CEFR Information

English proficiency is required for all positions in Mercy Ships, and fluency is required for some positions.

While Mercy Ships does not at this time require proof of examination, we use the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR) as a reference for language proficiency. All volunteers must be at level B1 on the CEFR scale (Independent User – Threshold to intermediate) or higher in order to join on board.

CEFR Scale

Level GroupLevel Group NameLevelLevel NameDescription
ABasic UserA1Breakthrough or Beginner• Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
• Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
• Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
A2Waystage or Elementary• Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
• Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
• Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
BIndependent UserB1Threshold or Intermediate• Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
• Can deal with most situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where the language is spoken.
• Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
• Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanation of opinions and plans.
B2Vantage or Upper Intermadiate• Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
• Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
• Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
CProficient UserC1Effective Operational Proficiency or Advanced• Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
• Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
• Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
• Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
C2Mastery or Proficiency• Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.
• Can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in coherent presentation.
• Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.