The English language is a fascinating mix of regional dialects and unique slang, shaped by centuries of history and cultural influences. Throughout its long history, the UK has had many invasions and visitors. From the Romans in ancient Londinium to the rolling hills of the Saxon heartland, and from the Viking raiders of the north to the Norman conquerors of the south, each wave of historical influence has shaped the dialects of the UK. Each region of the United Kingdom has its own distinct flavor of language and accent. Today, we embark on a slang tour to explore some of the expressions from different regions.
International students: Which UK university is best for you?
People study abroad for many reasons - to see new places, to experience a different culture, and, most importantly, to get access to student life and educational opportunities not available at home. If you want to study at a UK university, you’ll not only have access to some truly innovative teaching and research, you’ll also be joining one of the most multicultural student bodies in the world.
The UK has a vast range of universities and courses to choose from. So, how do you choose between over 160 institutions and thousands of courses? Research finds that half of students who drop out of university early do so because they chose the wrong course, so it’s important to be completely happy with your choice.
So, here's what you need to consider before you make your university application so you can make the right choice.
Choose your subject
The first step in choosing a university is deciding what you want to study. Your UCAS personal statement will be sent to all your university choices, so it should be relevant to all the courses you apply for. This means that your course choices must be the same or in a similar field.
Think about the school subjects you’re good at, but also think about what you could spend the next three or even four years studying.
Is there a subject that you want to continue and deepen your knowledge in? Or do you want to study something completely new?
Do you want to study a subject like law or medicine related to a specific job? Or do you want to take a course like history that can be used in a wide range of careers? Think carefully about these questions and the rest of the process will become much more manageable.
Do as many events and online taster sessions, and sign up for as many free online courses as possible. Futurelearn has a great range of taster courses from universities all over the world. This can help you decide where your interests lie. Above all, keep notes on what interests you and what doesn’t.
If you think you want a broader degree, then you’ve always got the option of doing a joint honors degree. This means you combine two different courses. Many joint honors courses combine a language with another subject, allowing you to use your learning around the world or even do a study placement in another country.
Consider the competition
When thinking about what course you could do, it’s important to consider the competition. Some courses have many more applicants than places, but there are also hundreds of ‘hidden’ courses that get far fewer applicants. For example, the University of Oxford receives 16.9 applicants per place on its Economics course, but it’s closer to 3 applicants per Classics place. Classics covers a range of areas like politics, history, linguistics and social sciences, and really challenges your intellect.
Economics might be competitive but Classics might be just as valuable. There are thousands of ‘hidden’ courses, which don't attract as many applicants just because they’re not well known. Check out the full range of courses on the UCAS Explore site and the Uni Guide, and do it with an open mind.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of courses, it’s time to think about where to study.
Think about location and compare places
The UK might be a small country but it’s incredibly diverse. There are large, international cities like London or Glasgow, smaller towns and cities like Cardiff, Belfast or Nottingham, rural universities like Lancaster, coastal towns like St. Andrews or historic cities like York, Oxford or Cambridge.
So, when deciding on a UK university, you must first ask yourself: what’s important to you? Would you prefer to live in a busy city or the quiet countryside? Will you be doing a lot of exploring or will you stay near campus? These factors will make a difference to your decision.
You’ll also need to think carefully about costs. Different parts of the UK have different living costs, depending on things like rent, transport and the cost of entertainment. Check out property websites to see what rents are like, to get an idea of how expensive life will be.
Finally, the type of university itself is important. Some universities have campuses where the whole of university life takes place, like the University of York. Others are more spread out, such as the University of Manchester, which has buildings all over the city. Each has its own atmosphere and you should think about which you prefer.
Look at the university rankings
Find out how your preferred universities rank in the league tables. Rankings of the top universities in the UK don’t just measure teaching quality. They show data on student satisfaction, post-graduation employment rates and staff-to-student ratios.
The best universities in the UK and courses with higher rankings will be more competitive to gain entry to. You can apply for up to five courses on your UCAS form, so choosing a range of courses and universities is a good idea. Include an ambitious choice which you may or may not get the grades for and safe choices that you know will accept you.
That being said, student life in the UK is about balance. You need to consider both rankings and what’s right for you. It’s no use going to a top-ranking UK university in a location you hate, studying things that don’t interest you and where the culture on campus doesn’t appeal to you.
Sometimes it might be better to consider a lower university ranking if it can offer you plenty of chances to thrive and achieve your personal goals.
Remember, the reason that there are so many different kinds of universities is because everyone is unique. If you’re applying to somewhere you know matches your values and interests, you’ll be much more likely to succeed in your university career.
Research the teaching style
It’s a good idea to look at the style of teaching and assessment at your chosen university. Some courses focus more on final exams, others on coursework, projects, dissertations and independent research.
See whether your university’s exams are open book or closed book. If they’re closed you have to remember a lot more, but if they’re open you will probably have to give more detailed answers in your exams.
If you can attend open days and chat with other students and potential professors, do so. But if you can’t, remember that each university course website will tell you about the course content and how it is assessed. You need to make a choice based on what type of assessment will suit you best.
Some courses are taught in large lectures and seminars; others, such as many Oxbridge colleges, will teach you in small groups or one-to-one with a tutor. The teaching style that works best for you will be crucial in your choice.
Consider your hobbies
Every university has its own culture and social life based around the student unions and societies. For local and international students, university life is about more than studying.
You will have a more balanced student experience if you make time for your hobbies. You can look on the university website to learn about student societies and clubs and see which activities are available. But don’t worry if you don’t see anything that appeals - you can always be proactive and start your own society.
Do you have a sport that you love to do? If you do and are really good at it, you may be eligible for a scholarship. There are all sorts of funding and awards available, so even if you think you won’t get anything, it’s a good idea to check.
Make sure you meet the English language requirements
You’ll need to pass a test of English for your UK student visa requirements. You can take any Secure English Language Test (SELT) approved by the Home Office, the UK government department responsible for immigration.
PTE Academic can be used for UK student visas for degree-level courses, and to access 99% of universities in the country. The test takes two hours, covers reading, speaking, listening and writing, and is done on a computer. Results usually come back within 48 hours, making it convenient and reliable.
Choosing a university requires a lot of thought. Luckily, choosing an English test to get a visa is easy.
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Language is not only a tool for communication but also a means to explore and comprehend diverse cultures, traditions, and perspectives. Europe, with its vast array of languages, is a prime example of this linguistic diversity. Each year on September 26th, Europe observes the European Day of Languages, which is a day solely dedicated to celebrating and embracing this linguistic richness.
Europe is a magnificent tapestry of languages, with over 200 spoken throughout the continent. This diversity is a symbol of the rich cultural heritage of each nation and reminds us of the intricate historical, social, and linguistic elements that mold our identities. The European Day of Languages inspires people to cherish and honor this linguistic heritage.
Why September 26th?
September 26th marks an important date for celebrating linguistic diversity and promoting multilingualism. This day commemorates the adoption of the "European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages" by the Council of Europe in 1992, a crucial document that recognizes and safeguards the linguistic rights of minority languages spoken within European countries. By celebrating the European Day of Languages on this date, it renews our commitment to supporting the rich diversity of languages and cultures that make our world a more vibrant and fascinating place.
What type of events happen?
The European Day of Languages offers language learners a chance to participate in language exchanges, which is an exciting opportunity. During such exchanges, learners from diverse backgrounds partner up and teach each other their native languages. This not only helps improve language skills but also promotes intercultural understanding.
Various European cities offer language workshops led by enthusiasts and experts, providing an introduction to different languages.
Storytelling is an incredibly effective tool for learning languages. Libraries, schools, and cultural centers hold multilingual storytelling sessions, where stories from different cultures are shared in their original languages. This helps both children and adults to better understand and appreciate the beauty of linguistic diversity.
Cinema provides a wonderful opportunity to explore different languages and cultures. Throughout Europe, foreign films are often shown with subtitles, enabling viewers to fully immerse themselves in new linguistic worlds.
Museums often showcase exhibitions highlighting the linguistic and cultural heritage of various regions, providing insight into the history and traditions of different languages.
Cafés and restaurants might offer special menus featuring diverse cuisines and multilingual staff – a delightfully tasty way to explore languages and cultures.
Games and Competitions
Language-based games and competitions, such as crossword puzzles and spelling bees, are organized in schools and communities to provide a fun and educational way to celebrate language.
If you are a teacher hoping to celebrate this occasion make sure to check here for ideas on what to do.
Check out what events are happening near you here.
Just like the European day of Languages, we at Pearson Languages are fully committed to empowering and celebrating language learners and educators alike. That's why we are now supporting French, Italian, and Spanish language learning with the Global Scale of Languages (GSL). With these new language learning frameworks at your fingertips, you can confidently design curriculums and personalize learning pathways to help fast-track your learners’ progress and help your learners be themselves in French, Italian and Spanish.
Whether you're a teacher, a language learner, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of languages, the European Day of Languages and the GSL provide exciting opportunities to explore, learn, and enjoy the rich tapestry of Europe's linguistic heritage.
Can we play a game? How many times have you been asked this in class? And how often do you say Yes? Young learners love to play games, and if you choose the right ones, they can have a hugely beneficial impact on their learning.
As well as being fun, games can provide learners with necessary language practice, as well as lowering the affective filter (i.e. anxiety, fear, boredom and other negative emotions that can all impact learning). Games also foster a positive, relaxed environment.
So are you ready to play? Here are a few tried and tested games that work especially well in the primary classroom. Each game is designed to consolidate and review the language students have been learning, and take from 5 to 15 minutes. The games are flexible enough for you to adapt them to different levels, age groups and skills.