To the editor;
Language instruction in B.C, or English as a Second Language (ESL) schools for international students, is directly responsible for one billion dollars in economic activity every year.
It is the province’s fourth largest export industry and employs 24,000 British Columbians.
Add in the economic activity that international students generate when they eat in B.C. restaurants, travel all over the province, and the “Home Stay” income received by thousands of B.C. families, and that figure balloons to more than three billion dollars in economic activity for B.C.
For thousands of homestay parents, the homestay income helps to pay mortgages and put food on the table, and the relationships that grow from homestays make our world a little smaller.
Thousands of students who visit B.C. to learn English and then go back to their home countries are walking, talking advertisements that entice others to visit our province – effectively mini ambassadors we send all over the world!
It is important that all of us in B.C., from the provincial government and all of us as citizens, support the “International ESL Tourism” industry as it benefits our economy and encourages bright young people from all over the world to consider coming to B.C. to lend a hand. A resource we will come to cherish as our baby boomers retire!
Jonathan Kolber, Executive Director,
International Language Academy of Canada