Learning a language takes a large amount of time. According to the Council of Europe, it takes a European adult learning another European language about 550 hours of study to reach the Threshold Level – that is the level at which, without being totally fluent, you can manage to understand and make yourself understood in everyday situations. If you do not already speak a European language, learning English will take much longer. In seven years at secondary school, pupils usually have about 900 hours of instruction in their first foreign language – excluding homework ! These figures are not given to discourage you, but to help you set yourself a reasonable objective. If you intend to study in an English-speaking country you will need to be much better than the Threshold Level. On the other hand, if you only need to read and write routine e-mails related to your job, you may attain your objective in much less than 550 hours. Generally, it is not efficient to spread language learning over too long a period. Set yourself a time limit – 3 years maximum !


It has been proved to be more efficient to work a little every day rather than a lot once a week. It is important to have daily contact with the language of at least ten minutes. Decide on a specific time each day to work on your English. Write it in your diary/date book or wherever you note your appointments. Draw up a detailed work programme in terms of concrete, limited objectives. Examples :

  • read and understand an article
  • learn to sing a song
  • write 10 questions with “do” and “does”

This means defining your objectives in terms of “know how” rather than in terms of pages read or chapters studied in a grammar book. Evaluate your progress regularly and adapt your programme as needed. You may find it useful to find a graphic way of representing your progress and also the time spent learning English. Take a few minutes each evening, just before going to sleep, to reflect on the English you’ve learnt during the day. This way you will integrate during your sleep what you have been working on during the day. If you find you are no longer keeping to your programme and working regularly, find someone to help you reactivate your enthusiasm for English.

If your objective is to master the oral language, your will need to have practice in speaking. Find someone else who is also learning English in your neighbourhood, your company or your university. Meet at least once a week to speak in English, do exercises together and above all to encourage each other to continue!

Meeting an English speaker

This is easy, of course, if you are already in an English-speaking country. Elsewhere, it will take some organisation, but in most big towns it is possible to find English speakers. This does not necessarily mean native English speakers: Indians, Ghanaians, Germans, Scandinavians… often speak excellent English. People working or studying in a foreign country can be lonely and therefore happy to have contact with local people in exchange for speaking English. Tourists also often welcome opportunities to meet and talk to local people. Think of ways in which you could find English speaking workers, students or tourists :

  • put an ad in a newspaper or shop
  • go to an embassy or a consulate
  • try a tourist information centre
  • use a university bulletin board

A visit to a country where the people speak English can be very profitable, but it has to be well-organised or you may easily find yourself saying little more than, “Black coffee and a cheese sandwich, please” in English. One possibility is an organised trip of some kind :

  • visit the Lake District in England,
  • explore the Great Lakes in Canada
  • go on a wildlife safari in Kenya.

But choose a trip organised by a travel agent in the country itself so that you will be in a group of local people. This is quite easy to do through the Internet these days.


Basic facts and information from a traveller and  hiker.
 Aboriginal Australia   Facts and information about Aborigines.
 History of Australia Timeline A lot of information about the history of Australia.
There’s a lot of online info to read explore (interactive collections and games).
Sydney Opera House Find out about Sydney harbour and world famous opera house.Unesco World Heritage site.
The New Mardi Gras The gay and lesbian Mardi Gras is the biggest street festival in Sydney’s annual calendar. The processions are stunning and remarkable, sometimes not for the faint hearted. This website will tell you all you need to know about this massive event.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority The world’s largest coral reef is 2000 km long and has over 1,500 species of fish! It is found off the coast of Queensland on the east coast of Australia. You can also read about how it is threatened by climate change.
Ayers Rock, Uluru 318m above the desert floor with a circumference of 8 km, Ayres rock or Uluru is the world’s largest monolith. It is a spectacular site in the centre of the Australian outback and is sacred to the aboriginal people. It is also known to change colour with the differing positions of the sun throughout the day.
 Australian slang A guide to slang (familiar language) used in Australia.
Koala Net The Koala only inhabits Australia and is arguably the most lovable animal in the world. This site gives access to information on Australia’s favourite creatures and some of the not so popular ones too. There are good links to other snippets of Australian information from this site.
Australia Wildlife  Australia has a lot of weird and wonderful animals: here are ten of them.
Australia’s Careers onLine For expert help with your Job Search and Career Development! One of the first employment-remated websites in Australia.
Fox Sports Sports news for the whole of Australia, coverage of every sport !


 Basic facts about Canada  An A-Z of basic facts, geography, indigenous art, must-see places and even hockey terms.
Canadian government site The official site of the Government of Canada. Practical information (jobs, immigration ..) but also info about culture, science and innovation.
Lonely Planet Absolutely all the information that you might need is available on this website. The site is easily navigable and comes in various different languages.
 Toronto   What to see in Toronto: culture, entertainment, food and night life. Also hidden gems to visit.
Via Rail Canada This site offers information about places to visit (“Travel ideas”). Also practical  information on how to book a train ticket in Canada.
Toronto Fringe Festival This, like its counterpart in Scotland, is a celebration of culture. It is a forum of artistic talent, although the main emphasis seems to be on theatrical art. This site provides details of forthcoming events, and the possibility of buying tickets.
Parks Canada This is a guide to the national parks of Canada.
Royal Ontario Museum  Find out about must-see exhibitions. There are also online exhibitions and experiences if you can’t travel for the moment.


Gibraltar Government site Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. It has full internal self-government (2006 Constitution) (but the British Government is responsible for defence and external affairs). On this site there is a lot of information about how Gibraltar works (including Brexit information).
Gibraltar.gi Gibraltar is an English speaking British colony island found at the tip of Northern Spain. This is an excellent general website.You can also take a virtual tour.
Gibraltar National Museum A brief history of Gibraltar. You can also take a virtual tour.
 7 reasons why you should visit Gibraltar This article explains the blend of cultures in Gibraltar, making it a fascinating place to visit


Hidden Ireland: a guide to Irish fairies Fairies, leprechauns, four-leaf clovers? What’s it all about? Good question! Read about the fascinating and extensive stories of the myths and legends of Ireland at this site. Also if you want the luck of the Irish, this is the site for you. Join leprechaun watch here, and find your own exclusive pot of gold.
St. Patrick’s Festival St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. Famous for driving the snakes from Ireland, abolishing pagan rights and also for travelling and teaching the word of God in many countries. The three day long festival in Ireland is from the 15th to the 18th of March. This involves music, international carnivals, fireworks, theatre and a massive consumption of Guinness !!
 Castles  Ireland has more than 30,000 castles. Here are the 11 best to visit. A lot of practical information.
 Blarney Castle  Read about the myth of the Blarney stone. Watch a video and find out about famous people who have kissed it.
The Dublin slang dictionary and phrase book Maybe slightly confusing for a recent learner of English, but nevertheless vital, and amusing! Find out all the Irish expressions you’ve ever dreamed of knowing, for example: ‘Act the maggot’ which means being silly, and ‘pullin’ me wire’, an expression of disbelief at something somebody says. It will give you a taste of Irish humour if nothing else.
Sports News Ireland Get the low down on Irish sport here.
Recruitni.com Recruitni.com is Northern Ireland’s leading jobs portal – an independent business which matches thousands of employers and jobs each month.
IrishJobs IrishJobs.ie is Ireland’s leading recruitment website, providing a platform, since 1995, for job seekers to find jobs and for recruiters to find the right person for the job.


Lonely Planet Malta is the most densely populated area in Europe. This site is excellent to find out practically everything you want to know about the history, places to visit and the activities to do when there.
25 best things to do in Malta A lot of suggestions on what to do in Malta.
Malta Sport A site covering Maltese and international sport, mainly football.
Malta travel tips A video to watch; it’s quite easy to understand. Practical info (when to go, what to pack, how to get there ..)
Legends and folklore of Malta For fans of mythology

New Zealand

The New Zealand Tourist Board There are some absolutely stunning pictures on this site. New Zealand is famed for its exquisite landscapes, mountains, glaciers, fast flowing rivers, deep hissing geysers and boiling mud. It is also a haven for outdoor activities and extreme sports such as bungee and skydiving. There is extensive information on all the cities and towns in the North and South Islands and their attractions. A very useful and comprehensive site.
New Zealand Virtual Tour Travel with no carbon footprint! A virtual tour of 6 places in NZ, including the Hobbit film set!
Maori Culture The original inhabitants of NZ were the Maoris. They led a tribal existence. Now, New Zealand has influences from Europe, America and the South Pacific Cook Islands, but the Maori influence is very important to the culture of NZ today. On this site you can read about the culture of the Maoris. Although English is the most widely spoken language of NZ, the Maoris have a language of their own still used today.
Queenstown: Adventure Capital of the World Queenstown in the South Island is a Mecca for all thrill seekers. If you want to experience the thrill of a lifetime and scare yourself stupid while visiting NZ then this site is for you. The Queenstown adventure group includes companies that specialise in bungee jumping, tandem skydive and white water rafting. This site also gives an explanation of all these things plus location map, enquiry details, etc.
Lord of the Rings! New Zealand, home of Middle Earth! With its dramatic beauty, NZ was an excellent choice of location for this box office victory. This site shows the various locations that were chosen for filming and the reasons behind the choices. One of the hobbits was quoted as saying ‘It was as though Tolkein had walked across NZ to inspire the movie”. Seeing the movie is believing!
Waiheke Island of Jazz Festival Come on all you jazz fans to this annual event in April on Waiheke Island. A very popular event and the website is well worth visiting.
Fun facts about NZ A lot of fun facts about NZ; for example: did you know that there are 5 sheep per person in NZ!  Easy to read.
YHA New Zealand The cheapest accommodation while travelling through NZ is by youth hostelling. The hostels are internationally recognised and are always of a high standard. You can check out their locations and facilities on this website.


Tourist and travel information Visitscotland: the excellent Scottish tourist information board site.
Food in Scotland Food you must eat when in Scotland, ranging from haggis, to porridge, shortbread and much more.
Explore the City of Edinburgh Excellent site to help you discover this beautiful city.
Scottish Castles There are over one hundred castles in Scotland! Take a wee (little) moment to look at some impressive photos, read about their history and how to discover them, region by region.
National Museums of Scotland Scotland is home to seven national museums. Find out where they are, admission prices, etc., and exhibitions on this site.
The Burrell Collection Presented to Glasgow in 1944 by millionaire ship owner Sir W Burrell, this gallery of fine ceramics, prints and paintings is FREE to the public.
Scotland’s Highland Games If you’ve never heard of these before now is your chance to check out the traditional event of strength and agility, with unconventional sporting events such as tossing the caber (a large tree trunk), tug of war and many more. Held annually in approximately 100 different regions of Scotland – Get your kilt on!
The Loch Ness Monster The story of Nessie, the famous monster. With a video to watch. For children but for beginner adults too.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Big arts festival, possibly the worlds largest of its type! Held at the start of August annually. Find out how to become part of it, as spectator, competitor, or even get a job behind the scenes if you think you can handle the pace! A massive explosion of cultural and artistic expression!
Working in Scotland Practical information for foreigners wanting to work in Scotland.
Scottish traditions and customs Read about tradtions (Hogmonay, kilts – see the different types of tartans, Burns Night …)

United States of America

Lonely Planet There isn’t a better web site, from a tourist’s point of view, than this one to start finding out about America. This gives good general knowledge of the history of the USA, updated to include the repercussions of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack in New York.
Travelling to the U.S. Paris US embassy. Information for foreigners wanting to vist or study in the U.S. (This site is in French but gives a lot of practical information).
The Official New York City Website Arguably the world’s most thrilling city, and so much to do that you won’t want to feel like you’re missing out on a thing. This way you won’t have to! This site tells you of up and coming events, information to job seekers as well as informing you about such attractions as The Empire State Building, Times Square and the Statue of Liberty.
USA TODAY: Sports If you are a sports fan then on this site you can find out which are the teams to watch out for in America’s main sports: baseball, basketball and football (not the same as the European version). Complete national sporting news coverage is to be found here.
National Parks America is home to so many stunningly beautiful national parks. Large expanses of landscape, never to be spoilt by industry.  Includes links to the most famous of parks such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, the oldest national park in the world!
Alcatraz Island Today you can experience the prison island of Alcatraz, for yourself with a tour for the public. The contrast of the old concrete ruin versus the breathtaking view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Hollywood -  The history of a  Movie Capital The history of Hollywood. Also information about famous filmmakers and film techniques.
The English-to-American Dictionary Translate British to American and American to British slang.
American Jobs As America is such a large country, it is advisable to run a search engine through http://www.yahoo.com for the individual region you are interested in and you will be able to investigate in much more specific detail the job or other information you require.

Another possibility is to take part in a sport or cultural activity. In a group of people who share the same tastes it is easy to talk and make friends. This also should be organised as above to be sure you are mainly with local people.

VisitBritain Ex British Tourist Authority and the English Tourism Council.
Education UK The British Council web site for helping international students interested in studying for a UK course or qualification.
Study English in the UK British Council inspected English language courses.
UK Student Life Mark Chandler — This site gives a lot of interesting information for people coming to the UK to study or to travel written in clear English accessible to non-native English speakers. Hundreds of photos aim to show various aspects of British life in a realistic way.
English UK The national association of English language teaching centres.
English in Britain Accredited English Language Courses
Study in the UK British Council France
Study Abroad: Tips For ESL Students This Website considers the issues involving study abroad. Each article includes an audio recording so ESL students can practice their listening skills and improve their comprehension.
Bienvenue en Angleterre Angleterre.org.uk - Andrew Rossiter — Une introduction à l’Angleterre et au Royaume Uni

A third suggestion : do some voluntary work. You will not get paid, but you will usually be with a group of young people from different parts of the world and English will be the language of communication even if it is not the language of the country. Learn more here : Working in English

Distance learning courses at the CLA

A teacher can help you organise your learning and improve your oral expression. Regular contact maintains motivation. The CLA offers one-to-one distance learning courses combining :

  • telephone calls (or Skype, Windows Live Messenger …)
  • emails
  • resources on the CLA Moodle learning platform
  • other Internet resources

Each course is tailor-made to the individual’s needs. Group courses can be organised on request. Contact : lve-cla@univ-fcomte.fr Tél : 33 (0)3 81 66 52 62