It's clear that the English language opens the most doors in education, business, and life generally, so learning it can enhance life in Australia and beyond. There are currently over 1.5 billion English speakers worldwide, making English the most spoken language, with over 20% of the world's language speakers, and notably the most second language students.

In general, it's obvious how highly useful English can be, and how it can be harnessed in study and business across the world.

Find the right ESL class for you in Darwin
Darwin is a unique place to learn English. | Source: Viator

Do you have a specific need for learning English though? Maybe for work, or to practice your sentence construction in academic essays, or even for a certificate to let you study higher education in Australia. The good news is that although learning English can be tricky in itself, there is a language school on nearly every corner in major Australian cities that will cater to students.

The exponential international student market means that English courses run virtually non-stop during the year, and a new course will start on average every week at any general languages school.

In fact, the revenue generated by international students coming to Australia rose to $37.6 billion in 2019, hence we can see why there has been a rise in the number of English courses and schools in recent years, since so many people have a desire to learn!

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Necessary English Requirements in Australia 

Australia has the reputation of being quite strict on newly arrived migrants and their English language skills in recent years, as various demands for a certificate and proven linguistic skills have been appearing gradually more and more over the course of the past quarter-century.

Coming to Australia to learn the language itself will require a student visa, which bears a general requirement of 20 hours per class attendance to qualify. With this amount of course and associated study time, your English will improve immensely, but you won't have a lot of time to put these skills into practice in the workforce because the government limits how many hours you can work during your time as a student.

But what if the business you work for trains you in the language as part of the job, and requires you to go to Australia for a project? Our government lists various classifications for skills-based visas, which range from manual labour, requiring a low level of English proficiency, to highly qualified, business or organisation sponsored visas, including in academia, education, and teaching, which ask a near-native level of fluency.

The bands for the attainment of a certificate in one of a selection of English language tests that can gain you entry into Australia are as follows: vocational, competent, proficient, superior.

Keep this scale in mind while considering your specific reason for coming to Australia because each Visa will have different requirements. Likewise, permanent migration demands a similar requirement, stating the necessity of attaining one of the tests above and 4 years residency, including 12 months as a permanent resident.

ESL proficiency is a key step in the visa and naturalisation process in Australia
Visa requirements can be tricky, so it's worth investigating before you arrive.

Is Darwin the right city to learn English in?

Darwin is a beautiful Australian city, and students will find that there's just as much to test out while completing their language training. And compared to its larger counterparts Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth, Darwin is smaller but just as multicultural.

It's also worth noting that it has nice weather almost 52 weeks a year, so this mixture of factors means it retains a free character separate from the rest of Australia. The city only comprises 130,000 residents but is a great place to come get an English certificate or diploma, since there are courses and language services on offer in several schools, which creates slightly more competitive pricing.

Another thing to bear in mind when preparing for your course in an Australian city, is that Darwin is an affordable city when compared to other mainland cities like  Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.The average price of a four-bedroom home in Darwin is around $1150 per month, and outgoings can add up to $500 per week.

This is crucial stuff to consider before arriving, as is giving thought to school you want to study in and your reasons for learning English and how much work this will entail. Now we'll go through a bit of what's on offer and how you can get help for your English course.

ESL courses available

Identifying your reasons for study then choosing your program could take weeks in itself.

Here we offer some information to help you understand the purpose of your study, be it for business, education, or residency; whether you want a degree, diploma, or certificate from your course; and the sorts of services the schools and staff offer, and the links to industries that study with your chosen school could permit afterwards.

Within each section, we will also give you an example of a school in Darwin that will offer the style of learning you need to develop your desired skills.

Do your research when looking for an ESL tutor
Australia is known as an expensive place, so you need to budget wisely.

General ESL and professional English courses

A general ESL course is as the name suggests: general. It will cater particularly to those who have little English study behind them, are newly arrived in Darwin and need proof of English level or equivalent weeks/hours of English learning to qualify for a job, or simply a person who sees the benefit of English study, and is wanting to maximise their business potential.

Given that the requirement is 20 hours per week of study on a student visa, you will need to ask your school (and this is the same all over Australia) for proof of attendance, and if not, you may not receive your diploma or certificate, and could even get barred from accessing education in Australia indefinitely. Check with your individual school staff for information about this.

An average day in such a school consists of 4 hours of classes, 5 days a week, either in the morning, afternoon, or evening. These are typically on offer from A1 (absolute beginner) to C1 (fluent advanced user) speakers, however, the higher you go, the more likely you'll have to find a specialised course.

Classes will go into topic-specific vocabulary, grammar, cultural understanding and social skills, and will give foundations in writing, speaking, reading, and listening skills - essentially, the general kind of English that helps you function in daily social and business settings.

An international renowned learning environment, International House Darwin is a fantastic learning centre for students over 18 and is right in the centre of Darwin. Here, you can refine your English skills while taking in the gorgeous northern Australian sun, all the while taking advantage of the free social activities and outings which staff organise at the school.

They cover various areas of learning, and have a strong international focus, as the name would suggest, which will prepare you for the Australian workforce more readily. A full-time course, for international students, beginner to advanced, costs around $470 AUD per week, and these run from 1 to 24 weeks. Have a look at their website for more info.

IELTS courses and Bridging classes

If wishing to get an education in an English speaking country, but not possessing the level, you could consider a bridging course with a university.

This will get you ready for entry to tertiary education in Australia, enabling you to manage your time and learning in your diploma or degree, including essay writing competencies, research capabilities, all while providing information on how to manage stress during your programme, and find social success in Australia.

ESL classes will open up your prospects to further study
University bridging courses in English and study skills are available to those who need it. | Source: ABC

These courses usually run for around 20 hours a week too, but will be far more rigorous, imbuing students with independent learning abilities and academic language for seminar and tutorial discussion and lecture attendance.

This is very appealing for a lot of international students because it offers a direct pathway to university when completed, and lets you maintain friendships made throughout.

Such a course exists in Darwin at Charles Darwin University and is rare for the fact that it is actually free. It provides assistance to students to help them get ready for the time and personal commitments to life on university and college campuses, as well as getting their English up to par. Students often enrol directly into a degree from where, regardless of whether it's in arts, languages, social and political sciences, business, engineering, or even theatre.

Staff are on hand in person and online if you're interested in this course, however, you will most likely need to be an Australian resident in order to access it.

They can help you get more quickly to your PTE and IELTS certificates, which are generally considered the hallmarks for English exams.

A wide range of other schools are also available, where you can study to get access to these certificates directly. A quick google search will show where and how to get information on these.

When it all comes down to it, you're free to choose what program you want to best suit the industry you want to work in, or for any other English purpose.

So think about what the reason for your study is, and what skills you want to nurture to get your English language journey started today!

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