"Do-It-Yourself Study Abroad" ESL School Search and Application Site
5 Steps to Study Abroad Success

Find the Right School and Program

What is your Purpose?

In order to find the ESL school and program that best suit your individual needs, you should first give careful consideration to your personal reasons for wanting to study abroad. Answer the following questions as clearly as possible:

(1)Why do you want to improve your English ability?

(2)What personal goals do you wish to accomplish when studying abroad?

(3)What are your preferences regarding the location and characteristics of a school?

For example, are you a serious, international business professional who needs better English in order to advance your career? Or are you a holiday traveler who wants to learn some English while exploring life in a big city of a new country? Whoever you are, the ESL school and course you choose should enable you to achieve both your academic and personal goals.

Your Personal Goals and Priorities

Consider the following list of questions when choosing an English Language Program:
- How serious about improving your English are you? Is it your main goal, or is it secondary to having a good time on your trip, seeing new things, and meeting new people?
- How many hours a day do you want to spend in the classroom?
- How much time each night do you want to spend doing homework?
- Do you want to be tested?
- Would you spend more money on a course to guarantee more individual attention and a higher standard of teaching ?
- Is the knowledge that you will gain during your studies overseas readily transferable to work situations in your home country?
- Will the technological expertise you acquire overseas be of use at home?
- What English skills do you most want to improve:
(a) Casual conversational skills or formal (academic or business) English knowledge?
(b) Reading and writing abilities or speaking and listening skills?

General Questions about English Courses and Classes

- What kind of course is it? General Conversational English, Business English, Academic English, Exam Preparation, other?
- Is the course divided into many different difficulty levels to offer an appropriate academic challenge to every student?
- Is the school accredited by any educational organizations?
- What education and degrees are required of the teachers? Do they have their Masters, TEFL, or RSA Certificate for teaching English?
- Are all the teachers native speakers of English? American or British English?
- How many students are in each class? Is there a maximum class size?
- Does class size vary greatly according to season? For example, how much larger are classes during the popular summer months?
- How many different nationalities are represented in the program?
- Is there a limit to how many students from one nationality or foreign language can be in a single class?

Time and Length of Course

- Is the course part-time or full-time? How many hours per week?
- How many hours of class instruction will you have each day?
- Is there one single starting date for the duration of the course? Or is it possible to start and leave the program at any time?

Fees and Cancellation Policy

- How much is the tuition?
- Does the tuition include study materials, such as class books and photocopies?
- Is a deposit required to secure a place in the course? If so, how much?
- Is the deposit refundable if you cancel your enrollment?
- What is the school''s cancellation policy?
- Is there a cancellation fee?

Computer and Language Facilities

- What kind of computer facilities are available?
- Will the school create a local e-mail account for you?
- Is there a charge for using the Internet?
- Is there a time limit on computer usage?
-Does the school have a library where students can borrow English reading and grammar books?
-Will you have access to audio and video laboratories for language learning purposes?
-How modern is their language laboratory and multi-media learning facilities?


- Is the area surrounding the school an urban, suburban, or rural setting?
- What kind of public transportation is available? How easy is it to use, and is it available at night?
- What is the population of the town/city?
- What is the cost of living there?
- What kinds of entertainment and cultural activities are available?
- What kinds of food are typically eaten in that region?
- Are you near the coast or inland, near the desert or mountains?
- What is the climate like?
- Will you experience all four seasons at that location?

Student Housing

- How much does each type of housing cost?
- Is there a homestay option available? If so, how many students stay with each host family?
- Is there an on-campus housing option?
- Are there residence hotels/dorms in the town/city?
- Will the school help you find a roommate?
- Are private accommodations offered?
- Does the school offer assistance in seeking accommodations? Do they charge a placement fee for their assistance?
- Does the school provide transfer services from the airport to your accommodations? If so, how much do they charge?
- Does the school make special provisions for students traveling with their families?

Resources for International Students

- What kinds of help services and academic guidance does the school offer?
- Does the school offer interesting extra curricular or social activities?
- How many activities per week does the school organize?
- How much exposure to the local community does the program offer?

Visa Requirements

- Does your school require students to have a visa? If so, what type of visa?
- Do you know what documents are required in applying for your visa?
- Will the school provide you with any assistance in getting a student visa?

Health Insurance

- Is evidence of health insurance required to participate in the program?
- Does the school provide students with its own medical insurance coverage?
- How much should you expect to pay for medical insurance?