While there are many issues around immigration one of the biggest challenges to people who come into the UK is the language barrier. Much of the animosity towards people seeking refuge or simply to live in the UK for personal reasons stems from the lack of ability to communicate. Many of the people who rail against these types of groups are doing so because they worry, they won’t be able to understand them and that somehow English will become a second language. While these fears are unfounded there is no doubt being able to speak some English would ease many of the tensions and help everyone move towards a more harmonious country.
Migrant or Immigrant
Before even beginning to look at the subject of learning English it is important to define these two very commonly used and misused terms.
Migrant – A migrant is someone who travels to different countries on a non-permanent basis. A migrant is not someone who comes to a country to live. They may do seasonal work or only plan to stay for a short time.
Immigrant – An immigrant is someone who comes to a country to stay and live permanently.
The definition of each of these types of people is very important. For those who only stay for a short while the need to learn English should not be as strong. Afterall, many British students do gap years working in different countries across the world and most of them go with very little language skills. Of course, learning the local language should always be encouraged even on holidays so it is still positive. However, when someone plans to move to a different country learning the language becomes far more important as it is a key part of integration. Sadly many “ex-pat” communities in Europe for example do not seem to make any effort to do this and that is a shame.
While there are council organised lessons available in many areas they involve going into a class and this can be a challenge. Learning English Online can be a far more accessible and viable solution. Companies like https://perfectlyspoken.com/ are offering these free online lessons and have courses that are accessible from mobile phones, lap tops, library computers and tablets and this means almost everyone can try and learn. People can share a single phone and take a video lesson as a group sot he resources needed to start learning are very small.
By having easy access to beginner English lessons people coming into the UK for asylum, work, or any other reason can take control and start learning English at any time of the day or night and begin working to integrate into the country they hope to live in. This is very empowering; people coming to the UK may be scared, they may feel it is easier to stay in groups of people they know and this is natural. Learning a new language and trying it out is frightening but being able to learn privately or with friends and family at home is a critical step to feeling more confident.
Not only is learning English empowering but it can also lead to a number of things. By learning English people can begin to communicate and be part of their local community. But they can also look for work and education to further improve their lives. It is these kinds of steps forward that help integration and help combat the negative feelings from local people and others who harbour negative feelings towards immigrants and refugees.
As the world becomes more populated and the number of people moving between countries increases the negative feelings towards immigrants and migrants is set to increase. But this can be combated by using online learning tools which are essentially very simple. Free access to Language courses in any country can help those entering it to fit in, to communicate with local people and become a positive influx rather than one some people feel strongly against. Of course, there are many other factors at play like housing but language and communication are at the core of integration and online learning is empowering people to take control and combat negative situations and feelings.