English is the official language. If, however, you are a native English speaker from outside Albion, you might be slightly taken aback by some “British-ism”. You may even find yourself thinking that these very strong local and regional accents are, in fact, other dialects.
Foreign Language Classes
Experts reckon around 300 other languages are spoken daily on the streets of London. If you are looking to learn a foreign language, which is definitely a good thing to do if you intend to commute to one of the continental EU nations, your starting point is the online course directory “Hotpoint”: http://www.hotcourses.com. “Hotpoint” lists all available courses. Typically, courses start twice a year, in September and January with short courses in July. Some classes are funded by local authorities so it might be worth asking your local library for more information.
If you are after a central London institution check out City Lit: http://www.citylit.ac.uk. This adult education center offers a great number of language courses and evening classes. Classes are also affordable.
If you come from a non-English speaking country and are looking to improve your English comprehension and writing skills there are hundreds of English schools around the capital. You should choose a school certified by the British Council or Adult Learning Inspectorate which insures the quality of education.
Here are a few noteworthy institutions to check out:
Westminster-Kingsway College: http://www.westking.ac.uk : 0870 060 9800. This college is the largest college in central London. English classes take place in Soho. Courses are accredited and fees vary according to your personal situation.
Frances King: http://www.francesking.co.uk; +44 (0) 207 870 6533
Frances King offers classes in central London for people of all ages. Classes range from beginner to advanced and Business English classes are available. Prices range from £35 per person per lesson of ‘one-to-two flextime’ to over £7000 for pre-Masters program intensive preparation.
Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College: http://www.wlc.ac.uk; 0800 980 2175
This college offers reasonably sized classes (around 15-20 people per class) for affordable fees. The teachers have received excellent ranking by the British Council inspection. The college offers an English for Job Seekers course which could be useful for new expats. Classes range from 4 hours per week for 10 weeks at £195 to 6 hours per day for 20 weeks at £330.
St. Giles: http://www.stgiles-international.com; +44 (0) 207 837 0404
St. Giles has locations in the UK, US, Canada and Brazil. London locations include Highgate and Central London. General English courses, English for Business, English for Tourism, and English for Art & Design are a few of the many courses available. General English courses start from £102 per week if you book more than 20 weeks.
Major recognized exams cover all four skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening, they are:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language. This test is the leading English proficiency test worldwide.
IELS: International English Language Testing System, a highly dependable assessment recognised by employers and universities. To know more about IELS check : http://www.ielts.org.
Cambridge (ESOL) English for Speakers of Other languages. This qualification is suitable for English teaching. Find more information on their official website: http://www.cambridgeesol.org.