Learning English profile: 33 years-old Jaime Azcárate comes from Zaragoza (Spain) and works as an ESL (English as a second language) coordinator at a High school in Chicago, Illinois, USA. –Read more about Chicago-. He speaks English fluently and he’s travelled around the world for many years (Check it on his blog).
· How did you learn English? Did you go to an Official School of Languages? Did you go to a Private Academy? By yourself?
My dad is an English teacher. He used to teach me when I was very young and he took me a couple of summers to Cambridge (UK) where I studied at an English School Camp. That is where I started focusing on learning properly English language.
· What would you recommend somebody who´s learning English?
I recommend people to spend as much time as possible at an English speaking country.
· How was the first time you talked in English with a foreign? Was it difficult or easy?
I was 11 when I first went to London (England), I remembered the other person barely understood me. I then realized the English I learned at school was useless when it came to communicate with a real person.
· Which other languages can you speak?
A little bit of French.
· Which other languages would you like to speak?
I prefer to improve my English.
· Is the Chicago accent very difficult to understand?
Midwest accent varies somehow from different accents of different parts of the country, but nothing extremely complicated.
· If I travel to Chicago, What would you recommend me to visit?
Definitely the unique architecture building at downtown, the famous bean, plenty of lively neighborhoods, amazing rooftops, blues and soul bars and don’t forget to attend a sports event (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey).
· Is Chicago an expensive city compared to Zaragoza?
It is really expensive, specially housing, clothes and food. The average Chicagoans income is really high too.
· Are Chicago people open-minded or shy?
They are open minded, this is a city where residents and people of all over the world cohabit everyday so there is a big feeling of belonging to a big multicultural society.
· Was it difficult adapting to the Chicagoan way of life? For example: They usually have lunch or dinner earlier than in Spain.
It is hard at the beginning, especially the first 2 months. I can say I am still struggling lunch, which is really early in the morning as well as dinner. Winters are really tough. It snows a lot. Distances among places are really big.
· What do you miss from Zaragoza? The family, the food?
A more laid back lifestyle basically. Zaragoza is a small city where you can walk everywhere. That does not happen in Chicago. Warmer weather. Everyone misses family and friends too.
· Would you like to live in another country? Why?
I would consider living again in the USA but in a different area, probably the west coast.
· Do you know somebody that we should interview for this section?
I can tell you people in London.
· Anything else you’d like to add…
Come and visit Chicago. One of the best cities in the world but don’t do it during winter time. It is very cold!
Thank you very much Jaime!
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