Learning English for pride, getting much more

By Hung Dang Tuan   August 21, 2023 | 04:00 pm PT
I started learning English merely out of pride, as I did not want to seem less intelligent than my friends, and the decision has changed my life in a wonderful way.

I was a fresh graduate entering the job market 35 years ago. I married and became a father early, so I did not have a chance to continue my English studies after university like many of my friends did.

As my friends kept showing off their English skills, which I knew nothing about, I decided to make time for the language.

I spent three nights going to an English center studying a Streamline course. I earned a certificate after a year.

Then my company announced that it would be sending people overseas for a training program in English. Candidates needed to pass an English test, and I was the only one with an English certificate in the company, so I was able to take the test.

I passed the test and abroad I went.

The three-month training program basically changed my life. It improved both my English and professional skills, and more it boosted my confidence significantly.

I received a big promotion at work. And I realized, good chances only come to those who make early investments, especially in knowledge.

Many countries have made English lessons compulsory in public schools, as they consider it a second language. That means mastering English is very important these days.

Countries in the region have progressed far ahead of Vietnam in popularizing English.

I experienced this firsthand during a business trip to Malaysia 20 years ago. I got separated from my group in a large building. I met a janitor, and seeing how confused I was, she stopped and gave me detailed instructions to help me find my group, in English.

I hope my story serves as a good answer to the question that many people have been asking: "What do we learn English for?" It can bring immense value, like a job promotion, or it can bring very simple but necessary value, like directions when you're lost.

There are many ways to learn a foreign language. You can register for an official years-long course at a school, you can attend night classes at a center, or you can self-study at home. Anyone who refuses to learn English is blocking themselves from many opportunities.

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