Valentina P., 16 years old
Type of holiday: Language holiday
Destination: London (UK)
Population: approx. 8.3 million
Duration: 2 weeks
Valentina, how did you end up going on a language holiday?
Valentina: My uncle recommended an organisation to us with which my cousins have already been on a language holiday. So then I flew on my own. We were split up into groups of about 15 at the language school. You had the option of living at the language school, but I looked for a host family. They were all really nice!
Did you only stay with your host family or did you do things together as well?
Valentina:Yes, we did lots together. I was there over Easter, and they have a tradition there where they make hats and then roll eggs down a hill, which was pretty funny. We were all staying in a suburb of London. I went on a few excursions from there with the language group, for example into the centre of London.
Another time we went to the next town where the language school has another institute, which was more like a university. We had the opportunity to see what life there is like and think about whether we could imagine studying there, so it was a bit like an open day. It would be pretty cool to study in England or America!
How many lessons did you have a day and what was the timetable like?
Valentina: We did a placement test on the first day and were split up into groups depending on ability. We then worked on the areas where we all made the most mistakes. I got a lot out of that. Classes were always from 8 am til 1 pm, then after lunch until either 4 or 6 pm depending on the teacher.
Do you think you learnt more there than at school?
Valentina: I did learn a lot. We had teachers who really encouraged us to use our initiative, for example we sometimes had to lead the classes ourselves. We got more done there than in normal lessons at school, simply because you don’t always get chance to ask questions in the big classes at home. The teachers were all native speakers and lessons were held completely in English.
They really made sure that there were no two people with the same native language in the classes, meaning that there were only three people in some classes. But that meant that you didn’t end up speaking in your own language. I only chatted with the other Germans a bit during lunch. I really liked the balance of learning and joint activities because it makes learning more fun!