Your pictures are sweet, Lewis. Of course, you do make a cute couple.
You had a question about Csilla’s life in England. So, I will tell you about it. My children have very different personalities. While my son, Peter, likes being at home and he does not want to go to a camp or he feels homesick after 5 days when we are on holiday, my daughter does not manage to stay in the same place. When she was 14 years old she had a pen-friend from Greece and she visited her in Athens. At first the girl came to Slovakia and spent a week with us. Then they flew to Greece together and Csilla spent one week in their house. After that she came back home alone. Next summer she went to an English language school in Malta in order to improve her language skills in English. She stayed with a family with other students from France and from Germany for two weeks. For us, the parents it was ages. Of course, she went there alone. Everybody said that she was a brave and daring girl. When she came back we thought that it was her last journey and we tried to talk her out of her next dream. We were unsuccessful because she was so stubborn and insistent. When she was 16 years old she went to the USA for 10 months. She studied in her third year of high school there as an exchange student together with American children. She lived in a host family in Virginia. When she arrived from the USA I had already known that it was not her last journey. She took her final exams in Slovakia and she applied to go to university in England. Three universities admitted her and she chose one.
Now, I would like to make an interview with her:
Why did you want to study in England?
I enjoyed my American high school exchange so much that I was almost certain that I wanted to continue my studies abroad. Now, England is a lot closer to Slovakia than the States, there is the excellent reputation of British universities and all my English friends at universities were having a great time… So, going to England seemed like a good idea.
What is the difference between the university in England and in Slovakia?
This is very difficult to tell as I have never actually attended a Slovak university. However, based on what my former classmates say, it seems like we spend less time in lectures in England. Our terms are shorter as well and most of our exams are at the end of the year rather than all year round. Most of our exams are written ones compared to the large number of oral examinations you have to take in Slovakia. Also, you can postpone your exams several times in Slovakia and you can retake them several times as long as you pay for them. In England, you get a chance to re-sit some of your exams witch you have to pay for but you are expected to pass the second time. Of course, it is also great to study in nice large lecture halls and well-equipped laboratories.
Do you feel that you are a foreigner there?
England has an extremely diverse society so even if you are a foreigner and you act like a foreigner, you do not feel out of place. But I do think that I blend in quite well… I mean, I drink my tea with milk, after all! My housemates and friends tease me at times about speaking funny and “being weird” but having got used to the English sense of humour, I do have my comebacks!
Do you have any language difficulty?
It was more difficult at the beginning of my first year, I suppose. Then, I think I got used to university level textbooks and listening to lectures fairly quickly. I still need to look up quite a few words in the dictionary but I guess they are the same words that the English students would look up as well. Less and less people ask me where I come from, so I guess my accent is getting less noticeable, too which I do think is a positive thing. Then, there is of course the slang which I need to improve on and keep up with!
Are there any differences between young people in Slovakia and in England?
The English drink slightly more, I guess… But to be fair, everyone at university has been really really nice and friendly. I didn’t have trouble making new friends and trying to fit in at all. We sit around chatting a lot, go to cinema, go for picnics in the park even – all the usual student things.
Do you get homesick there?
Of course! Most of my English friends who come from places other than Reading get homesick too and they’re lucky enough to go home for all the holidays and sometimes even a weekend or two! When I get homesick, I try to keep myself busy, which is really easy to do when you’re in full-time education and have a part-time job… Then, I write a nice long but cheerful letter to my mum so I don’t make her worry too much and it all gets much better after a while.
What are your plans for the future?
Firstly, I’d like to get a good degree at my current university in two years’ time. Then, I’d love to continue my studies and get a master’s degree as well. I’m not quite sure yet about what area of psychology interests me the most, whether I want to stay in England or go someplace else but I’ve never been famous for making long-term plans that I commit myself to. I suppose it’ll be a very spontaneous decision when that time comes…
Bye bye for now! Have a lovely weekend and I will see you all later!
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