Promoting the use of English as a lingua franca is doubtlessly a key process in globalisation. Hong Kong, being an international financial centre, took up the global challenge to enhance the linguistic competence of its human capital through education reform, and has invested billions of dollars in language enhancement in both school and university sectors since 2000. The present paper reports on an overseas English immersion programme offered by a university in Hong Kong, and explores whether immersion is an effective means to enhancing English proficiency. The paper first provides a backdrop for the Hong Kong government’s policy on overseas English immersion implemented in 2001–2002. Then the design, content, operation and assessment of the overseas English immersion programme in a teacher education programme are described. Finally, the effectiveness of overseas immersion is discussed in light of globalisation and English language teaching and learning.