Learning English is hard, it can be done through tough and thorough practice, though.
As you can see from this last sentence, learning to speak English fluently, with its confusing pronunciation and spelling, is a grand task.
However, improving your English and being able to converse easily with native speakers, will open up new job opportunities in an English speaking country or could allow you better pay in your current job.
In fact, learning to speak English can bring you an array of benefits, professional and personal.
According to the British Council, English language education is worth around $4 billion AUD annually to the UK alone. This shows the demand for learning English from people all over the world. The greater the level of English, the greater the possibilities for work, education and ultimately, the ability to generate greater income.
Furthermore, teachers who travel abroad as ESOL teachers, further drive local economies and spread the importance of English across the globe.
And that's just formal education.
Let us tell you now about the social, economic and professional benefits received by those who learn English.
Learning English as a Newly Arrived Migrant
According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019, 238,300 people migrated to Australia, for a vast majority of whom English is a second language.
Such a change of language and environment can be very overwhelming. However, the best antidote for such feelings is to make an effort to establish yourself in your new surroundings.
Besides from taking formal English courses - in a classroom, there are many other effective and inexpensive ways to get started improving your English today.
English Learning Resources
Ahh, the internet! Whether you want to improve your grammar, your vocabulary, practice conversation or reading skills, the World Wide Web has many resources including videos from ESL teachers, worksheets, vocabulary games and podcasts. The best thing? Many, many of these resources are completely free!
The British Council has put together a series of podcasts for pre-Intermediate and Intermediate learners, where you can familiarise yourself with idioms and slang phrases often used in conversational English.
Get exploring, there are infinite language learning opportunities available online!
Converse with Native Speakers
English courses are great, but their ultimate purpose is to prepare you for real-world situations, where you will really put your English speaking to the test.
However daunting it may be, language fluency is achieved through repeated practice. Don't be afraid to try out your spoken English skills with your supermarket clerk, your neighbours, co-workers or even your family. Doing so will be extremely beneficial, as it will:
- Give you valuable practice understanding native speakers of English
- Help you to improve your pronunciation, as people often enjoy the chance to help someone out, if they are willing to listen.
- Grow your lexicon of new words
- Build invaluable social connections in your new location.
Freely engaging in conversation in your community will build your confidence and help you to feel more at home.
Start English conversation lessons online with a native speaker.
Head Down to Your Local Library
Libraries are a completely free way to:
- browse and borrow a wide range of literature
- find CD's, DVD's, e-books and more materials for improving listening skills.
- access the internet wirelessly
- print off useful English learning resources.
The Australian Libraries Gateway helps you locate a library close to you, specific to your particular interests.
Experts agree that reading books is one of the best ways to learn English. Reading books slightly above your current level of English will help you to learn new words, and familiarise yourself with more complex grammar.
All you will have to do is sign up to receive a library card, which will give you unlimited access to all these great perks!
Using these resources will help improve your English level, in terms of listening, comprehension, vocabulary, grammar and reading. Learn how to achieve English fluency using films and literature.
Make the Most of Your Newly Acquired English Skills
After you have familiarised yourself with the fundamentals of English - such as Intermediate-level vocabulary and grammar knowledge and ability to converse accurately and fluently with native speakers, it's time to capitalise on your increased employability on the job market.
This is where you turned that hard-earned English ability into dollars!
Scientific research shows that people who are bilingual have greater attention spans and are better workers.
Furthermore, bilingual workers are better at multi-tasking and finishing projects ahead of schedule.
For these reasons, employers seek employees who are bilingual, even in positions where only one language is required.
However, multi-lingual employees are vital in our ever-more-globalised world, where corporations frequently operate across national borders and language barriers.
Data suggests that you may be able to increase your pay by 5 to 20% just by acquiring the ability to speak a second language fluently.
Many departments of multinational organisations require bilingual or multilingual employees. Positions such as marketing, communications, logistics, human resources and legal frequently seek out people with the required language skills.
Beyond these roles, you could potentially carve out your own niche by offering to teach your native language to your English speaking colleagues!
English as a Global Language
English is undoubtedly one of, if not the 'global language'. It is often used as a lingua franca between people of diverse linguistic backgrounds. Therefore it is almost an expectation that professionals all over the world have at least some English language ability.
Not convinced? Here are some facts on the matter:
- China hires more than one hundred thousand English speakers to work as ESOL teachers and consultants in their global organisations.
The highest-paying oil and gas jobs are located in Arabic-speaking countries.
Ethiopia's is one of the top global exporters of coffee.
Europe is actively seeking new software developers and engineers.
For people in these countries, taking English courses is a great way for them to advance in their career and help their companies further their associations with English speaking countries.
Your native region, whether I just mentioned it or not, is likely to have a massive market for English courses, or lucrative private tutoring businesses. Or, inversely, you could teach your native language to English speakers destined for those regions.
You could design a flyer to post on your local supermarket or library community notice board.
However, the best way to attract clients for your tutoring services is to create an online profile, where you advertise your services. Superprof is a site where you can list which languages you are able to teach, and offer lessons either via webcam or as a home tutor.
Tutors earn an average of $41 per hour in Australia - what a way to earn some extra money!
ESL Classes for Learning Business English
Business English consists of the topics, vocabulary, phrases and jargon associated with working in a business.
It is a broad term which refers to work within various sectors, such as finance and tourism, as well as international relations and professional communications.
When you have a particular area of professional expertise, you should develop the relevant vocabulary for your specific arena.
Before taking Business English courses, you should have a decent grasp of the English language generally. Ways to test your English include having a conversation with a native speaker or doing an online grammar and vocabulary test.
There are a great deal of useful online English Langauge quizzes.
If you find that you still need to improve your English language skills, you could take English courses, either online or with other ESL learners.
It is important to have a good foundation of English speaking, grammar and vocabulary before you learn phrases specific for your area of business.
Some fundamental English skills include the ability to use different verb tenses, adjectives and adverbs, as well as proper sentence structure and use of expressions.
If you really want to show your English skills to potential employers, and university admissions departments, you could take an IELTS English course, and pass the exam to officially show your general English fluency.
Professional registrations bodies and government immigration departments often require a score in a test such as IELTS as part of their admission process.
In particular, listening skills are a crucial part of business, as are speaking skills and English pronunciation. Your preparation for business English should include audio materials, such as audiobooks, podcasts, conversational English and listening activities.
Once you are learning business English, it is important to learn slang and idioms which relate to your specific industry. These will be critical to understanding colleagues in the workplace, and during a job interview, these terms could be used to show a prospective employer that you have a good grasp of vocabulary as it relates to your work.
Find out how learning English can be made easy with our guide to simplifying ESOL courses.
English Language Skills For Your Career
Whether you are new to learning English or you have been studying English for a long time, improving your English will give you a lot of opportunities to make money and will give you greater access to professional and global communities.
The more language learning you undertake, the greater the probability that you will be hired for lucrative positions at multinational firms.
There are many free services to help you improve your English, such as free English courses at your local library, online resources such as those offered by the British Council, podcasts, private tutors, ESL courses, the list goes on!
Engaging with any of these materials will help you develop those language skills and open doors for you professionally, financially and socially. Believe it or not, it can also be extremely fun!
Discover how learning English can help you get into university or TAFE in Australia and beyond.