real source of mental stress. It will stay with you from the university entrance exam all the way up to a job interview. You have heard the advice. You have tried the private lessons, the language academies, everything else. But the truth is, you have never actively become part of the English speaking experience.
"I"ve been to a couple of academies myself in hopes of improving my English, and they can be very helpful," says Young, the owner of a Sinchon
English Cafe, The Honest. "The problem is they tend to allow students to be passive during lessons. Most of the time it is the teacher who speaks during class."
Young"s idea was to create a study group environment where people can come together to study freely and speak English. The Honest organizes group study meetings through the website http://cafe.daum.net/thehonest for all who wish to participate. Young believes that English, like any other language, is best learned through interaction with other people. His cafe provides just that opportunity.
About 30 study groups of various levels of English speaking abilities were first created on the cafe"s website. This way the group members were
able to attain a sense of attachment and responsibility. Any newcomer can join in a group, and all the study groups come to study at the cafe at no additional fee other than the cost of the drinks.
It is easy to point to the positives. "Our cafe is special in that we have so many different study groups coming all at once," says Young. "Thanks
to them, we have accumulated a wide-ranging know-how on English study," he points out. With a master"s degree in technology from Seoul National University and having been a top-notch executive manager at one of the large corporations in Korea, Young has had a few chances to assess his own English speaking skills before he realized the importance of learning the language. That motivated him to start up the cafe.
Though it opened up just six months ago, the business has received strong support from people who have always wanted to, but never really had
the opportunity to study and use English. Young says he is planning to move to a larger cafe if more people are willing to join in. He will also hire
native speakers as part-time teachers for the beginner"s class. It is still a risky business, Young admits. Being a pioneer in a new method of English education is not easy. But his goal is to establish a whole new realm of learning English, one that will allow him to "do something good for
the society as well," he reflects in closing.
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