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.
How to prepare for student life in the UK
Deciding to study in the UK is a big step. Moving to a country with different food, language, culture and weather can make you nervous. It is completely normal to experience this.
You may feel overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity of these things compared to what you are used to. Studying abroad can be a very rewarding experience once you get used to your new situation.
So how can you conquer your fears? Here are some tips to prepare for life as an international student studying in the UK.
Research student life in the UK
Even though you're in the United Kingdom to study, you need to balance studying with a social life. Otherwise you risk boredom or worse, burnout. Luckily, students all over the world love to socialize, and British students are no exception.
The most well-known time to join student life in the UK is at Freshers Week. This is when new students are welcomed to the university with various social events. There's a fair where university clubs and societies try to get new members. There are clubs for many interests, hobbies and sports, so it's an excellent way to meet people who share your interests. There are some pretty unusual clubs too. At Cambridge, for example, there's a secretive group that climbs university buildings in the middle of the night.
Freshers Week is also a great opportunity to talk to everyone you can. Whether it's in the queue to get your student card or to your neighbor in your first lecture, everybody is in the same situation as you - they know nobody and are trying to figure out who to be friends with. During Freshers Week, you can make good friends and converse with other students. It's all about meeting new people.
Get to know the faculty and staff
On your course website you'll be able to have a look at the academic staff and Ph.D. candidate profiles. Learn about their research interests and read a few abstracts of their past publications to get an idea of their work. This will help you understand their main focus during teaching and give you ideas for independent study projects.
You can get to know the academic staff by signing up for online events before term starts. You'll hear them talking about the course and what you'll learn on it. Think about the questions you might ask. Before the event you should read your course syllabus. While you read, consider the reasons for choosing or arranging certain topics in a specific order. If you have any questions, make a note of them.
You might even be able to watch past lectures or sign up for events that they are participating in. That way you'll have some familiar faces around the department when you arrive at your university.
Find out about the student union
Student unions are a big part of UK universities. Every university has a union that you can join. Sometimes there are a few different student unions, so you can choose the one you think would suit you best. Student unions are on-campus buildings where students can attend events, eat, study and socialize with others.
But as well as organizing clubs, societies and social events, they can also help with any problems you might have. Every union has a welfare officer, typically a recent graduate elected to assist current students with personal issues they may encounter.
An international students' officer will be available to assist with any issues overseas students may encounter. This officer will have personal experience as an international student, making them well equipped to provide support. Knowing there are people to listen and help with your problems can be comforting, even if you don't need their assistance.
Learn about the local social scene
University life is more than just what's happening on campus. You can investigate a whole world outside your institution. In addition to nightlife, dining and cultural events, there are also sports clubs, outdoor activities and community volunteering.
Reach Volunteering has many volunteer opportunities. It's a good way to use your skills to help others. Meeting locals and making friends is important while studying in the UK. It helps build a strong network. The more you see of life in the UK, the more you'll get used to it and feel at ease.
If you're worried about your level of English - don't be. People in the UK are very tolerant of how their language is used. It's a truly global language, so there's no right or wrong accent.
If you join the local community, expect to pick up a slight accent from the place you study. It shows that you have become a part of the community.
Follow your university on social media
Social media is a key part of all our lives, and this also goes for university life. Schools use social media accounts to share positive information about their staff and students. They also post pictures from the campus.
Occasionally, a student takes over their account, giving them a chance to show what it's like to study there.
Student-run sites and social accounts also give an insider perspective on student life. Sites like The Tab cover news relevant to students, and have sections that cover news at specific universities. The Student Room is also a place where current and former students discuss all aspects of student life in the UK, from exams to the TV shows students like to watch.
Pay attention to the English language test
You'll have to pass an English test for your visa to study in the UK. Treat it as a chance to learn. Focus on the test content, as it reflects the daily tasks of the UK and student life.
For example, the speaking component of the PTE Academic test, which can be used for UK visas and to access 99% of British universities, tests your ability to summarise an academic lecture. You may have to summarize a lecture for a friend who couldn't attend, not just for your classes.
Every task on the test has a real-world application, so if you can pass the test, you can be confident that you stand a good chance of making the most of life in the UK.
Remember, although you can do as much research as you like, there's only so much you can learn online. To truly understand a place, you must be there and learn from the firsthand experience it offers. Be ready to be surprised and take advantage of things you never thought would happen. You only get to be an undergraduate once, so make the most of every opportunity.
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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.