To say that Scotland’s capital city is welcoming would be an understatement.

She is renowned for both her International Festival and The Fringe, the most famous arts festival in the world, one that draws performers from every corner of the globe.

Last year, the Fringe saw more than 50,000 performances and sold nearly three million tickets.

In a region whose local authority area population is under one million, the number of Fringe tickets sold surely indicates that many festival goers hail from distant locales.

What proportion of that visiting population came for those festivals and decided to stay?

And how many people simply come to Edinburgh with the intent of settling there simply because it is a great place to live?

The latest census shows that immigrants from Poland and India chose Edinburgh to make their home in, as well as a people from the Republic of Ireland.

The question is: do all of these people arriving in Edinburgh already have a good command of the English language or do they seek out language lessons upon arrival?

And what about international students – another demographic that claims a decent percentage of Edinburgh’s population?

Obviously, those student have some knowledge of the English language because, in order to enrol in a university they had to score well on IELTS, the international English language testing system exam.

However, possessing enough knowledge of English to pass an exam and having adequate communication skills for academic purposes and to function in society are two entirely different propositions.

Therefore, it would be quite likely that such students would seek out ESL teachers as well.

To make that search easier, Superprof now goes on the hunt for the best English language learning opportunities in and around Edinburgh.

English Courses in Your Local Community Centre

No need to worry about the volunteers at your local community centre; they are fully certified TEFL instructors
The volunteer teachers of English at Community Learning and Development all have a TEFL certificate Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Community Learning and Development is a fantastic initiative whose focus is on helping people – native speakers and non-native alike, to develop the skills needed for a successful, productive life in Edinburgh.

Reading and writing in English can be difficult for those whose first language is English too!

As our focus is English as a second language, we are happy to report that Community Learning is equally invested in helping speakers of other languages improve their English or learn it from scratch.

To that end, English course are organised by levels. Which course one should sign up for would be determined by an informal pretest, a sort of screening so that the educators know where to place you.

No need to worry about that step, it amounts to a conversation so that the administrators can determine which class and ESL teacher would best suit you.

Most of their classes are offered for free after a £10 administrative fee, while others charge a per-lesson fee – but even those rates are reasonable.

With more than 30 centres scattered throughout the city and surrounding area, and classes scheduled all day and into the evening, one could say that accessibility to English learning is plentiful!

Might you find the same type of ESL lessons in Cardiff?

Learn Language Skills Through a Charity

As everywhere else throughout the UK, Scotland in general and Edinburgh in particular have a bounty of charitable people and organisations.

As such, it stands to reason that there would be a group of volunteers that would help the newly arrived settle in and find their place in the community.

The Welcoming – depending on how you say it, that could be an ominous name.

But, to the people perhaps overwhelmed by the major upheaval in their lives (relocating is one of life’s greatest stressors!), those Welcoming folks are a warm beacon in what could otherwise be terrifying terrain.

Did you know that Belfast ESL teachers are just as welcoming?

Originally founded by The Adult Learning Project, ten years after their inception, they broke away to reform themselves as an independent charity.

We welcome newcomers, build community and learn together – The Welcoming

True to their mission statement, not only to their volunteers teach speakers of other languages how to speak English but they also help them to find work and navigate local services.

You needn’t worry about those teachers being volunteers; each one is a qualified teacher with years of experience in the classroom, and everyone has earned their TESOL certificate.

Their calendar is chock-full of events, including classes for English language learners of various levels, from basic English all the way to classes for those who have a fairly good grasp of the language but want to improve their language proficiency.

After class, you may go bike riding or partake of other scheduled activities – after all, they are community builders as well as language teachers!

That’s the basics, all covered. Now, let’s find out where every international student and people with more advanced English skills can turn for language acquisition.

Birmingham is also home to a substantial population that needs ESOL lessons...

Would you pay for English lessons if your future depended on it?
For those staking their future on knowing how to speak English, paying for lessons at a language school is no sacrifice Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Learn English in a Language School

With all of the free and reasonably-priced courses available to ESL students in Edinburgh, you might wonder what the point of paying for lessons would be.

The answer is simple: for those staking their entire future on learning English, no sacrifice is too great.

If you want to learn English online you can find a private tutor here.

So, while they may well enjoy the classes offered at community centres throughout the city, there is a good chance that they would also seek out ‘professional’ lessons.

The same hold true for Manchester ESOL lessons...

Enter the Edinburgh School of Language, a language interschool dedicated to helping people improve their linguistic skills.

They have spent an enormous amount of time and effort to develop lesson plans that address learners at all levels of English, from the absolute beginner to those who are fluent but perhaps cannot read or write very well in English.

What is really great about the way these courses are structured is that they address the four main areas of language learning: reading and writing, speaking and listening.

And, because learning happens best in small groups, class size is limited to no more than six students.

No need to worry about missing your learning opportunity; new classes start every Monday.

While their intensive courses tend toward the pricey, their part-time courses, 3-6 hours per week, average out to about £20 per lesson – an exceedingly reasonable fee, considering it includes all learning materials as well!

Only a private tutor could afford to give lessons for less than that... and we’ll get to them in just a moment.

You can find private tutors for English lessons anywhere in the UK...

English as a Foreign Language at Edinburgh College

As mentioned before, any student from abroad wishing to study in the UK must have a satisfactory score on their English exam, which means that they do have some knowledge of our language.

Has their language training fully prepared them to keep up with lectures? And what about their academic writing skills?

Quite often, international students themselves feel that their language skills are lacking no matter how competent they really are; that is one reason they seek extra English language training.

They really don’t have to look very far; Edinburgh College stands at the ready with an entire course list meant for people who already have conversational skills but need to improve their English overall.

For example, Edinburgh College’s General English course would be suitable for someone who has already secured employment, while the ESOL Higher courses are meant for people who are enroled or wish to enrol in any UK university.

Edinburgh College also has English for Employability courses targeted to adults looking for work for whom English is a foreign language.

Finally, for those whose love for their new home prompts them to become tour guides, there is a Tourism with English course!

Did you know that colleges throughout Leeds offer ESOL courses?

Tutors are there for those who prefer learning outside of a classroom
Some ESOL learners might prefer learning English with a private tutor Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Tutors and English Language Teaching

Non-native speakers of English obviously have a lot of choices when it comes to learning our native language.

One option that appeals to plenty of English learners is taking lessons at home, with a tutor.

Those who are a bit more tech-savvy, who enjoy an expanded digital footprint, may even prefer English lessons online.

Not every language school, charity or community centre offers online language lessons; this is where tutors come into play.

Superprof tutors are particularly adept at giving lessons online; indeed, most of Superprof’s 53 ESOL tutors active in Edinburgh would be happy to give you lessons online – or in person, if you so choose.

You might enjoy learning with:

  • Amelia, a fully certified TEFL instructor, has experience teaching both children and adults. She has also taught English abroad.
  • Melanie has experience teaching small groups as well as individuals; she too has worked with students of all ages
  • Josh works best with students aged 15 and older. His teaching style is relaxed and fun; focused on what you need.
  • Tico is a true global citizen having taught English in China and studied in Costa Rica. He now calls Edinburgh his home and will happily give you lessons at yours

You might think the cost of private tutoring would be pretty high but, at an average rate of £18 per hour of instruction, Superprof tutors actually cost less than it does to learn English in school... and most give their first hour of lessons at no charge.

Where in Edinburgh can one turn for to find an English teacher? Where in Glasgow can one find an ESOL teacher?

With the wealth of classes, teachers and tutors available in this city, that answer is easy!

Now discover where new arrivals in London go for their English classes...

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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.