English as an international language (EIL) is a newly emerged area of study in the field of applied linguistics. As a program, it equips students with knowledge of the diversity of English as a result of its global spread, and the ability to communicate with diverse users of English from diverse cultural backgrounds. It is also a program that is developed to meet and respond to Monash’s internationalisation of education initiatives.
Handbook entry: English as an international language
Download PDF: English as an international language
What is English as an International Language?
EIL is commonly misunderstood as a program that teaches English as a second language to non-English speaking background students. What it does offer students is a new perspective on the English language in the 21st century, and focuses on the importance of developing intercultural awareness and intercultural communication skills.
Knowledge of the diversity of English, and intercultural communication skills are important because:
- living and working in a multicultural and multilingual environment is not uncommon
- advanced information technology allows people to communicate with those from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds whose English and cultural practices are not necessarily familiar
- the approach to the teaching and learning of English in today’s world has also changed – knowledge in this field and the ability to teach English across cultures are essential.
“I feel that EIL is not just about studying the English language, it’s about seeking this highly valued language used in a global context and that communication is a two-way street of understanding. It’s a great course to do over three years, the lecturers and tutors are so knowledgeable and make the classes enjoyable.”
- Nina Fang, current student
“You begin to see the world from a different perspective. I was able to truly appreciate the complexities of language from all speakers, eliminating prejudice and stereotypes that I had previously held. In addition, the teaching staff are incredibly knowledgeable of the subject, yet human enough to accept a new perspective from a first year student. I am normally quiet in my lectures, but in EIL I always feel welcome to contribute.”
- Tom Reid, current student
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