Why learn English?


What to expect

Courses are available at all levels of English. A typical private language school will run general English programmes at all levels. Students may take a pre-arrival online test, but in all events will be tested again on arrival and placed in the most appropriate group. 

Nowadays, the curriculum of these schools is structured to allow students to join the course in any week. The emphasis is on ‘communicative learning’; involving considerable listening and speaking practice. 

For those with specific learning goals, a whole spectrum of special courses and programmes exists, usually requiring a minimum language level. Since many people learn English for their future or existing business career, business English and all its varieties are particularly popular. Business English is often offered as an elective in combination with a general English course, but dedicated business English courses focusing on the language of written and spoken business communication are also quite common. 

For business people with little time and a higher budget, mini-group courses in sales negotiation, making presentations and other specific areas are offered by general and specialist executive language centres, and anyone with the means to afford it can book tailor-made one-to-one tuition.

English language tests

With any learning activity, a target helps. Examinations are a good way to measure progress and ensure a balanced set of skills. A specific English language standard is always required for entering university and often crucial to getting a particular job. The most widely accepted qualifications for students needing a minimum English level for undergraduate or postgraduate study in an English-speaking country are TOEFL and IELTS, and many public colleges as well as private language schools prepare students for these. The examination is usually taken at the school or a nearby registered examination centre. 

Well known, widely recognised general English qualifications are offered by the University of Cambridge, whose Cambridge English: Advanced examinations for learners and teachers of English are taken by over three million people worldwide. The Cambridge English: Advanced suite of examinations also includes business English certificates at several levels.