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Learn English in the United Kingdom In the modern world an ability to speak English will give you a major advantage. There are many ways in which you can improve your English. The best way is to take a course in the United Kingdom.

Checklist: why study English in the United Kingdom?

The United Kingdom is the home of the English language.

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Language and culture are closely connected; live the culture, learn the language.

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There are many opportunities for further study or career progression.

English is all around you every day, and there are endless opportunities to develop your English language. skills

There is a vast range of English Language courses in many locations for all age groups and all levels. The United Kingdom has a worldwide reputation for academic excellence. Accreditation UK guarantees the quality of over 500 English language course providers. Many courses lead to qualifications that are recognised and valued all over the world. The United Kingdom is a small country with a rich and varied history and culture – there is so much to explore and Europe is just a short flight away!

Students come from many countries, giving students a fantastic international experience and excellent preparation for life in a modern global world.

1 What can I study? The United Kingdom offers more courses for you to choose from than anywhere else in the world. You can study at all levels - from basic general English to advanced English for specific or academic purposes. You will not usually need academic qualifications unless you are also studying another subject as part of your stay in the United Kingdom. The main course types are outlined overleaf.

Learn English in the United Kingdom




General English

Learn English skills for life, suitable for all language levels

Vacation courses for adults

Learn a language on a short course during your holiday and discover more about the United Kingdom

Vacation courses for young learners

Learn a language as part of a social, sports and visits programme; for ages five - 17

English for business/executives

Improve the language you use in your business life; courses are usually intensive

Pre-sessional courses

Courses of varying length for students who need to improve their English/study skills before taking a course at a college or university

English for specific purposes (ESP)

Learn language skills for your career in a specific professional field such as law, medicine, journalism, travel and tourism or catering

English Plus

Short or long courses where you can improve your English and study a practical or academic subject such as cookery, sports, fashion design or performing arts

Home tuition

One-to-one language tuition in the teacher’s own home

One-to-one tuition

Personalised, individual tuition – one teacher, one student, in a classroom setting

Courses for teachers of English

Short language/methodology courses for teachers and courses leading to qualifications, from postgraduate certificate to doctorate levels

Work experience

Learn in the classroom, and then practise in a work placement or internship in a selected UK company

Examination preparation

Take a course leading to a qualification that is recognised worldwide; learn exam techniques and tips for success and achieving high grades

English for academic purposes (EAP)

Prepare for further study, often at university; improve your English in an academic context and learn study skills such as note taking, discussion, academic reading and writing

2 Will I find studying in the United Kingdom very different from studying in my own country? Yes, the main difference is that you will be studying and living the language all the time. You will be using English and will soon be thinking in English. You may also find the teaching style is different from that in your own country. Teachers will involve you in many communicative activities and you should expect to be involved in pair work and small group work. You will find that most courses in the United Kingdom put emphasis on all the language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Studying in the United Kingdom will give you a real opportunity to practise your spoken English skills. Some courses, e.g. university preparation courses, will, of course, emphasise the appropriate skills for further study in the UK.

3 How can I be sure that the course is of good quality? The British Council and English UK run the Accreditation UK scheme. Accredited centres, including private English language schools and the English language units in colleges and universities, have been inspected under the Accreditation UK scheme and meet a set of quality standards. Learn English in the United Kingdom


Regular inspections, including spot checks, are carried out by independent experts who assess four main areas of activity: management, resources and environment, teaching and learning, and welfare and student services. (For more information see All the English language courses listed in the English language section of the EducationUK website ( are accredited courses. Accreditation gives you access to an independent complaints procedure and enables students to complete their studies in the rare event of an accredited centre closing. A college of further education or a university will also be checked by government inspectors as part of a routine inspection.

4 Where can I study? There are accredited institutions throughout the UK, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This means that you can choose the region that best suits your needs. You can also choose the type of language institution you want to study at:

Type of centre

Description of what if offers

Private language schools

Full-time and part-time courses at all levels; short and long courses; English language only courses will be in the majority.

Private and state language centres

Only short-term courses, normally in the summer, often including social activities and cultural visits; English language courses only.

Independent schools and tutorial colleges

You could study a range of subjects at these schools and colleges, and all your activities would involve using English.

Further education institutions

Full-time and part-time courses from beginners to advanced; they also offer career-based training and academic courses in classes where many students speak English as their first language; if you learn English language with another subject, the course will sometimes be called English Plus.

Higher education institutions

Full-time and part-time courses; students would be of intermediate level, or better; many of these institutions specialise in teaching English for Academic Purposes.

British Council teaching centres in your own country

You should check whether your country has a British Council teaching centre and what types of course are on offer.

5 Where will I live? You may be able to stay with friends or relatives but it is probably better to live somewhere where you have to use your English on a daily basis. Almost all institutions running English language courses will help arrange accommodation for their students and help and advise students on all welfare matters. There is a wide range of accommodation types available from staying with a family, in college halls or student flats to hotels and hostels. Think about what type of environment you would prefer to stay in. Many students choose a homestay, where there is more opportunity to practise English and learn about British culture.

Learn English in the United Kingdom


6 What are the main English language qualifications? The British Council works in partnership with a number of UK examination boards to help them promote their qualifications overseas. Examples would be the Cambridge and Trinity College English courses. The British Council does not recommend any particular English qualification but you can find more information about the range of qualifications available and contact details at:

7 Entrance Are there any restrictions on my studying in the United Kingdom?

If you need a visa to enter the UK, you will need to make sure that your course consists of at least 15 hours of organised, daytime study a week and that you are able to meet the cost of your fees, living expenses and accommodation. You should bear in mind immigration requirements when considering whether to study in the UK. Requirements vary according to your nationality or citizenship and the length of time you want to spend studying. You should check the UK Border Agency website at for updates on visa regulations for students. Note in particular that you will not be given permission to enter the UK as a student if the school, college or university that you want to study at does not appear on the Register of Tier 4 sponsors. You can check the register by clicking on: erofsponsorseducation For practical advice on living in the UK check out the Education UK website at or the English UK website at

Learn English in the United Kingdom


8 Checklist: your next steps You can go through the following process independently or with the help of a reputable education agent in your country.

Think about the course type you want, where you want to study and the type of course provider you are most interested in.

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Ask for advice from friends or family or use the contacts below to help you in this.

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Send the application form to your chosen provider, with the deposit if required at this stage.

If you need to apply for a visa, the acceptance letter can be used to support your application. For further information about visa applications please visit or consult your local British Embassy or British Council office.

Visit the provider’s website or contact the provider for a prospectus and application form. Find out information such as number of teaching hours each week, class size, course fees (what is included and what extra costs might be), type of accommodation offered/costs and if you can gain a qualification if you want to.

Wait for the letter of acceptance, confirming the booking. Follow the procedure indicated by the provider.

9 Where can I find more information? The British Council has produced the Education UK portfolio to provide international students with a wide range of information and guidance that will help them find out more about studying a UK course and other important issues, such as applying to study, entry clearance and living in the UK. The portfolio includes: • • • • •

The Education UK website and a number of country websites containing locally relevant information – The essential guides to education in the UK: Undergraduate and pre-university*; Postgraduate and MBA* Universities, Colleges and Schools Handbook* Club UK magazine* Postgraduate UK magazine*

* The publications are available at a selected number of British Council offices for students to use.

Learn English in the United Kingdom


British Council Accreditation Unit Bridgewater House 58 Whitworth Street Manchester M1 6BB Telephone 44+ (0)161 957 7692 E-mail

English UK 219 St John Street London EC1V 4LY Telephone +44 (0) 20 7608 7960 E-mail

Business English UK English UK North

Work Experience UK

While every effort has been made to ensure that the information given here is correct and up to date, the British Council accepts no legal liability for its accuracy, currency or completeness.

June 2009

Š British Council 2009 The United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. A registered charity: 209131 (England and Wales) SC037733 (Scotland)

Learn English in the United Kingdom


Learn English in the United Kingdom


Learn English in the UK  

In the modern world an ability to speak English will give you a major advantage. There are many ways in which you can improve your English....