The University has teamed up with European partner universities and national associations of estate agents in the UK, Spain and Bulgaria to provide the short, intensive courses.
The GET REAL Lingua project – which stands for Growing European Training for Real Estate Agents’ Languages – will help estate agents to learn the appropriate language to find property, negotiate deals and arrange mortgages in the Spanish and Bulgarian markets. The course is also open to people who have an interest in buying or selling abroad.
The first pilot language courses take place in November this year and each will last for three days. Funding from the European Commission’s Leonardo da Vinci programme for Lifelong Learning means that participants will not have to pay tuition fees.
Small groups will be taught by experienced language teachers from Spain and Bulgaria using video material of estate agents at work, as well as real documents and information that estate agents need to understand and produce.
The material for the courses has been written by language experts at the Universities of Wolverhampton, of Malaga in Spain and the University of Ruse in Bulgaria.
The courses will be held at Billesley Manor Hotel, near Stratford-upon-Avon. The first, Spanish for Real Estate Agents, takes place from Thursday, November 20 to Sunday, November 23, followed by Bulgarian for Real Estate Agents from Thursday, November 27 to Sunday, November 30. Those attending will only need to pay their accommodation and meal costs.
Project leader Mike Townsend, Associate Dean of the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences at the University, said: "I was inspired by watching TV programmes about British people buying property abroad. As more and more people seek to buy ‘a place in the sun’, many local estate agents are finding they need to improve their language skills to help their clients avoid some of the pitfalls.
“As for their customers, it is now truer than ever before: the more people understand of the language, culture and business dealings of the country where they want to buy, the less likely they are to make an expensive mistake.
“So while the course is aimed initially at estate agents, it would be just as useful to any interested member of the house-buying public intending to buy or sell abroad, and they are welcome to attend as well.”
Ruth Lilley, head of membership and professional development at the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), said: “The overall goal of this innovative project is to improve language training for estate agents. Teaching is by experienced language specialists from the universities in Malaga and Ruse and will cover all terms and phrases required to help make dealings run more smoothly.”
The courses are also supported by the professional bodies GIPE in Spain and NRPA in Bulgaria.
At the end of the pilot courses, participants will receive a copy of a DVD in their chosen language and a trilingual dictionary on CD of property terms in English, Spanish and Bulgarian to carry on with their learning independently.