Research in Applied Linguistics focuses on the process of learning and using a second language. It covers various fields of study because learning and using a second language can be approached from many different angles, including cognition, psychology, social interaction, language teaching and culture.
I have gained the experience tackling difﬁculties while doing research
The Master's track Applied Linguistics in the University of Groningen has broadened my perspective and understanding of the English teaching. Moreover, through the study at the university I have gained the experience tackling difﬁculties while doing research.
Writing the Ma thesis could be the most difficult but exciting part of this one-year programme. It could be very time-consuming to decide the subject and write the first paragraph. My supervisor, Prof. Kees de Bot, was such a person as would always leave you the freedom to have your own schedule, which enabled me to be highly self-organized and self-motivated.
Despite all these difficulties such as having enough participants, collecting effective data and employing the correct SPSS techniques, the Applied Linguistic department offered full support to the whole process of writing the thesis. A meeting with the supervisor every week as well as having appointments with other professors were really helpful when I was working on my thesis.
Studying and living in Groningen has left me beautiful memories, precious experiences and interesting classmates. I hope the future students could enjoy every moment of the life here in Groningen.
Allan J. Duan
Interesting and well-balanced in terms of theory and research practice
I found the programme for the master to be interesting and well-balanced in terms of theory and research practice. The first semester provided me with the information and analytical tools I needed for writing my thesis in the second semester. Even the dreaded statistics portion of the Research Methodology module turned out to be easier than I thought, due to the skills of the teachers and frequent practice.
In the second semester, I was able to choose a thesis topic based on my own interests, which was really interesting and motivating. The regular thesis workshops and meetings with fellow students really helped with researching and writing the thesis.
What is the best way a language can be acquired in what situation?
Teaching and learning aspects of a second or foreign language: This course focuses on a task based approach of learning a foreign language. This way of learning is considered on the background of older approaches, like the more old-fashioned way of focusing on grammar and specified exercises.
During the course we try to find an answer on the question “what is the best way a language can be acquired in what situation?.” An interesting part is the designing of a learning task for a particular group by all Master students following this course. In creating a task, one has to take all kinds of influencing factors into account. It is nice too see all kinds of different approaches on how to teach other people a new language. It makes you aware of the complexity of a learning situation and attitudes of the learners: an interesting course which provides you a critical view on learner's approaches!
Theoretical Perspectives on Language Learning and Teaching: a really interesting course!
One of the first courses we had to attend last year was Theoretical Perspectives, which proved really interesting! Through the lecture, the book (written by the teachers themselves!) and the assignments we became familiar with many different perspectives in this area of applied linguistics.
The course deals with many different insights, meaning that when one part of the course sounds less attractive to you, there will come a part that is more interesting!
In general, most assignments are fun to do as well and you will learn something by doing them, because you already will gain some research experience! However, the teachers will keep on telling you, you should start early with the assignments and all I can say is... listen to them!!
This is not to scare you, because all in all, I really liked this course!
In the future I would like to work in the field of TEFL materials development
'Since I have more than six years of Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) experience, it was important for me to move forward in my career. To do so I felt it was necessary to get a more in-depth understanding of how languages are learned and which processes of the brain are involved in second language development as well as which teaching methods are more effective.
Applied Linguistics is an intensive programme with lots of new information and skills to be learned. This ensures the study is challenging and engaging at the same time. In particular I like the statistics course as well as Second Language Development and the Teaching Methodology seminars. The advanced level of teaching, and the fact that we work with the latest research findings in the field, makes your knowledge suitable on the labour market.
During my study I met lots of friends from around the world, which I think is a very valuable experience. I enjoy working in a digital environment as well as at the university library. I really like the staff of the university who are always willing to help. And I'm convinced their teaching methods approaches are the most effective for language learning.
For the future I would like to work in the field of TEFL materials development since, thanks to my studies, I gathered lots of interesting ideas.'
All of the teachers do their best to give students as much knowledge as they can
I had the chance to spend a semester as an Erasmus student at the Department of Applied Linguistics at the University of Groningen. I took part in the courses Research Methodology, Teaching Methodology, and Theories of Second Language Development. We learned different theories of language learning, acquisition and development, which helped us to think critically, also to be able to compare and evaluate these theories. Also we learned how to set up our own research.
Overall, the Applied Linguistics MA at the University of Groningen is a well-organized programme in which all of the teachers, do their best to give students as much knowledge as they can. If someone has a problem or struggles with a task, the teachers immediately offer help, so no one is left behind.
I really enjoyed the classes where I learned a lot of new concepts, ideas, critical thinking and writing in academic English. The group works were also exciting - it was great to work together with other people then present our project and assignments. This half year was a big chance for me to study in an international environment which definitely improved and broadened my academic skills and knowledge. For an exchange student this department, this university and this city has been a perfect choice!
I not only learn about the theory, but also I am equipped with the practical experience.
In 2010, when I was an undergraduate student, I wrote a dream to study abroad with a scholarship, and five years later the dream came true! I was so thankful to God because, after endless efforts, I was finally awarded a full-scholarship from LPDP (Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education) and not long after that, I got admitted in a one-year master program at the University of Groningen. As an English teacher in Indonesia, this master program is really what I need.
I not only learn about the theory, but also I am equipped with the practical experience. I believe that it will surely benefit me in the future as I would like to continue my career in teaching and education, especially TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).
"The teachers are experts in the field and lectures and seminars are balanced in terms of theory, and individual and group assignments."
I have always been interested in language and in what is the best way to teach foreign/second languages and that is why I chose to do an MA in Applied Linguistics.
I chose to do the MA in Applied Linguistics at the RUG because I thought it was well balanced in terms of theory and practice. I was also looking for a one year programme and affordable at the same time. From day one my expectations were met. The teachers are experts in the field and lectures and seminars are balanced in terms of theory, and individual and group assignments. Lessons are very dynamic and there is always room for debate and sharing our ideas and opinions with the rest of the class. As in any MA programme in this country there is an amount of work to do at home but all students agree that we are learning a lot for reading all our articles and doing our weekly assignments.
One of the questions I get every day is: “ what's applied linguistics? Are you going to be a teacher?” Once you finish this MA you will be an expert on how to teach languages and there are different career paths you can pursue, for example, you could work in a language centre advising about how to improve the teaching methods they use. You could also work on designing proficiency tests and learning materials, or even go for research.