St Mary's offers three modern languages - French, Italian and Japanese. The Languages Department uses modern textbooks and innovative techniques to ensure that all girls enjoy and benefit from the learning of a second language.
Years 7, 8, 9 and 10
Year 7 students study one language for two years, with the option of beginning a second language in Year 8. In Years 7 to 10, students develop a knowledge and understanding of the culture of the country or countries in which the language they study is spoken, through background studies. Students have many opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities such as excursions to restaurants, films, theatre productions, quiz afternoons and games afternoons with other schools.
In Year 9, a one-period option of Multicultural Studies is offered. Students participating in this course study, through the medium of English, the cultures and people of several countries in South America, Europe and Asia. A limited range of a variety of languages is also presented.
Years 11 and 12
In Year 11 and 12 students are offered the Second Language:ATAR courses. These are currently available in French, German, Italian and Japanese. Please note that from 2018 German will no longer be offered. Students must have studied the language in lower school in order to be eligible for upper school language courses. A second language is an invaluable and sometimes essential skill for many careers. Classroom activities are based around developing the students' reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
Students have regular access to native speakers to gain valuable authentic experience of their chosen subject.
Students are encouraged to participate in external language competitions. These include the Alliance Française, Dante Alighieri examinations, the Japanese Language Speaking Competition, and the ACER National Language Certificate Examinations at two different levels. St Mary's regularly enters teams into the OZCLO, the Australian Computational Linguistics Olympiad, a national linguistics competition, and girls participate in the Language Perfect online vocabulary world championships.
Tours, home-stays and exchange programmes
St Mary's offers tours to France, Italy and Japan. These may either be groups of St Mary's students alone, or may include students from other schools in Perth. Being a good citizen is a pre-requisite for going on a language tour.
Girls participate in home stay programmes and attend language school and/or regular school in the country they visit. Group visits to various places of interest usually take place during these overseas trips. We also provide an opportunity for girls to host students from overseas, although this is not a prerequisite for going on a trip. Various exchange programmes are also available to each of the three countries as well as to Reunion Island.