As my previous blog posts have indicated I have had a summer of travelling and one of my stops was London where I stayed at Roehampton University partaking in a programme called Angloville.
First I should probably explain what Angloville is. Angloville is a language programme with a main aim to improve the fluency of speakers that have English as a second language. So instead of the English teaching going on in a classroom environment, non English native speakers and English native speakers spend time together talking, doing activities and games to improve overall English levels.
Angloville is a Polish company so most of the non English speakers are Polish. However, the programmes take place at lots of venues around Europe including England, Ireland, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic … which means participants could come from a number of countries. Angloville also caters for a range of ages as there are three different programmes – for kids, juniors and adults. I opted for the juniors when applying to be a native speaker volunteer and have now done two junior programmes. The adult and kids programmes are held at the same venue and I definitely made the right decision – personally I think you need the patience of a saint to do the kids one! The teens can range from around 13 to 19 which is great because you get to speak about very different topics depending on age (I didn’t anticipate having highly intellectual political discussions with Polish kids, but it happened!)
The London Angloville was my first programme this summer and I signed up on a whim when I found out I was going to Denmark for placement. I saw this summer as the opportunity to do something a bit different so I decided to leave my job and look for some sort of summer internship or opportunity. I started Googling (because I always use reliable sources obviously!) and happened across Angloville’s promises of cheap travel. Anyone who knows me and even those who have read some of my posts will know that I love travel, new places, new people and new cultures and this summer certainly hasn’t disappointed. I was at Angloville for ten days and it was great because I got to see a lot of London as we took the juniors on loads of trips since they had all come over from Poland. Being responsible for two 13-year-olds around the London Underground is still one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done – I feel like I know the stresses of motherhood now!
We spent one day around the South Bank area which I love since I think the street food there is amazing. We walked to the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern. As more of a fan of classical art than modern I wasn’t really too interested in this particular museum so us native speakers went for a walk around the South Bank drinking coffee and chatting.
We also spent a day at the National History Museum which is the most beautiful building. However, it did slightly depress me as everything there is pretty much stuffed and dead. But there were a few stand out exhibits and the dinosaur section was absolutely spectacular with a live dinosaur model as well as huge skeletons and bones. There is also a part of the museum where an escalator goes through a round structure which is the Earth’s core – as you get higher it feels like you are entering all the lava and fire. I did like spending the day in the museum but it was the spectacular view down onto the main entrance from the top of the stairs which was my favourite thing about it.
I also spent a whole day sightseeing with Angloville where we caught the Tube to Leicester Square and ended up in a big flash mob to uptown funk which was super weird – but is now crossed off my bucket list. I’m pretty sure London tourists may have some Snapchats of me dancing very badly to uptown funk. From Leicester Square it is just around the corner to Chinatown which we had a very brief look at and then we walked to Trafalgar Square where Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery are. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to go to the gallery but now I’ve got an excuse to go back to London. We then walked to Buckingham Palace and down to Westminster to visit Big Ben. This wasn’t even the best part of the day because we then went to the Tower of London where I got to see the amazing view of Tower Bridge. Another of my highlights of the had to be going in to see the crown jewels which were so beautiful (if you know me at all you’ll know I’m magnetised towards glitter meaning I was internally plotting how to get one into my handbag). Since this was England we did have one trip in which we nearly drowned due to torrential rain. This was the Harry Potter Tour of London where the most enthusiastic tour guide I’ve ever met took us to filming locations and to places that inspired J.K.Rowling when creating the wizarding world of Harry Potter. I thought we all might catch pneumonia but it was so fun.
I gained three main things from Angloville trip to London. The first was that I was so much more confident about my upcoming trip to Europe where I would be completing my second programme a few days after. Travelling to Poland by myself was a big deal to me and going to London and knowing how the programme worked was a massive boost. The second thing I gained was a real sense of pride in the young people I spent the week with. It sounds cheesy but you really get to know the individuals – the funny ones, quiet ones, smart ones – and when they were presenting their end of week presentations I was cheering and rooting for them to do well. The last and most important thing I got was some amazing friends. Angloville native speakers are often from around the globe. On my programme there were three from England, one from India (international student studying in England), two from America, and others from Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland (schooled in America) and Spain. Now two people that I speak to nearly every day and are such amazing friends are from Goa in India and LA! It’s so strange. Before the summer I would never have thought I’d be planning where in the world I would get to see them next or if they would be flying to Birmingham to see me.
Even though I have ambitions to travel, I frget the world is bigger than Birmingham … England … Europe. I’ve never even been outside of Europe but this summer I’ve met so many incredible people from around the world with so many interesting stories, qualities and talents (I’ve seen Gian do the splits and read Prerana’s poetry and seen James dance to Fergalicious. All highly memorable for different reasons!)
So my next post will be about my Angloville trip to Poland – an even bigger adventure!