Andres is from Colombia, and is studying at ELC Boston for five weeks in our IELTS Preparation Course. Back home, Andres works as a lawyer, but he is enjoying his time as a student in Boston – exploring the city before he returns home for grad school. Andres is known around ELC for his positive attitude, dedication to improving his English, and cheering on the Red Sox and Celtics with his fellow classmates!
Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place(s).
I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. Bogota is the capital city in Colombia, it’s big, on the top of the mountains, it’s hot, but also rains a lot. The weather is sometimes cold, it changes a lot, but mostly it’s hot. I went to university in downtown Bogota and it’s very fun, there is a lot to do!
What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
I like to watch movies a lot. I don’t have a favorite genre, I like all kinds of movies. I prefer to watch certain directors, like Stanley Kubrick, and watch all of his movies. I like to dance, I used to play drums, but when I was younger. I like to read and write, but I don’t get a lot of time to read literature. I have to read a lot for my profession, I read a lot of court cases, contracts and theory stuff. The most normal stuff I read on a daily basis is the news! I write a lot for work, I used to write a lot in college, but now I just don’t have time. I would like to write more!
What is your special talent?
I think writing is my special talent. I still don’t have time for writing when I’m here (Boston) because I am studying for the IELTS exam.
What is your profession? What do you like about it?
I am a lawyer, I like argumentation and supporting my arguments. It’s fun finding ways to support my ideas. I’m a corporate lawyer, I like giving advice to companies. When I was doing my bachelors studies, I studied philosophy and law, and was really into legal theory and constitutional law. When I was looking at jobs after I graduated all the available jobs were in corporate law.
Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Pets? Do they live close to you?
I don’t have any kids, I have a cat at home, a lynx point siamese. I also have two sisters and a brother. I don’t live with my parents anymore, but we all live in Bogota, really close to each other, we’re like all neighbors.
Why did you choose to study English in Boston? Did you consider other options?
I did consider other cities, but Boston was the only place I could find with an IELTS preparation course. That was mostly the reason. I have family in other places in the United States, but when I found out I was going to come here, I was happy because this is a city that’s really good for students, a city that is really focused on students and studying. It’s a cool city.
What are all the ways that Boston is different than your city/town?
Oh, a lot of ways! For example, in Bogota, we don’t have subways. It’s the capital city, but we have never been able to build a subway, which is bad. We have terrible traffic in the city. So, I really love the public transportation in Boston. Another thing, the weather here, in this moment it’s supposed to be summer, but it’s always changing! The weather here is very different here than Bogota. In Bogota people speak Spanish *laughs* obviously, that’s different.
What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Boston? Did you experience any culture shock?
No, not really. Maybe only that my family isn’t here. It’s not hard to adjust to the culture here, but I’m learning about other cultures here. For example, I did not know about Ramadan. In Colombia, of course we have Muslim people, we have all different cultures and people, but I don’t get to interact with them on a regular basis. Here, I’m always interacting with different people every day. That’s more of an impact, but in a good way, good culture shock!
What do you miss most about your country?
Only my family maybe. I haven’t been here too long, so it’s not much time to miss anything. Maybe I miss my apartment, I have a really cool apartment. It’s big and in a cool place in Bogota.
What are your top three favorite places in Boston?
I like the Boston Common and Melrose, the neighborhood I live. I like to walk around there, there are a lot of pretty houses. There’s a few restaurants, good ones, but the place is really beautiful. Hmmm, I also love the subway. I like that it’s big, you can go anywhere. Even the commuter rail is good.
Where have you found the best food from your country in Boston?
I haven’t yet! I didn’t really look for Colombian food here.
Favorite moment in class at ELC:
Dave’s classes are really fun, he’s always joking, he makes people do push-ups. Dave’s class the other day was pretty cool, it was kind of an American history lesson about different generations. So it was more like a lesson, but the information was cool and very informative. It was a good class.
Favorite activity at ELC:
The soccer was cool. I don’t really know how to play, I like to watch and go to the games. I don’t usually play, but I would definitely play again as an activity.
What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?
I think that maybe living the culture will help you a lot. Not just studying it by yourself in your home in your native country, but studying it in a country with native speakers and experiencing their culture. If you have a direct practice with native speakers, can be in situations where you will be to speak with native speakers, like going to parties for example. You will be able to speak with other people in English.
What are your plans after ELC?
When I get home to Colombia I will return to my job. I am going to take my IELTS exam and do my masters degree in law, my LLM. I may go abroad again to do it because I want to do it in an English speaking country, which is why I wanted to study IELTS. It’s all about the master’s degree!