"The benefits of studying abroad are almost endless." -Michelle Obama
Dreaming about losing yourself on a new adventure abroad? You're not the only one; many millennials spend hours day-dreaming of travelling to far away places to learn new things.
For English language learners who want to master the English language completely, planning a year abroad in a country where English is primarily spoken are a brilliant idea to master language acquisition.
While learning English as a second language in a classroom in your country of origin can be fun and very useful to provide you with the fundamentals of a foreign language, nothing compares to travelling to a country that speaks the language that you are learning.
If you are fully committed to your language study and use travel experiences to further your communication in English, you will find that your language skills will have the chance to develop rapidly. Learning English abroad is a massive bonus for international students interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the language by engaging in an instructional and culturally enriching travel experience.
The British accent is simply irresistible for many ESL learners and this inspires them to consider furthering their English language studies in the UK.
As a learner, when you open yourself to the language and culture of a particular country, it can greatly improve your literacy skills and language development. Learning English in the UK can drive home the meaning of what it is that you are learning, inspiring you to develop your skills further and become even more fluent.
Therefore, without further ado, in today's article Superprof will provide students with a basic understanding of the United Kingdom, the benefits of studying English in the UK, and the essential knowledge needed for foreigners before embarking on a gap year in lively London.
Have you booked your tickets yet? I'm sure you'll be inspired after reading today's blog article. Remember, London is calling!
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Necessary Information About the United Kingdom
Before deciding to dedicate a year of one's life to language study in a foreign land, it is essential to acquire more information about the country's stats, customs, and culture.
The United Kingdom is the third largest country in Europe in terms of population with an estimated 66.9 million inhabitants. The largest city in the UK and Europe, London boasts over 8.7 million residents and is known for its racial diversity; London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.
It is also important to state that the United Kingdom is a sovereign country made up of 4 countries: England, Northern Island, Scotland and Wales. The formation of four distinct countries, cultures, and nationalities makes the UK a unique country worthy of visiting when travelling through Europe.
The following is a brief description of the four countries featured within the UK:
- England is the largest country in terms of area and population boasting over 55 million inhabitants. The official language of England is English and the dialect commonly spoken is known as 'British English' or for educated ones 'The Queen's English.'
- Northern Island is the smallest country in the UK in terms of area and population making up only 2.8% of the UK total area. The capital city is Belfast, and Northern Ireland is where the Irish live; they speak Irish or Celtic languages and English.
- Scotland is known for its highlands, golf, and irresistible scotch. Boasting a total population of over 5.4 million, Scotland is second-most-populous country contained in the UK. The majority of inhabitants speak English; however, it is essential to state that a few still converse in Scots and Scottish Gaelic.
- Wales is the third-most-populous country featured in the UK with over 3.1 million residents. Citizens of Wales speak English and Welsh.
For this article, we will talk about planning a trip to England since this is where the vast majority of English speakers live.
England is made up of over 60 counties that we will separate by North and South.
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For example in the north of England, various cities have attained favoured status on the world stage such as Nottingham, Robin Hood's hometown, Liverpool, where the Beatles were formed, and Manchester, the home of the famous football clubs Manchester United and Manchester City.
On the other hand, in the south of England, there are many famed cities. For example, London welcomes millions of visitors per year and is home to the Globe Theatre where Shakespeare performed his first plays. Also, Brighton a well-known seaside town which is a favourite day trip from London, and Oxford where you will find the famous Oxford University that has educated some of the greatest minds of all time such as Stephen Hawking, J.R.R Tolkien, Oscar Wilde, Theresa May, and T.S Eliot.
England is visited by millions every year since it is overflowing with history, castles, culture and an intriguing multicultural melting pot of cultures, people and religions.
The UK's largest cities, such as London, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, and Glasgow each have their charm and are fantastic places to further one's understanding of the English language. It is also important to state that the UK has many enchanting villages with stunning countryside scenery that would better suit those who despise city living.
In conclusion, for those who want to adopt a British accent and stay far away from the dialects spoken in Australia and Canada, the UK should be visited and strongly considered before deciding upon a country to live abroad in for a year.
Benefits Of Learning English While Travelling Through the UK
Do you like to travel and at the same time want to improve your English proficiency?
Individuals that are interested in improving their English proficiency and having an intensive language learning experience, preparing to travel to an English speaking country is a brilliant idea to be fully immersed in an English learning environment.
A full immersion into a foreign language is an unforgettable experience that will introduce ESL students to a new culture and a thorough understanding of the nuances, expressions, and strange words spoken by natives.
What are some of the additional benefits of brushing up on your English when travelling through the UK?
The following are some of the top benefits of thoroughly studying English for ESL learners while enjoying an extended stay in the UK:
- Real Hands-On Experience: even language teachers who use the top methods of teaching and have years of experience are limited if they remain only in the classroom. By travelling and discussing the English language with other language enthusiasts, teaching techniques become more tailored to the specific needs of those in particular communities. Nevertheless, it is important to state, that the classroom is great for providing students with the foundation and grammatical knowledge that is essential to acquire fluency. However, at some point, you need to go out and use the English language skills that you have been taught and allow your language proficiency to carry conversations with intriguing individuals that you can learn from.
- Learning from those of Distinct Cultures: by spending time speaking to English native speakers from different countries, borders and boundaries are crossed. By spending a lot of time listening to the accents, expressions, and words used by distinct individuals, ESL learners adopt new aspects of the English language that will help them to be better understood.
- Improve Reading Skills: by spending an extended period in an English-speaking country such as the UK, ESL learners will have the constant opportunity to practice their reading and writing skills by reviewing menus writing skills and your listening skills so regularly in English you will rapidly see an improvement in your comprehension. But most importantly you will be able to identify where you are lacking specific skills and work on them to fill any gaps in your knowledge.
- Enrichment of Vocabulary: learning new vital words will be a natural progression of travelling in an English speaking country. Reading road signs, reviewing the menu at your favourite new coffee shop, and conversing with the locals provides ESL learners with the chance to discover new vocabulary words and use them right away. Also, by having constant conversations with locals discuss ideas and difficulties, ESL learners receive different points of view and specific vocabulary words.
- Every Moment is a Learning Opportunity: one of the most practical benefits of learning a foreign language abroad is that you cannot turn off the learning experience. No matter how hard you try to ignore it, you will always be actively or passively learning new aspects of the English language such as reading, writing, speaking and listening; this is how you discovered your first language, and you're an expert!
- Appreciate the Art, Literature, and Music Thoroughly: when you are immersed in a new culture, and you are learning the language, essential aspects from that culture such as art, literature, and music will be grasped effortlessly. Reading T.S Eliot or Oscar Wilde while in England perfecting your English becomes an experience on its own. Think of the great bands and musicians there are from England: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Adele, Oasis etc.
While the previously mentioned points are some of the most fantastic benefits of perfecting your English while visiting the UK to convince ESL students to take the plunge, many other advantages can be discovered personally in a straightforward way; what might that be? Buying a plane ticket and discovering for yourself!
Don't hesitate ESL students, the UK, and especially England, is a great place to adopt essential English language aspects and talk more like the Queen!
Intriguing Learning Opportunities for ESL Learners in the United Kingdom
Do you feel that a three-month holiday or study programme in the UK to master the English language is not enough? Well, you're not alone. After some months of practising their English with natives, many ESL students have decided to further their stay and find alternative learning methods.
What options are there to further my English language learning?
Let's use the example of the UK's largest city London; it is one of the most-populous English-speaking towns on the face of the planet, and therefore, a Mecca for ESL learners wanting to perfect their second or third language.
ESL learning opportunities for advanced and intermediate learners in major UK cities such as London may include the following:
- A further education programme specializing in English at a language school, international school, institute, or university,
- Complete a college level TOEFL exam from a distinguished institute to prove to future employers that even though you are a non native speaker international student, your second language acquisition is impressive,
- An exchange programme at a qualified school for a semester or two,
- Applying for an English language placement programme.
Before deciding upon staying in the UK for a more extended period and which learning option best suits you, discuss the possibilities with your current ESL teacher or a trusted academic so that they can help you understand which might be best for your academic achievement and overall English language instruction.
Who knows, you might be enjoying your English language studies so much that you might consider signing up for a programme such as TEFL, TESOL, or TESL and to teach and become an ESL expert!
Essential Information for ESL Learners Moving Abroad to the UK
Alright, so you've decided upon going to the UK for a short or long period to perfect your English language skills, but there's a problem. What may that be? You've never stepped foot inside England or the UK and have no idea what to expect and what is needed to be done before departure.
What to do?
Have no fear Superprof is here! We have analysed some of the most essential facts such as the weather, points of entry, entry requirements, best places to stay, and additional practical information that ESL students/potential visitors need to know before setting foot on UK soil.
The UK is well known for its weather of grey skies and lots of rain. Nevertheless, it is important to say that something great about the weather is the UK is that, for the most part, it is mild; it never gets as cold as Canada nor does it get as hot as Australia. There are no significant weather changes, and most people adapt beautifully to English weather.
Just always keep an umbrella with and there should be no issues!
The year is equally divided into four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn and the temperature between all of these seasons is very slight, and the most notable change is the surrounding nature.
While summers can get warm, the temperature rarely rises higher than 30 degrees. While some winter days can be freezing, they rarely drop below -5 degrees in Southern England and other parts. It is important to note that the northern parts of the UK, especially Scotland, can get very cold in the wintertime and the best time to visit is without a doubt the spring, summer, and autumn.
ESL students arriving from other parts of Europe will not likely face any significant difficulties adapting to the weather. Some issues may arise for those who come from Africa, South America, and Asia; but after a few weeks in the UK, its charm and opportunities will make any inconveniences bearable!
Major Points of Entry
How and where do I arrive in the UK?
Since London is the largest city in the UK, it is the central transportation hub. Ever heard the expression all roads lead to Rome? The English version is slightly modified and goes, all forms of transport lead to London!
ESL students and other interested ones arriving from far away areas such as South America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia will unavoidably fly into one of London's airports, Heathrow or Gatwick, before taking another flight to a final destination in the UK.
For those who are arriving from closer places such as Europe, it is easy to find flights arriving at the airports of the UK's major cities such as Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, or Glasgow.
Nevertheless, it is essential to state that Manchester and Birmingham have some flights from other continents arriving daily.
Entry into the United Kingdom dramatically depends on the passport you possess. For example, European countries part of the EU do not need a visa to enter the UK and can go and stay as they please.
However, the entry requirements are different for other countries. Commonwealth countries can easily apply for a working holiday visa that lasts up to two years; however, most countries of the Commonwealth already speak English so they would not be interested in learning English in the UK!
Latin American countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile are free to stay up to 6 months in the UK without applying for any visa. However, if ESL students decide they want to continue to learn more in the UK, they must apply for a specific visa.
Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Singapore do not need a visa to enter the UK. Nevertheless, citizens from China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Taiwan require permission before arrival.
The grand majority of African countries cannot enter the UK without a previously approved visa; the exception includes Namibia and Angola.
For further visa information and entry requirements to the UK, visit this link.
Best Places to Stay
The UK has many accommodating places to stay that are highly recommended for first-time visitors. Nevertheless, it is essential to state that ESL students who want to hone their English language skills should remain in or around major cities since there are many educational options available for all.
Since most flights arrive in London, it would be a great idea to stay a few weeks in London to honestly get immersed in the language and culture of England.
Additional Practical Information
In addition to the previously mentioned information about the weather, best places to stay, points of entry, and entry requirements, many ESL students travelling or staying in the UK for a while would much appreciate the following info:
- The United Kingdom is traditionally English but London, the capital city, is entirely multicultural and multilingual so many languages can be heard when walking through the streets.
- The currency used in the Great British Pound (GBP).
- The legal drinking age is 18 years old (although many are already professional drinkers by that age).
- The emergency number is 999.
- The international dialling code is 44 and each county has its own area code.
- Free wifi is widely available in libraries, cafes and some shopping centres.
In conclusion, it is important to reiterate the fact that when you are learning the English language, travelling or moving abroad to the UK gives you a huge advantage; this is due to the fact that you get to test your language skills with native English speakers and by doing this you will find yourself each day coming closer to becoming bilingual.
When travelling to an English-speaking country your grammar will be challenged, your vocabulary will grow, and your speaking skills will be tested.
No matter what strategies you have used in the past to learn English in your country of origin you will find that living or staying some months in the UK will be the most rewarding and beneficial experience. An English learner will benefit from full immersion which is something that can never be compared to the education that is designed by educators teaching English for students in a conventional classroom.
So, what are you waiting for ESL students? Get your visa, if need be, and book your flight to get ready for the language learning experience of a lifetime!
Imagine being able to say that you gained English fluency by talking to locals in London coffee shops; nothing beats that!
Also, are you interested in perfecting American English to talk to babes at the beach in Miami? Visit our blog to find out more.