Textbooks in the tropics as the Philippines lures students

Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:10am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Michaela Cabrera

CEBU, Philippines (Reuters) - In the Philippines, English language courses come with poolside classrooms, field trips to the beach, and instructors doubling as tour guides.

English is widely spoken in the former American colony, and language proficiency schools have mushroomed across the country, catering to an expanding market of Asian and European students looking to combine English learning with tropical tourism.

French student Laura Samzun will soon be taking a test to enter a public college in the United Kingdom, and is under pressure to perfect her English. She chose to take classes in the Philippines due to lower costs.

"It's less expensive to go to the Philippines, to come back (to) France, and to pay school than to stay in France (for that time)," Samzun said.

Fresh from a backpacking trip in Indonesia, she kicked-started her courses in June at the Cebu Pacific International Language School on the sunny central island of Cebu.

"I really wanted to see Asia, to travel. So I can travel and study (at) the same time. It's a good thing," the 22-year-old Toulouse native said.

There are some 500 schools offering language proficiency programs around the country, and one-fifth are in Cebu. The island's proximity to white sand beaches and its laid-back provincial lifestyle are a big draw for foreign students, who mostly come from big industrial cities.

The schools boast high quality education, with small student-teacher ratios that allow for more focused instruction.   Continued...

A Cebu Pacific International Language school staff gives lecture on snorkelling to students during a beach outing in Cebu city in central Philippines July 7, 2012. REUTERS/Erik De Castro