Stephan Käsermann is one of a kind here at Bridge. He is always the center of everything fun. During class breaks, other students flock to him to hear his jokes or hear about his shenanigans over the weekend. His boisterous laugh is contagious and identifiable, filling the halls with humor and happiness. He is the student everyone wants to know and standing at an impressive six feet four inches, his presence is undeniable. Stephan has been studying at Bridge since March and is sadly leaving us in September. Not only is he popular amongst the students but he has also been a major contributor in launching the new Business English program here at BridgeEnglish Denver, giving his feedback and suggestions on what aspects of business foreign students really want to focus on. He speaks four languages fluently, is an accomplished mechanic and is only 22 years old. I think all the students and teachers alike will agree that, when Stephan leaves, the halls of Bridge will feel a little emptier, but his legacy as the “coolest kid in class” will remain indefinitely.
AB: Stephan, tell me a little about yourself
SK: I am from Fribourg, Switzerland. I am a polymechanic which means that I can work on all kinds of mechanical parts, machinery, and vehicles, anything mechanical basically. I went to a technical college to learn my trade after high school and then I did an apprenticeship for four years at a factory. I also love working and restoring vintage cars. I recently restored a Triumph Spitfire. She is my baby. Before I came to Denver I was doing the mandatory army service which is a requirement for men in Switzerland. There, I worked as a mechanic on tanks and learned a lot.
AB: What was your English education like in Switzerland?
SK: We start learning English when we are around 14 years old, in high school. The English education there is actually pretty good. There are many native English speakers from Great Britain who teach at the schools. I always enjoyed English class and my plan was always to come to North America to learn more English.
AB: You speak so well. How did you become so fluent growing up in a non-English speaking country?
SK: Well, I think when you have a passion for a language, you have a lot of motivation to speak and learn as much as you can. I really have a passion for the English language so I studied very hard and watched English movies and paid attention in class. I was very interested in English, so I think when you are interested in something it is easier to learn because you actually want to learn it.
AB: Why did you come to Colorado and to Bridge?
SK: I chose the US because I have always wanted to come here and I chose Colorado because I heard it was a great state for doing outdoor activities and sports. Plus, I am a hockey fan and so I wanted to see some hockey games but unfortunately the season was over by the time I arrived. I had already seen the coast of the US and Canada so I wanted to see something different. I like the fact that the mountains are very close to the city and it is pretty safe here and the people are friendly. I like it a lot.
AB: How did you find Bridge?
SK: I was looking for English schools specifically in Denver and I found Bridge on the Internet. It looked like a good school so I decided to go there. I also chose Bridge because I didn’t want to go to a school where there were a lot of Swiss people so as to not be tempted to speak Swiss-German. There were only a few Swiss people at Bridge and that is fine with me.
AB: What fun activities have you done here?
SK: I have been to the mountains a few times and to downtown many times. There are a lot of fun bars and good beer here! I had no idea how many micro-brews existed here in Colorado. I am a beer connoisseur so I love to try different beers and Colorado has a lot of them. I think the beer here is better than in Germany and in Switzerland. I have played a lot of volleyball at Washington Park and I also took some trips to Vegas and to San Diego.
AB: How do you like your classes?
SK: I am in the Business English program and I think that the program is very good. The teachers are experienced in business and we do different projects all the time. Business is my main focus right now because, after I leave Bridge, my goal is to work as a mechanic on offshore oilrigs doing maintenance, hopefully in Canada. My English has become stronger for sure. Since my level was pretty high when I came here, my learning curve was smaller than someone who starts off at a level one or two but I know that I have improved and my vocabulary has expanded a lot.
AB: What has been your favorite part about Bridge and Denver?
SK: I would have to say all of the friends and the fun I have had here. I have met so many cool people here from all over the world. It is sad when my friends leave every month but I know that I will keep in touch with them. It has been a great experience and I am hoping for good luck in finding a job soon!
(Editor note: Stephan has just returned to Switzerland after six months here and is working in his father’s business before returning to North America to work as a mechanic in Vancouver, Canada).