Hindi at Berkeley

An overview of the Hindi program at the University of California, Berkeley.

By Nora Koa (Melnikova)

September 2023

Hindi at Berkeley

An aerial view of the University of California, Berkeley, campus. (Photograph © Shutterstock.com)

I am Nora Koa (Melnikova), a lecturer of Hindi language and literature in the Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies at University of California, Berkeley.

The courses at Berkeley include introductory Hindi, intermediate Hindi and readings in modern Hindi literature. They are currently completely full, which means 17 students in one class or more if the instructor permits, which might be the case this year.

American students who choose Hindi courses are mostly Indian heritage students who want to reconnect to their ancestral culture, Ph.D. students conducting research in India and spouses of Indians.

My methodology is to use a communicative approach with elements of other methods, adjusted to the needs of our mostly Indian heritage students.

The most difficult part is to teach students with different levels of proficiency that are sometimes in the same class. That happens usually in the intermediate and advanced classes, in the introductory course all are beginners.

Enrollment for Hindi courses is open for all. Anyone can join! It’s mostly on a first-come, first-served basis, but I do reserve seats for freshmen and sophomores.

Alumni of Hindi programs use the language with their family, or for their research, or both.

Hindi activities at Berkeley include lectures by Rahul Parson on Hindi literature authors and scholars. We are planning to celebrate Hindi Diwas with Kabir singers.

Nora Koa (Melnikova), lecturer of Hindi language and literature at University of California, Berkeley

(Photograph courtesy Nora Koa)

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