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30 years of the Language Centre: 30 pearls to be proud of!

01 January 2019
30 pearls

This year the Language Centre is celebrating its 30th birthday, reason to reflect on the successes of the last 30 years. Every other week we will be diving for two new pearls until we have reached 30. Read along with us and see what the Language Centre can mean for you!


Pearl 29-30
Pearl 29-30

#30 No 30th anniversary without motivated Language Centre students. It is for them that we have been trying to make a difference for 30 years. Thank you for your effort and enthusiasm!

#29 No 30th anniversary without motivated colleagues. We are proud of everyone who has contributed to the development of the Language Centre in all these years.

#28 We aim to offer language learners as many tools as possible to start learning a new language. For this reason, we are developing the Informal Learning portal, which is full of tips and tricks to improve your foreign language skills autonomously. Check our website to see when the portal will go live.

#27 In the field of Intercultural Communication, which is still young and in development, we offer the Intercultural Competence Learning Lab (ICLL). This is an award-winning series of intensive theory-into-practice workshops that focus on personal intercultural competence development. We are proud that our ICLL training won the NVAO Best Practice in Internationalisation Award!

Pearl 27-28
Pearl 25-26

#26 The Language Centre has been closely involved in drafting and developing the UG Language and Culture Policy. We are contributing substantially to the implementation of the policy by offering support in language skills and intercultural competences to university lecturers, support staff and students, to help them become even more effective at what they do.

#25 It is often difficult to find the right translation of academic or education terminology. To make this easier, the UVC is developing a terminology database with translations, education and HR terminology used within the UG, as well as more general educational terms. The current version of the database contains around 6,000 terms in English and Dutch, with more terms constantly being added. In conjunction with our German, Italian, Spanish and Danish colleagues, databases will also be created in those languages in the longer term. Since the database is still under development, feedback is appreciated. Open the database here!

#24 Our lecturers make important contributions to several UG degree programmes every year. They teach lectures in academic writing and presentation skills in both Dutch and English at the Honours College, in the Research Master’s degree programmes of the Faculties of Law and Social Sciences and in the Bachelor’s degree programmes of the Faculties of Economics and Business and Science and Engineering, among others. Our lecturers and the lectures that they give are rated highly by students

#23 Our lectures are based on the five pillars of effective language teaching:
> The CEFR - we use the Common European Framework of Reference to determine student language levels
> Autonomy - we encourage our students to take responsibility for their own learning process
> Reflection - our students are taught to optimize their learning process by reflecting on it
> Rich learning environment - we offer our students a wide range of support material that allows them to practice anywhere and everywhere
> Context related - our students learn a language within the context of their wishes, work or studies.

Pearls 23-24
Pearls 21-22

#21 The Language Centre has an extensive international network. We have intensive projects and close contacts with Jakarta (Indonesia), Osaka (Japan), Brno (Czech Republic), Beira (Mozambique) and Beijing (China).

#20 Since 2016, we have offered a successful NT2 teacher-training programme. Around 50 students have successfully finished the programme and many have started working as an NT2 teacher. This year we are starting another round of the programme, with 20 enthusiastic potential teachers. Curious? Check out the content of the programme via our website.

#19 The Language Centre, together with eight other universities, is a partner in the European MAGICC project. MAGICC provides transnational tools for integrating academic and professional communication competences, intercultural and lifelong learning skills and competences as part of students’ academic profiles. The project complements the Council of Europe’s CEFR and supports the recognition of students’ multilingual and multicultural profiles. Check the MAGICC website to learn more about the project.

Pearls 19-20
Pearls 17-18

#18 From Japan to Egypt, Spain and Italy; the diverse backgrounds of our enthusiastic Modern Foreign Languages teaching team guarantee a varied, high-quality range of language courses. Our vision is to teach classes in the target language. The participants see this as a positive basis for learning.

#17 Our Testing Unit offers language tests in 10 different languages all year round to students and researchers who need a certificate of language proficiency. Since 2008, we have also offered the LCET (Language Centre English Test) to an average of 350 participants per year. Planning frequent tests means that participants can have fast results. They can ask for feedback on their results and part of the test is given face-to-face; unique aspects that add extra value to our tests!

#16 The unique combination of services we offer makes us a great one-stop shop for in-company training programmes. We develop tailor-made programmes designed to meet the client’s specific needs. As a result, we serve a diverse and international group of customers.

#15 We produced 30 grammar videos for the Online Dutch courses. These videos have attracted over 70,000 views. The videos proved so successful that they have been incorporated into our regular courses. In addition, we produced 60 pronunciation videos with sounds which foreigners often find difficult to reproduce. These videos clearly meet a need. They have been viewed over 42,000 times on our YouTube channel!

Pearls 15-16
Pearls 13-14

#14 The Language Centre was commissioned by the medical faculty’s international programme to develop a Dutch language assessment geared to prospective doctors. This assessment has been widely recognized for years now as an excellent way to establish whether students are ready to move on to the Dutch-taught Master’s phase.

#13 We provide high quality at all levels. This is proved by the high levels of satisfaction among our clients and our staff. We have held the quality labels Blik op Werk and Cedeo for years. Our teachers are also always among the top 5 in lecturer evaluations.

#12 Our website has a special portal about Academic Skills to help you learn more about writing and presenting at an academic level. It has lots of tips, videos and even a full manual on Academic Communication Skills, making it a very popular portal.

#11 The Intercultural Communication Facebook Page, launched in Spring 2016, has 750 followers and sometimes reaches 13.6k viewers! This Facebook Page takes cutting-edge content and presents it in a modern, accessible way for everyone to start or continue their learning about this complex and fascinating field.

Pearls 11-12
Pearls 9-10

#10 Café de las Lenguas was founded by Jeroen van Engen in 2011, and has grown into a successful languages café attracting no fewer than 40-50 participants every week. The language café helps you to keep your languages up-to-date in an informal setting. Spanish, French, German, English, Italian, Arabic and Chinese are spoken here every week. Come and give it a go on a Thursday evening!

#9 The Language Centre has published 10 textbooks on Dutch as a Second Language at different levels as well as a Manual on Academic Writing in English. The textbooks are based on actual practice and student input – our USP. The textbooks are very successful and are also used by other language institutes, not only in the Netherlands but also in Germany, Austria, the USA and even Argentina. More than 100,000 copies of the entry level textbook Nederlands in gang have been sold already!

#8 We’re frontrunners in using e-learning in language teaching, which is why students from all over the world are following our language courses. Since April 2015 we offer Online Dutch at six different levels. So far 720 students from over 75 different countries have taken these courses!

#7 Our Translation and Correction Service (UVC) translates over 2 million words each year. Every single word is double-checked by one of our three in-house translators. One of the largest jobs the UVC handled was the translation of the complete English-taught medical curriculum – an impressive feat!

Pearl 7-8
Pearl 5-6

#6 We have expanded our range of courses and services considerably over the past 30 years. Every year, over 9,000 people join us for courses in no less than 14 languages. And so far, another 160,000 learners have joined us online! Our courses are consistently evaluated as excellent – something to be proud of!

#5 Every year we hold a popular Summer School for students and a Winter School for professionals on intercultural competence – one of the ten most important work skills for the workforce of 2020. Interested? Apply now!

#4 Inspired by research showing that 20 error types constitute 91.5% of all student writing errors, we identified the 20 writing errors most commonly made by students at the Faculty of Economics and Business. Teachers mark and code errors so that students learn to recognize error types. This helps them to identify their own errors and design an appropriate strategy to address them.

#3 The University of Groningen Appetizer Programme organized by the Language Centre, running for 15 years now, was specially designed for University of Osaka students wanting to improve their academic writing skills and English presentations. They also work on intercultural communication and address a number of important environmental issues.

Our other programme for foreign students was developed for students from the Communication University of China. This year, for the 2nd time, students from Beijing who come to study for a year in Groningen follow Language Centre courses to improve their Dutch language skills and learn about Dutch culture and literature.

Pearl 3 & 4
Pearl 1-2

#2 The free online Introduction to Dutch MOOC has already helped thousands of people with their first steps in learning Dutch. The MOOC is offered three times a year – click here for more information.

#1 Our YouTube channel is very popular! Curious? This is where we present pronunciation videos, testimonials and grammar videos to help you learn a new language.

Last modified:15 January 2019 11.31 a.m.

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