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Language Training FAQ

What languages do you offer?
English as a Second Language (ESL), as well as all major business languages: Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Italian, and Portuguese. We will work to arrange training for other languages, but the availability of resources is not always guaranteed.
Is it more difficult to learn a language as an adult?
It's always a challenge to learn something new, especially if you've been speaking the same language your entire life. If that's the case, it might take a little more hard work on your part. You may have difficulty with some sounds, but with practice and good training you will definitely improve.
I studied a language in high school. How can I gauge my skill level?
Echo offers a Proficiency Assessment for just this reason. When you sign up for a course, we can give you an oral and written exam to determine where you are. We'll also discuss your objectives and goals and define the type of course that will work best for you.
I work full time and travel a lot. Can I still learn a language?
Absolutely! Our instructors are conscious about the fact that our students have previous commitments and responsibilities, so we offer flexible scheduling to accommodate professional and executive lifestyles. We even offer Skype lessons when appropriate.
How long is a program and how often do lessons take place?
Our standard language training program is 30 hours. The length, however, depends entirely on your schedule and your objectives. Typically, students have lessons twice a week for 90 minutes, but we will evaluate your goals and work with your schedule to determine how many hours per week you need.
What learning methodology do you employ?
Echo International uses a communicative teaching approach that emphasizes two-way communication and real-life conversation and vocabulary. We teach you a new language the same way you learned your first: naturally, through conversation. This means that from the moment the lesson begins, you will only hear your target language.This communicative, direct approach allows you to pick up vocabulary and grammar in their proper context. We encourage students to think in a new language, and to carry their knowledge into action, applying words and concepts to real-life situations.
What will I learn?
We will explore all elements of your target language, including speaking and conversation, pronunciation and accent reduction, grammar, vocabulary expansion, reading, writing and listening comprehension.
What type of instruction do you offer?
 
Individual Instruction 

The individually focused course allows students to progress at a comfortable, pressure-free pace. Individual programs offer maximum flexibility and are custom-designed to fit each student's schedule and objectives.Specialized vocabulary may be incorporated in the curriculum once the student has mastered the basics.

Group Instruction 

We offer group training when a client comes to us with a group already in mind. Once we determine each student’s proficiency level and objectives, we will design a course targeted for group instruction. We do not currently offer regularly scheduled group classes for the public.

What specialized courses do you offer?

VIP (Very Intensive Program)

Very Intensive Programs are fast, effective and intense when you need language skills right away. This course is offered on a one-to-one basis unless the client has a small group to train, in which case the group must test at the same proficiency level and have the same objectives. VIP immersion programs range from one to eight weeks long, with 35 hours of instruction per week. 

All day, even during lunch, you'll speak, listen and think in your new language. A team of natively fluent instructors provide exposure to a variety of accents and vocabulary, so students acquire correct pronunciation, the latest idioms, and the ability to comprehend different speaking styles.

The VIP immersion blends classroom-based learning and off-site, hands-on excursions that complement the curriculum and each student’s objectives. These activities will expose you to just about every linguistic setting you could encounter: visiting a bank or post office, going to a restaurant or café, going grocery or clothes shopping, attending a business meeting or seminar, going to a sporting event and more. When time is critical, an Echo VIP is the most effective way to learn a new language fast.

English as a Second Language Semi-Intensive Training Course

The semi-intensive immersion programs range from two to eight weeks long, with a minimum of 15 hours of instruction per week in Business Communication or General English. This is a condensed version of the VIP course; teacher-accompanied lunches and off-site excursions are not included. This course is also offered in some select foreign languages. Contact us for details.

30-hour Small Group or Private English as a Second Language or Foreign Language Business Communication Courses

Students meet with an instructor two or three times per week for 90-minute or 2-hour sessions. As with all of our trainings, the prospective student will discuss his/her goals and objectives with the training manager and instructor before the training begins. A proficiency assessment may also be administered when applicable. A customized and tailored program is designed with the students’ goals, learning style and proficiency level in mind.

Executive Language Course for Business Professionals

This course is designed for professionals that have an interest in learning the fundamentals of a handful of languages; for example, those who travel extensively for business or host international business travelers in the US. These students understand that speaking the language of their target market, even on a basic level, will help them establish relationships and develop business opportunities more easily. 

Echo instructors will introduce and practice such “survival” language as meeting and greeting, understanding currency and numbers, tipping, taxi culture, asking for directions, expressing thanks, saying you’re sorry, proper pronunciation and much more. Typically, the course looks at 4 common business languages of your choice with 5-6 hours of training for each.

Country/Regional and Survival Language Seminar Series for Business Professionals

This more focused seminar series consists of three 90-minute sessions and is also designed for those involved in international business travel. The objective of the series is to provide participants with relevant cultural information to help them prepare for travel and work in their target country or region. Echo instructors will provide need-to-know topical information as well as practical “survival” words and phrases practiced through role playing and simple dialogues. These seminars are conducted strictly in English, so no previous knowledge of the target language is required.

TOEFL preparation

Once we determine that your current proficiency level is high enough to study for the TOEFL, our instructors will guide you through specific strategies for taking the test. They will provide you with targeted practice and tips, utilize the most current learning materials and ensure that you are fully prepared, confident and successful on test day.

*Echo International does not provide group training as public courses. Group trainings are possible when the client has a group of individuals to train onsite at their location. The prospective students need to test at relatively the same proficiency level and wish to reach the same goals and objectives.

When does training take place?
We offer flexible scheduling and year-round enrollment. Language instruction is available Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Evening and weekend classes can be arranged upon request.
Where does training take place?
Training can take place at our conveniently located offices in downtown Pittsburgh or at a location of your choice.
How do I apply for a program?
Contact our Training Manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get started, or click here for more information.
Do I need a special visa to apply to your program?
No.
Can Echo International sponsor me for an F1 or student visa or help me gain residency?
No. We cannot assist in the acquisition or sponsorship of any kind of visa or stay in the United States.
Who are your instructors?
Our instructors are selected based on education, background, in-country work experience and personality. They are highly qualified and experienced native-speaking language specialists who come from a variety of professional and teaching backgrounds. All of our instructors hold a higher degree of education, speak at least one foreign language and have lived or traveled extensively abroad. Many of our instructors also hold specialized medical, legal, engineering, IT or business degrees.
What type of materials do you use?
Echo International utilizes a variety of course materials including textbooks, workbook manuals, audio CDs, magazines, film, and more. Our instructors will choose core and supplementary materials that best match your learning styles and will help achieve your goals the fastest.
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