Summer courses – the university option
- Created: Saturday, 18 April 2015 18:16
Claudia Civinini investigates the options facing an Italian mum finding a course for her teenage son
Where would a southern European mother send her seventeen-year-old son to study English in the UK? Probably she would contact an agent or book a course in a language school, but we at the Gazette wondered whether she should also consider universities.
For a foreign student trying to learn English, practice outside the classroom is essential. With Italian, French and Spanish making up 40 per cent of all private-sector UK EFL summer school students, this demographic may get too many chances to speak its mother tongue. Growing up in Genoa, Italy, I witnessed teenagers returning from a vacation course in the UK speaking a perfect Roman or Neapolitan dialect but no English.
By contrast, the main language groups of foreign students enrolled at UK universities language centres are Chinese, Arabic-speakers and Thais, so it’s harder for a southern European to avoid practising their English. European students increasingly need a good level of English for their continuing studies – for example, Spanish students with B2-level English get three university credits – and universities could provide the appropriate academic focus.