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Language Centre Anniversary

Foreign language skills provide access to new opportunities
09 September 2008

The University of Groningen Language Centre will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. ‘In today’s ever expanding global economy, learning a second language is a vital 21st-century skill. An admirable grasp of a foreign language is now regarded as a passport to a world of future opportunities’, said Anje Dijk, Director of the Language Centre.

What started out in the 1980s as a one-man band relying on the help of a few freelancers has blossomed into an organization employing almost 100 teaching, translation and administrative staff. Today, the centre teaches courses in more than 25 languages as well as running its own successful translation department.

The number of people interested in language learning has increased enormously in recent years, and Anje Dijk expects that the peak has not yet been reached. ‘Companies and government institutions are enquiring all the time about language courses and our translation service. The university is also a big customer of the Language Centre, and even private individuals are finding us more often.’

Anje Dijk: ‘Language skills are critical. Studying a language isn’t just about learning how to read and write; oral communication skills are the number one priority for most people. These are the skills you need to negotiate, to hold a phone conversation, to present your company or to say what’s on your mind in a meeting.’

In addition to providing courses for University of Groningen students and staff, the Language Centre also focuses on tailor-made courses for various companies and government institutions. ‘We can offer a tailor-made course at virtually any level in virtually any language. When designing a course, we always prioritize the customer’s specific needs and the situation in which the customer must learn to use the language. That is our guiding principle.’

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.27 p.m.

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