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Glasgow – “after two weeks it felt like home”

Published on Thursday, March 23, 2017

One of the nice things about Glasgow School of English (and, to be fair, most other schools of English) is that we get a wide range of people from all over the world who want to come and study in Scotland. I recently met with three students, Elena Stauffer from Italy (on the right), Robin Carron from Switzerland (in the middle) and Valentina Sastoque from Colombia (on the left).


All of them told me that this was their first time in Scotland and all of them agreed that the one thing that had really impressed them about Glasgow was the friendliness of the people here.  "I think the people here are great," said Elena, and Valentina agreed, telling me, "If you are lost and ask for help, people don't just give you directions, they'll also take you to where you want to go, just to make sure you get there!"  Robin said, "when you go into a pub, people will talk to you - it's amazingly friendly!"


When asked what they particularly liked, they all had different answers.  Valentina really liked the food here, especially the meat pies, beans and chips (a real Scottish meal if ever there was one!), while Elena mentioned the arts and culture of the city.  As she is intent on pursuing a career in acting, and hopes to study at Glasgow's Royal Conservatoire, that's perhaps not surprising.  Robin though, is a football fan and for him the best things in the city are the pubs and going to see Celtic FC (the current Scottish football champions, for those who didn't know).


I then asked them what they thought of Glasgow School and the teaching here.  They all agreed the teaching is of a very high standard and what has most impressed them is that the teachers all take an interest in them as people, not just as students of English.  Elena said, "You have a really good relationship with the teachers here," while Robin added, "the classes are serious, but also great fun. They don't just teach you English, they also tell you about Scottish history and what's happening in the country."


Why, I wondered, did they come to Scotland and not go to London, where most foreign students choose to go to learn English?  Each of them said the same - that the reason they came here was because London is so expensive.  They also really liked the idea of visiting a country that is very different to their own.


Finally, I asked them what had surprised them about our country?  Valentina said that she thought that it would be full of old buildings, but while there are a lot of these, she was really impressed by how modern the city is and what great shops there are.  Robin said that the biggest surprise for him was just how friendly everyone was, especially in the pubs!  Elena said that, "after two weeks, it felt like home…I thought I'd be homesick, but the Scottish people are great, so welcoming…I really was surprised by how friendly everyone is."

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