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Learn English with online courses and programs

English is one of the most commonly spoken languages throughout the world. Learning English as a second language can help you create connections that lead to exciting personal and professional opportunities.

Why learn English?

English is the primary language in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and many other countries. It is also widely spoken across the globe and the most widely taught foreign language; about a third of the world’s population speaks English.Footnote 1

Because of its widespread use, English can be the language of choice for communication in sectors such as international business, science, hospitality, entertainment, and politics. With the globalization of markets and digital platforms allowing for instant connection across borders, the ability to speak and write in English can be beneficial for professionals in nearly every industry who have to communicate with colleagues, clients, and customers with different backgrounds. 

Whether you are traveling to a new country for the first time or are interested in relocating to an English-speaking locale in search of new educational or employment opportunities, learning English can open doors by facilitating a connection to the people and the culture of that place.

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Online English course curriculum

Are you interested in brushing up on English vocabulary? Or do you want to take a deep dive into the works of some of the most celebrated writers in history with English literature courses? Online English courses can cover a wide range of topics for learners at various skill levels. Some of the topics that may be covered based on skill level include:

  • Beginner English: basic grammar and writing, pronunciation, vocabulary, sentence structure, common phrases, basic reading

  • Intermediate English: intermediate grammar, reading comprehension, writing for effective communication, analyzing literature, conversational skills 

  • Advanced English: advanced grammar and style, advanced literature analysis, academic writing, creative writing, advanced conversational and presentation skills 

You may also be able to take specialized English courses that teach how to use the language for specific contexts, such as English for business. edX offers a variety of learning opportunities that range from individual courses to full bachelor's degree programs and master’s degree programs for learners interested in advancing their knowledge in a variety of subjects. Find the right course for you.

Explore jobs for English speakers

The ability to speak English can enhance the resume of nearly any professional who is conducting business with English-speaking clients. 

For example, when working at a multinational corporation, employees at every level may benefit from proficiency in the language. A CEO may have to communicate strategy and progress to employees and shareholders from different countries across the globe. Marketing professionals may need to develop campaigns in multiple languages to target different segments. Customer service representatives may need to respond to customer inquiries from people who speak different languages. 

But the benefits of being able to communicate in English extend to almost all industries, whether you are in hospitality and tourism, healthcare, politics, or education. And there are certain roles where expertise in a language can be important, including:

  • Translators: convert written documents from one language to another. 

  • Interpreters: convert spoken language to facilitate communication between people. 

  • Linguists: study the structure, history, and development of languages. 

  • Language teachers: teach language in classrooms or provide private tutoring. 

  • Language editors: review documents for accuracy in grammar and syntax.

English careers: where to begin

The level of proficiency in English you will need to achieve can dictate the educational path that will work best for you. Before deciding on how to learn English, it is important to consider your personal and professional goals. For example, a language specialist will need expertise in English, which may require significantly more rigorous coursework than somebody who is simply trying to learn conversational English to communicate with a new colleague. 

Research the language requirements for the career you hope to pursue, which may include reviewing job descriptions. This research can help you identify the level of mastery of English you will need, and will help you decide on the type of English course that best aligns with your professional aspirations.

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