You might not know this, but the NSW Government’s Department of Education offers Hindi as a subject in High School.
Hindi? You’re thinking. I wouldn’t be caught dead studying Hindi for the HSC! It’s not cool. Nobody else does it. My Hindi is fine and it’s probably just going to be a waste of time. I’d rather study something like French, German or Japanese if I wanted to study a language?
That’s exactly what I thought in Year 10. Now, reflecting almost a year after receiving my HSC marks, it was one of the best subject choices I made. For more than one reason.
For those that just want to choose a fun subject. Hindi is for you too. You’d be surprised to know that I had a really good time studying Hindi. While attending classes one day a week, I met more like-minded people than I did in all of high school.
In true Indian fashion, within a couple of lessons we had a WhatsApp group. It was common to see a notification for 400 unread messages within an hour on the group chat. Having grown up with the same movies, cartoons, comics and of course language, we had much in common. We all knew the inside Indian jokes; we all loved the same food and knew the lyrics to popular Hindi songs. Nicknames for each other came quickly as we discovered each other’s weird, nerdy and surprising hobbies. Needless to say, we got along.
We had lessons where we just watched Chhota Bheem, lessons where we ate pani puri and lots of lessons where we played Bollywood Dumb Charades.
It was great fun.
Another good reason you should pick Hindi, and hold onto it until the HSC, is because of how easy it really is. If you bring with you the ability to read, write and speak, even to an intermediary level, then furthering your knowledge and skills in Hindi should be a breeze. The content is not challenging, but rather interesting. Encompassing poems, grammar, comprehension, research and speeches – classical as well as contemporary – it turned out to be an exciting course.
Competition was the only challenge, and there was a healthy amount of it.
Equally, I might add, if you struggle with reading or writing, Hindi is incredibly easy to pick up. In the worst-case scenario, you decide to pick the subject, you study for a term, you learn a few things, then you don’t like it and you drop the subject! Nothing is lost but a small part of your Saturday, but you were probably going to wake up late and waste your time anyway. You might’ve even raised your level of Hindi a few notches. Your day school studies won’t suffer either.
If you do make the thoughtful decision of studying Hindi throughout your Prelims and HSC, you will gain a fair few things. Firstly, it could greatly boost your ATAR with minimal effort. While it’s true that the subject doesn’t scale the best, it is much easier to get a band 6 in, compared to say, Economics or Drama.
I can honestly say, that coming third in the state and knowing the person who came first, Hindi might have been one of our easiest subjects during the HSC. For anyone who wants to achieve an excellent ATAR by their own standards, it should be a no-brainer to pick a subject that you know well, your parents are experts at and that you are guaranteed to do at least OK in if you put in zero effort. Hindi is exactly that, and I say so from experience.
And yet, while there are thousands of Hindi-speaking students in the state, very few choose Hindi. Why do we have such a small Hindi cohort in comparison with the hundreds of students studying Tamil, Punjabi, Mandarin?
I would urge you to look into studying Hindi. While there are other platforms teaching Hindi (private tutors, temples and community classes), you will never get the same experience as studying at Saturday School. You will make great friends, meet excellent teachers, get great marks and have a good time.
P.S. You may be able to complete your HSC for Hindi in Year 11, if you start in Year 10 and thus take some pressure off in Year 12.