English, nowadays, has put important roles in many countries, like in Indonesia. Even though English in Indonesia is only seen as a foreign language, it still plays its function as an important language. There are several reasons why English is considered as an important language in Indonesia.
First of all, English plays a role as an international language, or usually called Lingua Franca. It is as defined by Harmer (2001:1) that Lingua Franca means a language which adopted widely to build communication between two speakers which have different native languages from each other. It means that English as Lingua Franca can be used to be a bridge to construct communication in which the speakers have different native language. For example, when people go on pilgrimage, they can use English to be their main language to communicate. Then, with English, travelling to other countries can be much easier, so that someone can meet new people without any obstacles in conducting communication. Why does it happen? It is because English is valid in many countries as a Lingua Franca or as an International Language.
Secondly, English is a mostly-used language in internet. It is already well-known that people these days really rely on internet access, and they can not run their life without it. It happens since in the internet people can surf so many things for so many purposes. Furthermore, in the internet many terms, references, information or sources using English can be found there. For example, there are a lot of scientific papers written in English, plenty of information conveyed in English, and many references which is browsed also in English. In other words, learning English can give people more opportunities to access internet more optimally. Therefore, people can learn so much information or even many new things through internet by applying English.
Another reason is that people can expand their opportunities to obtain income with higher prospect when they can use English. It happens because there are many job vacancies, which needs English as the main or additional requirements for better jobs. It means that English indirectly opens and expands new career opportunities for those who can use it. Furthermore, another reason is that English has become one of the most important language for business.For instance, whether someone is a student, an employee or even a business owner, as long as he can use English, he can grow his business to the next level or international level. From the elaboration above, it can be confirmed that career or job path can be openedwider and better because of using English as the foundation.
Besides expanding career or job opportunity, English also can influence education positively because it can expand people’s education. Moreover, people can study all over the world as long as they can use English. For example, someone can continue his study to a university or a school in another country with English as the basic asset for his communication. Hence, people can broaden their education in overseas. Another example, when someone wants to enroll in a university, he has to pass through English test, such as TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC etc. because nowadays many state universities, even in Indonesia, use those kinds of English test as one of the requirements. Besides, many universities, these days, put English test, like TOEFL, not only as one of the requirements to register, but also as one of the requirements to finish the study. From the statements, it can be seen that English is helpful to expand in order to process, and to enrich someone’s education.
The other reason why English plays important role in Indonesia is that English can give people chance to learn multiple cultures. Since English is a global language, people from different nations can understand each other, which means people can learn each other’s cultures with English as their bridge of communication. Additionally, even though many people can not meet people from different nation directly, it is still possible to learn and understand another nation’s culture through movies, books, articles, music, drama etc, and of course by using English as the means of communication.
All in all, it can be summed up that although English is merely a foreign language in Indonesia, it still plays many important roles which actually are sometimes not realized by most of the people in Indonesia. Therefore, learning English is one of theprecious opportunities that everyone can possess in order to get more chance in their life.
Penulis: Dhony Setyawan, Dosen Unpam