on 1 March, 1 June and 1 October.
German at the Goethe Institut
Not only is it spoken in Germany, this language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the European Union. Deeply guttural and commanding, it is the mother tongue of 100 million people and learning this language is fun and gripping at the same time.
The courses are divided into A1, A1.2, A2.2, A2, and B1 courses, each with a growing level of complexity. The course fees are around Tk.20,000 and admission is on a first-come-first-served basis.
Classes are held both at morning or evening and you can choose classes based on your convenience. Since the seats are limited it is advised to go early to secure admission for the session starting on 2 March.
Address: Goethe-Institut Dhaka, German Cultural Centre Dhaka, House #10, Road #9 (new), Dhanmondi.
Russian at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture
Once a major world power, they have faded in comparison to their past glory and the Russian language does not come to mind immediately when we think of learning new languages. But that should not stop you from learning this Language, and with the emergence of Russia as a tourist destination, learning the language spoken by almost 144 million people will do you more good than harm. Learn Russian in the Russian Centre for Science and Culture, with a course fee of only Tk. 3000, they offer student discounts of Tk. 1000 and successful completion of the course will also enable you to apply for Russian Government Scholarships.
Address: 42, Bhasha Shoinik M. A. Matin Road (Road#7), Dhanmondi, Dhaka. Tel: 9116314
Chinese at the Confucius Institute at North South University
Learn Chinese, because it is an emerging global power, a growing economy and well, everything is “Made in China”. Chinese language courses are taught in a degree of levels and anyone can enroll. Level one courses range about 3 months and costs Tk.5500 and from then on Level 2 and the rest cost Tk.5,000.
North South University is located in Plot 15, Block B, Bashundhara, Dhaka 1229, Bangladesh. #885 2000.
Institute of Modern Languages at North South University
Other than the Chinese language course the Department of English and Modern Languages offers a variety of language options to learn from. For students studying in NSU and as well as people from outside this is a one-stop solution for your language learning courses -- English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Arabic, and Bangla learning courses are on offer.
BRAC Institute of Languages (BIL)
Another university offering courses on language is BRAC University. Chinese, Arabic, Korean, Bengali (for foreigners only), Spanish are among some of the languages that you can learn here. This is an excellent opportunity to add more languages to your stockpile and next time you travel you will not find yourself in an isolated city where language is a barrier but you will be mingling with the locals and speaking their tongue, touching hearts.
BRAC University is located at 66 Mohakhali, Dhaka.