Sergey Sulimov


Sergey Sulimov


I’m a student …or how to tell about your education in English

школа английского языка

We have to talk about our education all the time. Moreover, it interests not only potential employers, but absolutely all old and new acquaintances. Therefore, this topic has long become every day and is those one that are taught first in any foreign language, including English. Let’s figure out how to correctly talk about your education and not confuse the two educational systems. Но прежде всего переведем на английский само слово образование – education.


This is the education first stage in any country. And, like us, in America and Britain there is a division into junior and senior classes. By elementary school, as a rule, the first 4 classes are meant and they are called primary or elementary school . The secondary school from grade 5 to grade 11, respectively, is called secondary school . To make it easier to remember, we can assume that this is the education second stage at school.

Educational institutions in which students study can be different:

  • state school – государственная школа (финансируется из госбюджета);
  • private school – частная школа (финансируется спонсорами: частными лицами или организациями);
  • boarding school – школа-интернат;
  • gymnasium – гимназия;
  • lyceum – лицей;
  • an English language / Math ( etc .) school – школа с углубленным изучением английского/математики или других предметов.
  • finish school at different times, after 9th and after 11th grade. After 9 you get basic education a diploma, abroad it is called incomplete secondary education – junior secondary education. But after the 11th grade, we already have a “crust” on secondary education – high education or high school education . In the first case, Russian speakers may think that higher education is meant. Don’t get confused, it sounds a little different in English.

Secondary specialized and higher education

As for secondary specialized institutions, you can easily mislead a foreigner. The fact is that we also include college (колледж ). But in the United States and Great Britain, a college is a higher education, not a secondary one, just like a university. Therefore, if you have a secondary specialized education, do not use the word college when talking with native speakers, or immediately explain that this is not a college like theirs. With schools and technical schools easier:

  • vocational school – профессионально-техническое училище
  • technical school – техникум.

Высшее образование in English is called higher education. Please note that the comparative degree of the adjective high is used, in contrast to school education. Everything is simple with the university, the translation sounds almost the same – university. After studying 4 years at the university, we get a bachelor’s degree – степень бакалавра. Moreover, if you have studied for another 2 years in the master’s program, then the master’s degree is степень магистра.

Useful phrases and expressions

To say that you are studying somewhere, you can use two expressions:

1.   I study in school/university.

2.   I go to school/university.

We also use the second expression in Russian, when answering a question about studies we say : “I go to school.” By the way, the English class will be form . So I ‘m in first grade would sound like:

I study in the first form .

If we want to say that we are doing something, then we need the verb to enter :

I’d like to enter the engineering university . – Я хочу поступить в технический университет.

And to make a noun out of a verb, add -ing :

I think about entering the university . – Я подумываю о поступлении в университет.

Speaking of graduation, we say:

I graduated from university . – Я закончил(а) университет.

If you are a first-year student, then the phrase will come in handy:

I’m a freshman . Я первокурсник/новичок.

Finally, a few expressions about exams, because you cannot do without them in any educational system:

  • to take exam / test – сдавать экзамен/тест;
  • to pass exam / test – сдать экзамен/тест;
  • to fail exam / test – провалить экзамен/тест;
  • to apply for admissions – вступительные экзамены/тесты.
  • In addition, do not forget to learn the correct name of your educational institution, specialty and profession in English, since you will have to say these three names to your interlocutors all the time.
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