This is the latest Learning English With profile of this season, She’s Cristina Azcárate, Jaime’s sister: She’s 29 years old and She comes from Zaragoza, Spain. Since 2010 She has lived in the UK. She started working as a Nurse in Sheffield (South Yorkshire) and then moved in 2012 to London as She got a place to study midwifery at City University of London. Currently She works as a Community Midwife in one of the East London Hospitals.
- How did you learn English? Did you go to an Official School of Languages? Did you go to a Private Academy? By yourself?
I come from a family that love languages and specifically have an admiration of the English language and culture. My father was an English teacher (now he is retired) and he used to teach me since I was little child. He also ran a private academy where I used to spend a lot of hours learning grammar, vocabulary etc alongside other students.
- What would you recommend somebody who´s learning English?
First of all, to move to an English speaking country where you could be able to embrace the culture and practice the language. Preferably to live with an English speaking family.
- How was the first time you talked in English with a foreign? Was it difficult or easy?
The first time I spoke to an English person was at Manchester airport when I arrived to the UK for the first time. At first it was easy to understand English people as they were asking basic questions, but when I started working as a Nurse a few days later I realised that it was more complex than I thought. Especially, as the northern accent it´s very difficult to understand.
- Which other languages can you speak?
I can speak and understand French language to a middle level.
- Which other languages would you like to speak?
Indian, Rumanian or Polish, as at work I do see a lot of patients that they do not speak a word of English and this would be a good way to help them to understand how the NHS ( National Health Service ) works and how the pregnancy care, labour and postnatal care is going to be.
- Is the British accent very difficult to understand?
It depends where you are in the UK. In my opinion the London accent is the easiest one as it´s very similar to the BBC accent. But the more north you go, the more difficult it gets. Especially I find it tricky to understand the Scottish and Northern Ireland accents.
- If I travel to the UK – your city you’re living right now, what would you recommend me to visit?
I would recommend you the typical sightseeing in London like the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, London Bridge, the Tower of London, Piccadilly Street, and Buckingham Palace to name but a few… Also the most popular markets in town like Camden Town, Notting Hill, Borough Market… There´s so many things to see and explore in this city that you really need to spend a good long weekend. Last but not least do not go without trying a good Sunday Roast at a typical pub, and the popular fish & chips.
- Is your city you’re living right now-, an expensive city comparing to Zaragoza?
Massively. London rental prices and the cost of living here is very expensive. In general, I would say it is twice or three times the price of Zaragoza. That´s why loads of Brits go to Spain for holidays!
- Are British people open-minded or shy?
Londoners are quite open –minded and easy going, they are use to different cultures and nationalities although they can also be quite shy. It´s not that easy to get to now British people deeply and get into their environment.
- Was it difficult adapting yourself to the British way of life? For example: They usually have lunch or dinner earlier than in Spain.
At the beginning I remember it being a bit difficult as the culture is completely different from ours. For example, the constant politeness of asking for consent for everything and saying thank you for almost anything. The food timings: eating my lentils stew at 12.30 wasn´t very appetising and I also keep struggling to my have my dinner at an English 6 pm so I try to delay it to 8 or 9 pm if possible.
- What do you miss from Zaragoza? The family, the food?
The food, tapas, family, friends, the festivities and above all the weather!
- Would you like to live in another country? Why?
I would like to live in Australia and work there so that would give me the opportunity to travel around Asia easily. And of course the weather is much better than that in the UK.
- Anything else you’d like to add…
Come and visit London and preferably in summer time! You will enjoy it definitely!
Thank you very much Cristina!
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