Hello from Portsmouth!
Hello everyone! My name is Sophie and I’ll be blogging on this website throughout the month of June. I’m looking forward to getting to know you all and helping you as much as I can. I think this teacher-student blog is a terrific idea and I hope you’ll take as much advantage of it as possible.
I’ll begin by introducing myself a little: I was born in 197X in London, within shouting distance of Wembley Stadium. When I was 13 my family and I moved to France (my Mum is French), so I grew up bilingual. When I was 18 I went back to the UK to attend university, where I read Politics and International Relations. After I got my degree I decided I wanted to travel the world so I studied some more and became an EFL teacher. My first job was in Poland – it was pretty cold there. My next job was in Russia – even colder! I met my husband in Moscow and then we both moved to Egypt where it was much warmer! For the past six years we’ve been living in Japan but now I’ve decided to come back to the UK to study (again!) as a French and German teacher. The course will take a year but right now I’m on a three-month summer intensive refresher course at Portsmouth University to brush up on my German language skills as they’ve lain pretty dormant since I was last at school. It’s a lot of fun being back in the classroom as a student again, but it’s also quite hard work. I could do with a German teacher-blogger to help me! So there you are: my life so far in a nutshell.
I’d love to know where you’re all from so please, don’t be shy, write in and tell me a little bit about yourselves. It’s also very useful to be able to tell people about yourself when you meet them socially or in an interview setting. Plus, you never know what you might have in common!
Lukasz, I enjoyed reading your blog. Where are you from in Poland? (I lived in Bydgoszcz for a year.) It’s a pity you’ve never been in the UK for more than a week at a time, and in London too, which is quite cosmopolitan to say the least, so it doesn’t surprise me to learn that you’ve had trouble meeting people whose native language is English! You’ll probably need to do a homestay the next time you come to the UK for a week – it’s a brilliant way to immerse yourself, not only in the language but also in the culture. Did you study English at school in Poland? What was that like? Have you been studying English since? Some of your colloquialisms and vocabulary are of quite a high standard. Have you taken any EFL exams such as FCE or IELTS? This might be a good idea if you want to use English in a future job. I feel as though I know what you’re talking about: I have also decided to change career (albeit in the same type of profession). It’s certainly a tough decision to make but it’s good to dip into something new and challenge yourself. Do you have any ideas about what you’d like to do? Now that Poland is a member of the EU there are many Poles who’ve upped sticks and are living over here. There are now quite a few delis offering Polish pickles and sausages! Do you have any friends or relatives who’ve left Poland for the UK? Would you ever consider taking the plunge yourself? I look forward to reading more about you and your interests.
Here are a couple of corrections for your blog (not many!):
1) ...the IT career... You need to define the career you had with the definite article ‘the’ even though you made it clear it was yours;
2) ...attractive to me...
shouting distance Usually we say 'within throwing distance', so not very far. How far can you throw? In this case, I lived so close to the stadium, you could hear the crowds!
attend You can also say 'go to' university.
read Many people say 'study' these days, but the correct (and possibly old-fashioned) term is to read for a degree.
EFL English as a Foreign Language.
brush up on This is what you do when you want to refresh your knowledge of something. It’s almost as if you are brushing away a layer of dust on a book before you open it.
lain dormant Dormant comes from the French dormir which is to sleep and lain comes from the verb to lay, so my skills have been asleep for awhile!
in a nutshell A nutshell is quite small, so if what you say can be contained in a nutshell, you are being brief.
setting Another word for situation.
cosmopolitan There is a women’s magazine called Cosmopolitan, and even a cocktail, but the true sense of the word is a multi-ethnic, international mix of people and styles. The word derives from Greek cosmos (the universe) and polis (city).
to say the least This means “at a minimum” so I’m just going to say as little as possible about the topic and let you guess the rest. The British are fond of understatements.
immerse This means to submerge or throw yourself into something completely. It’s often used to describe the action of putting something into water.
colloquialisms A colloquialism is an informal or conversational way of saying something.
FCE First Certificate of English: an exam which tests your English skills.
IELTS International English Language Testing System: another exam which tests your level of English skills usually in order to get a job or into higher education.
albeit Another word for although.
dip into To dip into is to try or taste something but with caution, like dipping your toes into the sea to test the temperature of the water. You can also take a dip which means go for a swim.
upped sticks To up sticks is to leave a place and go elsewhere. Some people say that the 'sticks' are items of furniture (so you pick them up and move), and others say that it is to do with raising a mast before a ship sails.
delis Plural. A deli is short for delicatessen which is a place where you can buy delicacies or special food. It comes from the German Delikatessen, which in turn comes from an old French word which means "delicious things (to eat)". It’s not connected to the modern word delicate which now means fine or dainty. Delicate has its roots in Latin as delicatus, meaning "giving pleasure or delightful".
taking the plunge To take the plunge means to be brave and dive into something. Usually you would plunge into a swimming pool.
P.S: I’ve just realised that much of my first blog is connected to water in some way: immerse, dip into, take the plunge... Perhaps it has something to do with living by the sea in Portsmouth. It’s the first time that I’ve ever lived by the sea and I’m loving it! So here’s a picture of the little lane which leads to the sea round the back of my halls of residence. Does anyone else live by the sea?
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.