This week we met with Marta Azevedo, a professional from Portugal currently at OISE London and asked her about her experiences of the Quatorial course, living with a host family in London and the service she received before, during and after the course.
Before I came to London I did a lot of online research into different language schools. I was particularly looking for “intensive english courses” and the OISE website strongly represented that. I was able to find everything I was looking for to make an initial selection. I liked the way the courses were described and I felt I could recognise myself in the professional profile. I have also sent the link to several friends in Portugal who are looking for a language course and they have found it equally helpful and engaging.
How did OISE cater to your needs before, during and after the course? What kind of customer service did you receive?
I received such great customer service all the time with OISE. In fact, it was mainly because the sales office manager contacted me personally by phone and took so much time to find out exactly what I was looking for. What he kept emphasising and what helped me a lot, were his questions about my goals. It was all about what my goals are and what OISE can offer to help me achieve them. He also prepared everything for me, took the time and with so much attention to detail. That is very important for me as I have some special needs as I am in a wheelchair.
This trip was a real test for me if I can go to a foreign country alone and get by. But everything was organised and planned so well and everyone at the school and in England has been so open minded and helpful I had no problems at all. I really love it here. That is also why I decided to stay 1 month and a half, and OISE has also made that extension possible.
You stayed in a host family for two weeks. What was that like?
My first thought was to go into a hotel as there are often good facilities for wheelchair access. But the sales manager assured me that he could find a suitable family and actually that is much more what I wanted. In the end the lady I stayed with was great. She has a son in a wheelchair so all the facilities were there. It was perfect. The lady owns two houses and has lots of foreign students from all over the world and everyone comes together for dinner. This was really interesting and I made many friends. This weekend I am going to visit Oxford with two of them. We want to see the colleges and go shopping!
My host family is about 1 hour from the school and very easy to get to. The access in London and in England is very good for a wheelchair. The school even bought a ramp especially for me so that I can be autonomous.
What were the main things you learned through the course?
I feel so much more confident speaking English and my understanding has improved hugely. This is because during the lesson we are encouraged to speak a lot. We have discussions in pairs or with the teacher and because it is a small group no one is scared to speak. I saw some schools have 16 or more in a class! That is too much for me. We were three in the first week and four in the second week and it helped me to learn very fast. For me it was the best way of learning. We also read a lot, mainly around current affairs in the newspapers which was very interesting. The teachers are great at picking up any small mistakes and helped me to learn the correct form.
So, what's next for you?
At the end of December I will go back to Lisbon and in the new year I will start looking for work. I feel very confident now as I have a good level of English. In some interviews they ask questions in English so I feel I can manage that very well now. I will continue my career path in Human Resources which is my passion, maybe even in England one day...