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Studying English Abroad

 

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There are now opportunities to learn English just about anywhere in the world, either at an English school or through the Web. However, the fastest and best way to improve your English is still to spend some time in an English speaking country immersed in both language and culture.

Not only will living and studying overseas improve every aspect of your English skills, it will also provide you with an invaluable opportunity to experience life in a different society and culture. This experience will, I believe, greatly enrich your future life. I am English by birth, but had the privilege to spend several years living in Japan as an English teacher. I can honestly say that was one of the happiest and most rewarding periods of my life.

Where to study

The first thing to think about when deciding to study abroad is where you would like to study. To get the most from your visit you should try to engage with your host country as fully as possible. For instance, if you choose England you'll probably want to visit an English pub, eat fish and chips and go to a football match. Try to choose somewhere you think you'll enjoy.

Do some searching on the Internet, or visit the travel section of your local library. Which places are you most attracted to? Have any of your friends or colleagues studied abroad? Ask them about their experiences. Remember, though, not everyone likes the same things.

Once you’ve decided on a country, think about whether you’d prefer to be in a busy city, or surrounded by nature. Perhaps you can find somewhere that combines the two.

Would you like to stay in student accommodation, or homestay with a host family? Student accommodation offers more privacy, but homestay will really give you the chance to experience another culture from the inside. Some students have formed lifelong friendships through homestay.

Try to make some penpals (or these days, e-mail pals) in your chosen country before you arrive. Our International Friendship page has lots of links to free penpal sites on the Web. Penpals will tell you more about your intended destination and can show you around once you arrive.

Choice of school

Though you will probably learn more English outside school than in the classroom, your choice of school is still important.

Things to look for in choosing a school include the qualifications and experience of the teachers, accreditation by a recognized body and the range of levels and options available, eg whether the school offers business English or exam preparation.

You can search for schools and even register with one before you leave home. LanguageCourse.Net provides excellent information on more than 1000 courses worldwide and you can book conveniently online at the lowest prices on the net. You even get a 5% DISCOUNT on the official school prices. Often schools will be able to assist with finding accommodation and arranging your visa.

Avoid schools that require you to sign up, and pay in advance, for a long period before you’ve even experienced the lessons. Good schools will generally allow you to sign up for short periods at a time.

You may also want to avoid schools with many students of your own nationality. Although it may at first seem comforting to have classmates from your own country you will not make the best of your trip if you most of your time communicating in your own language and lose the opportunity to immerse yourself in English.

Studying in English

If you already have a fairly good level of English you might choose to study the subject of your choice in an English speaking country. Hyperstudy.com gives details of college degrees, internships and language schools and allows you to make fast enquiries for college applications and admission.

Most importantly, learn as much as you can, and enjoy the experience.

Useful links

LanguageCourse.Net - information on more than 1000 courses worldwide, book online at the lowest prices and get a 5% DISCOUNT on the official school prices.

Hyperstudy.com - details of college degrees, internships and language schools, make fast enquiries for college applications and admission.

English in Britain - accredited English language courses in the UK.

Floodlight - the official guide to study in London.

Learn English in New York City - our ESL classes are designed to fit your individual goals and needs. You will have many opportunities to Interact with foreign students from different background as well as teachers. Our full-time and part-time ESL classes include conversation, pronunciation, listening, reading, grammar, writing, vocabulary, phrasal verbs, and idioms.

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