English as a universal language for business and leisure has become more and more important over the last twenty years. Multinational companies engaged in international business across the globe need employees who can easily converse with their counterpart in another country – and often their only common language happens to be English. Language study in England is the best way to acquire fluency in the language.
Although most foreign students are ready to admit they can master the written language quite easily, when it comes to spoken English – or indeed any other foreign language – they will readily admit defeat when confronted with the multitude of dialects and accents that the English language produces in its home countries. Never mind the American, Canadian, Australian or New Zealand English a foreign language student might have to cope with, the variety of accents spoken in England itself can be equally bewildering. Some accents are downright incomprehensible, not just to foreign language students, but also to other English people who happen to be from another part of the country.
While writing a business letter or email in English may not pose such a problem for a foreign language student, conducting a telephone conversation in English about business matters can be a huge challenge, even for people who have reached intermediate or advanced level. Language study in England means to be exposed and to get familiar with as many different accents and dialects as possible, while studying in the United Kingdom. How? During the morning there are some 5 hours worth of tuition – but there are also excursions and visits to places of interest, where students can get involved and talk to “the natives”. Outside of the classroom there are also the host families, where a large number of students find accommodation during their stay.
Anyone wishing for language study in England should first look for the British Council accreditation of courses, since the British Council is the governmental body safeguarding the quality of tuition in Great Britain and at all British run schools abroad. The British Council website has useful tips about studying abroad and what the minimum qualifications are that tutors need to have before they can become a British Council accredited tutor.
Ideally, the minimum qualification for a teacher should be the TEFL certificate in addition to a relevant university degree, but British Council approved tutors are likely to have a CELTA qualification in addition to their university degree. This means that British Council accredited courses and independent schools have tutors who have a large number of teaching hours under their belt and with that experience they are full qualified to teach across all levels, from beginners to intermediate to advanced learners.
Language study in England has many advantages. From just a week to several months, schools offer their own in-house tuition and accommodation or home stays with host families living within easy walking distance of the school.
Séjour linguistique Angleterre provides information on where to study languages in England.