What are the benefits of taking a General English course in Ireland?

English Language

What are the benefits of taking a General English course in Ireland?

Posted 09 March

If you wish to learn English in Ireland, here at the Galway Cultural Institute we recognise the importance of English language skills in both everyday life and to improve your career prospects.

If you’re thinking of improving your English and want to learn English in Ireland or take a General English course online, we offer a wide range of English courses and modules in Ireland to achieve the results in English language fluency and general English grammar you need for your future success.

From excellent, immersive courses where you can enjoy the wonderful city of Galway in summer, to relaxed yet informative evening classes where you will learn General English, Galway Cultural Institute in Ireland offers you the perfect opportunity to take that next step in your English language journey.

The city of Galway and its people are incredibly welcoming and love to meet and communicate with others. Learning English in Ireland means you will always have the chance to chat with locals, listen about their lives, and practise everything you will learn at the Institute.

What is General English: Definition

You can also think of ‘general English’ as ‘ordinary English’. General English is a core level of competence in the language – it will mean you can talk in English and maintain a conversation with someone in English while in work or social environments.

When you are proficient in General English and general English grammar you will be comfortable speaking the language, possess good pronunciation, have a reasonable vocabulary level and be able to communicate in most everyday situations.

Proficiency in General English doesn’t mean you will be able to talk about specialist subjects or be fluent enough to discuss extremely technical topics. It does, however, equip you with a solid foundation in the language that you can build on to further your personal goals and career prospects.

Why is taking a General English course beneficial for my career?

English is the world’s common language. Lots of countries are English-speaking, while many industries and professions around the globe use it as their designated language. English is also the official language of the European Union, in spite of the United Kingdom having left the EU, and it’s also an official language in Ireland and Malta.

So is taking a General English course beneficial for your career prospects? Absolutely. Knowledge of English – even at a very basic level – is seen by employers as one of the most important skills you can have. 

Even in your own language, excellent communication skills and the ability to express yourself orally and in writing are seen as essential. If you can do the same in English then your career prospects are vastly improved.

We live in a multicultural, globalised society where job opportunities can be found all over the world. If you are proficient in English – the lingua franca of businesses and companies from the United States to Hong Kong – your chances at getting one of these jobs is greatly improved.

What does a General English course usually include?

With a General English language course you will learn about the four skill areas that are fundamental to progressing with the language – reading, listening, writing and, of course, speaking. Beyond this you will develop proficiency with general English grammar, spelling, pronunciation and English vocabulary.

Reading and listening are the two ‘Receptive Skills’, where you will ‘receive’ English input and need to process then understand it. The two ‘Productive Skills’ (also known as ‘Active Skills’) in English are speaking and writing, because they require you to ‘produce’ language.

Galway Cultural Institute (GCI) has a choice of daytime General English courses and General English evening courses to suit your needs. The learning framework we provide enables you to improve your practical English for everyday communication. It also gives you a solid foundation on which to build your English language knowledge, should you wish to move on to more in-depth and specialised English courses

Student Portrait: Ana Leon Reyes from Mexico

Which General English topics should I study for competitive exams?

It’s always wise to prepare for any exams, and with General English you will benefit from making sure you learn and practise all of the basics. We’ve mentioned the ‘Productive Skills’ of speaking and writing, and the ‘Receptive Skills’ of listening and reading, but there are several topics to study if you really want to develop your English language proficiency.

Competitive exams will usually contain sections on:

  • Vocabulary – do you have a broad knowledge of English words that you can choose from when speaking or writing? Can you use different tenses in your conversation and in writing? It’s vitally important that you possess a good vocabulary.

  • Grammar – do you know the difference between a noun and a pronoun? A verb and an adverb? A synonym and antonym? How to structure a sentence or phrase correctly? Learning the rules and constraints of general English grammar will give you confidence to further develop your English skills.

  • Pronunciation – do you speak clearly and say the English words correctly? Knowledge of how English words sound when spoken is important – listening to native English speakers and to English language films, songs and TV shows can help you with this.

  • Reading comprehension – are you able to read and understand basic English texts? Reading skills can lead to a stronger understanding of spelling and grammar rules, as well as increase your vocabulary.

  • Spelling – can you draft an email in perfect English? Make social media posts or create reports in the language? Practising this skill will help you in your exams, where you will be asked to write some of your answers, and in the everyday world when you are communicating with others in writing.

What does a General English aptitude test include?

In simple terms, an aptitude test is designed to assess a person's ability in any given subject. A General English test, such as the Preliminary English Test English Course - B1 Level, will assess your proficiency with the language, focusing on your skills with vocabulary, grammar and comprehension.

Aptitude tests are frequently used by employers and organisations to evaluate your General English capabilities, so preparing thoroughly is important if you wish to further your career prospects. Topics included in your general English test are:

  • Verbal skills – your ability to have a general conversation

  • Grammar – your understanding of the rules and constraints of the language

  • Comprehension – your understanding of the language, the meaning of words and their relationships

  • Spelling – your ability to correctly spell and write English words

  • Reasoning and deduction – how you interpret and understand English both orally and in writing

  • Clarity of speech – your proficiency with pronunciation

  • Tone of voice and intonation

  • Basic writing structures and rules

How can I prepare for General English?

As with most things, preparation and planning are important if you wish to succeed. If you are thinking of taking a General English course, General English grammar test or General English language test there are many things you can do to prepare yourself:

  • Immersion – how far you immerse yourself in English culture and surround yourself with the language is often key to your development. Immersion is a terrific language learning method, where English becomes part of your daily life.
  • Reading – read everything you can get your hands on. Books, magazines, online articles and blogs. Read the subtitles on films and TV shows, search for the lyrics to your favourite songs, study the ingredients in your family recipes.
  • Socialise – and not just in real life. There are lots of social media apps and a huge amount of them are in English so there’s plenty of scope for you to interact with native English speakers online. Or even people just like you, who want to improve their language abilities!
  • Talk – to anyone and everyone. One of the fastest ways to learn a language and pick up new conversational skills is to talk to English speakers. And when you’re alone, talk to yourself! It’s surprising how you can develop just by having a nice long talk with yourself in a mirror.
  • Timetable – create your own timetable where you can set aside time for reading, writing, learning new words and grammar rules, for example. This discipline can be transferred to any course you decide to take, where you will need to organise your classes, homework and study time so you can improve your English language skills.
  • Apps – if you own a smartphone then download some apps to help you. Try a free dictionary app, or even Grammarly so you can have real-time checks made to your English writing.
  • Study your course – get ahead by studying the course framework and syllabus you are about to undertake. Check what topics you will be covering, and what skills you will be focusing on. Learn what you have to learn!

At Galway Cultural Institute our expert staff provide excellent support to students keen to undertake a General English course online or learn English in Ireland. Whether you want English for study, work or pleasure, a General English language course will help you. 

If you choose to learn English in Galway, you will have time to enjoy the social and cultural activities here at the Galway Cultural Institute (GCI) and to explore our lovely city of Galway. The Irish are famed for their warm, welcoming personalities, and you will find plenty of opportunity to engage with the locals, hear their entertaining stories - ideal for improving your listening comprehension skills - and practise English with them, as they will be more than happy to stop and chat to you at any time!

We are one of the leading independent third-level colleges in Ireland. Located at the midpoint of the Wild Atlantic Way, on Ireland’s west coast, Galway is the perfect place to learn English and experience the best that Ireland has to offer.