Get the best results: A checklist for learning English in the UK

Would you learn Russian in Mexico? No, neither would I. So when you want to learn English shouldn’t you go to the home of English to learn it?

Studying English in the UK (That’s England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) makes a lot of sense. You ‘live’ the language and use it 24/7. Thousands of students make the choice of coming to the UK every year to learn English. Below are the essential things you need to think about before coming to the UK.

First thing you need to decide is ‘Do I need a visa’? If coming from Europe the answer is no. Coming from most other countries you would need a visa. Check the UKBA website to see what kind of visa you need.

Then, choose how long you want to study for. This may depend on the rules for your country and type of visa you need. Some students intend to do university courses in the UK but need a good level of English first. Others just want a short ‘holiday’ English course of one or two weeks. Remember that the cost of staying in the UK may be higher than in your country. Search for some example living costs on the Internet to see how much more (or less) it might be.

Once you know what kind of course, and for how long, you need to choose a school to deliver the course you need. The British Council is the organisation that checks the quality of schools in the UK. You may have heard of them in your country. They have offices and provide English lessons in over 110 countries worldwide. A school that has been approved by the British Council is your guarantee of minimum standards. Some students, particularly from Europe, choose to take private lessons from freelance teachers, such as those registered on Lingos ( These may be the best option for some people. They are usually more flexible and can be a lot cheaper than a school.

You then need to decide where you will stay during your course. Many schools can arrange that for you. Most European students and many visa nationals like to make their own accommodation arrangements, maybe sharing a flat or in a homestay family. Flat sharing is good for longer term learners. For shorter lengths of study a homestay family can be a good experience. You stay with a family and become a part of their family. Many families will practise English with you too.

Finally, you need to think about how different the UK might be to your country in several ways. Think about food, weather, culture and differences in education methods. All of these can feel strange at first and produce what’s called ‘culture shock’. This is perfectly normal and is to be expected. A little research first will help to minimise it.

So, to sum up, think about the type of course you want and why you need to learn English. Decide for how long and where. Choose the type of place you would be most comfortable living in. Expect things to be different, but find out about them first to make it less of a shock. Above all though, enjoy yourself and talk to as many people as you can.


About the Author: Beth Nicholas is a professional writer for Lingos ( – the online language tuition community dedicated to pairing language teachers and learners, and providing a digital forum for learners to interact with like-minded students.

This post was submitted by Beth Nicholas.

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