When one thinks of Belfast, demographics is not its first quality that comes to mind. If there is thought along those lines, the general distinction is of religion rather than anyone’s ethnicity.
Seeing Belfast strictly in those terms does not give that beautiful, welcoming city the credit it deserves.
In spite of necessary segregation, a reminder of The Troubles as well as a means of deterring further trouble, Belfast has been home to a substantial community of ethnic minorities.
People from China, Poland and India represent the major influx but, more recently, immigrants from all over eastern Europe have made their way to Northern Ireland’s largest city.
Did everyone arrive already speaking English or did they look for language courses after arrival? And what about international students?
Although they certainly must score in the acceptable range on IELTS to earn a place at any of Belfast’s universities, they would certainly want (or perhaps need) to polish up their English language skills.
To that end, Queen’s University offers international students a foundation year prior to starting work on their degree. Nevertheless, such students may want an extra boost to their English speaking.
For anyone longing for life in Belfast – whether attracted by its growing economy or for the opportunity to earn a degree at any of this city’s fine universities, the ability to speak English is vital.
Your Superprof now outlines the best ESOL classes and tutors in Belfast so that, should you be one hoping to relocate there, you will know exactly where to turn for English language learning.
In spite of its imposing facade, the Belfast Met welcomes all international students Source: Wikipedia Credit: William Murphy
Belfast Metropolitan College is Northern Ireland’s largest college, thanks to a 2007 merger between Castlereagh College and Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education.
As with many metropolitan colleges, Belfast Met has facilities scattered all across the city but prospective ESOL students may be happy to know that their campus is located in the Titanic Quarter.
Although nowhere near such a glamorous location, Manchester ESOL courses are just as welcoming…
Far from being a harbinger of doom, the Titanic Quarter is a vibrant, pulsing waterfront district.
There, close to the studio where Game of Thrones was produced is the campus where you will find part-time and full-time English classes for speakers of other languages.
Their ESL program is further subdivided into two categories:
1. ESOL Skills for Life is targeted to those who intend to settle in Belfast, whose first language is other than English.
In this course, students learn ‘functional’ English vocabulary: how to negotiate simple transactions, how to handle money and deal with officials matters such as applying for residence and talking to a doctor.
It offers little emphasis on English grammar beyond the basics, such as sentence structure and verb tenses.
Their second English program is targeted to students or non-native speakers – anyone who has some language skill but needs or wishes to improve their English.
This International Qualifications Programme drills down into language mechanics, emphasises fluency in speaking and helps develop reading and writing skills.
This modern campus is fully equipped with the latest classroom technology: whiteboards, audio-visual equipment and information technology.
Class size is limited to no more than 20 students, which gives the ESL teachers plenty of room to incorporate non-traditional learning activities into their lesson plans, such as role-playing, Twenty Questions or even crossword puzzles.
All of this is great for older students or adults learning English; what about younger students for whom English is a second language?
Where in the UK can you find language programmes targeted to young ESOL learners?
After the day’s lessons, International House ESOL students may participate in water sports Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay
Making a family decision to relocate to another country is never done lightly; there is plenty to consider.
Short of such a group being asylum seekers, the two main questions upon which such a decision is based are:
Will the adults be able to find work? Will the children be able to go to school?
If the country in question is Northern Ireland (or any other English-speaking locale), the answer to both of these questions is predicated upon those family members’ ability to speak English.
While opportunities abound for adults and adolescent children to learn how to speak English – the Belfast Met, mentioned above, is an excellent case in point, caregivers might have a harder time finding ESOL courses for younger children.
London ESOL courses in particular are targeted to young students of English…
The International House Belfast, located in the heart of the university district, offers two distinct learning programmes to students as young as 12 and as old as 17.
The Share programme is a 2-week immersion course in which English learners pursue both structured and social learning activities with their native English speaking counterparts.
This is an immersive programme: students are housed in dorms and do everything with their new, local friends, from engaging in water sports to arts and crafts activities.
Through this constant activity and exposure to the English language, young students pick up the language faster than if they merely sat in class day after day.
That’s not to say that there are no formal lessons; indeed there are 10 hours of classroom learning embedded into this 2-week programme.
Should sports be high on any youngster’s agenda, s/he might prefer the Young Learners’ programme.
It too lasts 2 weeks and is a full-immersion, live-in arrangement.
However, there is more focus on formal learning – the programme includes 15 English lessons per week and structured activities filling the rest of each day.
Students are housed in dormitories right on campus – that would be Campbell Campus, located about 10 minutes from downtown Belfast.
When not engaged in formal learning, learners get to interact with local sports teams, drama clubs and they may even sing in a choir.
You would be surprised at how singing can help master the English language!
Should either of those youth programmes appeal to you or if you are looking for language training for adult learners, exam prep or work placement courses, you may address yourself to their web page.
Also find language training courses in Birmingham…
ESOL tutors make newly arrived English students feel at home Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Second language acquisition can be a stressful and difficult undertaking, especially if one’s entire future hangs in the balance.
If you’re an international student, your academic English must be such that you can keep up with your coursework and earn satisfactory marks lest you lose your place at university.
For these reasons and more, many speakers of other languages who arrive in Belfast bypass any English language school in favour of a tutor who will meet with them away from any noise and hubbub.
Discover the great tutors in Leeds that give online ESL lessons all over the country!
If you are looking for one to one English lessons, you may direct yourself to the above-mentioned International House for intensive tutoring sessions.
Their language teachers have experience working with people who have only basic skills (Level A1) in English to those who can speak more advanced English.
The best part about this learning programme is that it is tailor-made to the student’s needs.
If you can speak fairly well but would like to improve your English reading or writing, your tutor will design a curriculum just for you.
On the other hand, if you need life skills – how to manage a phone conversation, find a job; negotiate a lease agreement or apply for a residence permit, that will be the focus of your lessons.
At £50 per hour of instruction (£35 apiece for two students of the same level), these lessons can be fairly pricey, even if they are effective.
However, there is another solution…
How do new arrivals in Cardiff learn English as a second language?
Again we flash to English language learners who would prefer to take lessons in what might possibly be the only ‘safe’ environment they have at the moment: their home.
Imagine an asylum seeker or immigrant: barely knowing the language, feeling lucky to have found a place to live… would you imagine that someone in that position might really feel up to navigating a strange new city in search of language lessons?
For those who have newly arrived, Superprof is the best solution for learning English as a second language.
What do you think of these English tutors?
These are just a few Belfast ESOL teachers; there are many more for you to choose from!
In fact, if you are open to taking online English lessons, you may learn English with a tutor in Edinburgh…
All of the Belfast Superprof tutors offer their first hour of lessons at no charge so that you can see for yourself how dedicated they are to helping you learn exactly the English skills you need.
English for international students, life skills or just conversational English until you get your feet back under you: with Superprof, you can find the right English teacher for your needs.
And if, for some reason, you are not in tune with any of those tutors, Superprof has ESOL teachers who would work with you strictly online, via webcam.
With that much choice, there is no doubt you and yours will soon be speaking English comfortably and well!
As in Belfast, so in Glasgow: should English students learn the local dialect along with their English as a foreign language lessons?