If you’re new to Singapore and not a native English speaker, stepping out into the unfamiliar streets with people speaking in English and plenty of new accents can feel exciting, but also overwhelming and isolating. Don’t have a community in Singapore to turn to? This is when you could benefit from more than just English classes. At United Language Centre (ULC), it’s all about connecting with others who have also moved to Singapore and enhancing your life through learning English language skills and conversational English. To help, we find out more about the new ULC branch in Orchard from the centre’s founders and how this language school for kids and adults first started.
The ULC story
A Japanese woman had been living in Singapore for 18 years, yet still spoke very little English and had limited daily interactions. After the founders of ULC met her in 2012, they quickly discovered she was not the only one in this situation. Many families that relocate to Singapore are not confident speaking in English and find themselves disconnected from others.
Canadian English teacher Matthew Fast and his wife Macy decided in 2012 to help non-English speaking expats in Singapore by creating ULC. What makes this language centre unique is that it boasts a welcoming community in Singapore that values language, learning and sharing cultures.
What does a ULC English class look like?
In order for all students to build confidence in conversational English, ULC only offers small classes, with up to nine students sitting around a single table. These classes are split into a total of nine levels from pre-beginner to advanced and private classes. The certified teachers create a comfortable learning session and often students end up speaking English more than they usually do.
While the lessons centre around speaking, reading, listening and grammar from a textbook, the real focus is on the skills you need after you have moved to Singapore. This includes cultural understanding and learning English language skills to use outside the classroom.
ULC students reflect on learning the English language
“I highly recommend this school for its excellent structure, competent teachers and responsive staff. The small class sizes, friendly atmosphere and festive events make it a great place to learn and socialise. The beautiful view from its location at the heart of CBD is a bonus!”
Helene Soulas (France)
“The teachers were incredibly attentive and supportive, providing helpful feedback while making me feel heard and understood. They taught me a ton of useful expressions, and even went above and beyond by offering additional explanations during break time. Thanks to their constant encouragement, I was able to overcome my anxiety of speaking to foreigners.”
Bohyun Lee (Korea)
ULC English classes expand to Orchard
With a growing number of students in the ULC community in Singapore, the language centre at City Hall has expanded so it can continue to maintain its small class sizes. From the original location at City Hall, ULC is now also open in the new Orchard location. The Orchard area is convenient for many families that have moved to Singapore. Plus with loads of cafes, shops and restaurants around, students can easily meet up before, after and during class breaks.
The new Orchard branch also offers kids group lessons that follow the IB program. During these English classes, students go beyond memorising grammar and sentence structures to learn creative and critical thinking in English. The focus is on developing confidence and enhancing fluency to use conversational English in real-life situations. Students can even test these out on class excursions that add a “learn by doing” approach to language training.
See the ULC Grand Opening of the Orchard branch
Classes are offered throughout the day at the Orchard and City Hall locations. Find out more on the United Language Centre (ULC) website.
If you moved to Singapore with kids, check out our huge guide to international schools in Singapore! We also have tips on choosing an international school here.