There are five major categories of English language courses generally offered in Australia to international students:
- General English
- English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
- Secondary School Preparation
- Examination Preparation
- English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
In addition, some ELICOS centres have developed and deliver specific courses to suit the needs of particular clients; for example courses that may concentrate on executive English, corporate ELICOS training or Study Tour Programs (these programs usually combine English language study with other activities e.g. travelling or sporting activities).
1. General English
These courses help to improve English skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students can enter at any level, from elementary to advanced, and they progress at their own pace.
Students are generally tested and placed in an appropriate class level at the start of their studies. Classes at each level focus on everyday English, and often include a variety of activities.
General English is suitable for individuals or for holiday groups, and as preparation for the English for Academic Purposes courses.
2. English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
EAP courses are designed to help students succeed in university studies by improving their English and academic study skills. They help students achieve the level of English language proficiency needed to undertake tertiary studies at Australian and International universities. EAP programs are generally offered as full-time courses of approximately 10 weeks for each module. EAP courses generally start and finish at dates which match with the university’s academic semesters. This allows students to move easily into formal degree courses.
3. Secondary School Preparation
These programs are generally designed to:
- develop speaking, listening, reading and writing skills,
- inform students about the education system in Australia,
- familiarise students with teaching methodologies they will encounter in their secondary studies,
- introduce specific subject areas and assist with subject selection.
4. Examination Preparation
While not offering formal qualifications, many English courses focus on preparing students for external English proficiency examinations such as:
- Cambridge exams (PET, FCE, CAE, CPE, & BEC), which are the most popular,
- the IELTS exam,
- the TOEFL exam,
- the TOEIC test.
These courses are generally provided for students aged 17 and above and involve intensive test practice. They cater to people who wish to:
- enter educational institutions,
- work in English-speaking countries,
- obtain a qualification that is valued by employers in their home country.
5. English for Specific Purposes
These courses are generally specialised to meet a specific student need for technical English proficiency. They are often designed specifically for a small student group with similar needs. Courses that are less than 13 weeks in length are often taken while on a tourist visa.
6. Short Courses for non-student visa holders
Students may obtain a tourist visa to study English for less than 3 months , or if on a working holiday visa, study a maximum of 4 months. These students may undertake the same programs and classes as student visa holders.
If the students come as a group, then they can have a specific program tailored for them. This is usually known as a ‘study tour’.
Study tours usually have these features:
- they are designed for students studying in their own country either in High School or in Higher Education and take place during holiday periods.
- they combine tourist or specialised activities with English study.
- they are often structured around a particular group of students coming from one source overseas (a school, university or workplace).
Study tours can provide all types of Business and English language packages. Often these tours can be coupled with business conventions and conferences. However, affordable tours can cater to all groups, from school students and tourists to special interest technical groups wishing to further their studies in their specific area of interest.