Will I be able to get … in Scotland?

vegetable-skewerOne of the things we are often asked by people who are thinking about coming to study English in Scotland is, “will I be able to get…?”

The things we’re asked about are very varied.  For many students, it’s a question of whether they are able to get their preferred food in Edinburgh or Glasgow.  With increasing interest in vegetarian and vegan meals, not to mention the major world religions’ requirement for specific foods (e.g. halal/kosher), this is an important issue for many people.

The good news is that if you come to Global School of English in Edinburgh (or our sister school, Glasgow School of English), you’ll be spoiled for choice!  We regularly publish links to local shops, restaurants and cafes where you can get every type of food and our supermarkets have a wide choice of vegetarian and vegan food too.  But you must also find time to try some of our Scottish food – you can even get vegetarian haggis!

Similarly, we are often asked about religious tolerance in Scotland (“Will I be able to go to a mosque/synagogue, etc.?”).  Here too, the good news is that although this is traditionally a Christian country, we welcome people of all faiths and none.  If you are a Muslim, there is a wide selection of mosques; similarly, for Orthodox Christians there are a number of churches you can attend; and Jews have synagogues to visit in all our major cities. Again, you can find regular posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages with links to these religious places.

If you are not sure about anything to do with living and studying in Scotland, please contact us and we’ll be pleased to help you.  You can email any questions you have to: info@gse-edinburgh.com 



Congratulazioni to our Italian Students!

Our group of 15-17 year old students from the Liceo Scientifico “Cocito” School has now left Scotland to return to their homes in Alba, near Turin (Torino).  They were here for two weeks and told us that they enjoyed themselves in Edinburgh and learned a lot about Scotland and its history and culture.  Equally importantly, they believe their English languages skills have improved.

Before they left, we were delighted to present them with their certificates, which they proudly showed off in this large, group photo.   We hope that they will return to Scotland soon!


Italian Students






From Alba to Alba

Marina & Luisella

Alba is the Gaelic word for Scotland.  Alba is also the name of the town where our current group of Italian students live. Alba, the town, is near Torino (Turin) and is famous for being the headquarters of Ferrero, the chocolate makers.

It’s also where Luisella Vernone and Marina Rista (pictured above) teach at the Liceo Scientifico “Cocito” School.  “Cocito” is the name of a famous Italian partisan who fought against the Nazis and was killed by them. He was a maths teacher, which is why their school is named after him.

Their students range in age from 15-17 and for almost all of them it’s their first visit to Scotland. It’s not, however, the first time Luisella and Marina have been here: they have brought several other groups to visit Scotland and study at Global School.  The ladies kindly agreed to give us some of their time to tell us about the students, their views of Scotland and what they think of our school.

fish and chips“The students like it here; they are happy,” Marina said.  “The only thing that they haven’t quite got used to is the traffic driving on ‘the wrong side of the road’!”  Luisella added that the Scottish/British habit of having “your tea” (dinner) at 6.00 pm is also something that they’re getting used to, as back home, as in all Mediterranean countries, they don’t eat their evening meal till much later, “However, they do like your fish and chips!”



96% of our students recommend Global School of English

Sarah and Students
Sarah and some happy Global students, at the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, a few weeks ago.

Our most recent survey of those students who studied with us earlier this year* showed, yet again we’re pleased to say, that the vast majority of them were very happy with their experience at Global School of English. Not only did 96% say they would recommend us to someone else, but 100% said they agree or strongly agree with these statements:

“I liked the teaching style”

“I liked the class materials”

I liked the friendliness of the school”

“The lessons met my needs” and, crucially,

“My English has improved.”

While we don’t single out individual teachers in the survey, the students have the chance to add comments about their time with us, and many, I’m pleased to say, do say very nice things about the quality of our teachers.  Among the general comments we received were:

“Enthusiastic, friendly, interested, open-minded, funny, helpful” (German student)

“Cool that we can decide some of the topics for the class” (Swiss student)

“I would recommend the school to my colleagues for an Erasmus programme” (French student)

“Thanks to them I got to know Scottish culture better” (Italian student)

Duncan Fitzhowie, Director of Studies

*the survey was carried out between April and June  2019.



It’s nice when people say nice things about us

Global School of English exists to help people learn and improve their English. We also try to do lots of other things, such as provide interesting trips and activities and show our students something of the beautiful country that is Scotland and its amazing capital city, Edinburgh. That’s our job: that’s why people come to us. However, it’s nice when people say nice things about us too. Like these two lovely quotes from some of our recent students:

Cynthia & Oswald

We are glad to write about our fantastic experience with Global School of English. We were made to feel very welcome right from the start. The Staff are very friendly. The classes are absolutely dynamic, inspiring all students to participate. Our English has improved and we feel more comfortable speaking English.”

Cynthia and Oswald (from Brazil – shown on the left)






Edinburgh is a very beautiful city, I love staying here and enjoying the amazing places. The teachers are very friendly, available, prepared and thanks to them now I can speak and understand English. The lessons are very interesting because they are a mixture of conversation, grammar and games. The school is in a great location near a main street and you can get there easily by bus. Every week the school has very interesting social activities, visiting the best places in the city and every Tuesday there is an activity called “Coffee and Conversation”, a good way to meet and speak with other students in the school. Thanks to the school I’ve met many people that are now my friends and I often go out with them.”

Riccardo (from Italy – shown below)

Important information for students from South Korea, Japan and Singapore

airport scene

From 13 May 2019, nationals from Japan, South Korea and Singapore entering the UK will be encouraged to use e-gates instead of seeing an immigration official.

People who have enrolled on courses in the UK, but did not apply for a study visa before travelling, cannot use the e-gates. These students should make sure they see an immigration officer to get the correct stamp in their passports which will allow them to study.

Students without a visa in their passport may not be able to enrol on their course if they use the e-gates.

Global School 100% student satisfaction!

At Global School of English, we work very hard to teach our students well and improve their English. We don’t always get everything right but we try very hard to make everyone’s time in Edinburgh as enjoyable as possible.  This means we don’t just teach you English: we also provide activities and trips for you to enjoy.

Every three months we conduct a survey of our students to ask them what we are doing well (and to tell us of anything that could be done better).   For the period from January to March this year, we are pleased to say that the feedback has been extremely good, as you can see from the table.


In addition, we had lots of comments from our students. A selection of these are shown below:

Thank you all – great staff!(Javier, 37, Spain)

Very nice and friendly (Silvia, 49, France)

The best teachers I ever met (Michael, 54, Germany)

All the teachers are lovely (Sarah, 24, Belgium)

All the teachers are very good, Thank you for everything (Susanne, 53, Switzerland)

Very nice and friendly, I’ve had a very good stay (Iulia, 32, Bulgaria)

It was a real pleasure to be in Edinburgh, especially in this school (Francesco, 27, Italy)

If you would like to improve your English in a friendly and safe city, with high quality teaching and facilities, then please get in touch.  You can email us with any questions you have to: info@gse-edinburgh.com

France and friendly Scotland

Global School of English has recently enjoyed the company of another group of French students from the Business School at Strasbourg University.  The students, all around 18 years old, have been with us from 14thJanuary and will leave on 20thMarch to return to France. For all of them, it was the first time they have visited Scotland.

I caught up with them in a break in one of their lessons and we discussed a wide range of things, from their opinion of Edinburgh and Scotland to which football teams in France have the biggest rivalry.

The latter was interesting (it’s PSG and Olympique de Marseille if you want to know) but I was more keen to find out what they all made of Edinburgh.  As there were 10 students and my French is limited to “Oui” and “Non,” I was pleased to discover that their English was pretty good.  I was equally pleased to find out what they thought of Scotland.  Here are a few of their comments:

“Edinburgh is a new city for me. It’s interesting and friendly.”

“It’s very friendly. You can talk to anyone and they’ll speak with you.”

“The weather is a bit wet.” (no surprise in March!)

“It’s beautiful, very beautiful.”

“The pubs here are much better than in France.  In Edinburgh, everyone is very friendly and will speak to anyone, but in France you go to a bar with your friends and just talk to them.”

“Much more friendly than England.”

“We went to the pub to watch the France v Scotland rugby match.  We stood to sing La Marseille (the French national anthem) and everyone loved it and showed us so much respect.  There seems to be a lot of respect between people in Scotland.”

“French food is better than Scottish food.”*

“A big surprise for me was the number of monuments and statues and the history of the city.”

“We all like fish and chips!”

“Learning English is very important for business.”

That last comment was one that several of the group made.  They are all business students. I asked them what they want to do when they graduate and while many do not know yet, quite a few of them want to start their own businesses.  Famously, a US President^ said “the French have no word for “entrepreneur,” but in this case he could not have been more wrong!

Interview, Alastair Blair

*       Scottish food is good, but to be fair, the French have a superb reputation for quality food!

^       George W Bush.

My Experience at Global School of English

I found the lessons at GSE to be well prepared and structured. The teachers are conscientious and are able to respond to the needs of individual students and adapt lessons accordingly. This ability to prepare seriously and adapt spontaneously is, in my opinion, the sign of teaching efficiency. At the beginning of the class the lesson aim is written on the board, which is separated into three parts; one for new vocabulary, one for pronunciation and one for the lesson content. The board is also used to highlight common mistakes students make, and have to self-correct. I think it’s an effective system to identify what we need to work on.

I think the teaching system in the school has the right balance between, speaking, reading and listening.Perhaps the writing system could appear a little boring at first glance, however it’s not the case. A topic is given and we have ten minutes to write about it. Then we count the number of words, and we are able to compare our improvement every day. We also have some time to check and correct our mistakes.

Another exercise I particularly enjoyed was a presentation exercise: PechaKucha. The topic is open, and it requires lot of work, but without any work there isn’t any improvement. It’s a good exercise to improve fluency. When we learn new vocabulary, we have to make sentences with the new words, which gives us the possibility to properly check our understanding.

The staff also have a good attitude when faced with extenuating circumstances, and they can adapt quickly. This shows without a doubt the efficiency of the staff at GSE. My two weeks here were a great experience and I am happy to be returning to the school in a few months.

Daniel Daras
(seen, on the right in the photo above, chatting to one of our teachers).

Mon expérience à la Global School of English

J’ai trouvé que les leçons chez GSE étaient bien préparées et structurées. Les enseignants sont consciencieux et capables de répondre aux besoins de chaque élève et d’adapter les leçons en conséquence. Cette capacité à se préparer sérieusement et à s’adapter spontanément est, à mon avis, le signe d’une efficacité pédagogique. Au début de la classe, l’objectif de la leçon est écrit au tableau, qui est séparé en trois parties; un pour le nouveau vocabulaire, un pour la prononciation et un pour le contenu de la leçon. Le tableau est également utilisé pour mettre en évidence les erreurs courantes que les élèves commettent et qu’ils doivent corriger d’eux-mêmes. Je pense que c’est un système efficace pour identifier ce sur quoi nous devons travailler.

Je pense que le système d’enseignement de l’école a le bon équilibre entre, parler, lire et écouter. Le système d’écriture pourrait peut-être paraître un peu ennuyeux au premier abord, mais ce n’est pas le cas. Un sujet est donné et nous avons dix minutes pour écrire sur ce sujet. Ensuite, nous comptons le nombre de mots, et nous sommes en mesure de comparer notre amélioration chaque jour. Nous avons également du temps pour vérifier et corriger nos erreurs.

Un autre exercice que j’ai particulièrement apprécié est un exercice de présentation: Pecha Kucha. Le sujet est ouvert et demande beaucoup de travail, mais sans travail, il n’y a aucune amélioration. C’est un bon exercice pour améliorer la fluidité à l’oral. Lorsque nous apprenons un nouveau vocabulaire, nous devons faire des phrases avec les nouveaux mots, ce qui nous permet de vérifier correctement notre compréhension.

Le personnel a également une bonne attitude face aux circonstances atténuantes et peut s’adapter rapidement. Cela montre sans aucun doute l’efficacité du personnel de GSE. Mes deux semaines ici ont été une expérience formidable et je suis heureux de pouvoir revenir à l’école dans quelques mois.

Daniel Daras
(vu, à gauche sur la photo ci-dessus, en train de bavarder avec l’un de nos professeurs).