Posted by: ghannaml | September 23, 2008

Young Dreaming of Living Abroad


According to the BBC, seven out of ten young people would like to live and work abroad some day, but most of them don’t have a second language necessary for that. A group of 560 UK students ranging from age 11 to 18 were interviewed about learning second language and studying abroad. Of them, 58% said that they couldn’t speak a second language, and 71% said they wished they could. The UK, not unlike the US, isn’t doing a very good job teaching children a second language and giving them the opportunities to travel abroad for study and work. As I said in my last blog, having a second language is necessary for our future, and the people of the UK agree.  

“This research is yet more proof that we need to equip today’s youth with the tools to succeed in the international marketplace – which means encouraging all young people to improve their language skills.

Having more young people able to speak a second language is vital to the future success of the UK economy, which is why the government is taking steps to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to learn a language.”

The classroom is the cheapest and most convenient way of learning a second language, however there are so many other opportunities for our students. The students that were interviewed in this survey all dreamed of working abroad but didn’t have a second language. Before working abroad, they could look into studying abroad. Maybe do a student exchange program. That way, they learn a second language much better than they can learn it in a classroom, and they fulfill their dreams of going abroad. After learning the language and completing their education, they could then return to that country to work and live there if they’d like and they won’t have difficulty with not knowing the language.


Young Dream of Living Abroad

BBC News

August 28, 2008 

Full Article




  1. I am of the 58% that do not speak a second language and the 71% that wish they could. I agree with you somewhat that in order to do so a second language is neccessary. However, this is not true in some cases. I know many people who have worked abroad in English speaking countries (such as London and Ireland) and gained great experience. For some, the cultural differences are what draw them to work abroad, not the difference in language. I do agree with you completely on the issue that many students do not know there are other options out there for them to learn a second language. I would encourage all students regardless of their major or minor to study abroad.

  2. It was interesting for me to read your post because I recently made the choice to study abroad the next year. I love the idea of living in a foreign place and learning in a language that is not my own. I have faith that it will be a life-changing experience, not only because of the challenge it will present, but because of the independence I will have to obtain, as well as the cultural differences I must become accustomed to.

    It was a tough choice to make, though. After all, I am only in 3rd semester proficiency for Spanish right now. Moving to a Spanish-speaking country will no doubt entail a lot of confusion for me, possibly even a little depression. I’m willing to take on the challenge though, because it is my desire to be fluent in Spanish, and I can conceive no other way to do so. I need to be taken out of my element.

    I think that may be the reason students are so hesitant to take foreign language classes. In America, we are used to being able to go about things in our own way. We’re also accustomed to being vocal. Language classes take away both of those comforts. Foreign language does not seem to be a priority for students; most only take a language class because it is required or recommended.

    I believe it is essential for everyone to learn another language. The world is smaller than it has ever been in the sense that we are connected so effortlessly by our technology.

  3. I think that the prospect of working and living abroad is starting to become much more prevalent for me today. I was never super interested in moving away for even a little while because I have strong connections at home. However, as I started to look in to grad schools I realized that I either wanted to go to an ivy league school or a school in South Korea. The more I looked into some South Korean schools in Busan I realized that there aren’t any opportunities for me to learn Korean in a formal sense.

    I understand that there is more of a demand for Spanish and French and sometimes German, but I also think those opportunities are fewer and far between. High schoolers have so many classes that they must take that a language class is not first on the list of things needed.

    Looking again at the languages offered in school and even some colleges, there aren’t sufficient options for students. Students might choose to work in China or another Asian country in engineering or something and not have a way to learn the proper language.

    But with funding and interest in the class, how can we help these students? Is there a way to teach students these languages? I think it is important to consider that a lot of the rising countries that students might chose to move to speak languages that are not always offered.

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