SEATTLE — Learning English has become key to improving economic performance, both for individuals and at the state level. Native English speakers lucky enough to have been developing this skill since birth have the opportunity to help others become English proficient through a system that research has shown to have mutual benefits.
It is no secret that English has become the lingua franca of global business. Billions of people around the world have recognized this fact and taken it upon themselves to learn English as a means of improving their own economic opportunities through the development of this highly coveted skill.
On the micro level, non-native speakers who have developed proficient English skills are able to apply for better jobs and consequently raise their standard of living. Research shows that a job seeker can expect as much as a 30-50 percent higher salary if their English skills are considered significantly superior to the national average of their country.
On a larger scale, studies have established a direct correlation between a country’s average rate of English proficiency and its economic performance. A recent report published by the Harvard Business Review revealed that a rise in English proficiency was connected with a rise in per capita income in nearly all of the 60 countries and territories surveyed.
Furthermore, English proficiency has been found to correlate directly to improved quality of life as demonstrated by the Human Development Index, a measure of education, life expectancy, literacy and standards of living developed by the U.N. In the same Harvard Business Review Report, no country of moderate or higher proficiency fell below “Very High Human Development” on the HDI.
These data illustrate the profound effect that learning English can have on a non-native speaker’s life. The amazing news is that anyone reading this article has the ability to personally take part in this highly impactful tactic to improve lives while simultaneously enriching their own by teaching English abroad.
Teaching English abroad has become an increasingly popular job choice for recent graduates, as it is a paid opportunity that includes international travel, immersion in a disparate culture and a means of developing foreign language skills, all of which are assets to myriad future career paths. While the majority of these teachers are in their early 20s, teaching English abroad is also an excellent option for individuals desirous of a career change, or someone looking to supplement their earnings from an occupation that has already required foreign relocation.
Most English teachers spend between six months and a year living and teaching abroad. Though not always required, a college degree and the completion of a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification program will help aspiring teachers find the most reputable and highest paid opportunities available in their target country. Earnings vary significantly by country, but generally speaking there is enormous international demand for native English teachers. In 2015, The British Council estimated that there were 1.7 billion people learning English worldwide, and that that number is expected to grow to two billion by 2020. Moreover, a 2013 study determined that English language instruction for non-native speakers is a $63 billion a year industry.
Beyond being an apt means of avoiding the tough U.S. labor market, teaching English abroad represents an incredible opportunity for native English speakers to simultaneously enrich their own lives while helping people around the globe develop skills that will significantly improve their quality of life. For anyone who has dreamt of walking the Great Wall, experiencing Spain or seeing the Amazon, teaching English abroad is the perfect opportunity to do just that, all while helping to improve lives.
– Savannah Bequeaith