by Dylan Porter
With English still recognized as the business language of the world, it is not surprising that many of the world’s young people dedicate time and resources towards learning it. The most popular destination to learn English is the USA, and in this essay we will explore the most popular areas to study in, as well as lending some advice on how to choose a reputable language school.
Very broadly, foreign students can divide the USA into 3 parts, the West, Central USA, and the East. The West and the East coasts are more economically developed and can offer what many students consider to be more appealing cultural aspects, whilst Central USA offers a cheaper alternative.
For most students, West USA means California; a land of sun, sea and glamour. Cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego conjure up images of sun-kissed beaches, a laid back lifestyle and cutting-edge technology. California and it’s cities are among the most expensive places to live and study, so any would-be student must balance this with its obvious appeal.
Central USA covers a huge swathe of this vast country, and, perhaps unfairly, groups together diverse regions and ways of life. Just as many Americans consider these to be the Fly-over states, most students are more drawn by the appeal of the East or West. However if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that the central states represent a great opportunity for students to learn English. Not only are the people here generally more open and accommodating towards foreign students, the cost of living is much less.
Eastern USA could easily be referred to as North Eastern USA, as this is where most students tend to study. The big cities of Boston and New York are huge draws for students, and have a cultural depth and history which surpasses anything else in the USA. There is a fast-paced bustle here, and a huge array of activities which students will love, as long as their budgets allow it.
Just as there is a huge demand to study English in the USA, there is also a huge supply of language schools. Many universities offer ESL programs that students can join on a short term basis, and many private companies also provide quality lessons.
However, as in most industries, some companies are better than others, and differentiating between them is a challenge for students.
In general, you can always trust in the standard of ESL education provided by universities. However, they will often be more expensive than their private competitors, and in some cases have been found to be not as dynamic in terms of the education offered and with support outside of the classroom.
There can be huge differences in quality between private language schools, with the best offering interactive white-boards, highly qualified teachers, small class sizes, a high level of support and state of the art facilities. Look for accreditation from ACCET and NAFSA membership as a start, and take the advice of trustworthy local language school travel agents who should be able to offer you comprehensive advice for free.
This article was written by USEAS, a education agency based in Taiwan who have been offering free advice to students on American education since 1993.