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Short courses for FPT University, Vietnam   UBD-English Proficiency Test

Groups of Vietnamese University students have been enjoying Bruniean hospitality while developing their skills in spoken and written English. The students stay in on-campus accommodation, attend English language classes and enjoy tours around Brunei during their 5 - 6 week stay.

Past groups have remarked on the quiet pace of life and on the safety they feel in Brunei. The Vietnamese IT students arrive in small groups of around 15. The first group studied at UBD during December 2015, the second group visited in April 2016 and another group will begin their studies in June 2016.

Competitive entry to their university ensures that they are high achievers in their country, and they quickly adapt to their English-speaking environment here in Brunei. Comparisons of English tests when they arrive and when they leave show a clear improvement. The course covers the four skills; Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Each day they spend several hours in the classroom, but they also have time to explore the campus and to enjoy trips to places of interest in Brunei. After their course they leave the country with a better understanding of another ASEAN culture and with a new-found confidence with English.

Bruniean students who live on-campus have opportunities to meet the Vietnamese students casually at The Core, on the sports fields and at social events around the campus. Both groups benefit from the cultural exchange.


  Brueni boat trip

Vietnamese visit to Brunei


APPLY NOW for July 13 test.

Prior to each semester the LC runs the UBD English Proficiency Test (UBD-EPT). The test is open to Bruneian students who meet faculty requirements to enter UBD, but who still need to demonstate their level of English.

Past tests have enabled around 20 percent of candidates to enter the university. Tracking of the students once they have entered the university shows that the vast majority of those who gain entry are successful in the compulsory English module in their first semester at the university.

The UBD-EPT takes approximately four hours and involves Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing Tests. There is no special preparation that students can do apart from using English extensively in the weeks leading up to the test.

If candidates have the appropriate background and qualifications to enter their chosen faculty, success at the test can enable students to enter Higher degree programs, Undergraduate programs, Unibridge and the Bridging Program at UBD.

The next test date is Wednesday 13 July, 2016. Candidates will need to apply to the LC Assistant Registrar by Monday 4 July to book a seat at the test and to learn about payment, time and venue.

Contact: Language Centre, Assistant Registrar
Email: office.lc (at) ubd.edu.bn

TOPIK - Test of Proficiency in Korean   TOEFL TEST


Students sitting for TOPIK I and II in March 2016.


The TOPIK test has been offerered annually since 2011 in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea.

On 20 March this year 44 candidates sat for TOPIK 1 (Beginner level) and 5 sat for TOPIK 2 (Intermediate and Advanced level). TOPIK is designed to assess and certify candidates' proficiency in Korean. The test is open to non-native Korean speakers in Brunei and overseas.

Results can be used for application to study at Korean universities or for employment purposes. The test duration is 1 hour and 40 minutes for TOPIK I and 3 hours for TOPIK II.

The next TOPIK test will be held at UBD LC early in 2017.


The LC was recently approved as an exam centre for the pen and paper TOEFL test.

“We are excited to offer the TOEFL test in Brunei,” said David Payne, Vice President and COO of Global Education at Educational Testing Service, the creator of the TOEFL program. “This test center provides access to an important step for students as they pursue their higher education goals.”

Register Now for the next exam.
Students can register for the TOEFL paper-delivered test online or download a paper registration form at www.ets.org/toefl/pbt/register/. Students who register for the TOEFL test will receive a free copy of TOEFL® Practice Tests — Volume 1. For additional information about the TOEFL paper-delivered test, including free sample questions, students should visit www.ets.org/toefl/pbt/about.

Step Towards a Healthy Lifestyle

On April 13, 2016 the LC hosted a fitness afternoon. More than 50 people took part in the activities which involved a run and a walk around the University campus, a session of running and walking up and down the stairs and a tai chi session.

Click pics to enlarge.

lc fitness UBD

  LC fitness session UBD   LC fitness session UBD
Learner Autonomy   UBD Japanese Language Students Raise Funds for Cancer
AzamresearchLanguage Centre A/g Director, Noor Azam Haji-Othman (also Director of Centre for Advanced Research and Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics) and Mr Keith Wood, Professor at SHBIE (where he teaches in education) have recently co-authored a chapter in a Special Edition of the IDP publication Language Learner Autonomy: Teachers' Beliefs and Practices in Asian Contexts.

Their chapter titled 'Perceptions of Learner Autonomy in English Language Education in Brunei Darussalam' focuses on learner autonomy in the context of tertiary education in Brunei.


UBD Japanese language students are involved in a number of community and charity events during the year. Recently they were invited to take part in a fund-raising event at FunBeePark.

Students made Ningyo and Calligraphy bookmarks, cooked Takoyaki, and conducted a Sushi making workshop for children.

Through their efforts they raised $175 for the charity. In total over $100,000 was raised on the day.


Click pics on left to enlarge.

Read more about this story here.

Language and Culture Week, 2016    



LINK to Event Page


The second semester of the 2015/2016 academic year saw the Language Centre hosting a UBD Language and Culture Week that was held from 9 to 12 March 2016. The event was officially launched by Associate Professor Dr Mohammad Ayub Sadiq, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) of UBD, as guest of honour.

Although the LC has organised many similar events before, this particular occasion is the precursor of hopefully many more of its kind, marking the first time that all of the language instructors at the Centre have collaborated in showcasing the various languages offered at the Centre at a single event and venue.

Highlights included presentations on food preparation of specific cuisines as well as live demonstrations representing each native culture - such as Chinese brush painting and Japanese calligraphy - all of which visitors were welcome to take part in. Guests were also treated to cultural performances which included Malay and Dusun dances, Filipino Tinikling, and Japanese Kendo, to name a few. Besides the scheduled performances, visitors could leisurely peruse the assortment of booths on display to learn more about each language and its culture.


Held at UBD’s Chancellor Hall, various food and merchandise vendors – with a twist – were also available; each vendor represented one of the corresponding languages of the Language Centre, lending their own take on that particular culture for visitors. These included Korean tteokbokki and bibimbap, Filipino halo-halo, French pastries, and a variety of other delicious foods and desserts as well.

The event was open to the public and resulted in a diverse range of attendees from schools and institutions across Brunei, as well as the presence of families and younger children who enjoyed what was on offer. The event proved popular with students in particular, who participated in the activities enthusiastically, even donning cultural costumes – available for rent - while at the event.

In addition to commemorating the 30th anniversary of UBD and showcasing the variety of language modules offered at the Language Centre, one of the aims of the Language and Culture Week was to increase the general public’s awareness and exposure to international cultures as well as to encourage the learning of other languages.  With the central concept of Fun and Games involving interactive and informative activities, visitors learned that other than the obvious benefits of acquiring a valuable skill, studying another language can certainly be enjoyable too.

Staff take time out to enjoy Language & Culture Week    
staff   staff   staff
Chinese Diplomats Experience Life in Brunei    

Each year, the Language Centre (LC) at Universiti Brunei Darussalam has the pleasure of hosting international students from all over Asia for both short-term as well as longer-term courses of up to two academic semesters. For the MOFAT China-Brunei Exchange programme, the LC once again welcomed Government officers from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the first semester of the 2015/2016 academic year, this time for an intensive eight-week course designed to improve the officers’ proficiency in the English language.

The two officers, An Ying (Ann) and Xu Li Ming, arrived in November 2015 towards the end of UBD’s academic semester, allowing the LC lecturers to dedicate more time to the PRC students with most of the classes conducted exclusively for the participants.

Nonetheless, Ann and Li Ming were still able to mingle with other UBD students -especially students from various ASEAN countries- in larger classes as well as within their shared accommodation at The Core.


Although their time at UBD was relatively short, the receptive students displayed significant development and improvement, showing increasing confidence in expressing themselves in the English language and greater willingness to share their opinions; a marked difference from the initially reticent officers.

As the two-month programme ended, the LC held a farewell ceremony for Ann and Li Ming, during which each officer demonstrated their newly-acquired skills and ease in the English language by delivering a presentation on their stay in Brunei, sharing their experiences and expressing their enjoyment of their time at UBD in addition to their regret at having to leave so soon. The LC’s Deputy Director Hjh Suciyati Hj Sulaiman congratulated the participants on their achievements and presented them with souvenirs as well as their well-earned certificates to mark their time and hard work at the LC.

The LC looks forward to welcoming the next batch of students for the programme in the middle of 2016, and continuing one of the Centre’s longest-running consultancies of over fifteen years.



Ann and Li Ming, December 2015

Sakura Network - LC to be hub for Japanese Language in Brunei    

The following article appeared in the Brunei Times on Dec 11, 2015. It was written by Darren Chini.


BRUNEIAN students should take up a foreign language to improve their chances of getting a job after graduating.

“We’ve found through feedback that employers believe the ability to understand and communicate in a foreign language improves international communication skills,” said Dr Joyce Teo Siew Yean, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Assistant Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs.



“Employers really view proficiency in an extra language as an asset, and this enhances the marketability of a jobseeker to potential employers,” she added.

She was speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony yesterday at the Embassy of Japan commemorating the UBD Language Centre’s formally joining the JF Nihongo Network of Japanese language education centres worldwide established by the Japan Foundation.

She said Japan is one of the more popular destination choices for UBD students embarking on their Discovery Year programme, and that learning the language has boosted their chances of acceptance by Japanese universities for their foreign exchange programmes.

Ambassador of Japan to Brunei Noriko Iki presented a certificate to Dr Joyce Teo and Dr Noor Azam OKMB Hj Othman, Acting Director of the UBD Language Centre, on behalf of the Japan Foundation to commemorate UBD’s joining the network.

UBD’s partnership with the JF Nihongo Network, also known as the ‘Sakura Network’, will allow it to join a large network of 127 language centres in 48 countries which provide support and cooperation amongst its members in promoting Japanese language and culture through the UBD Language Centre.

According to Dr Noor Azam, Japanese is already one of the top languages being studied at UBD, with around 200 students taking beginner to advanced level courses this past year.

“It’s one of the more successful minor degree programmes we have at the UBD Language Centre, so although the Japan Foundation has provided support to us in terms of facilitating the Japanese language classes in the past, we are proud and grateful to take this partnership even further,” he said.

“We want our students to have a more global outlook when they graduate, so learning a foreign language - especially one as popular as Japanese - will allow Bruneian students to engage with a wider network,” he added.

In addition to Japanese language being offered as a course for a minor degree programme, the UBD Language Centre also offers students the chance to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

The JLPT is the world’s largest Japanese language test and is conducted annually worldwide to evaluate and certify the Japanese language proficiency of non-native speakers.

Phonological Attrition   English Program

Mandarin Lecturer, Ms Min Shen recently delivered a paper at a the '13th BCLTS International Conference on Teaching & Learning Chinese in Higher Education' at the China Centre, University of Oxford, UK.

Her paper, titled, "Phonological Attrition among Malay Speaking Foreign Language Mandarin Learners," reported the results of attrition studies amongst Mandarin students at the Language Centre.

She found that there are strong links between acquisition and attrition and that there are differences in the attrition rates of marked features and those that carry a functional load such as question words (eg. who). In her early studies Ms Min Shen tested around 100 students before and after a semester break and analysed the degree of attrition in a variety of features. Current studies in the field appear not to have considered attrition rates in tonal languages such as Mandarin and Thai languages. Ms Min Shen's studies are in their infancy and more results will be forthcoming.

While at the conference Ms Min Shen also chaired a parallel session on Pronunciation and Vocabulary.

  UBD Min Shen  

As part of its English Communications Skills Program the LC teaches a range of different groups ranging from clerks at the university through to Professional Officers from a range of countries and groups of tertiary students.

Currently a group from Vietnam is studying a two month intensive English program. While here the they are living on-campus and mixing with local students. As well as daily English lessons, their program involves field trips to various sites of cultural interest.


In the photos below the students pose with LC Visiting Academic, Gail Ramirez.

vietnamese group

English Proficiency Test UBD-EPT   Language Showcases

Nov 15 Twice a year the LC offers the UBD-EPT which is an alternative English proficiency test to IELTS and TOEFL.

Candidates who meet all of the requirements for their chosen course of study can use the test to demonstrate the required English proficiency. Depending on academic background successful candidates may enter the university at Bridging level, Unibridge, Undergraduate level or Post-Graduate level.

The next test date is Saturday December 12, 2015. This test is suitable for candidates who already have a conditional offer for January 2016 or who are seeking entry in July 2016. Interested candidates should contact University Admissions if they wish to participate.


Each semester our students make impressive progress in their language studies.

See what our students have been doing in the last few semesters by visiting our language showcases.


Chinese Research   Pioneer Junior College, Singapore
Minshen   Nov 15 Staff at the LC were recently treated to a series of three presentations by Mandarin teaching staff. Chinese volunteer, Ms Nikita began with a presentation on contrastive research on final consonants between Korean and Cantonese where we learnt about the strong connection between vocabulary and pronunciation in the two languages.

She was followed by Ms Min Shen who told us about a body of ongoing research which she recently delivered in a paper at Oxford University. Her topic was phonologial Attrition and she talked about her early researh findings that included the difference in attrition of marked features and those that carried a functional load.

And finally Ms Shelia spoke about her research into Part of Speech (POS) tagging in dictionaries and we learnt that there are some inconsistencies in the way words are tagged in various dictionaries.

spacer Nov 15 LC recently welcomed a visiting group from  Pioneer Junior College(PJC) in Singapore.

Here Mr Azmie is making a presentation in Malay where he explains and demonstrates our teaching methodology and the general offerings at the LC.

CEFR at the LC   Teachers' Day

The LC is in the process of converting all of its language modules to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to ensure world-standard offerings.

Arabic lecturer, Dr Mohi El-Din recently presented his research findings at the 'Second International Conference for Teaching Arabic' which was hosted by the University of Jordan.

The research aimed to develop methods of achieving CEFR objectives for teaching and learning the Arabic language; targetting Beginners. Dr Mohi's research proposed ten steps to develop language skills through online games. The student-centred approach uses communicative methodology to foster learning. Recommendations included the use of online language learning games in the process of teaching and learning a foreign language.

The event received coverage in Arabic newspapers in Jordan here and here.



Dr Mohi El-Din UBD

Dr Mohi El-Din from UBD (right) meets Professor Dr Mohammad W. Batsh VP for Scientific Research and Quality, and Professor Mohammad AlQudah, Director of Language Centre, University of Jordan.


As part of Teachers Day celebrations on September 23 this year His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah visited the International Convention Centre where Dr Masitah binti Shahrill from SHBIE and Ms Melinda Gleeson from LC were giving a series of short presentations on Online Learning.

Teachers Day UBD

German Society Club   Chinese Language Symposium   Flipped Classroom
German UBD

Students studying German enjoy a range of social activities and guest speakers.

Learn more in our German Showcase.

UBD Min Shen Aug 15 Mandarin Lecturer Min Shen, was one of 80 delegates who attended the 14th Asian Chinese Language Symposium held in Bandar Seri Begawan from 17 - 20 July. Chinese literature was a key topic.
Dr Sarah Boye

Aug 15 .Dr Sarah Boye recently delivered a seminar at the Language Centre on the Flipped Classroom reporting data from her work at the University of Munich. Her findings tied in with work that English staff at the LC are doing on blended learning and flipped classrooms.

Chinese Ambassador Visits Young Chinese Volunteers at UBD    

On September 16th, the Language Centre in conjunction with SBE and HIS welcomed the Chinese Ambassador H.E. Madame Yang Jian and delegates from the Chinese embassy in Brunei. The delegation toured the LC and had an informal discussion with representatives from UBD and with Chinese volunteers working at UBD. LC Director, Dr. Noor Azam introduced Ms. Luo Yiqing, Chinese volunteer at the Centre.

H.E. Madame Yang Jian was delighted to learn that there are 200 students currently learning Mandarin at the Centre. She also expressed the hope that volunteers’ involvement at the Centre could further develop Mandarin modules and strengthen the exchanges and cooperation between the People's Republic of China and Brunei Darussalam.



Ms. Luo Yiqing, the Chinese volunteer assigned to the Language Centre graduated from the City University of Hong Kong, with an MA in Linguistics. Before coming to Brunei, she taught Chinese Language at the Nanhai Information Technology School in China for more than 6 years. Currently, she is assisting in teaching Mandarin modules and researching Chinese language education at the Centre.

The Chinese Volunteer Programme is one of the outcomes from a high-level visit from China to Brunei in 2011. The first 23 Chinese volunteers completed their service successfully in 2013. This year, 10 Chinese volunteers arrived Brunei Darussalam in August and will assist UBD in teaching and research for one year.

H.E. Madame Yang Jian, delegates from the Chinese embassy, UBD staff and volunteers Chinese Ambassador
Ms Luo Yiqing, Chinese volunteer at the LC. Luo Yiqing
Korean Film Festival, 2015   Japanese Speech Contest, 2015   LB-2405 Field Trip
Korean film festival UBD

The Language Centre recently co-organized the 2nd Korean Film Festival with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea.

Videos were screened in The Core and included Mr Go, Secretly Greatly and The Face Reader.

Read More


Students enrolled in Japanese classes recently enjoyed UBDs 29th Annual JAPANESE SPEECH CONTEST.

Click the link to see pictures and to listen to the prize winning speeches.

Read More

Japanese Speech Contest UBD

Malay language students recently visited Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei in Berakas to enhance their Malay language skills.

See Pictures & Read More

UBD Malay Trip
Director's Welcome August 2015    

Language Centre
Noor Azam

Assalamu'alaikum Warahmatullah & Greetings!
Welcome to LC's Website!

I am pleased to be back among friends in LC in my capacity as Acting Director beginning July 2015.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank former Director, Ustaz Saidai bin Haji Hitam, for his leadership of LC in the last two years, and to congratulate him on his appointment as Dean of Students.

  I would also like to congratulate Ms Hjh Suciyati Hj Sulaiman on her appointment as the new Deputy Director of LC. Following a recent re-structuring, LC will no longer have "Programme Leaders" for English Language & Communication Skills (ELCS) and Borneo & International Languages (BIL), but "Programme Coordinators". 

Certainly, I must acknowledge the dedication of all Language Centre (LC) staff who work hard to ensure that the LC can continue to innovate and offer high quality language education to our students.   I should like to think that LC has contributed substantially to UBD's recent achievement to be ranked #118 in Asia in the QS 2015 rankings.  In three categories, UBD is in the Top 10. The university was ranked 1st in outbound student exchange, 2nd in inbound student exchange, 6th in international faculty, 14th in international students and 23rd in faculty student ratio.

  This semester in addition to our core work of delivering language courses, there is a range of activities that you can look forward to as we continue to develop our services to help build our relationships with local and international communities, and to help the university increase its international profile. 

Finally, I would like to welcome all new and returning students to Semester I, 2015/2016. I wish you the very best in your studies!

Terima kasih kerana sudi melawat laman web kami! Thank you for visiting our website!

Hari Raya Japanese Style   Staffing Changes   Staff Birthdays

Students celebrated Hari Raya Japanese style.


hariraya hariraya

Mr Saidai Hitam

Language Centre staff extend their very best wishes to Mr Saidai Hitam who has taken a new position as Dean of Students.

He will still be teaching Arabic at the LC.

Consecutive birthdays for Ms Suciyati and Dr Azam recently meant that there was plenty of cake and food to share! Birthdays are always a time for staff to chat and enjoy food together before rushing off to class! birthdays
Hari Raya 2015   English Exam March 2015   Malay Field trip
hariraya2015s space
English exam Mar 15 1400 students recently sat an exam in LE-2503 Communication Skills: Academic Writing & Presentations. Chancellor Hall was at capacity.

International students studying Malay enjoyed a recent language immersion trip to Bandar.
READ MORE in the Malay showcase.

Drama in Education   Azmie

May 2015 Young, local lecturer, Mohd Norazmie bin Mohd Yusof, presented his first conference paper recently in Sydney Australia.

His paper focused on the contribution drama methodology can make in teaching a variety of subjects. In particular it looked at the 'benefits of using drama in education as a platform of pedagogy and the possibility of using it as part of other teaching methods. Research by educational psychologists and ‘drama/theatre in education practitioners’ in Europe has involved interesting case studies with the use drama as a platform to boost students’ understanding and participation while creating a safe context for learning.'


Drama, he says, 'has potential to become a platform for ‘edutainment’ activities and promotes constructive learning strategies. From my observations during my teaching career in primary school and vocational school, positive outcomes resulted when I used drama in the classroom. Many of the audience (mainly educators) agreed that we need to try different approaches to teach students. We need to be bold enough to step out of our comfort zones and innovate.'

'My paper showed some of the creative pedagogy that I have used during my teaching career in primary school in UK and in vocational school in Brunei. It gave the audience some insights into aspects of education in Brunei and demonstrated that we are just like other educators from other countries striving for the excellence in delivering knowledge and skills to students.'

Staff Social Functions   Certificates of Appreciation

Staff enjoy a range of both planned and impromptu social functions during the year. The photo below was taken at a staff lunch while the photo on the right was taken at a morning tea.



  staff space
Japanese May 15 Students and staff worked hard to make Japanese Culture Week 2015 a success. Volunteers were given certificates to acknowldge their work.
French Cooking
French UBD Aug 15 French Club students enjoyed a cooking session at Alliance Française, with Director Yvan Boucher.
Certificate Ceremony for Chinese Diplomats    

Mar 2015 Language Centre staff had the pleasure of teaching two young diplomats from China for two semesters from August last year. In April 2015 they graduated from the Professional Communication Skills program with greater confidence and ability in English communication and as a bonus they gained a range of other skills and also intercultural friendships along the way.

As part of the proceedings both delivered a speech in English showcasing their confidence and command of English.

De Kai and Xin were in Brunei as part of the MOFAT China-Brunei exchange program which is now in its 15th year.

  Dekai   Dekai
Malay Komunikasi   Norimaki Competition    

Mar 2015 An activity held over two days earlier this semester enabled students of LB-2405 Kemahiran Komunikasi Strategik to improve their commmunication skills, learn to interact with a camera and work co-operatively in groups.

Their task involved creating a mock TV program and video recording it.


Students in LJ-2403 (Level 2 Japanese) recently competed in a Norimaki (Rolled Sushi) competition.

Each of the siix groups had to make an original Norimaki and a creative one. One group took creativity to a new high by including banana. Sensei Yuki declined to taste that one!


Students voted on the best sushi and the winning group revealed their secret ingredients; baked cheese, pepperoni and crushed chips.

Two of their fabulous creations can be seen below. For more information on Japanese activities see our Japanese showcase.

Malay spacer norimake   norimake
English Exam    

Mar 2015 LE-2503 students are eagerly awaiting the results of their recent exam, but with 1400 papers, lecturers will be busy marking for some time.

Two additional assessments are due in soon. Students must submit essays and group presentations. So currently students are busy putting final touches on essays and planning their presentations.

Marking will be complete in late April, but students will need to wait until after the exam committee has met in late May before they can access their final results.

  English Exam   English Exam
Nakhoda Manis   Book Fair 2015

Feb 2015 A book co-produced by LC and Pustaka Negara Brunei was launched at Book Fair 2015. The book is the first in a series and is part of a larger project to preserve traditional folklore. "Nakhoda Manis" is set in Brunei's seafaring past and tells the tale of a mother's sacrifice and great love for her son, and of the son's lack of gratitude.



The story is written in both Malay and English.

The book, Nakhoda Manis was produced by Pustaka Negara Brunei, written by Haji Leman Ahmad and was translated and adapted by LC staff; Hjh Zurinah, Datin Rosnah and Ms Frieda Bonus Adeva.


Here Hjh Zurinah (left) discusses the contents with Datin Rosnah (right) and Hjh Suciyati (centre).


A group of International students joined staff at the Book Fair. They enjoyed having a look around. Some came home with bags full of books, one came home with a shiny new tablet and another made good use of the food stalls outside!



Students browse books at the Fair.

Japanese Class - Kanji Competition    

Feb 2015 Language classes involve a range of activities to help students to acquire knowledge and proficiency. Reading in Japanese is particularly challenging as students have to learn several alphabets and many characters.

In these photos, taken during a class activity in February, 2015, students are matching Kanji (Chinese characters) cards to reading cards. As part of the activity the reading cards were later removed leaving only the Kanji. The next task involved the story being read aloud while students identified the the appropriate Kanji; this time as an oral/aural activity.

This kind of activity reinforces knowledge and concepts visually and aurally and promotes quick thinking and quick choices. It encourages language learners to take risks and back their own judgement within a 'safe' environment. Ideally these skills transfer outside the classroom and help students to gain confidence and proficiency.

  kanji   kanji
Director's Welcome, January 2015    

Jan 2015 I would like to begin by acknowledging the dedication of Language Centre (LC) staff who work hard to ensure that the LC can continue to innovate and offer high quality language education to our students.

At this point I would also like to express appreciation to Dr Kim Ji Yeon, former Senior Lecturer in Korean, for her exemplary work and great contribution to the success of both the Korean language program and to the LC in general. Dr Kim was with us for nine years and will be missed.

Last semester sadly we also said goodbye to our talented Assistant Officer Rasheedah and we wish her the best of luck in her new role at CAMES.

This semester we are delighted to welcome several new staff members;

  • Mr Norazmie Yusof joined us recently and will be teaching Malay and Dusun (Borneo language);
  • Dr Jana Heilmaier will be re-introducing German;
  • Ms Aryine Jammes will be teaching French; and
  • Ms Xiaoxue Cheng will be teaching Mandarin.

I would also like to welcome Dk Hailmyana who joined us recently as our new Assistant Registrar. And on behalf of the staff let me congratulate our Mandarin Lecturer Min Shen on the birth of her baby.

As usual we have several events coming up and this semester a highlight will be the Japanese Language and Culture week to be held in March. Last semester the LC hosted some very successful events including the;


LC Director Mr Saidai Hitam takes a moment to look at the new IHS buildings close to the Language Centre

  Events such as these are valuable in inspiring our students and showcasing their achievements as well as strengthening links with embassies and the community. Learning a new language provides our students with opportunity to better understand sensitive political and cultural issues, and to participate more fully in the global economy upon graduation.

This semester in addition to our core work of delivering language courses, the LC will focus on a range of consultancies and other services to help build our relationships with local and international communities.

Finally, I’d like to welcome all new and returning students to Semester II, 2014/2015. I wish you the very best for your studies.

Terima kasih kerana sudi melawat laman web kami! Thank you for visiting our website!
January, 2015

Korean Activities   Assistance With English   BIL Staff

Dec 14 Winners of the annual Korean Speech Contest Nikmatul Amirah Hj Kamarudin & Florence Loh pose with the Japanese ambassador and Mr Saidai Hitam (Director of the Language Centre).

Click to see more photos and information about the Korean Speech Contest.


Jan 14 As the number of International Post-Graduate students at UBD increases there is a growing demand for support to ensure that candidates are able to produce quality research and coursework with appropriate Academic and English standards. To address this need the LC is offering a series of seminars on Academic Writing and a program of one-on-one help.

Jan 14 BIL staff have enjoyed their December break, but they have also been busy working on courses for the new semester.

Offerings this year will expand to include French, German and, as part of an important project to preserve Borneo Languages as living languages, Dusun will also be offered.

From left to right Ms Frieda, Ms Yoon Yeohee, Ms Zurinah, Ms Yuki, Ms Min Shen, Mr Mohi, Mr Azmi and LC Director, Mr Saidai.

Farewell to Kim Je Yeon       New Lecturers join LC staff

Jan 14 Last month Kim left the LC to return home to Korea. During her nine years at the LC she served in a number of roles including Korean Senior Lecturer, Program Leader for Borneo and International Languages and Deputy Director.

Kim was instrumental in running a number of cultural events including Korean Festivals, Film nights and a range of events in collaboration with the Korean Embassy. She established the very successful Korean Culture Club.

In addition to her many successes academically and in terms of forging cultural understanding and links, Kim established close friendships and a supportive working relationship with LC staff members. She will be missed.

We wish Kim every success in her new endeavours in Korea.



A farewell lunch for Dr Kim was held at Tarindak D'Seni Restaurant in Kota Batu.
(Kim front row, 2nd from right)
Click photo to enlarge.


Jan 14 The LC is pleased to welcome four new members of staff; Mr Norazmie, Ms Jana Heilmaier, Ms Aryine Jammes and Ms Xiaoxue.

new staff

From left to right Ms Xiaoxue, Ms Jana, Ms Ayrine and Mr Norazmie.

Mr Norzamie joined us late last year after completing his MA in Drama and Theatre Education at the University of Warwick in the UK and will be teaching Malay and Borneo languages. He currently has 60 students in the Dusun Level 1 class.

Dr Jana who joined us in January has extensive experience teaching in Europe and has taught in Cambodia. She will be reintroducing German to the LC and currently has 86 students enrolled in German Level 1.

Ms Aryine who arrived in January is teaching Levels 1 & 2 French with 55 students in her level 1 class. Ms Xiaoxue also arrived this month and is teaching Mandarin Level 1 to 86 students.

LB 2405 Strategic Communication Skills (Bahasa Melayu)

Dec 14 LB 2405 students enjoyed presentations, violin music, poetry and dance as part of their end of course celebrations on December 3. The function held in the Multi-purpos Hall, UBD, was organised by members of the working committee consisting of students taking the module; Strategic Communication Skills (KKS). Guests of Honour included the Director of the Language Centre, Mr Saidai Hitam, Lecturer Zurinah Ya'Akub and Administration staff of the Language Centre. The closing ceremony for the subject gave the students opportunity to utilise many of the skills gained in their studies.

More photos and information, click Malay Showcase.

Paper delivered at University of Philippines-Diliman

Oct 14 Filipino lecturer, Frieda, Marie Bonus-Adeva delivered a paper at the University of the Philippines-Diliman at an international conference which ran from November 20 to 22, 2014. The conference focused on the K-12 curriculum. Her paper was titled, 'The Filipino Language Programme in Brunei: Challenges and Updates.'

  Ms Bonus-Adeva's paper looked at the history of Filipino language teaching at UBD from its beginning in 2010 to its growth beyond the university into the wider community. Today Filipino teachers consult for government and industry and are involved in a vacation program run by the Philippine Consulate General where Brunei-born Filipino children can hone their mother-tongue skills.  
Language Centre Community Service Project - Intensive English for Teachers

Oct 14 The LC is running a community service pilot project which involves assisting local school teachers to develop their confidence in using English in the Classroom. The teachers are now in their second week of training.

The course involves weekly classes at the university and field visits by LC staff to assist teachers as they work with their students. The rationale for the course is that by building teachers' confidence, they will be able to better assist their students with their language needs.


Teachers involved in the pilot project.


With Lecturer, Ms Suciyati, October, 2014.

Click photo to enlarge.

Folklore Project - MOA signed between Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei, October 2, 2014

Oct 14 The folklore project will help to preserve Brunei’s local stories and make them available for future generations.



A number of stories have been collected and will be  translated into several foreign languages by Language Centre staff. From there they will be published and disseminated to schools within Brunei. Discussions are underway about possible publication by UNESCO. Pustaka Negara Brunei is responsible for publishing and marketing.

To date the first story “Nakhoda Manis” has been translated into English and is now in the publication process. It will be launched at the 2015 National Book Fair. The story is set in Brunei's seafaring past and is a moral tale about a mother's love and a child's ingratitude. Translation into other languages is underway.


The MOA between the Language Centre and Pustaka Negara Brunei will remain in place until 2019 and during the period it is expected that several short stories will be published in multiple languages.


Message from the Director, August 2014    

Aug 14. Welcome to the Language Centre (LC) website. We hope you enjoy catching up on our news.

The LC corridors have come alive during the last few weeks with new and continuing students. Semester I, 2014 /2015 is underway and on behalf of Language Centre staff I’d like to welcome our students and wish you all the very best for your studies over the next few months.

Language Centre students quickly realize that learning a language is both challenging and fun. As well as the enjoyment and satisfaction experienced, learning a language provides many benefits including; opportunity to study in other countries; enhanced communication skills which are vital to building relationships internationally; increased job opportunities; and finally, as we begin to recognize sounds and symbols and negotiate meaning we are building new synaptic pathways in the brain making it stronger and more flexible; a lifelong benefit. So you can see that there are many good reasons to study a foreign language.

Currently there is huge interest in our language modules from students throughout the university. This creates staffing challenges from time to time. So we are delighted this semester to welcome a new staff member, Ms Yuki Akita, who arrived in August and will be teaching Japanese. Please make her feel welcome. We are also pleased to welcome back Ms Suciyati Sulaiman from leave after the birth of her daughter.


At the same time it is with great regret that we farewell Minako Keaney this semester. Minako has been with us for many years and her work with students studying Japanese has been pivotal to ensuring the success of the program.


Minako will be missed and we wish the very best for her family and for her continued career upon her return to Japan.

The new semester is already underway with the corridors bustling and the classrooms full. The first event of the semester was a great success with hundreds of people attending the Japanese speech competition on August 15.

I’d like to thank Ms Minako Keaney for once again organizing this important event. It will be followed later in the semester by the Korean Speech contest. Both are important opportunities to motivate students and enable them to showcase their skills, and also to build relations within the community.  


Other activities for this semester include the Japanese Proficiency Test and the TOPIK and TOEFL exams for which the LC is an official Testing Centre. Several projects are currently underway; firstly, in conjunction with the Continuing Education Centre (CEC) we offer an English Summer School (ESS) which targets students from Korea and Japan and serves to build our profile as a Centre of Excellence for teaching English in the region. Secondly, we aim to further build co-operation and collaboration with foreign embassies in Brunei and are achieving this through events such as the speech competitions and also through festivals such as the Arabic festival and the ASEAN festival both held earlier this year. We are very grateful for the assistance provided by the embassies and for the opportunity to strengthen ties. Additionally, the LC is building a local profile through the initiation of a project which involves researching, translating and publishing locl folk stories which will be instrumental in preserving important traditional elements of Bruneian culture.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our academic and office staff for the wonderful work they do in enriching the experience of students here at UBD.

Terima kasih kerana sudi melawat laman web kami! Thank you for visiting our website!
August, 2014

Farewell to Ms Minako   Congratulations to Ms Suciyati   Farewell to Rasheedah
Aug 14 Ms Minako Keaney was a busy and popular lecturer. After many years, sadly she has had to say goodbye to return to Japan. She will be missed by her students and colleagues alike.

  Aug 14 It was with great pleasure that we were able to welcome back Ms Suci after the birth of her daughter in May.

  Oct 14 Our Assistant Officer, Sheedah recently left us to take up a new position. Luckily she hasn't gone far and she'll be back to visit. Good luck in your new position Sheedah!

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LC Hari Raya celebrations, 2014
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Japanese Speech Contest, August 15, 2014

Aug 14 Hundreds of people turned out to enjoy the 28th Japanese Speech contest held at The Core Lecture Hall on Friday August 15.

After a welcoming speech by the LC Director and a representative of the Embassy of Japan the contest got underway with Hjh Maisarah binti Haji Awang Sharif delivering the first speech of the day.  A total of fifteen speeches were given across three levels; Beginner, Advanced and Open. 

Interludes between the levels included; singing by groups from Sekolah Menegah and the Serasa choir club; a UBD / CED  dance performance; and a BJFA/UBD quiz which engaged and entertained the audience with questions ranging from ‘how many islands are there in Japan?’ to the geek-end of the scale with questions about anime and technology.

Sponsors included All Nippon Airways (ANA), Brunei-Japan Friendship Association (BJFA), Japan-Brunei Friendship Association (JBFA), The Japanese Association of Brunei Darussalam, The Japanese Overseas Enterprise Association (JOEA) and The Japan Foundation. The organizing committee is grateful for their interest, assistance and donations. A highlight of the event was bestowing the grand prize upon the winner of the Advanced Level, Siti Nur Afifah Baidzura binti Haji Mat Yassin. For her speech on Japanese Dialect she won a flight to Japan.  


UBD lecturer, Ms Minako Keaney who has been involved in organizing the event for many years, was surprised to receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the Embassy of Japan honouring her for her dedication to students and her work with the embassy over a number of years. This was Minako’s last Speech Contest as she left Brunei just two days later to return permanently to Japan with her family. She will be missed by the Japanese community in Brunei, her students and UBD and LC staff.

Click pictures to enlarge

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Winners and their topics are listed below.


Mapping to Common European Framework underway Videos: English language slips


Language Outlines mapped to Common European Framework

Aug 14 Work began on mapping Korean, French and English to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) in 2013 and will be complete in September 2014. Phase Two of the two year project will involve mapping the remaining languages and will take place over the next 12 months.

CEFR was created by the Council of Europe in the 1990s and was originally intended to align


teaching, learning and certification of the various languages across Europe for the purposes of certification portability.

However, it is increasingly being used internationally as a standard for courses and domestically for evaluation of proficiency by various government departments. CEFR is used in this region by institutions in the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, China and Australia amongst other countries.

The scales describes language proficiency in six levels from A1 and A2 at the beginner level, through B1 and B2 at the intermediate level and on to C1 and C2 at advanced levels. The scales consider communicative contexts, themes, tasks and purposes.

Mapping LC courses to CEFR ensures that the content of Language Centre modules is benchmarked to international standards.

This will enhance UBD students' applications for overseas study and will enable easy communication within UBD and between UBD and other institutions when discussing levels of language attainment and issues in teaching.

spacer Aug 14 We've recently completed five fun videos highlighting common slips in English language.

Which do you like best?



Would you like anything with that?     What's wrong with Greenpeace?



I love massages.     You're going to die?


A problem with my mouse.  

LC farewells Chinese diplomat: Yu Jun, May 2014


Chinese Diplomat, Yu Jun (left) accepts his certificate from Chinese Charge d/Affaires, Mr Fang Xinwen and Language Centre Director, Mr Saidai Hitam.


May 14 Yu Jun, recently completed eight months of English Communications study at the Language Centre, UBD under a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) program. In his farewell speech Yu Jun talked about the Brunei Water Village noting that it is a remarkable model of preserving traditional culture and lifestyle while at the same time blending it with modern life. He observed that other countries, China included, could learn a lot from Brunei’s approach to its heritage.

After thanking the program organisers, the Chinese Embassy, UBD and his lecturers, Yu Jun spoke of the remarkable value the exchange program has and how he has benefited from his time in Brunei in terms of language gains, cultural insights and friendships developed.


The aim of the program is capacity building as part of a bilateral exchange program. Chinese Junior Diplomats have opportunity to enhance their English communications skills which broadens their career options, while MOFAT officers have career-enriching opportunities to study in China.

Previous Chinese participants of the program at UBD have enjoyed significant promotions upon their return. The program Yu Jun took part in is an excellent example of Brunei’s ability to deliver quality English education.




LC hosts seminars

BIL staff
Joanne (centre in orange) with LC staff.


Two papers were presented by UBD Language Centre (LC) staff on Thursday 5 December, 2013. Ms Huang Jinyuan, Visiting Lecturer, presented ‘How Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL) Directs English Teaching in China’s Vocational Schools’ where she discussed possibilities for innovation of teaching methods and cross-pollination between TCFL and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).

Chinese Lecturer Ms Min Shen presented a paper on ‘Acquisition of Chinese Characters by Malay Speakers and Chinese Etymology in Teaching’ where she discussed the use of etymology to assist learners to remember Chinese characters.

joanne minshen

The LC was sorry to see Ms Huang Jinyuan (Joanne) depart in early December. She has returned to China where she will pick up her previous job teaching in a Vocational School in Zhuhai (near Guangzhou). We wish her the very best of luck and hope that our paths cross in the future.

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