Language is a big deal in Wales’ capital city, for a couple of surprising reasons.

In 2017, the Cardiff City Council formulated a Welsh Language Strategy to ensure that that tongue doesn’t die out.

Also, they wish to ensure that migrants, refugees and the large foreign student population enroled in Cardiff universities can use the English language to communicate effectively.

For these reasons, there are plenty of English courses to choose from.

You might wonder why we say those reasons are surprising...

Like people of most other nations, the Welsh people are proud of their long history, their culture and heritage.

A sterling example of such is the uproar over the 2001 census that led Plaid Cymru to endorse a petition calling for the addition of ‘Welsh’ as a national identity category to the official population count.

Seen in that light, it seems strange that such a people would forego their native language but it was obviously happening!

The second strange aspect is the issue of immigrants and refugees: Cardiff is not the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of cities with an ethnically diverse population... but that assumption would be incorrect!

Nearly 15% of Cardiff’s population hails from other nations; a fact that the city celebrates through cultural events and festivals throughout the year.

All of those people had to at least polish up their English language skills somewhere, if not learn English altogether... right?

Let us now introduce you to some of those classes and meet the great teachers whose passion is language teaching.

If you want to learn online you can find an English course online with Superprof.

Take ESOL Lessons with a Charity Organisation

Learning to communicate is the best way to reduce feelings of stress and isolation
The best way to lessen the stress of living in a new country is to learn the language quickly! Image by ree pilots from Pixabay

The prevalence of non-profit organisations that offer ESOL classes (and other relocation help) to anyone newly arrived is a testament to the fact that Cardiff is a welcoming city; a safe haven for those whose lives have been dramatically upturned.

Here, we feature the top two such concerns.

Oasis Cardiff

Their mission is to help asylum seekers and refugees settle in and integrate into the local community. Therefore, it stands to reason that teaching English skills is one of their highest priorities.

In fact, they aver that those English classes are their biggest draw.

Ever aware of cultural sensitivity, the volunteer language teachers group their English learners not just according to their level of spoken English – beginner, intermediate or advanced but also according to their preferences.

No worries that these teachers are volunteers; all of them either have long experience teaching or have earned their TEFL certification.

In keeping with their mission to help new arrivals integrate and thrive in their new community, they also teach an IELTS prep course.

This presents non-native speakers with the opportunity to enrol at university upon satisfactory scoring of that exam so that they might earn credentials for skills they already possess or to retrain for a different field of work altogether.

ESOL and IELTS prep sessions are conducted at no charge, Monday through Friday, from 10:30 to 12:30 and, should you want to volunteer with Oasis as an ESL teacher, you would be more than welcome!

Join the discussion: should London make ESOL classes free to immigrants?

ACE Cardiff

Contrary to Oasis’ mission, ACE’s primary focus is to aid and support disadvantaged youths in and around Cardiff.

Their secondary focus is to work with speakers of other languages.

‘In response to an obvious need in the community...’ from the ACESOL web page

To that end, they have set up several classes, mostly targeted to absolute beginners and beginner learners of English.

And, like the organisation mentioned above, cultural sensitivity dictates how their classes are set up: mixed gender or single gender, in small groups (no more than 10 students per session), the scope of which is mainly life skills.

Leeds is not quite the destination for immigrants that Cardiff is; find out how people there find ESOL courses.

In this sense, the term ‘life skills’ relates more to the literacy and numeracy aspects of starting life in a new country. Those include:

  • reading - anything from road signs to food labels
  • counting and performing simple math in English
  • conversational English: asking and answering basic questions

However, as this charity is overwhelmingly concerned with new arrivals’ wellbeing, they also touch on needed cultural competencies; things like driving on the left and simple courtesies such as eye contact handshakes.

ACE runs one ESOL programme on Mondays and Wednesdays in Butetown and another on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Ely Hub. Each course is generally five weeks long.

You are also welcome to volunteer with ACE, either in their ‘vulnerable adults’ programme or their children’s Learning Programme.

We did say that these are two of the top charities that teach English as a second language, right?

In this table, we feature all of the organisations and people, so generous with their knowledge and time, ready to help anyone who wants/needs to learn English.

NameAddressPhone NumberEmail
Cardiff and Vale College27 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AB 0292 025 0250
Vale of Glamorgan Council 1st Floor, Barry Library, King Square, Barry CF63 4RW 0144 673 6466
Welsh Refugee Council120 -122 Broadway, Cardiff, CF24 1NJ0292 048 9800
Space4You CardiffTrinity Methodist Church
Piercefield Place/ Newport Road Junction CF24 1LE
Adult Learning Wales7 Coopers Yard, Curran Road CF10 5NB0292 038 2431

Find out also if Manchester is continuing its long tradition of welcoming speakers of other languages...

Learn English as a Foreign Language with a Private Company

Passing IELTS doesn't mean that students can speak English competently
Scoring well on IELTS is one thing; immersion into a different language and culture is something else completely Image by Jess Foami from Pixabay

The charitable organisations that provide classes for the newly-arrived have a major selling point over language schools: they cost nothing.

On the other hand, language schools offer an aspect of language learning that doesn’t necessarily feature elsewhere.

Such facilities teach according to students’ needs and preferences, usually in a one-to-one setting or in a small group; maybe a family.

It would be a mistake to presume such institutions care less about how their students might get along in society outside the classroom; indeed they too are devoted to teaching life skill and cultural competences.

Language International has built an institution around the concept that not everyone in Great Britain is a native English speaker.

To that end, they have set up ESOL courses all over England and Wales, as well as Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Yes, even in Belfast you can find courses in English as a second language!

More specifically, they have partnered with providers of English courses all over the world to provide the best selection of courses without those who need education in English fundamentals struggling to find lessons on their own.

Courses range from general English to English for Business, with classes lasting anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year or more. Students aged 16 and older are welcome.

Even if you are a native speaker of English, these courses could help you get a better grasp of the intricacies of your first language!

How does teaching English as a foreign language differ in Glasgow?

Adult Education at Cardiff and Vale

It would be incorrect to assume that everyone who needs an ESOL course is completely incapable of speaking even basic English.

Many who seek out such courses have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the language and just need a bit more education to boost their proficiency.

For such English speakers, their best bet would be to head directly to Cardiff and Vale College.

CAVC, as it is known, has an entire learning programme meant specifically for those adult English language learners who perhaps have never completed a certificate program.

Such people might need those credentials before retraining in any field of work.

Should that be the case, CAVC is the perfect place: after polishing up one’s skills as an English speaker, a whole course list awaits, with selections ranging from construction to catering.

You might be interested in knowing about Edinburgh ESOL programmes in their colleges...

Would you learn English by yourself in a language lab?
Not everyone is comfortable learning English in a language lab; a tutor is often needed Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Students: Learn English Abroad at Cardiff University

Naturally, not everyone who lands in Cardiff is an asylum seeker.

A substantial number of international students who have sat and scored satisfactorily on IELTS are granted admission to Cardiff University.

As many ESL teachers would attest, an exam does not really indicate how well anyone can speak and understand English, meaning that many who arrive in our beautiful city find themselves lost when immersed in our language.

Accordingly, Cardiff University has set up a variety of programmes to support those students; anything from summer sessions to ongoing support while school is in session.

Because this guidance is targeted strictly to university students, these programmes’ focus is on academic English, specifically:

  • Pronunciation
  • general reading and writing
  • academic writing
  • oral communication and listening
  • Everyday English in relation to university life

In addition to those established courses, ESOL students may participate in one-on-one drop-in sessions held every Friday in the Student Union.

Furthermore, this school provides a host of online English services. Topics include interactive vocabulary and grammar lessons as well as guidance on academic writing.

As you might imagine, these services are most appreciated. However, many students rely on private tuition.

Where do English learners in Birmingham they find such tutors?

Language Acquisition with Superprof

Would you prefer to take an English course online? How about in the privacy of your own home? Or perhaps you would like a tutor who would be willing to meet you while out and about...

If you are looking for an ESOL tutor who puts your needs first, Superprof has a tutor for you!

You might enjoy taking lessons with Anna, whose glowing student testimonials confirm her status as an ESOL teacher of merit.

Or perhaps Muna, with her years of experience in teaching students of other languages English would appeal to you more. Her hourly rate is only £15 and she gives your first hour of instruction for free!

In fact, most every Superprof ESOL tutor charges nothing for their first hour, just so that you can see for yourself whether that tutor is right for you.

Furthermore, most would either come to your home or meet you – out somewhere or online... anything to assure your comfort!

And, with an average price of £20 per lesson, it would be hard to think of Superprof ESOL lessons as anything but meant for you.

Have you moved beyond basic English? Are you ready for in-depth instruction of this language you’ve pledged to learn?

No matter what level your English is, you now know where to turn to find the language skills you need to cultivate.

Now discover everything you need to know about taking ESOL lessons anywhere in the UK...

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A vagabond traveler whose first love is the written word, I advocate for continuous learning, cycling, and the joy only a beloved pet can bring. There is plenty else I am passionate about, but those three should do it, for now.