South Asian Languages and Cultures aims to attract students with a critical mindset, who combine an openness to different cultures and ways of thinking with an aptitude for language learning. Nowadays, many have started to realize that South Asia is an important region, and India an important player, in the global arena. People with an in-depth knowledge of this area, its cultural history and its languages are much needed in the political and business world. Therefore, we offer a varied course program, based on a broad knowledge of language, culture, and history, using a critical approach with special attention to intercultural aspects.
During their studies in the Indian languages and cultures program, students are taught two key languages: A modern language (Hindi) and a classical language (Sanskrit). Hindi is the most widely spoken of India’s 22 official languages and with its 422 million first-language speakers, fourth in the ranking of most widely spoken languages in the world today. The rise of India as an important power in the global economy has further enhanced the status of Hindi. Sanskrit on the other hand, plays a vital role in Indian history and literature. This combination of the classical and the modern is key to build up a broad, contextualized knowledge of our subject: the Indian Subcontinent.
The language courses are complemented by courses highlighting different cultural aspects of South Asia: History, society and current affairs, literature, philosophy, and religion. Through elective courses, students can broaden their scope and include courses on other regions (e.g. China, the near-East).