Welcome to the UB!
Are you considering studying at the University of Barcelona, or have you recently arrived from a non-Catalan-speaking area? In either case, you will no doubt want to know more about the language and culture you will find here. This site will give you a general introduction to the use of languages at the UB.
As you know, the UB, like Catalonia as a whole, has two official languages: Catalan and Spanish. In general terms, this means that people speak both languages and choose the one in which they wish to express themselves, so you are likely to hear both in and outside class.
At the UB, approximately 65% of classes at bachelor’s-degree level are taught in Catalan, 30% are taught in Spanish, and less than 5% are taught in other languages. Before enrolling for a particular subject, students can consult the student guide provided by their faculty to find out the language in which classes will be taught. Although a single language will generally be specified, students are entitled to use either official language when asking questions, writing assignments or sitting examinations.
Catalan, like Spanish, is a Romance language. Given the close proximity between languages in this group, if you have learned one you are well equipped to take on another! The simultaneous learning tool Romanica Intercom gives a good illustration of the relative ease with which speakers of one Romance language can understand another.
To help you make the most of your time in Barcelona, we recommend that you try to learn at least a little Catalan. You can even start before you arrive! This website provides information on and links to a range of resources for learning the language outside Catalonia. Many universities offer introductory courses, and you can also learn on the Internet with the Speakc@t Catalan survival course for university students or the multimedia resources at Parla.cat. If you want to learn phrases and expressions commonly used in university life, you can consult the online versions of the UB’s multilingual university phrase books.
If you want further practice, you can also apply to do a course in Catalan language as one of the Erasmus programme's intensive language courses (EILC) offered with the help of a grant from the European Commission in May and October of each year.
The UB offers an introductory Catalan course to new exchange students. Those who would like to prepare before the semester begins can take the course intensively during the first two weeks of September, but the classes can also be taken during the semester. Once you have completed the introductory course, you can continue at a higher level if desired. There is a range of courses and timetables to suit different needs and abilities. You can also use the self-access language learning centres to study in your own time.
As well as offering Catalan language tuition, UB Language Services organizes a range of cultural activities designed to help you practise your language skills, meet new people and get to know more about Catalan culture and society: language exchanges, conversation groups, guided visits, etc. All the information you need can be found on the website!
Self-Access Language Learning.
Simultaneous learning tool that gives a good illustration of the relative ease with which speakers of one Romance language can understand another.
Financed by the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) of the European Union, each year on May and October.
It is a collection of electronic resources for learning about Catalan language and culture, specially designed for students on mobility programmes.