In this article, I answer the question “Should you take a Business English course abroad?” as a language trainer and language learner.
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
The following question is one of the most common questions I receive: What is the best way to learn Business English?
Some time ago, a reader asked me whether I recommend Business English courses abroad. This reader in particular was considering a course in Oxford, England.
All over the world, language schools and teachers offer English lessons for business.
With so many choices of schools and lesson formats, it’s difficult to choose the right option for you.
You might need to improve your English quickly. Perhaps you want to learn English the way it is spoken by native speakers in Ireland, the U.S., or Australia.
So, should you travel abroad to learn Business English?
My Perspective on Language Travel
Language travel means taking a language course in another country for several weeks or months.
I am not only an English trainer but also a language learner myself. I have been learning 6 languages using different systems: in school or university, at home, and with language courses abroad.
Years ago, I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to learn Spanish at a language school.
Moreover, I used to work as a saleswoman for language courses. For more than five years, I worked in marketing roles for different companies selling language courses. So, I actually used to sell language courses – and I loved it.
Now that you know more about my background, I can give you some recommendations about whether language travel is a good option for you.
The Benefits of Language Travel
Learning English in another country is an effective way to improve your English for business.
If you have the time and money to go to Boston, for example, I think a professional course would be a great investment and a valuable experience.
I recommend taking at least 2 weeks for a language course abroad.
You will be immersed in the English-speaking environment for a while and make connections with fellow businesspeople.
I have taken language courses myself, and it’s all about people: an excellent teacher, new friends or connections that can be important for your work or business.
So, a Business English course in another country can be a wonderful way to improve your English fast. At the same time, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the culture, yourself, and to meet new people.
Why a Course Abroad Is Not Enough
But a Business English course abroad is not for everybody. And it is not enough to give you fluency in English.
You will be disappointed if you expect to speak English without any mistakes after two weeks in New York.
While a course abroad can be valuable, I don’t recommend relying on this course as the only way to learn Business English.
Some learners think investing time and money in a course will make them fluent. Although it’s expensive and requires time, language travel is not enough.
As a Business English trainer, I propose a more integrated and sustainable learning approach.
I want you to make English a part of your routine and to help you find a process to improve your English.
If you choose to spend time in another country to take an English course, you have to make an effort before and after the course. Before you leave and after you come back, you should learn something new everyday and every week without forgetting what you learned before.
Read more: How to Remember Business English Words
You don’t have to spend a lot of money at once. Know that there are many free or affordable ways you can learn Business English, too – it just takes time and you need a good process.
What’s the Best Way to Learn Business English?
I like this explanation of education by Jason Fried, the author of Rework:
“Education is delivered at every scale, from an individual reading a book, to a 1:1 tutor, to a small home/classroom setting, to a larger university auditorium-sized class, to online classes that can be theoretically taken by the entire planet at once. From one to 7 billion.”
So, the setting really isn’t that important.
Good feedback is important.
A good teacher is important.
It’s more important how you learn.
Here are a few things I recommend using in addition to – or instead of – a course at a language school:
- If you don’t have time to travel, get a private (online) teacher or an experienced tutor for language skills, general motivation and guidance, for example on italki
- Online resources are great, but a comprehensive grammar book with exercises is a must in my opinion
- A self-teaching book or course to guide you
- A fun tool that you can use regularly (daily or weekly), for example Lingq or Mosalingua
- Invest in interesting and real materials, such as books, audiobooks, movies, that interest you personally. It could be about soccer, art, or whatever topic fascinates you. Here are some of my book recommendations.
- You can get access to free Business English resources in my Globify Business English Library.
Don’t be afraid to read and listen to materials that you don’t understand yet. That’s the only way you can learn!
Yes, if you have the money and time to travel to another country to learn English, do it!
But please know that you are still in charge. You will not become fluent in English unless you find a good study routine.
I Would Like to Hear From You
Write a comment below and let us know:
Have you taken a Business English course? What is one thing you can recommend to other learners?