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‘Flipping’ the classroom: easier than we think?


In the last couple of years, I’ve occasionally come across articles and conference presentations on the topic of ‘the flipped classroom’. It’s a concept that’s not new, but when I brought it up in conversations with a number of colleagues (I was talking about an upcoming presentation for IATEFL), I realised that few of us EFL and EAP practitioners seemed to have really engaged with it. So that’s why I decided to write this blog: both to find out why we’re not all ‘flipping’ (I couldn’t resist) and to share a bit more information about what it means.

In many eras and locations, the teacher has been seen as the focus in the classroom and the source of most of the information. The flipped classroom approach is more learner-centered. It acknowledges that it is increasingly easy for students to access content online before coming to class,  which means that the lesson time can be used to share that knowledge and implement it in more practical, personalised and exciting ways.

One reason why English teachers might not know too much about this strategy it is that it is easily dismissed as something we are doing anyway: isn’t it generally good classroom practice to get students to come prepared and to maximise the resource that students are by getting them to interact rather than to fill in exercises? To that I’d say that yes, EFL teachers are definitely doing it already, but by naming and examining it we can reflect on ways to do it more efficiently and systematically.

Another reason for the lack of engagement is that it is a blended learning method and therefore involves technology, and not all teachers and students are in a position to rely on this: it very much depends on their location in the world. Where online access is available, teachers may be reluctant to use technology to the extent that they believe is required. It is certainly true that a lot of teachers who use the flipped classroom approach have done this in a rather enthusiastic way, e.g. they have done a complete swap from their conventional teaching to this approach and have dedicated their time to making their own instructional videos using the latest clever software.

Well, you can probably tell I am not one of those people… I applaud them but I am never going to be like them. I lack the know-how and the time to do something about it. I do believe though that it is worth seeking out new materials that use this approach or to look for existing online open source videos while adapting our course books and ways of working so that we maximise classroom time.

So why am I so passionate about giving the flipped classroom a go? It’s simple: it is better for our students. Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • it makes them more autonomous learners (lessons won’t ‘work’ unless students come prepared)
  • with ‘content’ being accessed elsewhere, classroom time can be dedicated to checking understanding and building on it in through group interaction
  • it energizes them during lessons and brings the unknown into the classroom (they rely on each other for dissemination and to put theory into practice)
  • it builds on their interest in technology and allows them to learn in the same way that they access much other information (i.e. online)
  • weaker students can access and repeat the information they need as often as they like in the privacy of their homes. This levels the playing field in the classroom and stops them having to catch up later, which does wonders for their confidence.

It clearly is an approach that is definitely worth taking, both for its modernity and efficiency. And the good news is that publishers and authors agree with this and are making our lives easier by incorporating it into their materials, which takes out the hard work for the teachers – here’s one we made earlier. So, there really is no excuse left not to flip.

by Els Van Geyte

Els Van Geyte works at the Birmingham International Academy at the University of Birmingham and is the author of IELTS exam skills and Academic English text books.

Life after IELTS – helping students to meet academic (writing) expectations

How to best help students to make the transition from IELTS essays to academic writing? How can we help students when they realise that writing styles and levels of formality that may have worked fine in an IELTS essay are suddenly regarded as inappropriate at university?

Els van Geyte, author of the Writing title in the ELTons award-winning Collins Academic Skills Series, answered these questions (and many more!) in a webinar she ran for the British Council.

More information about the webinar ‘Life after IELTS – helping students to meet academic (writing) expectations

Watch a recording of the webinar ‘Life after IELTS – helping students to meet academic (writing) expectations

Els van Geyte is the author of ELTons award winning title Collins Academic Skills Series: Writing, Collins Get Ready for IELTS: Reading and Collins Reading for IELTS.







More information on the Collins Academic Skills Series


Dictionary evolution: Exploiting modern referencing tools to the max

Julie Moore & Lisa Sutherland held a session on ‘Dictionary evolution: Exploiting modern referencing tools to the max‘ at IATEFL in Manchester. Their presentation slides are now available, and they include plenty of practical teaching tips and information about future plans for the Collins Corpus.

 Download Slides: Dictionary evolution: Exploiting modern referencing tools to the max

About Julie Moore:

Julie Moore is a freelance ELT teacher, writer and lexicographer based in Bristol in the UK. She first became interested in lexicography and corpus research doing her MA at the University of Birmingham and over the past 15 years, she has worked on learner’s dictionaries for all the major ELT publishers. She now combines teaching, teacher training, lexicography and other ELT writing and never ceases to be amazed that she can earn a living from playing with words!

Julie worked on many of our COBUILD titles. Why not have a look at the latest COBUILD dictionaries – the COBUILD Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and the COBUILD IELTS Dictionary?

Julie Moore photo

COBUILD English Grammar: rethinking the rules

By Penny Hands, senior editor of Collins Grammar in Action

When the new edition of COBUILD English Grammar hit the proverbial and virtual shelves, teachers and students may have been wondering what could be new about a grammar. We all know about new words, which are wheeled out and bandied around at every new edition of a big dictionary, but what does an editor do when she is asked to update a pedagogical grammar?

Firstly, I should tell you a bit about the general approach of the book.

COBUILD English Grammar is a functional grammar. This means that, rather than present learners with a book of rules, completely disassociated from communication, it explains how language works within the context of what people do with language.

So, for example, headings indicate to users that they are going to read about ‘Reporting statements and thoughts’, ‘Expressing future time’, or ‘Linking parts of a conversation together’.

This doesn’t mean that traditional grammatical terminology is dismissed altogether; there are still sections on familiar subjects like ‘Pronouns’, ‘The Passive’, ‘Modals’, and ‘The Present Perfect’. What we have tried to do throughout, though, is to keep in mind that learning grammar is not an end in itself, that it has a function – and that function is to aid communication.

As Nick Ellis puts it in his 2007 article: ‘The wood and the trees’:

‘Language is not a collection of rules and target forms to be acquired, but rather a by-product of communicative processes.’

(Ellis, N. (2007). Dynamic systems and SLA: The wood and the trees. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 10/1.)

The integration of functional aims with traditional grammatical terminology means that whether you want to find out about the form of the past perfect, or to learn more about the function of talking about past experiences or describing people and things, you will be able to retrieve the information you need.

Another feature of COBUILD English Grammar is the use of authentic examples, which have been taken from the Collins Corpus – a 4.5-billion-word database of current English. We have tried to select examples that are vibrant and real, while remaining straightforward enough for learners to process.

The following examples can be found at the section relating to the variety of informal ways in which people express plural ‘you’ in English:

What did y’all eat for breakfast?

‘Listen, you guys,’ she said. ‘I’ll tell you everything you want.’

Come on, you two. Let’s go home.

Bye, y’all!

COBUILD English Grammar also identifies and highlights features of English grammar that are typical of spoken communication. Some of these phenomena have been around for a while, and others have been identified in our research as having emerged more recently, as we will see below.

So, to return to the question of how one updates a grammar: as mentioned before, it’s common knowledge that words change their meaning, but it is not always so obvious that grammatical structures change too, if not quite as quickly.

Well, we carried out corpus research on several areas of grammar where we had a hunch that things might have changed, and found some interesting results including the following areas:

–      generic pronouns and determiners

–      stative verbs

–      ‘much’

–      ‘be like’ as a reporting structure

We wanted to choose areas where we felt there’s been a recent change, or where traditional explanations don’t seem to tell the whole story.

For each area of grammar that we selected, we searched for examples of that grammar point in the Collins Corpus. We compared UK and US English, and in some cases spoken and written English, and we also looked at how English has changed over the period in question.

Each to his/her/their own: generic pronouns and determiners

First, let’s consider pronouns and determiners. Look at the following two sets of sentences:


I saw John yesterday. He was with his new girlfriend.

My mum is from New Zealand. She moved to Britain when she was 15.

If you see Mark and Linda, tell them I’ll call later.

Residents are allowed to bring their own furniture.


A person cannot ignore the past but he can choose his future.

Every child needs to feel that she is loved.

If a person eats too much fat, they are more likely to have a heart attack.

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

In set A, the pronouns and determiners refer to a particular person or group of people: ‘he’ refers to ‘John’, ‘She’ refers to ‘my mum’, ‘them’ refers to ‘Mark and Linda’, ‘their’ refers to ‘residents’. In set B, on the other hand, the pronouns and determiners refer to a single person whose gender we don’t know: ‘a person’, ‘every child’, ‘a person’, and ‘everyone’. (Note that ‘everyone’ is interesting because it is grammatically singular, although we tend to think of it as referring to a group.)

We wanted to find out which generic pronouns people are more likely to use these days.

Which would you prefer, of the following?

  1. ‘If you want to help somebody, you have to accept them first.’
  2. ‘If you want to help somebody, you have to accept him first.’
  3. ‘If you want to help somebody, you have to accept her first.’
  4. ‘If you want to help somebody, you have to accept him or her first.’

…or anything else? (e.g. ‘her or him’?)

We searched the corpus for cases where the following pronouns and determiners:

  • he, him, his, himself
  • she, her, hers, herself
  • they, them, their, theirs, themselves
  • he or she, his or her, s/he, etc.

…referred back to individual people whose gender we don’t know, such as:

  • someone, anyone, everyone, each, every, a person, etc.

In other words, we were looking for these pronouns and determiners used generically.

We went through every example and manually checked them to see if they were examples of generic pronouns and determiners. That wasn’t always easy, though. For example, would you say that the underlined text here is an example of a generic determiner?

There is one rule that debars anyone who has played first-class cricket as a home player in his native land in the previous 12 months.

And is this an example of a deliberately generic use of ‘she’?

I mean steal a baby to give it away don’t be crazy why did they whoever left it on our doorstep maybe she‘ll come back for it like Carmella did…

We felt that the answer to these questions was ‘no’. In the end, we decided to discard such examples, because we felt that they weren’t really examples of generic ‘he’ or ‘she’ – rather, they were cases where the speaker/writer was thinking about a person of a particular gender – because most cricketers are men, and most people who leave babies on doorsteps are women.

As you can see from the chart below, we found that generic they (or them, their, themselves) is much more frequent than either the masculine form he (or him, his, himself), or a gender-neutral alternative such as he or she. Generic they is becoming more frequent, and is found in both spoken and written English. We haven’t included generic she on the graph, because it hardly occurs at all in the Collins Corpus.

generic he, he/she they

Click the image to enlarge

Generic they is used in fairly informal language:

‘When somebody feels good, they’re healthy, they work harder and they’re more focused.’

But it’s also used in formal language:

‘The retention piece allows an individual to transfer a portion of their benefit or all of their benefit at different points in their career….’

Also, it’s even used even when the gender is known, for example:

  • ‘I talked to somebody else in line, and they said it would be many, many hours.’

(Even though we don’t know the gender of ‘somebody’, the speaker presumably does.)

And, even more strikingly:

  • ‘Ask the young mothers and no one will say they regret having their baby.’
  • ‘And if someone has an abnormal mammography, it does not mean they have breast cancer’

These kinds of examples show the extent to which generic they has spread, so that it’s used even when it isn’t necessary to be gender-neutral.

We make it clear in the grammar that, when you want to refer to an indefinite pronoun like anyone or someone, or a noun phrase like each child or a person, the most natural way to do that, even in formal English, is with generic ‘they’.

We’re lovin’ it: stative verbs

Now, let’s turn to the work we did on stative verbs. Firstly, what is a stative verb?

Simply put, a stative verb is a verb that describes a state, that you can use in simple forms, but not in progressive forms.

Verbs that are typically listed as stative verbs include those relating to lasting emotions (e.g. love, like, hate, want), mental states (know, think, imagine, remember, forget), senses (see, hear, smell) and permanent states (belong, own, possess, fit, keep)].

Yet we found lots of examples in the corpus like the following:

  • But hang on a tick, I’m forgetting my manners.
  • Nobody is imagining that the Conservatives can win.
  • I‘m wanting the film to be deliberately old-fashioned.
  • I‘m loving midnight blue eye shadow.

Forget, imagine, prefer, want, love are all traditionally ‘stative verbs’ in these senses, yet here we find them – quite frequently, and naturally – in the progressive. So we searched the corpus to find out how frequent these uses are, and whether they’ve become more frequent. We examined about 30 so-called ‘stative verbs’, but here we’ll just look at two of the most frequent ones: love and want.

As you can see in this graph, progressive love has become a lot more frequent over the past 20 years, especially in UK English:

Progressive 'love'

Click the image to enlarge

A lot of the examples are of the sense ‘enjoy’, which is fairly uncontroversial and has been in use for a while:

I’m loving my football so much at the moment I can’t wait for the next game to come along. (UK 90–94)

Now Jessica is four months old and Gillian is loving every minute of motherhood. (UK 90–94)

More recently, though, we find examples of the sense ‘like very much’, especially in articles about fashion and popular culture:

  • Kids 2 and 3 years old are loving our album. (US 05–09)
  • …a model and artist who looked particularly cool in colourful striped socks and a pair of Converse – a look we’re loving. (UK 05–09)

Another interesting verb is want. Do the following examples seem acceptable to you?

We’ve been wanting to come for three years. It was worth the wait. (UK 05–09)

Everyone knew that Bob Rubin had been wanting to resign for months. (UK 95–99)

You want to get married, you want kids, next thing you’ll be wanting Tupperware. (US 95–99)

What about this?

My sponsors have invested a lot of money in it, and I think they’re wanting to capitalize on it. (US 05–09)

We were wanting a price of $35 million and didn’t get it.

What’s the difference between the first set and the second? It seems that want is quite acceptable in the examples shown in the first set. They show want in the present perfect progressive, past perfect progressive and the future progressive. It is the present and past progressive forms, shown in the second set, that are marked.

So we examined these in more detail. We found that these forms have become more frequent over the past 20 years, especially in US English.

Progressive 'want'

Click the image to enlarge

It soon became apparent that the situation with stative verbs is not as straightforward as it might seem.

We wanted to capture this in the grammar, while not being excessively complex, so while we do give the general rule about certain verbs not being used in the progressive, and list these in the reference section, we also show that with some verbs (forget, guess, imagine, lack, like, love, remember and want) – you actually can use them in the progressive form, especially in informal language.

We also show that with some verbs – such as want and hear – you can use them in perfect and future progressive forms, even in formal texts.  

What’s so special about much?

Next, we looked at much. What’s so special about much? Well, the usual rule given in pedagogical grammars is that you use much with uncountable nouns and many with countable nouns. Some grammars also point out that they are not usually used in positive sentences.

Let’s look at some examples. Do the following all seem acceptable?

MANY                                                                        MUCH

How many biscuits do we have?                             How much time do we have?                         Take as many biscuits as you want.                       Take as much time as you want.                   We don’t have many biscuits.                                 We don’t have much time.

We have many biscuits.                                          We have much time.

Native speakers may feel that both ‘We have many biscuits’ and ‘We have much time’ are unnatural, or they may feel that ‘We have many biscuits’ is OK, but ‘We have much time’ is not, or that it depends on register.

We were interested in much because, to a greater extent than many, it seems to be restricted mainly to questions and negatives, and to cases where it is modified by an adverb, e.g. too much, as much, so much. Unmodified statements such as ‘We have much time’, ‘I have much work to do’ seem incorrect, and we wanted to find out how frequent they are. As you can see from this graph, they have indeed become much less frequent over the past 20 years.

Positive unmodified 'much'

Click the image to enlarge

We also found that assertive unmodified much tends to be used with nouns in a restricted set of semantic fields, especially:

  • discussion (much talk/discussion/debate/argument)
  • thought (much speculation/deliberation/doubt)
  • study (much research/study)
  • attention (much attention/interest)
  • excitement (much excitement/laughter/fun/fanfare).

Examples include:

After much speculation that he was killed, intelligence agencies now believe that Saddam survived.

The Israeli team’s findings have caused much excitement among medical experts.

So, the new edition of COBUILD English Grammar makes it clear that much is usually used in questions and negatives or with a modifier, but that you can, in more formal English, use it in positive statements, especially with the set of nouns listed above.

And we were like, ‘What?’: reporting speech and thoughts

Finally, we were interested in the fairly new use of be like as a reporting verb. Here are some examples with be like used to report speech and thought. Is there anything about be like that’s different from other reporting structures like say and ask?

  • We saw that and we were like ‘Oh my god!’
  • At first, I was like, no, what are you talking about?
  • They look at you like you’re mental and it’s like, “Chill out, what’s your problem?”

Here are our thoughts on the matter:

1. It is less formal than conventional ways of reporting speech.

2. You can’t use it with an adverb (‘We were like angrily ‘Oh my God!’)I

3. It has to go before the quote (‘Oh my God!’, we were like’)

4. You can use it with ‘it’.

As you can see from the graph below, we found that be like has become a lot more frequent over the past 20 years, especially in American English. The most common usage is in the first person (I was like or We were like), but we also found that the second most frequent usage is with it. ‘It was like…’ or ‘It’s like…’ is often used to sum up a general feeling or situation, for example:

When I was a teenager, that song came on the radio and it was like, Oh, my God! (UK 05–09)

So I get back in the bus, quarter of an hour passes and it’s like, Where’s Graham? (UK 90–94)

This was an interesting finding, as it applies only to be like, and not to other reporting verbs (You couldn’t say, for example ‘It said, Where’s Graham?’ or ‘It went, Where’s Graham?’)

'be like' as reporting structure

Click the image to enlarge

Academic and Business English supplements

In the course of our preparation for this new edition, teachers and learners told us that a useful extension of our functional approach would be to focus on two main contexts in which English is used as a lingua franca throughout the world: Academic and Business English.

As a result, two new supplementary sections have been added. These identify the principal areas of grammar that learners need to master if they wish to communicate effectively in business and academic contexts.

The Academic English section covers such areas as the grammar involved in reporting findings, ordering and connecting your message, and expressing degrees of certainty.

Reporting illustration

Click image to enlarge

The section on the grammar of Business English looks at typical structures used in such contexts as sharing information, negotiating and giving presentations.

Presenting illustration

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Extensive cross-referencing allows the user to refer back to the main text, where structures are discussed in greater detail.

If you’re looking for an up-to-date pedagogical grammar that is not only based on meticulous research into real English as it is spoken now, but that also shows you how English grammar functions to create meaning in authentic everyday situations, I would recommend this user-friendly and often entertaining reference book.


About Penny Hands:

Penny Hands is a freelance ELT writer and editor with 20 years’ experience in publishing. She began her career teaching general and business English in Europe and in the UK and, after gaining a Masters degree in Applied Linguistics from Edinburgh University, began working as an ELT dictionary editor and lexicographer. Since becoming freelance, she has maintained a keen interest in lexis and grammar. Corpus linguistics plays a large part in her work, contributing to a wide range of language reference titles including dictionaries, grammars and usage guides. More recently, she was Senior Editor for Collins Grammar in Action – a grammar course for young learners – and Collins Exploring English – a literature-based English course for primary schools in India.

New COBUILD Dictionaries – out now!

Today is the day! Two brand-new editions of the popular and well-liked COBUILD dictionaries are published.

To find out more about these dictionaries and what COBUILD stands for, why not browse our new COBUILD catalogue?









Authentic, accurate and up-to-date English

All of the explanations, examples and special features in COBUILD dictionaries are
based on the 4.5-billion-word database of the English language, the Collins Corpus.
This means that learners and teachers around the world can trust COBUILD to help
them speak and write accurate and up-to-date English. The corpus is updated every
month and has been at the heart of Collins COBUILD for over 25 years.

All COBUILD Dictionaries include:

  • Full sentence definitions: All words and phrases are covered in depth and explained in full sentences to show words in context.
  • Authentic examples: Real-life examples of English from the Collins Corpus show how words are used in everyday language.
  • Up-to-date coverage of today’s English: COBUILD dictionaries are based on the constantly updated 4.5-billion-word database of today’s English language, the Collins Corpus.
  • Frequency: The most important words are clearly labelled to indicate which words to learn first.
  • Vocabulary-building features: All COBUILD dictionaries include a wide range of features to help learners use English with accuracy and confidence.

Academic Skills: Lectures shortlisted for ESU Award

Lectures with ESU Shortlist logo

We are thrilled that Lectures, one of the six books in the Collins Academic Skills Series, has been shortlisted at the English-Speaking Union HRH the Duke of Edinburgh English Language Book Awards!

This is what the ESU judges said about Lectures:

Collins Academic Skills Series: Lectures is a very thorough book which uses real life examples of lectures well. This is an easy-to-use resource for students which includes important tips on accent and pronunciation. Providing a new approach to a challenging part of the student experience, this publication contains well communicated ideas and strategies, linking listening and EAP language skills to cultural expectations.

Find out more about Lectures

About the English-Speaking Union award

The HRH the Duke of Edinburgh English Language Book Awards, founded in the 1970s, celebrate innovation and good practice in the field of the English language and English language teaching. The award is based on originality and substance, and winners are chosen by a select panel of widely respected judges. Submissions are assessed on the following:

  • Originality
  • Practicality
  • Presentation

Find out more about the English-Speaking Union award

What has a corpus ever done for you?

Celebrating the launch of the new and 8th Edition of the COBUILD Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, our Corpus lexicographer Julie Moore has written an excellent article about the impact of corpora on English language teaching, which was published in the October issue of the Modern English Teacher. We hope you’ll enjoy reading it!

What has a corpus ever done for you?


Julie Moore is a freelance ELT teacher, writer and lexicographer based in Bristol in the UK. She first became interested in lexicography and corpus research doing her MA at the University of Birmingham and over the past 15 years, she has worked on learner’s dictionaries for all the major ELT publishers. She now combines teaching, teacher training, lexicography and other ELT writing and never ceases to be amazed that she can earn a living from playing with words!

Dealing with culture shock

“When we hear the words ‘a new culture,’ we often think of an outward journey, an adventure in a new land. However, after reading this chapter, you may realize that the process of adjusting to a new culture is very much a journey inside of yourself.” (International Students’ Survival Guide, Chapter 4 Dealing with culture shock)

Have you ever thought about how living in a new country might affect you, and how you might deal with what’s often called ‘culture shock’? To me, the first couple of months in the UK at my host University back in 2006 felt like a complete high. Everything was so exciting and I just wanted to take it all in.

I can honestly recommend Chapter 4 Dealing with culture shock in the new International Students’ Survival Guide. I’m sure that if I’d read it before my experience abroad, I could have managed myself and the way I was going to adjust to a new way of life a lot better. It’s really good to know what to expect – so sign up and have a read – it’s completely free of charge!


Sign up for the International Students’ Survival Guide and read the new Chapter 4 Dealing with culture shock.



The 3 things that struck me most when I came to the UK

It’s great to discover a culture that’s foreign to what you are used to by living in a new place. And of course it’s not ‘high culture’ that I’m talking about. I mean all the little things that seem normal to the people living in a country, but might feel a bit strange or unusual to outsiders.

Coming from another European country, I thought there wasn’t going to be much new to discover for me in the UK. Not quite true, actually. Here are my top 3 discoveries of the British way of life.

Politeness: It’s lovely to be spoken to at the supermarket till, to discuss the weather when buying vegetables at the grocery shop around the corner, and to be apologised to when somebody accidentally steps on your foot on the bus. The most popular topic for these conversation is another all time British favourite – the weather.

Sometimes the real meaning of polite formulas and conventions are tricky to pick up for a non-native speaker like me. For example, ‘I wonder if you’d be able to’ or ‘Would you be kind enough..,.’ both actually and straightforwardly mean ‘Can you please do this or that’. Here is a funny take on some more examples of what the Brits might politely say and what they actually mean.

Are you alright there, love? When I arrived in the UK, I was completely startled by people constantly asking me if I was alright. I wondered if people thought I looked pale or sickly, and that they wanted to check if I was feeling ok or if I was about to faint. I quickly found out that ‘Are you alright’ is just used as another way of saying ‘How are you’ in the UK. It’s a polite way of starting a conversation or of appreciating your presence. You’ll also hear it in shops when the shop assistant wants to check if you need a hand. Also, it’s completely normal to call complete strangers ‘love’ or ‘dear’ in the shop context.

Queuing: It’s not a stereotype – people in the UK really do know how to form an orderly queue, and that’s truly fantastic! Nobody feels cheated by others being served more quickly. I’ve turned into somewhat of an obsessive ‘queuer’ ever since I started living in the UK – steadily trying to impose my queuing behaviour on fellow Austrians when I happen to be back in my native country.

Read more about how to prepare for culture shock in the International Students’ Survival Guide!

All the best,

Collins ELT Team

Money, jobs and documents you might need while studying abroad

You’re starting to think in detail about the practicalities of your life as a student abroad?

I found that particularly scary because it involved managing money in a foreign currency, thinking about which expenses to expect, and dealing with official systems and procedures (health systems, banks, etc) in a country that was foreign to me.

Sign up for the International Students’ Survival Guide (it’s free!) and read the new Chapter 2 called Money and documents to find out more detail about

  • what documents you might need as an international student in the UK, US or Australia,
  • how to best manage your money and what expenses might be coming your way
  • what to do if you’d like to look for a job while you’re studying abroad



How does this work? All you need to do is sign up with your e-mail address. You’ll then be sent a link giving you access to the International Students’ Survival Guide. We’ll then also email you whenever there’s a new download available.



Am I allowed to work while abroad?

Here are a few local links for the UK, the US and Australia with regional information about what to consider if you’d like to work in these countries while you’re studying.

UK – British Council

Australia –

US –


Don’t forget to sign up to the International Students’ Survival Guide to get advice about money and documents to take with you!

If you’ve signed up already, you’ll find the link to download in your email inbox.

All the best,

Collins ELT Team

What should I pack before I go and study abroad?

When I was packing for my year abroad I tried to take far too many things with me. I just wanted to be prepared for everything. Also, I had no idea what the shops were going to be like in the UK, so I thought I’d rather play it safe and bring all my favourite clothes! Retrospectively it would have been a good idea to to think about what to take and what to leave behind some time ahead of the year abroad.

Sign up for the International Students’ Survival Guide (it’s free!) and read the new Chapter 3 What should I pack? to get some really good advice.

How does this work? All you need to do is sign up with your e-mail address. You’ll then be sent a link giving you access to the International Students’ Survival Guide. We’ll then also email you whenever there’s a new download available.


Weather in your host country

Do you know what the weather will be like in your host country? It might be good to find out so that you know what kind of clothes you’ll need when you arrive. Here are some websites that might help you do the research.

Weather in the UK
Weather in Australia
Weather in US

Don’t forget to sign up to the International Students’ Survival Guide to get advice on how to pack for your year abroad. If you’ve signed up already, you’ll find the link to download in your email inbox.

All the best,
Collins ELT Team