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University of Cyprus

Author(s): Pavlos Pavlou
Institution/Organisation: University of Cyprus (CY)

1. DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS CASE

1.1 Scope of the initiative

The Language Center of the University of Cyprus was officially established in 2003 with the aim to provide high quality language learning to all the students.  Prior to the establishment of the Center the provision of  language courses was coordinated by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures (now Dep. of English Studies). This is a university-wide policy and has been under the faculty of humanities.  The number of courses and the language to be studied each student take is part of their undergraduate degree requirements and therefore it varies from department to department.  However, graduate students may take the courses as well.  Some students may choose the language of the country they want to visit under the Erasmus student mobility programme. 

1.2 Range of languages studied

The languages studied are the following:  English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Turkish.   Students may choose the language they want to study but the majority chooses English because they have to deal with readings in English for their major.  Often, the advisors may suggest to a student to follow a specific language according to their academic plans.  For example, scholarship in Modern Greek Studies and Turkish Studies is conducted in German so students from those departments are encouraged to take German classes.

1.3 Learning outcomes

The LC staff has been trying to relate the levels of the courses to the CEFR.   Even though it varies across languages the aim is for students to reach A1 level after the first semester, A2 level after the second semester and  B1 level after the third semester.   Again, this is a more or less realistic goal depending on the language.  Moreover, English is an exception since students are expected to be at, at least, B1 level when they start university level language courses in English.  Since students are at a higher level in English their curriculum may include Specific communicative skills relating to academic life such as the ability to make oral presentations on a topic related to students’ mainstream study programme.
Special attention in given to the development of intercultural awareness and competence.

1.4 Practical realisation

All language courses carry ECTS credits (though less than other courses) and as stated they are mostly obligatory component of students’ programme.  When foreign language courses are  optional they are credited to the students’ programme even though they can not replace other elective courses.  Students simply finish with more credits something that it is stated on their transcript. There is very little Integration of language learning with students’ mainstream academic subjects and academic courses via an L2 are taught only in the foreign language departments.  There is close cooperation with cultural institutes / embassies and often  language projects linked to cultural activities The most important development is the effort to introduce a novel learning environment which relies heavily on ICT.

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