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Student name: Giulia Consonni
Home country: Italy
Profession: Customer services
Course: Octorial programme
Course dates: 5 June – 26 June 2016

Did you study English before coming to Oxford?

I studied for 5 years at school, but it was just a couple of hours a week. The classes were very large – more than twenty students in a class. This made it hard to learn, especially because everyone had different levels of interest and ability.

What is your work?

I used to study law, but now I work with my father and my husband. They are optometrists. I work mainly front of house, speaking with clients.

Does your family speak English?

My husband speaks a little bit, but my dad speaks good English. He studied a masters at Latvia University. He studied there because the qualification in optometry is better recognised from there. He had to do his course in English. I studied law at Pavia, the second oldest University in Italy after Bologna, it is very beautiful.

Are there any particular areas of English you would like to improve in?

Often places you go, even if they speak English, the accents are difficult to understand. I want to be able to understand more quickly what people are saying.

Have you covered any topics of particular interest to you while learning English?

Some lessons focused on culture and art vocabulary. I think this is my favourite subject. The vocabulary is useful to me because when I go to new places I want to be able to speak about the art and culture of that place.

What has been your biggest improvement?

I think my biggest improvement has been that I think less in Italian when I am trying to speak English. In my first week I had to think everything in Italian first and translate in my head. Now I try and think in English. I also have a much bigger English vocabulary which is great.

Do you think you have achieved what you hoped in the weeks you were in Oxford?

Since I have been in Oxford I understand people around me better. For example, when I am on the bus and I hear people speaking I can understand most of their conversation. This also helps getting around more easily in general which was important for me. I have really enjoyed Oxford because it is a young city with a lot of people around me learning which is inspiring.