An Amazing Experience In a Wonderful Town

I hadn’t liked English since my first year at elementary school. I thought it was a boring subject and I wasn’t interested in it.The situation didn’t change until I was 10,when I went to London for the first time. I don’t know what exactly happened, probably that beautiful city, these wonderful people and that amazing culture, but I started to like English! When I came back I started to study English in a serious way, and I was so excited to get in touch with that new world! I absolutely wanted to go back to London.
Now I’m 16, and my love for English the world grows more and more. That’s why, when my English teacher suggested I should try the Comenius selection, last year, I was so happy. So I had the possibility to travel and go to a foreign country to improve my English.
Soon came the 12th September 2012: it was time to leave, and I was really looking forward to it!
It was a long travel to go to Stratford, but it was really worth it. Finally, in the evening on the 12th September, I was in Stratford, a lovely and typical English town: small and nice houses with green gardens around and lots of parks.
The taxi took us from Birmingham Airport to Stratford high school. I literally got crazy when I heard the little old English driver speaking a typical British English, since it is quite difficult nowadays because of ‘American contamination’.
We arrived at school and it looked like it was a different world: it was a giant building well equipped , with a wonderful gym, open playgrounds and a canteen. But, most of all, I was impressed by the English school system: every student can choose which classes to attend and which not. They have different subjects, also including vocational study classes.
So, we arrived at school and there was my hosting family waiting for me. They were so nice! My new family was made up of Rebecca, the mom, Chaise, my twin, and Natty, a sweet she-dog.
They took me in and tried to make me feel as comfortable as if I were at home. Rebecca tried to cook Italian food for me, Chaise gave me her room, but at the same time they tried to make me get in touch with English everyday life , and they were brilliant on that. I spent three days in Stratford, not so many, but I visited the main tourist sites, like Shakespeare’s house, Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the Shakespeare centre, the Swan theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the clock tower , situated in the middle of the main square.
I really loved staying in Stratford, it is a little and quite town that offers so many facilities easily reachable, even better than a big and chaotic city.
During the mornings I spent in Stratford, I went to school with Chaise and we worked with all the other guys who were taking part in the Comenius project: there were two English guys from Truro, two Spanish, two German, two Finnish, two Polish, and, of course, many English guys from Stratford. They all were lovely! We didn’t have the possibility to know each other very well or to spend lot of time together, but something began in these three days. We had the possibility to get in touch with different cultures and different ways of thinking, and, according to me, it was an important enrichment for everyone. We worked together to organize the Comenius activities to do in the other cities part of the project.
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This meeting lasted just three days, but on that 15th September we left Stratford knowing that we all were part of a big new European family. It was a sad and painful moment when I had to say goodbye, but I’m still keeping in touch with everyone I met in Stratford. That’s why I’m pretty sure I can say it was one of the best experiences in my whole life!
I’ve lived it as the best opportunity ever to speak English with native people and to improve it: at the beginning I made some mistakes, but the frequent input of native speakers helped me to become more fluent in few days.
Thanks to the Comenius project I lived a fantastic and useful experience, which combined together language, culture and free time.
Of course three days were not enough, but they were really meaningful to shape my cultural enrichment.
That is why I suggest a similar experience to everyone, to grow up both culturally and psychologically.
As for me, I hope I’ll go to England again in order to discover other wonderful places like Stratford and go on learning English.
I wish everyone could find a European family to love and to grow up with.
Giuliana Spinella
Liceo Vittorio Emanuele II