All posts by sanaz2014

Ten Reasons You Need to Learn English Now

Ten Reasons You Need to Learn English Now
by Sanaz Raeisi
AsianMaleProfessionalI have been living here in the Philippines for the last four years, and I must say that my English has improved dramatically.  I have better speaking skills, and my confidence is stronger than ever when it comes to talking to all kinds of people, especially Filipinos who speak very well and native English speakers.
For some odd reason though, many Filipinos, despite living in a country where English is the national language, they have not improved much.  Maybe it’s because they don’t see the importance of learning English.  For those who are still not sure if English is important, here are 10 reasons why you should really learn English now:
  1. POPULARITY.  English  is the most popular language in the  world.  About 400 million people speak English and 500 million people use English as a second language .  The total estimated is  one billion people worldwide will understand this language.  When you learn English, you have access to all these people.
  2. COMPUTER.  Approximately 80% of computer information  can be processed in English.  When it comes to learning computer skills and using the computer in general, it becomes easier when you know English very well.  In this age of information, you always access the computer.  You must as well get comfortable by knowing English.
  3. PRINT MEDIA.  English is the official language of exchanged media and press. About half of the worldwide papers are published in English. Only  in India, three thousand magazines are published in English. So, If you always want to be updated with the latest news and information, English is the language you must know.
  4. TRENDING.  English is the language that most people in the world are learning.  Currently, about a billion people are learning the language.  Two hundred fifty thousand people in China learn English only through television.  Learn English now; you don’t want to get left behind.
  5. TEXT MESSAGES.  Seventy-five percent of the worldwide text messages sent around the world are in English.  Philippines is actually the “texting capital of the world.”   I believe, however, the most Filipinos do not text well in English and use “jejemon” instead.
  6. INTERNET INFORMATION.  More than 80% of websites are written in English.  So if you want to have more information from the web, learn English.  Furthermore, about 70% of emails sent around the world are in English.
  7. BROADCAST MEDIA.  Six of some of the largest information networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, BBC, CBC, CNN)  are broadcasted in English.  You get better, more trusted information.
  8. EASY TO SPEAK.  There are more than 600 thousand words in English, but it is estimated that by learning only 1,500 to 2,000 words , you can already converse internationally.  Of course, you want to speak well, so you should really be learning more.   The point is, you actually don’t need that much English to start conversing.
  9. TRAVEL.  Travel is easier, more comfortable, and more fun if you know English!  You can travel to 45 English speaking countries without a guide or translator.  Most people in the Philippines are English speakers.  In fact, some of the best English schools like the American Institute for English Proficiency is located right here in the Philippines.
  10. WORK.  Learning English can be an advantage  to migrate or  to find work in even non-English-speaking countries .  Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US are all looking for migrant workers.
With all these reasons, why aren’t you learning or trying to improve your English yet?  Learning any language will open your vision towards life and you will have a more mature character and even you will strengthen your mind.  You will become more dynamic and your personality becomes better and brighter.  Start today.  It’s never too late.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sanaz is a former student, now a marketing specialist, at the American Institute for English Proficiency.

Philippine University Professors Give the Philippines a Bad Image

Philippine University Professors Give the Philippines a Bad Image
by Sanaz Raeisi

Photo Source: Parstimes
Photo Source: Parstime Website

First and foremost, let me say that just like in any country or university, not all professors are bad.  I am friends with some university professors here in the Philippines, and they are some of the best professors in the world.  This story is about the professors behaving badly.

There are so many reasons why many young students leave their country to study in another country.  Some study abroad because of the quality of education, others for adventure, while  others travel to learn new culture, new language,  and to experience a new lifestyle.

In my country, Iran, it is very difficult to get admitted to the top 10 public universities.  And in order to get to private universities, you have to pay a lot.  As a result, many Iranian students decide to leave their country to spend the same amount of money in other countries where they don’t have to score very high in entrance examinations.

The Philippines is one of the target countries for dentistry and medical majors from Iran.  The cost of education here is much cheaper compared  other countries like Japan, Singapore, or Hong Kong.  In fact, there are almost 3000 students who study dentistry in Manila.  In addition, the quality of education in medicine here in the Philippines is one of the best since Filipino nurses and doctors are respected all over the world.

For the most part, I have observed that many foreigners enjoy studying in the Philippines, as the country offers much more than education.  The Philippines is full of life and energy with beautiful beaches, friendly locals, and a great traditional culture.  However, having lived here for over four years now (my husband is half Iranian half Filipino who studied for his bachelor’s and master’s degree here), I have also met many new Iranian friends who told me horror stories:

  1. NAME CALLING.  Generally, Iranian girls like to look their best all the time or as they say in the Philippines, “kikay.”  They dye their hair, polish their nails, and always make sure they have nice make up.  It’s part of our culture to look beautiful everywhere we go.  Recently, one of the university teachers insulted my friend by calling her “a prostitute ” because her hair was dyed as blond.  To add insult to injury, the teacher argued with Sara during an exam, and Sara was unable to concentrate and finish it.  As a result, Sara failed her exam because she could not answer all the exam questions on time.Professors should not be insulting and berating their students.  Who cares if a student’s nail polish is bright pink or yellow.  That is their own individuality, and they should be allowed to express themselves as long as they are not hurting others.  Furthermore, no teacher should ever call their students names.  That demoralizes the student from learning and achieving their goals.
  2. ASKING FOR RIDICULOUS FAVORS.  In another case, another the professor texted my friend Baran that she had to treat her for kebab if she wanted to get a good grade in one of her exams.  This is very unprofessional and unbecoming of a professor.  That is very unethical.  That incident is very symbolic for me because I know that many of my Filipinos friends continue to complain about the corruption here in the Philippines.  I can’t believe that there is also a certain kind of corruption in the university where in order to get a good grade, we should be paying our teachers, and in this case, treating them for food.I have another friend, Pouya, who had a similar incident when he had his thesis defense.  A few hours before his defense, he received a text from his group leader that he had to order pizza from Yellow Cab for all of the professors and also to give Parker Bold Pen as a gift!  Wow!  They even requested for a specific restaurant and specific brand of a gift.  That is amazing.
  3. MORE FAVORS.  Iranians have to bring pasalubong from Iran if they want to have a good impression on their teachers.  In one case, one of my friends even had to give a gold necklace in order to let the student take the exam again because he wasn’t able to take the exam on time because of his illness.  Yeah, my friend sounds like he was bribing the teacher, but I assure you, he really was sick.  I was there.

These are just a few example of the horror stories I have heard from my friends regarding how Filipino professors treat them at their school.  To protect their identity, I changed their names and will not disclose the name of the universities.  They all study in some of the famous universities in Manila.  I don’t know all the Iranians here in the Philippines, but if my own friends are going through these  ridiculous things, what about the thousands of others?  I’m sure then that there many others who may be going more unfortunate situations.

And what happened to my friends?  Well, they do their best to avoid these kinds of situations.  As long as they can meet the demands of their professors, they are fine.  They would rather not cause any trouble in a country that is unfamiliar to them.  After all, they are just visitors.

I wish those professors would know how difficult it is to for some students to pay for all those high school and travel fees.  I wish they knew how difficult it is to live far from your family.  I love the Philippines, and I have many Filipino friends, and I always tell my family and friends back home how wonderful this country is.  However, my friends may not say the same thing about the Filipinos because of their horrific experiences.  It is unfortunate that a few unprofessional Filipino professors have to give the country a very bad image.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sanaz is former student, now a marketing specialist, at the American Institute for English Proficiency.

Eight Good Habits of Filipinos

Eight Good Habits of Filipinos
by Sanaz Raeisi
Although there are some negative things about Filipinos, they have many good characteristics to be proud of.  I believe that they even have good attitudes that only they have it.  I am married to a half Filipino, half-Iranian man, and I have learned that Filipinos are born with this belief: “I will repay the love and sacrifices of my parents as long as I breathe.”  They always think of repaying the love and sacrifices of their parents after schooling and go even as far as assisting them in sending their siblings to school.  This habit has already taken roots deep down in the Filipino culture which I think is difficult to uproot.  I have also lived here in the Philippines for over four years now, and I have discovered some lovely habits of Filipinos:
  1. Neighbors know each other and talk to each other.  It’s very comforting to know that your neighbors are not strangers who stare at you as you go out of the house and come home from work.  Sometimes, they are there to help each other out.
  2. ImageThe bayanihan (helping each other without payment) spirit is so evident inside the jeepney, where fare is passed from one passenger to the other until it reaches the driver’s hand, where change is passed (by passengers) from the drivers hand until it gets to the passenger who’s supposed to receive it.
  3. Pinoys will not buy new appliances until their old ones are totally beyond repair maximizing the life of electronics and reducing garbage.  That also reduces consumerism and helping mother Earth in the end.
  4. ImageMilitary and rebel ceasefire plus zero crime rate during Manny Pacquiao’s fight.  If only Manny has a boxing match everyday, but that’s too much to ask from him.  We need to produce more Manny’s to have a more peaceful country.  Otherwise, he should fight at least twice a week.  Then again, too much to ask.
  5. Most Filipinos are bilingual (Filipino + English).  Where ever you go, you can talk to a Filipino in English.  Many students come to the Philippines to study English because it is the third largest English speaking country in the world behind the US and Canada.  In fact, my husband came to the Philippines to study, and he speaks Persian, English, and of course, Filipino.
  6. ImageOverseas Filipino Workers continue to work hard and send money to the Philippines, helping keep the economy afloat.  I have heard that the remittances of OFW’s are in the billions.  I also work with Filipinos at The American Institute, and I know that they work hard for their family.
  7. In Baguio, the taxi driver gives you your change completely.  I have been to Baguio on several occasions, and the cab drivers have always been very helpful and honest.  I wished they would train the Manila drivers better.
  8. ImageFilipinos are very polite people , specially with the customers. They always smile at you and do their best to help you what you need in the store.  Sometimes, they get a little too friendly when they follow you around, but that’s because they really do want to help you.

Although I may not want to live in the Philippines forever since I am a foreigner, and I feel like I don’t belong here sometimes, I really do love the Philippines and the Filipinos.  I am married to one.  I am leaving the Philippines very soon, and I definitely would like to come back to visit this great country once in awhile.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sanaz Raeisi is a former student, currently a marketing specialist, of the American Institute for English Proficiency (Makati and Quezon City).

Photo Source: Google Images