Education in New York City

Language courses in New York City

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Languages in New York

It is very important that you make every effort to learn and practice English. Doing so will make living in the USA a less stressful experience and will make it easier to meet and befriend local people. A higher standard of English will also mean that you can have greater range of employment and training possibilities open to you.

However, an estimated 29.28% (or 5,295,016 people) in New York speak another language than English as a mother tongue. This is much higher than other locations in the USA.

Major Languages in NYC:

  • Spanish
  • Chinese (which includes Cantonese and Mandarin)
  • Russian
  • Italian
  • French
  • Hebrew
  • Korean

Language Courses in New York City

The study of a language is often as much an advantage as a major need for any student or international traveller. If you have decided to come to study a language in its mother country, or you wish to improve your English, NYC offers several possibilities described below.

Some foreigners in NYC may need courses authorised by the USCIS (American service for Immigration) to submit the I-20 form necessary to obtain the F1 visa for students if required. Ask your school if they supply this.

The majority of EFL and ESL schools in New York are privately run and provide students with a full package of tuition. Sometimes, they also include homestay accommodation and extra-curricular activities.

Courses can be held during the day or at night, and may be casual or intensive. The majority of schools offer preparation for major English language examinations, such as TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge and Trinity College (London) which will allow you to prove your competence at the end of the course.

If you already speak English fairly well, ESL courses are also offered in higher education institutions from community colleges to universities, which are usually much less expensive and will give very similar training.

  • Public funded courses: We speak NYC receives annual funding to English Language Learning program from the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs', from which English language tuition is provided to adult migrants. All courses are funded by the Immigrant Affairs' office, and some English classes are free.
  • English Immersion: For young people who take advantage of the school holidays to improve their foreign language skills, English immersion courses last for a few weeks. They are usually hosted by a local family with whom you board. Language courses in small groups usually include organised cultural activities and visits. This will cost you a minimum of $800/week (2 weeks stays are standard).
  • Intensive courses: There are several language schools offering intensive courses in New York. When you choose a school, you will first have to take a test in order to be put into the right class for your level of English. This will be done at registration. Depending on the institution, prices range between $30 and $150 per hour according to the programme you choose.

For private schools and academies, continue to the next section “Private Lessons and schools”.

Private Lessons and Schools

Private language schools in New York offer courses, which range from basic tuition to courses leading to an internationally- recognised qualification. publishes a yearly complete “Foreign Language Centres and Schools in New York City” list. There, you can find all the best language schools in NYC that also offer individual/1-to-1 language lessons.

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. In the best-case sceneries, an exchange partner is not only your ambassador, but a friend.

Many cafés and organizations also offer conversation exchanges in New York, where you may be able to learn English in exchange for conversing with someone in your own language.

The following ones are some of the webpages where to find a “language exchange partner” or keep updated out about language exchange events in NYC:

You can also find a tandem partner through EasyExpat's forums.

Tips to Advance Your Language Learning

In addition to attending English language classes, there are a number of things you can do yourself to help improve your English:

  • Read English language magazines and newspapers.
  • Many websites, including the BBC website, offer free English language resources.
  • Another website offering free online language classes (not only in English) is, an EU- sponsored language initiative.
  • Watch English language television. If you watch television programmes in your first language, use English subtitles whenever possible.
  • Buy an English dictionary so you can look up the meaning of new words you come across on a daily basis.
  • Listen to the radio in English. It is helpful to have it on in the background while you are busy at home with housework etc.
  • When you are at the shops or visiting a service provider, try to communicate with the person serving you in English.
  • Join a local sports or community group so that you get an opportunity to speak English while you are enjoying yourself.

Update 13/02/2020


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