Why Are Serbian and Filipino Tutors So Good at English?

If you take online English lessons with Engoo, you’ve probably met many non-native English tutors who speak great English, especially from the Philippines and Serbia! 

For example, here are some comments from our students:

“I was worried about taking lessons from non-natives at first, but I love my English tutors from the Philippines! They are so friendly and their English is so good!” — a Taiwanese student.

“There are many Serbian tutors, and they’re very smart and have good English pronunciation. I’ve stopped worrying about learning the wrong pronunciation just because they’re not native speakers.” — a Japanese student.

You’re not imagining things! On average, Filipinos and Serbians are actually better at English than people in most other countries. The EF English Proficiency Index measures English fluency worldwide, and Serbia and the Philippines rank 17th and 20th out of 100 countries.

But why are people from these two countries so good at English?

A Part of Daily Life

English is a part of daily life in these two countries. For example, in the Philippines, English is everywhere — it appears on menus, ads, and even gas stations: 

English-language pop culture is also very popular in the Philippines and Serbia. Many of our tutors said that they have been listening to English music or watching English TV shows and movies for as long as they can remember.

In the past twenty years, the internet has made it even easier to encounter English. A Serbian tutor who also works as a public school teacher said that her students follow English-language blogs and YouTube channels. 

So English is not really a foreign language for English tutors from the Philippines and Serbia.

Key to a Better Life

In both the Philippines and Serbia, English fluency means a better future.

University graduates throwing their caps in the air.

In Serbia, over half of the national income comes from exports, which means English is necessary for business. Serbian Tutor Hellen Day said, “I worked at an import-export company, where I talked on the phone, sent emails to our foreign partners, and also translated at meetings. So I learned most of my English after graduating from college!” 

English is also important in the Philippines. The countries’ fastest-growing industries are made possible by English fluency. Call center agents can earn more than some doctors. Many young Filipinos even prefer college majors that can get them jobs abroad. 

So it’s not hard to understand why so many people in Serbia and the Philippines become fluent in English.

Communication at School

Now, what about English education at schools in these two countries? English is taught in many countries around the world. Is there something that makes English education special in Serbia and the Philippines? 

Kids sitting in a classroom in a school.
Public Domain / Unsplash

In the Philippines, many school subjects are taught in English. University entrance exams are also in English.

In addition, many Filipino tutors said that their schools had English-only policies. Students were fined for speaking in languages other than English. One tutor recalls, “The fine was one peso [about two US cents], but if you kept breaking the rule, it added up!”

Our Serbian tutors say that English education in their country focuses less on grammar and more on communication. A tutor who has been teaching in Serbian schools for 10 years said, “by the end of primary school [which lasts eight years], students should be fluent.”

👋 That’s it for now!

We hope this blog post gives you an idea of why our English tutors from Serbia and the Philippines are so good at English. Next time you book a lesson, try asking them about their English learning experiences! 

Here are some questions you can try:

  • I heard that English is a part of your daily life in Serbia/the Philippines. Is this true? Could you give me some examples?
  • I heard that English can lead to better opportunities in your country. Is this true? What would you say are the advantages of speaking English where you live?
  • I heard that English education at schools in your country focuses on communication. Is this true? What was your English education like?