Life @ Kaplan: Florian, a young learner in Torquay, shares his experience

Florian, a 16 year old young learner from Switzerland, shared with us some of his experiences on a Kaplan Young Learner course in the beautiful and sunny Torquay, England.

Kaplan's young learner courses have been created just for students between 12 and 17 years old, with a unique learning system, a structured activities program and staff that have been specially trained to work with younger students.

Have you learned a lot about different cultures?

I think it’s interesting to meet some people from other countries. For example, I share a homestay with someone who comes from another country, Kuwait. It’s interesting because every day he prays a lot, he also sings the Koran. I think it’s really interesting, we share some things, like my culture. I don’t believe in God but he doesn’t care because it’s my opinion, and he has his opinion, and we are friends, so it’s cool.

Were you nervous when you got here?

Not at all, because it wasn’t the first time, it was the second time I came to England, so I wasn’t nervous at all.

Have you studied here before?

Not in Torquay but in Bournemouth. It was also with Kaplan, I spent 3 weeks and that was great. I prefer this trip because I’m more social, I’ve met people who are interesting, so it's better.

Have you been able to travel while you’re here?

Every Saturday we have excursions – we went to Plymouth and Exeter. It was more for shopping than sightseeing, and I don’t really like sightseeing, so it was ok for me. We got to chill out, go to the beach, I did some shopping.

Young learner students in Torquay, England
David and Florian hanging out at the Torquay pier

What do you think about the lessons at home compared to here?

I would say the things are different because in Switzerland, the teachers speak to you mostly in French, sometimes in English, like “match the answers” and the exercises are not fun. You can’t have fun unless you have a project with a friend, when you have to present something. But here, I think the goal is to have fun and learn, so it is more interesting. I enjoy being here, and I am not stressed with grades or tests.

What are your favorite things about Torquay as a place?

I like Torquay because you can do a lot of things without traveling a lot, and if you want shopping, you can just go to the street and in 5 minutes by walking you can go to the beach, sleep, enjoy the sun. And my homestay is not far from school, it’s 10 minutes walking, a little less. And my host family to the town, it’s 5 minutes more.

What do you think about the food at the homestay?

I am very lucky. You know, I’m not fancy, but one thing I don’t like is eggs. I just say to my host family mother, I don’t eat eggs, and what she cooks is really tasty. We have a lot of different things, healthy food, sometimes less healthy foods but they taste great. I can eat whatever I want for breakfast.

Tell me about the activities you’ve done with the school. What are your favorites?

I like to go to Sliders, the water park. When we practice sports, it’s cool, you have a choice of want you want to do, like volleyball, swimming, football and so on. Most of the time it is interesting, it’s not always the same. Even if I stay 3 weeks, I wouldn’t do  the same activity 4 times and yeah I think they’re great.

I like the activity coordinator Simon a lot because we like the same things, so we are speaking a lot. Justin and Becky are pretty cool, Andrew too, in fact everybody is cool. They can communicate with you if you have a problem, they listen to you, try to solve your problems. If you just want to joke, they are cool.

Do they make you feel comfortable and safe?

Yes, lots. I don’t feel like they are my parents, they are more friends than parents, sometimes they tell me I shouldn’t do that or something, but it’s not disturbing me. I’ve never met someone who was strange. I have to come home at 23:00, and it’s ok.

Were you excited to study English abroad?

It wasn’t my choice to come here, my parents told me 1 week before I aome here, but I took it easy and I have a lot of fun so I’m happy to come here.

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