3 ways IELTS/TOEFL can improve your experience studying abroad

For most countries where English is the medium of instruction, English proficiency tests like IELTS & TOEFL are mandatory for the admission process. For most Indian students, these two exams are just another task to fulfil to secure their dream of studying abroad. However, treating IELTS and TOEFL as just another exam to crack is a case of short-sightedness on the part of students. Having a degree of proficiency with English (which is what these exams grade) is actually essential for the studying abroad experience.

1. Better interpersonal relationships and language skills

This is probably the most basic yet highly ignored benefit of taking IELTS/TOEFL. There is just so much focus on the academic derivation of the test that who really cares about learning a skill? According to Dr. Harshad Patel, Founder, IELTS Classes, Mumbai, “A majority of students have an attitude that the IELTS/TOEFL is just another exam to clear. Students may know how to speak the language, but when it comes to writing or better application, they fall apart. What they want is just the rules and regulations to crack an exam.” This is what takes a toll on one’s interpersonal skills at the professional level.

Moreover, some students who have travelled abroad for study, have reported that they are unable to cope with the level of English spoken there. Arun Kumar, a graduate from Chicago University, says, “When a professor asks you a question, you can’t take a minute to comprehend and then frame a sentence in your head. They expect a fast reply. Usually, students who can’t make fast English conversations, don’t understand half the discussions happening in class.”

IELTS/TOEFL can also open doors to new opportunities or even better your prospects of settling abroad.

2. Professional Teaching:
Many schools in non-native English speaking countries like Singapore or Thailand employ international or non-local teachers to teach English in their schools. An estimated 300 million Chinese take English classes annually and China has the largest job market for English teachers in the world. Cambodia is also a fast-growing job market where schools routinely hire foreign English teachers. Read Here. While most of these require a TESOL or CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) certification, some schools hire ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers with a simple bachelor’s or a good TOEFL score. Sounds tempting? This is where the long term benefit of the test comes to play. Joa Verghese, a volunteer English language trainer in Colombia, Latin America, who has made English teaching a full-time career, says, “Here we teach English to underprivileged children at the elementary and secondary school level. Having a teaching degree is not important for a volunteer teacher, but being thorough with the language is.”

3. Canadian/New Zealand Residency:
Canada has made visa and residency laws lenient enough that even those who have never been to Canada before can apply for a permanent residency (PR) and settle in the country. One of the primary eligibility criterion for this, is a good IELTS/TOEFL score. Canadian PR portfolios are created by earning points for different sections in the portfolio like age, qualifications, work experience, etc. The higher the TOEFL/IELTS score of the candidate, the more points are added to the language skills section in the immigration portfolio. Professional English language scores make up about 10% of the immigration portfolio. Besides, while applying for jobs through the Canadian job bank you can include your IELTS score in your online resume to attract more employers.

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