Preparatory Year of Dutch

1. Programme

The Preparatory Year of Dutch is especially organized for non-Dutch speaking students who want to prepare themselves to academic studies in Dutch. The programme consists of 6 modules, from level 1 (A1 of the CEF) till level 6 (C1 of the CEF). 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 enroll at a Flemish university (college).
You can find more information on the content of the different modules on our website.

In the academic year 2023-2024 the Preparatory Year of Dutch (VJN) starts on 25/9/2023 and finishes at the latest on 20/9/2024. Classes are held in the morning or in the afternoon. You have to be available in the morning and in the afternoon.

There are no lessons:

  • during the mid-term break (30/10/2023-5/11/2023)
  • the Christmas holiday (25/12/2023-7/1/2024)
  • the Easter holiday (1/4/2024-14/4/2024)
  • July (1/7/2024-26/7/2024)

You are present as of the first lesson. Late arrivals will not be accepted.

You must reside in Belgium legally. Your classes will take place in one of the buildings of Ghent University, located in the center of Ghent. Ghent Is medium sized city, easily accessible by public transport or by bike.
If covid-19 or another situation beyond our control 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.

It can be quite a challenge to master Dutch in one year 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.

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 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.

2. Admission requirements

Proof of acceptance university or 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 2024-2025). 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 website).

Please pay attention: 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 enroll 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.

Future students with direct access to Ghent University do not need this written proof of acceptance.
See the website of Ghent University for more information.

Language requirements

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 CEF). 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 ‘3. 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 MSTeams. 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.

3. Applications, registrations and payments

You can only apply by filling out the VJN application form on our website.

When uploading a copy of your passport and your proof of acceptance:

  • Please upload PDF files only.
  • Passport: Filename should be: Surname_Firstname_paspoort.pdf
  • Proof of acceptance: Filename should be: Surname_FirstName_proofofacceptance.pdf
  • Replace any spaces in your name by underscores ( _ ) !

The UCT accepts applications from 15/12/2022 until 1/5/2023, as long as places are available.

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, preferably before 1/2/2023!

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 15/5/2023! 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.

4. UGent account

You will receive an email with a link to activate your UGent account. You must choose a password to activate your UGent account.

Together with your UGent account you receive a UGent e-mail address. It looks like this: first name.family name@ugent.be

After activating your UGent account, you must also set up Multi-factor authentication (MFA). It is very important that you choose several methods and certainly also a method that you can use when you have arrived in Belgium! So DO NOT choose a phone in your home country if you don't bring that phone with you to Belgium.

ALWAYS USE your Ghent University account! You can send emails with it, you can use it on websites that are very important to follow your lessons: Ufora, Athena, etc.

You can check your UGent email via OWA.

5. Communication via email

All communication regarding the Preparatory Year of Dutch (VJN) should take place via email. We cannot answer questions about a specific record by phone.

The moment you have your UGent email address, you use this email. You always send an email to uct@ugent.be. As soon as we have given you a student number (which can be found on the invoice and consists of 8 digits beginning with 0) you have to mention this number whenever you contact us.

6. Fee and reduction

The fee is €3,450, including the application fee of 600 and €475 euro per module. Course materials and all tests are included in the fee..

Students of Ghent University (academic year 2024-2025) 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.

7. Cancellations

Cancellations at the latest on 15/8/2023

Cancellations can only be done by the students themselves and have to be done by email. If you cancel at the latest on 15/8/2023, administrative costs of €700 will be charged. Bank costs have to be borne by the course participant.

When you cancel you provide us with the following data:

  • account number (= IBAN number)
  • name of the account holder
  • address of the account holder
  • SWIFT code of the bank
  • If you use a Moroccan account, you also add a bank certificate.

Cancellations AFTER 15/8/2023

If you cancel after 15/8/2023, 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 600 cancellation costs and 50 administrative costs per module that you cancel. After this term you can no longer cancel nor ask for a refund.

Problems with obtaining the VISA

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.

8. Frequently asked questions

1. Where can I find the UCT and how can I reach it?
You find all the information about the location and directions on our website.
2. Can I get a discount if I come by train?
Yes, if you are younger than 26 and do not live in Ghent. You can find an attestation on Oasis. You log in with your UGent account.
  • You click on 'UCT student'.
  • You go to 'My Oasis'.
  • You click on 'Certificates'.
  • You select the academic year 2023-2024.
  • You select the certificate type 'NMBS'..
3. Can I get a proof of my registration of the Preparatory Year of Dutch?
Yes, you can find an attestation on Oasis once the full course fee has been paid.
  • You log in with your UGent account.
  • You click on 'UCT student'.
  • You go to 'My Oasis'.
  • You click on 'Certificates'.
  • You select the academic year 2023-2024.
  • You select the certificate type 'Enrolment certificate UCT'...
4. Am I already an official student of Ghent University when I am doing the Preparatory Year of Dutch?
No, you are only a student of Ghent University if you are enrolled. This is only possible if you have obtained the certificate of Dutch (level 5).
Ghent University does offer you a number of facilities as a VJN-student. You can find information on the website of Ghent University.
5. Can I get a student card of Ghent University?
No, see point 3. However, you can obtain a card that you can use in the university restaurants and the sport facilities of Ghent University (GUSB). You can find an application form for this card on our website.
6. Who can I contact for a 'blocked account'?
More information about a blocked account can be found on the website of Ghent University.
Contact: international@ugent.be
7. When and how do I enrol at Ghent University?
You can find all the information about when and how to enrol at Ghent University on the website.
You can only enrol if you have proof that you have a B2- or C1-level of Dutch. This B2-level equals level 5 at the University Language Centre (UCT), the C1-level equals level 6.
8. Who can I contact for a student room?
You find more information on the website of Ghent University.
Please keep in mind that there is a shortage of student rooms in Ghent. It is therefore not easy to find a room in Ghent.
9. Where can I collect a certificate to prove that I attended the Dutch classes?
You can obtain a certificate of attendance after each module at Oasis.
  • You log in with your UGent account.
  • You click on 'UCT student'.
  • You go to 'My courses' under the academic year 2023-2024.
  • You select the course for which you want a certificate.
  • You click on 'print certificate'.
10. Where can I find a certificate of my Dutch classes?
You can obtain a certificate after each module at Oasis.
  • You log in with your UGent account.
  • You click on 'UCT student'.
  • You go to 'My courses' under the academic year 2023-2024.
  • You select the course for which you want a certificate.
  • You click on 'print certificate'.