Frequently Asked Questions

The certificate you will receive from us at the end of your course does indeed entitle you to move on to the next course, provided the period between the two courses is no longer than six months. To receive a certificate you need to have attended at least 80% of the classes and to have passed the final test. If more than six months has elapsed between the two courses we may ask you to take another intake test.

All staff and students of the University of Amsterdam are entitled to a discount at UvA Talen (about 5%, depending on the course fee). Members of the Amsterdamse Universiteits Vereniging with an AUV alumni pass are entitled to the same alumni discount. For more information contact the AUV coordinator, tel. 020-525 2138.

To see whether our course prepares you for your desired course of study, you need to know what the entrance level is. We have courses that prepare students for the Staatsexamen NT2 (Dutch) and the Cambridge First Certificate (English), and we offer tailor-made one-on-one courses to prepare students e.g. for the IELTS or TOEFL test, which a lot of foreign universities require for admission. For more information please contact us.

We order the textbooks and readers, if any, and hand them out at the first lesson. If you are unable to attend the first lesson we would advise you to contact us at taaltrainers@uvatalen.nl.

As an independent language institute, UvA Talen is unfortunately not able to help with visa procedures. We regret we are also unable to assist students to find accommodation in Amsterdam.

UvA Talen offers various types of language course, including one on academic writing. We do not provide special courses for foreign students, but our group and one-on-one courses are of course suitable. Don't hesitate to ask us for an individual recommendation. 

 

For more information on modules and studying at the Universiteit van Amsterdam go to the website of the University of Amsterdam.

Yes, we offer intensive Dutch and English courses every month. You have a 2 to 2.5-hour lesson from Monday to Frinday for one month. Each year, we also offer intensive daytime courses in all other languages in July, Augsust and September. These courses consist of ten 2.5-hour lesson on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In addition, we offer individual (one-to-one) courses as well as tailor-made group courses. These courses can start any time you wish.

UvA Talen offers intensive courses lasting two, three or four weeks and eight or ten-week courses. You can take a series of courses so as to improve the level of your language skills step by step. If you opt for a business or one-on-one course, you can decide how long you want it to be.

The open-enrolment courses are held in the Roetersstraat (near Weesperplein) in Amsterdam. Our business courses can be given anywhere in the Netherlands: our trainers will come to you. For more information please contact us at trainers@uvatalen.nl  or tel. 020 - 525 4637.

If you have enroled on a course you will have been sent an enrolment confirmation with information on the intake procedure. For most courses (unless you are an absolute beginner, of course) we need to establish your language proficiency level first. The intake procedure consists of a written and/or oral test. For Dutch, English, French and Spanish you can make the written test online. We will send you a password to enable you to log in. In the case of a writing course you will be invited to send us a written text. Finally we will contact you to make an appointment for the oral test: this is a short, informal conversation with a teacher, lasting about ten minutes, which can be conducted by telephone.

The fastest and easiest way to enrol is to click on the link [Enrol for this course] right next to the course date and time you prefer. This will lead you to our enrolment form, which you can complete by filling in your personal details and your preferred payment method. As soon as we receive your enrolment, we will send you a confirmation by e-mail. Naturally, you can also download an enrolment form and fill it in by hand. Or ask us to send you one by post. Whatever suits you best suits us best!

It is possible to enrol through our website. As soon as we have processed your registration we shall send you an enrolment confirmation. We will also send you an invoice by e-mail. We ask you to transfer the amount to the bank account of UvA Talen BV, Amsterdam, IBAN NL79 INGB 0666 6845 45 (ING Bank Amsterdam). These details are also stated on our invoices. Please note that we do NOT accept payments in cash.

Depending on the type of course you are taking, the teacher will give you a quantity of homework at each lesson. On average you can assume you will need to spend at least as much time on private study as in class. Experience shows that the more time you invest in private study, the more you get out of the course.

We regret that you cannot make up a class if you have missed one. You can, however, call or e-mail our office on or after the next working day to find out what was dealt with in the lesson and what the homework for the next one is, so that you do not fall behind. Note that you are only entitled to a certificate of successful completion if you have attended at least 80% of the classes.

You can of course take more than one course at a time, but you need to allow for the fact that you will have to do private study as well as attending classes. This can be a lot of work if you have a job or are studying at the same time. We only recommend taking more than one course if you want to invest a lot of time in improving your language skills over a short period.
The dates and times of the open-enrolment group courses are fixed aherad of time and can only be changed after consultation with your fellow students and the teacher.
If your teacher is off sick, we shall inform you immediately and provide a substitute if at all possible. If not, your teacher will discuss how best to catch up at the next lesson and plan a new training session at everyone's convenience.

UvA Talen is closed on the following dates:

New Year’s Day (1 January), Good Friday, Easter Monday, King’s Day (27 April), Liberation Day (5 May), Ascension Day (Thursday and Friday), Whit Monday and Christmas (25 and 26 December). There are no evening classes on Remembrance Day (4 May).

 

Lessons continue during  school holidays.

 

The start and end dates shown on our website take any public holidays into account: where a lesson would take place on one of these days, it is cancelled and the course continues longer.

You will receive an email confirming these dates shortly before the course starts.

 

At request, it is possible for individual lessons and tailor-made courses to be scheduled on these days.

 

To identify language proficiency levels, UvA Talen uses an international standard known as the Common European Framework of Reference. This means that you always know what language level your course provides. The level will also be stated on your certificate. Below is an overview of the skills required for each level.

 

 

 

Proficient

C2

Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.

User

C1

Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

 

 

Independent

B2

Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

User

B1

Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.  Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

 

 

 

Basic

A2

Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.  Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

User

A1

Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

 

Usually the group course is concluded with a final test (all the level courses and some specialist courses).

In case you should not pass this test the first time, it is always possible to make an appointment for a resit. We do not charge any cost in this case.

Please contact us via e-mail trainers@uvatalen.nl to book an appointment. 

Our course fees do not include teaching material, which can comprise standard textbooks as well as readers that we have developed exclusively for our courses. Many teaching methods include audio material and/or a CD-ROM. The cost of the material differs from one course (and level) to another. We make sure that the material is ordered and handed out on time. We do not charge a surcharge over the normal retail price.

At UvA Talen we focus on your individual needs, helping you to achieve your desired language level. Our teachers and staff will do everything in their power to make your course as pleasant as possible. UvA Talen is affiliated to the Universiteit van Amsterdam, guaranteeing you a high level of quality and professionalism.

UvA Talen is the result of a merger between UvA Vertalers and The Language Academy, the Universiteit van Amsterdam's independent centre for language courses. The Language Academy is in turn an offshoot of the UvA's Faculty of Humanities. We are a member of the UvA Holding BV group, which is 100% owned by the UvA. Thus UvA Talen still has strong ties with the Universiteit van Amsterdam.
The open-enrolment courses are held in Roetersstraat, only two minutes' walk from the Weesperplein tram stop/metro station (the Roetersstraat exit).
Your enrolment confirmation will tell you in which building (Roetersstraat 29 or 15) and classroom your classes are to be held. On arrival you will also find a UvA Talen noticeboard in the entrance hall of the Roeterseiland complex (just by the entrance, identifiable from our logo) showing the courses and classrooms. If in doubt ask the porter how to find the classroom.

UvA Talen employs reliable, expert teachers and guarantees the quality of all its teaching staff. It is impossible to generalize about them, however, as they come from widely differing backgrounds. Most of them will have taken a special teacher training course, but - strange as it may seem - there is no training course specifically for teachers of well-educated adults. This is why we consider practical experience to be particularly important. All of our teachers have extensive experience of teaching adults. The question that springs to mind next is whether a native speaker is always best. We would answer ‘not necessarily'. A French teacher of Dutch origin, for example, has the advantage that he or she learned French as a foreign language and is thus in an ideal position to understand the student's problems. A native speaker does not have this advantage but may have other qualities that make up for it. On the other hand, a native speaker has an obvious advantage in that he or she commands all the fine points of his or her mother tongue. Again, while a non-native speaker does not have this advantage, he or she can make up for it in other ways. We would add that we only employ teachers who meet our exacting standards.

If you have attended 80% of the classes and passed the final test you will receive a certificate of successful completion.

As a rule every course that is planned takes place, but it can happen that there is too little interest to start a course at a particular level at a particular time. We require a minimum of six students for a class. If there are not enough students we shall contact you as soon as possible. Initially we shall offer you an alternative arrangement to enable the course to take place. In the unlikely event that we have to cancel the course, any course fees you have already paid will of course be refunded. If there is a lot of interest we may have to put you on a waiting list, in which case we shall inform you immediately, so that you know where you stand.