The Cost of Learning a New Language

Financial Planning with Reem Assad

The growing demand for training courses and certification probably reflects a growth in awareness and interest in self and career development. In general, education has gone through several phases of change in format. With the advent in Internet infrastructure and mobile landscape, the search for and acquisition of information and knowledge soared. A true revolution has ensued.

In Saudi Arabia, the demand for ESL (English as a Second Language) training saw unprecedented growth especially with the commencement of scholarship programs in 2010. The cost of such training is often high (sometimes north of SR 4,000 per month) but the quality of the outcome does not always match the price. I personally recommend that no training should be attempted without discussing the objectives and course methods first. Many students pay large fees expecting quick results. When it does not work, all they remember is the financial cost.

For best results, Maha Noor Elahi (@MahaNoorElahi), an English Language Lecturer at Dar Al Hekma University, offered the following tips:

  • Determine your learning objective. Is it basic or business communication skills; academic certification; research writing or other?

  • Check the specialty and strength areas of your learning institute before signing up. Some centers focus on conversational English (or other languages) while others focus on grammar and writing.

  • Check the credentials of the instructors and the teaching staff. If the desired language is not the mother tongue of the instructor, do check their background and years in training.

  • Do not assume that the promised course duration will deliver best results. Learning varies across students and so does the effort and level of persistence.

  • A certificate is worth nothing if it is not coupled with real learning. That is why you should not buy your way to progress. Work it up.

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