Not at all! There are also all kinds of courses for adults. I was quite surprised when I realized this for the first time. It’s not too late to have a language course even in my late forties. Last year I noticed that Vantaa adult school is organizing courses in England. I decided to take part in a course in Chester. I haven’t studied English for a long time and I really want to improve it. I didn’t know the students or the teacher before, so I was little nervous before the course.
I met other the students and the teacher at the airport on early Sunday morning the 20th of May. Everyone was nice and I knew this will become a pleasant week. We flew to Manchester and had taxi transfer to accommodation in Chester.
About half of Vantaa students had a homestay accommodation. I chose a bed and breakfast guesthouse near to City. The name of the Guesthouse was Green Gables. Guest house owner, Dorota, was a very friendly lady and we talked to each other every day. Dorota’s house was a lovely, old fashion building, very peaceful and clean. Breakfast was a typical English breakfast: eggs, bacon, beans, toast, tea or coffee. I walked to school and back to Green Gables every day. It took only 20 minutes from City centre. I really enjoyed seeing English gardens and houses when I walked to the school. Weather was also good whole week, I didn’t need an umbrella at all. Even though I was in England!
Green Gables, Eversley Park, Chester
School started at 9.30 every morning. After the first lesson we had a half hour break. Lunch break was between second and third lessons. There were restaurants near the school, so it was easy to have a lunch during school days. Those who had homestay, had usually little lunch bags with them. The last lesson was at 14.45-15.45, so schooldays were quite long. But we didn’t have any homework and lessons were easy and relaxed, so it wasn’t tiring. There were many nationalities at school. I talked to Japanese woman who had been in Chester last autumn and now she came back again. She really loved the school and Chester.
Hallway of the school
The School building was old and cosy. It was near the City, so shopping after schooldays was easy. Chester has been a shopping city since the Middle Ages, so it has lot of different stores. I think Chester was also just the right size, not too small or not too big city. We also had activities after school days, for example we went to a pub and visited Cheshire Oaks, an outlet village outside Chester.
After the first school day we had orientation tour in city. Our teacher Sue, told us about the history of the city. It was very interesting! Chester has a great history and a lot of old, beautiful buildings. Romans ruled the area 2000 years ago. Chester still has the most complete City Walls in Britain from the Roman age. There is also a Roman Amphitheatre and Roman gardens. Chester has also “younger” treasures, for example a 1000-year-old cathedral. There was so much to see in Chester – week was too short time to see everything!
Orientation tour in Chester
Excursion to Liverpool
On Wednesday we had a half day excursion to Liverpool. We had about 3 hours to visit the city – unfortunately time went too fast. Anne, Jorma and I visited the huge Liverpool Cathedral and had lunch in Jamie Oliver’s restaurant. After that it was time to go back to bus. Liverpool looked fashionable, it’s a mixture of old and modern architecture. Before I thought Liverpool is not a very attractive city but now I don’t agree with that.
Old and modern buildings in Liverpool
Traditional afternoon tea
Our teacher Laura asked us if we would like to visit a traditional English tearoom instead of having a class lesson on Friday afternoon. It’s was a good idea and we had a lovely afternoon tea with scones in one of the oldest tearooms in Chester. Another teacher, Sue, gave us a recipe for scones, so we can enjoy English tastes at home too.
Excursion to North Wales
On Saturday we had a full day excursion to North Wales. Sue, who was born in Wales, taught us some words in Welsh before the excursion. I still remember “Bore da”, that means good morning in Welsh. People in Wales are proud of they own culture but they have to do a lot of work to maintain their own language and culture. It’s not easy to live with a powerful neighbour, Finns know that too.
The first stop in Wales was a seaside town, Llandudno. Most of the buildings in Llandudno were built in the Victorian era. Llandudno has been a popular tourist resort for a long time. The most funniest thing in Llandudno was a long pier. There were lots of shops, cafes, benches and fun for children along the pier. And at same time when you walk along the pier, you can see and admire the sea. How lovely! After Llandudno we visited an old castle, Conwy. Conwy has a huge history, it was built by Edward I in 13th century. On Saturday evening, after Wales excursion, we had good time together in a restaurant in Chester.
The long pier in Llandudno
So, week went fast and on Sunday we flew back to Finland. I really enjoyed my week in Chester. Everything was well organized, thank you especially, teacher Elina!
Text: Satu Kuittinen
Photos: Satu Kuittinen (2, 3, 4, 5) Tarja Koskela (1, 6)