Study in one of the best language schools in London Oxford International (UIC) Greenwich, personal experience
You can spend a vacation not only on the beach next to the sea but, for example, with the benefit of self-education - to learn English.
I got a strong desire to study in the UK after several unsuccessful attempts to win a trip to London, with paid accommodation and attendance at a local language school, from one major online English learning platform. At one point, I realized for myself that I shouldn't wait for some kind of win or a lucky break, I just need to take this business into my own hands and start acting.
I started looking through the options, studied a lot of different information, and read live reviews. Since at that time I was already familiar with Marina Mogilko's work on YouTube, I decided to try to go to a language school through her company - LinguaTrip, which, in principle, I did not regret, they did their job, as it should be. I tormented them a little with my numerous questions in the mail, but they always answered clearly and easily.
The first step was to register on their website and create an account. After that, you send your documents and make an advance payment (usually $ 100-200 from the cost of the course that you buy), this is done so that the school will reserve a place for you. Since I was about to apply for a Chevening scholarship in the UK, which requires an IELTS exam, I opted for a two-week preparation course for this exam. I can say right away that it is, of course, unrealistic to prepare for this exam normally in such a short time, I did it both before and after my studies. Since I studied English exclusively on my own, alone at home, this course, like the whole trip, was more aimed at improving my spoken language, if you like it or not, you will have to speak English in the UK.
Two letters quickly came from the school. There was an invitation to school and a paper for a visa (Confirmation of Enrolment and Visa Letter). Then I bought a plane ticket from Kyiv and booked some of the cheapest hostels to show that I would be living somewhere. I lived with friends, just near the language school.
Preparation of documents
I decided not to waste money and not go to anyone to prepare my visa, taking this process into my own hands. Again, I watched various videos and read forums where people wrote about what to do in order to get a positive decision.
Yes, many say that the British visa is one of the most difficult, but from my own experience, I can say that if everything is done correctly, then no problems should arise.
So, first, you need to register on the official website of the UK government gov.uk, open a visa application, fill out an application form, upload documents, pay a consular fee, and set a time to go to the embassy. I was in England in 2008, which I wrote about in my application, but since this visa was in the first child's passport, I could not confirm this trip, so I do not think that this information could somehow greatly affect embassy response status.
Before going to the embassy, I also took the certificate from the place of work and translated it into English at the translation agency. And 2 weeks before the appointed date, I took an account statement in my bank, without any detailed information on transactions on the card, there were just bare numbers of how much money is currently in my account. I decided to play it safe and replenished the balance of the card several times, as a result, 1,179 pounds were displayed in the bank statement, which turned out to be quite enough. (I went on the trip with much less money).
The last point was to take out insurance, I took the most standard insurance in one of the Minsk companies, for a period of 3 weeks.
Already 2 days before going to the consulates, I started to get a little nervous and since I simply had to get to London, in addition to all the documents, I also decided to write a Cover Letter, where I wrote half a page how I want to get to the UK to study that I need this course to prepare IELTS and in general English will be useful for my work, also slightly worried about the amount of money on the card, said that my parents could help me financially by transferring money to the card.
As a result, everything turned out to be nowhere easier, you come to the embassy, give your documents, then they take biometrics from you and take pictures and you leave, there is no interview, etc., even English is not required, we all spoke Russian.
In the end, you take your passport with a stamped visa and prepare for the trip.
Arriving in London
We arrived at Gatwick Airport late Saturday night. I was a little worried about the upcoming conversation at the border control because I did not have a return ticket with me. But, as is usually the case, all the worries were in vain. And it is impossible to describe in words all the pleasure that I got in the first hour in a new environment for myself when you can speak English because in any case, they will understand you and not worry about anything.
Since I learned English at home on my own, I could only speak it with myself. Of course, one could go to some "English club", of which there are enough in any major city, but I decided to leave my speaking practice before the trip and have a good talk already in England. And so it happened.
During the first hour after I got off the plane, I talked to 6 different people: a woman from border control, then a man who went to inspect my luggage, with whom we had a nice conversation about various things, then I talked to the cashier, buying a train ticket to London and an Oyster card to get around town and a local janitor. While waiting for the train on the platform, I turned to a local worker, specifying which direction I should go in general and how to get on the metro, and already on the train itself, a man from Portugal approached me, who was driving to his girlfriend, texting her in WhatsApp and asking road, as a result, we got to the desired metro station with him and said goodbye.
What immediately caught my eye was the style of clothing of local young girls, such fashionable outfits and such self-expression through appearance, I have not yet seen, and from this, it was downright awesome.
I will not tell the full story about how I finally got home, but so that you understand, after arriving at the desired station, I had 2% of the charge left in my phone, it was already deep night, and not a soul was near, I did not know where to go, and the person who was supposed to meet me did not answer in the messenger.
2 days after my arrival, I met with my local Internet girlfriend, whom we met a few years ago on Twitter. For half a day we walked through the city and in the evening we got to the place (which we had been looking for for a long time), where I planned to take a photo of myself, exactly 10 years, after my first trip, to this already beloved city for myself.
Oxford International is almost 30 years old and has branches of schools in several countries. In terms of overall reviews, quality of instruction, location, and cost, (UIC) Greenwich is placed on the highest ranks in London. The school is located in the Greenwich area, a very atmospheric place, such a typical Britain, there is a good local market and a large park nearby, and the famous University of Greenwich is also nearby.
Of the minuses: a fairly large number of Russian-speaking people go to this particular school, but there are also enough foreigners. For example, in the first week of training, in my IELTS group of 6 people, 3 girls were from Russia, one from Spain, and one from Italy. In the second week, a few more foreigners were added.
The arrival of new students and the first day at school occurs every Monday, in our case, it was Tuesday, because Monday fell on some annual local banking day, when everyone has a day off. Fortunately, we worked out the hours for this day successfully.
On the morning of the first day, all the newcomers get together, representatives of the school conduct a short excursion around the school, and then do a little testing on computers to determine the level of language proficiency, for further distribution into groups. Then they talk with everyone for a few minutes in English and the next day at school they hang out a list of names with information about who belongs to which group. Since I signed up for the IELTS course, I only had one option.
On the first day, a group of newcomers walks around Greenwich and listens to interesting stories about the area. The study begins only the next day, the first day turns out to be such an introductory one, but in any case, you will already have many opportunities to practice English.
After this we went home and then, whoever wanted, came to the school in the evening, from where we all went together to the local student pub, where we drank some beer and had a nice chat.
Every Monday morning, the school provides its own program for a week (Social Program), for example, on Monday evening students go to the pub, on Tuesday to the Tussauds, on Wednesday to the London Eye, etc., on weekends, most often, some travel, for example, to Cambridge and Oxford or to other more distant cities. I also saw that there are trips to nearby countries for the weekend, to France, Belgium or the Netherlands.
I have traveled around London and visited various places on my own. But contacting the school is very beneficial, if you want to visit some museum or the same London Eye, you should first contact the reception and ask them to get you a ticket. School tickets will be 10-50% cheaper than buying them yourself. I took a ticket from the school to Madame Tussauds and the London Eye, while the school itself also offered tickets for England-Spain football, in the VIP sector at Wembley Stadium, which, of course, I simply could not refuse.
The first trip to the store cost £ 20. The store was not cheap. Basically, you can spend about 50 pounds on food a week and feel very good.
- A ticket from Boryspil (Kiev) to London cost $ 197.
- The train ride from the airport to London - £ 9.40, went back for the same price.
- Chelsea Stadium & Museum Tour - £ 16
- Chelsea-Bournemouth game ticket - £ 51
- Ticket for the England-Spain game in the VIP box (went to the stadium in about a minute and a half) - £ 65
- Harry Potter Studios Watford + round trip shuttle bus + onsite butter beer - £ 80.95
- Madame Tussauds - £ 30
- London Eye - £ 25
- Internet on the phone - £ 10
- Travel in London is really expensive, in one week you can spend 25-40 £
- As for accommodation, the best option is to get into a host family or to a student hostel from the school, prices can vary greatly, so you need to study this question by yourself.
The London-Minsk ticket cost $ 200.
The study itself
I can't leave any enthusiastic feedback about my course, as I said, two weeks to prepare for IELTS is certainly not enough, but it was important for me to work on the speaking part and writing so that the teacher could check my texts and point out some weak points. The teacher, by the way, was very cool, our classes were fun and interesting. For 2 weeks we worked through all 4 sections of the exam + just talked a lot, analyzed new words, and discussed various global and local issues.
We studied using a special book for IELTS, which was issued on the first day, the teacher also brought his own materials + to everything, students have access to the school's online platform for 6 months, which has enough various materials for self-study.
It is also worth noting that communication at school in their own language, of course, is not very supported, the guys from the same country still tried to speak English with each other.
Upon completion of the study, you are given a special certificate of completion of the course. If later you are still in the city, you can safely contact the school for any help or, for example, to get some tickets at a discount.
From myself, I can say that a trip to a language school, in any case, will be a very cool experience, especially if you do not yet have a high level. It is advisable to travel for 3 or more weeks, the first week will only take you for adaptation, and in the next time, you will begin to use English more boldly in your studies and everyday life.
A few more pictures from my trip:
If you have any questions about studying in the UK, IELTS, Chevening, or if you want to tell your story - write to email@example.com
Prepared by: Alexander Boltrukevich firstname.lastname@example.org