Last summer, I spent one month in Germany completing my Teaching English as a Second Language certificate through Kent State. During my practicum, I taught English to ninth grade German students and was very surprised at how fluent they already were at such a young age. The only foreign language that I learned in elementary school was Spanish and I was far from fluent.

A restaurant lists its specials in both Czech and English. It is astounding the number of languages many menus in Prague contain to accommodate tourists. (Photo by Mary Betz)

A restaurant lists its specials using both Czech and English. It is astounding the number of languages many menus in Prague contain to accommodate tourists. (Photo by Mary Betz)

I have had few problems using English in Prague during my visit. I began to wonder if English education in the Czech Republic was just as important as it was in Germany.

Bibiana Hakosova, our helpful guide from AAU for the past two weeks, gave me some insight into her experience with English education. Bibiana, who was originally from Slovakia, said that she began to learn English in elementary school. After the fall of communism, foreign language education became the most important part of her education. While she was learning English and French in school, Bibiana’s parents also arranged private English tutoring sessions.

Today, knowledge of English is a basic requirement of many jobs in Prague, regardless of the area of work.

I appreciate the opportunity that Czech students have to learn language at a young age, whether it is English or any other foreign language. From my own experience learning Japanese and Chinese, I am not only able to use the language, but I am also able to experience and understand these cultures in a unique way.

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