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Vision and Mission

Vision and mission of the Academic Language Centre


Excellent language skills are an essential requirement for performing well in education and research. Leiden University’s Academic Language Centre provides high-quality language courses for students and staff of the University, enabling them to engage optimally in reading, writing, listening and speaking about knowledge and expertise within academic communities in Leiden and worldwide. The language courses of the Academic Language Centre are also open to organisations and individuals who are not connected with the University.


Leiden University’s Academic Language Centre offers excellent language courses for learners with a higher education background. Active learning, blended learning and a communicative approach yield outstanding results and encourage participants to put the target language into practice in everyday situations at work, in their studies or in social activities. The language courses of the Academic Language Centre are primarily intended for the University’s own students and staff, but they are also open to external clients from the public sector, non-profit organisations and the private sector, and to individuals.

Language courses at the Academic Language Centre

  • There are three types of language courses: group courses with open registration, custom-made training courses (individual or group) and acculturation courses.
  • The classes are designed on the basis of a communicative approach, and cover both oral skills (speaking and listening) and written skills (reading and writing). Grammar is an important element, but it serves to support communication.
  • The contact hours are intensive and involve a variety of learning methods. Where possible, participants also work on individual online learning assignments.
  • Active learning is central to the process: participants play an active role in their own learning.
  • The CEFR levels provide the guidelines for the four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  • Each participant takes a test to determine their entry level before the start of the course.
  • Group courses have no more than 18 participants, which encourages each student to take an active approach and gives the teachers the opportunity to provide sufficient individual attention.
  • As far as possible, the language used within the groups is the target language.
  • The precise details of the curriculum are determined partly on the basis of the group’s specific needs.
  • All the teachers are university graduates.
  • The Academic Language Centre collaborates with linguists from the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics to incorporate the latest research data in the language skills training.
  • The Academic Language Centre also offers translation and interpreting services (NL-EN and EN-NL).
  • Custom-made language services are always a possibility.
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