Marcel is from Burkina Faso, and studied at ELC Santa Barbara for 10 weeks in our Cambridge Advanced English Course. He always had a huge grin on his face, and could brighten anyone’s day at any time! You could find him challenging other ELC students at card games, teaching ELC staff his Tae Kwon Do black-belt moves, or shaking it on the dance floor.
Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place(s).
I was born in Treichville in Côte d’Ivoire. I grew up there until the end of my primary school. Treichville, one of the districts in Abidjan City, is a nice coastal district. My parents worked hard for many years. After my primary school, we left this country for Burkina Faso, our country of origin. Burkina Faso is a country with low income.
What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
For fun, I am practicing Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art. My friend and I created a Tae Kwon Do school for kids and adults. I also like playing soccer. Furthermore, I enjoy traveling, reading, and spending time with my family.
What is your special talent?
My special talent is my ability to teach other people. I was a teacher at the National School of Public Health (NSPH) in my country and I am trying to teach Tae Kwon Do.
What is your profession? What do you like about it?
I am a nurse specialist in surgery. I have about 20 years of experience in the medical field. Currently, I am working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). I like to provide health care to patients and save lives.
Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Do they live close to you?
I am married and I have two daughters (10 years and 7 months old). My parents are dead. I had ten brothers and five sisters, but four of them have died as well. We are very close to each other. I feel happy when I am with my family members.
Why did you choose to study English in Santa Barbara? Did you consider other options?
I chose to study English in the USA because American English is the most appreciated in my organization. I have chosen to come to Santa Barbara especially because it is a small coast city and I had the opportunity to take the English Course and participate in an Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN) course at the same time.
What are all the ways that Santa Barbara is different than your city/town?
I live in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso. Ouagadougou is bigger than Santa Barbara. Furthermore, Ouagadougou is a land city whereas Santa Barbara is a coast city. So, you can spend time on the beach in Santa Barbara. Moreover, Ouagadougou is less developed than Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara’s climate is mild and cold, but in Ouagadougou, the climate is harsh and hot.
What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Santa Barbara? Did you experience any culture shock?
In Santa Barbara, I was most surprised to learn about the learning system with lots of homework. Also, I was surprised to learn about Halloween celebrations.
What do you miss most about your country?
My family misses me enormously. I also miss my country’s food (like Rizan Soumbala and chicken barbeque).
What are your top three favorite places in Santa Barbara?
Where have you found the best food from your country in Santa Barbara?
I have found the best food from my home country with my host family.
Favorite moment in class at ELC:
C-Block with speaking gave me many moments to test my speaking level. The extra tutoring with Michael, Karen, Julia, and Chloe was also very helpful.
Favorite activity at ELC:
What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?
What are your plans after ELC?