The Preparatory Year of Dutch (VJN) is a trajectory for non-Dutch speaking students who want to prepare themselves to academic studies in Dutch. This trajectory takes place in Ghent and consists of six modules Dutch for Speakers of Other Languages from level 1 (A1 in the CEFR) until 6 (C1 in the CEFR), spread over a period of 9 months. The final test of the level 5 module is the Interuniversity test of Dutch for Speakers of Other Languages (ITNA). By passing the ITNA, you meet the language requirements of higher education and can thus enrol at a Flemish university (college). Make sure to also check out the page of Ghent University.
At the end of this trajectory, you will be able to understand native speakers better, even when they talk fast. You will learn how to express yourself fluently and spontaneously, both orally and in writing. Your reading skills will not be limited to the comprehension of simple texts of familiar topics but will enable you to deal with texts at a higher level (on current affairs, in an academic environment, for professional purposes, etc.). You will be able to write clear, well-structured and detailed texts about complex topics, which are logically structured, coherent and well-connected.
In the academic year 2022-2023 the Preparatory Year of Dutch (VJN) starts on 3/10/2022 and finishes at the latest on 21/9/2023. Classes are held in the morning or in the afternoon, on the UCT campus. You have to be available in the morning and in the afternoon. There are no lessons during the mid-term break (31/10/2022-6/11/2022), the Christmas holiday (26/12/2022-8/1/2023), the Easter holiday (3/4/2023-16/4/2023) and July (1/7/2023-25/7/2023).
To follow the VJN, you must reside in Belgium legally. Your classes will take place in one of the buildings of Ghent University, located in the centre of Ghent. Ghent Is medium sized city, easily accessible by public transport or by bike. If you are not older than 26, you can get a discount if you come to the UCT by train. We will provide you with a form for this upon your request. We advise you to come to Ghent at latest one week before the start of the programme. This provides you with ample time for further administrative arrangements regarding your stay in Belgium. If covid-19 prohibits us to teach on campus, we will switch to online classes so that we can guarantee your safety and ours. For our online classes we use Zoom. You can find a short demonstration on our website. The UCT teachers have acquired a lot of experience with distance learning. Online classes are therefore a full alternative to on campus classes.
It can be quite a challenge to master Dutch in one year (between October 2022 and September 2023) in order to function on an academic level. It is therefore best to consider this study as a full-time task. The trajectory is taught at a fast pace, which means that you will have to process a lot of information in a short amount of time. This requires a substantial amount of effort from the student. You will have to attend three hours of courses per working day. Furthermore, we also need you to invest three more hours a day for further study. Finally, you are expected to engage in conversation in Dutch outside of the UCT as often as possible.
If you have not passed a certain level, you will have to retake this level because it is not possible to proceed to the next level if you have not passed the previous one. For the first level you have to take again, you do not have to pay an extra fee. We will then cancel your level 6 and use the provided fee to cover your extra level. If you still want to follow level 6, you can reregister and pay for this course. You can follow a level three times. If you have followed a certain level three times without passing the final test, your registration will be cancelled. We will refund the amount of the tuition fee that has not been used up at that moment, without costs. If this is the case, we advise you to contact In-Gent (the House of Dutch), which can refer you to another school.
Proof of acceptance university (college)
You can only apply if you have a written proof that you have been accepted by a Flemish university or university college (academic year 2023-2024). If you have been accepted by Ghent University, you do not have to send us this written proof. The UCT will contact the student administration of Ghent University to confirm that you have been accepted. More information on the admission requirements of Ghent University can be found on the website of Ghent University.
Please note: an acceptance letter is not a proof that you are enrolled at a Flemish university or university college. An acceptance letter is a proof that you have been accepted to a certain programme. After you have successfully followed the Preparatory Year of Dutch and thus have obtained a B2 certificate of Dutch (for applied linguistics a C1 certificate, you can enrol at the school of your choice. You do not need to be enrolled at a Flemish university or university college in order to be accepted for the Preparatory Year of Dutch. This means that you are not an official student of Ghent University if you are a VJN student. Ghent University does offer a number of facilities. You can also check out our FAQ ‘What are the benefits for course participants at the UCT?’.
You need no prior knowledge of Dutch before you can enrol but you do need basic knowledge of English as an intermediate language (required level: A2 of the CEFR). The teachers will only speak English as a supporting language. All information is only available in Dutch and English.
Once we have all application documents (see Applications, registrations and payments), we will send you an email in which you will be asked to have an interview with one of our staff members by Zoom. We can then assess your command of English. You only have one opportunity to prove your level of English. There is no resit possible! If your command of English is sufficient, we will send you an official invitation to register.
Registration for the Preparatory Year of Dutch of 2022-2023 is no longer possible.
Registration for the Preparatory Year of Dutch of 2023-2024 will be possible as off 1 December 2022.
We advise you to apply well in advance and not to wait until 15/5/2022. This especially applies to students who want to study at Ghent University or to students who need a student visa. A visa procedure can take up to three months, but is unpredictable and can thus take longer. If you want to study at Ghent University, please make sure that you apply at Ghent University well before the deadline of 1./4/2022, preferably before 15/2/2022!
You can only apply by filling out the VJN application form on our website.
The APS-certificate is required for students from the People’s Republic of China.
More information can be found on the website of Ghent University on the APS screening.
After you have been selected for the Preparatory Year of Dutch, you will receive an invitation to make an official registration. Once you have registered, you will receive an invoice by email. The payment has to be executed before 1/6/2022! When the payment is not executed on time, we will cancel your registration.
Your registration is only valid once the UCT has received the full fee (this means once the fee is visible on the account of Ghent University). Once the payment has been received, the UCT will send you a confirmation letter which you can use to apply for your student visa. Bank charges have to be paid by the student.
You can only follow the VJN once.
All communication regarding the Preparatory Year of Dutch (VJN) should take place via email. We cannot answer questions about a specific record by phone. You use the email address you mentioned on the application form. You always send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. As soon as we have given you a student number (which can be found on the invoice and consists of 8 digits beginning with 02) you have to mention this number whenever you contact us.
The fee is €3,350, including the application fee of €500 and €475 euro per module. Course materials and all tests are included in the fee. Students of Ghent University (academic year 2023-2024) who have passed the course Dutch for Speakers of Other Languages level 5 of their VJN, can get a refund for all levels provided that they show us their valid student card. The refund is the student reduction of €240 per module.
Cancellations at the latest on 1/9/2022
Cancellations can only be done by the students themselves and have to be done by email. If you cancel at the latest on 1/9/2022, administrative costs of €600 will be charged. Bank costs have to be borne by the course participant.
When you cancel you provide us with the following data:
Cancellations after 1/9/2022
If you cancel after 1/9/2022, then the general cancellations rules of the UCT apply: you can cancel up to two weeks before the start of a module. You will be refunded the course fee minus €500 cancellation costs and €50 administrative costs per module that you cancel. After this term you can no longer cancel nor ask for a refund.
Obtaining a visa takes time. We therefore strongly advise you to start the visa procedure as soon as possible. You can find more information on the website of the Immigration office of the federal government home affairs. The visa application procedure is your own responsibility. This is outside the scope and responsibility of the UCT. The UCT will therefore not intervene.