tv Asia Insight PBS June 24, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT
what is english for you? >> english is, is one of my goals if i want to achieve my dream. >> english for me is a new opportunity. it's some kind of discovery. >> since i was in elementary school, english is my complex. >> english skill is very important for any job. >> if i can speak english, i can make friends in the world, all over the world. >> it is just means of achieving my goals. >> english has become strong and very popular in the world, so we
have to follow this way to keep our life. ♪ the island of cebu in the central philippines is home of some of the best beach resorts in asia, attracting more than 3 million tourists each year. ♪ cebu city, located in the middle of the island is the second largest city in the philippines, following manila, the capital. english-language schools have been opening all over cebu city.
at present, there are more than 200. they range from schools with only a handful of students to schools with thousands. ♪ the majority of the students are young people from asia. last year alone the number coming to cebu to study english grew to 150,000, with the figure rising every year. cebu city's largest english school sits in a district of government offices. smeag global education opened two years ago, through a joint investment between south korean and japanese firms. it has three buildings in the
city, accommodating about 1,000 students in total. ♪ all the students stay in dormitories. there are cafeterias, stores and other facilities for students to enjoy, so they don't really need to leave the campus. there is also a movie theater, which screens english-language films only. one of the major appeals of the school is that they offer cheap, one-to-one lessons, something that would be extremely costly in schools in the u.s., britain
or other english-speaking countries. standard courses cost around $1200 u.s. per month, including room and board. if students wish to, they can take up to ten hours of lessons a day. the accommodation ranges in size from individual rooms to rooms shared by five students. the standard course includes a room shared by five students, but an extra payment is required for a private space. >> i choose it because their
english language is a second language in here, in my case, the philippines cheaper. their price of education in philippines cheaper than u.k. or canada and usa also, so it's some kind of advantage to staying here, because you pay less money than english-native countries. >> my friends study abroad for one year. and when she goes to japan she can speak english very well. i want to speak english like her. so. >> the person who's studying english in the philippines is korean and its italian and vietnamese. i can speak english with them,
even though -- >> what's your name? >> hi, friends, my name is julie, i'm from vietnam. i want to improve my english skill, especially i want to challenge myself in the philippines. nowadays vietnamese companies require people who must have, they want to apply with companies. so that's why. a person who cannot speak english very difficult for them to get a better job. yeah. actually, i prefer going out with my friends, but this time is very important for me. so i prefer staying here and studying english.
>> currently, there are students from all over asia at the school. they come from china, taiwan, japan, vietnam, mongolia and russia. recent students include middle-aged people taking courses funded by their companies and teenagers sent here by their parents. opened english schools in the philippines, targeting south korean youngsters. they were attracted by the low labor costs and english-speaking locals. english education is now a major new industry in the philippines for students from all over asia, backed by the government. this is the ceo of smeag, and
>> english was first taught in the philippines when the country was colonized by america at the end of the 19th century. the people learned it from missionaries. these days, from the first year of elementary school, all classes are taught in english as well as the native language. the higher the education, the more frequently english is used. without a good command of the language, people know that their employment options will be limited.
part of my body, english is my brain. because it controls the life i'll be tackling and, of course, it, it somehow manages me to go and to go further what i dream of. >> it's your gateway to your career. to give you a new life. it's because of this, it's a universal language, it gives you that confidence to bridge other nationalities from other countries. so it can really give you a lot of experiences once you learn english. >> my dream is to own this kind of business in my hometown. because in my hometown we don't have this kind of academy. all we have is like elementary education for education, but in
my hometown i want to learn and i want to be the first to manage this kind of business. >> there are currently 400 instructors at smeag. each year, based on their teaching technique and student evaluations, the best teacher is awarded with a present and a certificate. u jien oplado has received the best teacher award twice and is considered a star instructor. he originally wanted to become a scientist and took a bachelor's degree at university. he couldn't find work after graduating and decided to become an english teacher. eugene now leads other instructors. he helps with teacher training and curriculum development. the focus is always on delivering quality lessons.
rooms are shared by three students. mostly from south korea and japan. the cost is higher than the standard plan. an extra $140 per month. the biggest appeal of staying in this dorm is the opportunity to speak daily with the school's number one teacher. and the weekly discussions he holds on mondays. >> how important english in your country? is it really important? >> in korea, why is important? >> why is it important in vietnam? >> why? >> because in korea, if you speak english or not, their salary is different. >> in japanese, the population is already mature, so most of japanese companies are spreading
their opportunity outside japan. and so we need to speak english for business. >> okay. how about china? take it easy. [ laughter ] >> okay. meaning take it slowly. >> ever since his childhood, until he began working at the school, eugene lacked confidence and communication skills. but through regularly teaching international students on a one-to-one basis, he changed completely and now loves to express himself. >> if you're the leader of your group. >> if you could speak english, what kind of opportunities? >> it's going to, well, if i'm going to imagine my life without english as, as my medium of communication at work, i would be working in a factory.
i think it's more labor work, i think. because before i was really impossible, knowing, you know, i don't really manage everything, i don't really think much. i'm not serious about a lot of things, but because of english, this is a new industry. this is something that we haven't learned, like, i have transformed into someone who is, who is not me before, so shy, now i'm so confident, and i think i can just do all things with english, and that's -- >> eugene's dream is to become the best english language teacher in the philippines. >> night.
>> this time is very important for me. i don't want to waste my time for doing a lot of thing not necessary. so i am going to study hard. in order to grow my english skill here in the philippines. in the future. i want to speak like english native speaker. i have just three months here in the philippines. so that's why i must spend almost my time for study. >> ruby's time here is precious and crucial for achieving her dreams. >> i don't want to be a loser in
my life. and my final work is i want to b politician in korea in the future. >> i haven't decided yet, but i'd like to work in a trading company. >> after i weather it here, i want to find a job in singapore, because singapore is very famous for charitable. so i can go there for charitable agency and also for hotel. >> my dream is to go to canada for study and after i want to -- >> i would like to work in the sphere of arts and computer science. something integrated. this is my dream. ♪ >> it's ruby's day off, and she
decides to head into town. it's the first time since she arrived that she's been to the local market alone. at a cafe, she suddenly approaches a security guard. >> i want to, i want to meet the staff in here. is that yes? thank you. good evening. i'm ruby from vietnam. i came here in the philippines to study english. so what, in your case, compare english? >> i think it's balanced, you know, if i don't know what is
english i will use -- when there are some words or terms that i cannot understand i used to use english, i prefer english. >> you prefer english. >> how important english is. what do you think about english? >> english is an important language because english is more, you can, you can communicate with other people through english, which is like foreign. because foreign can't speak our language. so we must learn english. >> ah, must learn english.
>> it's been two hours since ruby began walking around, but she still wants to talk to more people in english. >> excuse me, sir. can you speak english. >> yes, ma'am. my english is very, very small amount. i learn to speak english, but, but i not decided meaning, but the smallest. >> if you have a chance or if you have an opportunity to study english again, do you want to study english again? >> yes. i want to study english. >> ruby is meeting and communicating with local people for the first time.
she doesn't return to her dorm until late in the evening. >> so i'm very happy. i'm excited to be here today. i want to stay here longer than i expected. i already lived hear for two months. i love people here, especially the one here is something in your heart. i can learn more in english when i live here. so it was -- [cheers and applause]
>> it's the day of the weekly commencement ceremony for students who've completed their courses. nine students from three countries are going home. ruby is there to see them off. and knows that she, too, will be leaving soon. ♪ learning the universal language in the philippines will undoubtedly give these asian youngsters confidence and help them connect with more people around the world. ♪ >> english is my dreams. ♪