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Department of ESL, Modern Languages and Education

Although English is the lingua franca and language of study at SLU-Madrid, with students from more than 65 countries there are many opportunities to practice other modern languages in authentic situations.

Students talking with professor at the entrance of PAH

In today's global world, multinational companies and multiracial societies require plurilingual workers: knowing more than one language not only enhances your profile when applying for jobs or graduate school, but also provides you with greater mental flexibility, superior critical analysis skills, and a longer attention span.

Due to its privileged geographical location, Madrid has easy and relatively inexpensive access to many countries where you can put your language skills to the test.

Degree Programs and Courses

English Language Programs

One-Semester Bridge Program

The ESL One-Semester Undergraduate Bridge Program consists of two courses designed to help students consolidate their academic English skills:

  • ESL 1110 Advanced Listening, Grammar and Reading
  • ESL 1120 Advanced Written Expression

These courses do not provide credits toward degree programs, but students may simultaneously enroll in between two and four degree-bearing courses. By the end of this program, students will be prepared to enter more advanced English writing courses that will provide them with elective or core credits.

For more information about studying ESL at SLU-Madrid, contact Hamish Binns at

Community ESL

SLU-Madrid's Community ESL program began in 2002 and, in the spirit of the Jesuit mission, serves the local community and responds to students' increasing interest in volunteering.

Volunteers are put in teams of two or three per class and receive a short training session before the course starts. Depending on availability, volunteers can choose the level that they'd like to teach.

The University provides the equipment and mentorship required by the student volunteers, although they are given almost complete autonomy if desired, and are encouraged to be independent and creative. Volunteers either teach once a week from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, or twice a week from 7 to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

The students are mostly Spanish or Latin American, and ages range from 12 to 80 years, with a wide variety of profiles: from bank managers to street sweepers: there are few other places in the city where such an eclectic group of people can be found.

Many volunteer teachers from the program go on to become professional educators, and students who have attended the classes routinely report significant improvement in their level of English. Each semester, 25 to 50 SLU-Madrid student volunteers teach free classes to between 200 and 400 students from the Madrid community.

To learn more about participating in the Community ESL program, contact Hamish Binns, ESL program director, at

If you wish to learn English within our program, contact:

Modern Language Programs


Spain is geographically and culturally close to the Arabic world. The Spanish language contains more than 2,000 words of Arabic origin, and the Islamic cultural inheritance is highly visible, especially in Andalusia.

At SLU-Madrid, we not only teach Al-Fusha or Modern Standard Arabic, but also explore the Arabic culture to enhance cultural comprehension and effective communication.

Where possible, the levels of our courses correspond to the CEFRL (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

  • AR 1010 Communicating in Arabic I (equivalent to CEFRL A1)
  • AR 1020 Communicating in Arabic II (equivalent to CEFRL A2)
  • AR 2010 Intermediate Arabic Language & Culture (equivalent to CEFRL A2/ B1)

Recognized Official Exams: ALPT (Arabic Language Proficiency Test), STAMP 4S Arabic (Standards-Based Measurement of Proficiency-4 skill), APT (Arabic Proficiency Test) and ALCT (Arabic Language Competency Test).

The professor, Muhisin Mutlak, is one of the most important contemporary Middle Eastern novelists, better known by his pen name, Muhisin Al-Ramli.

To learn more about studying Arabic at SLU-Madrid, contact Hamish Binns at


Studying French at SLU-Madrid offers students exciting opportunities to learn another Romance language in addition to Spanish. You will easily be able to apply what you learn by visiting nearby France, conversing with the many French speakers on campus or joining the French Club.

At SLU-Madrid, we not only teach French, but also explore the Francophone cultures in order to enhance cultural comprehension and effective communication.

The levels of our courses correspond to the CEFRL (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages):

  • FREN 1010 Communicating in French I (equivalent to CEFRL A1)
  • FREN 1020 Communicating in French II (equivalent to CEFRL A2)
  • FREN 2100 Intermediate French Language & Culture (equivalent to CEFRL B1)

Recognized Official Exams:

DELF (Diplôme d'études en langue française), STAMP 4S French (Standards-Based Measurement of Proficiency-4 skills), TEF (Test d'évaluation du français), ECL (European Consortium for the Certificate of Attainment in Modern Languages) and TELC (The European Language Certificates).

The professor, Roswitha Zahlner, does research in Francophone postcolonial studies and is the department's most accomplished linguist, being fluent in at least four languages.

To learn more about studying French at SLU-Madrid, contact Roswitha Zahlner, Ph.D., at


Portuguese is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world and one of the main languages of Latin America. For speakers of Spanish, learning Portuguese is relatively easy since they share common roots. Moreover, studying Portuguese in Madrid is an attractive option because you are next to Portugal. We also offer an exchange program with the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC) in Brazil.

At SLU-Madrid, we teach Brazilian Portuguese and also explore the associated cultures and literature in order to enhance cultural comprehension and effective communication.

The levels of our courses correspond to the CEFRL (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages):

  • PG 1010 Communicating in Portuguese I (equivalent to CEFRL A1)
  • PG 1020 Communicating in Portuguese II (equivalent to CEFRL A2)
  • PG 2100 Intermediate Portuguese Language & Culture (equivalent to CEFRL B1)
  • PG 2200 Conversation and Culture (equivalent to CEFRL B2)

Recognized Official Exams:

CELPE-Bras (Brazilian Certificate of Proficiency in Portuguese for Foreigners) and CAPLE (Centro de Avaliação de Português Língua Estrangeira).

Rejane is an experienced teacher and CELPE-Bras examiner who is currently working on her Ph.D. in Estudios Portugueses y Brasileños at the Universidad de Salamanca.

To learn more about studying Portuguese at SLU-Madrid, contact Rejane Queiroz, Ph.D., at