Stefano's recent promotion will see him working between the capitals of Europe, and the need to learn fluent English communication rapidly has brought him to London for a three-week intensive course with OISE. I met with him at the end of a spell of intensely cold weather to hear about his experience.
Great to meet you, Stefano! What was it that attracted you to OISE London?
My company chose OISE but I am very happy they did. I needed to learn English because I used to be very casual with it, but now it’s important that I achieve a good level. I enjoy the different teaching styles at the school, different approaches and accents. This makes you learn faster, and my conversational skills are getting much better.
Could you tell me a bit about your course?
I am doing Tutorial lessons, which is one-to-one with a variety of teachers and we have some lessons in a group where we do exercises, presentations and debate. It’s important to share what you learn and to discuss with your classmates.
Some teachers are more focused on grammar, but they always use examples from real life so it doesn’t get boring. The examples arise from discussion and the grammar points are well-integrated. It’s important to learn from examples and not from lists of words.
What do you discuss with your teachers and peers during lessons?
We talk about everything from my life, my profession, about the weather... that’s all people talk about in England, no? We talk about politics, football, every opportunity to have a discussion. I’m more confident with speaking day by day. This is a result of the approach. I am not anxious or under pressure, and I’m going to Berlin on Monday to meet my new colleagues, which I’m feeling very positive about. My English is not perfect but my pronunciation is so much better, because I’m not nervous.
How has your English changed over the past few weeks ?
I think the most important part of this school is that grammar is part of the learning but not the main part. If you use the language, you can correct the language. The first week, I was very nervous, blocked. The second week, I was joking around with my classmates. I was so much more confident. In the last week, I have been more focused on speaking. In my mind, I wanted to have a clear objective regarding comprehension and speaking and these three weeks have been very different for me. The last week (week 3) has been very important; for my level, repetition is key.
Have you had time to enjoy London as well?
During my stay, I’ve visited some museums in London. I’m passionate about history and World War II in particular, so have visited the Imperial War Museum and the Churchill Museum. Last weekend, my wife and daughter came to visit, so we spent the whole weekend shopping.
How do you think this course will affect your future?
The course has had a significant impact. It will be easier for me to send an email, to prepare a presentation, but the most important change for me will be the conference call. Without the use of body language this has been very difficult, but I feel comfortable doing this now. I will send my son and daughter to this school over summer, it will be a good experience for them. They want to go together but I insist they don't, to get more practice!