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Durham University

The Centre for Foreign Language Study

Frequently Asked Questions

Full information can be found within the Terms and Conditions available through the registration page. A summary of the most frequent questions is given below.

1. When and where do the courses take place?

All classes are delivered on the Durham University campus. Most classes run on an evening, Monday to Thursday, with some classes also available on Wednesday afternoons.

2. How many people will be on the course?

Class sizes are capped at 17. Subject to language and level class sizes vary from 4 learners to 17 learners. Many courses are fully subscribed by the start date, some with a waiting list. If you do not feel you can commit to the course and decide to withdraw, please let us know so we can give your place to someone else.

5. Is there a course book provided?

Many courses follow a course book, alongside other learning materials. If your course uses a course book, it will need to be purchased separately.

6. Which course level is right for me?

The courses provided by the University are designed for students with differing levels of ability, and it is up to you to ensure the course you have chosen is suitable for your ability. Please use our guide to levels and summaries of course content to help inform your choice. If you find your course too easy or too hard, after discussing with your teacher, it may be possible to move to a higher or lower group. You should submit such a request in writing for consideration, subject to availability of places.

We may also recommend that you consider transferring to an alternative course if the course tutor is of the opinion that the course is not of a level suited to your ability.

7. Is there homework?

Language Progression and Language Development courses are designed to be relaxed, sociable and fun, whilst retaining some intellectual rigour. However recognising that the majority of participants have busy schedules, homework is light. We do however encourage language learners to undertake as much independent study between classes as possible.

Language Accelerator courses, while still sociable and fun, are designed for people who want to progress faster, and require more commitment on the part of the learner.

8. Is there an exam?

The courses are not examined and do not specifically prepare learners for any external examinations.

However, in some languages it is possible to arrange a separate externally accredited examination. These are available in Durham for German (Goethe Institut), Italian (CILS) and Spanish (DELE/Instituto Cervantes), and in Newcastle for Chinese (HSK/Confucius Institute) and Portuguese (Instituto Camões).

9. Do I have to attend all classes?

Attendance at all classes is important in order to gain the full learning benefit from the course and to develop your language skills as much as possible. In the event that you are unable to attend any of the classes for any reason, please inform the teacher in advance. You should endeavour to catch up by completing as self study the content and homework detailed in the course outline for that week. There is no refund offered for missed classes. The more classes you miss, the less you will learn, and the benefit you get from the course will be reduced.

10. What if I need to withdraw?

You are entitled to withdraw from the course at any time. However, there are no refunds unless notice of withdrawal is received by the University at least one (1) week prior to the commencement date of the course. Refunds are not normally paid after the beginning of a course except in the case of an academic clash (where this is a compulsory component of a Durham degree course). Clashes with extra-curricular activities, sports or societies will not be considered.

11. Can I offer my place to someone else?

No, registration is personal. Please check the terms and conditions for withdrawals. We operate a waiting list and if you no longer require your place it may be offered to the next person, if any, on the waiting list.

12. Are courses ever cancelled?

A course may be cancelled prior to the start date if there are insufficient registrations. In the event that the course is cancelled the course fee will be refunded in full.

On occasions it may be necessary to cancel an individual class (e.g. due to teacher illness). In this case we will look to reschedule the class at a time mutually agreeable with the majority of students.

13. Once I have registered, when will I hear?

If you registered online, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement (if you do not, please contact us).

A few days before the start of the course, you will receive an email with an update on the status of the class, and details of room number and textbook/dossier to buy (if relevant)

14. What should I do if I have special requirements?

If you have a disability, accessibility requirements, or have previously agreed special educational adjustments with Durham University, please inform us so that we can advise on the suitability of the course and/or take these into account when organising courses.