Intensive English courses are full time as standard, usually between 22 and 30 hours per week of English study in a classroom environment. Spending this much time every week intensively speaking, thinking and working in English, these courses develop language skills very efficiently over a short period of time, and are very popular with both students and adults.
These courses are often offered in the UK and USA, where the student benefits from being surrounded by English also outside the classroom, making the course even more intense.
There are many different types of intensive English programs, divided both by age, profession and level. Some schools offer programs for business, and you can also find courses based on a particular business sector. These programs practise the skills and language needed specifically for that area; examples are English for law, medicine or aviation.
There are also a number of intensive English courses for university students which work on academic English skills and vocabulary, and courses preparing students for English exams such as the IELTS or the TOEFL, which are required for entry into university in English speaking countries like the UK and USA.
For a beginner, an intensive course can really kick start your learning and get you from complete beginner level to being able to use the language, which will let you carry on practising on your own. Getting past the first hurdle is often the greatest challenge, and being guided through it by an experienced teacher is of enormous benefit.
Will I learn English faster on an intensive course? According to this report from the Faculty of Educational Studies, 30 students who engaged with a one month intensive English course completed their assigned levels and passed - all students reaching a higher level of English competence. This study was on an intensive course of 120 hours per month, or 30 hours per week, equivalent to more than half of the English lessons an average foreign learner will have in a full academic year. These types of courses are offered by some English language schools in the UK and abroad. Intensive English courses will be of particular benefit for complete beginners as you can go from being a non-speaker to a practising communicator in a short time span.
Depending on the language school, intensive English courses will often be offered with accommodation included in the course price, so do make sure that you check this before committing to a language course. The accommodation will be either in student residence or in a host family. For international students and adults on intensive English courses this is a particularly attractive option, as you can travel abroad for an intensive learning holiday and be exposed to English around the clock, both in and outside the classroom. The homestay option allows you to stay in a comfortable home environment with the added support of a host family, who you can practise your new English skills with after school.