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Discovering a new world with Kings in the UK

10 November, 2015

I think it’s important to have a break from your life, to listen and see different cultures, peoples and religions. Life here is completely different to in Colombia.

Viviana Morales and Ricardo Rojas from Colombia are currently studying with us in Oxford. We caught up with them to find about about their experience in the UK so far, and their reasons for learning English.

Hi Vivi and Ricardo. Nice to meet you!

Is there a specific reason why you came to learn English here in the UK?

Ricardo: I think it’s a mix. It’s a sabbatical where you can change your everyday life, discover a new world and improve your English – we work for a multinational company. 

I think it’s important to have a break from your life, to listen and see different cultures, peoples and religions. Life here is completely different to in Colombia. When we are in Colombia, usually after work we went to the cinema, to dance, we do a lot of travel, but here it’s completely different – we go to the park, we ride bicycles.

Viviana: In my case it’s a little different because I work as an accountant. Ricardo works in investment and me in accounting, and I need to speak English with my colleagues in Germany. Each month we review the accounts, the balance sheets, the results of the company, and we speak in English.

Ricardo: For me, in my work, all information is in English — financial markets etc, all is done in English. But, lots of the time you repeat the same words and phrases. When you got to the cinema, for example, with colleagues from abroad you need different language! You can’t talk about financial matters.

Why did you choose to come to England, rather than America?

Viviana: Oxford is a beautiful city and for us it is quiet. Yesterday a teacher said it is the most expensive city in England now, but it’s safe and our host family is very nice. In the afternoons it’s like another class, when we speak English with them! It’s very close to the school.

Ricardo: Staying with a host family is cheaper than staying in a residence and we need to save money – with this money we can go to different cities in England. We’re going on holiday to the north of England, Ireland and then over to Europe.

We’re going to Liverpool and Anfield (I’m a Liverpool fan!), also next weekend we’re watching Newcastle v Manchester City in the Etihad Stadium. We’ll also go to Old Trafford, then Blackpool and after that to Belfast, to see where Titanic was built.

Viviana: We’ve also been to Cardiff, Scotland, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol and London.

Ricardo: I think Oxford is the best town to study, it’s small but perfect to learn English. The accent is completely different everywhere. We are happy here.

How have you found the classes and teaching here?

Viviana: For me the school is nice, the teachers are professional and the school is very strict – for me, that is good.

Ricardo: Yeah me too. I think when we were looking for schools in Oxford, and other towns in England, there were near to 120 schools, universities, colleges. But, Kings was the best option and I’m happy here.

Viviana: When we started studying at Kings, everyone said it was the best school in Oxford.

How do you find the mix of nationalities here?

Viviana: In my class I am the only one from the American continent!

Ricardo: It’s important that you can change classmates every week, because each Monday it changes.

Do you feel you’ve made good progress?

Viviana: Yes, for me – before I never spoke English really, but now I try. I have lost the fear of speaking – in my country I’m scared to speak it!

Ricardo: Yes, I have. But for me the most important thing is the difference is between American and British English. I learnt American English and when I arrived here it was very difficult for me, especially with listening. The learning curve is nice.

Viviana: For me this dream was impossible because I have worked for Allianz for 17 years and have two children, but thanks to Ricardo I am here. I speak with them every day.

Ricardo: In my opinion, seeing the world and opening your mind is the most important thing. You learn to appreciate more your family, your friends – it’s not easy but it’s the best decision.