ESL Student expectations vs reality


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There are many young people out there who know that they have to learn English if they want to go to University and study the subject of their passion at a high level. They know they need to perhaps start off at school but ultimately will need to do some special course post-high school.

These are the usual expectations:

  1. I will need to go to a well known language centre
  2. I will need to be taught by someone who has good English if not a native speaker
  3. I will need to pay for it
  4. I will need to pass my IELTS to enter my University course
  5. I may need to travel to another city or country to get my English course
  6. I will need my English for many other things other than my University course

I’m sure there are plenty more, but the interesting thing is that for many students who can afford it, they simply travel to a native speaking country and learn there. It’s an expensive venture but the outcome will almost definitely cover all the 6 expectations nicely.

But what if the person can’t do that? What then. in reality, can they expect to see/get if they aren’t going to leave home?

Here are some reality checks:

  1. The language centre they choose my not be well known internationally but it may have some reputation in your city.
  2. The teacher may not be a native speaker, but their English may be good enough for you learn enough to pass your necessary exams.
  3. The price will be easily affordable.
  4. The IELTS exam is an internationally recognized result, but if you are going to study locally in your city, you may not need it, as the college may have their own test that is similar and perhaps even a little easier.
  5. You won’t need to travel far to get to your course, but what you don’t pay for in transportation or living, you may be making up for in lack of quality. It’s a tough decision.
  6. If the people in your city don’t speak English and English isn’t needed for anything else other than your course, your progress in the subject may be slower and your usage may become limited to your course content only. This can be dangerous for your ongoing learning, as if you don’t leave your city and move somewhere where English is needed (at least in some parts of your life), your progress both in your career and your language development will be limited.

So here are a few realisations that many students face. As with anything, if you want quality you will need to pull out the stops to pay more and move somewhere where you can use your new skills regularly.  But also beware that there are also many language centres that promise you many things, but you need to check out all their promises first to make sure they are genuine. A good reputation is usually because promises have been met, so ask around.

2 thoughts on “ESL Student expectations vs reality

  1. Pingback: ESL Student expectations vs reality — AIYSHAH’S ENGLISH PAGE | So, You Think You Can Teach ESL?

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