Your FAQs About Learning English Abroad
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Why should I choose to study abroad?
You will get to know new people from interesting places, broaden your cultural horizons, build friendships, and make memories that last a lifetime. Our teachers have been trained to deliver fun and effective learning and you will have the opportunity to explore a new destination!
The Orange Carpet Experience
We are with you every step of the way!
Your adventure will start with EC Online, before you leave home. We will share all the information about your chosen EC school and location with you, and upon arrival, either an EC representative at our residence or the host of your homestay will welcome you with open arms!
Throughout your course, you will receive personalised learning as we believe that everyone learns at their own pace and in their own way. At the beginning and end of your course, you will take the EC Online Placement Test so you can clearly see your progress and that your progress has been externally validated.
When all your hard work is over, we’ll present you with your certificate, photograph you with your new friends and celebrate all that you’ve accomplished.
What is EC Online?
From the moment you book until you leave us, you will have access to EC Online, your personal toolkit which helps you manage your learning progress. EC Online is how you’ll test your current English level, track your progress, get insight into your strengths and weaknesses, gain access to online practice materials, and interact with your teachers outside the classroom.
Do you offer any activities?
With a combination of lessons and activities, your days are filled with opportunities to practise your English. Lessons provide you with direct learning, while excursions, free language workshops and activities allow you to learn vocabulary and practice new language in day-to-day life, offering you a balanced and thorough learning schedule.
Free Language Workshops
Add that extra finishing touch to your course with additional teacher-led workshops. Offered in all EC schools, this is your chance to add to your learning with extra language guidance outside the classroom. Free lessons occur at different times in each school so please check with your chosen destination. Click here to see a sample of the activity calendar from EC Brighton detailing activities in orange and language workshops in blue. Both are free of charge!
What is included in the price?
Your course, registration fee, accommodation (if selected), course material, welcome activity, certificate of attendance, WiFi, Orange Carpet Experience, EC Online Placement Test, English language activities and workshops, social and cultural activities.
For many of our schools, the price also includes airport transfer from and/or to the airport if you book a package with accommodation. Please check with your chosen school or booking agent.
Can I have the quotation in my local currency?
You can have an estimate of the quotation expressed in your local currency by checking here: www1.oanda.com/currency/converter
Do I have to pay a deposit to book?
Yes. To finalise the booking, you will be asked to pay a deposit. The rest of the payment needs to be settled two weeks before your arrival date.
What are the accepted methods of payment?
We accept payment by credit/debit card (VISA, MasterCard) using an online payment link we will send to you, or by international bank transfer.
Can I pay at the school?
No. All fees must be paid 2 weeks prior to your programme start date.
Can I pay for the course in instalments?
You can pay in as many instalments as you wish providing the full amount is paid two weeks before your arrival date.
If your booking is for more than 12 weeks and you have booked accommodation, the accommodation can be paid for in monthly instalments.
Please ask for further instructions if you need a visa and you are booking EC Dublin.
Can I pay in my local currency?
We need to receive the payment in the currency detailed on the invoice. Your bank will tell you the equivalent amount in your local currency, taking into account the exchange rate of the day plus bank charges.
- Cancellation or changes
What is the minimum age of participation on an adult English course?
The minimum age is 18 years old, but 16-year-old students might be allowed to participate if they provide us with a signed parental authorisation.
Kindly note that students aged 16 and 17 must book Homestay (Single Room) and return airport transfers unless they have parents/guardians to take care of their stay and transfers.
For children/students younger than the required age, we offer programmes for those aged between 8 and 17. Please see our Young Learner programmes here
What destinations are recommended for those over 30, 40 and 50?
30+ schools are specifically designed for students who are 30 years old or older. Here, you will study with students of you’re a similar age group making classes and conversation more focused on your interests and experiences.
I’m in my 30s. Should I choose a 30+ school?
Since you have a mature life and professional experience, we recommend studying at a 30+ school. Studying with other 30+ students makes class more stimulating and relevant to your interests and goals.
The majority of 30+ students who attend these schools have given us great feedback, but you can still study with students aged 16-29, if you wish.
I’m 29 years old. Can I attend a 30+ programme?
You will be able to attend a 30+ English course only if you are turning 30 years old in the same year you will attend your course.
Which destination should I choose?
The choice is yours! We have schools around the world, all in prime, central locations with great courses, and activities individual to the location.
South Africa: Cape Town
What are the accommodation options?
We offer host family or residence/student apartments.
The accommodation can be booked in the following categories:
Room Only: There are no meal provisions and facilities for cooking are not available.
Self-Catering: Students have access to a kitchen or kitchenette to prepare all their own meals.
Bed & Breakfast (B&B): Breakfast is provided but students must make their own arrangements for other meals.
Half-Board: Breakfast and dinner included. Students must make their own arrangements for lunch.
Full-Board: Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
En Suite: A bathroom that is connected to a bedroom, forming part of the same overall room. Both a single and a twin room can be en suite.
Private Bathroom: A bathroom that is for the exclusive use of a student in a designated room that is not en suite. Applies to single rooms only.
Semi-Private Bathroom: A bathroom that is designated for students in a specific room(s). A maximum of two students may share a semi-private bathroom.
Shared Bathroom: A bathroom that is shared by three or more students. Only one student occupies the bathroom at any time.
Communal Bathroom: A bathroom that is shared by multiple students, normally on the same residence floor. The large room will contain multiple toilet stalls and separate shower stalls. Multiple students may use this facility at the same time.
If I have chosen the shared-bedroom option, who will I be sharing with?
You will be sharing with another, same-gender student of EC. When students are sharing rooms, we try our best to place students together from different countries or languages. Please note that during high season this cannot be guaranteed.
Can I keep staying at EC accommodation before/after my English course?
The accommodation is only available for the duration of the course. Accommodation is usually booked from Saturday to Saturday.
How do you assign the host family?
This is based on availability and any special requirements you might have. Please make sure that all your requests are expressed at the time of the booking.
Can I change my host family?
The host family is assigned according to your requirements. After your arrival, we only change host families if there are some serious complaints.
When will I receive the profile of the family?
You will receive the profile at least two weeks prior to your arrival date.
What is your teaching methodology?
Our teaching methodology is how our teachers can guide you on your English language journey. Our Approach aims to put you, our students, at the centre of the learning process - The Communicative Approach with a twist!
As well as incorporating all the key elements of the Communicative Approach – learner-centred classes, a focus on communication in real-life situations and an engaging classroom atmosphere, we have also implemented the latest research into learning. This ensures that each student is fully involved in their learning process – so you will:
✓ Know what you are learning.
✓ Know why you are learning it.
✓ Learn how you can use it in real life.
✓ Know what success will look like.
✓ Spend time learning how you can learn more effectively.
A team of at least two teachers will support you throughout your time learning English with EC.
Through ongoing assessment designed to provide the feedback that drives your progress, your teachers will focus on your learning experience, monitoring your needs and offering the resources you need to make progress.
We are one of the only English schools using the highly regarded Net Promoter Score (NPS) system to gather feedback constantly and act swiftly to correct anything reported as being less than perfect.
We have a dedicated Academic Development team made up of industry professionals including a published author and an educational technologist. We are continually researching the latest trends and methods to ensure you have the most effective learning experience.
We also contribute regularly to international conferences, journals, and magazines.
Free Language Workshops
In addition to the core components of your course, we offer teacher-led sessions which are available free of charge. These language workshops and leisure activities make your learning experience as broad and varied as possible.
What is the EC Promise?
Here at EC, our aim is simple. We're here to help you set achievable goals and give you the support you need to reach them. We provide the knowledge of language learning, the learning environment and the social programme you need to make the most of your stay.
Our unique EC Promise means that, if you follow your personalised learning programme, we promise that your English will improve.
What is an exam for international linguistic certification?
It is a test that certifies your language level, and it is required by various universities and institutions around the world. There are several types, the best known of these are IELTS, TOEFL, FCE, CAE, CPE. We offer preparation courses for all these exams.
How will I know if the course I chose is right for my level?
The Standard, Semi-Intensive and Intensive courses are suitable for all levels, while the courses below require students to be of other minimum levels:
✓ English for Work: Pre-Intermediate level
✓ IELTS / TOEFL / TOEIC: Intermediate
✓ FCE: Intermediate
✓ CAE: Pre-Advanced
✓ CPE: Advanced
All students take a level test on the first day of class or before arrival through our EC Online, after which they are placed in the class most appropriate to their level.
You can also test your level here: https://www.ecenglish.com/en/englishtest
At the end of the course, will I be given a certificate?
Yes, at the end of each course you will be given a certificate of participation, which states the dates you attended your course, the name of your course, and the language level achieved. It is recognised by the accreditations here.
Kindly note that you need to attend a minimum of 80% of your course to be eligible to for your certificate.
Intensive Academic Year students are awarded with an EC Diploma at the end of their course, and Semi-intensive or General Academic Year students receive an EC Certificate of Merit.
You may also take an exit test on EC Online. This test is certified by OxfordEnglishTesting.com and is accredited by the British Council.
I am a former student. Do I have to take the language level test again in case of new registration?
It depends on how long it has been since you completed your course. If less than 3, months you should not have to re-test. If over 3 months you should re-test.
What is the difference between English For Work and Business English at London 30+ and Malta 30+?
Please see the breakdown of both offerings below.
English For Work
✓ Requires Pre-Intermediate level of English.
✓ Combination of 20 lessons of General English + 4 or 10 lessons of English For Work.
✓ Classes are max. 12, average 10 students.
✓ In General English, you will be learning the fundamental language skills from provided study materials.
✓ The example contents of English For Work lessons are: language of business meetings, making presentations, critical thinking and problem solving, conducting negotiations, writing reports, emails and letters.
✓ Available for 30+ students only.
✓ Requires Upper-Intermediate level of English.
✓ 20 lessons per week/15 hours.
✓ Mini Group with a maximum of 6 students.
✓ Example Contents: Communications, Crisis Management, Team Building, Finance, International Business, Business Ethics and CSR.
What focus lessons do you offer?
Focus lessons vary from school to school, but they are mainly four and already included in the price:
Speaking with Confidence
Develop confidence while practicing conversation. Increase fluency and improve your speaking, listening and pronunciation skills.
Real Life Listening
Develop your ability to understand and respond in English in real-life situations. Expand your vocabulary by listening to conversations, music, videos, and podcasts.
Expand Your Vocabulary
Develop your vocabulary through topic-based lessons.
Develop your critical thinking so you have a better understanding of what's happening in current events and world issues. Increase your awareness of different cultures and how communication can vary between them.
What is a Free Workshop?
You will have the opportunity to keep on learning thanks to some free workshops we offer at our schools.
You pick the topic and flex your conversation skills with other students from various classes, levels, and nationalities.
Your chance to pick up tips and pointers to master different language skills. Clinics are in grammar, pronunciation, writing and reading.
Additional workshops are offered and adapted to meet the needs of the students at each school.
Learn interesting facts and practise listening skills, note-taking, and summary writing.
Practise and master key exam skills to help you attain a better score in your English language exams.
Team up with other students to discuss and debate the local and international issues of the day.
This clinic will help you develop the skills needed to apply and interview for jobs in English.
Local Conversation Partners
Match with a native speaker in the local area to meet and chat on a regular basis.
Practise your written English and develop a practical understanding of both formal and informal writing styles.
Meet with other students to help each other with homework and practise your English in a group setting.
Improve your speaking skills while gaining confidence and having fun through improvisation activities.
Learn to speak like a local! Learn how literature, history and political movements have shaped the city you're studying in.
What does a typical lesson look like?
Setting Clear Objectives
Class begins with your teacher discussing the objective for the lesson with the class. You are encouraged to think about how what you learn today will help you in your life outside the class. For example, the objective for today is to be better able to order food in a restaurant.
The class listens to an example of two people ordering food. Analyse this conversation with your partner, learning adjectives for describing food, how to ask questions about the menu politely and how to order food naturally. Throughout the lesson, work on your pronunciation and intonation.
What Does Success Look Like?
Before practising the conversation, you discuss what a successful conversation looks like and decide what you want to focus on in your practice. You may decide to focus on your natural pronunciation and intonation, while your partner chooses to focus on their use of adjectives.
Practicing the Language
Practise the language with your partner so they can give you feedback on your pronunciation, and so you can give them feedback on the adjectives they use. Based on this feedback, practise the conversation again.
Your teacher gives you feedback on how you’ve done. The lesson ends by returning to the lesson objective and discussing what you have learned and how you can use it outside the classroom.
Real Life Practice
After class you will go to Dinner Club on the social programme or go out with friends and order food in a real-life setting. During dinner, you discuss your experience with one friend from class. The next day, discuss the conversation in class with what you used from the lesson the day before.
Do you only offer English classes?
Our schools are in English-speaking countries, so our main focus is on English. However, we also offer French classes at EC Montreal. Learn more at EC French
- Do you offer courses online?
Are there courses held at the weekends?
All our courses are held Monday to Friday. Schools will be closed on public/bank holidays.
How long is a lesson?
Standard: 20 lessons = 15 hours / week
Semi-Intensive: 24 lessons = 18 hours / week
Intensive: 30 lessons = 22.5 hours / week
At EC we use a double banking timetable. This format alternates between morning and afternoon lessons, so that one day you will have class in the morning, and the following day it will be in the afternoon. The day after this, classes are in the morning again and so on.
Please note, some of our schools are switching to a single banking timetable during the low seasons. This means lessons are scheduled only in the mornings. Please contact us for further information about your timetable.
When booking flights, when should I plan to arrive and depart?
All our programs start on the Monday morning, so we recommend you arrive on the Saturday or Sunday before your start date. All our programs finish on Friday, however you do not have to leave the accommodation until noon on the Saturday, so we recommend you plan to depart on Saturday.
Extra nights are available upon request.
I have a tourist visa – B1/B2 or ESTA. Which course can I attend in the United States?
With a tourist visa you can attend the General English course, which consists of 20 lessons of 45 minutes each per week and you can stay for as long as your visa allows you to stay. If you would like to attend any other course, then you would need to apply for the F1 Student Visa.
How to get an I-20 Form
✓ Before EC sends out an I-20 form, you must send us:
✓ Full or deposit payment for your course and accommodation.
✓ A copy of your passport (personal information page).
✓ A financial statement (bank statement) from you or a sponsoring business or individual which: a) shows at least USD$3500 for every 4 weeks studying (financial proof of funds are only calculated in 1 month intervals, for example: 4-week course or less = USD$3500, 6-week course = USD$7000, 8-week course = USD$7000) and b) is less than 60 days old.
✓ If the statement is not in your name, an Affidavit of Support form signed by the person whose bank statement you provide must also be submitted.
- My visa was rejected. Will you refund me?
I’m speech/listening impaired. Can I study with you?
Students who are speech or visibly impaired are always welcome to study with us. If you need specialist equipment, please remember to bring this with you when joining our courses.
I'm in a wheelchair. Do EC schools have wheelchair friendly facilities?
Our facilities vary from school to school so please speak with your student advisor for more information.
Studying Abroad During COVID-19
At EC English, you, our students, come first. We are continuously monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in all our schools. We will continue to comply with the national advice for each location and do everything possible to secure the safety of our students and staff. With this in mind, it is important to remember that to ensure your safety, changes in the programmes and/or timetables might occur. If this happens, your student advisor will inform you and advise you.
Adapt. Stay positive. Develop.
All teachers have been trained to deliver fun and effective learning, despite the constraints of social distancing. They do this while continuing to protect the safety of our students and team members. This is our top priority.
In the event that quarantine is necessary or a city goes into lockdown our students can continue learning via EC Virtual, using the same course content to help you learn, develop, and progress the same way as if you are in face-to-face lessons. As always, your success is our ultimate goal, and we will continue to do whatever we can to ensure you succeed.
Safety while learning
✓ Signs are posted prominently throughout the school to remind us of the importance of social distancing and hygiene.
✓ Face coverings, face masks and face shields are all part of the new normal for you, your classmates, and staff in all EC schools.
✓ Hand sanitisers are stationed throughout all schools.
✓ Classes sizes will be smaller to allow safe social distancing.
✓ Furniture is arranged to allow safe social distancing.
✓ Floor markings give clear guidance on social distancing.
✓ Regular, vigorous cleaning practices will ensure our schools are as safe as possible for you.
EC will follow local protocols for any staff or students who may show symptoms of or test positive for COVID-19.