Glasgow School of English has a wide range of students from all over the world. I recently met four of them – Omar Alqurnas from Saudi Arabia, Victoria Orlova from Russia and Corrado Fossati and Antonio Marrocco from north and south Italy respectively. Here were four bright, enthusiastic young people from very different parts of the world, all chatting away, sharing their experiences of their time at our School and showing just how easy it is for people from different cultures and backgrounds to get on with each other. If only the world’s politicians could learn from them! They all agreed that one of the best things about studying English abroad is that you meet such a wide variety of new people and learn about their countries, cultures and lives, and, of course, get to know about another new country – Scotland.
None of the four had been to Scotland before, but they had all been to England and some had studied at other schools of English there. I asked what was different about Glasgow School of English and the general view was that everything here is better organised. There also seems to be more care about the lessons in Glasgow School and there is a far greater emphasis on the quality of the teaching. Also, unlike some other schools, students with different levels of skill are not all put into one class. Instead, the test that all students have to sit before beginning their studies here ensures that each class has students who are all at the same level. For example, if, like Antonio, you are studying for IELTS level 7, you’ll be placed into a class alongside other people studying at this level.
We talked about the things they most like in Scotland. Corrado said that, for him, it’s the people. “They are really friendly,” he said, “and the Scots and the British generally are very welcoming and virtually everyone is honest, decent and well-behaved.”
Victoria agreed, saying she also thought the countryside and the landscape is amazing, especially around Loch Lomond. She had been there on a trip with the School and was really taken by how beautiful the loch and surrounding mountains are. The architecture here also impressed her and she really loved how clean the streets are in Glasgow.
Antonio said that one thing he would always remember is Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. “It is fabulous,” he said, “especially the famous Salvador Dali painting of Christ of St John of the Cross.” One other thing that he has come to love in Scotland is … fish and chips!
Omar said that for him it’s his friends. “When I studied in London and Manchester, it was hard to make friends, yet here everyone is so friendly and I have a lot of Glaswegian friends. They even got me wearing a kilt and when I posted the picture on Facebook all my friends in Saudi said – what are you doing wearing a skirt?”
All four are graduates and all speak very good English. They all want to study further at university and intend to develop their careers into new directions, Omar and Victoria in languages/linguistics and Antonio and Corrado in finance. I’d say they all have a very good chance of succeeding in whatever jobs they go into in the future and if Glasgow School of English has helped them then we’ll be very happy to have done so.