by Victor García Belmonte – level B2
The first time I went to GB, I was thirteen years old. The main reason was because I was forced to go, as I did not have any idea of the language and my parents thought that it was a good initiative to improve my English. The idea of the travel was very good, I had to go in order to learn or get more English level. However the experience was different.
I remember perfectly the day I arrived to Ireland, It was a cloudy day and it was raining. I was afraid because I was far away from my home and I could not speak with my new family, as I did not have the basic level to have a conversation with them. I spent one month there and the first two weeks were hard to me. I used to go classes every morning during 4 hours, classes where I was totally lost. After that my friends and I had many activities to do as, going to museums, to the city center, playing sports etc.
The last two weeks I finally got used to Ireland, I got used to the food, the weather, the buses, and the last thing I got used to was the language. I did not get the highest level of English but I could express, more or less, what I wanted. The problem was that I only had left less than 10 days there when I got a certain level.
My second time I returned to Ireland one year after. Then I was fourteen years old and, in my opinion I already had enough English level to make myself understand. I have fewer memories from that travel than from the first one, but the course was similar to the first year. In the morning I used to go to class and after that I had different activities. I have to admit that the second time was more successful because I had improved my level since the first year I went to GB. So I think that it is fundamental to have a minimum level of English in order to learn or improve your level.
These two travels were done in 2003 and 2004, and then I stopped going because I wanted to be with my friends during the summer. It was the biggest mistake I have ever done in my life.
Now I am in the fifth course of my degree and I see that nowadays it is essential to speak English if you want to get a job, so this summer I went to Leeds, England. There I learnt a lot, I have seen that I have improved my English level during my stay in Leeds. I have to admit that since I stopped going abroad in 2004 I have been studying English in my country at school and in the academy.
This has been the best trip because, in my opinion, I had a good level of English and the target of this travel was to enhance my level, not to learn from the beginning.
To sum up about this topic, I think that if you want to go abroad to learn English during a month only you must have a certain level in order to make yourself understood and be able more or less to understand the others, minimum intermediate. On the other hand, if your level is elementary you should at least be there for one year in order to be able to have a decent conversation.