ELICOS: English Languages Courses in Australia

Following Monday’s post about how to learn English at home, today we invite all Spiible mates to learn about English language courses in Australia. Specifically, we will take a look at ELICOS (The English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students). If you want a structured course that caters to the needs of international students and offers great flexibility, ELICOS is a great way to start or continue your quest to learn English.
What is ELICOS?
ELICOS stands for English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students and comprises structured English language courses specifically catered to the needs of international students. Not only are they a popular pathway for international students into all qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework, they can be undertaken stand-alone too for students wanting to improve their English and then return to their hometown.
ELICOS courses are very accessible with about 300 accredited ELICOS centres across Australia which are located in both metropolitan and regional locations, and offer wide range of ELICOS courses  that differ based on the student’s level of English proficiency, the length of the course, and the commencement dates of the course. Thus, there is a course that suits every type of international student. However, full time ELICOS courses tend to be between 4 to 48 weeks long and comprise of at least 20 study hours per week.
What types of ELICOS courses are there?
ELICOS courses cater to the needs of international students. Prospective students need to consider their objectives of their English language studies when choosing which ELICOS course to enrol in. For example, a student hoping to take an ELICOS course in order to learn everyday English would have different needs to those hoping to improve their English enough study a Masters in Coursework in Australia.
There are five major categories of English language courses that students should choose from:
  1. General English 
    Specifically catered for students hoping to learn everyday English, and focuses on improving English skills in reading, writing and listening.
  2. Secondary School Preparation
    Specifically catered for students preparing for their secondary school studies in Australia and focuses improving English skills in reading, writing and listening.
  3. English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
    Specifically catered for students intending to study at a university in Australia. They aim to boost your English proficiency level to the required IELTS 6.0 to 6.5 or equivalent scores for entry into universities in Australia.
  4. Examination Preparation
    Specifically catered for those hoping to take an English test (eg. IELTS and TOEFL)
  5. English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
    Learning English required for a specific job or objective (eg. learning English used for medicinal purposes).
Furthermore, there are also shorter ELICOS courses that are available at selected ELICOS centres for certain groups, for example Study Tour Programs that combine English language study with tourist activities or sporting activities. For a complete list, feel free to contact Spiible at hello@spiible.com and we’ll be happy to provide one.
What visa do I need?
ELICOS students generally come on tourist, working holiday or student visas. You should select your ELICOS course based on the length of your desired study, using what you want to achieve from the course as a benchmark. However, always keep into mind the constraints of your visa. People on tourist visas can only study for three months maximum, four months maximum for those on working holiday visas, and it varies for those on student visas. Thus, those hoping to study for longer than four months should apply for a student visa.
Final notes
While these courses improve your English, they offer no formal qualifications after completing them. However, they offer a pathway into achieving formal qualifications by improving your English proficiency level to the required level for entry into other programs.
For any enquiries or help in choosing an ELICOS course, Spiible would love to help. Feel free to contact us at hello@spiible.com. We also have a variety of articles that may help you prepare for your study in Australia, for example ‘Arrived in Australia, Now What?’ and ‘Navigating Australia’s Student Visas’ so remember to have a quick browse around our website for helpful information about studying and living in Australia.
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