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Durham University

Erasmus, Exchange & Study Abroad

Language for the Year Abroad

Whilst many of our Erasmus partner universities teach in English, some departments have links with universities teaching in the language of that country. You may be required by your department to have studied the language to a certain level prior to being offered a place on the Erasmus programme. The typical required language level is B1. We would normally recommend an A-Level (or equivalent qualification) for students learning entirely in the host language.

The Centre for Foreign Language Studyprovides the opportunity to learn a language alongside your degree; we would strongly recommend that you research well in advance (ideally in your first year) the linguistic competency required by the institution(s) you are considering, as you may need more than one language course to get you to the required level. Additionally, most partner universities will offer intensive language courses for exchange students alongside courses that run throughout the academic year. We would encourage you where possible to take advantage of these language classes.


The OLS system is online linguistic tool for students undertaking an Erasmus+ mobility. You will be required to do a compulsory short online assessment of your language skills before and after your placement. This is purely to assess the development of your language skills during your year abroad, and will not impact on your acceptance to the partner university. There are also optional OLS courses available to support language learning before you go on your year abroad.