You may never have enough money to visit an English language school in Britain or another English-speaking country. Don't worry! Many people have learnt very good English without leaving their own country
But there are big advantages in coming to study English in an English-speaking country, such as Britain. One way is to come to an English Language School for a period. And of course, if your English is good, you may consider studying some other subject at college or university in Britain. See our page on visiting Britain for more information. Sometimes, it is possible to visit Britain on an 'exchange scheme' through your place of education. Some people wish to come to work in Britain. Unless you live in the European Community, this is very difficult. You cannot work in Britain without a work permit. You will find it very difficult to obtain a work permit unless you have valuable work experience to offer.
HOW TO CHOOSE A LANGUAGE SCHOOL
It is very important that you are careful in choosing a good school. There have been bad cases where schools have not given good teaching, or have charged too much money. Often these schools were offered to people by travel agents, as a 'package' together with the air travel.
We can only advise you about the situation in Britain. We do not have knowledge of langauge schools in other countries.
Here are some important things you must check out:
1) DOES THE SCHOOL BELONG TO A PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION?
There are two main associations of schools in Britain:
English UK (The former ARELS and BASELT have merged to form EnglishUK ) Learning English in the UK will challenge you to excel - to be the best you can be. Whatever your motive - career development, further study or personal interest - your course in the UK will take you to the next level. English is the language of the future - and you can learn it and live it where it began - English in the UK!
FIRST (First Quality English Language Services)
All schools belonging to these associations are inspected by the British Council every three years. They are accepted as providing a good standard of teaching and facilities. There are however schools which do not belong to these groups, yet are still of good quality.
2) WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Is this price for teaching only?
For how many hours per week?
Is accommodation and food included?
Does it include teaching materials and books?
Does it include any social visits and trips?
Does the price quoted including any local taxes?
A typical price to pay would be from £60 a week to £150 a week, depending on the number of hours tuition. Expect to pay accommodation costs of about £60 - £80 a week including meals.
All prices are in Pounds Sterling as of 1996.
3) WHAT FACILITIES ARE OFFERED
Is there a language lab?
How long are the courses?
What type of accommodation is offered?
Is it in the college?
Is it in family homes in the area?
How big are the rooms?
Are all meals included in the price?
What catering facilities are available?
Accommodation and transport costs may vary considerably with the location.
Is the school in:
A big city?
In the countryside?
Will you require transport?
What will be the cost?
6) SOCIAL PROGRAMME
Are visits to interesting places included in the programme?
From most countries outside the European Community, you will need a visa to visit Britain. Apply for this early. Do not leave it till near the time you wish to leave! Visas are obtained from the British Embassy in your country.
You can apply for a Tourist Visa, or Student Visa.
(An Au-pair Visa may be available but only if you are from certain countries)
To obtain a student visa from the Immigration Authorities you must have:
A letter from the language school showing that you have been accepted as a student at the school.
The school will normally provide this when you are accepted and have paid a money deposit.
Proof that you have paid, or can pay the school fees.
Proof that you have sufficient money to live at the language school while studying, without working in a job.
Proof that you will return to your country at the end of your studies.
Details of the length of your visit.
It may be possible for students from some countries to come to Britain on a Tourist Visa, and then change it later to a Student Visa. Students from other countries cannot do this. You must check with the British Embassy or Consulate in your country first.
But because of difficulties with visas, we advise you to apply for a visa in your own country. You must allow several months.
TRAVELLING TO THE LANGUAGE SCHOOL
For more details on travelling in Britain, see our 'Visiting Britain' pages. Here are some brief comments.
Train and coach travel is more expensive on Fridays unless you make a reservation more than seven (7) days in advance. We strongly recommend that you do not travel on Sundays as connections are not very good.
YOUNG PERSON'S RAILCARDS
(For 30% cheaper train tickets.)
If you are under 25 years of age, or over 25 and studying at a school in Britain for more than 15 hours a week and for at least 20 weeks, you can buy a Young Person's Railcard. This will give you a 30% discount on train tickets in Britain. The cost is £16.00 and the railcard is valid for one year. You must buy it before you buy your ticket. You will also need two (2) passport photographs.
There are also Family Railcards and Senior Railcards (for those over 60 years of age).
YOUNG PERSON'S DISCOUNT COACHCARD
(Up to 30% cheaper coach tickets.)
If you are under 25 years of age, or over 25 and studying at a school in Britain for more than 15 hours a week for at least 20 weeks, you can buy a Young Person's Discount Coachcard for long distance coach travel. The cost is £7.00 and the coachcard is valid for one year.
You must buy it before you buy your ticket.
You will need a passport photograph. There are also Discount Coachcards for those over 60 years of age. These cards also entitle you to discounts with the Youth Hostel Association.
We have given further advice on travel in Britain, in our 'Visiting Britain' pages.
If there is a British Council office in your country, they will also be able to give you advice.
You may also look at the British Council Web-page