English Immersion Destinations: Study English in England

England71263137Why study English in England?
English is, as the name suggests, a product of England. This simple fact makes the country instantly attractive to English language learners and the natural place to begin our overview of English immersion destinations. Though technically a part of the United Kingdom, England possesses a dynamic culture and rich history that sets it apart from the rest of the commonwealth. Though famous as the seat of the once mighty British Empire, the country has one foot solidly in the past and another squarely in future. As a result it is well-suited to meet the needs of international students from all walks of life.

Where can I study?
Indeed, from the metropolis that is London to sleepy seaside villages and all manner of cities and towns in between, the country truly does offer a little something for everyone. From the rich legacy revealed by London’s Houses of Parliament and Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-Upon-Avon to some of the world’s most vibrant nightlife, there is a place for everyone in England.

Moreover, because only students admitted to accredited language schools can receive a student visa, students can be certain that they are receiving a quality education no matter where they study English in England. Indeed, as part of the accreditation immersion programs are regularly inspected by independent auditors. Thus, no matter if you are interested in studying English for academic, professional, or personal purposes you can rest easy and enjoy your time in England!

What are the student visa regulations like?
Best of all, England – through the UK Border Agency – welcomes international students. Though a study visa (the specific category of which will vary based on applicant’s age as well as on the length and level of the courses that he or she intends to study) is required for most courses of study, the process is transparent and straightforward. For more information about the specific visa qualifications, check the UKBA website. Given all of this it is little wonder why more than half a million language learners come to England each year to use the language in its natural home.

If you want to learn more, read on to see what it is like to learn English in the UK!

English Exam Overviews: The TOEFL Exam

online exam 78742100As the most popular English language assessment test in the world, the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in English language exam market. Since more than 8,500 colleges and universities – not to mention quite a few immigration departments – accept the results of the TOEFL it is the natural place to start our overview of English proficiency exams.

What is the TOEFL and what makes it unique?
The TOEFL is designed to measure the ability of non-native English speakers to read, write, speak, and listen to English in both academic and non-academic situations. Its most recent iteration, the TOEFL iBT, is unique for several reasons. Not only is it, as its name suggests, an internet-based test, but also, unlike the paper-based version of the exam (which is still offered at select testing sites), many of the sections in TOEFL iBT contain integrated tasks. That means that the test contains sections which requite the test taker to combine several disparate language skills in order to complete a single task. One of the exam’s two essay sections, for example, asks candidates to respond in essay form to related reading and listening passages.

How is the TOEFL scored?
Each section of the TOEFL is scored separately on a scale of 0-30. While each section score is itself reported on a given score report, each score report also includes a composite score that, as the sum of each of the four sections, ranges from 0 to 120. What constitutes a “good” score varies from school to school and department to department. While many organizations are looking for a minimum composite score, some require section minimums, and still others utilize a combination of the two.

Where can I take the exam and how do I register?
The TOEFL exam is administered at testing centers around the world on upwards of 30 dates a year. For more information about a place and time that would be convenient for you, visit the TOEFL registration page.

>> Read more about the TOEFL exam

ELP In-Depth: Marshall University L.E.A.P. Intensive English Program

marshall_university_big_logoAlthough the first two parts of our multi-part series on Intensive English Programs around the world focused on programs in New York City and Boston, megacities like these are not the only places international students can immerse themselves in English. Indeed, as the Marshall University L.E.A.P. program proves, there are high-quality IEP opportunities available to meet the needs of aspiring students throughout the United States.

Who should attend Marshall University L.E.A.P. Intensive English Program?
Marshall University’s flagship Intensive English Program is, as the name suggests, dedicated to helping students Learning English for Academic Purposes. Accordingly it offers two distinct programs to meet the needs of aspiring international students. The first, known as the Academic Pathways program, is meant for students who want pursue their higher education goals in the US but need a little help attaining the appropriate English proficiency test scores. Designed for both aspiring undergraduate and graduate students, the program offers conditional acceptance to Marshall University that is contingent on the successful completion of one or two semesters of specialized preparation work. At the same time, though the Pathways Program is focused on academic English, Marshall University also offers more general English Language programs that will suit those interested in learning English for any of a variety of personal or professional purposes.

Where is the school located and where is housing?
The Marshall University campus is located in tranquil Huntington, West Virginia. Huntington is as safe and comfortable as any small city in the country and Marshall’s location in it provides students with easy access to a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Moreover, because Undergraduate Pathway and Academic English students are required to live on campus for their first year, they will be at the heart of the on-campus action.

When are classes held?
Pathway and other academic programs are offered three times a year January (15 week), May (10 week), August (15 week) while General English courses have rolling start dates and program durations that can last from as little as 5 to as many as 45 weeks.

Finally, what makes Marshall University’s L.E.A.P. program unique?
As members of the 16,000-strong Marshall University student body, L.E.A.P students can study English and take advantage of collegiate life at the same time. Indeed, by studying at Marshall students can use the university’s computer labs, indoor swimming pool, fitness centers and libraries and, in so doing, truly immerse themselves in English!

>> Learn more about Marshall University’s LEAP program here

Commonly Confused Words: Maybe you do this every day?

200322623-001Having good grammar can do more than make your English teacher happy – it can also help you land the job of your dreams. Take, for example, Kyle Wiens, CEO of the online repair community iFixit. Wiens is unwilling to overlook an applicant’s grammar mistakes even if they are otherwise an ideal fit for the position because, as Weins says, his employees “need a serious commitment to attention to detail” and simple grammar mistakes on covers letters and other applicant correspondence are ample evidence to the contrary. So, if you want to work for Wiens or any of the growing number of executives use this same criteria for screening job applicants in today’s ultra-competitive job market, here are some common confused words to fix before sending off that next e-mail:

Everyday/Every day
Though many people often use these two words interchangeably, they actually mean radically different (if related) things. “Everyday,” for example, is an adjective meaning ordinary or common and, when used, suggests that something is done so often that is considered usual. An example sentence – “These are our everyday clothes, we would never wear them to the opera” – clearly shows how different it is from “every day”, a two word phrase which means each day. In fact, you could even say you wear your everyday clothes every day!

Maybe/May be
Maybe” and “May be” are another set that is often confused but easily understood. The single word “maybe” means the same thing as perhaps while the verb phrase “may be” is synonymous to “might be”. To figure out which one works best, try plugging in their equivalents. After all, you would never say “Might be we will win the next game” because, perhaps – and therefore the single word version of maybe – fits better. Likewise, if “perhaps” sounds off then try “might be” and go with the two word version. If you do that you “may be” off to a successful career in no time!

Study English in Canada

Why study English in Canada?
Though it is often overshadowed by its more prominent neighbor to the south, a closer look at Canada reveals that this gentle giant of a country has a lot to offer international students. From a dollars and sense perspective alone, for example, Canada offer high-quality educational opportunities at affordable prices. With the low cost of living, favorable exchange rate, and moderate tuition fees, studying English in Canada can be far less expensive than in the US or UK.

Where can I study?
Cost alone does not explain why Canada is the fourth most popular study abroad destination in the world, however. No, Canada’s consistent appeal is also due to the fact that major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver consistently rank as among the best places to live in the world. Though Toronto, as the country’s largest city, offers a more cosmopolitan feel than the more outdoorsy Vancouver, both cities – and indeed many of the country’s smaller towns and villages – are renowned for their safety, cleanliness, and friendliness. Even outside the major cities a number of immersion opportunities exist. Moreover, because Canada has a policy of encouraging multicultural diversity international students can make the most of their time in Canada no matter where they study.

What are the Canadian student visa regulations like?
Students from many countries may enter – and study – in Canada for a period of up to six months without a visa. Students who wish to study for more than six months, however, must obtain a Study Permit from the office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Because receipt of the permit is contingent upon acceptance in a school in Canada, however, candidates should apply to the language school of their choice first and then submit the resulting documents to the CIC. For more information about this process, see the CIC’s website.

>>Find schools in Canada where you can learn English.