Adults, Levels and progression

Levels and progression

Levels and progression

ESL - Levels
The graph below shows the average number of study weeks necessary to obtain the desired level. Please note that this guide is approximate and your progress will depend on a number of factors including your commitment to practicing the language outside of class, how much you converse with locals, as well as your natural aptitude for languages.

Beginner level

In theory, the student has no knowledge of the target language. There are two types of beginners:

  • Absolute beginners, who have had no previous contact at all with the language in question.
  • False beginners, who have studied the language in the past or have been exposed to it passively. 


Elementary level (A1*)

The student can interact in a very simple fashion and produces incomplete sentences, lacking real grammatical content. He/she understands basic instructions and phrases used in specific contexts.


Upper-elementary level (A2*)

The student is able to exchange simple information by using vocabulary that is normally taught in school. He/she can write basic sentences and understands expressions related to relevant topics.


Lower-intermediate level (A2-B1*)

The student is able to read and write very simple texts and can successfully hold a basic conversation about matters that are of personal interest or familiar. He/she gets the general message of what is being said, but normally has difficulties understanding the nuances of the message.


Intermediate level (B1-B2*)

The student can interact quite spontaneously, but often struggles with vocabulary and grammar. He/she is able to understand the main points of a complex text.


Upper-intermediate level (B2*)

The student is able to interact fluently with native speakers. Despite making some grammar and spelling mistakes, he/she can communicate effectively and understands everyday language. His/her level is high enough to use in professional contexts.


Advanced level (C1*)

The student can produce an elaborate discourse and successfully communicate in professional, academic and social contexts. He/she understands practically everything, including idioms.


Proficiency level (C2*)

The student masters the language in question perfectly and can understand practically anything. In fact, his/her command of the language and grammar knowledge is often higher than that of a native speaker. To reach this level, the student usually needs to spend an extended period of time abroad.

*Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

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Test your language level in a few minutes.


After spending 3 months of pure happiness, it’s sad that I have to leave this incredible place with the head full of good memories and magical experiences like Niagara Falls, basketball game, visits in downtown, ice skating and celebrations far from our families like Christmas organized by the school. In addition to that I enjoyed participating in the after school clubs allowing me to learn even more and have a great time. Thanks to this experience I met incredible people (Brazilians, Asians, Russians, Mexicans, etc.) from all over the world that I want and will visit. The supervisors are excellent and always listen to my requests. I definitely recommend to everybody to live the same experience as me but all good things have an end and now it’s my time.

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Sirine Tounsi

In October 2017, I decided to go to Toronto for 2 months. I had just finished my studies, and I had always dreamt about going to Canada. I wanted to improve my English, so I decided to take an 8-week intensive course at OHC – a school I highly recommend. I became friend with students from all over the world and with very nice teachers. I was surprised to see how fast I improved; I passed 2 levels in 8 weeks! In order to be in total immersion, I chose to live with a host family. If you don’t like rules, I suggest staying in a student residence – you’ll have more freedom. I loved the style of the city (I’m Parisian, so everything looked very different). Toronto has the advantage of being close to French-speaking Québec and to the US – you should visit New York, as I did! If I could do it all over again, I would! Thank you ESL for making my dream come true in a few days only.

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Sara Mateos Arévalo

My name is Sara and I decided to take a course in Lyon to improve my level of French. I had started to take French classes again in Barcelona and I thought it would be a good idea to give them a boost.

I wasn’t very clear on my destination, but I finally chose Lyon because it’s a city that has everything but it’s not as big as Paris. And, as the language travel advisor that I am, and knowing the academic quality of the Alpadia school, I thought it would be a good option.

After having been there, I can say that Lyon is an ideal destination for linguistic immersion. As a city, it has everything: shops, good public transport, restaurants, bars, tourism, parks, etc. What’s more, you’re constantly surrounded by events, culture and French cuisine, and it’s a city where a lot of French natives live. That’s why you can also learn about its customs and lifestyle in addition to the language.

The first day when I arrived to my host family’s home, it was a little difficult for me to speak even though I understood Sylvie (the woman who was hosting me) very well. In the mornings, she was already working, but I enjoyed waking up and having a leisurely breakfast. In the afternoons after the activities, I went home and she was preparing dinner. I sat in the kitchen with her while she taught me French recipes. Every night we cooked a different dish, and she even taught me how to make French crêpes! I stayed in her daughter’s room who was studying in Toulouse. To this day, we still write to each other.

With regard to the school, the first day they had me arrive half an hour early to show us new students the school, city, etc. and introduce us to each other. We had 4 and a half hours of class, but the time flew by, as the teaching method that they use is very dynamic and you have two different teachers. My morning teacher made the classes very exciting and helped us improve our weaknesses. The afternoon teacher, on the other hand, gave us a topic to debate and she made us talk a lot while she provided us with useful, daily vocabulary.

There were only 6 students in class, perfect for learning more easily. At school there was a great atmosphere with a good group of students open to meeting new people and making plans after class. I felt like a part of the group from day one. The mix of nationalities was very good with few Spanish-speaking students. In the whole school, there were only two Spanish and two Mexican students, although we weren’t in the same class. Almost all of them were Swiss (from different regions), and there were students of all ages (18-22, 25-28 and 40+).

Every afternoon, the school offered an activity for whoever wanted to participate (movie, visits around Lyon, wine tasting, etc.). At the beginning of the week, they posted a schedule of the week’s activities on the bulletin board. You just needed to sign up and show up at the meeting point at the time specified (even though almost all of us went there together directly from school). The activity I liked the most was wine tasting because we went to a really authentic wine cellar where they gave us different wines and cheeses. For me, this was a very French experience!

To sum up, I’d like to say that for me, it was a great decision to take an intensive course and stay with a host family, since I learned a ton and at the end of my stay, I noticed that I really improved my fluency when speaking French. The truth is that I had a great experience and I would have liked to be able to stay for another week.

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