Essential Academic English (B2)

Give Your English a Boost
English is the language of higher education, in the Netherlands and elsewhere. If you want to bring your English to the required level for academic studies, Essential Academic English (B2) is just the thing for you. This course will give your English a tremendous boost in a short period of time. You will improve your English in an active, positive and results-oriented learning environment. On top of that, it is great fun!
Course levelBachelor, open to students and professionals from all levels who want to improve their English language skills
Session 3
3 August to 17 August 2019
Recommended course combination  
Suitable with all courses.
Co-ordinating lecturersMarijke Kranenburg,Ms Carol Zomerhuis, Mr Craig Bell
Other lecturersTBA
Form(s) of tuitionLectures, interactive practicals, discussions
Form(s) of assessmentEnd-of-course language test
ECTS3 credits
Contact hours45
Tuition fee€1150
The course is open to students from a wide variety of backgrounds. In this course, you will learn to use the English language at what is known as B2 level: you will learn to use English effectively, with a good degree of fluency in a range of academic contexts. Your application procedure includes an online entrance test and a self-assessment exercise. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know.

The course, which uses a wide variety of active teaching methods, covers the following topics: 

  • Writing (paraphrasing, summarizing and synthesizing)
  • Listening (listening to lectures and note-taking)
  • Speaking (discussion, academic presentations and scenarios)
  • Reading (reading academic texts)
  • Academic language (grammar and vocabulary)

Your course instructor will guide you through the course book. You will cover subjects that include education, culture in general and Dutch culture in particular, sustainability, governance, the connected world. You will be expected to actively participate in discussions on these subjects. The instructor will be there to help you and make sure that you feel at home in class. 

There will be two excursions, although the term ‘excursion’ may give you the wrong impression. The excursions both have the same theme: student life in Amsterdam.

A) The Google Maps Challenge (day 2)

Two or three VU Amsterdam students will take the group on a Google Maps Challenge. The goal? Find your way to the evening’s rendezvous. Along the way, the VU Amsterdam students will act as your personal tourist guides. 

B)  Paradiso Noord (day 8)

Amsterdam has loads of concert venues. Some are massive and famous, others are smaller but with very special qualities of their own. Two students will take you to Paradiso Noord, a smaller venue where you can enjoy some really great music. This small concert hall is located just across the river from Central Station. You’ll see how the atmosphere changes once you have crossed the water!

After completing this course, you will be familiar with:

  • the vocabulary needed to pursue an academic career in an English-speaking environment
  • the rules of English grammar 
  • the social rules for classroom communication in English.

After completing the course, you will know how to:

  • formulate accurate and effective sentences
  • give an academic presentation
  • actively engage in academic discussions in English
  • deal with various types of academic texts
  • make yourself understood in classrooms throughout the world.

Carol Zomerhuis

Carol Zomerhuis-Gander is a teacher, teacher trainer and examiner. She has worked for the VU Taal Centrum since 2009 and is mainly responsible for teaching English for Academic Purposes concentrating on Bachelor students. Furthermore, she is a passionate teacher who always put her students first in order to help them achieve their goals.

"No one masters something they are not passionate about" - Grant Wiggins


Craig Bell is a native English speaker and originally from the United Kingdom. He has lived in the Netherlands for 25 years and has extensive experience in teaching and lecturing in English for Academic Purposes in various university settings. Craig also gained an MSc in Multimedia and E-learning from the University of Huddersfield. He works with students and professionals from a variety of academic fields, which has enabled him to adapt to students' goals and needs. Craig also believes students input is essential and active participation is highly encouraged.

Course participants will leave the course with a sound understanding of most elements of good writing, which should enable them to more skilfully enter their chosen field of study and research.

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