October 2011 issue

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Dele preparation courses

Popular with students wanting to work or study in a Spanish speaking country, the Dele exam provides official recognition of fluency in the Spanish language. Many language schools in Spain offer preparation courses, although these are usually not as popular as general Spanish.

The Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language (Dele) is the only official examination for those wanting to certify their Spanish language ability for education and work purposes and many language schools in Spain offer preparation courses for the exam, which is held three times a year.
Schools in Spain report that Dele preparation courses are generally chosen by a small but significant minority of students. Fernando Ribas, Marketing Director at AIP Languages in Valencia, says that the school started offering Dele preparation courses in 2009. “[These courses] are less popular than general Spanish,” he says. “The only time when we have more students for these classes is just before the exam dates.”

With only three exam dates per year – in May, August and November – the availability of Dele preparation courses tends to vary throughout the year. Genta Banushi from Camino Barcelona Spanish Language School in Barcelona says that they offer the Dele preparation course three times a year, starting four weeks before the exam. “The course is becoming more popular and every year there are more students booking this course. Since this course is run only three times per year and has a specific target, our general course is still more popular as it runs the whole year,” she says, adding, “Without doubt, this exam will help them work and/or study in Spain and Latin America.”

In terms of course developments, schools report that the main structure of the course has remained fairly consistent, although changes have been introduced to fit with exam developments. Banushi says, ”This year in November it will be the first time students can apply for all six levels – A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 level. Before there were only three levels. The programme for this course has of course changed in order to prepare students for all levels.”

Michael Warwick from Linc Centre in Seville says that they have also had to update their courses to fit in with the new exam levels, which were introduced to be compliant with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. He adds that Instituto Cervantes, who administer the exams, have also introduced new resources. “The courses have become more up-to-date with new manuals and materials,” he says. “Their own examinations from Instituto Cervantes have been available as models.”

Updating the course content of their Dele preparation exams is also something that Szeikdy Blandon at Audio Gil – Spanish Institute in Castellón says they have been involved in. She says, “Dele courses are getting more and more students each year. They are becoming more specific and personalised. We do have much more real material.”

When it comes to the different nationalities that undertake Dele preparation courses and, of course, go on to sit the exam, schools report a high proportion of Europeans interested in taking the Dele exam. Diana Folch from ABCHumboldt in Barcelona says that most of their students for these types of courses come from Germany. She adds, “We started offering Dele preparation courses about 10 years ago. They are not very popular, only about two per cent of our students take part in these courses.”

Some schools note, however, that the number of nationalities from regions outside of Europe have also been on the rise of late. David Sampere from Estudio Sampere, which has schools in Madrid, Salamanca and Alicante, says that Dele course participants are “mostly European – Germany and Switzerland”, although during the last two-to-three years they have seen higher numbers of Koreans. Macarena Hidalgo from Instituto de Estudios de la Lengua Española (IELE)in Seville adds that while their main nationalities for Dele preparation courses are Italian and French, “Outside Europe, we receive a lot of students from Russia and Japan.”

Perhaps due to the fact that language schools do not receive a high proportion of business for their Dele preparation exams, international marketing for these courses is mainly tied in with their general Spanish courses. “Our publicity is mainly via our homepage and via agents,” says Warwick, while Folch adds, “The information about our Dele preparation courses is in our brochure. We give this brochure to our agents and students. We also inform our students with our emailing campaigns. All this information is also available in our website.”

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Britannia Student Services  
Milhouse Hostel  
Nido Student Living  
Smart City Hostels  

English Australia  
English UK North  
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Perth Education City  
Quality English  

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Cambridge Esol  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service  
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Dr. Walter GmbH  

LTM Digital  

Malta Tourism Authority  

Professionals UK  
St Giles International  

Dental Nursing Australia Kingston  
English Australia  
Language Links  
Lexis English  


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Absolutely English Young Learners  
Camp Beaumont  
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InTuition Languages  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Language Studies International  
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Malvern House College London  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
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Study Group  
University of Essex - International Academy  

Accent Francais  
AGISEFE - Université de Savoie  
Alliance Française Paris Ile de France  
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LSF Montpellier  
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Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  

Goethe Institut  
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Dialogo Language Services  

Clubclass Residential Language School  
EC English Language Centre  

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EF Language Colleges Ltd  

ELS Language Centers  
UC Berkeley Extension  
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