[email protected]: Simon, a TOEFL student studying English in London
Simon, a French student studying at London, Leicester Square, is taking an intensive English course and preparing for his TOEFL exam. We spoke to him, in English, about why he's studying English in London, and why he is taking the TOEFL.
Why did you choose to study with Kaplan?
I asked friends who studied with Kaplan, all of them enjoyed the program and they told me it was the best organization in London to study with. I wanted something serious, because I am here only for one month. I know TOEFL is hard and I need serious preparation. And when I see the program here, the intensive class, the TOEFL preparation, I thought it was nice.
Have you seen your English improve?
Even if I have only been here since 2 weeks, I know I improved because I am hearing English on the street, in class, in my accommodation. Also, my teacher is really great and she gave us homework every day and I’m only here for one month so I take my homework seriously, and when you do your homework every day, you see that you improve really quickly.
What do you think are the benefits of studying intensive English at Kaplan, and in London?
We learn while having fun, because when you are here, you are not in an environment like you are at school. You are here to learn, but the people around you and the teacher, they are smiling, joking, and at the same time they are teaching you important things in a nice way, it’s pleasant. Also, to me, my teacher is really great, I have a really good feeling with her, so learning with a good feeling with your teacher is good I think.
First I wanted to go to the United States, but it was more expensive, so I looked at other destinations, and London was the closest to my home. I wanted to learn English in an English-speaking country, because at home, even if you are in front of a computer, with a teacher, you learn and then when you go out you speak with friends in your native language, so you improve but less than when you are here.
What is student life like? Have you made lots of friends?
I met people in Kaplan, people from my class. Everyone here is really open and it’s really no problem to meet people.
How do you think the course has helped your development?
I know since my first test, I really improved, because my teacher told me when she gives back my assignments, she said "you’re getting better, keep on". I hope that I get good grades so I can pass my TOEFL exam.
I meet people in my class, some of them have the same objectives as me. I want to pass the TOEFL because in 1 or 2 years I would like to apply for an American university for a master, and 2 of the people in my class are in the same place. It’s easy to talk to people who have the same vision as you, so for my personal development, I think it’s good.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320" caption="Simon on his last day at Kaplan."][/caption]
What’s your immediate plan?
I have one year to do at my university to finish my bachelor’s degree, so I will take the TOEFL in Paris. Next year I have to be in Paris to finish my bachelor's, hopefully I will be in the USA for September 2015 but it will depend on my grades and my TOEFL score. I know that my results are good for 2 years, so I have to be quick in my application.
What do you study?
Law. Maybe I will study law in the US, I am not sure yet, but I have some ideas. It will depend on my grades in Paris, and my options. I will talk to many people who already did this and decide what is best for me.
What do you think about the teaching methods in the classroom?
I really like my teacher, she uses a pedagogic method. When she sees that she’s doing something boring, she always changes it, she’s always making jokes, she wants class to be fun and she wants us to improve. She gives us homework every day which I think is really important because it’s necessary if you want to approve. The SMART board in class is good, it’s modern, and the technologies are well used by the teachers. What is surprising in Kaplan is that I’ve been here for 2 weeks, and I’ve seen 3 or 4 different teachers in my different classes, and they are all really professional and really good and really attentive to all their students, which I think is important.
What is different about learning here from learning English back home?
Many things. First of all when you are in class, the other students don’t have the same nationality as you, so when you study at home, and you are in class, it's different. I am French and when I go to an English class in France, I can still speak in French in class. But here you have Italians, Brazilians... some French too, but I speak English during the whole class, with the teacher and with my friends so I think it’s really helpful. Also when I go out, I can talk to people on the street so I hear English almost all the time, and I think it’s an important part of my progression. It’s changed everything.
Where are you staying?
I'm staying at Urbanest. For one month, it’s good, because you are close to the subway station, King’s Cross. It’s only 4 stations from here, Leicester Square. Also, I am only with students who are from Kaplan or studying university in London.
Would you recommend it?
Yes, you have the canteen, you can ask many questions at reception, for example if you don’ t know how to go to a place, they can help you, you can ask for any information you want. You are in a student environment so it’s easy to integrate to London’s life.
Would you recommend Kaplan?
Yes. It’s a really good compromise, because people here come for sort-of holidays, but you’re going to be free, you can have fun, you don’t have the same pressures as you do at school or at work. But you learn English, you can meet people and go out... Yes I recommend Kaplan.