Adriana Arias was an executive student at BridgeEnglish Denver for two months in the Spring of 2012. Having a job in international relations for the government in Colombia, it is extremely important for her to be able to speak English fluently because a large part of her job is communicating with people from all over the world, in English. Adriana was a pleasure to have in class. Full of Latina fire, she expressed her opinions freely and with conviction, and outside of class she was equally fun, joining both students and teachers in social events and trips around Colorado. Her stay here was short but her impact on fellow students and teachers will endure. She has since been back to work in Bogotá and continues to study English and speak it whenever she can.
AB: Adriana, tell me a little about yourself.
AA: My name is Adriana Arias. I’m from Colombia. Right now, I am living in Bogotá, the capital of the country, but because of my job, I have lived in different countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, Canada and Italy. I work for the government in diplomacy so it takes me to many different countries. I was actually born in the United States, in Ohio. My father also worked for the government, so my parents were in the US when I was born.
AB: How is the English education system in Columbia?
AA: English education in Colombia is good in general, but learning a second language is always a personal challenge so it depends on how far you want to go with it. I had English classes in high school and then I studied English at university and took courses after that also.
AB: Why is speaking English important to you?
AA: Speaking English fluently is important for me because it is an effective tool for having a better approach to other cultures. At the same time, you can also let other people know your own cultural ideas, needs, values and feelings. It is very important for my job also because I travel so much and work in international relations, so English is the common language that most people in my line of work have to use to be able to communicate with one another.
AB: Why did you choose Bridge?
AA: I chose Bridge when I was looking for a nice place to study English in the US. I found it online and decided that Colorado and Denver sounded like a good place to be. I also chose Bridge because its emphasis is on communication skills and I really liked that. Colorado is a beautiful state and I love the mountains. I really enjoyed the time I spent in Denver.
AB: How was your experience at Bridge?
AA: My experience at Bridge was really marvelous! I found a group of nice, funny, intelligent and generous teachers and a staff that was always kind and available. My classmates were from many interesting places and so sharing time with them was an excellent opportunity to learn about other cultures. Denver was a very good choice because I could go hiking in the Rockies and experience many other things like the Sand Dunes National Park and Vail. That was great. I went to many restaurants and bars and saw a lot of the state. Also, the people are very friendly.
AB: What is the most difficult aspect of learning English for you? Why?
AB: The most difficult part of learning English for me is getting enough confidence to speak to people. That’s why you need to practice a lot with natives and coming to Bridge and to Denver was a great way to constantly be surrounded by native English speakers and people who were learning English. There are English schools in Bogotá of course, but all of the students are Colombian so there is always a lot of Spanish speaking going on in the class and outside of the class. It is a comfort zone to revert back to speaking Spanish but, at Bridge, I had to speak English because everyone was from different countries, so there were many other languages aside from Spanish.
AB: Would you recommend Bridge to others who want to learn English? Why?
AA: I already did! I want to share the good experience I had in Denver studying at Bridge. I would definitely recommend Bridge to anyone looking to learn English and who wants to experience a beautiful state filled with nature and mountains.
AB: What have you been doing since returning back to Colombia? Do you feel like your English skills improved and have helped you with your work?
AA: Since returning to Colombia, I’ve been working with the government for my job. I had to take an exam for a promotion and part of it was in English. I must say that one of the reasons for taking the course at Bridge was to prepare myself for this exam and to strengthen my communication skills. There were many technical words and difficult sentences that I needed to learn how to say. I was so nervous. The teachers helped me a lot at Bridge and I feel I improved quite a bit. At the end I got a very good grade on my oral exam. Thank you guys!