Monday, March 05, 2012

Twin - More than a school, an experience of life!

London is an awesome experience that makes you open your mind to the different countries of the world each day. You meet people from everywhere in this world and think that it is amazing! On every street in London there are new places to discover, new people, new habits, new cultures and languages. You can see up close some castles and palaces that you only saw in school’s books before. Studying English in London means going beyond just taking one pen, a notebook and sitting in some classroom.

I speak especially of the experience of studying English with Twin Group. In Twin, you learn much more than just reading, writing, listening and speaking another language. You learn to respect other cultures and ideas, learn that you can multiply your friends, even though they speak a language totally different from yours. You come to know people you would never meet if you did not come to London. You experience unusual situations, good and bad, which you will never forget.

You learn that, if you are not fluent in a language, it is can upset you a lot because often you will want and need to express yourself, defend your point of view but you will be unable to. You'll feel useless for not able to communicate right. And you cry. Cry because others will understand something totally different from what you said or did. You will suffer, but also learn from it. I had a situation like this, where I tried to express myself and I was not well understood because I was in the beginning of the course and I did not have a large vocabulary of English. It was a difficult situation and I felt terrible for days. But it is part of the learning process. You learn that the expression you use in your language is not always the best one to use in English. If you translate it directly, it will not have the same meaning for foreigners.

From the fourth month your mind begins to process English better and you begin to think more and even dream in English. I heard it from other students. I thought I had not advanced enough yet, because I had been here for four months and had not had any "dreams" in English until then. And one day, the dream came. Wow, how happy I was! Learning each new word, each new expression, and gradually realize that you have learned enough to use them in their conversations is very rewarding.

Each excursion after classes with new friends, each trip to the movies, parties, classes out, visits to museums, shops, malls, were attempts to take the opportunity to speak and improve my vocabulary. Every time I learned a new expression, it was like a light shining over in my mind. Eventually you think everything is so simple and ask yourself: "Why did I not know this before? It’s so easy!" The daily contact with the language makes learning much faster compared to the learning of English only in your country. This was especially true as I had not done any course in English before coming to London.

Spending six months in London was like "dip" in the language and customs of different people. Definitely, time passes very fast and you need to enjoy every minute, both in the classroom, as the intervals in tours and festivals. Take every chance to practice more English and make new friends. Sometimes you can’t decide whether to stay at home and study or whether to accept the invitation of new friends to go out and enjoy another party. But you end up doing it all and in the end; looking back and feel you would do it again.

Studying English in Twin Group was very satisfying, after six months I can guarantee that it exceeded my expectations as an exchange student and was not just "an English course abroad," as we all seek. It was beyond that. It was another life experience. Twin is part of my life story and the many other students who passed through it. I say farewell to Twin with sadness in my heart, taking back to Brazil the good memories and a good education in English. Best of all, friends and people I met and will be forever in my memory. I can say that studying in Twin is definitely worth it!

Arlaine Castro - Journalist