This is probably the most important consideration to make certain you book a good quality school, no matter which country you are choose to study English. Most countries have an accreditation system in place for English schools and you should only book schools that have this accreditation. For example, if you choose Ireland to learn English, then you should book a school that has the ACELS / QQI accreditation. This is an award given to the school by the Irish government so it is the best guarantee you can get that that school is good quality. In the UK, check that the school is accredited by the British Council. If you want a short-cut for the UK, check the schools that are members of English UK – they are all accredited. Here at Book A Language School, we partner only with accredited, quality English schools, so you do not need to worry if you book your English course with us!
Make sure that the courses the school is offering are suitable for you. There are hundreds of English schools offering all different types of courses and options. There are part-time courses and intensive courses, General English courses and Exam Preparation courses like IELTS and Cambridge. Some schools will focus on grammar whilst others will focus on speaking. Some do a mix of everything. You should check that the course you are booking is suitable. Some things to check if they are included:
- Reading and Writing practice
- Speaking and Conversation practice
- Regular tests to check your level
- Homework (No one wants homework, but it is important for learning!)
- Practical exercises that let you interact with other students
Price vs Value
We always tell our students that price is not the most important thing. Value is much more important – what do you get for your money? You can book a cheap school and have a fantastic teacher and learning experience or you could book an expensive school with loads of facilities but not good teachers. We know price is important for students travelling on a budget but you must be sure that you are happy with what you pay for. Some schools offer extra value by including activities like City tours, Class books, Exams etc. Others might include a week of free accommodation or something similar. These might seem like little things but they can add a lot of value, for the same price.
This is the easiest way to know if a school is good or bad. Student reviews are important – these are from people who have been to the school, have taken the English course and stayed in the accommodation. They have experience of the school, the location, the staff and the teachers. We recommend you always read the reviews of previous students and we are happy that we can offer you this option for every school we partner with 😊
There is a good chance that if you are travelling abroad to learn English, you will book at least a few weeks of accommodation with your school. The options available to you are important – all schools will offer host families / homestay whilst some schools will offer Shared Apartments and City Accommodation. Others will also offer Student Residences which they manage themselves or through a third party. Make sure you book exactly what you want – you will spend your first few weeks in this accommodation and it can have a big effect on your experience. Options are always good to have so try and find a school that can offer you some different choices for accommodation and choose the student accommodation that you want. Check if you’ll share your room, if meals are included in the price, how far away from the school you will be etc.
Facilities are important for students and there are big differences between different language schools! Must have facilities include Wi-fi access, a computer room with internet access and a study library. Ideally, you should try and find a school with a student cafeteria as these often offer discounted prices for students which can help you keep your budget on track. Games rooms are an added bonus and are a good way to get to know your fellow students.
Let’s be honest – when you travel abroad to study a language, you don’t want to spend all your time in class studying. You want to get out and explore a new country, meet the local people and practice your English in a natural setting. Social activities organised by your language school can be a great way to do this. Schools will often offer walking tours, pub nights, games nights, weekend trips and cultural tours. Ask your school what activities are available and how much they cost.