ELP In-Depth: The English Language Program at the University of Texas at Austin

Large_university-of-texas_seal_rgb(199-91-18)In our last case study of English Immersion Programs in the United States we at ESLDirectory discussed Sacred Heart University’s English Language Institute and paid particular attention to its quiet but imminently-accessible location. The University of Texas at Austin, too, provides a similar mixture of quintessentially American experiences while at the same time provides a variety of quality English language education options.

Who should attend The English Language Program at the University of Texas at Austin?
The ELP at UT, as it is commonly known, is ideal for students from a wide variety of backgrounds.  The ELP offers seven levels of instruction designed to help students from the beginner to advanced level improve their English for school, business, or pleasure. Moreover, both full time (“Intensive”) and part-time options exist to meet the scheduling needs of a wide variety of students. In addition to general English immersion, however, post-graduate students in particular stand to benefit considerably from its advanced Academic English Program.

Where is the school located and where is housing?
The English Language Program at the University of Texas at Austin is, as the name suggests, located in Austin, Texas. Though Austin serves at the state’s capital it nevertheless retains a small-town,  if urbane feel. As a result students can look forward to taking advantage of the raw beauty that epitomizes Texas while also enjoying the kinds of amenities only a world-class city can provide. Best of all, the ESL Services department at UT offers a comprehensive student handbook  to provide students with the resources necessary to successful secure housing in the city.

When are classes held?
For full-time students, core ELP courses – which cover topics such as writing, reading, listening, speaking, grammar, and idioms – meet five days a week for a total of 18 hours weekly. Those interested in part-time study, however, may register for as many (or as few) of the core courses as their schedules permit and in so doing build a schedule that better suits their needs.

Finally, what makes The English Language Program at the University of Texas at Austin unique?
The ELP at UT offers an idyllic combination of academic and immersion possibilities. Not only does the school have a wide variety of English education options and a commitment to small classes, but also the city of Austin itself represents a great place to explore the United States. In addition to the cities natural beauty, it is also widely known as the “Live Music Capital of the World”. Which means that studying English at The University of Texas at Austin can – both literally and figuratively – be music to your ears.


Commonly Confused Words: “B” Careful If You See These Common English Mistakes

letter b87777000As we saw with our last installment on common English mistakes, a small change – like swapping a “c” for an “s” – can make a big impact (as in accent and ascent). In much the same way, the addition of a letter can also change the meaning of a word. Here’s a quick with the same letter s:

Beside/Besides
While beside and besides are both prepositions with similar pronunciations, the addition of the “s” to beside – which means close to or next to – changes it into besides – a word which means except for or in addition to. Thus, while we might say that “the bakery is beside the shoe store” we would say that “no bakery besides them makes that kind of cake.”

Breath/Breathe
The example of breath and breathe proves that “s” is not the only time you should mind those extra letters. While breath (air taken in) is a noun pronounced in a manner similar to the name Jeff, breathe (to take air in) is a verb which rhymes with seethe. Thus, while you can ask someone to “hold their breath” just as you can hold most things (you can only hold nouns, not verbs) when you do so you are asking them “not to breathe” (the action).

Brake/Break
As the case of these two commonly confused words illustrates, though, an extra letter is sometimes not even necessary. Although both of these words are comprised of the same letters and pronounced in a way that rhymes with lake they are otherwise quite different. Confusing the two is all the worse because not only do they mean different things but also one – brake – is a noun while the other – break – is a verb! A “brake,” you see, is a mechanical device used for stopping (as found in a car) while “to break” is the act of destroying or making into pieces (as in a break-in). To help you remember, try this trick: the brake was a break-through because without it we would never stop!


English Immersion Destinations: Learn English in South Africa

south africa158795225Why study English in South Africa?
Though South Africa occupies only 4% of its namesake continent’s total landmass, it has a political and economic power that far surpasses its relatively small footprint. Not that one should call a country five times the size of Great Britain small! Indeed, this dynamic country of more than 40 million people possesses a population and geography as diverse as any on earth. Flanked by both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and containing a number of stunning savannahs, deserts, and mountain ranges, the vibrancy of its landscapes is rivaled only by that of its economy. All this, combined the prominent status the English language enjoys as the country’s official language, more makes studying English in South Africa a one-of-a-kind proposition.

Where can I study?
Better still, there are a wide range of both public and private English-immersion programs available throughout the country. From cosmopolitan Cape Town and quaint Port Elizabeth to modern Durban and laid-back Jeffrey’s Bay, there are enough options available to meet the immersion needs of students from all walks of life. Plus, given the fact that several of its universities – including, among others, the University of Cape Town – rank among the world’s top 500 universities, studying English in South Africa may prove to be the first step in the path of English-language higher education.

What are the South African student visa regulations like?
While South Africa offers a number of short term visitor visas to foreign nationals of other countries, prospective students must apply for a South Africa Student Visa in their home country before leaving for South Africa. This is because Sout  African visa regulations do not allow applicants to change their visa status without without returning to their home country. Fortunately for international students over the age of 16, applying from home is easy. The student visa application process merely requires language that students apply (and be accepted by) a language school prior to submitting their visa application. With that acceptance they can apply directly at their local South African consulate and begin their English immersion adventure! If you are ready to learn more, don’t forget to check out our Student Visas for South Africa resource.


English Exam Overviews: The TOEIC

toeic_logo_thumb_200While it is often confused with the similar-sounding TOEFL, the TOEIC is an English proficiency exam designed to meet the needs English students of a different sort. Indeed, unlike its sound-alike cousin, the Test of English for International Communication is, at its heart, designed not for students but for working professionals.

What is the TOEIC and what makes it unique?
The fact that the TOEIC is designed “to determine who can communicate effectively in English across borders and cultures with coworkers and clients” is not the only thing that makes the TOEIC unique. Indeed, though the TOEIC – like most other English proficiency assessments – also measures the ability of test takers to read, write, speak, and listen to English, the TOEIC accomplishes this feat using not one test but two. While most test takers do take both the “Listening and Reading” exam as well as the “Speaking and Writing” exam, it is not mandatory and individual organizations set their own standards. Because listening and reading are both passive tasks, the Listening and Reading test is comprised of multiple-choice questions. Because, on the other hand, speaking and writing are both active tasks, the newer Speaking and Writing exam is a computer-based test that assesses a candidate’s abilities using free response questions. Continue reading “English Exam Overviews: The TOEIC”