This film is set in New York City. While the learners in Tales from America describe New York as "big", "unbelievable" and even "lonely" at times, Emmerson uses the words "busy", "vibrant" and "very multi-cultural". The film profiles a handful of learners from diverse backgrounds, including students from Argentina, Austria and South Korea. One of the main messages from the film is that learning English is becoming a necessity in many parts of the world. Interviewees agree that whether you are a translator, a computer engineer or a yoga instructor English is an international language that people "need" in today's job market.