808Aliens Blog

Why so many European learners?

Ava Rose 

Why do Europeans want to learn English?

It always comes as a surprise why we have so many Europeans learning English as we assume many of them already know English or are good enough. However, many of the students that come from Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and others have a specific reason they are attending an English language school, for accreditation. They need these either to receive a promotion or to enter university. Of course, there are more simple reasons such as being able to communicate with others where English is the only bridge language between friends or partners or to use when they travel.

Better job opportunities

Stereotypically, yes, many Swiss people work in the bank, but we also have many who work in the healthcare department and even in the area of technology. The Swiss students that work in a bank are usually required by their company to receive a C1 or higher level for their English proficiency because they have many clients that are international and English is the only shared language between the banker and client. The higher the proficiency level they achieve the more high-profile clients they will be able to work with and higher pay.

As for the healthcare department, we mainly get nurses or assistants from Switzerland. They need to learn English so that they can communicate with their patients. Switzerland has three distinct languages, Italian, French, and Swiss-German, but most often they cannot communicate with one another without using English, so knowing a high degree of English is needed.

IT is a growing career even in Switzerland and many younger generations are starting to study technology whether it’s online business, banking, website management, or design. English is still the preferred language used since the Swiss are with a company outside Switzerland. Meaning English will be the lingua franca between the client and worker.

As for Germany, we have a few doctors and business owners. The doctors want to be able to read dissertations and articles in English for their research projects, as well as work with American or British universities and the projects at those schools. A high level of English is necessary to achieve those goals. The business owners have clients from around the world who book experiences across different countries in Europe and again English might be the only shared language.

Education

Belgian students mainly focus on attending a university and most of them require a high level of English, usually a B2 level TOEFL certification. To receive a B2 level for TOEFL a lot of studying and test preparation is needed. These students will look for English language schools that specifically offer TOEFL classes. Students from Monaco also want to attend university so they are also interested in improving their English.

On occasion, we get outliers who are already native-like but want to use their visa in its entirety. Some visas can be up to five years, so they jump from one school to the next and are usually more relaxed and indifferent about learning. They just want to stay in the United States as long as they can while still visiting new places. In my opinion, if you have the money for it, why not? Traveling while studying doesn’t seem too bad and you still get to make new friends and memories along the way.

What languages have you learned?

What about you? Why did you choose to learn another language? Does your job require you to have a certain proficiency level? School? How do you feel about English being the lingua franca of the world?

I grew up in a bilingual home speaking and learning Japanese and English simultaneously I lost Japanese over time because I was only enrolled in English-speaking schools so I decided to relearn it and expand my basic skills as I got into college. I’ve studied French for four years because I wanted to visit Paris one day. I also studied Mandarin because we had an influx of Chinese customers in my retail store. Okinawan is the most recent language I’ve learned to try to reconnect to my Okinawan side.

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