More than 200 international students are studying for their first university qualification in Catalan language and culture at UPF

With the new "UPF Diploma in Catalan Language and Cultural Studies" (CATStudies), the University, through ECTS credits, aims to recognize and encourage the effort by students from outside the linguistic domain to learn the Catalan language and about Catalan culture. The courses kicked off this January as part of UPF’s policy to strengthen the cultural and linguistic reception of international and non-Catalan-speaking undergraduate and postgraduate students.

More than 200 international students are studying for their first university qualification in Catalan language and culture at Pompeu Fabra University: the " UPF Diploma in Catalan Language and Cultural Studies " (CATStudies). Through the recognition of ECTS credits, the new qualification aims to recognize and encourage the effort by international or non-Catalan-speaking undergraduate and graduate students to learn the language. This January, courses and training activities on Catalan language and culture are already being carried out as part of the programme.

By creating the CATStudies diploma, for the first time in the form of ECTS credits, UPF recognizes students’ dedication to learning the Catalan language and culture, in addition to enabling them to obtain a qualification.

This is intended to be both an incentive for more international and non-Catalan speakers to take an interest in learning the language. This new qualification comes under the umbrella of the cultural and linguistic reception programme, which has already been reinforced in recent years. Thus, the idea is to take advantage of the high presence of international students at UPF to introduce them to the Catalan language and culture.

Any student from outside the linguistic domain of Catalan, whether coming from the Spanish State where the language is not spoken or from other parts of the world, who is staying or pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree at UPF, will be eligible to take these studies. In addition to recognizing their effort to learn Catalan beyond their main training itinerary, this qualification will help boost the knowledge and use of the language among members of the UPF community and enhance the integration of initially non-Catalan-speaking and local students.

The diploma can be applied for once a minimum of 7 ETCS credits have been passed, obtained from a broad range of compulsory activities (such as level A1 and A2 courses in Catalan) and optional activities (such as culture courses, the completion of a minimum of 5 guided cultural activities, a term of experience with a language tandem partner, etc.). These courses or workshops are part of UPF’s catalogue of Catalan language and culture training activities, with a very broad itinerary, that allows starting to learn the language before arriving in Catalonia, just after arriving, and throughout the student’s stay at the University.

Marcel Mauri, UPF commissioner for Language Policy: "This pioneering qualification reinforces UPF’s commitment to being a university that enhances the Catalan language and culture also among the large international community we receive every year"

The UPF commissioner for Language Policy, Marcel Mauri , assures: "This pioneering qualification reinforces UPF’s commitment to being a university that enhances the Catalan language and culture also among the large international community we receive every year". According to Mauri, this linguistic reception policy "is enjoying significant success, demonstrating the interest of students, teachers and researchers in learning our language and about the culture of the country".

A qualification that combines termly courses of basic levels of the language with other activities such as Catalan culture workshops, language tandems or visits to emblematic places in the country

To obtain these 7 credits, students can combine termly courses of the most basic levels of Catalan, lasting 45 teaching hours, with other activities in the training catalogue, mostly short courses, workshops or activities lasting between 10 and 15 hours. One of these courses is the Catalan for Beginners MOOC , free online training to enable foreign students and teachers to start learning the language before arriving in Catalonia, which is only offered by UPF.

The training catalogue also includes the Catalan Culture & Language Survival Kit , which combines two workshops, one on basic skills to communicate in everyday situations (in the street, at university, in shops, etc.) and another on basic concepts of Catalan culture. To learn more about the basics of Catalan culture and Catalonia, a further two courses can be taken, such as " A Quick Glance at Catalonia " and "What Else Should I Know about Catalonia?". There is also the possibility of choosing to enrol in the language tandem programme, which allows practising the Catalan language with local students, or participate in cultural activities and visits to discover the most emblematic places in Barcelona and Catalonia.

Once the students have completed 7 credits based on termly Catalan courses and some other activity from the catalogue, they may apply to be awarded the CATStudies qualification, as shown on the diploma website. More than 200 students are expected to pass these studies between January and March alone, and these figures are forecast to continue to grow from now on.

UPF approved this new qualification last December and launched it at the beginning of January 2024. The new CATStudies diploma was presented on 8 January in the auditorium of the Poblenou campus, which was also streamed and was followed both in person and electronically by 1,200 students from outside the Catalan linguistic domain.

UPF’s Catalan courses reach an all-time high, with more than 1,400 students per year