From Advanced Course to “um …” and “er …”

Our post this week is by Lisa Erne from Germany, who’s spending a few months with us at EuroTalk as an intern. Lisa’s been in London now for six weeks, and here she shares some of her experiences so far.

When I arrived in London a few weeks ago I expected a tough start but people here made it very easy for me to feel comfortable. I moved to Brent where I supposed to live with four other housemates, I was really nervous, but there was no reason for that. I was very welcome.

I noticed really fast that the English are always easy-going like always saying sorry, even when you hit them by accident. Every day in the morning on my way to the tube I got like three “Good-Morning’s” from people, who are just passing my way. And everyone here is always pleased to help.

When I started school in the Central School of English near Tottenham Court Road I made easily friends with people from all over the world.

I felt quickly that I “improved” my English. After a few days I lost the habit of saying “um…” and “er…” all the time when thinking about the right words when having a conversation. I mean, home in Germany at my school I was in advanced course of English but you never had like a real conversation situation. The teacher asks you something and you will answer in a few sentences. There has never been real circumstances like this for me. When you’re here you’re forced nearly all the time to speak English. Even a little chat with the cashier in the Tesco supermarket can be a good practice.

Oxford Street - great for shopping!London is a varied city, even if I didn’t do any sightseeing yet, I saw a lot of different attractive areas here. There is Camden Town, where you can find a lot of markets and Tattoo & Piercing Shops. Oxford Street became one of my favourite places to be. When the temperatures were still warm, my friends and me walked from our school over Oxford Street to Hyde Park to enjoy the sun. While walking we did window shopping a lot, or just enjoyed everything else around. Also one of our favourite places became the Thames in general, just sitting at the water hanging out.

I already love London, but there are things that drive me mad. One of these things are the tubes. Tubes are always crowded and always late and they stop driving around midnight, but I got already used to it. Buses are the essential alternative to that, but I couldn’t really make friends with them either, because the timetables are sometimes very confusing. And the prices such as for tube tickets and cigarettes are an essential difference to for example in Berlin. Now I’ll really appreciate the prices there when I come back.London Underground (the tube)

A great difference to Berlin is that shops here are opened on every Sunday, even till late hours. In Germany we have just a few weekends when the shops are open on Sundays like some weekends before Christmas, so people can do their last minute present shopping.

As well I enjoy the pubs pretty much. We don’t have a lot of them in Germany, but if it is no spot for young people, more for elder people who want to have a drink on their own after a stressful working day. Here it is a lot more fun, you always get to know new people. My favourite became The Green Man near Oxford Street, because you can also dance there, and The Crown, where many students of the Central School go on Fridays and the drinks are also very affordable.

After all this adventures and experiences yet I can say that London is a place, where I never learned so much about people and life.

Since the six weeks that I’m here I feel pretty much adapted to the lifestyle here and also a little bit of a part of London. I can already say that I won’t forget the time here ever.


Has anyone got any suggestions for places that Lisa should visit while she’s in London?

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