Mr.Luke Vernazza メッセージ1 （～English as a gateway to new friendships～）
I’m Luke, a maths teacher at Assumption Kokusai. I’m also the sub-homeroom teacher for junior-high school class 3A, an English immersion class that is full of very bright and funny students.
In this message, I want to explain why I believe English is important in the present day. To give you some context of my background, I was born in the capital of the UK: London. As a young adult, I taught maths at a secondary school in London before moving to Rome, Italy. There I worked teaching maths at an international school until I came to Japan.
Growing up having English as my mother tongue was an enormous advantage that I was unaware of as a child. Once I moved to Rome that I understood what a blessing it was to be fluent in English. While in Italy I had plenty of job offers: teaching maths, teaching English, translating, working in multinational companies, etc. all through virtue of my being able to speak English. More than being able to find work though, the greatest advantage was that I was immediately able to form new friendships, even before I had learned Italian.
I made friends with Italians who could speak English, I made friends with others who were learning Italian (from Argentina, Germany, Thailand, etc.) and I made friends with colleagues who were from various countries. I quickly felt at home in a new country because of this community of friends. If I wasn’t fluent in English, this would have been much more difficult to achieve.
Once I arrived in Japan, I took a short course in basic Japanese. There I met other people who were beginning to study Japanese.
These were people from France, Italy, Singapore, China, Switzerland, Australia and Malaysia. We all quickly became friends because we all spoke a common language: English. Again, I was able to quickly find friends and community in a new country. After meeting some Japanese people who were able to speak English, I made new relationships and learned more about Japan through them, even before I was able to speak Japanese.
Often when we talk about education in English, the focus is on future opportunities in business and academics. This is true and certainly a good reason to study the language. Perhaps more importantly though, as English is the main international language, learning English will allow you to find friends and community wherever you go in the world. You will never be alone and you will always find people to learn from and share joy with.
This is one among many reasons why I believe in English immersion education. I feel blessed to speak English and be able to share it with the world.
January 15, 2021 (Fri)