How To Learn English In The UK
English is the most widely spoken language in the world, with almost 1.5bn English speakers worldwide.
So whether you’re planning on staying in the UK long-term, or thinking of moving on at some point, learning English is a really useful tool.
In this article, we’ll explore how you can improve your English while living, working, or studying in the UK.
What are the advantages of learning English in the UK?
There are lots of reasons to become a fluent English speaker. For example:
- Knowing multiple languages can open up career opportunities.
- Most people in the UK only speak English, so it will help you communicate better with local people.
- You can study for a degree in the UK.
- You can apply for UK citizenship (as long as you meet all the other requirements too).
- It’s a useful language to know when travelling in other countries.
Where should I start if I want to learn English?
Committing to learning or improving your English language skills is a great start. Here’s what else you can do to learn English effectively:
- Teach yourself the basics — Use our guide below to learn some introductory phrases you can use everyday. A language learning app like Duolingo can help you memorise these.
- Enrol on a course — English language courses are often a good place to start, as you’ll have expert tuition and the chance to learn from an experienced teacher and others in your class.
- Speak to locals — Get out of your comfort zone and speak to native English speakers in your community.
- Watch English TV — Watching English TV programmes and films can help you understand the language, and help you get used to different accents and dialects.
- Join a conversation club — Many communities organise sessions where you can meet up with other people who want to learn a language and practise your skills together.
Bear in mind that learning any language takes time and dedication, so set aside time every day to practise your English skills.
Useful English phrases
These words and phrases are often used in everyday English conversation. Below, we’ve translated them into some of the most commonly spoken other languages in the UK.
Can I learn English for free in the UK?
Yes, it’s possible to learn English for free in the UK.
Speaking to local people as much as possible is one of the best ways to learn a language. And if you live in the UK, there are plenty of opportunities to speak to native English speakers.
However, English people aren’t known for striking up conversations with strangers, especially in cities like London. So you’ll need to be proactive about speaking to others. For example, you could:
- Attend a Meetup for people who share your interests.
- Ask English-speaking friends and family members to speak to you in English.
- Go to a shop and ask the shop assistant for help finding certain items.
- Join a dating or friendship app.
- If you have kids, speak to other parents in the playground while you wait to pick them up.
- Join a sports team.
- Meet your neighbours and ask their opinion on the best local coffee shop or park.
These free ways to learn English will help you immerse yourself in the language, so you’re more likely to pick up phrases and start to use them with confidence.
Using Duolingo, watching English TV, and joining conversation clubs are also free ways to brush up on your English skills.
How much does it cost to learn English in the UK?
If you want a more structured approach to learning English, you may choose to enrol in a course at your local college or university, or even online. You’ll have to pay for most courses, especially if they offer more advanced language skills.
Here are some English language courses for adults currently on offer in the UK, and how much they cost:
- British Council English Self-Study Course — £5.99 per month
- British Council Tutor-Led Online Course — £63 to £140 per month
- British Council One-to-One Online Course — $17.50 to $24 per session
- St Clare’s English Summer Camp, Oxford — £366 for a one-week course
- London School of English Individual Course — From £70 per hour
There are English language courses available to suit lots of different budgets. It’s important to research each course and decide which you think will be most beneficial for you.
Group vs individual English courses
Individual or one-to-one English language courses tend to cost more than group sessions. But they can give you a more personalised experience.
Group sessions are cheaper. While you won’t get as much one-on-one time with the tutor, you will get to learn from your classmates and share your knowledge with them.
Visa requirements for English language courses
You can get a short-term study visa to learn English in the UK. You may be eligible for this visa if your course lasts 11 months or less.
If you want to enrol on a longer course, you’ll need a full student visa.
Find an English language course
The British Council offers lots of highly-rated English language courses. Find a local accreditation centre where you can learn English.
What is a pre-sessional English language course?
To study for a degree in the UK, you must prove you have the English language skills to complete the course. Some universities offer English courses which are exclusively for this purpose.
These are known as pre-sessional English language courses, and they can only be used by students with a conditional offer at the university.
If you don’t complete a pre-sessional course, you might need to take a separate exam to prove your English fluency. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a common assessment.
Learn more about life and study in the UK
Find out more about learning English in the UK on the Study English website.
If you’re curious about other aspects of living in the UK, check out the Bloom Learning Hub. It’s filled with tons of useful resources for adapting to UK life and getting the most from your finances.