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In Year 7, students choose to study one of the six languages offered at State High. They continue to study this language for one semester in each year from Year 7 to Year 9. In Semester 2 of Year 9 they can choose to continue to study that language through until the end of Year 12 as one of their optional subjects. In Year 7, all languages offer an introductory course for students who have never studied it before, or who have a primary school background of studying that language.

Contact details for the Head of Department are listed under the Leadership and Management Team.


Please download the Languages Faculty Tutorials 2020 (PDF, 140 KB) document.

Languages offered

Please refer to the Junior Course Guide and Senior Course Guide​ for further information on Languages subjects and prerequisites.

Languages offered for junior and senior students

Year level


Year 7, 8 and 9 (mandatory learning)

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Spanish

Year 10, 11 and 12 (optional learning)

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Spanish

Why study a language?

Besides learning to speak a foreign language, benefits for students also include:

  • engaging with the global community
  • understanding their own cultural perspectives
  • improving their understanding of other peoples’ culture and lives
  • developing new perspectives and opportunities
  • gaining a competitive edge in the job market
  • being able to travel through parts of the world more easily.

Students studying a language learn to:

  • become confident communicators
  • work in groups
  • collect, analyse and organise information
  • look for patterns and apply theories
  • solve problems by thinking flexibly
  • understand how English works. 

Overseas exchange programs

Students may have the opportunity to extend their language learning through exchange programs, including:

  • exchanges with sister schools in France, Germany, Italy and Japan
  • Swiss Exchange Program (6 to 8 weeks)—for students in Year 11 studying Italian, French and German
  • SAGSE German Exchange Program—for students in Years 10 to 12 during the Christmas holidays
  • scholarship opportunities to study in Germany, Italy and Japan
  • exchange organisations offering short term programs from 6 weeks to 3 months, or long term programs for 1 year—such as Nacel, WEP, YFU, Southern Cross, and AIIU
  • becoming a host family for an exchange student visiting Brisbane State High School.


  • Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad (OzCLO)
  • French Poetry Competition
  • Goethe Institute Scholarship
  • Italian Speaking Competition
  • Iwsaki Sangyo Program
  • Japan Foundation Art Speaks Japanese Contest
  • Japan Foundation Video Matsuri
  • Japanese Language Proficiency Test
  • Japanese Speech Competition
  • Language Perfect World Championships
  • StudItalia Program

More information on these events will be released in school newsletters.