Building the Europe of tomorrow

Do you dream of doing part of your university education in, say, Rome or Madrid? Would you like to put together a curriculum that includes courses from other European universities? Or do you work at the UAntwerpen, but is Belgium too small for you? Then you want to hear all about YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe), an exciting project of which UAntwerpen is a co-founder.

Ten university institutes want to grow together into a fully-fledged European university that focuses on the exchange of students and staff. Students will be able to follow parts of their academic career at a partner university or compose an interuniversity curriculum. Academic and administrative staff will also be able to turn their careers around with a short or long work stay across borders.

The YUFE alliance comprises exclusively young universities with a strong focus on research and aims to become an inclusive university with a strong European identity. It should become the cradle of experts with a broad outlook who can tackle European challenges of tomorrow.

YUFE partners

YUFE strongly believes in multilingualism

YUFE Language Policy 2019-2022

Version of 19 April 2021

The YUFE Language Policy Vision

YUFE will build a European University that functions as a scalable model for further European University alliances. During this journey, YUFE will work towards the policy objectives of the European Education Area, among which multilingualism plays a key role, and the objectives of the European Research Area. YUFE strongly believes in multilingualism and its contribution to our core mission and vision. To build and fulfil these, YUFE will promote, encourage, support and reward multilingualism among all stakeholders.

The concept of a language policy is generally connected to wider political, societal and legal contexts. YUFE wants to develop a single common language policy that ties in with the language policy statements formulated within the national contexts of the partner universities. It will build upon the idea of multilingualism as a reflection of cultural and linguistic richness and diversity, an idea which is also strongly promoted by the overall European Language Policy. YUFE’s focus on all languages (not just European languages) also reflects and fosters the alliance’s openness to the world, global outreach and inclusiveness.

The YUFE Language Policy will include YUFE’s principles of student-centeredness, non-elitism, inclusiveness and diversity. Based on the strong belief that multiple language skills are crucial components in enhancing opportunities for professional development and employment, it will take a supportive approach towards its stakeholders, being students, staff and citizens. Because multilingualism impacts different areas, the YUFE Language Policy will be aligned with both the YUFE Staff Development Policy and the YUFE Diversity and Inclusivity Strategy. The YUFE Language Policy will also underpin all YUFE student and staff mobility schemes, both physical and virtual.

In the long term, the YUFE Language Policy Strategy and Action Plans aim at the development of an overall language policy framework which ties the global vision to the local accents. This process involves a range of challenges and opportunities, as all YUFE institutions have different starting points, and will be based on best practices. Gradually, the institutions will work together to harmonise the local policies and achieve a set of suitable guidelines and core beliefs that will serve as a foundation throughout YUFE.

The YUFE Language Policy Strategy

Multilingualism is at the heart of YUFE values and languages play a crucial role in all YUFE processes and programmes. Apart from an object of study, language is also a vehicle that should be a constant focus of attention for all involved.
The YUFE Language Policy Strategy will be set up around two main pillars: normative, overarching prescriptions and formative, empowering initiatives.

As YUFE takes an ambitious stance concerning various aspects of language policy, normative, overarching prescriptions are needed to provide a framework and guidelines that are essential to monitoring and assuring the quality of all processes and activities in the light of language. These prescriptions apply to all activities organised within YUFE.

At the same time, YUFE will set up formative, empowering initiatives, not only to comply with the normative prescriptions, but also – and more importantly – to promote, encourage, support and reward language skills and multilingualism. These formative initiatives will take an innovative approach to education and may have various forms: formal learning, peer learning, autonomous learning, workplace learning, tutoring, skills development, etc. They will focus on the institutions’ languages of instruction, English as the lingua franca of scientific research, the working and administrative languages, the local languages and other foreign languages. The initiatives will contribute to and reinforce intercultural skills, internationalisation, personal development and employability. 

The YUFE Language Policy will have a strong focus on helping all participants further develop their language skills and on strengthening all YUFE actors in the professional skills needed to realise this policy. In this approach, empowerment is key. The acquisition and use of local and foreign languages will be actively promoted. YUFE will encourage all stakeholders to participate in opportunities to learn and practise languages. The YUFE partner universities will support these stakeholders by providing and further developing a diverse and accessible range of language activities. Most of all, YUFE will develop and implement a system in which foreign language competency is recognised and rewarded.