One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.
Franck Smith, Linguist.

A school in Leeds announced this week that it would teach English as a second language to all its pupils – three quarters of whom do not have English as their mother tongue – in an attempt to boost their fundamental language skills. This is, as of yet, an isolated case; yet it is telling about the society we live in: a diverse, cosmopolitan, multilingual society.

Interestingly, figures from the UK Department for Education revealed that students who have English as their second language do better in exams than their native-speaker peers. The numbers of English language programs are increasing and so are their purposes: from teaching English at a very basic level at school, to teaching specialised vocabulary to professionals.

Pic: Students at Harrow College

But is this really surprising? With more than 2 billion speakers across the globe, English is the most widespread language. It has become the default language people from different countries use to communicate with each other, both in the work environment and in around-the-world travel. And now that students enjoy the benefits of mobility and study abroad programs, and have the opportunity to undertake whole degrees in other countries, English has become indispensable and about more than just “getting by.”

International students who look to the UK for its high academic standards and the global reputation of its universities should also think of its English language skills. Being immersed in a different country is a great way to improve a language before taking on the challenges of a university degree.

Language requirements to apply to university mean many students need to develop and improve their language skills before they start a degree. By enrolling in English language programs, international students give themselves the best opportunity to excel in the subject they are passionate about. They will achieve better marks on their coursework and get the degree they really want if they have a better understanding of the nuances of the English language, particularly the academic style that is required at university level.

Pic: London

English language programs welcome hundreds of students from all over the world and are an excellent way to get introduced to the British lifestyle. Mastering English is necessary in many spheres of modern life, including the workplace. Many jobs require a good command of English, which will set graduates ahead of their peers when it comes to finding employment abroad or in their home country.

Many colleges and universities around the UK offer English language programs, with options to study over the summer or prepare for examinations such as the Cambridge First Certificate and the International English Language Test System (IELTS), which universities require.

Here’s a selection of UK colleges and universities that offer great ESL programs:

ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE – HARROW COLLEGE
Harrow College is located just 10 miles from Central London in the Middlesex suburb of Harrow. Its proximity to the capital makes it a first choice for international students looking for a friendly and exciting study environment with close access to everything London has to offer. The College has excellent teaching and learning facilities and dedicated English as a Foreign Language (EFL) courses for international students at all levels. The EFL program at Harrow College is accredited by the British Council and a member of English UK. Read the full profile here…

ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE – HENLEY COLLEGE
Henley College is a vibrant and friendly college that provides education, training and apprenticeships in Coventry, in the West Midlands. The city of Coventry is ideally located in the heart of England and provides close access to Birmingham, London and Manchester. The College offers English as a Foreign Language (EFL) courses which are full-time and run throughout the year. These offer levels from elementary to advanced and help prepare examinations such as the IELTS and the Cambridge First Certificate. Read more here…

Pic: Highbury Graduates

KINGSTON COLLEGE
Kingston College has been welcoming international students for a number of years and offers many English language courses. Located a short 20-minute ride from central London and its cultural and social attractions, it’s a popular choice for students who want to pursue their further education in the UK. Around 10% of its students are from outside the UK, and English teaching at Kingston is accredited by the British Council. The courses at Kingston are all very high quality and good value for money, and the special relationships enjoyed with Kingston University and other institutions across the UK are useful for students who want to study for a degree. Find out more here…

ENGLISH PROGRAMMES – LLANDRILLO MENAI COLLEGE
Llandrillo Menai International is a leading public sector college in the UK, offering courses to more than 34,000 students. Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Llandrillo Menai International is just an hour’s drive from Manchester, yet the beautiful mountains, lakes and beaches of North Wales are close by. Llandrillo Menai College holds a Highly Trusted Sponsor licence to recruit adult and child students from overseas. The College offers Academic English Programs which are taught intensively, and also equip students with study skills for those wishing to study degree courses at a UK university. Read more here…

ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE – HIGHBURY COLLEGE
Highbury College in Portsmouth is a leading further education college in the UK, which maintains a very high reputation among international students. The college works with many organisations and governments across the globe, including in the Far East, South-East Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Highbury College operates a variety of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) courses. Classes are designed for students preparing to enter university (ages 16 to 18) as well as for adult learners who are based in the Portsmouth area. Read more here…