SGI recently had a special group of Chinese students studying English in London with us. The Chinese students (all female) are all studying fashion at colleges in China, including the Beijing College of Fashion.
SGI made a unique course for this group, so that they could study 20 hours of English lessons in TWO days. This left 3 days to experience London in Fashion Week... perfect!
Here is a report about this group from one of their SGI teachers, Paul.
All the students are (more or less) at B1 level. Actually, after a traditionally shy start (I'm informed by my Chinese girlfriend that, in China, students are more often lectured to than encouraged to talk), they shined and showed a very studious understanding of English grammar; and a few of them have an impressive grasp of some of the more advanced colloquial expressions.
I created lesson materials for the group around many colourful materials from the 'English for the Fashion Industry' coursebook (int-adv levels, Oxford press) online, from which I adapted. Basically, we (I and co-teacher Soteria) tailor-made (pun intended) a full-on course to set them up a little for the rest of their fashion-focused travels in England. They were a delight (and an honour) to teach.
After classes had finished, I assisted Owen (SGI's resident qualified tourist guide and teacher) escorting the group on a special Social Programme
tour of Soho and Westminster, including a short-cut through Chinatown, where I was able to impress the ladies with my knowledge of all the best restaurants (roast duck at the Four Seasons) and some side street food counters that mostly only the Chinese community know about.
My attempts to tell them a few things in Mandarin got a few laughs (my pronunciation is still quite terrible). --- In Westminster, we passed through a modest-sized protest march: Firemen outside Downing Street. Of course, such a thing is not seen in China, and I got to tell a few students about previous examples of political expression. Everyone looked quite excited by the experience.
I am planning to go to live and teach (film studies and English) in China this year. So, two of the students boldly requested that we become penpals, and exchange English lessons for Chinese via email. So, I'm already receiving daily updates on their adventures.
After SGI, the Chinese group's schedule included visits to many of the larger museums (Tate Modern, Science, V&A, British), some shopping at Harrods and Swarovski. At the Tate Modern, romantic Ruiwan "got lost" to the sound of street artists playing guitar and accordion. At the V&A, they saw the current Wedding Dress exhibition. Sunny (that's her adopted English name -- and she is extremely sunny!) was very upset that she could not be here for the Alexander McQueen exhibition (starting March 14th): McQueen is her "idol". Still, she managed to buy a very expensive book there on McQueen.
They saw a lot of things at the British Museum... some noticeably "stolen" from China!
Straight after being SGI students
, they went to London Fashion Week and saw a couple of shows. Then they studied fashion for a day at the London College of fashion and Central St Martin's College. Then they had a guided tour of the Burberry industry.
In addition to exploring London, the group visited Cambridge and Oxford, having guided tours of the universities there. They also visited the beautiful city of Bath, visiting the bath fashion museum and the Roman baths.
THE STUDENTS' OPINIONS
Some more quotes from my mails..... Ruiwan has "fallen in love with the city" (London), she says “not only the view is cool, people here are also friendly and loving, just like you” [i.e. me, their teacher -- aahhh]. Ruiwan is also very taken with English men who "look very cool and smart". Alas, she knows that their busy schedule will not allow her time to find an English boyfriend.
Overall they had a "very rich experience". -- Sunny said, "London is a very luxurious city, Cambridge is beautiful and peaceful, and Oxford is the place I want to study and live in.”
They returned to China and everyone at SGI was sad to see them go, but I have been invited for a tour of all the best food outlets in Beijing.