Professional passport or personal interest, the study of a language is often as much an advantage as a major need for any student or international traveller. You have decided to come to study a language in its mother country, or you wish to improve your English, you will have several possibilities that we will see below.
Dialects and accents vary in the 4 countries of the United Kingdom, as well as within the countries themselves. The form of English most commonly associated with the upper class in the southern counties of England is called Received Pronunciation (RP). This is the model for teaching English to foreign learners and may be referred to as "the Queen's (or King's) English", "Public School English", "Posh" or "BBC English".
For young people, taking advantage of the school holidays to improve their foreign language, trips abroad are organized for a few weeks period. The stay is usually with local families, boarding (pack-lunch at lunch time). Language courses with small groups occur during the day, with cultural activities and visits. It costs usually more than 600 EUR a week (and normally last for 2 weeks).
Speaking the dominant local language is an important step to integrating into a new culture. Language schools are a great option for learning the language. There are full-time and part-time courses. Most offer sample lessons or let you sit-in for free before signing up. Shop around before choosing.
It is recommended to take a course at a school that is a member of Association of Recognized English Language Schools. Its members follow a certain code of conduct and regulations that guarantee high academic standards. Their site offers a listing of schools in your area.
There are also many universities which offer English courses for students, and other courses for the general public. Check with the staff for courses and options.
A list of accredited schools can be found at EducationUK.
You should choose primarily a school certified by the British Council or Adult Learning Inspectorate in order to insure the quality of the education. According to the school infrastructure, you can work in a language laboratory, have free access to study rooms, libraries or the Internet. In addition, extra-curicular activities can be offered, such as cultural visits or trips.
An English test is asked at registration time, in order to assess your level.
Prices range from £30 to £150 a week, according to the number of hours and the time during the day.
Besides private schools, you will find a lot of language courses (you can learn Spanish, French, Italian,...) provided by the local educational facilities (usually organised by the council). Registration usually starts in September and January for the second session. You can get information at your local Council Hall or at the school itself. We recommend you to register relatively early as seats are limited (groups of 20-30 people), especially for beginners levels where there is high demand.
You will find information on available courses here: http://www.hotcourses.com/.
Private lessons are another option. More expensive than language courses, these can be very effective. Expect to pay between 12 to 30 GBP per hour depending on the tutor's qualifications and experience.
You can search for opportunities in a local newspapers, on message boards at pubs, copy centers, supermarkets, universities, and cafes, or on online boards such as EasyExpat's . You can also find friends on the forum to work on language exchange.
An exchange partner is an excellent resource for practicing a new language with a native speaker. As an added bonus, language exchange partners can help you understand the culture of the area and inform you of local happenings. Questions about gift giving, festivals, nightlife, and greetings can be addressed without worry. In the best case sceneries, an exchange partner is not only your ambassador, but a friend. Fond a tandem partner through EasyExpat's networks.
For the past 40 years, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) has been the leading academic English proficiency test in the world. Each year, more than 800,000 candidates register for the exam worldwide and test their capacity to master the English language in writing, speaking, listening on paper or with a computer.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a highly dependable, practical and valid English language assessment primarily used by those seeking international education, professional recognition, bench-marking to international standards and global mobility. IELTS is owned, developed and delivered through the partnership of the British Council, IDP Education Australia: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.. Similar to the TOEF, covers all four language skills: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking and is offered in two test formats - Academic and General Training.
You will find more information on the official website: http://www.ielts.org/.
Tests of English for Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) are assessed each year by about 1.5 million of people in more than 135 countries. This exam is suitable for English teaching and is recognized internationally.