About Babel

Profile

Babel offers language courses to individuals, businesses, educational institutions and other (non-profit) organisations; its typical clients being those with a higher educational background. Babel stands out from the crowd thanks to the high quality of our teachers, our flexible and transparent way of working and – last but not least – our competitive prices. Babel is the official language partner of Utrecht University. Each year we help approximately 6000 people to communicate better.

The core values of Babel are:

  • Results driven
  • Attention
  • Reliable
  • Expertise

Our teaching

Two aspects are especially vital to us at Babel: interaction, both within and outside the classroom, and the professional expertise of our teachers. In addition, each course we offer is characterised by the following principles:

  • The language taught is the language of instruction: the language spoken in the classroom by the trainer and students is the target language being learned.
  • We offer student-centred learning. Class activities (and feedback?) revolve around our students and their needs.
  • The trainer and the student are jointly responsible for the learning process.
  • Cultural issues such as cross-cultural communication and cultural differences play an important role in our lessons.

The trainers at Babel make use of a variety of activities that appeal to the widely varying learning styles of their students. They apply both theoretical and practical aspects of language learning in stimulating practice tasks, aware that ideas can be explained and offered to students in a range of different ways. What remains of central importance is a relaxed and positive atmosphere in the lesson, ensuring that students feel confident to play a full part in activities and to ask questions.

History

Babel was established in 1983 by an enthusiastic Italian student, initially being located in a house on Koningslaan in Utrecht. Some years later an office was bought on Biltstraat. At first, Babel focussed on offering ‘open group courses’. After approximately ten years, Babel had outgrown their premises on Biltstraat and so moved to the Lucas Bolwerk (street). Tailor-made training courses and translation services were added to the repertoire. In 2009, Babel joined forces with Utrecht University (see below); our lessons also take place at the International Campus Utrecht (Campusplein). The head office of Babel has been located on Nieuwegracht since August 2014. Babel is one of the biggest providers of language courses in the country.

James Boswell Institute

From 2009 until 2012, Babel worked alongside the James Boswell Institute (JBI), part of the University of Utrecht. The cooperation resulted in a growth in knowledge and expertise for both sides. Since 2012, the language teaching activities of the JBI have come under the management and name of Babel.

Organisation

Babel is organised into three departments under the Director: Education, Marketing & Sales, and Operations & Finance. There are approximately 75 people on the staff, most of whom are language teachers.

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Marc Gebuis
Director
Maud Beersmans
Education Manager 
Rose Jansen
Sales Manager
Susan Callaars
Operations Team Leader

New methods

A language course, for us, is no longer simply the traditional image of a teacher standing in front of the class. New, mainly digital, learning methods provide an outstanding addition to student-teacher contact. By means of our advanced software and digital solutions, those tricky parts of language learning that drain classroom time can be mastered quickly and efficiently outside of lessons.

CRS (Corporate Social Responsibility)

Babel takes social responsibility seriously and therefore we are committed to undertaking as many CRS activities as possible. To this end, we apply the following general, standard guideline:

In all business decisions not only do we strive for higher operating profits, but we also seize the opportunities that will allow us to contribute to a better environment and greater well-being of employees and society. These are activities that go a step further than what is required by law; they emerge from social commitment and a future-oriented vision.

Babel supports the important mission of the UAF through an annual donation. Read more here.

A few other examples of CSR at Babel: we limit the use of paper as much as possible, we support a number of charities in the field of education every year, we buy sustainable and  fair trade products  whenever possible, we use the bicycle for business done within the city and not the car, and we foster the continuous development of our employees, which is essential for us.