English Language Day 2019


April 23.   It’s traditionally recognized as both the day on which William Shakespeare was born and later died, making it an obvious choice for the date of the United Nation’s English Language Day.  

A few years back, I had a chance to visit a country where I could only speak a handful of words in the national language.  I walked into a shop and began an exchange with the woman behind the counter.   

“Do you speak English?”    

She shook her head no.   And so I stood there for a few seconds, not really knowing what to do next.   Eventually, I continued my attempt at communication with the simplest and slowest English I could muster. English was the only tool I had in my belt.   And even though she had indicated otherwise, the kind shopkeeper was actually able to understand more than she let on.  

Although it’s the only third most widely spoken native language behind Standard-Chinese and Spanish, English is far and away the most widely learned second language.   And when you add those together, you end up with over 2 billion speakers of English around the world.  

If you can’t speak the native language, English is the tool you want in your belt in most countries in the world.   And if you’re able to use that tool well, it can be used to build a great future for individuals, families and communities.   In Thailand, English open doors.   It gets people jobs.  It allows people to advance quickly in their fields of study.    And makes it possible to engage on a global level.  

That’s why Imagine Thailand puts so much energy into English language initiatives.   We teach in schools and universities.  We provide after school tutoring.   We host English Corner events to give students a chance to practice speaking.  We host teams of English-speaking volunteers and help them lead English camps. We’re thrilled to participate in all of these projects because they add tools to the belts of children, university students and even adults.  And these tools enable them to craft their preferred future.   

So the next time you have some free weeks or months, think about volunteering with Imagine and sharing your English tool with the world! 

#englishlanguageday2019 #unenglishlanguageday #englisheducation