‘Am I too old to take an English course?’ is a common question and the answer is simple: NO, you are never too old, or too young, to do an English language course!
However, if you want to know exactly who will be studying with you, schools should let you know their age mix, so that you can be aware of the average age.
It is essential to ask the school representative: “What age are the other students?” This will give you more security and confidence about what is expected.
Furthermore, many schools especially cater for students of various age groups, so that you can have the comfort of being surrounded by those at a similar stage of life to you. Special programmes may include the following:
Typically, ‘young learners’ or ‘juniors’ refers to students under the age of 18. These programmes give parents the added security of supervision, safety for their children and activities catered towards younger students.
If you’re a parent who also wants to study English, look for a school which offers the option of a ‘family’ programme. This means that while your children are learning English on a junior programme, you can enrol in an adult course, and enjoy a family holiday in your free time.
Programmes for mature students
There may also be specific programmes for students who are older than college/university age. If you are over 30, and would prefer to be surrounded by more mature and like-minded people, check if the school offers a programme specifically for people in your age group.
A 30+ programme, for example, is designed for students who are mature and have already started their career. Activities will be more varied, flexible and culture oriented.
There are often courses for students over 50 years of age. These courses are usually communicationbased, teaching the English needed for international travel survival. Similarly, activity programmes are tailored for this age group.
What’s the mix of nationalities?
This is a crucial question because one of the major reasons you have chosen to learn English abroad is in order to benefit from a full immersion experience. This means you will use English all the time. As a Spanish speaker, it may not benefit you to be in a school full of other Spanish speakers because you will probably revert to using your native language, and spend less time using English.
Most good schools publish their ‘Nationality Mix’ so that you can see how many other students who speak your language are at your school.
A school with many nationalities also enriches your experience, as you will meet people with different backgrounds and make friends from all over the world. This will make you more of a global citizen, open your mind, and give you more opportunity for travel in the future!