Welcome to the Village

Since 9/11, recruiting the raw material on which the
Dowbrigade’s day job depends has become increasingly difficult. We are
talking about foreigners who come to this country to participate in and
contribute to the finest and most extensive university system on the

These young men and women come, not to take jobs from Americans, but
to acquire training and tools which will make them more competitive in
the job markets back home, and allow them to contribute to the development
and modernization of their local environments. 

For over a hundred years, foreign graduates of our colleges and universities
have acted as ambassadors of the American social, political and cultural
norms which have become the basis of the emerging global culture.  Of
course, there nothing near consensus on this new global culture.  Entire
areas of the world have rejected it and in many more educated elites
participate in it while the masses are still excluded.

But its spread to the far corners of the earth is primarily due to the
convergence of two factors; media, primarily TV and film, and graduates
of American higher education. These individuals literally conform the
ruling class in many countries of the world. They own the biggest companies,
run the biggest law firms, control the armies and central banks. An untold
number of Presidents and Prime Ministers have degrees from American universities.

With the exception of a short list of countries (England, France, Germany)
no one really has a University system that can compare to ours. In many
countries, the wealthy and powerful families would NEVER send their kids
to local colleges. Anyone who is anybody has a degree from an American
or European school. A lot of these kids who ended up in the US have passed
through the Dowbrigade’s classroom over the years.

Well, they aren’t coming anymore, at least not in the numbers they were
a few years ago, and despite the fact that the anemic dollar makes an
American education a bigger bargain than it has been for decades. In
part, it is because the Department of Homeland Security, in taking over
the Immigration and Naturalization Service, has made it much more difficult
to get a student visa, and in part because they are coming to see America
as a hostile,and dangerous place.

Instead, they are going to Canada, to Australia, or to England to study
English, business, engineering, medicine, law, government, and communication.
Increasingly, they are taking English courses over the internet, although
this is nowhere near as efficient as immersion in an English language

It could be argued that the Internet is, or can be, an English-language
environment. One can imagine a regimen integrating canned classes,
live language interactions, English language movies, web-based tasks and readings, podcasts, TV shows and games, 8 or 10 or 16 hours a day,
all delivered over the Internet, which would provide an authentic and
varied English immersion experience, but as of yet no one has put something
like this together.  Another project for a rainy day.

However, it appears that the highly wired South Koreans have come up
with another innovation which is destined to dry up one of our last pools
of human capital.  Isolated, independent English-language villages
are sprouting up like mushrooms after a spring rain.

An article
in today’s Boston Globe
, describes one of them as a
"novel, government-funded language complex on a small island 40 miles
of Seoul. "Welcome
to English Village. Enjoy your stay."

First developed by officials in Kyonggi, a prosperous province of 10
million people south of Seoul, five more English villages are sprouting
up across South Korea, including an $85 million town under construction
32 miles north of Ansan, which will boast a main street with Western-style
storefronts and a small live-in population of native English speakers.

As tougher immigration laws make it increasingly harder for foreign students
to learn English in the United States, immersion villages, according
to specialists, have promise beyond South Korea. The Japanese, for instance,
have visited this English village and may implement the idea.

It all reminds us of other self-contained artificial environments, like
the biosphere or the Village in the Prisoner. And didn’t the Soviet Union
set up scenes like this to train their spies and infiltrators? Lacking
empirical data we can only assume that the model works, and that there
are hundreds of graduates of these institutions, sleeper agents deeply
ensconced in towns and cities across America, waiting for the call which
will never

We find ourselves wondering what life must be like for the native speaker
teachers who populate these fairy lands. Surely some of them will be
bloggers. Stay tuned….

article from the Boston Globe

This entry was posted in ESL Links. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Welcome to the Village

  1. Hans Millard says:

    sehr gut Saite. Was machen Sie mein Freund?
    keep it up !

  2. Um amazing posts, I don’t entirely agree but I am still interested in this.

  3. Pingback: for women small business

  4. Pingback: kids movies

Comments are closed.