Hello, we are delighted to have Marie Claire Maniscalco from France write a blog about her experience learning English as a second language here in Atlantic Language School. Marie Claire had such a positive impact here in our Galway school, made lots of friends, she even won the Halloween competition for the best make up and she scared a few people:). Read on.
Marie Claire Maniscalco
That is me. On the right with glasses.
My Atlantic experience. Upon my arrival in Ireland I was a little bit apprehensive as this was the first time I went alone, to an unknown country, where the people spoke a language (English), of which I knew very little. I was going to stay with a person whom I did not know. That is many unknowns …at 50 years of age.
First contact with my host family. At the end of 5 seconds while we said hello… It was a great welcoming, warm and beautiful house with a beautiful room and I was comfortable at once with the people of the house. Ouff as we say in France.
Tomorrow is my first day in language school. I needed to be certain of where I was going so as not to take the wrong route. The host family was not next to the school and I chose to walk the first day. The traffic does not drive on the same side of the road and I had to cross some busy roads so this was my first challenge in my new adventure.
(Host families are based in the suburbs of the city and many buses pass their doors to bring students into the city).
When I arrived at the school on my first morning, "Good Morning" is the only English vocabulary that I know so this is all I can say. It is a good start.
The first hour in the morning, I go into a classroom with one teacher who asks me two questions to assess what my level of English is. I spluttered is all I can say.
What happens then? I wait for my name which appears on the screen to go to find the class which is given to you. And hup! It is two months of happiness in Galway.
Integration in the class with my teacher Katy. She is young, dynamic, smiling and great! It was a small group of pupils of any age. My understanding is not very good, and the English words have difficulty in coming. I think it is normal on the first day.
At 10am we take a pause for some coffee and our teacher Katy takes us on a tour of the school in English. I did not understand a lot but I was only in the school one hour. This was my first week learning English and it was English in the morning, noon and night. This would last two months!
In the afternoon of my first day I took a walk in sunny Galway. I needed to give my brain some air after the English lessons. I took a lot of photos because everything was new with lots of colour and animation. I loved it and I felt very good and free. I got lost a little in Galway as I really wanted to see the sea. I did not go the right way at all:)
In school it was surprising to meet people from all over the world. So the first questions they asked were "where are you from?". Everyone has a different accent. At first, I did not understand this simple question at the start of my adventure and when I told them where I am from some of them knew. I`m French and I live near Paris.
Paris it is a magic word when you pronounce it. Wow!! The stars that you see in eyes, The Eiffel Tower, Elysee fields, Montmartre. If they only knew that Paris is lot less welcoming and warm than Galway!
My second week in Atlantic Language school went better. I say to myself that I have adapted successfully even though the words are not coming as easily as I would like.
My third week in school and it is getting better and better. The teachers have playful and interactive courses in class. Each student makes the effort to go towards the others and to show itself on his best day and that becomes natural.
The organization of the school is really good. Several angels of the office like Elaine and Elena are at our service. If we have the slightest question, the slightest problem, they find the solution and/or the advice to save you.
Every teacher has their teaching method, his and her personality. We really feel that each teacher likes teaching us the English language and knows how to communicate their enthusiasm.
Yet, I think that it is not easy for everyone to understand. They let nobody get lost, be in despair and they always encourage us so that we arrive at understanding so that we feel valued and even the most timid are able to express themselves.
What a talent! And what passion to teach the English language to foreigners.
After the course in the afternoon Atlantic Language has a number of free classes to help you progress which are a super idea. I can also meet other students who have different levels of English. The relations weave in the course of days, the affinities are born, I felt good.
According to your humor and/or your difficulties, the school has every day of the week different interactive classes: a movie with subtitles, vocabulary class, Irish culture, Irish dance, singing, theater, pronunciation, games, tea & chat and a library.
There is something for all the tastes and you have the choice to go or not.
My Atlantic Language School
For me Atlantic Language School is a symphony of dynamism, heat, humanity, enjoyment, discovery, smile and so much of the positive. Atlantic school opens the spirit, the heart and the soul, if you are curious and ready to discover, to receive, to give, to welcome …
A little Poem
Atlantic School it is as the sea, you feel carried,
It is as the wind, you feel light,
It is as a cocoon, you feel popular,
It is as love of yours, you feel considered,
After some time has passed in this place, when you leave it you take with you all the human wealth, smiles, memories, a small piece of Ireland which is embedded in you, and you have only a desire…
It is to return there!
"Get out of your zone of comfort and see what awaits you".