Summer is getting closer and the desire for holidays comes alive day after day. If you've been thinking about using your summer break to improve your English, there are a couple of options to consider: Summer English Courses and English Living.
The courses are a traditional learning method, in which lessons are organized according to individual needs and can be single, group, in the classroom or online. They are a flexible option that gives students freedom during the holidays and whose duration is limited to a few weeks.
Living in English is a different way of learning. It also lasts a few weeks, but takes place abroad, typically as a guest with a local family. It is a popular option for students who want to fully immerse themselves in the foreign language and culture.
Both the courses and the trip are opportunities for supplementary study to school programs, even if they have a different training approach. However, the common goal is to improve or perfect the use of English, depending on the starting level.
Therefore it is useful to detail their characteristics, discovering how they can be combined to obtain the maximum benefits.
Within this category, several solutions suitable for the different needs of the student can be distinguished. The most widespread is that of the course organized by English schools or other bodies, which takes place in the classroom and is collective. In this modality, the teaching programs vary according to age or level, therefore more classes are organized, from beginners to experts, from children to teenagers.
A variant is that of the individual course, in which lessons are focused on the individual student, who can benefit from a tailor-made teaching method. Individual courses have a higher cost, but still lower than private summer English courses. The latter offer more flexibility, as they can be done from home and, to split the costs, you can organize yourself with a friend who is also interested in studying English. Finally there are online courses, the most recent innovation in the sector, which offer maximum flexibility at a generally lower cost. Their advantage is that they can be followed anywhere, even if you have to go on vacation.
In all these options it is always better to choose a program of lessons organized by recognized bodies, which issue a final certificate. Also better to choose those with native teachers, where you have the opportunity to train in spoken English.
A stay in English is a period spent abroad, usually as a guest with a local family which is chosen on the basis of the destination and the type of activity desired. It is more like a holiday and lasts a few weeks, during which the student spends his days between English lessons and other organized activities with students, friends or family.
The fact of being abroad, alone, in contact with people who only speak English can seem like a difficult challenge. In fact, many students who have tried this experience reveal that it is the most enjoyable way to learn English. After the initial adaptation, the holiday turns into a pleasant adventure with countless advantages. On a personal and relational level, being a cultural immersion, it allows you to meet new people, friends and students from all over the world. It increases the sense of responsibility, independence and helps to open up and communicate.
Linguistically it means making use of one's abilities, whatever they are, to understand English in its various nuances and accents. Finally, it represents an opportunity to live outside your home country. This not only helps to consider whether to repeat the experience, but also to consider moving abroad for a period of time in the future, to study or work.
These two methods of studying English have some features in common. First of all, they allow you to interact with native speakers, whether they are teachers or members of the host family. This means that they help you express yourself in English by improving your understanding of accent, pronunciation and fluency in speaking. Another point in common is the possibility of getting in touch with people who share the same goal and can become study partners and friends.
However, there are also differences, particularly with regard to the level of exposure to the language. In the summer English courses you speak with the native teacher only a few hours a week, while in the English holiday you speak with anyone, at any time of the day and for several weeks in a row. This translates into a notable difference in the level of exposure to accents, idiomatic expressions and all those aspects that allow you to pass from school to professional English.
The other big difference is the context. A stay in English also offers cultural immersion, the chance to get to know a new country and new traditions. Like any journey and adventure, it is something that enriches one's life and also has an impact on the person and character. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a little difficult at first, but it offers many more benefits than staying at home immersed in your daily routine.
Taken individually, both options are effective and the choice depends on individual needs, learning goals and budget. But one option doesn't necessarily exclude the other. Leaving for a holiday in English also allows you to attend summer English courses abroad, combining all the benefits of one modality with those of the other. With the advantage that you will attend a course entirely in English and with qualified mother-tongue teachers. Budget-wise, summer English courses may cost less, but at a slightly higher cost, an English language stay combines language immersion with vacation, fun and cultural enrichment. Therefore it is a more convenient and complete option.
All that remains is to choose the destination and find accommodation. Hebe allows you to get all this in Ireland, a country famous for its high level of English courses, hospitality, landscape and culture. You will be able to choose the family that best suits your needs and read the testimonies of various students who have returned home happy with the progress in English and the adventures they have had.