Remember that person in high school who was friends with everyone and always had something fun or exciting going on, the person who always knew where the parties were and what everyone was doing that weekend? At BridgeEnglish Denver, that person is definitely Abbas Hassani.
Abbas is without a doubt the “social director” of the school. If you want to know which bar everyone is going to on Friday night or which activities everyone is doing on Saturday, you’d better ask Abbas because he will be there, and, what’s more, he wants you to be there. Everyone knows him and, if you are a new student, you will know who he is on your first day even if you don’t have any of the same classes with him. His presence is everywhere. He has been at BridgeEnglish Denver longer than some of the teachers, over a year. He isn’t a teacher nor does he work at the school. He is a student and he is definitely the “boss” of the school’s social scene.
AB: Abbas, tell me a little about your background and how you came to BridgeEnglish Denver.
AH: I am originally from Tehran, Iran. After university in Tehran, I lived all over Europe for about seven years. I lived in Vienna, Budapest, Stockholm and Oslo. When I was living in Europe, I spoke some English but I wasn’t fluent or anything. I had a lot of American friends and international friends who spoke English and so I quickly improved. After living in Europe, I moved to the United States to study English at Midwest University in Texas. I studied there for one year. It was really a great experience because I was studying English with a group of Italian air force pilots. We became friends and it was neat learning about the Italian air force. Their accent was so funny, like the typical Italian accent you hear in movies.
AB: Did you study English in Iran?
AH: Yes. In Iran, we have to study English starting from age twelve until the end of high school. I know that sounds like a lot but the reality is that, even though we studied English, we never had a chance to actually speak it. The teachers in the schools in Iran don’t even speak English that well so it is almost impossible to improve. We were, however, really good at grammar and writing but those skills are moot if you can’t speak the language. So I knew I had to study somewhere else.
AB: So how did you end up at BridgeEnglish Denver?
AH: I was searching on the Internet for GRE prep courses and noticed that, at the time, Bridge was offering a course. Denver seemed like a cool place to live so I moved to Denver and started taking classes at Bridge. First, I took some private classes and then I started the academic program full-time and then switched to the general program.
AB: What is your favorite part about BridgeEnglish Denver?
AH: The social aspect of course! The classes are really good and I have learned a lot but my favorite part of Bridge is all of the friends I have made from all over the world. I have had so much fun here with all of my friends. Not only are the students my friends but also the teachers. The relationship between the students and the teachers is the best part of Bridge. The teachers are so special and cool and they really are our friends. The Happy Hours are so fun and all of the extra-curricular activities that Bridge does make the school so great. Another favorite part about being here is my host mother. She is a wonderful person. I couldn’t have asked for a better host mom. She drives me anywhere I want to go, especially when it’s cold outside. She treats me like a prince and she is the best host mom ever!
AB: What are some things you like about Denver?
AH: I really love Denver and all of Colorado. It’s awesome. The weather is great and there is so much to do here. The people are really friendly. I mean, people are friendly all over the US but especially in Denver. I have done so many things here. I have gone hiking in Golden Gate Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and Garden of the Gods. I have gone to the (Denver) art and science museums many times and I really love to bike in Washington Park and City Park. This place is awesome!
AB: So what are your plans after Bridge?
AH: I would like to go to Texas A and M or Stockholm University to get my PhD in physics. My first choice is Texas because I love the US but Stockholm would also be great. I hope to go in the Fall of this year. My goal is to win the Nobel Prize in nuclear physics. I think I can do it.
AB: I am sure you can.