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How to Decide Where to Study English Abroad

If you’d like to learn English, then immersing yourself in an English-speaking country is the best way to do it! But of course, not just any English-speaking country will do; you’ll need to choose wisely based on a few factors, and today, ESL Explorer is explaining exactly what those factors are.

Depending on your goals, studying English as a second language can often be a huge commitment of time and a significant investment of financial resources. How you choose to study will depend on the time you have available and the amount of money you’re willing to spend on books and courses.

I’m sure at some point during your studying journey you will consider leaving your home to immerse yourself in an English speaking country. This poses a difficult question: will the time abroad be worth it? From talking to people who made that assumption and spent time overseas, I firmly believe that the decision is rarely anything other than a positive one. The main reasons that people see value in studying overseas is the rapid increase in their ability to function in English, and the unique experience of living in a culture very different from their own.

Most students of English are aware of the benefits attached to visiting an English speaking country; what many are not so aware of is the best way to decide how to choose where to study. The list of locations, although extensive, often gets whittled down to a few key cities from an even smaller pool of countries. This is often caused by two reasons.

1. A lack of awareness of potential options. This results in a cycle of students taking the same courses in the same schools in the same cities. This is not necessarily a bad thing; you’re more likely to know exactly what you’re going to encounter when you arrive, and these places have built a solid reputation of being student-friendly and delivering exactly what you need. But the world is a big place and there are so many options for English language students. I recommend looking at options other than the usual destinations, because if you decide to go to a less common destination you’re likely experience things that you’ll never get the opportunity to do again.

2. Agents are affiliated with certain schools in certain locations. A vast majority of people who are looking to study abroad use the services of an agent in their home country. While this makes sense, it’s also very limiting. It means that you are unlikely to be given impartial advice about which place is the best fit for you. It also means that you will probably end up in a school with many people from your home country. This is common complaint among ESL students: “I didn’t fly thousands of kilometers and spend thousands of dollars to be in a classroom that is mostly made up of students from my home town.” If you’re looking for an unbiased resource, check out the ESL Explorer website to help you with your research.

It’s important to keep in mind what you want to get out of the experience. Here are some questions to ask yourself that might help you make the right decision.

1. Do you want to go to a large, medium or small city/town, and do you want that place to be close to anything in particular, such as a beach, mountains, other cities, etc.

2. How much money are you prepared to spend and what is the cost of getting to, and living in, the places you are thinking of going?

3. Do you plan on working while you’re there? Are you able to work in the country you’re thinking of going? If you have work experience in a particular industry you may want to think about a place that is famous for that kind of work. For example, San Francisco might be a good fit if you’re a software developer. This might help you to secure a job/internship when your studies have finished.

4. Do you require a visa to study/work? How long will it take to get it?

5. Are you thinking of going somewhere with a certain type of weather? What time of the year do you plan to go and does this mean that the weather will be different from what you want to encounter?

6. Is it important for you have access to things from your home country (food, shops, communities, etc.)?

7. Do you think you might decide to stay longer? If so, what kind of place would you like to live for a longer period of time?

8. Do you know anyone who has studied abroad? If so, what recommendations do they have for you. If not, you can always look for information online.

9. What are your goals? Which country is going to facilitate you achieving those goals? E.g. do you want to learn English in a particular accent?

10. How far do you want to travel? Does the time difference matter to you? Maybe you want to be able to phone home to your parents at a certain time.

Once you answer these questions you’ll have a better idea of what options best fit your needs. If you want some more information about each country you can take a look at this blog post about English language destinations.


ESL Explorer is a trusted marketplace for students to research and buy the best promotions on English language courses around the world. With 200,000 courses at over 400 schools in 120 cities, ESL Explorer offers the widest variety of English Language courses, at any price point around the globe

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