Learning English in Ireland
In the Republic of Ireland: www.languagelearning.travel.ie/
Schools recognised by ACELS (the Advisory Council for English Language Schools) www.iol.ie/~acels/listing.htm and members of MEI-RELSA (Marketing English in Ireland – Recognised English Language School Association) www.mei.ie/ are regularly inspected and adhere to strict codes of conduct
In Northern Ireland: www.britishcouncil.org/nireland/english/
The most important factors to consider before deciding to study English abroad are:
Level & Duration: The longer that you can study English abroad the better. The main advantage is that you will be exposed to English all day, every day. At home, your exposure to the English language is probably a maximum of about 6 or 7 hours a week. In an English-speaking country, you will be exposed to the English language, on average, 14 hours a day.
Students who have finished Pre-Intermediate level will really benefit from a 4-week intensive general English course. You will understand most of what is happening in the classes (normally 3 or 4 hours per day), but outside the school you may not understand a lot at first. However, the main benefit of studying English abroad is the opportunity you have to communicate in English outside the classroom, so persevere!
Students who have reached Intermediate [pre-First Certificate] or Upper-Intermediate [First Certificate] level, who have good grammatical knowledge but have had little opportunity to practice, should benefit most from short intensive courses.
Students at Higher and Advanced levels or above, with only a limited amount of time available, should consider doing an ESP course, i.e. a special course for business, administration, law, medicine etc, combined with a touring holiday. They will learn lots of relevant language and still get plenty of opportunities to practice speaking and listening outside the classroom.
Is it better to study in a big city, a medium-sized town or a village? This depends on the type of person you are and the amount of money you have available. If you want excitement and fun (at a price), go to a school in one of the largest cities. Dublin is exciting, but the cost of living there is about a third more expensive than anywhere within an hour’s train journey. If you want to relax and dedicate yourself to learning English, choose a smaller city, town or village.
Quality of Facilities
Check that the school you choose is fully equipped for language learning. TV/Video/CD/DVD, library, self-access materials, Computer Assisted Language Learning equipment, social programme, excursion options, accommodation organisers, and somebody who can speak your first language in an emergency.
Check that the course fees include everything, and that there won’t be any nasty surprises. Also confirm that fees will be refunded in the event of you having to return home in an emergency. Of course, the cheapest course is not necessarily the best. Generally, with English language courses in Ireland and the UK, you get what you pay for.
Age & Nationalities
In the summer months (June-September) many English language schools are full of teenagers and / or young adults, mostly from Spain, France and Italy, while quite a few m b year-round courses have a preponderance of students from Eastern Europe or China. If you can, check the compatibility of other class members with the school before you start. Even if you are all adults, it is obviously preferable to have as many nationalities in the class as possible, rather than for a single language group to dominate.
Hotels are worthwhile if you value your privacy, although you must make an effort not to get isolated in your room. They can be expensive.
“Bed & Breakfast” / “Guesthouses” are usually a much cheaper option.
University accommodation or Youth Hostels are usually considerably cheaper.
The cheapest and most efficient form of accommodation is with a host family. This way you can experience local customs, cuisine and family life, normally not experienced by foreign tourists. You will also have more opportunity to hear natural English without the mistakes foreigners make.