Intensive language courses at Charles University to start autumn cycle

At the Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies of Charles University foreigners can study Czech in the very heart of Prague.

Diana Bocco

Written by Diana Bocco Published on 24.08.2022 17:08:00 (updated on 27.08.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

This article was written in cooperation with the Charles University, Institute for language and preparatory studies (ÚJOP UK). Read more about our partner content policies here.

Prague’s centuries-old history, cobblestone streets, and fairytale red roofs offer a charming setup to study Czech – especially when combined with one of the oldest universities in Europe. 

At the Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies of Charles University (ÚJOP UK), you can study Czech in the very heart of Prague, just steps away from the National Theater. It doesn't matter if you speak Czech well or have never heard the language at all. The institute offers groups for all levels – from complete beginner to C1.

Barbora Štindlová, from Charles University, explains that short intensive courses can help you learn the basics quickly if you have not yet studied the language before. These short courses are also good training for those who need to prepare for a language exam at a specific level. 

“In contrast to long-term courses, which give you a profound, solid grasp of the language at a specific level, the 6-week courses act as a catalyst for fast immersion in the language and preparation for exams,” she says. 

In addition to classes, these courses also offer a variety of weekly cultural events and excursions organized exclusively for students. Events take place each Wednesday throughout the course. 

If a student is not immersed in the culture of the country whose language he or she is learning, then the student is learning a textbook, not a language,” Štindlová says. “A language is not just classroom lessons; it is also literature, history, and communication on the streets; you cannot fully master a foreign language without immersion in the culture.”

For foreigners looking to see the fastest results possible, six-week intensive courses are available. These run every working day from 9:00 a.m. to 1:25 p.m with additional activities in the afternoon or during the weekend. You can join these courses throughout the year. The next cycle runs from Sept. 5, 2022, to October 17, 2022.

If you work during the day, non-intensive evening courses are an excellent alternative. Evening courses run an entire semester. The next cycle runs from Sept. 6, 2022, to Jan. 19, 2023 and takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. During the semester, students work with their teachers to organize a recital and an amateur theater stage – all in Czech.

Students with some previous knowledge of the language can join a course that matches their level (after taking a placement test). This is ideal if you’re preparing to attend university in the near future. You usually only need language proficiency at a B1/B2 level to enroll in a university in the Czech Republic, though this might vary. 

“Two medical faculties require foreign applicants to have a C1 level of proficiency,” says Štindlová. “Our students achieve this level in a one-year intensive preparatory course. To confirm their language level, students take a particular exam for admission to medical faculties.”

Language courses at Charles University are based on three cornerstones:

Experience: With sixty years of experience teaching foreigners Czech, not only do students excel at learning languages here but Czech teachers undergo advanced training at ÚJOP as well.
Unique teaching methods: ÚJOP UK is a Charles University research platform dedicated to developing and improving the quality of teaching Czech as a foreign language.
Positive feedback: Graduates’ feedback on the courses is overwhelmingly positive.

Lucas, a student from Germany, credits having a great teacher for being able to get through difficult Czech grammar. “She baked a cake, she went to a library and to a party with us. Czech is hard, but with you, it’s quite easy,” he says. 

In fact, most students credit the mix of innovative teaching methods and fun class dynamics as the reasons the courses are so effective. According to Elena from Russia, she is grateful “not only for the rich knowledge, for the interesting lessons and the kind attitude towards everyone, [but] also grateful for the fact that we feel safe and intelligent here, in the walls of ÚJOP.” 

Other recent course graduates speak about feeling like the school is their second home, a place where you do more than just learn Czech – you also have a chance to understand Czech culture better. 

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