Let it be said: language learning at university in your home country is not always the most practical way to do it. An online English course needs to be experienced either in small groups or in complete immersion if one wants to progress.
According to EF - Education First (an international education company), the level of English amongst European countries varies a lot. Sweeden, Norway and Denmark are at the top of the EF English Proficiency Index which measures the level of English proficiency of adults. Our Scandinavian neighbours scored around 70 (out of 100) giving them a High Proficiency Level.
On the other hand, Spain, Italy and France are all lagging behind ranking 32nd, 34th and 35th of the EF English Proficiency Index and with scores around 55 they only make the mark for a Moderate Proficiency Level.
So how can you learn English in immersion to become bilingual or even completely fluent? We will be giving you all the tips you need regarding In-country immersion classes, at home language acquisition and learning experience or specialised English language coursework.
Plan Your English Language Stay With An Agency
Your English as a foreign language level isn't what it should be? You need a refresher course or you are trying to get ready for the TOEFL, TOEIC, TEFL or IELTS exams? Then you might want to consider getting in touch with a linguistic stay agency.
To know how to speak English has become essential for a multitude of areas:
- In Marketing, to understand all the idioms used globally.
- In PR and events planning, to be able to communicate with a worldwide audience.
- For international student relations.
- In the tourism industry, to adapt and answer clients need.
Since English as a foreign language has become so essential, linguistic agencies have boomed and offered many different options:
- Associations of Linguistic Stays such as the UNOSEL (a non-profit association federating 68 members, organizers of educational and language tours for schools, for young people and for adults)
- Certified organisations such as EF - Education First or SILC International
- Reputable schools such as ESL (English Second Language) or ESOL Schools also organise linguistic internships overseas.
Once you've picked your agency and where you'd like to go and the type of stay you wish to experience, you only have to make sure that you got all the necessary visas and paperwork.
How To Go To England With Erasmus?
You need to complete an internship as part of your degree, or you wish to discover an English speaking country and improve your literacy, grammar, comprehension, reading and writing skills and overall linguistics skills at the same time? If you are a European citizen, then Erasmus is for you. But before you start your application, there are a few things you should know.
As for any European certified language program, there is a screening for all candidates and only a limited amount of candidates will be accepted to join the program each year. England is also in very high demand, being the only country in Europe with English as an official language.
Here are the different steps you need to take to make sure you get in the Erasmus program:
- Find out which schools and universities are part of the program and rank them according to your prefered destination.
- Get in touch or meet with the International Relations director at your current university will go a long way.
- Preparation for your Erasmus application file and make sure it is fully ready in time.
- Then you will have to wait for an answer.
All Erasmus candidate's application needs to include:
- A cover letter that was written specifically for your project
- A copy of all relevant university grades
- A letter for the bursary application
- One to three referral letters from your lecturers
There are a few more steps to once your application has been successful. You will have to get the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to be covered whenever you end up during your internship.
Of course, you will also have to make sure you got the right currency as the UK uses the Sterling pound rather than the Euro. Get yourself a plug adaptor too as once on the other side of the channel, all plugs will be different. And make sure to have all your documents safely stored.
For now, the UK still accepts European Union national ID card at the border but with Brexit that might change and soon you will probably need a passport if you want to cross the border.
One of the other reasons the UK is such a popular destination for Erasmus students is that students taking a semester or a year to study there usually receive around 400 euros a month as part of their bursary (vs. 250 euros a month for most of the other European destinations).
But do not be fooled, this amount reflects the higher cost of living in England and especially in London. That being said, the current exchange rate will definitely play in your favour.
Every year the United Kingdom welcomes more than 25,000 European students through Erasmus. The intercultural and multicultural approach of the program and the mix of language and culture intensive learning environment has proven to be a success for more than 30 years.
Learn English By Living with an English Family?
The best thing about being hosted by a family is to be able to be in total immersion which is the best way to improve your English language skills and to learn more about British culture. Living with an English family is a way to learn in a very casual way with expert teachers: English first language speakers.
But there are many countries using English as their official language and you could have to choose between:
- American English
- Scottish English
- Irish English
- Australian English
Accents and local idioms are different from country to country and it is normal that living with an Australian family is going to be different than living with a British family.
When choosing the country for your linguistic placement, keep in mind that it is a very common thing to do in the United States.
Once you know where you want to go, you will have to get in touch with the right agency:
- Lingoo, put students and host families in touch
- Chez Nous Homestay, spécialised in stays in Ireland
- Excellence Linguistique, if you wish to get a very intense learning experience
- LEC, offers both English courses and stay overseas.
There are more pros when it comes to choosing to stay with an English speaking family:
- You will attend intensive classes: courses will be at least 4 hours a day all week.
- You will be in total immersion.
- You will go out with your hosting family, make some friends and feel like your on holidays.
- You will benefit from a bespoke learning experience.
- You could look for a job and improve your business vocabulary.
- You will get ready for your English exams (TOEIC, TOEFL or IELTS).
- You will be able to show off on your resume.
Our Tips To Improve Your English With Native Speakers
It is true that speaking with English or American natives seems to be the most immersive way to improve in the mother tongue of Shakespeare. An you could do that in a few different ways:
- In your home country with English speaking students, there to study abroad.
- In your home country by meeting English speaking expats.
- Abroad by staying with an English speaking family.
If you living in a big city it is very likely that the local universities will be welcoming foreign students and if you live in Europe chances are many of them will come from North America or the UK. It will be easy to find someone to be teaching English to you in a casual manner outside the classroom.
These universities often have an international relations department who should be able to put you in touch with English language learners wanting to improve in your native language while you could learn theirs.
Again, if you're lucky to live in a big city, expats love to learn more about the local languages and you will be likely to find so meet up events where local and expats mingle and try to improve each other language listening skills.
However, the immersive method to learn English online or in person with natives is to go and meet them in their home countries. By staying with a local family, you will be sure that your level of English will improve drastically.
Furthermore, there are many options when it comes to living abroad for a while: internships, linguistic exchange, Work Holiday Visas. So don't be shy, go and learn English in Malta, be an au pair for a bit in New Zealand, join an exchange programme with an American university...