Book a Course

How to Choose a Business English Course for your Industry

Choosing the correct course for you is an important decision to make as this decision impacts your career path and the prospects that come with it. It can also be quite an overwhelming choice to make due to the wide variety of courses available. 

Because of this, it’s important to take into account all of the factors which can help when choosing the right course for you, to ensure you are happy in your chosen course but also financially, as courses can be costly to pursue. 

International House Belfast offers a range of English courses to suit all abilities. For more information on the list of courses on offer, please contact a member of our team who will be happy to assist you with your enquiry. 

So, if you are interested in some tips on how to ensure you choose the right Business English course for your industry, stay tuned.

Business English courses – What to consider

Before you commit to a Business English Course, it’s important to evaluate which factors are important to you and to think about what you hope to achieve from the course. 

You should look at your current job role or the industry of your choice to see what the requirements are. These requirements will help you narrow down what you need to gain and learn from the Business English Course to ensure you are getting the most out of it. 

Some factors to consider when choosing a Business English Course include:

  • Does your job role require you to speak English on a daily basis?
  • Does your job role require both spoken and written English? If so, are you confident in both?
  • Are you comfortable conversing with native English speakers? 
  • Note down things you are perhaps less comfortable with- this can include things like engaging in small talk or any interactions you feel you could benefit from some assistance with. 
  • Are there any specific goals you need help achieving with your Business English Course? For example, a future presentation?
  • Have you set aside time and a budget for the Business English Course?

By answering these questions, this will help ensure you are choosing the right Business English Course for the industry you wish to work in or currently work in. 

Questions For The Training Provider Of Your Business English Course

When choosing a Business English Course, it’s important to check out the provider of your course. The provider of your course will be able to answer any questions you may have about specifics and put any worries you may have at ease. 

We have included some examples below of things you could ask the training provider of your Business English Course when choosing one for the industry of your choice:

  • How can you help with any specific needs I have when learning? 
    • For example, engaging in small talk, preparing for a presentation etc. – will your training provider be able to help with this? Listing your requirements to your training provider will help ensure they recommend the right course for you.
  • What qualifications do you receive at the end of the Business English Course? 
    • For example, are there any exams or is the course assignment based? And what proof of completion do you receive at the end of the course? This is important as some job roles may require proof of completion.
  • Have your training providers worked with individuals from my industry before?
    • Good training providers will be able to give you examples of other organisations or businesses they have worked with in your industry to ensure the course you are choosing is right for your career path.
  • Will there be opportunities during courses to apply what you have learnt?
    • It’s important to check with your training provider how they plan to test out what you have learned. For example, will there be oral and written exams or role play scenarios? This is to ensure there will be ways to measure your learning during the course.

Are You Interested In Studying A Business English Course At International House Belfast?

If you’re interested in learning more about the range of English courses we have on offer at International House Belfast, please contact us for more information and one of our team will be happy to help you with your query. 

You can find more information on the courses available at our other locations here:

Courses at International House Galway

Courses at International House Manchester

Courses at International House Portsmouth

Courses at International House Bristol

No matter where you are located in the UK or Ireland, the International House family can help facilitate your language learning process through its partner locations at Galway, Manchester, Portsmouth and Bristol.

Six Incredible Festivals In Ireland

Ireland is a bustling hotpot of culture, music and a range of festivals throughout the year, particularly during the summer months. 

If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, we’d recommend booking festivals and concerts in advance to avoid disappointment and ensure you get a spot at the event or festival of your choice. 

Here are six incredible festivals to enjoy in Ireland throughout the year:

Musical Festivals In Ireland: Electric Picnic

Electric Picnic is an annual music festival held every September in Stradbally Hall, Laois. This year, the festival is set to take place from the 2nd to the 4th of September with a range of music artists performing. The lineup for Electric Picnic 2022 includes Tame Impala, Snow Patrol, Arctic Monkeys and Dermot Kennedy to name a few. 

Electric picnic is Ireland’s biggest music festival in which around 70,000 people attend each year to enjoy an immersive camping experience, great performances and the amazing atmosphere. 

For more information on Electric Picnic, please visit the website directly.

Arts Festivals in Ireland: Galway International Arts Festival

Galway International Arts Festival is one of Ireland’s most visited summer festivals. Taking place in July each year, Galway Arts Festival covers a range of artistic forms such as theatre, visual art and music. 

The events take place across over 30 venues such as galleries, theatres and even on the Galway city streets among the hustle and bustle of tourists and locals alike.

This year, Galway International Arts Festival is set to take place from the 11th to 24th of July with over 200 events planned for the duration of the festival.

For more information on the events taking place this year or to book your tickets to avoid disappointment, please visit the Galway International Arts Festival website directly. 

Cultural Festivals In Ireland Temple Bar Tradfest

The Temple Bar Tradfest takes place each year in January and showcases the Trad music scene across Ireland. Ideal for those involved in the Trad scene or for those who want to learn more about it, Tradfest is located in Dublin’s cultural quarter, the Temple Bar area which is well known to locals and tourists alike for the lively atmosphere and vibrant bars- which suits Tradfest the very best!

The annual festival attracts over 10,000 visitors a year with over a third of these visitors coming from overseas. Festival goers can expect a range of theatre exhibits, musical performances from a variety of Trad artists and Irish dancing performances, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.

For more information on Tradfest and dates for the 2023 festival, please visit the website directly. 

Food Festivals In Ireland: Taste Of Dublin Festival

The Taste Of Dublin festival takes place in Iveagh Gardens each year in June and aims to showcase Ireland’s top culinary talents, artisan ingredients and much more. 

The Taste of Dublin is perfect for foodies who enjoy cooking or those wanting to brush up on their culinary skills, as masterclasses take place daily and top chefs are available to offer advice or answer any questions you may have. 

To avoid disappointment before attending the Taste of Dublin festival we’d recommend purchasing tickets for your session in advance. 

For more information on the festival and the range of events available, please visit the Taste of Dublin website directly.

Music Festivals In Belfast: Belsonic 

If you’re visiting Northern Ireland or you live in close proximity to Belfast, Belsonic is the resident music festival which takes place every June in Ormeau Park.

Festival goers can expect Irish talents such as Dermot Kennedy, Picture This and Ryan McMullan and international DJs such as Calvin Harris and Tiesto which can be enjoyed across the month of June each summer. (Please note: this line up is from Belsonic 2022).

For more information on the festival line up or to purchase tickets, please visit the Belsonic website directly.

Studying In Ireland

International House Belfast is Northern Ireland‘s leading English language and teacher training organisation. We offer part-time, full and intensive courses to help students maximise their English skills in their own time, with a social life that will make your learning experience worthwhile.

If you wish to find out more about festivals across Ireland, or want to enquire about learning English in Belfast – simply get in touch with us today.

No matter where you are in the UK and Ireland, the International House family can also help facilitate your language learning journey through its other partner organisations in Galway, Manchester, Portsmouth and Bristol.

TEFL Training for Experienced Teachers

TEFL, which stands for ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’, is a career move that many experienced teachers dream of making.

Why? There are many reasons why teachers wish to take the plunge and teach English abroad. From living in a different country to adding a new dimension to your C.V. – the list is endless!

Often, the biggest hurdle to overcome is getting the relevant qualifications you need to prove you are able to teach English in another country. Let’s take a closer look at what exact TEFL training you need, even if you’re an experienced teacher.

TEFL Courses at International House Belfast

Any course aimed at training you for teaching English as a foreign language can be referred to as a TEFL course. The most internationally recognised qualification is the CELTA course, which is administered by the University of Cambridge. 

TEFL/CELTA is not just for gap year students and travel enthusiasts. Many students of this course come from experienced teaching backgrounds, with some having taught for years and others either studying towards/recently graduated with degrees in education.

At International House Belfast, we offer a range of TEFL training courses for those with ranging experiences and schedules. Here’s what you can expect from the CELTA course specifically:

The Cambridge CELTA Course

CELTA stands for ‘Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults’. The Cambridge CELTA is the number one TEFL course in the world, with most employers pinning it as a preferred qualification for their teachers of English. 

The course covers classroom techniques, language analysis and awareness, language skills, planning and resourcing, developing skills and professionalism, and teaching practice.

The CELTA course covers the following syllabus:

  • Language analysis and awareness
  • The learner, the teacher and the teaching/learning context
  • Planning for effective teaching
  • Classroom management skills
  • Teaching procedures and techniques
  • Resources and materials
  • Professional development
  • Classroom observation
  • Teaching practice

At International House Belfast, we offer both intensive and part-time CELTA courses:

Intensive CELTA Course

Our intensive, four-week course runs from Monday-Friday between 9:00-18:00. International House’s four-week CELTA course comprises 120 hours of classroom-based learning, plus six hours of hands-on, observed teaching practice. This approach ensures that you are provided with all of the skills and knowledge you need to go from zero experience to leading a classroom in just one month.

Part-Time CELTA Course

Our part-time CELTA course runs on Fridays between 9:00-18:00 for 10 weeks, making this option perfect for those who have other commitments that they can’t compromise on. By the end of the 10 weeks, you will have everything you need to progress with your new career route, having completed your set 120 hours, including six hours of observed teaching practice.

Why 120 Hours?

According to, based on statistics from the TEFL Jobs Centre, the majority of employers ask for a 120-hour TEFL qualification, which is the industry standard. Taking a course with fewer hours will put you at a disadvantage and make it much more difficult than it needs to be to secure work.

We would recommend a 120-hour CELTA course if you fit most of the following criteria:

  • You have a minimum of a BA degree in any discipline
  • You have some previous teaching experience
  • You’re a native English speaker with a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa
  • You’re seeking work in a country with high demand for English teachers

The Benefits for Experienced Teachers

As a certified teacher with a TEFL qualification, you’re going to be in a very strong position when applying for jobs. Up against other applicants with little teaching experience, you’ll instantly have the competitive edge. As a result, you’ll find it easier than most to secure work, which means you can afford to be picky and be in a position to potentially negotiate better terms and pass on offers you don’t feel are up to scratch.

You may also be able to find work in countries with more competitive markets, like those in Western Europe and in international schools, which will often require teachers to hold education degrees. 

Why International House Belfast?

If you choose to study CELTA at International House Belfast, you will gain experience of living in the vibrant, young city of Belfast, and have the chance to explore Northern Ireland’s rich history and culture more broadly.

International House Belfast is Northern Ireland‘s leading English language and teacher training organisation. If you wish to learn more about TEFL training for experienced teachers, simply get in touch with us today.

No matter where you are in the UK and Ireland, the International House family can also help facilitate your language learning process through its other partner organisations in Galway, Manchester, Portsmouth and Bristol.

5 Most Beautiful Places in Ireland

The island of Ireland is renowned for its rolling green landscapes, charming rural towns and historic city centres. It’s safe to say that it is one of the most stunning places you can visit as well as live and study in.

But where exactly are the best places to go to make the most of your time here? In this blog, we’ll show you our top five most beautiful places in Ireland that are definitely worth the journey, wherever you’re based.


Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland. As such, the centre is certainly not short of things to see and do. 

With mesmerising architecture, rich history, fascinating attractions and friendly locals – you’ll never tire of wandering around Belfast and being part of its bustling atmosphere.

There are several noteworthy places to visit in Belfast that are firm favourites of residents and tourists alike. There’s Linen Hall Library, founded in 1788, it is the oldest library in Belfast and the last subscribing library in Ireland. It offers events and artworks, and houses a huge collection of Irish writing, including the works of CS Lewis, the author of ‘Chronicles of Narnia’. The Linen Hall Cafe interior décor is inspired by Irish mythology and folklore, where visitors can also enjoy panoramic views overlooking Donegall Square.

At weekends, St. George’s Market offers handicrafts, flowers and food. It is the last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast, and is a beautiful place to go to on a bustling Saturday morning to get a sense and taste of Northern Irish culture.

Pubs on the ‘Golden Mile’ include the Victorian-era Crown Liquor Saloon. One of the most famous pubs in Belfast, the now-named Crown Bar was originally a Victorian gin palace. Restored by the National Trust, it remains an icon of Belfast city. This visual gem is a must-see masterpiece of bar architecture. A myriad of mosaic tiles and stained glass, its period gas lighting still illuminate the cosy snugs which feature original gun metal plates for striking matches and an antique bell system.

The North Coast

The North Coast region is known for its spectacular scenery. But off the beaten track there are also many equally spectacular hidden gems to discover. 

Even the journey towards the North Coast from Belfast is a marvel in itself. The Causeway Coastal Route offers a stunning 130 mile stretch of coastline, making it a worthwhile adventure to embark on simply for the views.

Up at the North Coast, you can enjoy a wide range of famous attractions. From the Giant’s Causeway to Game of Thrones filming locations, it makes the perfect place to go if you love the outdoors and wish to unwind from the world.

The first and probably most popular place to mention is the Giant’s Causeway, a historic and geological wonder. Owned by the National Trust, it is surrounded by the wild Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs. For centuries, the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it. 

Located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North County Antrim coast, Dunluce is one of the most picturesque and romantic of Irish castles. The roofless ruins are breathtaking – especially at dusk – or in the sunshine with the white chalk cliffs of Portrush close by. 

famous Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland (UNESCO World Heritage Site)


Galway is in a prime location on Ireland’s west coast, close to the Aran Islands and Connemara region. But the town itself is what makes this little corner of the world so famous. With its charming buildings, cobblestoned streets and ancient architecture lining the main streets, it makes the perfect spot to snap some Instagram-worthy photos. Nearby is also Galway Bay, where you’ll find rows upon rows of colourful buildings and swans floating by.


The county of Donegal sits in the northwest of the country and is a beautiful, naturally rugged part of the world. Edged by endless waters and filled with unique cultural experiences, it is a much-loved getaway for travellers and staycationers alike. This very special place offers everything that a nature lover could possibly want: from gorgeous green hills, hidden coves, tranquil beaches, enchanting forests and so much more.


Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is a city that seamlessly blends history with cosmopolitan life. 

Whether you want a shopping trip down the world-famous Grafton Street, or wish to immerse yourself in the beautiful buildings like Trinity College, the oldest university in Ireland, or Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland – there’s something for everyone in this ‘bucket list’ city.

To add to its beauty, Dublin’s Templebar area has captured the attention of visitors from all over the world. Stacked with charming pubs, restaurants and locally-owned shops, you can be sure to spend a couple of hours traipsing down this much-loved part of Dublin.

All of these beautiful places in Ireland are conveniently scattered across one island, making it easy to plan day trips or weekend breaks in your spare time.

Studying in Ireland

Studying in Ireland is a wonderful, transforming experience. Voted LonelyPlanet’s best place to visit, Belfast has been quietly evolving into one of the UK’s most exciting cities to explore. 

International House Belfast is Northern Ireland‘s leading English language and teacher training organisation. We offer part-time, full and intensive courses to help our students maximise their English skills in their own time, with a social life that will make your learning experience even more worthwhile.

If you wish to find out more about where else you can explore beautiful places in Ireland, or want to enquire about learning English in Belfast – simply get in touch with us today.

No matter where you are in the UK and Ireland, the International House family can also help facilitate your language learning process through its other partner organisations in Galway, Manchester, Portsmouth and Bristol

Top Places to Experience Traditional Irish Culture

Belfast is a popular place where many people come to immerse themselves in classic Irish culture.

The city exudes a special sense of humour, creativity, tradition and warmth that is much-loved across the globe. Whether you’re simply visiting or staying for the long-term, you’ll instantly feel like you’re at a home away from home! 

But where are the best places you can go to enjoy this culture? If you want to find out ‘what the craic’ is around Belfast, check out the rest of this blog for our top places to experience traditional Irish culture.

What is Classic Irish Culture?

The culture of Ireland revolves around language, literature, music, art, folklore, cuisine and sport. In addition to all of these, there’s an unmistakable kindness in the community that safely secures the island of Ireland on the top of many people’s bucket lists.

While in some places, culture can become diluted by cosmopolitan advancements – in Belfast, the Irish culture still thrives – even today.

Let’s take a closer look at where you can experience these wonderful Irish traditions in and around Belfast:

For History: Ulster Museum

If you want to explore a treasure trove of the past and present, there are plenty of museums to choose from in Belfast.

Centrally located in the trendy Botanic area of the city, the Ulster Museum offers a rich collection of art, history and natural sciences. The museum tells the story of the people of the north of Ireland from earliest to current times – so you can enjoy a full revolutionary view of how the culture has progressed over the centuries. 

With impressive galleries and interactive discovery zones that bring science, history and art to life – it is the perfect place for visitors of all ages. It is also free to enter, meaning you can boost your knowledge and spend worthwhile time at no cost!

For Pub Culture: The Crown Bar

The Crown Bar, traditionally known as ‘The Crown Liquor Saloon’, was originally a Victorian gin palace. Having been sympathetically restored by the National Trust, it remains an icon of the city, standing as Belfast’s most famous bar.

The atmosphere is not only made by the people that frequent this bar, but the ornate interiors that make it so special. Complete with period gas lighting, cosy snugs, brightly coloured tiles, carvings and glass as well as an antique bell system for alerting staff – this beautifully decorative bar will instantly make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.  

See if you can see the fairies, pineapples, fleurs-de-lis and clowns in and around the bar. It makes for a great spectacle when accompanied by a perfectly poured pint of Guinness for the ultimate Irish experience.

For Festivals: Culture Night

Historically, Culture Night has made its mark as one of Belfast’s largest free events. It is a cultural celebration that has previously attracted almost 90,000 local, national and international visitors to the Cathedral Quarter and Belfast city centre.

Culture Night is a highly-anticipated weekend that takes place every September. Its aim is to support, promote and enhance the local arts, culture, heritage and businesses of the Cathedral Quarter, and contribute to a vibrant, welcoming and sustainable city centre.

When visiting Belfast during this time – you can expect to see the very best of Irish culture and talent. From buskers scattered across popular spots in the city, to exclusive art exhibitions and performances, there is a wonderful blend on offer for all age ranges. 

When you visit Culture Night, it will answer the question of ‘what is culture’ to the people of Belfast. 

For Markets: St. George’s Market

St. George’s Market is the last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast, which was originally built in three phases between 1890 and 1896. 

Nowadays, it is used for weekly markets that are open to the public every Friday-Sunday. Over the years, the market has won local and national titles and awards for its fresh, local produce and great atmosphere.

Each day represents a different focus, and are as follows:

  • Friday variety market: dating back to 1604, there are around 200 market stalls selling fruit, vegetables, antiques, books, clothes, hot food, cakes and buns, crafts and a large selection of fresh fish
  • Saturday city food and craft market: offering local, continental and specialty foods as well as handmade crafts, flowers, plants, local photography, pottery, glass and metal work
  • Sunday market, craft and antiques market: incorporating a unique mix of both the Friday and Saturday markets with emphasis on local arts and crafts, the Sunday gives more local craftspeople the opportunity to showcase their talents. 

No matter what day you choose to go, you can enjoy an afternoon well-spent browsing through a selection of stalls and tasting your way through the exceptional local cuisine.

For Theatre: Grand Opera House

The Grand Opera House boasts the majestic Victorian main auditorium designed by renowned architect Frank Matcham, the intimate Baby Grand studio, a 100-seat theatre space, and three bars.

It has been noted as one of the most favoured venues by both locals and tourists, providing quality entertainment, unforgettable experiences and vital outreach programmes for over 100 years. To get a sense of the vibrant theatre scene in Belfast – pop by for an outstanding choice of drama, opera, dance, comedy, musicals, family shows and so much more.

For Sport: Kingspan Stadium

Lastly, we can’t compile a list of Irish culture without mentioning the superb sport of rugby, of which the local teams continue to impress in the industry year upon year. 

Redeveloped in 2014, Kingspan Stadium is a state-of-the-art sporting arena with a capacity for 18,000 supporters. It is also known as Ravenhill Stadium, and is the home of Ulster Rugby. 

To get a feel for the incredible atmosphere that comes with every Ulster Rugby match, make sure you visit Kingspan for a truly unforgettable experience.

International House Belfast is Northern Ireland‘s leading English language and teacher training organisation. If you wish to learn more about where you can experience traditional Irish culture, or want to enquire about learning English in Belfast – simply get in touch with us today.

No matter where you are in the UK and Ireland, the International House family can also help facilitate your language learning process through its other partner organisations in Galway, Manchester, Portsmouth and Bristol.

Kenneth Brannagh’s Belfast

Belfast the Film

Belfast, the film premiered at Queens Film Theatre last night here in Belfast and some of our staff and students went after class to check it out. The film has been one of the most anticipated releases of the year and did not disappoint. It was a great opportunity to learn more about this wonderful city. Moreover, one student, Nina said: ‘The film was great!! I’m grateful to have had the chance to see it here in Belfast and with the local people.’

What is it about?

Firstly, for Kenneth Branagh, the director of Belfast, this is his most personal film to date. It reflects upon his own experiences of growing up in Belfast as a child. Furthermore, the film takes place in the year 1969, at the start of the Troubles (a period of violence in Northern Ireland). The story is told through the eyes of Buddy, a young boy growing up in a working-class family. Buddy has a big heart and even bigger dreams. While on one hand, the story takes place during a period of civil unrest in Northern Ireland, there are a lot of scenes that will have you nearly laughing off the edge of your seat. As a result, Belfast is a testament to Northern Ireland, its people, history, and culture.

Where do I get tickets?

So, what are you waiting for? Find our where cinemas are showing the film near you. Here at IH Belfast, we can recommend Queens Film Theatre, Northern Ireland’s leading independent cinema, located beside Queen’s University, and a five-minute walk from our school.  To read more about the film, check out some of the latest reviews on IMDB:

In conclusion, if Belfast has inspired you to come to the city why not consider studying an English course with us?

A final word from the director

The film is dedicated to ‘those who stayed, those who left and those who we lost.

Study CELTA at IH Belfast

Welcome to International House Belfast

Perhaps you want to improve your English, or become an English teacher. Either way, you have come to the right place. We offer a range of courses for all needs. We offer general English classes (A1-C2), preparation for IELTS and Cambridge English exams (FCE, CAE and CPE) and intensive courses/ one to one classes. Or if you want to become an English language teacher, consider our popular CELTA course!

Thinking of studying at IH Belfast?

International Belfast is Northern Ireland’s leading English language and Teacher Training Institute. At IH Belfast, our staff are well qualified and our students come from all over the world. Our highly qualified, experienced teachers adopt a range of teaching methods and approaches to teaching and learning to make sure that you get the most out of your lessons. Our small class sizes ensure that you get the attention that you need to ensure that you make swift progress.

About the school

Our school is lucky to be situated in the beautiful leafy suburb of Botanic, close to Queens University and the city centre. This means there are some fantastic bars, pubs, and restaurants close at hand. Botanic Gardens is a 5-minute stroll from our school building and beautiful place to spend an afternoon relaxing, reading a book, or catching up with friends. If that’s not enough, or you have finished exploring the local area, there is the school’s highly popular Social Programme, where students are encouraged to sign up and socialise outside of the classroom. From pub quizzes, to picnics, rugby matches and axe throwing – we really do offer it all! Want to know more? Check us out on Instagram for the latest news!

Thinking of becoming an English teacher?

Perhaps you want to become an English Language teacher, gain an extra qualification or fancy a career change. Either way, our CELTA course is always extremely popular and is the gateway to teaching English all over the world.

You may be wondering what the benefits of studying the CELTA course are over other relevant teaching qualifications (TEFL, TSEOL, TOEFL etc.). Firstly, CELTA is the world’s most internationally recognised English teaching qualification. Secondly,  work opportunities are plentiful after completion of the course. For instance, some of our CELTA graduates are now working for highly reputable schools and organisations in countries like Vietnam, China, India, the Netherlands and Spain to name but a few. Finally, having a CELTA on your C.V. will make you stand out and therefore increase your chances of landing that dream job.

The CELTA is a commitment – an extremely valuable and enjoyable one. The course (120 hours in total) is a blend of theory and pedagogy related to ELT (English Language Teaching), teaching practice and coursework (consisting of four written assignments.) Our CELTA tutors are highly experienced, and our centre is fully approved and accredited by Cambridge Assessment English meaning that you will receive the best of teaching, helping you to prepare for the course. Don’t just take it from us, just read what some of our graduates have to say. Look here for more testimonials!


Sara Spano

‘After the Celta I moved to the Netherlands and started studying International Teacher Education for Secondary Schools at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. This is because I loved the Celta so much that I wanted more of it! This 4-year bachelor’s degree, which allows me to choose a different destination every year. Without the Celta I would not have realised how much I love teaching.’

Ashank Chandra

‘Reflecting back on one of the best times of my life, CELTA was an amazing experience. I realised how much one can learn and understand in a day! Post-CELTA life has been rewarding. Since then, I’ve been working with IH Moscow and International Language Schools of Canada. Whilst I miss my CELTA peers, I am enjoying carving a career in teaching English.’

Therefore, if you are ready for a new challenge and want to embark on a new career in the TEFL teaching world, we would love to hear from you! For more information please check out our website and blog. Alternatively, if you are in Belfast pop in and say hello. We are always happy to help.

Furthermore, for more information about the IH family, check out our partner organisations in  Galway, Manchester, Portsmouth, and Bristol. Make sure you contact us and let us know if you are interested in our guidance and help. We are here for you.

Top Tips on How to Prepare for IELTS

For any exam of any intensity – preparation is always the key to success. Often, the hardest part is finding techniques that best suit your learning style, so you can properly absorb the information you need to achieve a good score. 

The best way to combat this is by taking top tips from education experts. At International House Belfast – we are the leading English Language and Teacher Training Institute in Northern Ireland – so you know you can trust our recommendations, especially when it comes to the popular IELTS exam. 

What is the IELTS?

IELTS (which stands for International English Language Testing System) is an exam that measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work in a place where English is predominantly used. 

The exam is recognised worldwide, as the majority of UK universities and workplaces will use an applicant’s IELTS score to determine whether they have the required level of English before they are accepted onto their course, or offered a job. 

The IELTS course structure focuses on the core elements needed to understand and practise a new language fluently. The test itself is divided into four sections:

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing

For the results, students are given a score on a nine-band scale: with zero meaning no language skills, and nine being an expert English user.

As your IELTS score can open the doors to your future – the question becomes how can you best prepare for the IELTS exam? Well, our experienced teaching team have rounded up their top tips that you should follow to maximise your potential. 

Preparing for IELTS

When it comes to IELTS – the more prepared you are, the easier the exam will be. Here are our top tips that we guarantee will help you:

Choose the Right Course Length

What course length you choose can play a big part in how well you prepare for the test. Before you begin investing your time in the IELTS, you should select a course that will give you the best chance to learn at your favoured pace. 

At International House Belfast, we offer a 12, 8 and 4 week IELT preparation course. 

The 12 week course gives you more time to develop your language skills, build your knowledge and familiarise yourself with the structure and content of the exam. The 8 week course allows you to fill any knowledge gaps, learn the exam structure and practise key techniques. Alternatively, the 4 week course is for those who are confident with their language level and want a general refresh.

Once you have decided which course is best suited to you, you can boost your knowledge further by applying these additional tips…

Spend Time With People

While it may seem like procrastination, the best way to prepare for a language exam is by putting your verbal and listening skills to the test. This way, you can better learn how to construct sentences, and process key words and phrases that you have been taught in class. 

The best way to do this is to spend some time with people who are fluent English speakers, as well as those who are in the same situation as you. This could be something as simple as having a conversation with your teacher, or participating in a group activity with your classmates. Either way – this will help you develop a greater understanding and grasp of the language.

Take Timed Practise Exams

While this is something that all accredited schools will suggest for students – doing mock exams in your own time will help you get a high score. 

These can be for any strand of the IELTS exam. For example: you can ask your teacher for previous speaking tests, which you can then record yourself doing and either assess yourself, or ask your teacher to give you areas to improve on. 

As the IELTS is timed, you should aim to match, or come under this time threshold. If you know what your weaknesses are, spend time doing mocks on these first. That way, you can refine and perfect your tactics before going into the exam – as well as avoid unwanted panic!

Read English Newspapers

Whether online or offline – reading newspapers is a great, cost-effective  way to boost your reading and writing skills. 

With newspapers, you are supplied with fresh content everyday that will show you different examples of grammar, punctuation and spelling. It will also help you expand your vocabulary, which you can adopt when you go to take your official exam. 

Research With Synonyms

An extra top tip of ours would be to focus on synonyms. If you read a word that you aren’t familiar with – research words that are closely related to it. 

With synonyms: they can make your written and verbal efforts much more interesting, avoid boring and repetitive text, and improve communication between you and others. 

By doing this, you will understand the word better, strengthen your knowledge base and be more equipped to take the exam. 

No matter what, you need to be comfortable with the style of the IELTS exam. As it is uniquely designed, testing the four key areas of English language comprehension, you have to be dedicated in order to return good results. At the end of the day – practise really does make perfect! 

Study IELTS in Belfast with International House

At International House Belfast, all of our courses combine language learning with exam preparation. We have a proven track record of helping students from all around the world to improve their English, and meet their personal and professional goals.

If you need to prove your English abilities to access education or work, book an IELTS course with International House. If you’re unsure which course to select, contact our advisors today and we will be happy to assist you.

Or, if you want to read our latest news and advice – check out our blog for more.

No matter where you are in the UK and Ireland, the International House family can also help facilitate your language learning process through its other partner organisations in Galway, Manchester, Portsmouth and Bristol.

Green Standards Schools

Green Standard Schools is a global, not-for-profit association of language schools that are seriously committed to protecting the environment.

IH Belfast is proud to have co-founded an accreditation to encourage green language schools and to reduce the carbon output associated with international travelling.

GSSs aim in a nutshell:

To lessen the impact that language teaching has on the environment by developing a set of policies and practices that language teaching institutions and their stakeholders can adopt and adhere to.

To award accreditation against these policies and practices to providers of language education everywhere.

To develop resources designed to encourage environmental sustainability in language teaching and learning and offer training and support in the application of these resources.

As an accredited member of Green Standard Schools, we have also agreed to adhere to the following 12 Commitments:  The 12 Commitments

At times it can be tough, but its definitely something we believe in!!

Learn more: GSS – Green Standard Schools

Locations! Locations! From Narnia to Winterfell via Lilliput

Belfast, Northern Ireland, has long since attracted filmmakers from all over the world with its lush landscapes that serve as the perfect backdrop for their cinematic creations.

Northern Ireland offers countless stunning locations, from beautiful coastlines to idyllic villages, mountains, glens, and loughs, as well as bustling cities with diverse architectural styles.

Across the years, many writers have been inspired by the country’s stunning backdrops, some have added them to their works and consequently, the same locations were used to portray their writings when it was time to adapt them for the big screen.

The Magical Land of Narnia inspired by Northern Ireland

The Wardrobe Door in the beginning of Narnia Trail in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

CS Lewis, the creator of the world of Narnia that is still loved by many all around the world was born in Belfast. So, it is natural that he drew inspiration from his birthplace and incorporated it into his writings. The city even established a CS Lewis Trail to commemorate his greatest works.

His most renowned work is the Chronicles of Narnia, a series of seven fantasy novels that are considered a staple of children’s literature. The series has since been adapted for radio, television, the stage, and film.

The plot of the series centers on four children who are evacuated to the countryside to escape the war, much as many children had been during WWII.

He weaved the fictional work of Narnia, filled with mythical beasts and talking animals, where four children are magically transported to Narnia and are called upon by the lion Aslan to save the realm from evil and restore the throne to its rightful owners.

The Narnia Trail was established in Rostrevor to commemorate this great work of fiction. You can start it from Kilbroney Forest in Rostrevor, where you’ll find several features bringing the world of Narnia to life.

Among the stops on the trail are monuments dedicated to the Tree People, the Beavers’ House, and the Citadels, among others.

Visit CS Lewis Square

Also in Belfast, you’ll find the CS Lewis Square, with seven monuments based on the characters from the first novel in the series: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, including Aslan, The White Witch, Maugrim, The Robin, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, The Stone Table, and Mr. Tumnus, all of which were created by Irish artist Maurice Harron.

Belfast hosts many other locations inspired by the author’s prolific life and career, such as the C.S. Lewis Reading Room at Queen’s University Belfast, the Lamppost Café in east Belfast, and Campbell College which Lewis attended and where he drew inspiration to create the famous Narnia lamppost.

Experience the Real Winterfell across the Lush Landscapes of Northern Ireland

Castle Ward, Northern Ireland
Old medieval ruins of Castle Ward in Northern Ireland

When George R.R. Martin took the world by storm with his novels, the Song of Ice and Fire series, which were later adapted into the widely successful TV series Game of Thrones, it was revealed how much he drew inspiration from real locations and events.

One of the key locations in the novels and the 2011 TV series is Winterfell, a northern keep that served as the Stark family’s home throughout the show, which was filmed in Belfast. Many of the scenes at Winterfell were filmed in Castle Ward, located in Strangford in Northern Ireland where you can now go on themed tours through the castle grounds, including a recreated archery range like the one used by some of the characters in the earlier seasons of the show.

Many locations across Northern Ireland were used in the show, including Dunluce Castle and Ballintoy Harbour as the Iron Islands, the home of the Greyjoys. Filming also took place in the northern forests at Tollymore Forest Park, near the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. There, you may come across the familiar locations where Ned Stark and his sons found the direwolves, where Theon Greyjoy is chased by Ramsay Snow, and where Sansa and Theon hid from Ramsay Snow.

Explore the World of Game of Thrones inside the Real Locations

If you’ve watched the show, then you must also be familiar with Castle Black and the region ‘Beyond the Wall’. You can visit the area in real life at Magheramorne Quarry, located near Larne in Northern Ireland. The small fishing town was transformed for the epic scene in Hardhome, in which Jon and the Wildlings face off against the vicious White Walkers. The location was also used to film scenes featuring Castle Black and the Battle of Blackwater.

Among the many different locations in Northern Ireland used in the show are the Dark Hedges along Bregagh Road in Armoy (as King’s Road) and the Caves at Cushendun in County Antrim (where Lady Melisandre gives birth to a “shadow” that kills Renly Baratheon).

Other than the real-life locations, Northern Ireland also has some of the best studios in the world, where several fan-favourite scenes, such as the Red Wedding were filmed, including Belfast’s Titanic Studios.

Jonathan Swift’s Land of the Lilliput in Gulliver’s Travels

Jonathan Swift’s timeless 18th-century novel about an Englishman, who takes a voyage to the imaginary lands of the Lilliputians, Brobdingnagians, Laputans, and Houyhnhnms, has cemented itself as one of the classics of English literature.

Considered by many as a satire and social commentary of the political life at the time, Gulliver’s Travels was very much inspired by the real lives of the English and Irish people in the 18th century, as well as the royal court.

The main themes in Gulliver’s travels focused on the state of the European government and the differences between religions. He also posed the question of whether people are inherently corrupt or they become corrupted.

Where can you see Lilliput?

The term Lilliput, which later became used to refer to anything small and delicate, the places where Swift spent most of his time have found different ways to honor the great novelist and his prominent work.

In the city of Armagh, you can visit the Saint Patrick’s Trian Visitor Complex exhibitions to learn more about the history of Armagh, from its ancient history to the arrival of St Patrick and beyond. You can also explore The Land of the Lilliput, where Jonathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ is narrated by a 20-foot giant. The exhibit also features huge models of Gulliver and tiny Lilliputians to complete the experience.

Cavehill in Belfast

Swift has also been said to have been inspired by many Northern Irish landscapes, such as the Mourne Mountains and Cavehill which he believed to resemble the shape of a sleeping giant safeguarding the city.

Northern Ireland has always inspired writers and filmmakers to create their best works and it has never failed to commemorate their efforts and make sure that future generations will not soon forget their masterpieces.

If you wish to visit some or all of these fantastic locations but feel that the language barrier may hinder your travel experience, the International House family aims to facilitate your language learning process through its partner organizations across the UK and Ireland, including in Galway, Manchester, Portsmouth and Bristol to help you reach your desired goal and master the English language.