ESL, or English as a second language, is taught throughout the world. It can be learned in a person’s home country as a standard school credit or be taken within a foreign exchange program, where the student can better learn English in the host countries of North America or the United Kingdom. Although, it is typically preferred to learn English in an American accent, however, it is possible for students in some countries to choose their desired accent.
Immigrants to English-speaking countries make-up a vast majority of ESL students in their respective countries. It is important for immigrants, especially older adults, to learn English as quickly as possible to improve their quality of life, job opportunities, and, more importantly, to prevent themselves from being exploited by employers, landlords, and etc.
Hurdles while Learning English
With so many different languages around the world, there can be greatly varying degrees of difficulty for each individual’s experience while learning English. Age is a major factor, as a person has already programmed their brain for one way of speaking, sentence-structure, and even muscle-memory of the tongue. That’s why you’ll hear such heavy accents for people who have immigrated and only know basic English.
Reading and writing is often not as much of a problem for non-native speakers with grade-school level education. The English alphabet is shared with a major portion of the world, but even those who don’t have roman letters in their own writing, it is often taught in their school anyways (i.e. Asia).
The main hang-up on ESL learners is just learning grammar and sentence structure. English is a language that borrows from all others, so many rules don’t make sense, many pronunciations completely ignore spelling. This can be stressful for most ESL learners around the world, who are used to much more reliable grammar rules.
Future English Learners
Learning English as a second language continues to improve around the world, as the testing standards become more reliable and education tools, such as Rosetta Stone, become more accessible to classrooms. Younger people will also find it much easier nowadays to learn English online, thanks to social media and the availability of teaching tools like language games, online tutors, and entertainment media that can be downloaded or streamed with subtitles. It is now easier to surround yourself with the English culture than ever before for free and at your own leisure.