- Speak English Language Institute
- Direct English
- British Council
- ES Dubai
- Eton Institute
Over the last few weeks, I have been looking at many websites to try and find an objective and fair comparison of the best English schools in Dubai. However, I noticed that many websites out there on the web are not really objective. If you type in Google “Top 10 English Institutes in Dubai”, one of the first results is from EdArabia. When looking more closely at their list (actually they have 25 institutes on their list), I noticed that only language institutes which had submitted their company details to the)EdArabia were mentioned. This means that the list is not really fair as EdArabia hasn’t done the research to get real information about the institutes. (Check the list here to see what I’m talking about
So, I have decided to make a list of the top 6 English schools in Dubai with all of the pros and cons they have. The list below is in no particular order. I am not listing these English institutes in order from best to worst.
Speak English Language Institute
(Disclaimer: I work for this institute)
Description: Speak Institute specialises mainly in teaching English to Adults and teenagers. They have a great team of qualified native teachers from the UK, US, New Zealand and Canada. The institute is small with a really friendly and cosy atmosphere.
Pros: Start any Sunday / Flexible pricing / Location / teachers are qualified native speakers / cosy / nice learning environment / Students can take breaks / Access (metro)
Cons: Parking / no online learning / Admin only speaks English / do not provide visas /
Google rating: 4.6 / 5 (from 61 reviews)
Location: Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Description: Direct English is part of a franchise called Linguaphone which has language institutes worldwide. They have their own teaching methodology and teachers need to closely follow the program. They have many courses available from General English, to Business, IELTS, and other exam preparation courses. Their website does not provide much information when it comes to prices and when I contacted them they would not give me their course fees over the phone.
Pros: Many courses available / Worldwide franchise
Cons: Parking / difficult access / limited information available / methodology / does not seem very personalised
Google rating: 4.6 / 5 (from 10 reviews)
Description: British Council is present is most countries around the world. Usually where there’s a British Embassy, there’s a British council. The focus of British Council originally was to spread awareness of the English language and culture around the world. Nowadays, they have become a language institute like any other. They have a strong name and many people are familiar with is so British Council because of that. However, as they are a language institute, they are run in the same way as any other business. (The details below are related only to British Council Dubai and in no way reflect other British Councils around the world)
Pros: Parking / Location / Timing / Methodology / Many courses available / Accredited /
Cons: Large groups / don’t listen to students / customer service / Course Fees
Google rating: 3.3 / 5 (from 88 reviews)
Location: Tariq Bin Ziyad Street
ES Dubai has a slightly different student base compared to other institutes in Dubai as they seem to focus more in bringing students from abroad rather than offering courses for people living in Dubai. Over the last couple of years, we have heard that many of their students are from South America and they offer many activities around Dubai to their students. The institute looks very nice and comfortable with a lot of seating space in the student area and public computers for the students to use.
Pros: Comfortable institute / coffee shop / activities / Accomodation / visas / Teachers
Cons: Location (difficult access) / course fees not publicly available / Many Portuguese & spanish speaking students
Google rating: 4.7 / 5 (from 16 reviews)
Location: Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Description: Eton Institute is one of the leading language institutes in Dubai and has been around since 2006. They claim to offer language courses in over 160 languages but English is their main language as this is what most people need in Dubai. Eton Institute is big with over 30 classrooms and many teachers. They teach English using a book (normally Headway) which can make the lessons a bit boring. However, this really depends on the teacher you get there. Some of their teachers are awesome and some terrible. So it can be a bit hit or miss at times. In general, they have a good reputation.
Pros: prices / location / teachers (depending on who you get) / student & coffee area / access (tramway) / visa / many English courses available / timing
Cons: methodology / can impersonal as they’re very big / parking / teachers (depending on who you get) / registration fees
Google rating: 4.4 / 5 (from 199 reviews)
Location: Knowledge Village
Description: Berlitz is an international language institute, well a franchise! They have their own teaching methodology and teachers have to follow it by closely. This means (in my opinion) that their courses are not very customised to the students' needs. Students love it, but from experience most do not. They find the approach quite boring and restrictive. Over the last few years, we have also heard many stories of teachers not being happy working for Berlitz. If your teacher is not happy, you’re not going to have a good lesson! But they have been around for a long time and some people are happy so if you like the idea of studying for with a big international name, give them a try.
Pros: location / big name / small groups / accredited / many English available / trial lessons / many branches in Dubai & Abu Dhabi
Cons: prices / methodology / parking
Google Rating: 4.7 / 5 (from 15 reviews)
Location: Jumeirah lakes Towers & Jumeirah Road
So there you go, this is what I think it the top 6 English schools in Dubai. There are of course many other English institutes in Dubai but they do not make the list for various reasons.
Learning English in Dubai is a not only something fun to do but for many people something which is necessary for them to survive and get by in their daily life in Dubai. If you do not speak Arabic in Dubai, then you need to have good English to be able to communicate with government offices, shops, people you meet, your kids' teachers, ordering food and so on.
So how to choose the best English school in Dubai for your English studies?
Well, I think that the list above is a good place for you to start.
Firstly, I recommend you check all of their websites and see which ones you feel offer the most suitable English training for your needs.
Secondly, make a selection of 3 or 4 English institutes from the list above and take 1 day to go and visit all of them. When studying a language, you need to feel comfortable and make sure you like the environment, the staff, and teachers.
Finally, select the 2 English schools you prefer, do their level tests and choose the one you feel most confident about and which provides you with the best service.