Issue - April 2009

April 2009


In this issue, Dylan Rudloff researches the importance and benefits of English language; Christina Moore brings us a story of struggle and conquest; New Experiences Away from Home from Miguel Angel Ajhuacho from San Simon University; Nail designs are the new art in the streets of Cochabamba; at the end of this edition is Walter Sanchez with Religious passages in the more...

April 2009

English, More Than Just A Language

Dylan Rudloff explores the importance and benefits of learning English as a second language.

Dylan Rudloff
Projects Abroad Volunteer
Bend , Oregon- United States

According to, with an estimated 1.5 billion people in the World, and another 1 billion currently learning, it is very easy to see why English has become the international language of business. If you do not know English, and wish to pursue a career in engineering, law, medicine, or even science then learning English is the perfect way to “jump start” your career.

“I think that right now if you do not know English you would not be able to survive in a world like this,” says Maria Soledad (a local English teacher in Cochabamba). “I do not think it would be good for people to get by without learning English. It is absolutely important.”

Along with being the language of business, English is also the language through which most international affairs are communicated. Although Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish are the six official languages of the United Nations, English and French are the working languages of the United Nations, and they are the only two used on a day to day basis in their conferences. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO only uses the French and English languages in their discussions and forums.

Even Valerie Pecresse (France’s higher education minister) is jumping on the English bandwagon, proclaiming to the press (British Broadcasting Company) that she had no intention of speaking French when attending European meetings in Brussels, because, she said, it was quite obvious that English was now the easiest mode of communication.

English is not only a language, it is a culture. Many people want to learn the language because they are constantly in contact with it. If you use the internet, the chances are you come across the English language daily. Over one billion websites are written in English, and English publications such as “Time” and “Newsweek” can be found internationally in every country. If you know English, you can tune into the news everywhere; CNN and BBC broadcast in English internationally as well.

The culture of English dominates the entertainment industry of music and movies. “They can translate it (movies) into Spanish but it is not so good. Some things are lost, some meanings, some expressions. I think that it is good to watch it in its real language because I can learn more and I can add more words in my English vocabulary.” Says Max Misericordia, a self proclaimed “linguistic” who studied English abroad in the United States, as well as in England while obtaining his degree in engineering. “Generally, it’s very important (to learn English). I think that English is at an up right now because people that speak another language like Spanish, German, French, or Chinese will see that English is just always intruding,” he went on to say. This is true, seeing as how an approximated 300 million native speakers of English are to be found in every continent of the world.

When asked what some of the benefits of learning English are Omar Sanchez (a local Cochabambino studying English) replied, “There are so many, everywhere you go in the world, you are going to meet somebody who speaks English. There are so many things that make English so nice and wonderful. The benefits are endless.”

It has been said that English is one of the easiest languages to learn and to use due to its simple alphabet, easy words, short words and easy plurals. One of the biggest difficulties about learning English is staying motivated. “I have to push them, I have to push my students, I have to force my students to attend their classes, and they are free. It is really something that they should benefit from, but they do not,” Maria Soledad commented when asked what some of the difficulties of teaching English were.

With free classes, and all these benefits it makes me wonder why students are not attending. When asked to give some advice and motivation to somebody who wants to learn English, Max Misericordia responded with, “Be like Nike, “Just do it”. How do you know if you are good, and how are you going to learn this language if you do not try it. If you start something it is better for you to finish it. Just do it. Because at the end it is going to be you who has all these benefits.”

With all of the benefits the English language has to offer, who would not want to put English on their resume? It is sure to put you at the top of the list in employers’ eyes. With English you could pursue careers in the medical field, business, law, engineering, aviation; any sort of employment would like to have an English speaking employee. Max Misericordia used his English speaking skills to pursue engineering. Maria Soledad became an English teacher twenty-five years ago, and Omar Sanchez uses English just for talking to people from around the world. No matter who you are or why you wish to learn English, you will always find a use for it.

I will leave you with a little bit of advice from Omar Sanchez, “Keep on talking all the time. Everywhere you go, even with yourself. That would be good practice. To watch movies in English, listen to songs in English. To try and be in an English environment. To just be English, and if you can afford it, go to some English speaking countries.”

Working through the darkness

According to figures provided by the Instituto Boliviano de la Ceguera (IBC), in 2001 there were more than twenty five thousand people in Bolivia with visual disability, and recent IBC figures show that barely 0.05% of Bolivians who are blind are currently in employment. This would not come as a surprise to many people, who have low expectations of the blind, commonly reasoning, “They cannot see, so how can they do?” Thirty year-old Andres Papardo, whose sight gradually diminished until he lost his vision completely five years ago, does not agree. For the last three years he has

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