With the world having opened up again since Covid lockdowns were eased, language schools everywhere are experiencing renewed interest in their courses.
SoGlos spoke to Sally-Anne Fyffe and Wendy Makise from inlingua to find out why the language school in Cheltenham is such an excellent choice for learners at all levels.
About the expert - inlingua
Located in the centre of Cheltenham, within easy reach of many of the UK's biggest cities, inlingua is the only private English language school locally, where students can also learn other languages, from French to Japanese.
Founded in 1990, it can teach up to 200 students at any one time, thanks to its 20 classrooms and is one of only a few in the country to have a separate building for corporate clients attending its business school.
Now that we can study in-person again, what are the main
advantages of doing so locally, as opposed to studying online?
Well, we do both! For those who want a lively, interactive learning environment, face-to-face classes are always the better option.
Doing it locally will help students make friends and engage with other nationalities. We also have a social programme at the school, so students can learn more about the local history and sights.
For people who need a more flexible approach, our one-to-one online lessons are available at any time.
Which is the most popular English course you offer?
Our most popular course is the full day of General English. Students come to school from 9am to 3pm and study in two different classes.
We test students on the first day and place them in classes according to their level. We also offer them the option of exam classes, such as IELTS or Business English in the afternoons.
In what ways does Business English differ from General English at inlingua?
The Business classes are focussed on English for work, such as presentations, meetings and business correspondence.
Classes are smaller than General English, up to four clients and include some company visits.
We can also offer a combination of General English and Business English.
What levels are your General English and Business English courses suitable for?
Absolutely any level! Classes tend to be elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate and upper intermediate.
However, we also take more advanced students or even beginners - ensuring all students receive the learning they need at their particular level.
What are your class sizes like?
Outside of summer school, the maximum class size is 12. However, classes average at around eight students, creating an intimate and focused learning environment.
Next year, we are running two summer schools, one at inlingua for students aged 16 and over and one at Cheltenham Ladies' College for students aged 11 to 17 years. This one will have a residential option.
How long are your lessons and courses?
We pride ourselves on the flexibility of our courses – students can begin on any Monday for any duration.
All classes are from Monday to Friday to get the maximum benefit, but we also offer the option of a few mornings, or a few afternoons for any period of time.
If our students work in the mornings, or have to take the kids to school, they can book afternoon lessons only, from 1.30pm to 3pm.
Likewise, if students work in the afternoons, they can attend a morning course from 9am to 12.15pm.
We offer courses all year round and are only closed during the Christmas period.
How much do classes cost and what do the fees cover?
A full-time intensive course of 22.5 hours per week begins at £295; for longer term students, we also offer discounts for local companies and businesses.
Fees include materials and if you book for four weeks or more, you get a free textbook and local gym membership, which in itself saves you £80 per month!
Will my reading, writing, listening and speaking skills improve at the same rate?
Every student is different. Students tend to improve their listening skills first, especially if they live in the UK.
Then they will improve their speaking, which is always the skill everyone wants to improve the most.
Reading and writing can follow, unless of course they have studied these skills in their own country - they may already be good!
What could I go on to study after?
Learning English opens up a plethora of options, whether this be for conversational purposes or career development.
It will give people an advantage in the global job market, enhance their careers and allow them to meet people from all over the world.
Do you teach any other languages?
Yes, we currently have evening classes in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese.
Learning a foreign language enhances your cognitive and analytical abilities. It can be difficult as it involves a lot of concentration, but the benefits are ten-fold.
Do you offer teacher training?
Yes, we have the Trinity Certificate in TESOL for people wanting to teach English as a Foreign Language.
This qualification is essential if you want to teach abroad and you may even get a job with us - we often hire our trainee teachers!