Back Record interest in Catalan by international students and students from the rest of Spain at UPF
Record interest in Catalan by international students and students from the rest of Spain at UPF
- Compared to last year, UPF has more than doubled the number of international students enrolled in Catalan courses, skyrocketing from 260 to 613.
- The University’s effort to increase training in Catalan has led to a 55% increase in the courses on offer, with 48 of different levels aimed at the UPF community and the general public.
- These data endorse the good functioning of the UPF programme of cultural and language reception courses, which has been running for almost 10 years.
A total of 1,236 students have taken a Catalan course at UPF during the 2022-2023 academic year, a 93% increase compared to the previous year and the highest figure ever achieved at the University. The success of participation in this type of training is largely due to the effort that the University, through Idiomes UPF, has made to increase the variety of courses on offer. In total, 48 courses of different levels have been organized targeting both the UPF community and the general public, 55% more than the previous year.
With regard to international students and students from the rest of Spain, the increase in participation in these courses has been significant. In absolute terms, three has been a 90% increase as the number of students enrolled has risen from 469 to 888. If we look specifically at international students, this increase is even more notable, with a 135% increase in the number enrolled compared to the previous year, skyrocketing from 260 to 613.
The increase in international students enrolled in Catalan courses compared to last year is 135%, skyrocketing from 260 to 613
These data reinforce and highlight the good functioning of the UPF programme of cultural and language reception, the so-called Catalan Landing Programme, which was launched ten years ago. In the words of Marcel Mauri, UPF commissioner for Language Policy, “the dramatic increase in demand is mainly explained by the greater interest shown by international students in Catalan language and culture; by the good functioning of the new MOOC A1 in Catalan that allows the international public to train before arriving in Catalonia, and also by the growing demand for C1 and C2 level courses in Catalan among the public residing in Catalonia”. And he adds that “these data demonstrate the desire that UPF has always had to promote Catalan language and culture as a fundamental pillar of the University at the centre of the life of the University community”.
The programme of reception courses includes, on the one hand, intensive A1 level language courses in September, and, on the other, language and cultural reception courses (Catalan Language Kit and Catalan Culture Survival Kit) and courses on Catalan culture (A Quick Glance at Catalonia). This programme allows newcomers to acquire the necessary knowledge about Catalonia and its language in order optimally to begin their studies or their stay at UPF on good footing.
“These data demonstrate the desire that UPF has always had to promote the Catalan language and culture as a fundamental pillar of the University, positioned at the centre of the life of the University community”.
One of the novelties of this year’s UPF programme of cultural and linguistic courses has been the launch of a level A1 MOOC in Catalan, called “Un dia amb Ella” (A day with Ella) developed by a multidisciplinary team of UPF with funding from the Catalan Government. This massive open online course, which is free and open to all, allows newcomers to start learning Catalan before arriving in Catalonia. It is a unique product on the market, which is published on the Intercat website and serves for the Catalan university and research system to offer virtual training in the person’s home country, as established in the Plan to Strengthen the Catalan Language. Currently, almost 300 people have already followed the MOOC, under UPF tutorship.
Certification in Catalan, on the rise
Since last year and until today, a total of 1,426 people have achieved official certification in Catalan at UPF, of whom 714 (50.1%) are UPF professors and researchers. This figure is also an unprecedented success in the process of accreditation in Catalan of the PDI at UPF.
A total of 1,426 people have achieved official certification in Catalan at UPF, of whom 714 (50.1%) are UPF professors and researchers.
In the same way as with the cultural and language reception course programme, UPF is putting a great deal of effort into helping its teaching staff to accredit their level of Catalan. Thus, a new programme of additional measures has been launched to promote PDI accreditation in Catalan, with free proficiency level (C1) preparation courses, discounts of 100 euros for taking advanced level (C2) courses in Catalan, and advisory sessions concerning the official CIFALC accreditation exams at UPF.
These actions are also reinforced with the new programme of specific and free Catalan training aimed at the UPF PDI through courses so that they can improve their use of the language in the academic field, both written Catalan and to communicate orally with their students or solve queries.
A social and cultural programme
Activities to welcome students from outside Catalonia also involve an important social and cultural element. These activities are run by the UPF Language Volunteering programme, a cultural programme promoted by UPF since the 2000-2001 academic year, more than twenty years ago. The initiative offers a very complete and intensive programme of trips and cultural visits, both in Barcelona and to the rest of Catalonia, with the aim of making Catalonia, its language, its culture and its national reality known to students from outside Catalonia.
The Language Volunteering programme has laid on a total of 40 visits or activities with total participation by 600 different students.
The activities of the Language Volunteering programme mainly target international students at UPF, whether Erasmus, master’s or PhD students. This academic year 2022-2023 the Language Volunteering programme has laid on a total of 40 visits or activities, which are free-of-charge if they are in Barcelona and have a reduced price for excursions to other parts of Catalonia. A total of some six hundred different students have participated in these forty visits and activities.
Another important part of the Language Volunteering programme is the possibility for students from outside Catalonia to learn about Catalan language and culture through the language tandems programme, in which members of the university community can pass on their knowledge of Catalan to students and teachers from outside. During the 2022-2023 academic year, a total of 400 language tandems were formed, approximately: about 175 in the first, some 125 in the second, and around 100 in the third term.
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Institutional Communication and Promotion Unit