Myanmar – On 14-25 August 2023, Chapman International College (CIC) held a two-week intensive English language class in their center in Insein Township, Yangon. Twenty-three students from different areas of Myanmar participated in the “Speaking English” class. This class aims to help the students have a transformative experience as part of their preparation for their ministry.

The students were very excited and were all seeking to learn and improve their English through this class. Charity Shonamon – a missionary to Southeast Asia Field, taught this two-week intensive class. During the class, she has a simple rule guiding all the students, “Everyone must speak English every day.” For others, this is an easy rule, but for some, it took a lot of courage to overcome the apprehension and feeling of embarrassment that is often the case when learning a new language.

The week was filled with activities that grew their confidence, like conversations, sharing of stories, and games. Outside the classroom, learning to speak English became a bridge to building relationships and gaining real-life conversation experience. As they share a meal or do their chores, as they travel to the center, or sit together, the students connect in ways that transcend words. English suddenly is not only a language to learn but also a key to unlocking doors.

One of the highlights of the two-week class was the “Restaurant Day” activity. The students worked together to do a mock restaurant. All the students were engaged in various roles, from serving, cooking, and ordering food as customers.  English flowed effortlessly as they talked about their families, daily life, and preferences. This activity was a breakthrough from fears and inhibitions about speaking a foreign language.

This two-week English class has provided the students with additional tools as they prepare for their ministerial studies. Although they use their language to reach their communities, this class has connected them to the global community.  Most importantly, this class taught the students that language is useful for building bridges, empowering people to share their beliefs, and connecting to people’s hearts. 

By Charity Shonamon