Our Glesga is a city of contrasts: her long history is epitomised by her cathedral but she is a lively, thrumming city with a modern vibe.

It is that very edginess; the feeling of new possibilities that drives people from all over the world to relocate to this city on the River Clyde.

That’s actually not a bad deal when you consider Glasgow’s historical population woes; in the early 20th century, this city’s population fairly exploded!

Immigrants from Lithuania, Ireland and Italy made their way to The Dear Green Place; by the 1920s, Glasgow was one of the world’s most populous cities.

When the overcrowding became untenable, the local authorities undertook measures to ‘clear out’ crowded inner city areas, shunting those hopeful new Glaswegians to areas outside the city – what we call today Glasgow’s conurbation.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that this city’s population dipped below the million mark; that is where it stays today despite an ongoing influx of people hoping to make their life there.

Today’s Glesga sees her share of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and international students.

Somehow, somewhere, all of these speakers of other languages have to learn at least enough English to manage life in our city; the question is: where and how?

That is what your Superprof endeavours to find out today.

ESOL and the International Student

Make sure you understand what the lecture is about by taking ESOL courses
If you are an international student, it would be best to take an ESOL course before starting to work on your degree Image by Nikolay Georgiev from Pixabay

Of all the people who want to start a new life in Glasgow, students from other countries are perhaps the most prepared.

Even before they arrive, they most likely already have a place to live in student housing, a bit of support and, most critically, they have already proven they possess some English skills.

In order to gain admission to any UK university, foreign students must score satisfactorily on IELTS, an exam designed to test proficiency in English.

However, scoring well on an exam does not mean that successful candidates can speak more than conversational English.

While those students may have a fairly good grasp on English grammar, many still rely on an ESL teacher for further language training once they’ve settled into campus life.

To that end, the University of Glasgow offers pre-sessional English courses.

Find out if universities in Birmingham also offer foundation ESOL courses...

Before regular classes actually start, students in ‘study abroad’ programmes may take classes to gain the academic skills necessary to keep up with their studies.

Such classes include academic writing and honing listening skills; after all, what good would it be to attend lectures if most of what is being said is not understood?

Besides the focus on developing academic skills, qualifying students benefit from these courses by doing work in their fields of study such as research and writing papers.

Perhaps the best part is that they are assigned a private tutor to guide them, both in their academic efforts and in language acquisition. This native English speaker could be a fellow student or someone with TEFL experience.

By contrast, Kelvin College is more generous in their course offerings of English as a second language.

Whereas the University of Glasgow’s ESOL programme is restricted only to students enrolled at that school, Kelvin makes courses available to students on several campuses.

The process for enrolling in these English classes might seem a bit difficult but it is really the best way to make sure that every student gets the English lessons they need.

First, you must register on their website. Doing so lets people know you need to develop your English language skills.

You must tell them how well you can speak English, meaning: what level of language skills do you have? If you are not sure, you can take an English test that will show how much English you know.

After that, it is simply a matter of waiting for the school to let you know when and where your English lessons will take place.

When you apply for lessons, you should let them know whether you need full time or part time lessons; TESOL courses can be arranged for just about any schedule.

Obviously, these two schools are not the only ones to teach English as a foreign language.

Glasgow being the friendly, welcoming city she is, there are plenty more such classes for students to take part in!

Now let’s see what programmes there are for English language learners who are not university students.

Are you curious to know how London's ESL programmes compare with Glesga's?

There are many ESOL classes for adults in Glasgow
In Glasgow, you can find ESOL classes for adults in schools as well as through charities Image by Tania Rodriguez from Pixabay

ESOL Classes for Adults

By any measure, moving to a different country – especially one where you don’t speak the language, is a very stressful event.

If the city you chose to move to is Glasgow, you will certainly meet a lot of friendly, helpful people but anyone who is new to the city and doesn’t speak fluent English might have a hard time understanding the language.

Now, add to that the distinctive Glasgow patter, a way of speaking that might make it especially difficult for non-native English speakers to keep up with... no wonder there are so many places to pick up speaking skills!

Do ESL students in Belfast have the same problem understanding the local dialect?

Glasgow Life is a registered charity that offers English courses free of charge, to anyone that needs to learn English.

First, you must go through a language assessment to see how much English you can speak and how well you speak.

And then, you will be assigned to a learning group and you will participate in lesson planning.

What is it you need to learn? Are you looking for life skills – learning how to negotiate a rental agreement or how to shop? Perhaps you need help understanding job application forms and residency permit paperwork...

Classes generally run for two hours each week. Students may take classes for as long as they feel they need them, moving up a level once they have mastered the concepts taught in the classes they currently attend.

The classes offered through Glasgow Life generally cover the basics of the English language; grammar and vocabulary necessary to get along in everyday situations – what some people call ‘rescue English’.

To move on to a higher level of English speaking, many people seek out lessons in a language school.

How do people elsewhere in the UK find the English lessons they need?

Find an ESOL Teacher at Glasgow School of English

There is such an intensive focus on refugees and asylum seekers by the British Council as well as a multitude of charity organisations – and that is as it should be.

Still, with so much effort made in helping those who are unfortunate, it is easy to forget that not everyone who is looking for an English teacher is from a war-torn country or suffering from economic hardship.

The Glasgow School of English is aware of that; they provide lessons at all levels of English including Business English, Professional English and even Academic English for those who plan to attend any of Glesga’s universities.

They also offer a course on IELTS test prep, should that be what you need.

Are you thinking about sitting your IELTS exam in Leeds? Find out where you can prepare for it...

If you already speak a little bit of English, enough to shop for food and find a place to live, you would probably be best suited to one of their intermediate classes.

If you have arrived in Glasgow on your own and do not yet have a place to live, you might take part in their homestay programme or live in a dorm on campus.

You might take part in what they call their 7.5 classes which, oddly enough, costs £75 per lesson. The 7.5 number indicates how many hours each week you will spend learning English.

Their General English 15 is twice the amount of learning for less than twice the price (£130 per week for up to 11 weeks) and their intensive course will see you in class for a full 22.5 hours at a cost of £185 per week.

Naturally, your time at this school doesn’t have to be all hard work; you may take part in cultural events and outings around the city – anything from hiking and biking to visiting museums.

You might even enjoy travelling around Scotland with your classmates!

Perhaps you will meet some ESOL students in Edinburgh on one of your trips...

It might be easier for some people to take private English lessons at home
Some people would prefer private English lessons with a tutor in their home Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Hire an English Tutor for ESOL Lessons

A fourth option for learning English that is suitable for students, adults and young learners would be to find a private language tutor.

In this case, ESL teaching would happen in your home or online, if you so prefer.

Learning English in a familiar setting might even be preferable for some groups; perhaps the elderly, women, or those who are not yet comfortable finding their way around their new city.

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

Tutoring groups in Manchester take these instances and others into consideration...

Just ask Superprof tutor Maria: she is a qualified ESOL tutor who would work with you one on one or with your whole family.

Maria has experience teaching English all over the world; in addition, she speaks both Spanish and French – if either of those is your native language, you will find it easy to learn English from this tutor.

Other Superprof tutors you might like to work with include:

  • Lauren, who has taught in Vietnam and Singapore, is currently finishing up her Master’s degree at the University of Glasgow
  • Urzula has been TEFL qualified for two years; she adapts her lesson plans to your needs
  • Liz has taught English in Greece, Romania and Spain; she welcomes lessons for you or your entire family either in your home or online
  • Derek has more than 10 years of experience in teaching English as a second language; his speciality is exam preparation.

These are just a few of the 65 Superprof ESOL tutors in and around Glasgow; most of whom give their first hour of lessons at no cost.

You might worry about the cost of private lessons; after all, teachers of English are not exactly cheap.

Superprof ESOL teachers, on the other hand, provide quality lessons for a low price. The average rate for such lessons is £20 per hour; far lower than you might find in any school!

Are you new to Glasgow? If so, welcome! Do you need help learning English? If so, Superprof awaits!

Are you new to Cardiff? Find out where the best ESL lessons are held...

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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.