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University of Burgundy

Language and cultural preparation

Improve your language level before you leave, and be prepared for culture shock.

For a successful international experience, you can:

  • improve your language level. Expand your knowledge of the language of instruction at the partner university or the working language at your internship organisation. If your host country's language is different than the language you will be working or studying in, it's also a good idea to learn the basics of that language;
  • get acquainted with the host country's culture and familiarise yourself with the environment in which you will live.

There are several resources available for improving your language level while also learning more about the culture of your host country.

The University of Burgundy's Language centre offers public courses in multiple languages of different levels, CLES, TOEFL, and TOEIC certificates, and self-education programmes specifically designed for language learning, as well as a chance to interact with native speakers who can introduce you to their own country's culture.

Students of the English-taught Intercultural Management master's programme offer workshops for learning more about other cultures. These workshops are conducted in English, so they are also a great opportunity to improve your English skills.

Discussion topics include:

  • sensitivity to cultural differences;
  • cultural differences in a working environment;
  • how to overcome culture shock while abroad;
  • different concepts in other cultures: values, humour, stereotypes, table etiquette, food, etc.
  • group discussions about cultural experiences;
  • ...

Workshop structure

  • Option of participating in workshops the first or second semester of the academic year.
  • Weekly hour-long meetings generally occurring during the midday break on the Dijon campus but in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the workshops take place exclusively online via Teams or Zoom.
  • Free and open to all uB students.
  • Registration via an online form sent by e-mail to your inbox. You can also check the University's calendar to find out about upcoming registration periods: this information is usually published in September for workshops beginning in October (first semester) and in January for workshops beginning in February (second semester).
  • Students registered for the workshops will receive a statement from the Faculty of Languages and Communication confirming their participation.

More information

  • Watch the video Culture Shock Workshops directed by uB students.
  • Contact : Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..

The transversal course units give you the option to enhance your skills and gain new experiences in addition to obtaining extra ECTS credits.

Two of these units are particularly useful if you wish to improve your level in a foreign language and/or learn more about other cultures:

  • course unit Interculturalité which allows students to take foreign language courses for free at the Language centre, and to gain experience as a tutor of their native language in an international context;
  • course unit Engagement étudiant et accompagnement (Student engagement) with its Welcoming international students module (Accueil des étudiants étrangers): you will help the association ESN InsiDijon to welcome international students to France and to promote international mobility.

There are a number of websites which offer language tandems: someone who can help you to learn or improve a foreign language in exchange for you helping them to learn your own native language. These conversations can take place online or face to face.

Examples of tandem language websites:

Participate in conversation groups organised by different associations. Practice a foreign language over drinks in a Dijon bar.

Some examples of associations:

Find a buddy with the student society ESN InsiDijon! You can talk and improve your foreign language with an international student who is currently registered at uB and also discover their culture before you go abroad!

Find out more:

PRI-petit-logo-erasmus  Erasmus+ Programme is co-financed by the European Union. 

Take a look at the International office's Facebook page to find publications of the summer and winter schools that we regularly receive from our partner universities. We also publish offers from other establishments from all across the world.

These schools offer foreign language courses or courses in different study areas either in English or in the language of the host country. These schools often take place during several weeks of the winter or summer holidays. The courses also give you the opportunity to discover the country in a multicultural context with other foreign students, by offering trips and excursions.

The costs of the schools are paid by the student.

Reading other students' experiences and reactions can help you better understand cultural differences and familiarise yourself with the country in which you will be studying or working.

Take a look at the many pages online featuring student testimonies who went abroad:

  • uB student testimonies (French and international) who went abroad on an exchange programme or as an intern: interviews and photo slideshows with comments;
  • testimonies of international students who came to study or intern at the University of Burgundy;
  • Regional platform for international mobility website: experiences of young people who went abroad outside of France, as well as those who came to Burgundy via the regional international mobility programme;
  • E-Ambassador Blogs written by international students in France who share their experiences and touch on multiple topics as told from their own perspective: studying, housing, the French language, traveling, entertainment, finances.

Other ways to improve your language skills

If you go abroad on an exchange or internship under the Erasmus+ programme, you will have the opportunity to follow free online courses funded by the European Union.


Step 1: Take a language level test

Several weeks before your departure abroad you will receive an invitation by e-mail to take an online test to determine your language level. The online test evaluates language competencies (listening, reading and writing) in line with Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Make sure that you leave some spare time to complete this test (around 40/50 minutes). It is not an exam but it is an opportunity to evaluate your own language skills and to create an objective for the end of your mobility.

Step 2: Access to online courses

After the language level test, the uB’s International Office will give you access to free and unlimited online courses on the Erasmus+ language platform. You will be able to follow online courses whenever you want during your stay abroad.

You can choose between two possibilities:

  • improve your existing knowledge of the main language used in your course/internship OR
  • learn the basics of the language of your host country if it is different from the language of instruction in your course or the working language of your internship.  

Online Linguistic Support is available in the following languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.

Step 3: Take another test to measure your progress

At the end of the mobility period you will complete a second test in order to measure the progress that you have made. You can use this official assessment of your language skills for future study, work or volunteering abroad.

What happens to the results of the test?

This language tests are obligatory for all students taking part in the Erasmus+ programme.

Only you and the uB’s International Office have access to the test results which will not be communicated to the host institution and neither to teachers. The results will not influence your departure abroad or the payment of your Erasmus+ grant. You will not be penalised for a bad result. The aim of these tests is to help you assess your level and give you the opportunity to progress by giving you access to free online courses.

Find out more about Online Languistic Support (OLS) on the Erasmus+ website.

PRI-petit-logo-erasmus  Erasmus+ Programme is co-financed by the European Union. 

Free online resources are available to improve your language level. Browse our list of useful sites for learning German, English, and Spanish, and don't hesitate to search the Internet for similar programmes for other languages.

These resources are equally useful for practice if you're pursuing a language certificate (TOEIC, TOEFL, CLES, TestDAF, ZD, ZDfB, DEFE, ELYTE...).


  • Think about reading in foreign languages, even if you don't understand everything. The aim is to successfully understand the text as a whole and to improve little by little. There are many editors who publish simplified works with simple phrases and a more limited vocabulary so that you can start.
  • Download radio applications on your phone and listen to programmes and songs on foreign radio channels.
  • When you watch TV and online content, try doing so in a foreign language.

Try and find varied methods and don't become discouraged!

uB International office contacts.

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English version