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Ministry of Research and Universities promotes Catalan language learning in international students' countries of origin

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Ministry of Research and Universities promotes Catalan language learning in international students' countries of origin

  1. It is a joint initiative with the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL) and the universities of Catalonia that includes courses at foreign universities and online resources for learning Catalan
  2. Some 400 mobility students are expected to benefit from these resources before studying at Catalan universities
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The Government has launched a website that, for the first time, brings together all the resources available to help international students who are planning to study at one of the twelve Catalan universities to learn Catalan before they arrive. At the same time, and thanks to the increase in funding for Interlingua grants, the first indicators for 2023 show a rise in the number of international students taking part in language reception activities in Catalan universities.

In this regard, the Catalan Minister for Research and Universities, Joaquim Nadal, stressed that “the new resources for linguistic reception are the necessary way forward for the growing internationalisation of Catalan universities. Local reception with international scope.”

The new resource available to international students interested in learning Catalan before coming to the country is the website Study Catalan before you arrive in Catalonia which, in collaboration with the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL) and Catalan universities, lists both face-to-face courses and various online options. The face-to-face courses provided by the IRL in the country of origin are free, intensive 30-hour courses that teach the initial A1 language level over a period of a few weeks.

Face-to-face courses in countries of origin doubled

The Institut Ramon Llull’s face-to-face courses currently cover 16 universities in eight countries (Croatia, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Serbia and Chile). This represents more than a two-fold increase in the number of courses compared to last year, when seven courses, with around 100 students, were offered as part of the Pilot Pre-arrival Language Plan. The new website gives the contact details of one or more Catalan teachers responsible for training in each of these countries, so that anyone who is interested can get in touch with them. This year, the initial forecast is that around 400 mobility students will take these pre-arrival courses. In recent years, interest in learning Catalan abroad has increased, as evidenced by the fact that some 4,000 people are currently studying Catalan through the University Network for Catalan Studies Abroad, XarxaLlull, which is coordinated by the Institut Ramon Llull.

The online resources section offers a range of free applications, guides and activities to help people learn Catalan, from beginner courses to become familiar with the language to advanced levels to deepen and perfect their knowledge. Programmes such as Parla.cat; Speakcat; Catalonia at a click;Romanica Intercom; Guies de conversa universitària;Catalunya i el món; and Catalan for beginners are some of the tools available to help newcomers to get to know not only the language but also the cultural identity of their host country.

More than a million euros for linguistic reception activities at Catalan universities

The linguistic and cultural reception of international students once they arrive at Catalan universities has been given a boost thanks to the Interlingua grants awarded by the Ministry of Research and Universities, which this year, for the first time, amount to over a million euros. This has enabled Catalonia’s twelve universities to strengthen and expand the various programmes and actions they have been carrying out for several years to help people learn about Catalan language and culture.

The aim is to make the internationalisation of the Catalan university system compatible with the guarantee of linguistic rights and the use of Catalan as the normal language of exchange, while at the same time ensuring that all mobility students can benefit from linguistic and cultural reception activities.

According to the first indicators for 2023, Catalan universities as a whole now have a higher number of international students taking part in language reception activities, especially in Catalan courses. The figures for the 2021-2022 academic year closed with nearly 7,000 students (6,932) enrolled in Catalan courses and training activities, of whom almost half (3,139) were from outside Catalonia, whether other parts of Spain or the rest of the world. This year, in the first two quarters and in the public universities alone, the number of students from outside Catalonia who have taken one of these course already stands at over 3,000, which, according to this preliminary data, is almost equal to last year’s total for the university system as a whole.