Have you ever thought about dropping everything to go travelling around the world?
Today, more and more people are quitting their jobs and travelling abroad to start new lives.
In fact, from 2011 – 2014, the number of Spanish workers moving from Spain to the UK alone increased by a massive 117 percent from 63,000 to 137,000, according to a report from the Migration Observatory.
Others, are travelling on gap years, and some are taking the opportunity to study a bachelor or master’s degree.
The problem, for many non-native speakers who want to go and live work or study in an English-speaking country, is that they need to prove their level of English to get a job, to get into university or to apply for a visa.
But there are so many exams to choose from…Cambridge, Trinity, TOEFL, Oxford Test of English…
And that’s where the International English Language Testing System – or IELTS – comes in.
Anyone can take IELTS
Unlike many other English language examinations such as Cambridge First or Advanced, everyone takes the same exam. That means – you cannot fail!
Instead, you achieve a score from 1 – 9 which corresponds to a level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). So, even if you don’t achieve the score you wanted, you still have a certificate which shows your current level, which may still be useful when applying for jobs or submitting university applications.
The IELTS exam is short
Although you are still tested on the four main skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking, the exam only lasts around 2 hours 45 minutes. That’s 45 minutes less than the Cambridge First and over an hour shorter than the Cambridge Advanced.
You can also pick up your results 13 days after taking the test. So if you need a certificate ASAP, IELTS is a good option for you.
There are two versions of the IELTS exam
Another advantage of IELTS is that there are two types of exam depending on why you are taking it – Academic or General Training.
The Academic test is ideal for students who want to study in an English-speaking country whereas, the General Training test is more suitable for those who are looking for work opportunities or need a visa.
You can go anywhere with IELTS
The world is your oyster! IELTS is accepted as proof of language ability by over 9000 institutions around the world.
Many of our students travel to the United Kingdom. With some of the world’s leading universities, good employment opportunities for doctors, nurses and teachers and only a two-hour flight from Barcelona – it seems like an obvious choice. Also, as an EU citizen, visas are not currently required (at least at the date of publication. Check online for up-to-date news on Brexit).
If you want to study in the UK, you’ll need to do the Academic Exam. You’ll also need to check individual universities for their language requirements, but as a general rule a score of 6.5 is usually accepted for most undergraduate and postgraduate degrees – with IELTS often being the preferred method of testing.
For non-EU citizens looking to work in UK, you’ll also need to prove your level. The type of visa will depend on a lot of factors, such as where you are from, what type of skills you have, or what kind of job you are looking for. Take note that language requirements vary between visas. That being said, for the tier 2 general work visa (the most common one) you’ll need an IELTS 4 (or B1 level) in the General Training exam.
Live for adventure? Then Australia could be just what you are looking for. It may take over 24 hours to fly from Barcelona to Sydney, but the golden beaches, laid-back attitudes and world-class surf breaks are a draw for many (as long as you don’t mind spiders, snakes or other creepy crawlies).
If you are a Spanish citizen you may be entitled to a working holiday visa. These are for young people (30 or under) who want to live, work and explore Australia for up to year. It is possible to extend this visa for a second year if you’ve worked in the tourism and hospitality or agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.
To be eligible for this visa the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) ask for a minimum score of 4.5 in all four parts of the general IELTS exam. Be aware, there are a limited number available for each country. Applications open in July so apply soon if you want to stand a good chance of being accepted.
The land of bicycles, canals, tulips and windmills might not be the obvious choice for people looking to spend time in an English-speaking country but maybe it should be. With some of the lowest tuition fees in Europe and affordable living costs, the Netherlands was also one of the first non-English speaking countries to offer university programs in English. Similar to the UK, the University of Amsterdam and other top institutions require students to have scored a minimum of 6.5 in their Academic IELTS test within the last two years before applying.
Still not convinced? Here are five more great reasons to move to the Netherlands.
IELTS is also commonly accepted by professional bodies, workplaces and universities in Canada, and is even becoming popular in the USA. So don’t waste another moment and get your journey started today!
If you’re not quite ready to make the final decision, read more about the differences between the Cambridge English exams and IELTS.
Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.
abroad (n): in or to a foreign country or countries.
massive (adj): very big.
gap year (n): a period, typically an academic year, taken by a student as a break between school and university or college education.
ASAP (abv): as soon as possible.
the world is your oyster (exp): you are in a position to take the opportunities that life has to offer.
prove (v): to demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument.
a draw (n): something that is very attractive or interesting.
creepy crawlies (n): a spider, worm, or other small flightless creature, considered unpleasant or frightening.
stand a good chance (exp): to have a possibility or a hope of success.
tulip (n): a bulbous spring-flowering plant of the lily family, with boldly coloured cup-shaped flowers.
windmill (n): – a building with sails or vanes that turn in the wind and generate power to grind corn into flour.
n = noun
adj = adjective
v = verb
exp = expression
abv = abbreviation