This is an interesting question we received recently from a young professional enquiring about an intensive English course for his work.
It all depends on what you want out of your English course and what your priorities are. There are three scenarios :
Firstly, if the main purpose of your trip is to ‘see the sights’ and improve your English (in that order) AND you have never been to England before, then there is something attractive about staying in the capital city where you have all the famous places on your doorstep (Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square etc). I would advise you to choose an English school in London and ‘get it out of your system’.
Secondly, if the main purpose of your trip is as above AND you HAVE been to England before, then you should consider looking at alternative places. Many towns and cities in England offer something different and are within easy striking distance if you need “your fix” of London. Choosing a school away from London can broaden your horizons and you never know what gems you may find!
Thirdly, if the main purpose of your trip is to seriously improve your English (never mind whether you have been to England before or not!) then choosing a school away from London is a very good idea. Why? Much as we love London it is (a) VERY large so you spend a lot of time finding your way around and possibly travelling between your homestay and the school, and (b) it is VERY cosmopolitan which means you may well meet more of your fellow countrymen than you do native English speaking indigenous people.
At Kingsway English Centre here in Worcester, our students tend to be more of category 3. The comments we hear about their experiences in London are mainly about the number of foreign students, visitors and tourists they come across in London and it’s difficult to find a native English speaking environment. It’s obviously not THAT bad, but if you are serious about learning English why choose to put yourself in an environment where you are more likely to hear your own language when you don’t have to.
If you need any help or would like more information please let me, Rick Johns, know. I will be happy to help (and if I think London is the best choice for you I promise I will say so!!).