- Why study English in the USA?
- Pros and cons of language courses in the USA
- Language Courses in the USA: Types and Features
- Where to go for language courses in the USA?
- The most popular and famous language schools in the USA
- Learning in the US language school: accommodation options
- Language courses in the US: what additional costs should be taken into account?
- Language schools in the US: how to apply?
- Visa issues
- Can I work while studying in the US?
It is not for nothing that such an expression as "the American dream" has appeared in the language: the United States is considered a country where there are any opportunities, you can achieve any goals with due effort. Of course, for many foreign students, this seems difficult and unlikely - but SMAPSE experts hope that they can prove to you that studying in the USA, career growth and realizing your potential can be possible!
Why study English in the USA?
In the US, you can learn English in its habitat, in natural, life-like communication with other citizens and students - English is the official state language.
Having arrived to study in the USA, you will see for yourself the abundance of local opportunities for changing your life! Whatever city you choose - New York, Seattle, Washington, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Miami - you will get the highest quality of education and excellent language practice, as well as the opportunity to create new goals, have a great time and find dozens of new friends.
Pros and cons of language courses in the USA
Choosing the education in America, you will get the following benefits:
- A huge variety of language programs and courses: for students of any age, any level of knowledge, any goals, in any season and in any city
- The ability to constantly practice in conversations with the native speakers of English: it is American English that is considered today the most common option in the world
- The opportunity to save on courses - for example, in comparison with the United Kingdom or Switzerland, the US is distinguished by a more loyal price policy
- Multinational composition of residents and a huge number of foreign students from all corners of the world - guarantee of tolerance, courtesy and education of people
- In large cities, the crime level has been minimized, and a high level of public safety is maintained: the United States occupies only 44th place in the world in terms of crime (the ranking includes 110 states)
- The broadest possibilities for active, quiet and cognitive rest, excursions and trips - all this can be harmoniously combined with the educational course
- Possibility to change a student's visa to a working one and stay in the country as an official worker
- Legal possibility of work during the study: the visa F1 gives permission to work up to 20 hours weekly
- At the end of the language program, each student receives a company certificate: it records all your progress, the language level achieved, explains your level for each individual skill, and if you passed the language exam, then its results. A similar certificate will be a significant bonus to your resume or to a package of documents for admission to a private school, public school, university or college.
You can not do without some of the disadvantages:
- Complexity in adaptation
- Possible language barrier, especially at the beginning of education
- Jetlagi and the complexity of acclimatization due to the great geographical distance
- High cost of rent of habitation, a food, the essential transport expenses, explaining a high standard of living of Americans and a dollar exchange rate
- The difficult and long process of obtaining a visa - working or student
- Long, expensive flight from some countries.
But, as a rule, foreign students remain very satisfied with the language courses in the US. They celebrate a huge number of new friends from all over the world, excellent equipment and coziness in schools, a multilingual atmosphere and a constant, continuous language practice that only contributes to the effectiveness of classes. Positively evaluated and the work of teachers: friendly, professional, qualified teachers inspire new achievements, motivate to learn more diligently. A separate plus of American language schools and educational centers is their location: beautiful views from the window and surrounding landscapes, beach areas, proximity to historical or natural monuments - choose to your taste! A busy excursion program, leisure and entertainment events are another occasion for the enthusiasm of the students. Whichever town you study for the United States, you will never be bored!
Separately, SMAPSE experts note such a significant bonus of language courses, like facilitation of admission to the university. Many large and well-known language schools have established partnerships with the best universities in the US and the world, which helps to offer the most effective, balanced programs and comprehensively prepare students for admission to universities. During the education, students can develop valuable academic skills: learn to write an extended essay, prepare and conduct presentations, reports, write scientific and research papers, correctly outline, search and rank information, and skillfully distribute their own time. Special excursions are conducted to campuses of the best universities, lectures and seminars from educational specialists, university professors and admissions commissions, which will inform you useful facts about admission and study in American universities. For example, students of language schools can take advantage of a valuable proposal: to finish the Pathway program at the language school (preparation for entering the university) - and then the final examination will be counted by the admission committee as an alternative to the TOEFL certificate (mainly works for partner universities).
Language Courses in the USA: Types and Features
Programs for learning English in America can be conditionally divided into several types, among which each student will find for himself the best suitable option:
- General courses are standard (15-20 lessons per week), intensive (28-30 lessons), super-intensive (35-40 lessons). Classes are usually group (6,8 - 10 people), but you can choose an option in mini-groups (2-3 people + teacher) or individual lessons (One-to-one courses). Initial requirements are usually absent: even the most beginners (Beginner level or Elementary level)
- Preparation for language exams - TOEFL, IELTS, CELTA and others. Usually it is 20-25 lessons per week in groups of 6-12 people. For these programs, entry-level knowledge will not be enough - usually American language schools require a level from Intermediate
- Business English: also 20-25 lessons per week - in groups, mini-groups or individually. The course is not for beginners: for enrollment you will need to demonstrate a level from Intermediate and higher
- English with a living in a teacher's family is a very comfortable and effective course. 25-30 academic hours a week, plus constant improvement of skills, correction of mistakes in direct communication with a qualified teacher. The level of initial knowledge can be anything (from Beginner / Elementary)
- English + hobbies / English + rest are usually courses of low intensity (10-15 hours weekly), combining language lessons with a huge number of leisure and entertainment activities. Such programs can be both seasonal and year-round, have a clear theme (for example, "English language + cinematography") or embrace gradually all areas of creativity, sports and complement them with excursions, entertainment and beach holidays.
If you do not pursue a clearly stated goal and just want to improve your level of knowledge, skills and spend time with profit and pleasure, choose the General English course. As a rule, it already includes some leisure and entertainment activities, so after the morning and afternoon lessons you will definitely find what to do!
Where to go for language courses in the USA?
Among the most popular cities in the United States that are in demand among international students, SMAPSE specialists can mention the following:
- San Francisco (a cozy city with a wonderful climate, very developed art, music, unique architecture)
- New York (the world capital of fashion, art, culture, finance and business, representation of the best companies in the world, including the best language schools)
- Chicago (one of the main business centers of the country, very strong centers for preparation for language exams)
- San Diego (a comfortable and large resort town with the most interesting events - it is where Comic Con is held - with developed art and culture, a huge number of summer camps with combined programs "English + rest")
- Miami (great sunny weather almost all year round!)
- Fort Lauderdale (calm, remote from noisy tourist highways, the city with excellent infrastructure, a spacious beach, full of sightseeing program)
- Cupertino and Redwood City (financial and business centers of the country where it will be especially convenient for representatives of commerce, banking, management, wishing to open a business or work in America)
- Hawaii (legendary tropical islands with a magnificent comfortable climate, beautiful nature, comfortable combined courses with beach and active recreation)
- Washington (the capital of the United States with a huge number of monuments of architecture, culture, art, history, excellently established infrastructure and transport links with the whole country)
- Los Angeles (bohemian center of America: "Dream Factory" Hollywood, Beverly Hills and other attributes of a rich and happy life)
- Boston (the business and student center of the USA - here students are offered the widest educational, infrastructural, leisure opportunities)
- Philadelphia (cozy, bright and distinctive city with a mild climate and beautiful architecture, full of musical and creative life)
- Atlanta (the original capital of the Southern States, a dynamic, active, rapidly developing city)
- Portland (calm and disposable, as if created for thoughtful learning surrounded by stunning scenery and clean air).
The most popular and famous language schools in the USA
SMAPSE experts have compiled for you a small list of popular and ranked language schools in the US, which earned an excellent reputation and feedback from students from all over the world. Pay attention to it - maybe, the variant suitable for you will be here?
- Kaplan New York SoHo (New York)
- FLS Citrus College Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
- EC Boston (Boston)
- Spokane College of English Language (Spokane)
- EC New York (New York)
- Kaplan Washington DC (Washington)
- EC Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
- FLS Las Vegas Institute (Las Vegas)
- FLS Saint Peter's University (New York).
But, of course, the list of these names is not limited! Contact SMAPSE specialists and they will help you to choose an educational institution according to your wishes, tastes and needs.
Learning in the US language school: accommodation options
- Host family = 175 $ - 400 $ per week per person
Boarding or half board meals (3 times or twice a day, respectively), for 1-3 people in the room. Americans are friendly and hospitable people, they are eager to help students, organize their leisure time and offer interesting options for travel and excursions, can facilitate transfer (including daily to school).
- School residence or general city student hostel = 250 $ - 400 $ per week per person
Typically, boarding 3 meals a day, rooms for 1-4 people. Usually the residences correspond to a good 3 * hotel, and the plus will be communication with neighbors from all over the world.
- Hotels, hostels and hotels = 30 $ - 120 $ per person per night
As a rule, there is no meal plan, but it can be arranged if the hotel has its own restaurants or cafes. Rooms for 1-2 people: there are options for varying degrees of comfort (up to luxe), different location and degree of equipment, service.
- Apartment or apartment for rent = 250 $ - 650 $ per week per person
Option for the most independent students, ready to provide themselves with comfort, amenities and food. Each room or apartment (for example, if it's a studio) is calculated for 1-3 people.
Language courses in the US: what additional costs should be taken into account?
When booking a program at a language school or US center, consider some surcharges that are not included in the program cost and must be paid in addition:
- consular fees (from 160 $) and visa expenses, including translation and certification of documents
- air tickets
- compulsory medical insurance (usually paid on a weekly basis)
- meeting and seeing off at the airport, transfer in both directions (if the school does not organize it)
- courier delivery of documents, checks, receipts for payment, visa invitation.
Schools may also charge additional fees for tutorials, books and materials, additional electronic resources - and it is logical that increasing the intensity of classes will affect the cost of the program. Also consider the fact that high season studying and accommodation - usually the summer months - entails a separate surcharge (usually 25 $ - 95 $ per week per person).
Language schools in the US: how to apply?
A package of documents for a student who wants to enroll in language courses in the US usually includes:
- Application form (filled in by school standards)
- a copy of the pages of the valid passport
- a receipt for payment of the edicational course (usually it is required to pay the full cost)
- receipt for payment of the registration fee.
Each school can ask you for other documents - for example, a certificate of English (if you are applying for a complicated course - Business English and others). In addition, immediately after you receive a visa in the US, it will have to be provided to the selected school.
After coming to America and before the beginning of the lessons, all students usually pass the introductory testing: it determines the available level of knowledge and skills and distributes them to the appropriate educational group (some schools offer to pass such an online test, even before coming to school). Such tests are conducted regularly, usually every 1-2 weeks, in order to identify the progress of students, the level of academic progress and to promptly correct knowledge gaps.
Typically, US language schools are settling on Sunday: so the student can already on Monday pass the distribution testing and on Tuesday proceed directly to the chosen educational course.
Every foreign student must receive a non-immigrant (student) visa in the United States before starting his studies in America. The type of visa may vary depending on the intensity and duration of the course - for example:
- F-1: the most popular type of visa for international students. It is intended for students of long-term language programs with an intensity of at least 18 academic hours per week. It can be extended while in the US
- B-1 / B-2, or Visitor Visa (tourist): issued to students of short-term courses (up to 12 weeks).
To apply to the US consulate or embassy for obtaining a non-immigrant visa, you will need the following documents:
- receipt for payment of the educational course at the selected school
- official invitation from the educational institution (I-20)
- Form I-901 (receipt for payment of the SEVIS fee)
- application for issuing a non-immigrant visa (Form DS-160)
- a receipt for the payment of the consular fee (approximately 160 $)
- confirmation of financial solvency and security (bank statement, sponsorship letter)
- valid passport
- color photo 5x5 cm
- personal interview at the Consulate of the United States in your country.
Can I work while studying in the US?
Students who come to study in the United States on an F-1 visa can work on the territory of their institution no more than 20 hours a week - but in practice, full-time students do not have enough time for work: all the time takes a study that always takes place at the first place.
If the student is confident in his abilities and ability to allocate time, he can apply to the special department of DSO (Designated School Official), which is located in every major school or educational center. But be careful: if you decide to work illegally (without the permission of the DSO) or begin to skip classes, your I-20 form will be canceled and you will have to leave the territory of the United States in a short time.