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What is it?

The Erasmus+ Online Linguistic Support (OLS) currently offers online language courses in Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese and Swedish to higher education students, vocational education and training learners and young volunteers taking part in the Erasmus+ programme.

The European Commission has decided to extend this service to the benefit of around 100.000 refugees over 3 years, on a voluntary basis and free of charge for them.

The OLS can be used at any time from a computer, tablet or smartphone with an internet connection. The OLS language courses include a variety of self-paced modules covering different linguistic areas, as well as "Live Coaching" interactive activities (online MOOCs, tutoring sessions and forums).

Why is it offered?

In the light of the current migration crisis, the objective of this initiative is to support the efforts of EU Member States to integrate refugees into Europe's education and training systems, and ensure their skills development.

Who can benefit from it?

The OLS can be made available to refugees based on the definition below:

"In the EU context, either a third-country national who, owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside the country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country, or a stateless person, who, being outside of the country of former habitual residence for the same reasons as mentioned above, is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it, and to whom Art. 12 (Exclusion) of Directive 2011/95/EU does not apply."

This definition includes individuals having already obtained refugee status after asylum application, individuals having received a positive asylum decision with refugee status, temporary/subsidiary protection or humanitarian protection, asylum applicants, without age limits.

How does it work?

The participation in this initiative is voluntary. In the participating countries, the access to the OLS is granted to refugees who wish to improve their knowledge of one of the languages available in the OLS (Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese and Swedish) by an Erasmus+ beneficiary institution/organisation that has decided to take part.

Such organisations include universities, vocational and training organisations, NGOs, youth organisations, civil society associations, etc.

Refugees can choose to follow an OLS language course in any of the languages available. It is up to the beneficiary institution/organisation to indicate this choice in the OLS, based on the needs of the refugee and on the levels available for the different languages.

Once they receive the invitation email to the OLS, refugees must first take a language assessment to find out what their current language level is. Upon completion of this assessment, they can access the language course (if available at the required level) for a duration of maximum 13 months. Language courses in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian and Dutch are available from A1 to C2 CEFR levels. Czech, Danish, Greek, Polish and Swedish language courses are offered at A1 level, while Portuguese is available until B2 level. At the end of the language course, they can download a record of participation and take a second language assessment to measure their progress in the language, if they wish so. The second language assessment is not compulsory.

The participating organisations/institutions grant access to refugees to the OLS language course based on the requests they receive and within the available number of OLS licences.

A limited number of OLS licences is also available for operators who are directly in contact with refugees, to accompany, support and guide them through the OLS process.

The participating organisations may make computers or other IT facilities available to refugees; however, this is not a requirement. The OLS can be accessed online with any device with a browser and internet connection.

No cost should be incurred on the refugees for the access to the OLS language course.

Who can participate?

  • Refugees
  • Organisations supporting refugees
  • Erasmus+ beneficiary institutions/organisations

How to participate?

Contact your National Agency for further information on how to participate.

Find out more

Frequently Asked Questions for Erasmus+ Beneficiaries

Erasmus+ higher education initiatives aimed at supporting refugees

Erasmus+ European School, VET and Adult Education initiatives aimed at supporting refugees