English for Specific Purposes - BBLC English Courses
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English for Specific Purposes

What does English for Specific Purposes (ESP) mean?


The word specific relates to the specific purpose for learning English. Do you need English to pass a Cambridge exam or study a particular course at university? Are you working in English in a specific field such as nursing?

What is the difference between ESP and general English?


“..in theory nothing, in practice a great deal (Hutchinson, 1987:53)”.


The focus in a General English course is on communication in everyday situations. The focus in an ESP course is on communication in your specific study or work situation.

Most universities in the Netherlands these days offer Bachelor’s or Master’s courses in both English and Dutch. In order to teach in the international classroom, where English is the medium of instruction, many teachers benefit from a Teaching in English course.


Staff working in different roles with international students and colleagues may benefit from tailor-made courses such as English for HR staff, English for Invigilators, English for support staff.


Students preparing to write in English may benefit from an English for Academic Writing course.


Those preparing to work in an international corporate environment may benefit from a Business English Communications Skills course in English.


Teachers in primary school may benefit from an English Skills (Eigenvaardigheden) course.

I am happily recommending Helena as a wonderful, creative, inspiring teacher of “The Better English”. I took her class with some EUR colleagues, thinking it would be a relaxing and fun hour. I was right about the fun. Helena kept each and everyone of us on our toes (individual approach!) by formulating interesting challenges. And yes, she even remains calm when we Dutch are continuously mistaken about past and present perfect…. Many thanks, I enjoyed it.

K.Y.MA (Managing Director, Erasmus University College)

The Language & Training Centre (LTC) of Erasmus University Rotterdam has been working with Helena for several years. We have hired her for Business communication skills courses, General English courses, courses for specific groups of employees or students of Erasmus University Rotterdam and for individual coaching sessions. Helena combines a lot of experience and professional knowledge with great flexibility and creativity. She is a great teacher. Students and staff are very happy with her as a teacher and give high scores in evaluations. For the LTC Helena is a lovely person to work with.

Marjon Menten (Head of LTC, Erasmus)