Finding the Right Language Course

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Here are our Smart TIPS to find the best (FREE?!) language course.

Family and au pair should work together to find the right language courses and it may be difficult to arrange these in advance as a local test is often required to make sure classes are at the right level.

The information below is correct for most locations. Smartaupairs provides all au pairs in Kent with a contact list for FREE English classes – what a bonus!

EFL = English as Foreign Language

Advantages
•    Highly recognised Cambridge certificate
•    Regulated language schools accredited by English Council
•    Easy to find on English UK www.englishuk.com
•    Mostly high quality locations
•    Often additional extras included such as a social/excursion program
•    Flexible start dates and durations (usually)
•    Open to all nationalities

Disadvantages
•    Expensive
•    Fewer au pairs attend

To Find

www.englishuk.com

www.europa-pages.com

ESOL = English for Speakers of Other Languages

Advantages
•    Internationally recognised Trinity Certificate
•    Non-commercial, part government funded, so CHEAPER
•    Many other au pairs to meet
•    Government approved

Disadvantages
•    Some locations are a bit less desirable
•    More difficult to find out details on how/where/when etc.
•    Only usually open to EU au pairs
•    Can be inflexible on start date and duration (September & January)

TO FIND – try typing in Google:
for Kent Adult Education ‘ESOL classes [name of town/area of host family]’ ‘ESOL courses [name of town/area of host family]’ ‘Adult education [name of town/area of host family]’ And/or ask your host family to call the local council office and/or local college.

SKILLS PLUS or SKILLS FOR LIFE (ESOL)
Designed to teach English to foreigners moving to Britain

Advantages
•    Non-commercial, government funded, so FREE (EU only)
•    Many other au pairs to meet
•    Government approved
•    Usually flexible on duration and start date

Disadvantages
•    Exam recognised by OCR (UK recognised – limited internationally)
•    Some locations are a bit less desirable
•    VERY difficult to find out details on how/where/when etc.*
•    Limited availability, some towns non at all
•    Can be overbooked/overcrowded and sometimes waitlists
•    Only open to EU au pairs

TO FIND – in Kent go to skills-plus website or e-mail info@smartaupairs.com, we have an additional contact list for FREE classes in KENT Outside Kent try typing in Google: ‘ESOL Skills for life classes [name of town/area of host family]’ ‘Free ESOL classes [name of town/area of host family]’ ‘ESOL Skills for life courses [name of town/area of host family]’ ‘Adult education [name of town/area of host family]’ And/or ask your host family to call the local council office and/or local college.

TEACHER TRAINING CLASSES (TEFL/TESOL)*
Attend classes where the teacher is learning to teach English.

Advantages
•    Totally FREE for all nationalities!
•    Many other au pairs to meet
•    Government approved

Disadvantages
•    No exam (attendance certificate only)
•    VERY difficult to find out details on how/where/when etc.
•    Limited availability, some towns non at all
•    Often in the afternoon – may not fit in with host family schedule

TO FIND – in Kent, Christchurch College in Canterbury often has these courses
if you are not near Canterbury, try typing in Google: ‘TEFL classes [name of town/area of host family]’ ‘TESOL classes [name of town/area of host family]’ ‘Teacher training courses [name of town/area of host family]’ And/or ask your host family to call the local council office and/or local college BE PREPARED FOR SOME SERIOUS SEARCHING! These are not ‘official’ courses and no money is used for advertising them so ASK ASK ASK!

EXTRA SMART TIPS: Use teacher training as extra classes and to meet another network of people
A Cambridge English Exam can be booked separately in some places, in addition to any of the above language classes or no classes at all.

All information and tips provided are for information only. Although every effort is made to ensure it is accurate and up to date, smartaupairs makes no guarantees and accepts no liability.

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tips to work on your language skills

How to…

…improve your language skills

  • read children`s books- you are at the source as an au-pair!

Especially those dealing with world literature are recommendable. When you come back you know all about Hamlet and Shakespeare`s tragedies plus the most important quotations – and by learning that you had an easy time reading illustrated easy-to-understand books.

  • The supermarket is the most effective vocabulary trainer: Each fruit and product is labelled, so that there is not even a translation necessary!
  • Join the local library club.
  • Before you watch the news in your aupair-country, inform yourself on your native newspage, e.g. http://www.tagesschau.de. That will help you to adapt new vocabularies more easily. It is also interesting to see how each nation has other centres of gravities in the news. Apart from that, news presenters have got an excellent style of speaking.
  • You are having a nice conversation with your host family and then this accursed- sorry- this one difficult word won`t come to your mind? Ask if you can deposit you dictionary right at the table- as most conversation will take place at lunch/-dinnertime.
  • This trick of enlarging you vocabulary is similar to the one with the news, but it is equally effective:

If you have read one international bestseller in your native language you can probably find it in your local library maybe even as spoken word on CD. Because you already know the story it will be easy to understand.

  • Inescapably you will learn a whole bunch of new words, because you will encounter so many new customs and national pecularities.

These tips were kindly provided by Evelyn Eveslage, who was au pair in Kent in Summer 2007 , she has some more to follow!