English courses in Philippines thrive as overseas students enjoy combining textbooks with trips to the beach. Michaela Cabrera reports.
REPORTER: Students from around Asia and Europe have been flocking to the Philippines to learn English. Here, language courses come with classrooms by the pool, field trips to the beach, and instructors doubling as tour guides. English proficiency schools have mushroomed across the country, with thousands of students coming not only for the affordable courses, but also for the chance to travel. French student Laura Samzun did some backpacking around the region, before starting her course work.
ENGLISH-AS-SECOND-LANGUAGE STUDENT FROM FRANCE, LAURA SAMZUN: "It's less expensive to go to Philippines, to come back in France, and to pay school than to stay in France, so that's why. And, because I really wanted to see Asia, to travel."
REPORTER: More than 500 schools offer language programs around the country, and one-fifth are concentrated in the sunny island province of Cebu. Most students come from South Korea, where university graduates find that high proficiency in English gives them better job prospects. The intensive language courses have also attracted English learners from Japan, China, and Europe. Capitalizing on the success, tourism officials have begun promoting the programs at travel fairs abroad, positioning the Philippines as an alternative destination to the U.S., U.K. or Australia for English learning.
TOURISM DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT SECRETARY BENITO BENGZON SAYING: "It shows to the world our proficiency in English, our competitive advantage, and of course you can already mix it with the fun and enjoyable and memorable part of it."
REPORTER: Both education and tourism, after all, are a practice in hospitality, where the Philippines has been known to please. Michaela Cabrera, Reuters.
Learning a language also means learning about the culture. The beaches may not be exactly tropical in Bournemouth or Brighton (not to mention the weather), but Britain does have a rich cultural and historical heritage to offer students.
• Philippines offers English lessons and fun in tropical setting as tourism advantage (Business World Online)
• Textbooks in the tropics as the Philippines lures students (Reuters)