Learning English: the smart thing to do during the recession
The recession is here and we are all likely to be victims, like it or not. How it affects us depends on many factors, but times are tough and we have to make difficult decisions that may have big consequences for the future.
Probably the most important decision is how we are going to continue to better our lives and fulfil our ambitions, and does the current economic crisis make any difference to our plans and aspirations?
Well, finding and keeping a job is no longer a certainty; its survival of the fittest. So it’s important to have the right qualifications and then find the opportunities to use them. The right qualifications? That maybe easier said than done, but one thing that’s sure is that for many people a second language, especially English, is also essential and could make the difference to their futures.
But why English?
Well, it is considered by many that English is the ‘universal language’ and the fact that it is spoken by 250 million to 350 million people, the greatest number of non-native speakers, certainly helps. It’s the most widely published language – the number of articles in English published on Wikipedia is twice as many as the nearest language, German – and it’s the international language used in many crucial global areas, commerce and world trade for example.
So, it’s vital to the world’s economy, but how important is it to ambitious job hunters and their futures? Is it as dramatic as this slogan “Work and Work but You Still Can’t Get Ahead?” which was displayed on a bus in Santa Ana, California in the USA recently. The ad then went on to offer ‘Free English lessons’ as the city’s business leaders, where fewer than one in five residents speak English at home, realised that employers “could not find enough qualified employees, because when they found somebody who had enough qualifications, they didn’t speak English.” Most people who want to be upwardly mobile would agree that not only do you need to stand out academically but you need some something else to help make you stand out to prospective employers, and often a good level of English can make a real difference.
It’s not just if you want to live and work in an English speaking country, but nowadays it’s often a requirement from most employers wherever you are.
Today there are so many and varied educational ways to help learn and improve English from online English language courses to more formal English language teaching. Over 600,000 people every year come to the UK to learn the language in its natural home. So the opportunities are there; it’s just a question of taking the initiative and getting started, and then continue studying and working hard; but if you’re reading this – in English! – you’ve obviously got a head start.
English is a powerful tool and can really change your life