Language

Language Faculty image - a man and a lady sitting in front of a bookshelf full of books about various countries, holding the Oxford Chinese Dictionary

Learning Streams

  • Country Studies
  • Cultural Immersion
  • Foreign Languages

The Language Faculty

The Language Faculty builds and maintains the language capabilities that are integral to the department's and the Australian Public Service's work in advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally.

The Diplomatic Academy offers Discussion Groups and Immersion Courses to assist Australian/ACT Government staff to maintain a language proficiency. If you are not sure which level Discussion Group/Immersion Course to attend, it is recommended that you review the Australian Foreign Service Language Proficiency Ratings and attend a Discussion Group to discuss further with the tutor.

Lunchtime Discussion Groups

Purpose: Discussion Groups are designed to assist Australian/ACT Government staff in Canberra maintain their language proficiency in key topics related to the government's core areas of work. These discussions groups give staff a good opportunity to use and maintain their existing foreign language skills. 

Audience: Participants must speak the particular language in order to attend one or more of these groups as they are not language classes. Participation is open to staff from Australian government agencies and ACT Government staff. Tutors are available to assess your language skills at your first Discussion Group to ensure they are sufficient to attend the group (or to suggest a different level). 

Format: Discussion Groups are held on the same working day each week, from February to November inclusive. They are conducted via online virtual classroom (Microsoft Teams) to make it easier for staff from all DFAT locations and other APS agencies to attend. Participants are accepted on a 'first arrival' basis.

Time: 12.30pm - 1.30pm.

Location: Via Microsoft Teams.  

Cost: Free.

Note: Attendance levels are monitored to ensure that language training resources are applied as effectively as possible. Where attendance is irregular or below minimal levels, discussion groups may be cancelled. 

Discussion Group Timetable 2023

Enrolment Process

To join a Lunchtime Discussion Group, click on the relevant class link in the attached Timetable. For queries relating to Lunchtime Discussion Groups, email languageservices@canberra.unsw.edu.au.

Immersion Courses

Location: Immersion Courses are delivered face-to-face at the Diplomatic Academy (Canberra, Australia). 

Purpose: Immersion Courses are designed to assist Australian/ACT Government staff maintain and improve existing language proficiencies.

Audience: Participants must speak the particular language, at the appropriate level, in order to attend the Immersion Course. If you are unsure of the Immersion Course level you should attend, it is recommended that you review the Australian Foreign Service Language Proficiency Ratings and attend a Discussion Group to discuss further with the tutor. Participation is open to staff from Australian government agencies and ACT Government staff, on a user-pays basis. 

Format: Courses require a full-time commitment of three days (note that a couple of select languages are only one day). They consist of formal and informal discussion, translation and interpreting, general discussion of contemporary news, print media and current affairs and including presentations from academics, colleagues and language specialists. There is no formal assessment as part of the Immersion Courses.

Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm.

Location: Diplomatic Academy, Level 1, 44 Sydney Avenue, Forrest ACT 2603. 

Cost: 1-day course = $250. 3-day course = $1,127.

Note: Non-attendance and cancellations within 48 hours of the start of the course may be charged at full cost.

Immersion Course Timetable 2023

Enrolment Process 2023

To enrol, send the completed Language Immersion Course Enrolment Form to our provider, UNSW at languageservices@canberra.unsw.edu.au, at least 4 weeks before the start of the course.

You will receive confirmation of your enrolment from UNSW, together with a credit card payment form. Complete the payment form and return it to the DFAT Language Studies Unit at languagestudiesunit@dfat.gov.au. Payment will be processed at the time of your course.

Note:

  • If there aren't sufficient enrolment numbers 4 weeks prior to the start of the course, it may be cancelled.
  • All withdrawals/cancellations must be advised to UNSW by email (languageservices@canberra.unsw.edu.au) at least 48 hours prior to the start of the course. Non-attendance and late cancellations may be charged at full cost.
  • The enrolment process will be closed when the enrolment reaches the maximum number.