Fly to London

I had to fly from the my town to the Moscow for nine hours. It was long and uncomfortable flight (in Russia we have not good standards for passengers and I call it an ‘embryo’ pose). My fellow traveler from Khrasnoyarsk to Moscow was a beautiful young woman wearied into very short skirt. I don’t know why she chose set by me (in this time of year our planes semi-empty). May be because I was wearing into white clothes. We were speaking some minutes and after it I had returned to my thoughts about my trip to unknown and little bit scarred the UK. She left me and found place near a man from the Caucus (people this nationality in Russia can speak with women all time when they see them). I have not eyes on my back, but I could listen scandal between this couple and airhostess, they were accused of smoking and sex in the toilet on 10000 meters above sea level. I hope they have a lot of fun in this tiny room. Before landing she had returned at her place by me. When I asked her about the scandal, she said that she couldn’t live without intercourse. In my point of view we have hard influence by Hollywood’s films.

I was met in Moscow by firm’s representative who gave to me my foreign passport with the UK’s visa (thanks very much to British Embassy in Moscow for giving me a visa in my absence), returned ticket Moscow – London – Moscow and a support package for passing through the British immigration control. I think this Moscow firm had organized my study trip very good, specially choosing Transaero for fly to London (this company recognized me as a student and gave a huge discount for ticket). This is a young company in Russia, but they organization high-leveled: a beautiful airport Domodedovo with order and a reasonable good service for Russia and Europe. I was pleasantly surpassed after my return to saw how they had improved Domodedovo’s view and services.

Anyway, my passing throw Domodedovo’s custom was fast, pleasant and smooth. Nobody asked me stupid questions as it was in the Sheremetyevo one year ago when I had a flew to New York. I could see real European service and beautiful Russian women at the secure departure zone. Our four hours fly was as one of the good impression in my trip (may be because it was American’s plain Boeing 747 and pretty Russian air hostess). Ordinary fly by comfortable American’s plane.

I had arrived at London’s Heathrow airport at 10 p.m. I saw warning banners about foot-and-mouth disease in the UK and I saw a huge airport (I think it is not so huge like some airports in the US. I will continue compare the UK with the US, where I was last year. And I have to say that the US, for my opinion, is the most powerful country in the world with the best economy. I do not change my opinion after visiting the UK – the US is the best. But it is impossible to compare these very different countries – most probably they are supplement each other. I was trying understanding it for eight weeks. It was very difficult – I had no friends in the UK till my meeting with Johnatan and Nancy, but this exiting event was at the end of my trip).

OK, let’s start my England exploration. Immigration control office is the first official British person with whom you have to have a meet. It was very pleasant encounter for me. This man had struck me very much – he translated my Russian name and checked it with correct Embassy’s variant (he didn’t use not correct Russian-French variant of my name spelling. At my English school all people knew me under French-spelling name). Office was very polite and asked me only about how long I would have been in the UK. And that was all! I heard a lot of terrible stories how immigration officers return Russian people back to Moscow after immigration control. I told him that I was planning to stay here for period of study. He said, “Welcome to the UK”.After it I passed customs control without any questions.


The nights ride by taxi

After passing officials procedures I had missed (nobody met me at the Heathrow). But I was OK – had supported papers from my English school. I told to man at the help in the Heathrow airport about my problems. I was tired and had explained my problem not clearly. The guy at the reception took my papers and gave announced be airport’s radio, than made a call to the duty teacher, received call by a taxi driver and after 30 minutes he showed me taxi driver who would convey me to my host-family house. I was surprised very much – because it was all free for me and unknown man solved my problem in new country for me easy and with smile. I was happy and said to airport services not loudly “Thank you very much, indeed”.

Taxi driver was a middle-age man; his car was new and very comfortable like Japanese car. I did not speak with anybody for last 25 hours, so I was happy to spoke with him. We had an interesting chat about English people and lifestyle. He was a very good storyteller and willingly explained many interesting things. I said that I was in the US the year before and he asked me a lot of questions about my trip. He was unusual a taxi driver because he worked for my English school and knew a lot of interesting things about my future school-life. Beautiful car, beautiful roads, amazing view outside windows, interesting chat – I was very happy again.

We arrived to my new host-family house at midnight. In spite I had arrived so lately, they were waiting for me. I had received short instruction about room’s disposition and main schedule, after short house guided tour I was forwarding to my room where I would live for next eight week. My room was into three times more that I have in Russia! There was a colour TV with remote, big table with lamp for studying, armchairs, cattle, dishes, forks… and good beautiful bad. I was tired very much and wanted sleep in spites exiting after meet with England. My 38 hours day had finished into smart fresh-smell bad. I was happy again.


First impressions about Hastings.

I woke up at 7 a.m. an hour before a breakfast. My host-family set a new shower for students – very good and modern model with a temperature regulator. They spent a lot of money for it. They live in three floors’ an old (more then 100 year) house. Students accommodate into four rooms. I paid for single room and had it, but it was a room where could live three students. So, they had maximum six students simultaneously. As one main school’s rule, there has to be students from different countries (we are going here for studying English language – real language for international intercourse). When I arrived I was alone in the house, but when I lived there was students from China (Hon Kong, Taiwan), Spain, Japan and small boy from Russia (it was some breach but there were a lot of people from China and Russia). We were communicating with each other only by English language.

My host-family mama asked me about my food tests a lot. And after it I was received a standard English breakfast – toasts and tea (I like honey very much and could eat it). Question about food is more complicated in England. Every nationality has own cuisine and it is very difficult to find compromise into multy-nationality students’ tastes. After too weeks negotiations with my host-family mama I had a very good English breakfast: hot oat porridge, toasts, honey and tea. It was good for me, but I was exception from the rules. Some students had serial with milk or tea and toasts.

Problem with lunch had solved by itself. One of the host-family members had a birthday-holiday. We were invited too. Our host family had a light drink (I think it was one their drink for my eight weeks). I didn’t drink but many people did it. At the end of the birthday’s party our host-family mama ask direct question (that was unusual for English people): “If you have a problem, don’t complain to school administration, let’s discuss it with me first “. We answered that we have a huge problem – our dinner meal. We discussed details and after that day we had a very good dinner meal – potato (boiled and frying), rise, vegetables, chicken, fish or meat. I discussed about meal with my classmate and they said that my host-family is a very good with meal. I think it was a good luck for me to live in host-family where I was.

My firm that organised my study trip supplied me with Hastings map. It was great! My host-family explained to me how find my school and where is more interesting and attractive places in they town. With a map and short instructions I was going to explore unknown land.

The sun was shining and my soul was singing. I had an excellent mood. After Russia it was all very good – roads, old beautiful buildings, narrow streets, very polite car drivers… I found my school, visited huge shop-centre, but most of all impressed me the sea. It was very exiting to see it with big white ships, that were sailing some where, may be to the US. Hastings – tourists’ town, so native people well relative to foreign people specially if you have enough money. I counted three main businesses in this town – tourism, education and making children. I saw unemployment people who asked ma a change, but they are very different than in Russia – more polite and civilisation. I climbed on the highest hill and was enjoyed with terrific view at the sea and town from that high. For my opinion it better one time to see than write a lot about it.

Our school helps to local business – we had to have one meal per day outside our host-family. We can eat what we want. There are a lot of different small restaurants with Italian, French, Mexican, Chinese food. For me it was very expansive from 4 to 12 pounds for meal, but England not for a poor people and many types of food they have to import from another countries. Yes, England is a very expansive country. After two weeks searching I found a very good cafe nearby my school – they prepared food for me as I wanted – not fat, not spice and not frying very much. If you know English language you will not have problem in England.


School test.

I was trying to rest after long fly from native land to England. But it was impossible – I have a terrible headache (time difference is 9 hours). I arrived at school on time. I was met with teacher who said that we had to wait another students for test. For me it was strange test - grammar, listening, chat with teacher and composition. Examiner was very polite and explained all about test clearly. I like his phrase after welcome speech, “Sorry, test”. This test was necessary for choosing our group for study. I passed test on Intermediate level (as I said before – I had a terrible headache). We were asked about our motivation for study English and our life and about firms in native countries which had sent us to Embassy CES. My firm (Znanye-Center) was well known and respected.

After test we had received school’s ID cards with our pictures and printed stuff with instructions and advises for many cases of my new life in England. It was a very useful stuff! I read it carefully and it advises help me very much in the future. ID card is very powerful thing too – you have a lot discounts in the different places – shops, cinemas, discos… And it is very important documents for the police.

We had a short tour round the school with explanation what, where and when we can do in different facilities. The most important for me was a computer class (with a very fast Internet access) and Lab (place where you can improve your listening and pronunciation abilities). School has some departments for direct help to students – accommodation department and “Fan factory” for spent a free time. For my opinion there are a real professionals who makes our students’ life very interesting and useful. And very important for us was a reception – nervous centre of our school – they can help you with any problems (sorry but I used to they help very often).

After all this important events I tried our school canteen. A big dinner costs near 3 pounds. There are a lot of different cousins by good quality. But I couldn’t eat here because it was a lot of students and I don’t like to see how Russian children insulting buy food without queue (in front of our eyes). I hate it in Russia - when one student stands in line and another 50 go before him. I don’t like seeing it in England! But if you have some money you can visit cafe (I was doing it). Some hot people from Arabic Emirates can’t stay it and throw dish with meal into specially insulting boy from Russia, but it was one case – people from another countries are very polite and can suffer it.


The teacher Hollis.

On the next day was my first morning lesson. It continued one and half-hours, then a short brake for 15 minutes and another one and half-hours. Our lessons on Tuesday start with standard procedure – everybody inform class about him, how long he study and will study any more at the Embassy CES school. It helps to know each other better and gives a chance to find friends. After it we discussed where somebody was tonight or what somebody is going to do on a weekend. It gives to us a good help (especially for new students) in explore England more efficiently. I found out a lot of interesting things on these short discussions.

As rule you income into group that started study book some times ago and you continue with this group. When I joined to my first group – they were in the middle of process. I studied this stuff in Russia (Intermediate level) and after talk with teacher I had repeated it again for two weeks (I had made all exercises in my book and repeated all grammar rules and tests). After this period I wrote composition to my teacher that this level not good for me and I was promoted.

I want to say about teacher’s role. That role is huge and this is the first person who helps you study English efficiently. All teachers that I had at school (I had seven) were well skilled, easygoing, friendly and helpful. And the same time all of them were very different and everybody wants give you something new and specific. Nobody will force you study - all up to you, but if you want study very much (like me) – your teacher gives you all for it. Russian education system not so relaxing and many students make a mistake if didn’t do home tasks and forget about self-study.

How I was studying? I think it may be help for you, but I had a strong motivation for it – spending a lot of money, eight weeks and thoughts about future. Yes, it is a very important to have a strong motivation (the best fun for me in England was English language). So, I waked up at 6:30, short exercises with listening a BBC news station, shower and first self-study lesson. I remembered and repeated new words that I had met previously day. If I had more time I repeated grammar but usually I had no time – we had a lot of idioms and phrasal verbs that I had to remember. Breakfast was at 8:00 and after it I was going to school (it was a good possibility to catch a computer for Internet access at the computer’s class). Four hours morning’s classes and two hours day classes, two hours training in the Lab (listening, speaking). Dinner was at 6:30 p.m. At the end – home task and if I had a free time I watched British TV (BBC 1,2; ITV or Channel 4). Watching TV was the most interesting part in my education process. As you can see my best fun was an English Language. Not so bad!

Teacher Hollis gave to us very interesting tasks. She recorded at 6:00 a.m. BBC news on the tape recorder, than made special sheets with gaps, where we had to write what we could listen. Very interesting exercise! We were all time on the ‘peak’ at her lessons. She didn’t give to us relax for a long time and she possessed with our attention all time. I liked here a question ‘Are you happy?’ She is young and has interesting life out of school, so here energy and sense of humour made us real happy students.


Excursion to London.

Our School has very powerful program for weekend. Every week end (and every night too) you can participate into school activities – excursions, disco, retro dance, interesting movie, songs festival, night raid for pubs, party… Some times those activities were free! Very saturated life. But I could visit only weekend activities.The most important (for my opinion) was my visit to London.

This city is one of the historical centres of our civilisation, very old and attractive. Many of the most interesting places are placed in one part of this City – in the City of London. So, you can spend only one day for explore this place. But for more detail exploration you will been requested much more time.

School has special man for organise like these excursions. Andrew has a lot of experiences as a tourist guide and a person who can manage with a lot of students. He gave to us special map with part of London where would be our excursion, his mobile number for emergency and we had explanation where our bus would be wait our departure. I think, he perfectly organised our excursion.

We used to English language for explanation and could saw understanding on the other students’ faces – Andrew can speak to international students and his English Language was very crisp and clear (so I can consider all excursions like additional free English lessons!)

How much an average excursion costs? It depends where are you going, usually 15 Pounds (and it more cheaply than your own trip). You can visit and foreign countries. It was excursion to Paris and Amsterdam. I asked about this excursion, but when they had known that I am from Russia, they only said: ‘Don’t worry, it’s OK, your life didn’t finish yet.’ The main problem is to apply foreign visa and nobody likes Russian people today. But if you are from a normal country - your English school will make all to help you for applying a foreign visa (it would be real useful support).

There was a lot of Chinese (from Hong Kong) teachers into my excursion group. They government paid for they practice in the UK. Teachers from China were very friendly and spoke English fluently. I live on the board with China, but on the North, people from China in my region not so friendly and tidy (and they don’t know the English Language). For me it would be mystery why people in China so different.

After excursion Andrew delivered us to our houses. Very interesting and useful excursion. Next time you can explore London alone but with Andrew’s explanation much more interesting.


The afternoon lessons.

I have no definite opinion about afternoon lessons. I had three different teachers for my day lessons, but Lisa taught me for longer time. She lived in Canada and Israel and her stories about these interesting countries disturbed my soul.

We had a lot of different activities – role plays, games, discussing stories, quizzes, competitions between teams... We were studying new idioms, phrasal verbs. I don’t know why students not seriously visited these lessons. Lisa didn't give to us home task, but we have to remember new vocabulary. Real rule 'up to you'. One day I explained to Russian girl some phrasal verbs and idioms and she was in shock that we studied it at the afternoon lessons. After it she had started visited afternoon lessons.

Some students had ’fatigue’ symptoms. After beginning study they are visiting all lesson, but after month only few. And it depends of pupils. Most important to find high motivation and try to support this into yourself.


My host-family.

There is a very important role of the host-family. Usually school checked families where would be live students. But sometimes we had problems. In this case we can change host-family. I know many students who lived into two or three different families. School has a special department with very good people (at the special department) who help you to find a new host-family. If you want to be free, they can find for you a house or rooms for lease. If you have a big problem don’t try solve it by yourself, go to school accommodation department and discuss it with professionals.

On my opinion relation between you and host-family depends very much from you. If your behave is well - host-family’s relations would be good for you too. And very important discuss any problems with your host-family. We had one problem in our house – water leakage from a bathroom on the second floor to the ceiling on the first. Host – family spent a lot of money for repair a ceiling and the bathroom (they installed special shower for students) some month ago. So, we had a huge problem. But two students – I am and teacher from the China volunteered to fix this problem. After bathroom inspections we had found that problem is in a gap between Dutch tile and wall where can leakage water. They have special stuff for fix this problem. But they gave tools and putty to me (with words about trust to Russian people). I was proud and had done all work with high quality, used to some Russian methods. The teacher from China helped me with advises. We spent one hour for fix this problem. Leakage had been stopped. Two sides were reasonably happy and satisfied.

Only one example – how you can obtain real experience of the British families life. Trust me it is very useful and interesting.


The sea and tourists.

Hastings is a tourists’ town. I don’t know why, probably because sea (Channel). There a lot of tourists from the many countries of the world. Usually we can see old couples. There are many hotels, casinos, special tourist’s shops and restaurants. I liked had a ride along embankment – sea and seagulls.

This is a tourist’s town. The most of attractions is of course pubs, but I tell you about it in the next chapter. English people as tourists have very exiting nightlife. Usually they start at 8:00 p.m. by visiting pubs until 11:00 p.m. (after 11:00 p.m. pubs don’t sell alcohol drinks. Tony Blear promised revoked this ridiculous low and easy won previously elections (loll)). After it you can visit nigh club.

I visited one nigh club (our schoolteacher recommended to me the most decent and calm club for people who after 30’s). Entrance costs 3 Pound and you can buy all what you want inside. As I don’t drink alcohol I had bought orange juice. I occupied table near middle of the basement and could see all from this perfect position. Music was playing very loudly and people didn’t dance until 10:30 p.m. Hall populated very quickly after 11:00 p.m. and merriment was in it climax. There were more women than men (like in Russia); all people were drinking beer or cocktail with vodka (many of them were smoking). It was difficult to see it without an alcohol. I left nightclub after midnight because didn’t want to break my regime very much.


The cafe “Cult”.

After exploring cafes and restaurants around my school I could find a good place for lunches. It was a typical small cafe – four people stuff and 70 set places. Typical English menu – fish and chips, beacon and eggs, sausage and eggs, uncooked salads and salads for vegetarians. You couldn’t buy beer here (may be they had lost a license) but you can buy tea, coffee, Coca-Cola and hot chocolate. Meet (especially beef is very expansive in England now) so I didn’t try meet dishes there.

Typical dish in Hastings is chip and fish – frying cod into flour with lemon and potatoes bricks (3.75 Pounds). All it sells wide into any shops and you can prepare this food at home. If you prepaid it yourself it would cost into 5 times cheaper.

Another typical dish – beacon, frying egg, potatoes bricks, beans and small sausage (4.05 Pounds). English like it well down frying. But tourists (especially from French) like salads. I tried one time it, in spite cook’s warning that it wouldn’t good for me. He was right and I couldn’t eat uncooked field mushrooms. It was very interesting feelings into my stomach after this meal. Bit it was not a big problem for me because all students (include me) had problems with stomach in England. Teachers sympathise to us but they couldn’t help – English food is real trail for foreign people. One of the first words that we had studied was indigestion.

But I knew English language and I could explain to cafe’s cook what I want – jacket potato, weak frying beacon and sausage, coleslaw and hot weak tea with sugar. It was excellent for cafe and me (they had habitué who brings another students for a meal).

Service was very good but nobody paid tips like in the US or Canada.


Russian children.

There were a lot of children from Russia. I can only guess about it reason – study English in England cheaper than in the US or Canada, easier apply visa to the UK and very good education quality. I have to divide children on to parties – one big group from Moscow and another smaller part from the Russian province (not from the Moscow). Children not from the Moscow not so selfish and spoiled.

The English teacher from China tried forced me to explain Russian young students that it is not polite when one student are standing into queue (in the school’s canteen for lunch) and another fifty are going before him without queue. It was very difficult to understand him one of our basic Russian tradition – attempts to have all without any efforts. The man from the China couldn’t understand it, but what about more polite people from England?

One student from Arabic Emirates lost his patience and had broken young student’s not very much polite head. I hate any violence but Russian culture very direct and tuft. When I was flying from Moscow to London there was a huge children’s group from Moscow. They were siting before me – six children on three chairs (Boeing is huge plain) and they did all exclude sex – fitting, screaming, drooping, kissing. Very polite passengers had asked airhostess to stop this ‘orgy’ but airhostess said to young children occupied they place. But children did nothing. After half an hour we had a supper and children were received armament – salt, sugar chocolate bars. They were ready to fight with each other and another passengers. One of they ‘bullet’ had hinted my eye. It was last drop into my patient and I kicked one head before me by my hand. When they turned to me they faces, I said ‘You lost your sugar, sirs’. After this direct interrupt, war was stopped and we had something like order. One orderly woman that was sitting before this group of children told to me ‘Thank you’. I was happy and afraid (in case if one of this boy’s fathers could be a Mafia boss, but all finished OK – I am alive).

Education system that we have in Russia is a very different than in England. Nobody would force you study. All ‘Up to you’. So, when you send you children study in England are ready that they wouldn’t study. Another way – try to find strong motivation to them. Because absence your direct control and absolutely free with your money (all parents give they children money for additional food, sweets and fun) can hurt your children. I met many young students who spent parent’s money for cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. And Russian young students would not inform teacher about these problems – it is one of the basic Russian traditions too.

For my opinion study English in England is a very good and important life’s test for your children. If they pass it you can be sure that you upbringing good children.


Free shopping and for my host-family.

When Russian people (not from Moscow) reach good foreign countries like the US, the UK, Canada… They are agreeably surprised with shopping. I have visited the US, so English shops was not so good as it could be when you visit them first time. But I could find very good (and expansive) shops in Hastings (they come near to American’s shops). I was visiting regularly two shops – one expansive ‘Mark&Spenser’ and another inexpensive – ‘Lids’.

All of these shops have good equipment, computer terminals, and friendly stuff. But they have a very different selection of merchandise. First one have a lot of high quality goods – fresh fruits, berry, organic food, meet. Another one (‘Lids’) have only everyday choose – potato, salt, beer, juice, milk, bread, detergent.

I bought organic juice and black berry in Mark&Spencer shop. I heard that New Zealand scientists prove that using black berry can stop growing old process into human body and sometimes can reverse this process (I don’t believe to any superstition but who knows, specially after British’s’ scientists discoveries). Anyway, I was eating black berry as often as I could – from France and Spain.

Prices could be different into these shops into 5 times! I told to my host-family that I want to help them and they had given me errand – shopping for them (usually I bought meal for ourselves - students). My host-family preferred a closely shop ‘Lids’. I think it is a very good shop for Russia. For England it is a cheap shop. They have a stuff shortage (as consequences – long queue). I had tried asking young shop assistant who delivered goods about sugar. She was so tired that embarrassed me with her exhausted answer ‘it had finished’. I like mortgage system with trolley – you have to insert one Pound coin into special lock for taken one and you are going to return it because you miserly enough for return your coin.


The teacher Carrie.

Russian culture more direct than English culture. We had one very interesting teacher. She was not from a regular stuff. She was studying English in Netherlands. So, she can look at the English language from ours point of view. It was lessons like in my native country – teacher show all ours imperfections and explained what we have to do for release them. Yes, very direct and useful.

I had some problems with sound ‘th’, because we have not this sound in our language and no one guide book has recommendations for Russian speakers. Our teacher had showed our imperfections and asks everybody to help each other – correct them. I don’t know about another pupils but we correct each other without another hesitating. I spent many hours for improve some my English sounds (friends help – is power).

We had many role-plays at our lessons. And we had made film about one investigation (road accident). It was very interesting watch yourself by TV with teacher comments about your grammar and pronunciation. I was happy, but our young pupils were unsatisfied – they were needed more grammar and work with book. I was disagreeing with them because teacher Carrie was giving for us more important things about English language, things that we couldn’t find into our books.

It was one conflict but we could solve this problem by the negotiations. But after it our teacher had gone to business students (I was unhappy because I have not enough money to apply business courses).


Night raid rounds the pubs.

If think about England what would you remember the first? Yes, pubs. I have one problem – I don’t drink alcohol absolutely (I am not ill – it is my lifestyle). But I wanted to see this side of the English life (for my opinion the very important part). Our school gives to us this possibility.

Our guide Andrew had taken mini-van for this night raid rounds the pubs. Our group consists of eight students - one woman from Switzerland, Ukraine, some men from France (scuba diving instructions), cool businessman from Ukraine and I am. We were going to visited three different pubs nearby our town.

Many English men start they drink at 8 p.m. from the one pub and then relocate to another. They raid would had been finished at after 11:00 p.m. We had the same schedule. First pub has Queen’s name and beautiful view on the valley. I had ordered black tea – unusual customer for any pub. One French man explained that at the top of this valley placed nuclear power station and if they have a problem with the radiation - flood would go here. I think, he likes black humour and I didn’t guess that I am living nears to the nuclear power station.

The second pub was near a beautiful castle. It is a famous full functionally castles – lovely place for moviemaker (I could remember that I saw this place in the film about Robin Hood). We couldn’t visit it because it was late and had started rain. Into the pub was not crowded. Man from Check republic asked our guide about relationships between England and French ‘All this castles had been built for protect England against French Army. You proud that at this place at 1066 year enemy forces (French forces) were destroyed. And what about relationships between France and England?’ Had became very quietly but after some seconds French men and English people in the pub had started laughing. Yes, all this fights into the history (I hope so).

The last pub we visited near eleven o’clock. I heard the last bell (after it barman have not right sell beer). Here was very crowded, were playing very loud music but nobody were dancing (only chatting). I remember only huge women’s underpants on the cell (it was very strange for me, but English people like to be outstanding). We had visited three pubs where we were at the first time – I couldn’t see criminals, impolite men or any violence – all was safety and civilisation. Pub is good place for enjoying your life and havw a good chat with your friends (but pubs have no no-smoking area like it was in the US).


Long continuously jump to Cambridge.

I have friends in the US who has friends in England (Cambridge). They had arranged me appointment with them. It was one of the best days in my life. I had never used to before English trains. Johnatan sent to me by e-mail train schedule for my trip to Cambridge and return to Hastings. But it was Sunday – the day when British trains have no schedules because at this time are maintenanced railways.

I had started my long jump into obscurity at 6:45 at the central Hastings’ railway station. I didn’t see any stuff – it was holiday and very early. Train was new (for Russian measures) and cleans enough. Smiling female conductor checked my tickets (I had two because returned trip ticket costs cheaper). After about thirty minutes our train had arrived to the station where we were asked leave our train. It was surprise for me (it was my first trip by train) and I asked one superior railway officer when we can continue our trip to London. He explained me all very polite that after five minutes we continue and it would be good for me if I occupy more comfortable van. Yes, no one in Russia would give me this polite advice! I had sitted into the more comfortable van and I had my first fellow traveller – blonde with cellular phone. She was looking at me for five minutes and asked where am I from. I said that I am from Russia, here interest disappeared and she asked my permission for sleep. Yes, English people have no inferiority complexes and they behaviour are very natural.

I had arrived to London on time but it was only one at this day. I had to use tube (underground) for reach another railway station where would be another train to Cambridge. Main transport in England is Government property – trains, railways, and buses. It all really good! I used to one my ticket for all of them! Very conveniently, but some people in the British Government want destroy this system. I can give advice to them – welcome to the Russia to see semi-private separated system. In the UK is a very good railway now!

London’s tube not so good like in Moscow, but for me it was OK, because I had reached my destination without any problems and additional money. There was my first problem – my train had been cancelled. But near platform was railwayman who explained how could I reach Cambridge by another train and bus (without any additional money or any tickets!) I had done it because I know English language, but I could see how two students from China missed they train (they were very cool and reach with cellular phones) and I hope they could reach Cambridge by another train. I called to Johnatan about changing my destination and he said that he could intercept me at this new station.

Johnatan is a scientist and he sent into his e-mail his picture, so I could recognise him without any problems. It was very exiting meeting for me because it was my fist friends in England. I had a lot of questions about the UK and a British lifestyle and nobody could answer except Johnatan and Nancy. They showed me Cambridge’s environs with very good explanations. We were speaking all time when I was with they – tonnes of new information.

Cambridge is a very beautiful city with a lot of historical and scientific traditions. I could see a lot of places that I had read before – universities, college’s churches. Every place in Cambridge connected with world history and you have to see this place by yourself (it would be unforgettable impressions into your life). My guides couldn’t clearly explain how work this huge educational system (I drew the obvious inference that all are very complicated).

Education for England is the most important business. This business gives revenue for country and promotes English lifestyle around the world. Now I can understand why so small (geographical) country had, has and will have large influence around the world. English people use they brain a lot for it – they sell knowledge and the English language. It is difficult to say what was the first – knowledge or language, but the English Language is main for conversation between countries and English University degree recognised everywhere. This policy is on a Government level – if you want study and have enough money – you could apply British visa without any problems. I am delighted with this policy!

Few hours pass through like several minutes and I had to return to Hastings. This trip showed for me that my impression about England was wrong – the UK is very flexible country that can change infrastructure for new kinds of business. I could saw the business system like in the US – many modern international companies at the one place (the silicon fen). I like this country!

My return trip was long and very interesting. I could see people, who didn’t pay for they trip, drug addicts into London’s railway station toilet. My journey was not danger or tiring – it was exiting trip through unknown country for me. Now I like the British railways – very convenient kind of transport for explore the UK.


The teacher Bernie.

I had opinion that English education is a bit slow, but my new teacher Bernie had broken it very easy. Her lesson was very dynamic and useful. We were working on our lessons very quickly and productivity. Teacher’s sense of humour made our lessons very interesting and exiting. I was really sorry that I could spend only eight weeks for improving my English.

Some times our lessons had visited teachers form other countries (the Embassy CES trains and English teachers too). I liked these visits, because our new ‘students’ told to us they history and another interesting things. I could remember two teachers from the US – Alaska and Kentucky. The main reason why they was training in England – money (study English in England more cheaply then in the US or Canada). One young female teacher from Italy said that she likes England and it more closely to her house. Probationer from Germany teach us for one hour and I won small bar of chocolate (I like his lesson!) There was at school free afternoon lessons – probationers were training there. As said my friends it was very interesting free lessons.



All up to you. If you need study English and have high motivation you would study and your trip to England would not be a waste of money and time. For me the education process was the main fun, but I was exception from the rule. Enjoy study and enjoy life, be a free and independent person, but don’t forget about politeness and real world outside school (very cruel world).

I could see many teachers, different kinds of lessons and activities. I hope all this things can help me continue my life, because study English is only your first step into your future. Thank you very much the Embassy CES for all. I hope to see you again.

June 2001, Hastings, England