English is one of the most widely-used languages in the world, but what is the lowdown on studying English in the UK, as appose to your native country? In this article we examine learning English as a second language.

The importance of English

English is arguably the most important and widely-spoken language around the world. For a start it is spoken in some of the most powerful countries, such as the US, Britain, Canada and Australia – in total 57 countries speak English as the official language. It is also the language of NATO, the European Union and the United Nations.

Although only the third most-spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, English is probably most used as a second language. It is estimated that around a third of the world speak some English.

Learning in England versus learning in your native country

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You can pretty much find English courses anywhere in the world, and for many English is taught from a young age at school. Although these classes are certainly beneficial to millions, if not billions, of people around the globe, there is nowhere better to learn English than in the country it was born.

For those who are looking to better their English for career purposes, you may be tempted to take classes in your own country. Although this is certainly cheaper and more feasible with a working lifestyle, if you do get the opportunity to take classes in an English-speaking country then you should take it. Nobody can teach the English language as well as a professionally trained English native.

By living the UK, students are surrounded by the language at all times and are practically forced into speaking English. Everywhere you turn and everything you do, including shopping, public transport and the media, you must use English. Instead of switching off until your next lesson, which can be the case when studying in your own country, your brain will be switched on to English at all times.

Schools in the UK

If you are looking for an English course UK schools often vary greatly in quality. Many schools offer cheap classes, taught by unqualified teachers. It is certainly worth doing some serious research and making sure that the place you end up studying has been accredited by the appropriate bodies.

The location can make or break your trip to the UK, so it is worth thinking about what you really want from your trip. If you are want to get down and do some serious studying for an exam or foundation programme UK schools in the countryside, where it is much more peaceful and quiet, might be more suitable. But if you want to experience the social side of living in the UK, a school in a major city, such as London or Manchester, might be more appropriate.

Links:

English Grammar Guide - A useful online guide to English grammar rules

BBC World Service - A guide to learning English from the BBC World Service

British Council Teaching English - Site featuring information for students and teachers of English as a foreign language, including videos