The importance of English

English has been an important language dating all the way back to the British Empire, which at one point encompassed a full quarter of the earth’s surface. While that was hundreds of years ago, English’s foothold has only grown stronger. Today, English is a global language spoken all over the world. In fact, one out of every five people on the planet have the ability to understand English. English is also the official language of 67 countries, as well as the official second language of 27 others. It’s also routinely taught in schools everywhere from Western Europe to many parts of Asia.

Whether you’re looking to meet new people, get a job, or succeed in professions ranging from science and tech to business and the media, a command of the English language is a boon. “English is not just a medium of communication; it is more of a life skill. Candidates looking for jobs in sunrise sectors like IT, hospitality, retail and academia are expected to communicate well in English,” explains Financial Express.

If you’re looking for an international career or simply planning to travel a lot, meanwhile, English will come in handy in many of your destinations. But even if you’re planning on sticking close to home, knowledge of English opens the door to other cultures through television, film, music and literature.

English can even help you understand other languages! Because it’s been shaped by cultures ranging from from the Vikings to the French, English developed as a “hybrid” language drawing on elements of Romance, Germanic and Latin languages.

English as a critical post-COVID language

English has long been regarded as the lingua franca of global business with more and more multinational companies instating it as their common corporate language “in an attempt to facilitate communication and performance across geographically diverse functions and business endeavors,” according to Harvard Business Review.

And while you might think the lockdowns and travel bans caused by COVID-19 might have detracted from the value of knowing a second language such as English, the converse is actually true. Not only that, but current events have actually underscored the value of English-speaking employees. “The pandemic has propelled concepts like remote work and online learning, and businesses will soon realize they can tap into a global pool of talent instead of just local ones. With this, English is bound to grow into even more of a global language as the willingness to hire across borders will increase,” adds Financial Express.

But the value of English also transcends the business world. It is also considered the lingua franca of academia, research, medicine, technology and the internet. Simply put: English touches nearly every aspect of life.

The imperative to study in English

Given the many incentives to learn English, it’s not surprising that so many aspiring international students want to study in the US, the UK and Australia -- all of which primarily offer English language coursework. Not only that, but universities all over the world offer English language programs because foundational English language skills lay the groundwork for success across a breadth and depth of fields of study and careers.

If you’re among the many students looking to attend an English language degree program, a solid grasp of English can help you both gain acceptance and succeed once you are there. This is where the English Academic Skills Program at Tufts, also known as the University Preparatory Program (UPP), comes in!

Students learning English

This online English language and college skills preparatory program is designed specifically for pre-university and university students who want to study in English language programs throughout the world. Depending on their unique needs and goals, students can opt for a short-term or extended course of study. The program is structured into eight-week sessions, or ‘blocks’. Participants can choose anywhere between one and six blocks to reach their ideal duration of study.

“The English Academic Skills Program is one of the most innovative and challenging online programs that combines excellent academic skills development with cutting edge online pedagogical approaches that are effective for any learning style,” says UPP Program Director Kevin Paquette.

While topics vary per block/session, UPP’s extensive curriculum covers a broad range of topics, including college preparatory work, academic skills development, development of research, writing, speaking, and presentation skills. Additional topics like the sciences, art, design, literature, and world issues may also be addressed. All of this takes place at a top-quality US university that will further prepare students for life at an English-speaking university.

Students learning English

In addition to improving the academic English while preparing them for the rigors of college life, UPP also provides students with an understanding of American culture and history. Lastly, UPP also helps participants build the confidence they need to embrace their full potential as students at English-speaking universities.

Upon completing the program, graduates receive a transcript, an i-TEP score report, and a comprehensive assessment from UPP’s dedicated staff indicating their understanding of the academic content, classroom competencies, and language skills. “The program has adopted the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) which provides for a transparent assessment of each student’s language ability,” adds Paquette.

With more universities moving to online instruction in response to the pandemic, the options are growing. However, quality remains a factor -- especially for programs which were forced to adapt on the fly. UPP has a proven track record as an educational leader in online instruction.  Furthermore, Tufts is in and of itself a prestigious American university with a top 30 ranking to show for it.

“Tufts has been offering college prep programs for over a decade and has successfully placed graduates in top universities throughout the US, Hong Kong, Australia, and the United Kingdom,” explains Paquette. These include Amherst College, MIT, University California at Berkeley, Emory, University of Michigan, Cornell University, King's College, and many others.

On that note, UPP is on the cutting edge when it comes to online learning -- which can further enhance your prospects as a student and future members of the workforce. The program incorporates the use of VR and virtual platforms which not only help students learn to master these up-and-coming technologies which will be increasingly prevalent in post-COVID education and work settings.

If you’re among the many international students who want to study English, a skills program can make all the difference. The UPP at Tufts University can be a game-changer in terms of both preparing you to gain admission to school and to have the skills and confidence to succeed while you’re there.

Students learning English

Article written in association with Tufts University International Programs and Partnerships.