English Language Training (ELT) Student’s Case Study

Sophie from the mainland China works as a marketing intern for a London-based publishing company. She has lived in three cities across the UK in the past three years, and studied at ELT Institute for six weeks before joining a postgraduate programme at Newcastle University.

Sophie -li

Why did you choose to study with ELT Centre at Newcastle?

I was given a conditional offer from Newcastle University as my IELTS score didn’t meet the school’s requirement; I therefore went to English Language Training Centre and gained the language credits I needed to progress to further study at Newcastle University.

What have you been taught at ELT centre?

The English teaching approaches at ELT were fairly different from my experience in China. There were no language rules or grammar to be taught anymore. Instead, the focus in the class was always how to interact with people in English by doing group discussion and mono presentation.

What are the advantages of studying at ELT before degree-seeking study?

It was a very good opportunity to immerse myself in an English-speaking class, especially for a foreign student who has been thrown to a different country for the first time. It was also a transitional period to adapt to the new way of life and study in the UK.

The faculty members  not only  knew English (as a native language) but also inspiring and responsible teachers who always maintained an “English only” policy in class and gave both encouraging and critical comments on each student’s work.

More than half population of full-time Master degree seekers at Newcastle University are international students, which means there would be more chances to speak English as a lingua franca than as a Standard English. The ELT’s student population is totally comprised of non-native speakers, providing a good language environment for further academic communication.

How did postgraduate study help to improve your English?

Speaking- thanks to the subject of “English in the World”, I was comfortable to speak Chinglish (Chinese English). Though it shouldn’t be something to be proud of, at least I didn’t fear to talk to people by using my familiar language system, which simultaneously helped me to become open to other dialects or accents.

Writing & reading – at university, students’ learning is assessed primarily through written work. Therefore, a great amount of reading and writing was demanded to complete each assignment. Fortunately, there are massive resources I could find to do my research at the library, online-library and even other affiliated research centres.

Few more tips for international English learners in the UK

  • Be pro-active to ask questions and make friends. Try going out of box and do not bind yourself to your own community.
  • Familiarise yourself with the topics surrounding your country in which people are interested. Chinese students don’t like to engage in political topics, which is exactly what the rest of world are interested in. Know your own country’s political system well and share with others, because they love it.
  • A good IELTS score doesn’t mean you can understand a single class in a UK university. Find a good international community, even a local church, anywhere you are supposed to speak English.
  • Work as a volunteer. There are countless charity shops across the UK. There is no harm in getting on board and meeting people as they come and go.