Should I study English when new to the UK?

If you need to earn money when you are new to the UK, then anything that helps you to get your first job is worth a try.

Getting into work is a great way to get yourself immersed into British culture and become genuinely fluent in the language, including the specific slang and sayings that are popular in your area.

But you need a basic level of English in order to get most jobs – and especially if you want to be in a job where you might have contact with members of the public.

That includes more positions than you might think, including a lot of casual jobs like call centre work, jobs in supermarkets and serving customers in restaurants.

For higher-level jobs you’re even more likely to need a good grasp of English, as you could be working in a high-stakes environment where miscommunication can be costly.

How can I learn English quickly?

Look for language courses for foreigners new to the UK in your local area. There might be night courses and evening classes, or intensive coaching to raise your language skills significantly within just a week or two.

Alternatively, buy a book. There are plenty of great guides to English grammar in the academic sections of bookshops in university towns, or you could ask British friends if they can recommend anything to you.

You might even want to buy some children’s ‘learn to read’ style books. This might feel a little odd but forget about the age group they are aimed at – they can still be a really good way to improve your range of vocabulary in English and learn some basic sentences.

Learn English online

Online courses let you go at your own pace and study when you want, making them a good option to fit around a busy schedule of study, work, or just exploring the UK.

These days, smartphone apps are also an option, and many of these start from the basics like the different phonemes – the basic sounds that make up the English spoken language.

Phone apps are often free, just supported by adverts in the app, and you can always upgrade to the paid version later for a typical price of just a pound or two.

Best of all, because your phone can play sound from the app, you get to hear the pronunciation too, so you can practise your speech and your comprehension skills at the same time.

Voice recognition

If you’re not sure how good your spoken English is, try using a voice recognition system. This could be something like Siri, Cortana, Alexa or Google Helper set to understand English, or even a Google voice search if you have a microphone on your computer.

See how well it detects what you are saying – and make a note of any words you get 100% correct or really badly wrong.

Again, don’t be embarrassed by any mistakes. Not all languages use the same sounds, so it can be very difficult to say some English words. This is your chance to find a way to make those noises by trying out different shapes with your mouth, tongue and teeth.

An English account for wages

One other way to make it easier for people to employ you is to make sure your finances are located in the UK too – an account in pounds sterling is a crucial way for your money to ‘speak English’ in its own way.

With an Arro Personal Account you get a GBP account balance in three minutes, with immediate access to an online dashboard to make payments, and a sort code and account number to receive funds into the account.

You also get a MasterCard® debit card with every account, giving you a payment method that is widely recognised in the UK and abroad.

ATM withdrawals

Finally, one important time to know the necessary English words is when making a withdrawal from a cash machine or ATM.

If you have someone you can trust, you might want to take them with you the first time you use a public ATM. The options on the screen are usually very simple – just a few words at most – but you’ll need to understand them in order to push the right buttons.

An employer or a manager from work might also be able to help you when you need to withdraw some money – just make sure it’s somebody you trust, and you’ll soon learn the language enough to use cash machines on your own.