Luigi Campopiano writes about…Mr Johnson?

[This week], I was in a very old fashioned house in the centre of London. From an outside view it seems something special because around it there are only new buildings. We can imagine a house which doesn’t belong to this age: effectively I’m talking about Johnson’s house. You’re thinking who [is] this Mr. Johnson is: the Johnson’s surname is very common in England. Nevertheless, this Mr. Johnson is very famous: he was the first writer of a common English dictionary, called “A Dictionary of the English Language”.

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Our little trip started from the third floor of this old fashioned house: indeed [it] was a very beautiful and ordered attic, in the center a table supporting two enormous books. Those books were a real reproduction of “A Dictionary of the English Language”. A very cute girl explained to us something about that dictionary. It was commissioned in June of 1746 from a group of London booksellers for 1500 guineas (actually approximately £230,000). Mr. Johnson spent 9 years of his life to complete the dictionary with only their own forces (only the assistance of aides to copy the quotes that he had already scored in the books that he consulted). This work changed the way to write a dictionary: it was a modern dictionary, with an accurate meaning of the word, some examples, the hyphenation. We can say that “A Dictionary of the English Language” is a modern dictionary (I found the word “CAR”, unbelievable).

Then, we came down to the second floor. The Speaker showed us the enormous quantity of books that Mr. Johnson wrote in his life. He wrote also something about slavery (he was against it) and U.S. taxation. In that floor, we could see some friends of Mr. Johnson: the most famous was an actor (I don’t remember the name), who made famous many Shakespeare’s works (generally he changed the end of that works to make them more funny). The Speaker also spoke about a man who came from Africa to learn English (he spoke also with the king, but he wrong a verb).

After that we went to the ground floor to drink a cup of tea all together. We could see an ancient kind of “Selfie”: a famous painter made a selfie without an I-phone.

See you man.

Don’t Look Back!

As they await their results with trepidation, we spoke to three of our former CAE students to get their opinions on studying in England and hopefully to give us a few tips in the process! 

trio snap for blog

Can you describe your experience of studying at Tti in seven words or less?

 Lucien (L)   Amazing, unforgettable, to be repeated!

 Sara (S)        Unforgettable, challenging, encouraging, difficult, fantastic, hilarious, memorable.

 Angy (A)      Utterly amazing, surrounded by the best teachers.

What was the biggest challenge of coming to London to take the CAE exam?

 S         I have to say that taking the exam was quite challenging. Even though coming to London was really exciting, it was very hard for me to be away from my family and friends because of my close relationship with them. But I would not change it for the world. The grammar part was killing me and still is.

L          For me, it was discovering a new culture, reaching a high target and being stimulated to work hard.

A         My goals before coming to London were to be able to speak English and to reach an advanced level – whatever the results of the exam! Now, I am happy because during my stay I obtained both those things and much more than I ever thought possible.

What was the most satisfying aspect of your stay?

A         How quickly I was able to understand people speaking in English while I was speaking myself as well, as at the beginning I thought it was going to be the most difficult thing I had ever done.

L          I met new people, discovered a new way to learn, and encountered a new culture. In fact, I discovered another lifestyle!

S          Seeing and feeling the improvement I made with the English language. To understand words that are used in a more formal context and be able to follow political debate without missing out on half of the things being said as I used to do before. It is a great feeling!!

 ‘If I could give advice to a student who is thinking of studying at Tti, I would say…’

 L         Enjoy every second of your stay in Tti and in London!

 S         Taking an exam course is the best thing you can do if you are staying in England for a short period and want to make the most of your time. Not only will you learn much more but it is also challenging which will make you work harder – resulting in higher results and greater improvement.

A         Don’t hesitate to improve your English at Tti school, you will find the best teachers of English in London, and your level of English will improve widely.  I highly recommend it.

What was the most surprising thing that happened to you while in England?

 L         How public transport has developed since my last visit (five years ago) and how although people may seem unfriendly they are actually nice and helpful.

S          3 weeks into my stay in London I felt as if I was in Stockholm. London had become home for me, which was very shocking because I thought that I would never feel that way. Studying in a good school and living with a great family made everything much more fun and easy when it came to adapting myself to a new country.

 A        How from the first moment I felt like I was at home living with a lovely English family who gave me the chance to have the best experience of my life. Without them I would not have had such an amazing stay in London.

Do you think you have gained any insights by studying in England?

L          Obviously, I learned much more than the language itself. I entered English culture by visiting London and other places in the country and by meeting British people who are now my friends.

S          Of course! I got the opportunity to meet people from all around the world, and to learn things about their culture and about English culture. I also got a taste of how it would feel to live in London.

A         Definitely! I learnt many more things than simply improving my English. I had the opportunity to meet people from all around the world, and to understand them. Apart from that, I was able to live abroad far from my family for a year and a half which I found really rewarding as I come from a big close family and I was not sure when I arrived in London that I was going to be capable of it. As well as that, I realize I am able to live on my own without any problems.

Is your view of English people different now than it was before you came?

L          I used to think that British food was horrible and the people very ‘British.’ However, I found people like the same food as most Europeans (and myself). They still have a strange sense of humour…

S          English people have always struck me as very polite and by being in London and spending time with them I have realized how we (Swedish people) are the opposite, which is very sad. Personally, I have tried to change that, so I have to give myself some cred. I did not have a particular view of English people besides them being very kind and helpful.

 A         Before going to England my view of English people was that they were polite, and of course I still feel the same. What I felt on my way to London was that British people would be really cold, and I don’t know if I was lucky but all the people I met were helpful and reliable!

What would you do differently if you could go back in time and repeat your experience?   

L          Nothing, absolutely nothing.

S          Nothing, I do not believe in going back. If bad decisions were taken in the past you learn from them and try not to repeat them in the future. That is about it.

A         I wouldn’t change anything, my experience was full of everything I wanted and needed at that time. Never regret anything!!

What are your future plans?

 L          To study German then Italian. And to work around the world.

 S          To study in London for another term. Then I will move back home and apply to university to study Development Studies. Hopefully everything will go as planned or better!!! Fingers crossed.

 A         To work hard in Spain as an English teacher to give my students the opportunity to learn as much as I did.

How do you feel looking back?

L          Happy and nostalgic.

S          I feel proud of myself for accomplishing so much within a short period of time. Grateful for the opportunity that I got and for the friends I made. Optimistic about what the future will bring now that I have English as a tool to communicate with people all around the world.

A         I feel there is a part of my heart in London. All the experiences I had will never go out of my mind, nor the people I met along the way.

Co-ordinated by one of Tti’s Autumn 2013 CAE course tutors, Mr Matt Bryden