Two weeks in London.
. ...or how to live fifteen days "in English"

Text by Amaya Indave Navarlaz

ganadora beca EOIP · CAN 2005-2006











"Let´s play a game! –The teacher says smiling once all the students are sat down-. Form groups of three people, quickly! Claire, could you sit down with Irina and Suzanne, please? Come-on. That's right. Then, I´ll give you these pieces of paper with passive voice sentences… Everyone has a piece of paper? Uh-huh…. Each group has to find out and tell me how many mistakes are there. The group with more correct answers will win. OK, guys? So… let´s start! It´s your go, Anna, Jonathan and Vinitha! What is wrong in the sentence number 1?"

One of my English classes in London could have started this way. Thanks to the scholarship got in the School of Languages of Pamplona, I could travel to London for the two last weeks of August. From all the available courses in the Central School of English, I chose a two weeks course, with 15 lessons per week. This school, placed in the London city centre, is divided into two separated buildings. All my lessons, whether the accuracy classes –which were in the morning-, whether the fluency classes –that I had in the afternoon-, took place in Old Gloucester Street, not so far from the British Museum.

The first Monday I went to the school, I was obliged to take a fifty questions exam and a brief oral test so that they could know which English level I had. After finishing the two tests, I was told to go to a class in the 6th level with other nine students from several countries: France, Poland, Russia, Germany, Italia and even Myanmar. From the first moment, I felt comfortable in that group since there was a very friendly atmosphere. Moreover, my teacher, called Ida, was a patient, likeable and thoughtful New Yorker who is now living and working in Europe.

The school facilities were modern and practical as well. For example, all the students could use the coffee bar and the computer room with free internet access if necessary.

Apart from the classes time, the Central School of English offered a number of cultural and recreational activities organised to fill the leisure time of the pupils, such as visits to some famous museums or the "London Eye" (which is the highest big wheel in the world and an attractive touristic point), walks around London to know the city and its lively atmosphere, parties in clubs, and day trips to Oxford, Brighton, Stratford-upon-Avon, etc. Among all the activities provided in that "social programme", I decided to do the trip to Stonehenge and Bath, because I was very interested in those ancient and mysterious stones and the legacy left by the Romans in Britannia, respectively.

The main part of my classmates stayed in the same residence as me –Inter- national Students House-. This residence was also very well situated, if we take into account the long distances of London: in fact, Oxford Circus –the most important shopping area in the British capital city- was in eight minutes walk from there and the school in 20 minutes.

Apart from chatting with my classmates in the school, the fact of meeting them also in the residence made me have more opportunities to speak in English during my stay in London. In other words, I could practise English not only in my classroom, but also in the residence and in the streets. As a result, during the two weeks I spent in London I familiarised myself with the oral English, I improved the grammar skills I got last year, I visited amazing places and I made lots of friends. I don´t regret going to London to study English at all!


. Report from Torquay

Text by Ana Belén Novoa Iribarren

ganadora beca EOIP · CAN 2005-2006











I went to Torquay last August. I flew from Bilbao to Heathrow Airport (London). Date of departure: 12th of August 2006 (Saturday). Date of arrival: 2nd of September 2006 (Saturday). After the plane, I took a coach from London to Torquay. The journey took me four hours and half.
I stayed with an English host-family and attended to an English course in the mornings for three weeks.

Mr and Ms Gale were very kind to me. I spoke too much English with them. They were very talkative and spent a lot of time talking about many interesting things. They made me feel really well, so it was not difficult for me to talk to them. I was not afraid of making mistakes in English, which is very common between foreign students.
If you feel embarrassed, then you do not say anything; and if you do not say anything, you do not improve; and as a result, you are not very happy with yourself. Fortunately, they have lost of experience with students and they know what to do to make you trust them.

Torquay International House is situated in Torquay, on the English Riviera, in the county of Devon, South-West England.
The Senior Centre is at Castle Rd. and is only three minutes' walk away from the centre of town.
It was a very useful and practical course. The thing I liked most was that there were lots of students from many different countries, such as: Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan, Libya… and we all had the same aim: improving our skills and acknowledgment of English.

We read articles from newspapers and magazines. It is a good idea, because the vocabulary is not easy at all, and of course, is much richer. You get much more fluency when you have to give an explanation or a reason for something. We used to listen radio programmes, for example, a good listening exercise is "the weather".
Apart from this, participants could follow a programme of excursions, cultural visits and two evening activities per week. One full day excursion was included at the weekend.
Being there I could realise how difficult is learning English, not just for Spanish people, -we always believe that we are the worst at learning other languages-, even for Japanese, Korean, Arabic students… it is a very hard work.
In fact, it should be much more difficult for them, because their mother tongues are completely different from English. However, they encourage us to study harder, on one hand due to the fact that English is very useful.

On the other hand, if you go abroad you can communicate with everybody, because people can understand you in English in almost all around the world.
From my point of view, when you are there, you improve your level of English without any effort and you feel very confident and proud of yourself.
In my opinion, everybody should go to a foreign country at least, once in his/her life. You change your point of view and open your mind. Besides, you become more tolerant and respectable with other’s opinion people.
For all these reasons, I would like to recommend everybody to do it. The experience has been amazing, unforgettable and very enjoyable. A very different way to spend your holidays.

South Devon is one of the most beautiful areas of Great Britain, with a breathtaking coastline, extensive clean beaches and lovely countryside.

Torquay is an attractive town, clean and safe, ideal for tourism all year round, catering for all popular sports.