I was thinking since long time ago, in going to outside for improve my level of English and go up my intermediate level, which I have since a lot of years. But due to various reasons, I’d never decided to do it.
The last summer I took the dccision to assist in my month of holidays, at an intensive English course in Manchester and know better United Kingdom.
The duration of the course was limited by the days of holidays available, because otherwise I would be more time of course.
On the other hand July is one of the most preferred month by people to take holidays and I would to avoid a city where there would be a lot of Spaniards, as London.
Therefore I was considering Liverpool and Manchester like the best options.In one hand due to previous experiences of some friends of mine, and also to be cities big enough with all I want and need in a city(restaurants, pubs, museums, stores…) . And definitely there aren’t as Spaniards as in other big cities of United Kingdom(London and South coast)
As fate would have the Liverpool Academy didn’t have places at the moment of booking and I definitely booked a place in Manchester Academy, my second option.
The English course and the residence were booked through English Second Language (www.esl.es )
I visited a lot of agencies and finally all of them left a lot to be desired, even the most knwon.I couldn’t get over my surprise about the commercials that attend me, didn’t know more than the information showed in the leaflet and website. They hadn’t visited any residences, so they couldn’t answered me any of my questions(details about the residence, how far was it the residence from the academy …)
I came to the conclusion that they are middlemen and I decidied to book the course and the residende directly with the Academy in Manchester but the last travel agent that I visited, without much faith, changed the situation.
From the first minutes I noticed the ESL’s commercials speak about stuffs that they knew. They are young people that enjoy doing his work and talked to the residences or academies in front of you when they had a doubt about one of your questions. The most amazing of ESL was the cost of the course, which was the lowest of all the academies that I had visited. In fact it was the same cost that if I would have booked it directly with the Manchester Academy.
And so then, ESL was my choice and I can say I don’t have had any problem during the course.They gave me the information that I needed and everything went smoothly.
The trip is very comfortable., around two and a half hours without stop over. I travelled with Ryanair .
From Manchester airport it’s very easy to go to the residence at bus or train, because there are stops of both in the airport exit.
The Manchester Academy of English was the chosen, located in the heart of Manchester, two blocks from Piccadilly Gardens.
The level of the academy is good, but really depends on the teacher and the level at which you are clasiffied. The first day you make a written test and then a personal interview that lasts only five minutes.
If you get an appropriate level and a dynamic teacher, education level is high, but in that sense there is some unbalance between levels where people are far below your level in certain intermediate classes of all, the most common up to 20 different sub-levels in summer.
Every Thursday you have to make a test to check the level and evolution of student faces and detect these unbalanced situations, but not always corrected, so if you have a really high mark in the reviews (I obtain in any 97/100) and feel you’re the only one who talks in class and you are the dictionary of the other students(I did it too), asking for a change of class, talking with teachers and principals.
The academy, provides you with all necessary material and organizes excursions every week, but I prefer to make visits on my own because really practise English in day to day. Academy staff are always thoughtful and you can talk to every teacher and the director when is needed.
Transportation to the academy is very simple, given the situation in Piccadilly Gardens as train, tram or bus.
Other areas you have to visit sometimes (if you have a minimum of pity with your flatmates and friends) are the laundry (the washer costs 3 pounds and the dryer 2 pounds ) and the common room, where social life takes place and you can drink, watch TV, play pool and fall asleep on the sofas.
There is also a not very large gym and heated pool, which I had never been.
About 100 meters at the residence there is a mall (Salford Shopping City) which has everything you need and more, including a flea market every morning. Also a McDonalds next to you will visit more than once …
And my assessment from the educational point of view of the English course and stay in the UK, say that if you take it seriously, you can improve your pronunciation, listening and speaking a lot, and know a lot of natural expressions that are used by natives.
But in a month is a short time, you should have an intermediate level to take an advantage of the course; if you are under that level ,is recommended a longer stay.
It is very important not to speak your native language with others Spaniards and participate in social life and leisure in the city.
In a future post I will summarize the most interesting about the city of Manchester.