Exploring British culture in Brighton for three months
Chisato Igarashi, from Japan, studied English at Kings Brighton for just over 3 months.
Hi Chisato! What made you choose Kings Brighton?
I went to an agent in Japan. First I chose the country, so I chose the UK, because in my impression, America is not as safe. I wanted to study British English, because I think that Americans speak very quickly. They don’t wait when I can’t speak English, and British people are more patient.
I was thinking about Canada, America and the UK, but Canada is too cold in Winter! After that I thought about London or Brighton, and I chose Brighton because the agent told me Brighton people are more calm and friendly. I think if I want to study hard, the Brighton is better because London has a lot of amusements and entertainments.
I chose Kings Brighton because there were lots of activities, and it’s a new building so it’s very clean.
What was your first impression of Brighton?
There was lot of shops! I like English tea, and Brighton has a lot of cafes, so for me it’s a very good place.
What were your classes like?
My class is very good. I started in Level 3, and now I’m Level 5. Each level is a very different atmosphere. In 3 months I moved up two levels. I prefer Level 5 class, because in Level 3 many people didn’t do their best and were using their phones a lot and arriving late.
But you worked hard and you moved up the levels?
Yes of course, I studied hard in class, and revising is the most important thing, as well as preparing for the Monday test.
Did you make many friends in the school? Where were they from?
Yes! From Korea, China, Taiwan, Mexico, Switzerland, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Portuguese – I don’t remember them all! It’s really good environment for me to help improve, because I always have to speak English.
What kind of things did you do with your friends?
After school, we always go to a café and talk. Or we go shopping, and at weekends we go for picnics or travel in the UK. We went to Oxford, London and Windsor.
Did you take part in any activities or enrichment?
I joined the trips to the Seven Sisters and some cinema trips. I liked it because I could make new friends on the walks. Afnan is my closest friend. She is living in Saudi Arabia, but she is from a different country. My other best friend Ana was from Brazil. She left Brighton maybe one month ago, but I am still in contact with her. Maybe she will come to Japan next year for the Tokyo Olympics.
Where did you live while you were staying here?
I lived with a host family. Actually I changed my host family one month ago, and it is better now.
When you had problems, did you find it was easy to get help from the school?
Yes it was easy, Annika (Accommodation and Welfare Manager) is very good.
What’s your favourite thing about Brighton?
There are a lot of cafes! And the seafront. I think every week I go to the seafront. I sleep there!
Are there any stand-out memories?
Two weeks ago, I went to a picnic in Preston Park because it was my friend's birthday on the Sunday. This was the best memory for me. Many friends came, and we bought food, drinks and snacks. We didn’t spend a lot of money, but just talked and danced and played games, and it was really good.
Do you have any advice for students who are thinking of coming to study in the UK?
People from the UK are very generous and kind and everyone listens to you. I prefer Brighton to London, as London is a very good place, but if you are studying Brighton is better as it’s a small city near the sea and very calm and safe. There are many cafes, pubs and nightclubs, and everybody is cheerful.
When they are here, my advice is that they should ask the teacher many questions. When I came here, for the first 2 or 3 weeks, I didn’t ask anything. But after I started asking, my English improved very fast. If they don’t know something – always ask the teacher! It’s a simple thing, but is very important.