Multilingualism in employee and student representation

International staff and students can stand as candidates for the representative bodies of Utrecht University. Are you an international with the ambition to join the employee and student representation? Or would you like to know what the best way is to deal with multilingualism in employee and student representative bodies (university council, faculty councils, education committees, student councils etc.)? On this page, you can find an overview of the facilities and tools that can help support linguistic diversity in the employee and student representation.

Tools and services

Receptive Dutch for meetings and administration

Twice a year, usually in February and September, courses on receptive Dutch for meetings and administration, specially developed for international medezeggenschappers, start. In this course, you will learn everything about the Dutch meeting culture, administrative language, and how you can use luistertaal to have multilingual meetings. This means that special attention will be paid to the development of receptive skills (reading and listening) in Dutch. The duration of the course is about 20 weeks and there are two classes per week each of 1.75 hours. International staff members can apply via the development guide and international students that wish to enroll or receive more information can contact

Toolkit Multilingual Meetings

We have a lot of meetings at the university. However, how do you tackle this with an international team? Do you switch to English? What do you do when not everybody is comfortable with that? In the Toolkit Multilingual Meetings, by means of seven animated knowledge clips, it is explained how you can have multilingual meetings (access with Solis-ID only for UU employees and student representatives, here you can click for the Toolkit in PDF-format). 

Workshop Multilingual Meetings

Through interactive role-play games and concise theory, employees learn to apply strategies to accommodate as speaker, hearer and active bystander in a meeting with co-workers who have different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. For now, this workshop will not be organised in 2024. However, if you have interest in the workshop, please send an email to Do you want to start with multilingualism right away? Take a look at the Toolkit.

Working language in representative bodies

Chapter 7 of the Language policy of Utrecht University deals specific with the working language in representative bodies. To support the language policy in representative advisory bodies several documents are developed like a checklist and a choice model for representatives to prepare their advisory body for a multilingual situation. The checklist is based on research and experiences of advisory bodies participating in the Multilingualism & Participation project. Needless to say, since representative bodies can differ widely, the checklist might not be fully applicable for every advisory body. Besides the checklist a choice model for multilingual meetings at a bilingual university has been developed. The choices in the model are based on the language levels of the participants in the body. 

Project Multilingualism & Participation

The Multilingualism & Participation project took place from September 2020 until July 2022. With this project Utrecht University aimed to encourage the participation of international staff and students. This project investigated multilingual situations within and outside UU and has developed the above tools and services. Jan ten Thije, professor intercultural communication and former coordinator of the project, and Kimberly Naber, researcher intercultural communication, explain in a DUB-article what the added value of a multilingual situation can be. On the closing colloquium of the project Multilingualism & Participation the final report and the course book Receptive Dutch for meetings and administration were handed over to the CvB. Here you can view the video of the colloquium. There is also a public version available of the final report.

Important documents

NWO subsidy: start CoRe-project January 2023 

The Multilingualism & Participation project will continue in the a new project with NWO open competition money: CoRe project: a Communicative Receptive approach to language learning and mutual understanding in multilingual academic contexts. The project starts in January 2023 and Prof. Dr. Rick the Graaff is project leader. 

More information

Curious about how the tools have been developed? Or do you have any other questions about multilingualism in the employee and student representation? Please contact