Language and Culture
Learning an additional language at University College Utrecht expands your linguistic repertoire and your skills in intercultural communication. It develops “transferable skills” sought after by employers in today's global job market, such as cultural awareness and appreciation, open-mindedness, and effective oral and written communication in additional languages. Language learning also serves as a cross-training learning activity for the brain, helping you develop skills in prioritisation and planning, analysis, abstract thinking and problem solving that serve you well in your education otherwise. The inclusion of language in your degree sets you apart from other students, and the farther you can take your study of language, the greater the benefits.
Level 0 courses aim to introduce students to the basic vocabulary and grammar of the target language. They are intended for students with little or no background in the language. The exit level goal of level 0 courses, in Common European Framework terms, is A1 (With the exception of Arabic, Chinese and Latin, they require a background in the language to at least the A1 exit level of the level 0 courses).
Level 1 courses, in general, aim to develop students’ skills in a language at an elementary level. With the exception of Chinese and Latin, they require a background in the language to at least the A1 exit level of the level 0 courses offered at University College Utrecht; for languages for which a 0 level is not offered at the college, students must have acquired this knowledge elsewhere (for example, secondary school). The level 1 courses include essential cultural content intended to develop students’ intercultural skills, and therefore these courses can be used meet the University College Utrecht language and culture requirement (this is reflected in the title of the courses). The exit level goal of level 1 courses, in CEF terms, is A2/B1 (except for Arabic, Chinese and Latin). See also the China Studies page for more information on Chinese language courses.
Level 2 courses, in general, aim to develop students’ skills in a language at an intermediate level. They require a background in the language to at least the A2/B1 exit level of the level 1 courses. The level 2 courses include essential cultural content intended to develop students’ intercultural skills, and therefore these courses can be used meet the University College Utrecht language and culture requirement. For monolingual speakers of English, they can also be used to satisfy the University College Utrecht second language requirement. The exit level goal of level 2 courses, in CEF terms, is B1/B2 (except for Arabic, Chinese and Latin).
Minor programme: Completing a language and culture course at UCU is one of the graduation requirements. Language courses can however not be counted as a track within the major, with the exception of China studies. It is however possible to complete a minor in a language. A minor in Latin can be completed by taking all courses at UCU.For the other languages students can complete a minor when they combine UCU language and culture courses with an advanced (level 3 course) courses in, for example, language, literature, history of the target language at the Utrecht University Faculty of the Humanities or at another university. Minors are officially noted on a students’ degree transcript only if they receive the approval of the University College Utrecht exam board.
The University College Utrecht language courses are primarily skills courses, and on their own, they do not prepare students for Master's programmes in the study of a specific target language. University College Utrecht students who aim for language-related master programmes can supplement their courses with courses at the Utrecht University Faculty of the Humanities in the linguistic structure and the literature of the target language. Most Master's programmes in language demand at least minimal knowledge of general linguistics (UCHUMLIN11: Introduction to Linguistics) and the study of literature (UCHUMLIT11: Introduction to the Study of Literature).
Master's programmes typically demand an advanced level of competence in the language, as well as knowledge of the literature, history and linguistic structure of the target language. This level of achievement typically requires a transformative “immersion” experience in the target language. Students committed to preparing themselves for Master's programmes in a modern language should make every effort to spend a semester abroad in a country where the target language is spoken; while on exchange, they can take courses that will develop not only their language competencies, but also the cultural knowledge of literature and history that will be expected in further study.
Master's programmes look for capable students who have clearly demonstrated their intellectual abilities in the previous stage of their education. Master's programmes in languages often have specific requirements above and beyond a high level of competence in the language (see above). Most programmes publish their admission requirements, or are happy to provide information about these.
Most universities require students to have mastery of the language of education at a proficiency level of at least B2 in CEF terms. For destinations where there are limited opportunities to use English in daily and academic communication, however, students may need a level of C1 succeed. Students should take this into account when selecting exchange destinations, and need to be aware that they may need to take additional language courses beyond those offered at University College Utrecht in order to prepare properly, either at the Utrecht University Faculty of the Humanities, through programmes offered by the exchange programme host institution, or by external language learning institutes.
Every semester, we organize Language Cafés on our UCU campus. Do (or did) you study a language at UCU and want to improve your conversation skills in this language, in a relaxed and fun atmosphere? Or do you speak a language well and want to help others improve their skills? Then please join us in the UCU Language Café! Everyone is welcome, students and staff. Please find the dates for the Language Café activities for this semester:
Tue 26 Sept
Language Café 1
Voltaire A and B
Open to students and staff
Tue 21 Nov
Language Café 2
Voltaire A and B
Open to students and staff
For information about the language testing day please check out the language testing day page.