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the Philippines…the New Australia?

The first time I visited Manila, I was amazed to see all the young Koreans swigging soju in the many Korean restaurants scattered around town. I was curious as to why they were there, as Manila is not exactly a Gen Y tourist hotspot.

I soon learned they are studying English. It makes sense… The Philippines is close to home, sunny and cheap. English is the official second language of this nation, and when they speak it, they speak it well. The accent is not ideal, but how many Koreans are rushing to Sydney to learn to say ‘gidday mate’ in a natural tone?

In January of this year, 69,000 Koreans arrived for class. Most are beginner learners who enjoy low cost one-to-one lessons. Some see studying in the Philippines as a stepping stone to going to a native-speaker country like Canada or The US for more serious upper-level studies. In addition, it is easy to get student visas and have them extended. And the schools (many said to be Korean-owned) are fighting for the business.

Australia was once the hotspot for Korean ESL learners, but the increasing value of the Aussie dollar is an issue. And London? Even the English can’t afford to eat there. Why have to ration on packs of one-minute noodles when you can live on the hog in Los Banos?

The Philippines is onto a good thing; they just need to make sure the local teachers are getting what they deserve.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 at 10:08 pm and is filed under the Philippines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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