The Beatles. Queues. Jammy Dodgers. Tetley tea bags. Local pubs. Red phone boxes. Big Ben. You’d be hard pushed to find anywhere more saturated with iconic cultural symbols than The Bard’s own country, England. Studying The Queen’s English in England, buttered scone in hand, is most definitely the bee’s knees. When outside of the classroom, you can learn about everything that makes England great: devour fish and chips in Whitby Bay, punt down the River Isis in Oxford, and watch world-class football at Stamford Bridge. Sounds like your cup of tea? Easy peasy, just “Keep Calm and Learn English in England.”
There’s a reason international language students flock to England in droves (and no, it’s not the weather). With language schools in England in both charming, cozy towns and dynamic, world-class metropolitan cities, language students are guaranteed to find a program somewhere in this compact country. Cor blimey!
Where else to learn English but in the country’s capital, “The Big Smoke?” While the air pollution that gave birth to this nickname may have since diminished, London remains the destination for language study in England. Join the tourists gazing incredulously at Britain’s national treasures; visit London Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, and, of course, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. For a more local experience, kick back and enjoy lounging in deck chairs and a summer’s picnic at St James’ park. Students taking language courses in London won’t be short on evening entertainment, thanks to the city being internationally renown for its theatre, nightlife, and restaurants. For those craving nature or further international travel, there are trains and planes leaving London every minute of the day; hop on and make the most of a three-day, bank holiday weekend.
Nestled in the lush fields of the West Country, and surrounded by Downton Abbey-style country houses, Bath is another quintessentially English place to pursue language studies in England. While you’ll no longer find Jane Austen meandering through the streets of this prim and proper little Georgian city, Bath still calls itself home to delicious afternoon teas (yes, cucumber sandwiches, with the crusts cut off) and Britain’s only natural (and very luxurious) thermal waters.
Perhaps most famous for a sport known on this side of the pond as futbol, Manchester is another popular city for language programs in England. Once described by George Orwell as “the belly and guts of the nation,” it has much more to boast than just the two globally-eminent teams; this city bleeds cutting-edge music (The Stone Roses, Oasis, and Take That all hailed from Manchester) and hipster cafes that’ll leave you wishing you could grow a better beard. A smaller, but equally-thriving city when compared with the great capital, language students will soon start to wonder whether Manchester isn’t the heart of this nation as well.
Language Programs in England
Unsurprisingly, the most studied language in England is, well, English. With an array of wonderfully strange idioms to learn (make sure you’re full of beans so that you don’t make a dog’s breakfast of your classes), nothing beats studying the world’s most influential language in its native home.
Students of all ages come to England’s shores to hit the books through various language immersion programs. With group or one-on-one classes, you can spend your days at an English language school in England, practicing real-life situations that’ll come in handy in evening events and activities after the last bell rings for the day. Given that native English speakers are known for being excellent linguists, you’ll never be stuck for people to practice with!
If you’re interested in applying to study at an international university, you’ll also find plenty of preparation courses for the IELTS exam (International English Language Testing System), which is a requirement for international students applying to universities across the English-speaking world. With a focus on discussions and textual comprehension, these language courses are best-suited for advanced speakers looking for unrivalled academic opportunities, and maybe even an introduction to the most revered inventor of English words: Shakespeare.
For students with an eye on their futures, language programs in England offering internships with English language learning will be a perfect blend of polishing up your linguistic prowess and embarking on a highly-valuable internship. You’ll find yourself quids in when it comes to the opportunities that working for globally-esteemed companies brings to future career prospects.
Costs & Affordability
Not to put too much of a spanner in the works, but England is not the cheapest country for English language courses abroad. But if the lure of living near Kate and Will is a dream that you just can’t abandon, studying English in England remains achievable.
Language programs in England can range in cost from $1,000 to $3,000 for two weeks of language tuition and accommodation, with the difference being subject to the inclusion of meals, private accommodation, and additional activities and excursions. Discounts are often available if you are committing to longer periods of study, so check out long-term language programs in England if you want to save some money.
With chain restaurants and fast food joints a staple of the British high street, eating in the UK doesn’t have to blow the bank. Dinner in a restaurant can cost around $15, while a fast food meal is closer to $7. You’ll be amazed by the range of international foods and restaurants in England, with Curry Mile in Manchester being a great introduction to British-Indian cuisine and Maltby Street Market in London being infamous for its delicious food stalls.
Living costs vary significantly across the country, but the North has a reputation for being more wallet-friendly. If the weather holds its own, you’ll be astonished by how many free activities take place in the English outdoors; anything from rose gardens to modern art exhibitions draw crowds enthusiastic for sunshine (when the clouds finally disperse) and socializing.
If the affordability of language programs in England fills you with dread, check out GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory. It is always possible to find funding to achieve your dream of become fluent in English. Ka-ching!
Accommodation & Visas
Most language schools in England are located in towns or cities, but if you prefer your neighbors to be those of the four-legged variety (yup, there are a lot of cows here), the excellent transport network in England means you’ll never be too far away from the lush pastures of the English countryside.
The best way to understand the eccentricities of English English is to organize a homestay. Not only do homestays provide the perfect opportunity to quiz your new family about strange expressions heard on the street (Why do people call you “duck” in Yorkshire?), but they’ll also offer you the chance to experience heaven on a plate (aka. home-cooked English roast dinners) and get acquainted with the staples of prime-time television (that’s right, soap operas). You’ll find your hosts as warm as their central heating system and discover what British family life (outside of the movies) is really like.
Independent living is often offered as another option for those attending language schools in England, and many programs even offer university-style dormitories. Dorms or other private living arrangements usually entail a private bedroom, shared bathroom, and a kitchen, plus a whole host of ready-made friends for exploring your new surroundings with!
Visa requirements for language study in England are a little complicated, so it’s worth checking with your host school or program provider to ensure the process goes smoothly. Residents of countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) are not required to obtain visas in order to attend language schools in England, while short-term student visas (for up to 11 months, depending on your age) are available to residents of other countries. Head to GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to contact a British Embassy and have any questions you may have answered clearly.
Benefits & Challenges
Few countries have the same magical hold over travelers’ imaginations as England. Learning English at the same time as having the chance to explore its unrivalled historic cities and countryside is a way of killing two wanderlust birds with one stone (Disclaimer: No actual birds were killed in the writing of this sentence). Not only are cities brimming with educational opportunities more relevant than grammar exercises in textbooks, but a dose of fresh air is great for mental stimulation.
The cost of language courses in England can be a potential issue for saving-savvy students, but language study in England is an investment for the future. It’s an opportunity that’s hard to pass up if educational excellence and proper pronunciation are on your “Language Bucket List.” Don’t underestimate the extra kudos you’ll receive from the locals who’ll be impressed with your grasp of English (not American) English!
If you’re not already hurling a bilingual dictionary and a picture of the Queen into your rucksack, then there’s little more we can do to persuade you that language programs in England are a stonker of an idea. You probably won’t meet Her Majesty, but you will surround yourself with acres of history, surprisingly tasty food, and the chance to speak English until the cows come home. A-moo-zing.