Is it difficult for a foreign student to study abroad? Yes, it is not easy, especially if there is a language barrier. However, the educational institutions of Slovenia take care for their students and create opportunities for studying and learning the language in parallel. The innovation of 2018 was the launch of the YearPlus programme in the universities of Ljubljana and Primorska. This article tells about the essence of this programme and the advantages for foreign students.

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What is YearPlus?

Imagine a situation – you have the long awaited documents on admission to the university in hand. At the same time, you did not study the Slovenian language before coming to the country. What are you going to do?

There are at least three options.

The fist and one of the best options will be the language courses. We talk about a hundred hour intensive course to undertake before the beginning of the academic year. Classes are held from mid-August to 1 October. During the courses, you will receive the necessary base to start learning the language.

The second option is to pass a long lasting linguistic course. Such courses are provided for 6 or 12 months. The programme is adapted for speakers of Slavic languages and will allow graduates not only to easily accustom in the country, but also to pass successfully the Slovenian language exam in the university.

Finally, the third option is a linguistic study programme for foreign students at the university. It is composed and instructed by specialists who work in higher educational institutions, which means that they have professional vocabulary and terminology that you will have to learn. This programme is called YearPlus. It has been launched in 2018. Its task is not only to provide an in-depth language course, but to prepare a specialist who has the necessary vocabulary for easy mastering of the chosen profession. This is the weightiest argument in favour of the Slovenian language courses at your educational institution, isn’t it!

The participants of the YearPlus programme remain ordinary first-year students studying under the chosen study programme, and at the same time master an in-depth linguistic course to study the language of the country where they currently live. At the end of the academic year, they will be able to officially confirm their level of knowledge of the Slovenian language by passing the exam.

How to Become a Member of the YearPlus Programme?

In 2018, the programme was available only to students of the universities of Ljubljana and Primorska.

Key conditions for participation in the programme:

  1. You must be a first year student in one of the university study programmes, within which YearPlus is implemented. It is equally available for the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes.
  2. A student who scores at least 30 points (ECTS) in the first year of study, 6 of which are for the Slovenian language, has the right to repeat the academic year for free. In other words, if your level of performance at the end of the year is low, you can once again pass it from scratch. In Slovenia, as in the whole European Union, a Pan-European system for accounting the academic progress of students when mastering a study programme or a course is adopted. It is abbreviated ECTS. The term originates from English: European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. The points are used not only to evaluate your academic performance in a subject, but also serve as a single scale for the assessment of knowledge when transferring from one European university to another.
  3. Subject to the successful passing of examinations in the core disciplines and the Slovenian language in a total amount of 60 ECTS (or 49 to 60 ECTS, depending on the requirements of the faculty), students can continue their studies immediately in the second year. 60 points in a European university is a high level of academic performance.
  4. If a student has paid a tuition fee for the first year, he or she will not have to pay an additional fee for participating in the YearPlus programme. An exception is the registration fee for repeating the academic year. Its size is from 25 to 50 euros (this amount includes issuing of a student ID).
  5. Students who, under the terms of enrolment to the chosen study programme, have already provided a Slovenian language certificate of B2 level or above (for example, those enrolled in such Master’s degree programmes as Journalism, Law, Slovenian Linguistics), cannot participate in the YearPlus programme.

All participants of the YearPlus programme should pass the Slovenian language proficiency test. According to its results, students are divided by groups, depending on the level of knowledge of the Slovenian language, so that the instruction process could be focused, and the digestion of knowledge – maximized.

Successful passing of exams within the programme means a transition to the second year of study in your faculty. If the preparatory year was difficult, and the grades for the subjects were not high enough, students have the right to re-apply for the first year. This is the case when the word “repeater” does not have a negative connotation. You are noticeably better than the “freshers”: you know the Slovenian language at a good level, you have already undertaken some of the professional subjects and you are well versed in the nuances of the educational process.

Features of the YearPlus 2018 Programme

The difference between the YearPlus programmes at the Universities of Primorska and Ljubljana in the current academic year was only in the deadlines for submitting an application for participation. Thus, at the University of Ljubljana, the applications were accepted until 5 October 2018 and at the University of Primorska – until 30 October. According to the university representatives, the largest number of applications came from the students of the Economics and Management study programmes. In addition, YearPlus was popular with students of the Tourism programmes, as well as among freshmen in the Faculties of Electrical Engineering, IT and Mathematics. Both universities were pleasantly surprised that the new educational product had immediately found such an ardent response.

At the moment, university administrations have started preparing the programme for the next academic year. We will inform you in due time about the conditions for participation in this programme. Please, visit our website!

Olga Shumakova

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