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Cultural institutes: Cervantes, Goethe, The British Council, Confucius

Published on 28/11/2022

Proficiency in a second language is no longer a mere decoration for your CV. With globalisation and internationalisation, knowing a second language, or even more than one, has become an necessity for almost all job opportunities.

With a high unemployment rate, not only in Spain, but also in many first world countries like Germany, the professional progress and opportunities with knowing a second language can encourage millions of people to study English, French, German and even Chinese, as these languages are highly demanded on the market. However, fluency in other languages that are less demanded, such as Italian, Portuguese and Russian, can also be important for professional growth.

Sadly, learning a second language by “immersing” yourself in a foreign-speaking country is not affordable for everyone. This is why taking a language course without leaving one's own country has become a popular option.

Cultural centres or institutes offer language courses through different levels and courses. In recent years, after the pandemic, many of them have become online or blended learning.

Mastering the working languages is the key quality for any translator. Studying a language at these institutions and obtaining the corresponding certificates is the best way to present yourself as a professional translator in a translation company.

If you want to study a second language, here are some options:

1. Cervantes Institute

It is a Spanish institution that started working in 1991. With the aim of promoting the teaching and use of the Spanish language. The Cervantes Institute is responsible for a large number of cultural activities, made for the dissemination of Hispanic culture and the Spanish linguistic heritage abroad. It is based in 45 countries, 88 cities and 5 continents all over the world. It also has a head office in Madrid and another in Alcalá de Henares.

1.1 Objectives and functions

  • Organise courses in the Spanish language and co-official Spanish languages.
  • To issue the official Spanish DELE diplomas and organise the exams to obtain them.
  • Modernisation of teaching methods and teacher training.
  • Participate in cultural and Spanish language dissemination programmes.
  • Collaborate with other Spanish and Latin American organisations and units in the host countries.
  • Manage Spanish library networks, publish digital resources and create electronic libraries.

2. Goethe Institute

It is a cultural institute working under the supervision of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its main objective is the dissemination of the German language and cultural exchange abroad. They have two branches in Spain, one in Madrid and the other in Barcelona, as well as collaborating with various examination institutions that also provide German courses. There are 22 branches in countries such as Belgium, Italy, France, Portugal, among others.

2.1 Objectives and functions

  • To give a good and comprehensive picture of Germany, culturally, socially and politically.
  • Create cultural and educational programmes that support intercultural dialogue.
  • Promoting German language teaching abroad
  • To be an international benchmark in the teaching of German language and culture.
  • Working together with other institutions to promote and strengthen the faith in Germany.

3. The British Council School

It is an institution that has been working in Spain since 1940. Its first branch opened in Madrid. Its main objective is to provide a bilingual education, as well as to promote values such as freedom, honesty, integrity, commitment and professionalism.

3.1 Objectives and vision

  • To offer pupils an education in a bilingual and multicultural environment.
  • To develop well-rounded, responsible and self-confident learners.
  • Supporting the education system by improving relations between the UK and other countries.

4. The Confucius Institute

It is a non-profit institution dedicated to education and cultural exchange. It was founded by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and the Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) in 2005. It was the result of an agreement between the Republic of China and the Autonomous University and Casa Asia.

4.1 Objectives

  • Teaching of Chinese language and the dissemination of Chinese culture.
  • Successfully complete official Chinese language examinations.
  • Actively cooperate with other educational institutions.
  • Offer a system of scholarships for studies in China, ranging from language courses to master's degrees and doctorates.

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Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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