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The

ULTIMATE GUIDE to

LEARNING ENGLISH ABROAD

A publication of

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CONTENTS 1. Five reasons to learn English

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2. Why learn English abroad?

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3. How to choose a destination

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4. How to choose a school

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5. What to expect in class

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6. How to choose the right course

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7. Conclusion

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CHAPTER

1 Five reasons to learn English

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1. Open a world of opportunities! Whether you want to pursue a career in an international workplace or get accepted into a top university, the knowledge of English is truly transformational. Many international organisations consider English language skills a vital asset to your resumé, and it is not uncommon that job adverts list English as a necessary requirement.

2. Explore the world with ease! Some people never travel without their camera or guide book. Others believe that English is their most useful travel companion! English is the most widely spoken language in the world, so chances are it will be the language you use to communicate on your journeys. It’s always great to get familiar with the native tongue wherever you go as well, but English is always useful, even to socialise with other travellers.

3. Get smarter! Did you know that learning a language is good for your brain? People who speak more than one language are more able to multi-task, solve problems and see things from different perspectives. In fact, according to studies, “a multilingual brain is nimbler, quicker, better able to deal with ambiguities, resolve conflicts and even resist Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia longer.”

4. Make more friends! In a language school, you are constantly surrounded by people from around the world. In one classroom, you could have as many as 15 nationalities. Your mind will open to different cultures and lifestyles. You’ll make friends, build connections, and ultimately, learn much more than language; you’ll learn about the world and become a truly global citizen.

5. Be part of the world! After a long and colourful history, English is now the main language of the Internet, media, international business, science, diplomacy, sport, pop music, and advertising. Even if you have never taken a single English lesson, it is likely you can already recite lines in English from your favourite film or pop song. Globalisation has delivered the language of popular culture to all corners of the globe, and you can be part of that.

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CHAPTER

2 Why learn English abroad?

Every year thousands of students pack their bags, wave goodbye to their loved ones, and enrol in a language school in an English-speaking destination. Here is how immersion language learning works:

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1. Professional classroom teaching Once you enter the classroom, you will communicate only in English. Your teacher will be a fully qualified, native English speaker, with experience teaching many different levels and nationalities. Class materials such as text books and videos are all in English, and your classmates will come from all over the world, meaning you will have no choice but to use English to interact, answer questions and learn new things

2. Socialise in English In your life outside the classroom – when you go shopping, sightseeing, or dine out you’ll gain exposure to aspects of the language such as intonation, pronunciation and ‘non-verbal’ body language. All these are much easier to pick up while you’re talking to different people on the streets, in shops and on the beach, no matter how good your teachers are!

3. Live in English-speaking accommodation As an English student, you will have many options for accommodation. In all of them you will get to practise English from morning to night. Most schools offer homestay, where you will live with a welcoming family and get a personal, human experience of your chosen destination. You will use English in a natural environment while enjoying the pleasures of home; a comfortable, friendly atmosphere and homecooked food!

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CHAPTER

3 How to choose a destination

‘The world is your oyster.’ In today’s terms, this famous saying invented by William Shakespeare means you can achieve anything or go anywhere in life, because you have the opportunity to do so. The world is full of places to discover. Don’t sit back and wait for doors of opportunity to open for you. The key is in your hands. Don’t say you’re too old or too busy for this, or don’t have time. You know you want to do it! Each destination holds a special experience and no matter who you are, what you do, or who you want to become, there’s a perfect destination for everyone. It all depends on what kind of traveller you are…

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The Culture Lover You’re fascinated by all things cultural. Your friends use the words ‘nerd’ and ‘bookworm’ to describe you. You can’t resist the charms of a new book, a visit to a museum, or the latest literary movie. Oxford is where the Harry Potter series were filmed, and it’s also the place where C.S Lewis used to hang out with ‘Lord of the Rings’ author, JRR Tolkien. Why not go and discover what it must have been like to be Lewis Carroll, in his ‘Alice in Wonderland’ writing days, as you roam the city’s pretty streets, or punt on the Oxford Canal? If you’d like something similar yet different to Oxford, why not get yourself a ticket to Cambridge? This picturesque town is all about architecture, history and tradition. It’s home to one of the world’s top universities, so you will find ancient colleges, gardens and museums in abundance. Leafy green meadows surround the city, making the atmosphere uniquely tranquil.

Cambridge

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You might not think of the USA as a cultural hotspot, but it is! Originally referred to as the ‘shining city on a hill’, Boston’s rich history, grand architecture and worldrenowned academic and cultural institutions are sure to impress. Boston has always been a forward-thinking city, and is also fast becoming one of the country’s most innovative arts and architecture centres. Want to see more of the USA? Then you should definitely visit its capital, the iconic Washington, DC. A wealth of majestic monuments and immense museums decorate the city, and its politics and history can be seen on every corner. The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, White House and Capitol are all centrally located. If you’re in the mood for something artistic, the National Gallery of Art houses an extraordinary art collection, consisting of over 100,000 objects for you to see!

Washington

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The City Dreamer Nothing excites you more than the thought of roaming long, wide and busy streets, lined with shops, restaurants and cafés, while looking up at monumental buildings and colossal skyscrapers. You love the thought of watching street artists perform as you buy a snack from a food stall. You simply love the city buzz - the crazier it is, the better you feel! ‘The city that never sleeps’, New York is a place of many wonderful things. It’s the ‘Big Apple’, Lady Liberty’s home, the epicentre of the arts, and the capital of dining and shopping. Over 800 languages are spoken here, making it one of the most linguistically diverse places on the planet. And did you know, if you dined at a new restaurant every day for 12 years, you still wouldn’t have visited all of the eateries the city has to offer?

New York

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There is something for everyone in one of the world’s most visited and cosmopolitan cities: London. From history to culture, art to architecture, London has inspired and fuelled man’s imagination for centuries. Like New York, English may be the national language, but over 300 languages are spoken on London’s streets! If you’re also a ‘night owl’ - a lover of fun nights out - New York and London are sure to offer you what you’re after, but you will also find amazing nights out in Brighton, famous for its bright and energetic culture. Pack your favourite pairs of walking and dancing shoes, and get ready for a fantastic time!

London

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Action Addict You love to get physical! There’s nothing you enjoy more than a trail or hike in the countryside, or a leisurely walk around a garden or park. You’re quite sporty, and like the idea of a morning or afternoon spent snow-boarding, mountain-biking, skiing, kayaking, or rainforest roaming. Rolling hills, deep green meadows, snow-dusted mountains, rivers and lakes all put a smile on your face. Action Addicts need to travel to a place where they can feel the grass crunch under their feet and see green (and blue) all around! Apart from being one of the world’s most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, natural beauty is what the Canadian coastal city of Vancouver is known and loved for. It’s what YOU will love about it!

Vancouver

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Head down to South Africa’s ‘Mother City’ of Cape Town, where you will be greeted by the terrific Table Mountain – one of the Seven Wonders of Nature - and impressed by its beautiful sea and breath-taking natural landscapes. The city was named the best place to visit by the New York Times last year. Pack your hiking boots, swimsuit and windproof jacket, and get ready for adventure!

Cape Town

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The Beach Bum Sandy or rocky? It doesn’t matter as long as you can feel the sun on your skin and the sea breeze in your hair. You would be happy to live on the beach, wearing shorts or a light summer dress, and flip-flops. A beach towel and magazine are all you really need, but you wouldn’t mind the company of other sun worshippers to practise your English or share an ice-cream with. Splash right into the heart of the Mediterranean with a visit to the island of Malta. Golden rocks, sand, and deep blue sea are never far off, wherever you are. The Blue Lagoon is the tiny sister island Comino’s biggest attraction, so make sure you plan a full day of sun and swimming!

Malta

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If you want to lie ‘on the beach till the break of dawn’, then maybe Miami is the place for you. Its iconic beaches of white sand, trimmed with crystal blue sea are sure to melt your heart… Need we say more? Get your pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, and hat ready for fun in the sun, in famous Miami style.

Miami

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CHAPTER

4 How to choose a school

So you now know what kind of traveller you are, and have a clearer idea where you’d enjoy spending your time abroad. Choosing a holiday destination can be rather hard, given the vast selection of places to choose from. But for those who also want to combine studying with their travel experience, the choice can be even harder! Here are some important points to consider before you embark on your language learning journey.

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Choose a school with a great location Where is the school situated? Is it in the heart, or the outskirts of the city? How far is it from the nearest bus stop or train station? Keep your search focused on the most central and convenient city locations. The closer the school is to the heart of the action, the more pleasant your experience will be. It will save you lots of time, and money on transport tickets too! Living and learning in a city is a complete social and cultural immersion experience. Who wouldn’t want to be at the centre of it all?

Times Square – New YorkTalk to us

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Choose a school with high standards Always look out for accreditations on schools’ websites before choosing an educational institution. An accreditation is like a seal of approval, a guarantee of quality, and proof that the school offers only the highest standards of teaching and learning. Accrediting bodies schedule regular visits to inspect the schools’ quality of teaching, administration, management and student services. The best schools will make sure you will learn English in a safe environment, with access to all you need to make your stay a comfortable and satisfying one. Look out for country-specific accreditations from EnglishUSA, EnglishAustralia, EnglishUK, and Languages Canada. In some countries, there are also accrediting bodies which are separate from the membership association. These organisations often have lists of respected programmes on their site. These include British Council, ACCET, and CEA.

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Choose the right school size for you Small schools with fewer classrooms are sometimes referred to as ‘boutique’ and offer a more familiar and intimate space in which to learn English. Some students prefer smaller schools with fewer students because they want more individual attention. Being in a large school naturally offers other benefits. You will find more people to socialise with and meet in class, and the mix of nationalities (see 4. Nationality Mix) will be greater. Since the number of students is large, placement test scores will be close to yours, and you will then be placed in a class with students whose level of English is similar to your own, putting you at a comfortable advantage. Do keep in mind that schools, no matter how small or big they are, go through quiet and busy periods throughout the year, so student numbers will vary.

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Choose a school with a great nationality mix If you want to learn the most English during your study abroad time, make sure you choose a school where the other students have a good mix of nationalities. This will mean you have no choice but to communicate in English, while you make new friends in the process. It will really accelerate your learning! Nationality mix lists or charts are often published on schools’ websites, and they are a practical way of showing where and when you would expect to find students of different nationalities (in percentages) throughout the year. Remember that one of the great things about being on a study abroad programme is not only that you get to meet people from all over the world, but that you will have to use English to communicate!

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Choose a school with good facilities Apart from location, the availability of school facilities should also play an important part in your school selection process. Your language learning experience can be greatly improved if you are provided with bright, spacious classrooms, quiet spaces to relax or read in, and even a bright and cheerful cafÊ or canteen where you can spend a few hours eating and chatting in the company of other foreign students between lessons. A well-stocked library and a digital/non-digital range of learning resources is also very useful for homework and extra study. And remember there’s more to a classroom than a blackboard and a teacher. Interactive whiteboards connect to the internet and open up a world of opportunity for learning in fun and interesting ways. Some schools also take care of finding suitable accommodation, to make sure their students’ stay is as comfortable as possible, and suits their lifestyle, budget and needs. Popular options would include living with locals (homestay), independent living (studio or single apartment), or sharing with other international students (shared apartment, student residence).

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Consider the multi-destination experience You will find many of the best language schools located in multiple cities, in Englishspeaking destinations around the world. If you have a substantial amount of time on your hands, transferring from one school to another is something you can definitely consider. The process tends to be easy and smooth if the schools form part of the same chain, or franchise. See this as an extended study travel experience and imagine this: starting your course in the bustling heart of London, heading down to Malta for study and sunbathing, and then perhaps crossing the Atlantic to complete your English language journey with an American on-campus experience, to prepare you for higher education if that’s your ultimate goal.

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Choose a school where you’ll have a lively social life If you think learning English is limited to your lesson times, then you’re wrong! A large proportion of your linguistic progress will actually take place outside of the classroom. For this reason, and also to get the most pleasure for your study abroad experience, it’s important you choose a school which offers a fun and interesting variety of after class activities. These could be sports events, excursions to local places of interest, movie and games nights, and many other opportunities to have fun with your friends, explore your destination, and practise your English in everyday, real-life contexts.

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CHAPTER

5 What to expect in class

It doesn't matter what your level of English is when you start your experience. Good schools have classes for learners of every level from absolute beginner to advanced. Now let’s find out what your classroom experience will be like.

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The classroom On your first day in school your English level will be assessed and you will be put in the best class for your level. A course that is too easy or too difficult won’t do you any good, it’s better to be in a class that will engage and challenge you. A good English school knows the best way to learn English is through as much communication, interaction and engagement as possible. Expect classes on interesting topics chosen to create discussion and debate in class. English is the ONLY language you should hear in class. Good teachers encourage their students to use English at all times, even when students come from the same country. But why's this? Well, not having to switch between languages helps you to think and respond quicker. The key is to fluency is thinking in English instead of the slow process of translating in your mind. Make sure you leave your own language at home when you leave for your course! Make sure you choose a school that employs native English teachers. Many students have never experienced being a taught by a native teacher before. If this is true of you, you should notice an improvement over time in your pronunciation and listening skills. Native speakers, as you would expect, have a natural feeling for the language and how to use it in different contexts. In conclusion, your classroom experience will probably be nothing like you have experienced in your own country!

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Your classmates You are likely to find that the best part of the study abroad experience is the new friendships that you make with your classmates. As you live, learn and have fun together, while discovering a new city and its language, you are certain to make strong and lasting bonds. And as well as improving your English by having to use it in order to communicate, you will broaden your world view as you meet and get to know new people from different cultures around the world. Because travel has a way of bonding people together and everyone in your class will be as eager to make friends as you, this means it is better to set out on your adventure alone. In fact most people go on their own. Don't worry about not knowing anyone on your first day, your new classmates won't know anyone either! Wouldn’t it be great to have an network of friends from all around the world? Think of all those places you could visit!

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CHAPTER

6 How to choose the right course

English schools offer a variety of courses for you to choose from, but how do you know which is the right one for you? It’s important you choose the course that best matches your needs. Whatever your reasons for learning, you should be able to find the perfect programme to help you reach your goal. Let’s take a look at some things you should keep in mind.

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When choosing your course think about your goals. What is your primary reason for going abroad to learn English? Let’s take a look at the three most popular motivations:

1. I’m learning English to have an amazing experience 2. I’m learning English to enter university 3. I’m learning English to have a successful career

1 I’m learning English to have an amazing experience Schools offer short and long term courses that are heavily conversation based to help with your all round fluency and confidence. You’ll learn the skills you need to socialise in English and deal with a variety of everyday situations like shopping, travelling and making small talk. General English courses are designed to help you improve your fluency mainly through speaking, listening, reading and writing. They are often the standard and most popular school courses in a school. These programmes are a good option for students, abroad for a short time, who want to build up their English confidence, while still having enough time to enjoy their chosen destination. Think about the number of hours a day you want to spend in class. Some courses will have more lesson time than others. You can choose a programme with a low lesson intensity if you want more free time, but the more lessons you take, the quicker your language skills will improve. Taking a short-term intensive course is a good idea for anyone with limited time abroad.

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2 I’m learning English to enter university If you are planning to enter a university in an English-speaking country, you will need to have a good level of English and proof that you have reached the required level. An exam preparation course will prepare you to sit for the qualification you need. The most common exams are:

Cambridge - These exams are recognised by employers, universities and colleges all over the world, and the results are valid for life.

IELTS

(International English Language Testing System) An IELTS score is required by most

universities in the UK, Canada, Australia, Malta, and some in the US. It is also often required by professional bodies, and needed for immigration to Canada and Australia.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) TOEFL measures your ability to use English at university level. It is recognised by over 8,000 institutions in over 130 countries, including most North American universities.

TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) TOEIC test scores are used by over 10,000 companies, government agencies and English language learning programmes in 120 countries.

Should I take an exam course? Exam preparation courses are for students who want to sit an internationally recognised exam. You should expect students following these programmes to be very hardworking and completely focused on their goals. In these classes you will learn the techniques you need to take an exam and the English skills you need for a good score.

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3 I’m learning English to have a successful career If you want to gain a competitive edge in the world of work, there are courses that raise the English level, language skills and cultural understanding you need for career success. Business English is, quite simply, the English required to conduct business in a professional manner. A general English course focuses on conversation skills, while Business English teaches you everything needed in business situations. Because much of the world's business communication takes place in English, Business English courses are a popular option with professionals who want to improve their career options. You should consider taking a business focused course if you want to work abroad, be employed by an international company or do business internationally. Business English courses should cover two area: the specific vocabulary used in the business world and the communication skills you need to do business. In a Business English classroom you will meet professional people from all over the world. This is a great way for you to make international business contacts and learn about business practices in different countries.

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Conclusion Taking your next step Now you know all you need to get started on your study abroad experience, what should you do next? It’s time to do some serious thinking and research. There are many choices out there for you to consider, and it’s important you choose wisely. As you plan where to go, consider the points we’ve looked at in this guide:

1.

Which destination suits my character?

2.

Do the schools I am considering have: • a good location • accreditation • a suitable size • students from a variety of countries • modern facilities • a fun and varied programme of social activities • courses that meet my needs

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Want to

Learn More? Our student advisors are available to answer your study abroad questions. Start your journey now!

Contact Us Expand your opportunities for future success by studying English at one of our 21 language schools around the world. From the sunny island of Malta to electrifying Times Square right in the centre of New York City and Covent Garden in the heart of London there is a location that is perfect for you. With over 45,000 students from over 125 countries joining our programs every year you are sure to make friends and memories that last a lifetime. Our team is friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about your success. Courses start every week. Contact us today

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