Martin Munz is an architect who works for the real estate section of a large Swiss company, and he is responsible for a team of 28 people in development and construction. His company wants to expand into the international market, and this is why Martin decided to join us, to improve his English. I met Martin at OISE London halfway through his two-week course in Business English, and after enjoying a hearty lunch with students and teachers in the drawing room, we discussed his course and motivations for learning. Being an architect, he has a keen eye for his surroundings in central London.
Lovely to meet you, Martin! Have you visited London before? How do you think it has changed?
I was here 23 years ago, and there have been many changes. First of all, the city has a lot of new buildings; business is clearly going very well with all this construction, and there are also some great examples of preservation of old buildings. This was not so visible last time I was here, but now I think there are a lot of places that are very special, that make you realise the multicultural style of this city. The food culture and the quality of the restaurants has also improved a lot since I was here last. Because there is so much competition here, also between the restaurants, and a lot of tourists, there are a lot of opportunities here for business. It's a very 'business' city.
We're now almost halfway through your two weeks here. How has it been so far?
One of my wishes was to have several different teachers, and that was the best choice. Getting input from several people, all focusing on different things, has been great, and you realise how much they talk to each other in the background: 'we've done this, we need to work on this...' which helps you progress much faster.
What is your course like?
I do English for Business in Tutorials, which is one-to-one with a tutor. The vocabulary we practise is very much focused on business. I am here to improve my general vocabulary and to work on fluency. This morning, I had a lesson where we discussed different investment possibilities. There were different categories and I expressed my opinion on what I would do in each situation, and what the result might be if I choose this or that option.
What role does English play in your professional life?
I am responsible for the Swiss real estate section, but the Swiss market is limited and we want to grow internationally. To do so, English obviously becomes more important as we are focusing on new development projects in the UK. I need to improve my English to improve my business.
What is a good way for you to learn English?
Connecting different things. Making grammar part of the bigger picture. To discuss things directly with the teacher, learning to express your opinion clearly, how this or that is different in your country, how to make sure you are a good leader. All these things tied in encourage you to connect new vocabulary with grammar and specialised topics. So for me, this involved approach, directly applied, is a good way to learn. In school at home, we just write and copy, so it's a very different kind of lesson.
Get in touch with OISE London to find out more