Language and Culture
To speak a language is to take on a world, a 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.
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.
Introduction to Arabic Language and Culture (Spring)
Arabic Language and Culture II (Fall)
Latin Language and Culture I (Fall)
Latin Language and Culture II (Spring)
Advanced Latin - Tutorial Only
Introduction to Dutch Studies (Fall, Spring)
Dutch Language and Culture I (Fall, Spring)
|UCINTDUT12||1||Discovering the Dutch|
Dutch Language and Culture II (Spring)
Dutch Language and Culture II for Bi-linguals - Tutorial Only
French Language and Culture I (Fall, Spring)
French Language and Culture II (Fall, Spring)
German Language and Culture I (Spring)
German Language and Culture II (Spring)
Introduction to Italian Studies (Summer)
Italian Language and Culture I (Fall)
Italian Language and Culture II - (Spring, Tutorial Only)
Introduction to Hispanic Studies (Fall, Spring)
Spanish Language and Culture I (Fall, Spring)
Spanish Language and Culture II (Spring)
|UCHUMCHI11||1||Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture|
|UCHUMCHI22||2||Chinese Language and Culture II|
|UCHUMCHI32||3||Chinese Language and Culture III|
|UCHUMCHI33||3||Chinese Language and Culture IV|
For information about Chinese Language and Culture courses please check the China Studies page.
Level 0 Courses
The 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.
Due to issues of demand, level 0 courses are not offered in German (code GER) or French (code FRE).
Level 1 Courses
The level 1 courses, in general, aim to develop students’ skills in a language at an elementary level. With the exception of Chinese and Latin (see below), they require a background in the language to at least the A1 exit level of the level 0 courses offered at University College Utrecht (see above); 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 Latin).
One exception is UCHUMCHI11: this level 1 course is for students with little or no background in Chinese. It is designed especially for those University College Utrecht students who follow a track in Chinese language and culture and prepare for a study abroad programme including further Chinese language study but is also suitable for any students interested in Chinese language and culture. It introduces students to the basic vocabulary and grammar of Chinese, and students learn to write about 100 Chinese characters. It integrates Chinese cultural elements by using materials from Chinese visual and literary culture to support language teaching, and like the other level 1 language courses, can be used to meet the University College Utrecht language and culture requirement. The exit level goal of this course, in CEF terms, is A1 (listening/speaking only). See also the China Studies page for more information.
Another exception is UCHUMCLA11: this level 1 course can be taken by students with a rudimentary knowledge of Latin, as well as students with no previous background in the language (in agreement with the teacher). Because it is inherently a course that entails studying elements of the classical Greek and Roman cultures, it can, like other level 1 courses, be used to meet the University College Utrecht language and culture requirement. Its exit level goals are not stated in CEF terms.
Level 2 Courses
The 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 (see above). 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 (as reflected in the title of the courses). 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 Latin, see above).
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.
At University College Utrecht two courses in Arabic Language and Culture are on offer. Both courses are suitable for students who want to encounter Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and learn about differences between MSA and colloquial Arabic. Moreover, students will widen their knowledge of the culture of 22 countries where Arabic is spoken.
In the course Introduction to Arabic Language and Culture (UCHUMARA11), we focus not only on the Arabic language, but also on the history and culture of the Arabic-speaking people. This course will educate students on the philosophy, music, religions, literature, poetry and art of the Arabic-speaking communities. Learning the language is aimed at communication with native speakers of Arabic. By exploring the Arabic world, students will learn to appreciate its distinct cultural products and customs. They also will come to understand some of the values important to the Arabic people, such as honor, dignity, and hospitality. Next to Modern Stand Arabic, the course introduces important features of the main spoken dialects.
In Arabic Language and Culture II (UCHUMARA21), we work on deepening the students’ knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic , which they have acquired during the Introduction course. It aims to comprehensively cover the 5 Cs: communication, culture, connections, comparisons and communities. This course combines a progressive and rigorous foundation in MSA with an integration of the spoken varieties used in everyday situations. In this way, the course efficiently prepares students for the practical realities of learning and "living" Arabic today. Authentic materials are used and analyzed throughout the course and students are working towards authentic communication with Arabic native speakers.
The two courses follow the flipped classroom pedagogy. The class time can be used for interactive activities in which the students use the language actively and critically discuss the cultural content. The course follows a communicative approach to language teaching, in which communicating in Arabic is the central goal. Towards the end of the course, Arabic will mainly be used as the language of instruction. Language skills are tested through written quizzes, portfolio assignments and a final exam. The cultural component will be graded based on a presentation, class participation and a short essay on a topic of the student’s choosing.
Introduction to Arabic Language and Culture (UCHUMARA11) is offered every spring. Arabic Language and Culture II (UCHUMARA21) is offered every fall.
Both courses are also open to visiting students.
For more information about the courses, please visit the course catalog pages: Arabic Language and Culture I, Arabic Language and Culture II
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:
Tuesday 28 February 2023
Language Café 1
Voltaire A and B
Tuesday 28 March 2023
Language Café 2
Voltaire A and B
Tuesday 25 April 2023
Language Café 3
Voltaire A and B
For information about the language testing day please check out the language testing day page.