Leto u Engleskoj, jul 2013, Devon

Grupa naših đaka i ovog leta boravila je u Engleskoj – ponovo smo kombinovali kurs SOL-a u Severnom Devonu i London. Nepotrebno je reći da je to divna prilika za mlade ne samo da usavrše svoje znanje jezika i steknu samopouzdanje u korišćenju engleskog u svakodnevnim situacijama, već i da dobiju pravo kulturološko iskustvo. Prenosimo vam utiske našeg đaka, Jelene Špegar:

Impressions of SOL program


A few weeks before the course I was very excited. My brother already participated in SOL program, but he didn’t talk much about it and I didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t wait to hear something more about our host family, lessons, teachers etc.

About a month before we came toEnglandmy host family contacted me. One of few things my host family let me know was that they have a dog named Jasper.

When the day of our trip finally arrived we woke up at 3:00 AM in order to get to the airport. After two connected flights we arrived at theHeathrowAirport, trying to find our way to the bus. I was surprised how enormous the airport was. I couldn’t believe that there are three terminals within Heathrow.

In the bus we met with student groups fromSerbiaandCroatia. On our way to Barnstaple we visitedStonehenge. The monument was very interesting, but I expected to see something bigger. Nevertheless, it was fun and I learned a lot.

AtBarnstaplewe stopped in front of Tesco where host families were supposed to pick us up. Everyone was excited to meet their host family. It seemed like an eternity when they read our names and we hopped out of the bus. Malcolm and Daniela were waiting for me and to friends with huge smiles on their faces. After we put our suitcases in Malcolm’s car “George”, Daniela drove us in her car named “Minty”.

When we arrived to their house and opened the front door Jasper was standing there, welcoming us. I expected a larger dog while he was a very small and cute terrier. Malcolm and Daniela showed us our rooms. Since rooms were large my friend Milica and I decided to share one. Walls, colored in beige and red, made the room little dim but fitted perfectly. The walls were so thin that it was possible to hear whispers in the other room. The garden was huge and populated with different trees, plants and flowers.

We were very hungry and dinner was ready soon. Malcolm and Daniela are vegetarians, however that didn’t bother me. During the dinner, when we talked about ourselves, I found out how unusual Malcolm and Daniela are. Daniela is fromGermanyand she is an ear doctor. Malcolm does zumba dancing and tai chi. He also volunteers at Samaritans, where he supports people feeling distressed. Both, Malcolm and Daniela, do crystal healing and Reiki.

One very hot day Malcolm gave us water guns and we played in the garden the whole afternoon. We also went to the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe to see “Young Star of the Future”. Malcolm took us to a few beaches because the weather was very nice.

On Sunday, our Family Day, we went to Rosemoor garden and it was stunning. There was about 15 gardens. Malcolm and Daniela bought us pictures and plastic bugs that actually move. On our way back we stopped atAtlanticVillageand went shopping. When we came back toBarnstaplewe were tired. We had a light dinner and watched the very scary movie called “Dreamcatcher”. When we went to bed we fell asleep immediately.

I enjoyed my stay with them and if I ever come toEnglandagain I will surely visit them. It’s very strange how much we bonded in so little time.

When we came to England I wasn’t looking forward to classes. However, I found out that the classes are different than they are inSerbia. Lessons in my country are usually very boring. Here we are active as opposed to classes back home where pupils just need to sit and be quiet. I liked that every information the teachers have given us can be used in real life, so it’s not just theory. Our teachers were Phil, Matt and L’Anne. We usually went to the town and had to do some tasks with Phil, had a debate or made up some stories with L’Anne and listened to Matt’s presentation about the place we were about to visit. My favourite lessons were learning about charity shops and going to Oxfam, having a debate about the Statue of Verity, Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe and wind turbines, cricket. Last day we had to pick a theme for our presentation and work in groups. We went to the town and asked people questions about the topic. When we came back to the classroom we made a poster and then talked about our subjects.

I loved field trips with SOL program. We visited plenty of different places, from beaches to historical sites. First we went to Woolacombe and Ilfracombe. In Ilfracombe we saw the controversial Statue of Verity and Landmark Theatre. The Woolacombe beach was lovely and enormous. Although the weather was nice, the water was still a little bit cold, so not everyone was swimming. Nevertheless we had a great time.

We also had two day trips: to Tintagel and toExeter.

In Tintagel first we went to theKingArthursMuseumand watched a show about him. I wasn’t very impressed since “Merlin” was talking out of a speaker and they were only illuminating pictures. Then we saw the round table and the sitting order of the knights. Next we went to see ruins of King Arthurs castle. The view from the top was great, but it required a lot of walking to get up there.

The other day trip was toExeter. First we went to see the movie about the history ofExeter. Next we started walking to the cathedral and on our way we had a chance to feed seagulls and swans on the river Exe (hence the nameExeter). The cathedral was amazing and surprisingly big. After that we had some free time. Everyone told us thatExeterwas the shopping district of Devon. We also had an assignment to ask a few people what do they think about the city and they all said it was lovely.

TheUKis quite different than I thought it would be. The first thing that I have noticed is how everyone is nice and polite. I expected that people will be too busy and nervous but they are relaxed and most of them have time for volunteering. I thought that buildings will be modern like inLondon, but the fact that they’re older means that they’re more beautiful. Everything is very clean and people take a good care of the environment.

We stayed in a little town calledBarnstaple. Barnstaple is located inNorth Devon, by the river Taw. It’s an old town with houses much different compared to houses in my hometown, Sabac.

It is hard to choose what have I enjoyed the most. I loved everything from lessons and field trips to time spent with my host family. SOL didn’t just teach us to use English on daily basis, but also showed us British culture and lifestyle. I feel more knowledgeable than before.