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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 university 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 Philippines, to come back in France, and to pay school (here) than to stay in France," Samzun said.
Fresh from a backpacking trip to Indonesia, she kicked-started her courses in June at the Cebu Pacific International Language School on the sunny island of Cebu in the central Philippines.
"I really wanted to see Asia, to travel. So I can travel and study by the same time. It's a good thing," the 22-year-old Toulouse native said.
There are around 500 schools offering language proficiency programs around the country, and one-fifth are concentrated in Cebu.
The island's proximity to white sand beaches and a laid back lifestyle are big draws for foreign students, who mostly come from big industrial cities.
The schools said their small student-teacher ratios allow for more focused instruction.
In four months of English proficiency courses, Chinese nurse Flora Wang said she has progressed from near-zero comprehension to carrying a conversation with ease.
"Actually really getting better. When I came here, I can't speak and understand anything. But, four months. During the four months, I improved a lot," said the 25-year old Beijing native who plans to move to the U.S. to study health care.
CPILS accommodates around 450 students per course period, from South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, and European countries like France and Russia.
The student population has ballooned from 60 students when the school opened 11 years ago.
Park Yoon Jae, a university student from Seoul, wants to land a job back home in a multi-national company, where speaking English is a primary requirement.
"Especially these days, (in) Korea, we have to speak English very well. Because almost all company want to, very high levels English skills," Park said.
The intensive English course work in CPILS runs an average of four months, in which students can take up to seven hours of lessons each day. A one-month course can cost around $1,000 USD a month, including accommodation and food.
In Cebu, the beach is just a half-hour ride from the city, and schools arrange island-hopping trips or diving lessons on weekends.
The Philippines aims to hit 4.5 million international tourist arrivals this year, a fraction compared to neighbouringThailand or Malaysia.
But English learning-tourism is unique to the Philippines, and Tourism Department Assistant Secretary Benito Bengzon said the sector can grow by 10 to 15 percent among Asians, and up to 25 percent among Europeans.
"The message here, apart from the tourism component is that it shows to the world our proficiency in English, our competitive advantage, and of course you can already mix it with the fun and enjoyable and memorable part of it," Bengzon said.
Last June, dozens of students finished their course at CPILS and earned their certificates. Some will start looking for jobs, while others will continue their studies, equipped with better English and bringing home memories of sunkissed holidays.
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