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Does Learning English Really Change Lives?

Posted by Lindsay Hall on 8/12/18 2:59 PM


As a future, current or even past ILP volunteer, you may be wondering if your time teaching English abroad really had an impact on your kids. You may have questions like, "Is it really that important for them to learn English?" swirling around in your head.

Well, I'm always here to tell you it does, but if I haven't convinced you yet, maybe hearing Annie's first hand experience will!

One of the best parts of spending a semester abroad rather than a couple weeks is you really get to experience the culture and meet the locals. One of my favorite parts of my ILP trips was talking to people and getting to know their stories. 

If it's your dream to live abroad for a semester (or two or three), don't let those little obstacles like a housing contract, school or a pet get in the way. Make sure you check out how our past volunteers have overcome all these obstacles and more

While one of our awesome Thailand groups was vacationing in Bangkok, they had the opportunity to meet and talk to the owner of their hostel, Annie. She is a local to Bangkok and speaks English really well!


This group just happened to be taking over the ILP Snapchat (we have groups from different countries take over our Snapchat for four days at a time to show you first hand what to expect from that country) and were able to ask her if she thought learning English was important or not. Here's what she said!

Why is it important to learn English?

  • To have the ability to interact with foreigners
  • Better job opportunities
  • Ability to travel to other countries
  • Useful in an emergency

To have the ability to interact with foreigners

In the video, Annie talks about how it's especially important in Thailand to know English so they can interact with foreigners. Because Thailand gets a lot of tourists each year, many jobs are centered around being able to speak English (like many countries around the world) so they can communicate with their customers. It's really no surprise that Thailand is such a huge travel destination because of places like Pai, the sticky waterfalls and all the beaches!

Lucky for us English speakers, English is the universal language throughout the world. People from all around the world that speak totally different languages can come together in one place like Thailand and have a common ground. It's pretty cool if you think about it! 


Better job opportunities

Since English is considered to be the "world's language", being fluent in English can create great job opportunities for those around the world that speak different languages. 

Not only for those that own a business in a touristy places like Krabi or Phuket, but also for those that aim to work in the government or even attend a university in another country! Most bilingual people (just like in the states) not only have more job opportunities, but are also able to get paid a little more --which can create a much more comfortable life. 

ILP Mexico

Ability to travel to other countries

Annie mentions that knowing English allows you to travel around the world to other countries! Like we mentioned, English just happens to be the common world language, so it gives you the best opportunity to communicate if you don't know the local language.

Knowing English will also give you more confidence to travel to abroad and will make it seem more of a possibility! As crazy as it seems to us, they dream about traveling to America just as much as we dream of backpacking Europe or traveling all around Asia! 

ILP Ukraine

Useful in an emergency

Annie didn't touch on this one, but I think this is a great reason why English is important to know. I don't know if you followed along with the recent Thailand cave rescue that made international news -- long story short, 12 boys and their soccer coach got stuck in a flood cave where they went without food and light for nine days until they were found. Two British cave divers were the ones to stubble upon them and a week later, they were rescued.

One very important detail of this story is that the divers that found them were British -- meaning they spoke only English. There was one boy out of the 13 that was able to speak English. He served a VERY important role as he was able to communicate with his rescuers and serve as a translator throughout the whole rescue operation.

A teacher from the school a handful of the boys attended spoke on how you never know when you'll need to know English

ILP Teaching

There are many more reasons why learning English is so beneficial for these kids and by teaching them, you're playing a bigger role in their life than you could ever imagine. 

Here is the Snapchat interview of Annie:

If you're ready to start your amazing adventure abroad with the International Language Programs, click that green button below to start your application!

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Topics: ILP Basics, Thailand, Benefits of Volunteering, Making a Difference, In the Classroom, Finding Your Best Self

Exploring The World For Over 25 Years

Hi! We are ILP, a non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. Check out our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

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