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United Kingdom

United Kingdom: Study Abroad


At present, the majority of people use English as the official language. "Standard English" refers to the English that is spoken in London or in South England. According to Received Pronunciation (RP) of British English, the "r" at the end of a word or preceding a consonant, is pronounced without rolling it. Some words are also different from American English. For example, "lift" is used in British English for the American "elevator," and "ground floor" for "first floor." Spelling in British English is also slightly different from that of American English. ("centre" in the UK, but "center" in the USA). Where better to learn the international language of science, business, and politics than the country of its birth?

English Language Study

Thousands of students flock to the United Kingdom yearly for English language training. Italian students are the most numerous, followed by Japanese, Spanish, German, and French students. Most Western Europeans students go to the UK in the summer for short programs. According to research based upon recent immigration statistics, the number of foreign students studying in the United Kingdom for a period of six months or longer is increasing. In many cases, these students are able to work part time to earn money. Cities popular among foreign English language students include London, Oxford, and Cambridge, as well as cities in the relatively warm Southwest and Southeast regions, such as Brighton and Bournemouth.

Types of English Language Schools

There are three types of English language schools in the United Kingdom: private English language schools, English language courses provided by public colleges, and language training institutions attached to universities. the British Council, a non-profit cultural institution engaged in activities supported by the British Government, periodically conducts examinations of English language training institutions The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organization for educational and cultural relations. In addition to its 130 overseas teaching centers, it is involved in the accreditation of UK English Language Teaching organizations in the UK. This is accomplished through the English in Britain Accreditation Scheme which is managed by ARELS in partnership with the British Council and BASELT (British Association of State ELT). Members of the Scheme are rigorously inspected and re-inspected on a three-year cycle, to ensure that the standards of quality are satisfactorily maintained. All institutions featured on this web site are members of this scheme.

Formed in 1960, ARELS is the leading association of private English language schools in the United Kingdom teaching English as a foreign language and representing some 210 organizations involved in this activity.

BASELT is the association that represents colleges and universities in the UK. It has approximately 100 member schools that offer not only English courses, but also a wide range of other topics.

English Language Training Institutions Attached to Universities

The United Kingdom has nearly 100 universities, and most have an English language training institution providing many types of courses, ranging from ordinary English, to specialized English targeted for medical, legal, and other purposes. In most cases, students are allowed to use university facilities, such as the library, computers, cafeteria, and gymnasium.

English Language Training Institutions of Public Colleges

EFL programs can also be found on the campuses of public higher education colleges and colleges for continuing education. These types of schools are very similar to the "community colleges'" that can be found in the United States educational system. Students who become sufficiently proficient in English often have the opportunity to attend a course at the collegiate level.

Private English Language Schools

Private English language schools often provide students with a great variety of courses. Due to their private nature, the schools are able to design special programs incorporating many outdoor and cultural activities such as horseback riding, gardening, and Shakespearean theatre. With the recent relaxation of visa policies, students can in some cases take a course which provides work experience at a company. Most schools offer flexible starting dates and lengths of study. Housing for many of these programs is homestay based.

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