Last week in “Where to Improve Your English,” we looked at India! For the last week of our 9-part series, we will take a look at the Philippines as an important destination for where to learn or improve your English!
The Philippines were originally occupied by the Spanish in 1521, but were consistently threatened by outside forces, mostly the Dutch and the English. After a war with Spain in 1762, Britain eventually gained occupation of Manila with no plans to control the rest of the Philippines. By 1763, it became apparent that the city was being treated as a British colony. It became a model of colonial governance in the 19th century. The Philippine Revolution began in 1896 and gained independence from Spain in 1898 (the Spanish-American war), in which they became a US territory. On July 4th, 1946, the country gained full independence from the US.
There are many languages spoken in the Philippines, although English and Filipino are the two national languages. Due to Spanish conquest, Spanish was the national language in the Philippines up to the 19th and 20th centuries. As a result, one dialect of Spanish emerged known as Chavacano, spoken in the Philippines. Filipino is the official language of education and in broadcast and media industries and is the lingua franca for other business purposes. Most Filipinos speak and understand English. The country claims to be the third largest English-speaking country in the world. English is seen more as a form of communication rather than a subject in school, unlike other Asian countries, like China, Japan and South Korea. Because Filipino universities teach all their classes in English, the Philippines attracts students from Iran, Libya, Brazil, Russia, China, South Korea and Japan. These are good alternatives to learning English for internationals rather than the more expensive schools in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. It is therefore attractive for those who want to learn English but are on a budget.
The school year runs anywhere from nine to ten months long, lasting at least 200 days a year. The academic calendar typically begins the first week of June and is divided into four quarters depending on the type of school. The first quarter lasts from June to mid-August, and mid-August to late-October, with a one-week break. The second is November to late-December, with a two-week break. And the third is January to late-March, with an 8 or 9-week break that follows as a transition between school years.
The Philippines has spectacular outdoor views and activities, as well as things to do in major cities like Manila, Puerto Princesa, Vigan, and many more. It has an abundance of southeast Asian history and a diverse culture, attracting many tourists from all over year-round. The Filipinos are known as a welcoming people to foreigners.
Find more study abroad destinations in our article on Countries where English is an Official Language.