There has never been a more critical time to learn English overseas, online or in-country. Some of the most important trends impacting the region include the increasing importance of the English language and the rise of online learning. Whilst most establishments teach in Spanish or Portuguese, the use of English enables these establishments to attract foreign students and prepare students for life in a globalised world.
Latin American institutions are becoming more globally competitive, and this is thanks in part, to their focus on providing quality education across a vast range of subjects and in many cases having a portion of the course at an external university in a different country. The lower costs are also a draw and, also of course, is the lifestyle. With Spanish being the second most widely spoken language on the planet, students from the region who are Spanish speakers have an advantage, however, English language skills are not diminishing in importance and students who can speak English fluently as well, will have a significant lead when it comes to job applications for international companies.
Learn English Abroad
There are multiple English Language Schools who target LATAM students, and the opportunities for them to travel to study English abroad has increased. Schools like EC have multiple locations so visa restrictions and requirements don’t hamper a student’s desire to learn the language in an English-speaking environment.
The visa wait time for some countries is currently at 12 weeks – so foresight is required – especially factoring in the length of the course the student may require to get their language skills up to scratch. A quick online test of language level will guide a student to plan for the appropriate course duration.
Of course, a student may decide to learn English during holidays and combine an activity/bucket list destination with a course or study part-time online. One doesn’t master any skill in one go and learning a language takes more than one course. It could be something they take up each summer for the duration of their degree and may even find, with laws around visas changing in many countries, that they can study and work, gaining qualifications, experience and networking at the same time.
Learn English Online
As many LATAM institutions are turning to online learning to reach a wider audience, the options to study are exploding especially as this type of learning is flexible and convenient, and it allows students to study at their own pace. Additionally, online learning is often more affordable than traditional methods, making it more accessible to students from all backgrounds. Learning English online is also an option – this has multiple benefits – less cost and no need to travel, with EC Live, there is the opportunity to learn in multiple time zones with qualified teachers, National Geographic materials and curriculum, and with real tutors and students from other countries, which gives the student access to other accents and cultures which is a key part of the language learning experience. An added benefit is the ability to record classes and have them as references for revising topics that may need more attention. Whatever the reason for choosing online learning, students can be confident that they are using a powerful and competent method for language learning.
Whichever method is chosen. students should have clear success criteria to help them self-evaluate, set their own goals and see their progress. This journey should instil confidence and prepare the student for the next step of higher education. This skill is something that will ease their way into academia and be a life-long skill too. We teach how to learn, not just the subject we are delivering, and this is an invaluable aspect of our teaching method that sets us apart from other schools. We run a University Pathways 8-week course in Canada which is specially designed for entering a higher-education establishment there, with site visits and a heavy focus on the skills needed for being a student at the next level.
To certify or not to certify
On another note, having a certified level, like IELTS certification for those wishing to study at an English-speaking university, is a major plus. It means students have one less subject to study while in higher education and can focus on their academic goal. For future reference, it is handy to have a digital certificate to attach to a CV or LinkedIn profile, for example, to assure prospective employers that the student’s level of English will be adequate for the role being sought.
Overall, higher education in Latin America is evolving and becoming more globalised. This is benefiting both institutions and students, who are now able to access a world-class education without leaving their home countries though it must be noted that at in-person learning other skills can be learned too and networking opportunities are more fluid. In-person lessons are particularly useful for those who eventually have a goal to work in another country – living and studying there before gives a true picture of life and enables the student to immerse in the language and ‘sound like a local,’ indeed, live like a local, much quicker.
In conclusion, English language skills are essential for anyone wishing to study in the LATAM region, and whether students chose in-person or online learning, with the skill, they have greater access to education and more opportunities for employment thereafter.