4 ways to learn English in London: From staying to settling
Do you want to learn to speak English? No, not really. You want to speak English. That is just a little bit different. Not only that but you want to understand, read and write it too. Here are some ideas and methods for doing so in London or in England.
English is not the most spoken language in the world, but if Chinese (Mandarin) has the most speakers, the language of Shakespeare comes second, closely followed by the Spanish of Cervantes.
Knowing English is essential if you want to work in IT, business, law, marketing, media and communication, human resources, research, tourism… In short, it is an undeniable asset for your professional career.
Perhaps you have already been to England or Great Britain during your studies? Between the school trips that you take at a very young age to learn English, the language exchanges in England when you are a teenager, and the language stays to improve your English as an adult, the opportunities are vast .
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If you haven’t had this chance, don’t worry, it’s not too late.
Learn English with a language course in London
If you have a limited amount of time, taking a language course for several weeks is a wonderful idea. The courses are based on communication which will allow you to quickly acquire the basics or pass levels.
To find out more, you can contact an organization like Nacel ESL, which will allow you to take English courses in their English school in London to progress quickly.
There are many different types of courses available, depending on the organization, and you can stay with a host family or in a residence with other students from around the world.
Being immersed in the country, meeting other people motivated in learning the language, and following courses with new teachers generally makes it possible to make significant progress.
Become an au pair or volunteer in England
For those who are looking to improve their English and gain professional experience abroad, there are several options.
- For women between 18 and 27 years old (men can also apply) becoming an au pair is a good solution. There are many advantages: No more than 25 hours of work per week, room and board and money in your pocket. In exchange, you will take care of young children (2-years-old and over) and do some housework. To avoid unpleasant surprises, go through an agency approved by the international organization: IAPA.
Another solution is to volunteer.
- For years the European Voluntary Service (EVS) has been a way to have work experience abroad. It is a civic, cultural or social mission within an association or NGO for a maximum of one year. All expenses are covered: transportation, accommodation, health insurance, food, and even money. However, it is too early to know if Brexit will impact this European program. Learn more about EVS.
Moving to London for a french person
So between the barista who came to learn English and get a taste of London life and the trader living in Kensington and working in the City, people obviously don’t all have the same story. What brings us together, however, is the choice to live between the two countries, the two cultures, and the two languages.
Things to know before you leave and some advice:
- Be aware that rents in London are expensive, public transportation is also expensive, and social assistance is almost non-existent for new immigrants. However, salaries are generally higher than in France.
- Before you arrive, think about building up some savings while you look for a job.
- If you have any doubts about your English, practice! Watching series like Friends with subtitles (or any other “simple” series, not The Wire for example) allows you to get used to the sound and rhythm of English and to improve your vocabulary and turns of phrase.
- Be prepared to live with a roommate. This is the way most Londoners and most foreigners live.
- Find a roommate who cannot speak French to force you to speak English. This is important.
- Once you get a job, keep up the effort and avoid the company of French people in your spare time. In London, you can learn more about the world’s cultures than you could by studying ethnology for 5 years in college. Enjoy it, life always smiles on the most curious.
Good luck to all of you! You will not regret your hard work.
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