Hi Nadine and Aoife,
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview.
- So, let’s begin. It is only a few weeks now to Summer School 2016. How is the planning going? What new things can a student expect this year?
Aoife: Me! This is my first year as Assistant Director of Studies of the Summer School, and I’m really looking forward to it. We have some new courses on offer this year too.
Nadine: Things are shaping up nicely. Check out our new academic courses and afternoon options – some with a special focus on speaking and learning some authentic colloquial expressions to impress your friends and teachers!
- Last year was the biggest (and best) Summer School yet for UCC. What did you learn from it?
Nadine: I learnt that I had to be very organised and be very specific about what I was trying to communicate to people whether in admin, my colleagues and peers or to students. I also learnt that planning ahead is the key.
- The students who come from all over the world for Summer School say that they love the social programme. Why do you think that is?
Aoife: Over the last few years, I’ve accompanied the students on various trips and outings and they really are so much fun. On one trip to Cobh last year, one student was looking out over Cork harbour under a blue sky. He breathed in the sea air and sighed. ‘This is where I’m going to retire to’, he said. That’s what it’s all about for me – getting out there and seeing beautiful places that inspire you.
- What can a student expect from this year’s social programme?
Nadine: Some old favourites like Kissing the Blarney stone and The Whiskey factory (including tastings!) but also some new offerings (watch this space!) – we always listen to feedback and tailor trips accordingly.
- There are different accommodation options for students to choose from. What do you think is better: staying with an Irish host family or student accommodation?
Aoife: I think this really depends on each person individually. Staying with a host family obviously gives you maximum exposure to English as a language, but for some, the option of student accommodation can provide a lifestyle (and social life!) more similar to what they have at home.
- What advice would you give students coming to improve their English in Summer School 2016?
Aoife: Over the years, I’ve noticed that successful students do two things that really helps their English to improve: (1) They engage in activities they enjoy while they’re here like watching movies, listening to music, playing badminton or salsa-dancing where they pick up the language naturally in a relaxed environment and (2) they write down new vocabulary they learn in those contexts and check later in a dictionary or ask their teacher about it.
Nadine: Talk to as many people as possible. Talk about the weather to native speakers at bus stops, talk to other students in other levels, talk to social programme leaders, talk to host mother/brother/sister etc “Talk til the cows come home” as they say!
- How about your own summer; will you get a chance to have a holiday?
Aoife: I’ll be working here at UCC Language Centre for the duration of the Summer School (and beyond!), so I’m planning to make the most of my weekends.
Nadine: I have a week off next week and 2 weeks off after summer school is all over (Phew!) but we will be raring to go and looking forward to welcoming all the students from the end of June til September! (Thanks for asking!)
If you are interested in coming to improve your English and experience life in Cork, you can find all details here.
Make sure to check out some of the other interviews with students who have come to previous Summer Schools here.
What is life like with an Irish host family. Find out here.