COLLEGEVILLE -- Eight monks from various countries are spending the summer at Saint John's Abbey learning to speak English.

This is the first year of the Summer English as a Second Language program held at the Abbey.

Program Director Brother Paul Richards says the program came off the idea of the schools School of Theology program.

Monks in the program are engaged in daily English classes, and have an assigned monk from Saint John's as a daily conversation partner.

He says while the language barrier can be a problem, it's also a valuable learning tool.

Countries represented are Austria, Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

The program began on June 6 and will run until August 2nd.