Choosing a Language School – Where to stay when learning English abroad?

Most schools offer a variety of accommodation options. Choosing a place to stay depends on your lifestyle and budget, but you should think about it carefully as it is an important part of your learning process, and an opportunity to meet new people and have unique experiences. That’s why it is very important to ask the school representative: What accommodations do you offer? [hs_action id=”1321″] Here are the four main accommodation options that may be available to you: Living with a Host Family  Staying in a room in a local home is a great way to absorb a different culture and gain more exposure to English as spoken by native speakers. You will witness your hosts’ everyday life, and you will taste their home-cooked food. You will be welcomed into a comforting home, with the choice of a single or shared room, and an ensuite or shared bathroom. Usually you will be asked questions before being assigned a host family. Make sure you let your school know if you are allergic to any pets or have certain dietary requirements, so that they can place you in the ideal home. Student Residence Living with other students is great if you crave an active social life. You may have a single room or a shared room, but you will share facilities such as the kitchen and lounge area with other students staying in the same residence. This is a great opportunity to talk about your lessons, make plans to go out, and meet students who you may not have had a chance to speak to at school. Apartment If you prefer your independence and privacy, your school should be able to help you find an apartment of your own or to share with friends. This is a great way to feel comfortable … Read more

Money-saving Tips for Students on a Budget

  Learning English is not ONLY about sitting in a classroom trying to figure out the most complex grammatical rules, it’s about fun, travel and exploration. It’s the perfect way to discover a new culture and live in the heart of an exciting city. In London, New York, Miami or Washington D.C., you’ll get to experience the buzz of big city life, where there’s always something going on and people to meet. But how do you afford it? We know that it can be difficult to make the most of your destination when living on a tight student budget. Don’t worry – studying abroad doesn’t automatically mean you’ll go bankrupt! There are many ways you can be both a tourist and a student without completely emptying your pockets. Here are a few ideas to get you started.   1. Consider low-cost destinations Some cities are cheaper than others, and just as fun! Instead of picking the capital city or the most popular, look for up-and-coming destinations which have a lower cost of living. Smaller cities across the UK such as Bristol and Manchester, as well as the island of Malta, not only have cheaper language courses, but accommodation, food, and travel are more affordable. You’ll also be surprised to find that they have plenty to offer in terms of activities, nightlife and sightseeing. 2. Set a budget before you go Think ahead – especially if you choose to study in an expensive city. Decide how much you’re able to spend, set a budget, and do your best to stick to it. Even if you sometimes can’t resist temptation to treat yourself to something expensive, a budget will definitely help to prevent impulsive shopping sprees and the panic of realising you’ve run out of money. 3. Pick your dates wisely Just … Read more

EC students with certificates

Choosing a Language School – Can your School Guarantee Success?

The main reason you go to a language school is to improve your English and become a confident speaker, maybe even pass an exam and gain an internationally recognised qualification. Before you choose a course, you should find out how a school plans to get you where you want to be! Great teaching, monitoring and support can make a big difference. Before booking a course, you should ask the school : How can you guarantee my success? Here is what you need to know: A good school should be dedicated to your academic success. By providing support and guidance from the beginning of your language course until the day you leave, teachers should monitor your progress to ensure that you make significant improvement in your fluency. [hs_action id=”1321″] On your first day of school, you should sit for a placement test which assesses your aptitude in the four language skills; reading, writing, listening and speaking. The purpose of this test is to determine your level of fluency and place you into a class with other students of the same proficiency level. There are six levels of proficiency outlined by the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference), which is the standard used by most accredited schools: Basic User A1: Beginner You can introduce yourself and you have a basic knowledge of vocabulary and simple grammar. A2: Elementary You can invite someone somewhere, talk about your past, and understand most conversations when spoken slowly and clearly. Independent User B1: Intermediate You are able to communicate easily on everyday matters, but with a limited range of expression. B2: Upper Intermediate You can use the language with confidence but with noticeable lapses in accuracy and fluency. Proficient User C1: Advanced You can read and write accurately with few errors, you can understand most academic tests and lectures. C2: Proficiency You have … Read more

Choosing a language school – Asking about social programmes

  Going abroad to learn English is a unique experience and there’s more to taking an English course than just lessons. What you do after school plays a big part in your trip. Participation in  social activities is an important part of being a student and a good activity programme really adds value to a study-abroad course. Outside of the classroom, your diary should be full of exciting social events and excursions as you explore your destination. So make sure you ask the school: Do you offer a social programme? Whether you enjoy sightseeing, sports, the arts, shopping or just relaxing, a school should offer a varied activity programme of social activities throughout your stay. Check to see if there is something for you to do every day if you choose to. This is particularly important for new arrivals because most students take a course alone and don’t know anyone else on their first day. Social interaction on these programmes allows you to mix with other students from all over the world, practise your English and, importantly, make new friends. Social bonds are improved when people have fun together -it’s a great way to start building relationships. A fun programme will have a positive impact on your stay and make you happier. And as you may know, it’s easier to learn when we are happy! Schools should offer a good range of free activities that allow you to get the best out of your destination. There should also be the option to take part in additional paid activities organised by the school, for example, excursions to places of interest, weekend day trips or even weekends away. The good thing about these, especially if you are only abroad for a short period of time, is that the school organises everything, so … Read more

Choosing a language school – What does the price include?

So you’ve decided the best way to improve your English while having an amazing experience is to study abroad. So what happens next? Once you have chosen the country and city you want study in, the next step is to choose a school. Because this kind of trip is something you may only do once in your life, it’s essential you make the best choice possible. There’s one way to make sure you do, and that’s by contacting schools and talking to those who can help you make the best plans and choices. Schools have student counsellors or advisors whose job it is to answer your questions. [hs_action id=”946″]   One important question to ask is: What does the price include? Asking how much a course costs and then choosing the cheapest school is not the best way to find your school. Going by the cheapest price is fine if you are happy to be in an old building with no decent facilities, miles from anywhere in the wrong part of town! Instead ask, ‘What is included in the price?’,and assess whether or not you are being offered exceptional value for money. Your goal is to ensure you are getting maximum benefit from the service the school is offering in return for the money they are charging you. Are you willing to pay a little extra for a great looking school in an amazing location with superb teachers and modern facilities? You are going to be spending a lot of time in school so be somewhere you feel comfortable, well supported and happy. One thing to be aware of is additional charges. For example, some schools may ask you to pay for your textbooks once you get to school. You need to be aware of any extra charges. Apart from … Read more

Ways to Learn English

A Student’s Guide to Learning English: Part Two In Part One of our Student’s Guide, we gave you four great reasons to learn English. So what’s next??? Just typing ‘Learn English’ on Google unleashes a flood of search results; ‘learn English grammar’, ‘learn English fast’, ‘learn real English’ and thousands of other combinations. There are countless schools screaming out for your attention with promises to deliver you to fluency in three months, or make you a pro at business English in seven days. Try YouTube and you’ll get everything from amateur actors having strange conversations to Japanese television shows from the 90’s teaching English phrases through aerobics! [hs_action id=”930″] As you read this, there are over 1 billion people learning English in many different ways. Whether it’s at school, at home, at university, or overseas – their aim is identical; to become confident speakers who can communicate with the global community. In this part of our student’s guide, we look at the most popular approaches to language learning, so that you can choose the approach that feels right for you. 1. Online Your living room, your mother’s kitchen, or even a park bench can prove to be the ideal classroom. Feeling comfortable contributes to effective learning and the flexibility of online courses allows you to progress at your own pace. An online English course usually includes a combination of webpages and video lessons, with tests to complete at the end of each stage. Nowadays you’ll find even more sophisticated web-based courses which also include conversations with a native speaker via Skype. So-called “virtual language schools” are increasing in popularity, but although online learning is convenient, it can be difficult to know if you’re getting quality training, especially if the course you’re doing is free. Also, not having other students to engage … Read more

What kind of traveller are you?

[hs_action id=”930″] You’d love to learn English, and the world is full of places for you to discover. Don’t sit back and let time pass you by… Or worse, say you’re too old or busy for this. We know you want to! The first question you should ask yourself is: what kind of traveller are you? Would you rather spend your afternoon in the sun on the beach, exploring the countryside, or leisurely walking around museums and galleries? Find out which destination suits your personal travelling style! 1. Culture Lover You’re fascinated by all things cultural. Your friends use the words ‘nerd’ and ‘bookworm’ to describe you, but you simply can’t resist the charms of a new book, a visit to a museum, or the latest literary movie. Why not go to Oxford and discover what it must have been like to be Lewis Carroll, in his ‘Alice in Wonderland’ writing days, as you roam the city’s pretty streets, or punt on the canal? We’re sure you won’t be disappointed! 2. City Dreamer You can’t help getting excited at the thought of roaming long, busy streets, lined with shops, restaurants and cafés, while looking up at monumental buildings and colossal skyscrapers… The city of all cities, New York is the place for you! It’s the ‘Big Apple’, Lady Liberty’s home, the epicentre of the arts, and the capital of dining and shopping. Over 800 languages are spoken here, making it one of the most linguistically diverse places on the planet. This city is as trendy and irresistible as it could possibly get! 3. Action Addict There’s nothing you enjoy more than a trail or hike in the countryside, or a leisurely walk around a garden or park. Rolling hills, deep green meadows, snow-dusted mountains, rivers and lakes all put a … Read more

Four Great Reasons to Learn English

A Student’s Guide to Learning English Abroad: Part One Teaching English is our passion, and at our English schools we love to welcome aspiring students from all over the world. They may study for pleasure, to improve their career, or just to make new friends, but they all have one thing in common: a desire to learn the world’s number one language. They also face a number of huge decisions, and choosing why, how and where you want to improve your English can be a confusing experience. This is why we’ve created this Ultimate Guide to Learning English Abroad: To take you through the tough decision-making process explaining all you need to know about language learning. [hs_action id=”930″] Since you may still not be convinced, here are four reasons to learn English. With over 470 million speakers across the globe, learning English will probably be one of the best decisions you ever make! 1. English makes the world go round Even if you have never even stepped foot in an English language classroom, it is very likely that you can already recite lines in English from your favourite film or belt out the chorus of a catchy song you love. The global presence of the English language is just overwhelming! After a long and bloody history, English is now the primary language of the Internet, books, newspapers, international business, science, diplomacy, sport, pop music, and advertising. In fact, Globalisation has delivered the language of popular culture to all corners of the globe. 2. It Opens a World of Opportunities Whether you aspire to work in an international workplace, need to get accepted into a top tier university, or just wish to travel the world – the knowledge of English is truly transformational. It multiplies an individual’s potential to succeed and creates countless … Read more

studying abroad

How to prepare for an English Language Course

  1. Set your goals Sit down and ask yourself ‘what are my language goals?’ Do you want to improve your speaking skills? How strong are your listening skills? Is writing your greatest strength or challenge? Decide on a few targets before you start your English language course and this will help you stay focused. You will feel more organised and gain more from your studies when you know exactly which areas you’d like to develop.   2. Research your chosen destination You’re not simply a student – you’re also a tourist and explorer! A brand new place is waiting to be discovered, with something new to experience at every turn. To make the most of your free time, try to have some idea of what you’d like to do and see. Your school will probably have a full activity programme, offering you the chance to experience the best that your destination has to offer. Get a guide book, search the internet, and you’ll be able to fill your time with even more of your favourite activities, whether it’s sightseeing, eating out, or becoming a member at a gym in the local area.   3. Choose your home Try to choose accommodation in a central area to feel the buzz of the big city; live in a student residence with others from your school, or stay with a local host family and get to know a new way of life. Once you decide, try to discover as much as you can. What kind of facilities will be available to you? Will you have to cook your own meals? Is there anything that you need to bring with you from home?   4. Expose yourself to English Start your ‘immersion’ into the language before you leave your country. Try to find time every day to expose … Read more