Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

1. ELIGIBILITY

 

1.1. Am I eligible to take a language course?

People in the following categories are eligible for UNOG language courses:

ELIGIBLE FOR CLASSES

Payment required

*UNOG staff members

No

**All staff members of Staff members of UN funds and programmes and other international organizations who have the authorization of their HR/Staff Development focal point: CERN, EC, EFTA, FAO, IAEA, ICRC, ICTY, IEC, IFRC, ILO, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITC, ITU, OCHA, OHCHR, TGF, UNAIDS, UNCC, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNECE, UNEP, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIDIR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNOPS, UNRISD, WFP, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Yes

***Staff of permanent Missions, including observer Missions
Staff of service providers located in the Palais des Nations
UNOG tour guides
Employees of NGOs accredited to the UN
Press corps
GAVI (Vaccine Alliance)
Consultants working with UN organizations and agencies
Spouses of United Nations or of permanent Missions staff members
UN Secretariat retirees

Yes

 

* UN Secretariat staff members who have the authorization of their supervisor.

** Organizations are billed. Staff members of funds and programmes and other international organizations need their applications authorized by their respective HR/Staff Development office.

*** On a fee-paying basis. Proof of payment needs to be provided when enrolling.

 

 

2. ENROLMENT

 

2.1 When is the registration period for the upcoming term?

The enrolment periods normally fall in February, May and October. For the winter, spring and autumn terms, the enrolment period lasts for three weeks and two days. For the summer courses, the period lasts 9 days.

A broadcast giving the exact dates is sent by e-mail to all UN staff members at the start of each enrolment period.

Please note that if you are currently enrolled in a course, re-enrolment is your responsibility and is not automatic.

For the next or current registration period, please click here.

 

 

 

2.2. What should I know about the Language Training Programme enrolment procedures?

  1. There are four terms and four corresponding enrolment periods in the year.
  2. The enrolment periods normally fall in February, May and October and last for three weeks and two days. For the summer courses, the period lasts 10 days in May. A broadcast giving the exact dates is sent by e-mail to all UN staff members at the start of each enrolment period.
  3. You should submit your enrolment through the appropriate channel.
  4. Applications received outside the enrolment period, incomplete and/or without proof of payment of the applicable fees will not be considered.
  5. Enrolment is valid for one term only.
  6. You are responsible for re-enrolling and it is not automatic.
  7. Enrolments are considered on a first come, first served basis.
  8. You must obtain the authorization of your supervisor for all time choices you select in the enrolment form.
  9. If you expect to be absent during the enrolment period, you should notify the Language Training Programme secretariat in writing (clm_language@un.org), so that you can submit an application form in advance.
  10. Priority is given to students who are already in the Language Training Programme.
  11. The Language Training Programme secretariat cannot guarantee the opening of all courses offered, nor a place in your preferred time schedule.

 

 

  

2.3 How do I enrol?

Enrolment procedure:

You need to enrol during the enrolment period by going to https://clmlanguageregistration.unog.ch and following the instructions below. All the registration steps will be done online, replacing the paperwork and physical signatures.

 

UNOG Staff

You should go to the online registration platform at https://clmlanguageregistration.unog.ch.

  • If you have attended CLM language courses after April 2016, you should select the option "log in" and follow the instructions. An email with the log in and the password was sent to all students.
    However, if you have forgotten your password you can click the button “forgot your password” to reset it.
  • If you have attended CLM language courses before April 2016 or if you are a new applicant, you should select the option "Join" and follow the instructions.

All the registration steps will be done online, replacing the paperwork and physical signatures.

ECE, OCHA, OHCHR, UNCC, UNCTAD, UNHCR, UNIDIR, UNEP, UNITAR and UNRISD staff and staff of other UN Organizations/Agencies

You should go to the on-line registration platform at https://clmlanguageregistration.unog.ch.

  • If you have attended CLM language courses after April 2016, you should select the option "log in" and follow the instructions. An email with the log in and the password was sent to all students.
    However, if you have forgotten your password you can click the button “forgot your password” to reset it.
  • If you have attended CLM language courses before April 2016 or if you are a new applicant, you should select the option "Join" and follow the instructions.

All the registration steps will be done online, replacing the paperwork and physical signatures.

The registration form from the staff of the above Organizations/Agencies will be sent to the supervisor and to the Learning Focal Point of their organization.

Other applicants:

You should go to the online registration platform at https://clmlanguageregistration.unog.ch.

  • If you have attended CLM language courses after April 2016, you should select the option "log in" and follow the instructions. An email with the log in and the password was sent to all students.
    However, if you have forgotten your password you can click the button “forgot your password” to reset it.
  • If you have attended CLM language courses before April 2016 or if you are a new applicant, you should select the option "Join" and follow the instructions.

 

 

Before registration please make sure that you have the following documents in electronic version as you will need to update them in the system:

1)      copy of the carte de légitimation or official authorization from the employer, and

2)      copy of proof of payment of the tuition fee (bulletin de versement or debit notification of the bank account if paid via e-banking). 

  1. Important: A confirmation of the e-banking order is not considered a proof of payment.

 

 

 

2.4 What happens after I have applied for a language course?

  1. If places are available before the start of term, you will receive an official e-mail with information regarding class schedule and a link to where you can find the books needed for your course.
  2. If there are no places available, you will receive an e-mail informing you that you are on a waiting list. If a place has not become available during the first week, you will receive an e-mail informing you that unfortunately no spaces have become available. For self-paying students you will be reimbursed via an official procedure (please refer to point 5.1.2).

IMPORTANT: Priority is given to students who are already in the programme.

 

 

 

2.5 Where are the classrooms located?

Classrooms are located in Annexes le Bocage:  please see link to map of: the Palais des Nations

 

 

 

2.6 What shall I do if I forgot to enrol for the next term?

You cannot enrol in the Language Training Programme outside the official enrolment period. You should enrol during the next enrolment period.

 

 

 

2.7 What are my responsibilities as a student?

Students attending UN language classes must:

  1. Be on time, attend and actively participate in the classes.
  2. Participate in activities and continual assessment processes
    Complete homework outside class hours.
  3. Inform their teacher of their absences via email.
  4. Purchase course materials before the end of the first week of term.
  5. Complete the online end-of-term evaluation.

 

 

 

2.8 What will happen if I miss the first week of class and if I have not notified my teacher or the Language Training Programme secretariat of my absence?

If you have not attended the first week of term or the first day of class for the summer courses and have not informed the secretariat or your teacher of your absence, you will be removed from the class list and your place will be given to a student on the waiting list. For fee paying students, course fees will not be reimbursed.

 

 

 

2.9 What should I do if I will be on mission for more than three weeks (more than 25% of the course) during the term?

If you know that you will be absent for more than three weeks during the term, we would advise you to consider postponing your registration until a time when you will be more available. If you still wish to enrol, you will work by yourself during the period when you are unable to come to class by consulting the online Moodle platform, where you can find your class programme and materials.

 

 

 

3. PLACEMENT TEST

 

3.1 Which level should I register for?

If you have previously studied the language in question outside the UN, you will need to take a placement test to be placed in the correct level. A test is obligatory for all new language students, unless they are complete beginners.

 

 

 

3.2 What should I do if I am returning to the Language Training Programme after an absence of two or more terms?

If you are returning to the language programme following an absence of two terms or more, you will be asked to take a placement test before resuming your studies. This is because during your absence, your level may have either improved or deteriorated.

 

 

 

3.3 What should I do if I think I have been placed in a level that is too easy/difficult?

Speak with your teacher as soon as possible.  We can make adjustments during the first week of term.  If your teacher agrees with you following a reassessment of your placement test or other considerations, you will be placed in the appropriate level (if space is available).

 

 

 

3.4 What happens after I have taken a placement test?

 

  1. If places are available in the level assigned to you, before the start of term you will receive an official email with information regarding the class schedule and a link to where you can find the books needed for your course.
  2. If there are no places available, you will receive an email informing you that you are on a waiting list. If a place has not become available during the first week, you will receive an email informing you that unfortunately no places have become available.

 

IMPORTANT: Attending a placement test does not guarantee a place in our language courses. Priority is given to students who are already in the programme.

 

 

 

3.5 Why do I need to retake a placement test if I have repeated the same level three times?

If you have repeated the same level three times and failed, you will need to retake a placement test in order to be placed in the correct class to acquire the appropriate building blocks to enable you to progress in the language you are studying.

 

 

 

4. CLASS SCHEDULE AND COURSES

 

4.1 Where can I find all the details of the United Nations Language Training Programme?

An Information Circular with the full description of the Language Training Programme is published once a year.

 

 

 

4.2 How are the class schedules determined?

 The class scheduling depends on different factors such as room availability, the teacher's availability*, and students’ preferred schedule.

 

* Please note that in the Language Training Programme many teachers work on a part-time basis and they may have other commitments outside the Language Training Programme. They are therefore not always available outside of their teaching hours and the Language Training Programme cannot always offer a morning and a lunchtime class for all levels.

   

 

 

4.3 What time do classes take place?

Classes normally run once or twice a week, either from 8:00 to 10:00 or during lunchtime from 12:30 to 14:30. Some classes may end 30 minutes earlier when an additional learning component is delivered online.

During the Summer term, classes normally run five days a week, either from 8:00 to 10:00 or during lunchtime from 12:30 to 14:30.

 

 

 

4.4 What kind of courses and how many hours are taught per term?

The Language Training Programme offers different types of courses:

 

  1. General courses (levels 1 to 9): 48 hours per term for all languages (4 hours/week or 3 hours a week + one hour of online learning12 weeks a term). Courses are provided for 12 consecutive weeks with an additional week “consultation week” for student reviewing of examinations, pedagogical meetings and preparation for the following semester.
  2. Specialized courses: 48 hours per term or equivalent (4 hours/week or 2 hours a week + online learning and coaching, 12 weeks a term) or 24-hour courses per term (2 hours/week, 12 weeks a term).
  3. Online courses: online modules and workshops or webinars + coaching
  4. Blended courses: a combination of face-to-face classes, plus online learning activities.
  5. Tailored courses for specific sections: (e.g. tailored writing courses, courses for interpreters)

 

 

 

4.5 Why have I not been allocated my requested time?

The reasons why you may have not been given your preferred time schedule may depend on the following reasons:

  1. Teacher’s availability.
  2. Students preferred schedule.
  3. Number of enrolments in your level decreasing, resulting in the merging of two different time schedules (e.g. the morning and the lunchtime classes are merged into one).

 

 

 

4.6 What do I need to know about the Language Training Programme policy regarding allocation of classes and teachers?

We understand the request of some students to continue studying with the same teacher from term to term. However, from a pedagogical point of view it is also important to change teachers. While scheduling the courses, criteria such as room availability, the teacher's availability, students’ preferred schedule, etc. need to be taken into consideration, which may affect your allocated schedule/teacher.

Please be reassured that all the teachers working for the Language Training Programme do their best to provide high standard conditions for language learning.

 

 

 

4.7 What is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)?

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, abbreviated in English as CEFR, is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages. It was put together by the Council of Europe and published in 2001. Its main aim is to provide a method of learning, teaching and assessing which applies to all languages. The six reference levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 – see details in the table below) are becoming widely accepted as standards for grading an individual's language proficiency.

 

Proficient
User

C2

Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.

C1

Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.

Independent
User

B2

Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

B1

Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Basic
User

A2

Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

A1

Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

 

 

 

4.8 What do I need to know about the levels in the Language Training Programme?

Our courses are aligned with the CEFR and cover levels of competences from A1 to C1.

In English, French and Spanish, it consists of nine levels divided into three cycles: elementary cycle (A1, A2), intermediate cycle (B1, B2) and advanced cycle (B2+, C1).

In Arabic, Chinese and Russian, it consists of eight levels. Please note that it takes two terms to complete one level (e.g. level 1 Regular, level 1 Advanced, level 2 Regular, 2 Advanced, etc.).

 

English

Arabic

CEFR levels

French

Chinese

Spanish

Russian

1

1 regular

A1

Beginner

1 advanced

2

2 regular

2 advanced

A2

Elementary

3

3 regular

3 advanced

4

4 regular

4 advanced

5

5 regular

B1

Intermediate

5 advanced

6

6 regular

6 advanced

7

7 regular

B2

7 advanced

Advanced

8

8 regular

8 advanced

9

 

C1

9 (English)

 

Specialized courses

Proficiency

C2

 

 

 

 

 

4.9 What is there to know about the specialized language courses?

The Language Training Programme offers a number of specialized courses each term. The courses we offer vary from term to term. In order to know which ones are on offer, you need to consult the programme for that term.

 

 

 

5. FEES

5.1 How do I pay or get reimbursed?

Payment of the fees must be made at the time of application. Payments should be made as follows:

    1. By bulletin de versement, at any office of the Swiss Postal Services (PTT): United Nations Geneva, Special Accounts, PTT Account number 12-5904-2. Please indicate “10RCR” in the box motif versement.

Important: A copy of the bulletin de versement must be uploaded in the website at the time of enrolment. The original must be provided in case of reimbursement of language classes fees. 

b) Via e-Banking: PTT IBAN No. CH40 0900 0000 1200 5904 2 United Nations Geneva, Special Accounts, Division des Finances, 1202 Genève. Please indicate “10RCR” in the box motif versement.

Reimbursement for fee-paying students:

A refund procedure is in place in case you are not given a place in our courses. If you need to be reimbursed, please send an email to the Language Training Programme secretariat (clm_language@un.org). As soon as we receive your request we will send you the appropriate form for you to be reimbursed (bank information form).

Please note that to make a reimbursement, we will need a copy of the proof of payment, the bank information form filled in and a copy of the bank account holder’s passport. Reimbursements may take up to eight weeks after you have submitted all the documents required.

For self-paying students your fees may be kept for the next term or they can be reimbursed.

 

IMPORTANT: You can be reimbursed/your organization will not be billed only if you cancel your enrolment 4 working days before the start of the term and two weeks before the start of the summer courses.  .  If you cancel your enrolment at any time afterwards, the fees of the course will not be reimbursed.

 

 

5.1.1 Who needs to pay tuition fees?

Students from non UN Secretariat organizations, staff of permanent Missions, spouses, staff of service organizations in the Palais des Nations, employees of NGOs accredited to UN, press corps, GAVI (Vaccine Alliance), consultants and retirees pay a fee which is based on the number of hours of lessons, as follows:

  1. 48-hour courses and equivalent special courses/term: CHF 590.-
  2. 24-hour courses and equivalent special courses/term: CHF 350.-

Payment and reimbursement procedures

 

  

 

5.1.2 Reimbursement

Reimbursement for fee-paying students:

A refund procedure is in place in case you are not given a place in our courses. If you need to be reimbursed, please send an e-mail to the Language Training Programme secretariat (clm_language@un.org). As soon as we receive your request we will send you the appropriate form for you to be reimbursed (bank information form).

Please note that to make a reimbursement, we will need a copy of the proof of payment, the bank information form filled in and a copy of the bank account holder’s passport. Reimbursements may take up to eight weeks after you have submitted all the documents required.

IMPORTANT: You can be reimbursed/your organization will not be billed only if you cancel your enrolment before the start of the term.  If you cancel your enrolment at any time after the start of the term, the fees of the course will not be reimbursed.

 

 

  

6. WAITING LISTS

6.1 What happens if I have been placed on a waiting list?

When there are no places available in the course in which you have enrolled, you will be placed on a waiting list.

Students on a waiting list are informed by email a week before the start of term. If a place becomes available during the first week, you will receive an official email with information regarding your class schedule and a link to where you can find the books needed for your course.

If no place has become available during the first week, you will receive an email informing you that no places have become available and that your enrolment has been cancelled for that term.

Please note that the Language Training Programme secretariat tries to prioritize students who were on a waiting list the previous term over new enrolments. In order to increase your chances of enrolment, when enrolling in the following term, make sure you indicate in the "comments” box on the enrolment form that you were on a waiting list the previous term.

For self-paying students your fees may be kept for the next term or they can be reimbursed. Please refer to point 5.1.2 for the reimbursement procedure.

 

 

 

7. CANCELLATION

7.1 What should I do if I have to drop out of/cancel my language course?

You can cancel your enrolment any time 4 working days before the start of the term and two weeks before the start of the summer courses.

Students who wish to cancel their enrolment need to do it via the online registration platform (https://clmlanguageregistration.unog.ch). Go to the tab “current submitted forms”, select the cancellation form and click on the button: “Cancel Enrolment”. You will receive an email with the confirmation of the cancellation. When you cancel your course, your place is given to a student from the waiting list.

IMPORTANT: You can be reimbursed/your organization will not be billed only if you cancel your enrolment 4 working days before the start of the term and two weeks before the start of the summer courses.  .  If you cancel your enrolment at any time after the deadline, the fees of the course will not be reimbursed.

 

 

 

7.2 What can I do if my class has been cancelled due to an insufficient number of students?

If your class has been cancelled due to an insufficient number of students, you will be informed by an official e-mail.

For Arabic, Chinese and Russian, if your class is cancelled you can request to join the level below or you can re-enrol the following term.

The Language Training Programme secretariat makes all possible efforts to offer a class at the next level for returning students. However, when the number of students is not sufficient, the secretariat is obliged to cancel classes.

  • For Arabic, Chinese and Russian, classes are cancelled where there are less than six students.
  • For English, French and Spanish, classes are cancelled where there are less than ten students.

 

 

 

8. SPECIAL REQUESTS

8.1 What should I do if I have to change my class schedule?

You should contact the Language Training Programme secretariat (clm_language@un.org) requesting to change your schedule. If there is room in the class you would like to move to, you will be moved and if not, you will be put on a waiting list.

If you wish to change the schedule of your class, you should notify the Language Training Programme secretariat before the term starts or during the first two weeks of term. After the end of the second week of the term no more changes can be made.

 

 

 

8.2 What should I do if I need a certificate of attendance?

If you need a certificate regarding attendance or completion of language courses, please send an e-mail stating your request to the Language Training Programme secretariat (clm_language@un.org)

Please note that the level you have reached has no official value in the UN. Only the UN Language Proficiency Examination will provide you with official recognition of your efforts in learning a foreign language within the United Nations system.

 

 

 

 

8.3 What should I do if I cannot attend the end-of-term exam/final evaluation?

You need to notify your teacher as soon as possible as well as the Language Training Programme secretariat via e-mail. Please note that only work or medical related excuses are accepted: mission or certified sick leave.

If the reason is work or medical related, and if your absences do not exceed 25% of classes, you will be invited to attend a test during the 10th or 11th week of the term

If you fail to take the exam, your course will be considered incomplete.

IMPORTANT: Any reason that is not work or medical related (e.g. home leave, holidays, etc.) will not be considered as a valid reason for taking the test or exam outside the regular schedule.

 

 

 

8.4 What should I do if I cannot be here for the oral part of the end-of-term exam?

You should mention this directly to your teacher, who will do their best to accommodate your request and organize an oral exam for you at a different time. Despite our efforts to accommodate these requests, please note that finding an alternate time is not always possible.  In such cases, your teacher may ascertain your level. 

 

 

 

8.5 What should I do if I have questions regarding the course material or the content of my course?

If you have questions about course material or the content of the course you are invited to discuss it with your teacher. In this way, you can allow your teacher to be aware of your specific challenges and needs.

 

 

 

8.6 Do I qualify for the Language Proficiency Examination (LPE)?

If you wish to enrol in the LPE you need to have successfully completed the highest level of the UNOG Language Training Programme (level 8). If you have not successfully completed the highest level at the time of the LPE enrolment, you will not be eligible and not allowed to sit this examination. If you are a spouse or from a mission, you may only enrol in the LPE if you have successfully completed the highest level of the Language Training Programme (level 8).

 

For more information regarding the LPE:

LPE website: http://www.un.org/exam/lpe/

Contact e-mail in Geneva: clm_lpe@un.org