English Language Courses: Which Country Should You Choose For Your Studies?
When you want to learn a new language, there's no better way than to immerse yourself in that language's culture. If you have to use your new language for your everyday needs, for example in shops and restaurants, in dealing with paperwork, and for socialising, then you'll pick up language skills much more quickly than you would from casual use.
As with other languages, if you want to learn English, then your pronunciation and sentence structure will be greatly improved through regular interactions with native speakers. For this reason, moving to a country whose native language is English in order to study can be greatly beneficial. Today we're discussing the different countries where you could consider studying English, and the advantages of each.
An important issue to remember is that English varies considerably in pronunciation, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary between different countries. It's not for nothing that the US and UK are known as “two countries separated by a common language”! However, the good news is that English speakers of any background can generally understand each other, despite the differences in their language use. Wherever you choose to study English, it's likely that you'll have no problems in communicating with other English speakers from around the world. So how do you choose where to study?
The obvious choice for a location to learn English is Northern America. In either Canada or the US, you will be surrounded by native speakers. There are many structured programs in universities and at private institutions which teach English as a foreign language, including intensive full-time programs. This is helpful in securing a student visa, for which you must have a minimum of 18 hours teaching per week to qualify. Another advantage is that because America is so diverse, you can find the right environment for you – would you prefer to be in a big city, or in a rural area? Somewhere modern and progressive, or more traditional? Somewhere hot or somewhere cold? All of these are available in America.
If you study in the UK, you will learn classic British English. In European schools and academia, British English is sometimes considered preferable to use in a university environment. Also, some non-native speakers find British English to be easier to understand than other versions, as it is often spoken at a slower speed and with a clearer accent. However, within Britain there are still a wide variety of regional accents. Particularly in London, you'll have to adapt to hearing a broad spectrum of accents, but this can be excellent practise for speaking to others from around the world.
If you're considering somewhere further afield, then Australasia has a reputation for excellent English teaching, and for being particularly good value for money when compared to US or UK institutions. Living costs are generally low, and quality of life is high, which makes for a comfortable and pleasurable learning experience. However, a disadvantage is the remoteness of Australia and New Zealand – they are a long way from other countries, making travel to and from them difficult. So if you choose to study here, it will likely be harder for you to take a trip home for a visit.
Other options: South Africa, Malta
Remember, you are not limited to the obvious choices. In countries like South Africa or Malta, English is not the most spoken language, but it is an official language of the country and is frequently used. It can be even easier to pick up English in these countries, because it is usual for people to have to learn English as a second language, and so there are many teaching institutions. You will need to do research to identify a reputable institution at which to study, and you may even need to have a basic understanding of another language (like Afrikaans or Maltese) to get by in your day-to-day life. But for the adventurous student, such countries offer the chance to study English while also learning about a new culture and experiencing a different way of life.
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