I’ve been studying English at San Patricio Language Institute since I was 8 years old. And every year – both teachers and staff – continue to share new ways to learn the language I have come to love.
2018 was my first year at San Patricio Institute and it's been great. The teachers are very patient and good. They teach very well. Everyone here is friendly. I enjoy coming to the Institute, a place where I feel at home.
San Patricio is an excellent place to learn languages. I like San Patricio because they have always cared about me and helped me with my studies. There are very good teachers that are also incredible people. I started my studies here at the age of 8.
To begin learning a new language is a really difficult decision to make, due to many things. It is not easy to find a place where you can study in a relaxed yet challenging environment, feeling comfortable both with your teacher and classmates. That is why my parents, back when I was 8 years old, put their trust in San Patricio Language Institute. Only years later was I able to confirm their choice. My ultimate goal was to be prepared for the First Certificate Exam. In 2017, I successfully passed this international exam thanks to the academic as well as human support I received at San Patricio all these years.Classes with Daniela Novo at San Patricio built the necessary tools that enabled me to face such an important challenge.
Preparing the First Certificate Examination at San Patricio was a really great experience. If somebody told you that you had to study a whole year for only one exam, this could sound rather strange. But once when you begin attending classes, you realize that it is perfectly reasonable. The exam is made up of four parts; and during the year both practice and input have enabled me to feel ready for it. The most interesting part, I believe, is when we were given the chance to watch videos of people speaking in front of the examination committee. Watching these videos offers the chance to discover what sort of questions will be asked, how long the answers should be, and what the examiners expect.
In January 1997, through San Patricio Language Institute Study Abroad Program, I went to Swarthmore, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a month. I lived with an American host family that made me feel at home. I attended Strath Haven High School where I took a wide range of classes: Math, English, Biology, and U.S. History. It was a unique and wonderful experience where I was able to apply what I had learned at the Institute, both in terms of English and the U.S. culture. Through the program I learned how to become more independent and, of course, expanded my English knowledge. Now, my 11-year old daughter attends San Patricio, and I will encourage her to study abroad as well.
Life is made of experiences and I had many thanks to the Institute’s founder Graciela S. Guglielmone. In 1970, when I was 10 years old, I started studying English with the founder who helped me love the English language. After 52 years, at some point, I started teaching myself. I too make a living from teaching English. In 1997, I was part of the Study Abroad Program through the Institute chaperoned by Nestor Carlos Correa. Some of us went to Texas, the Big Sky State. I studied at Schreiner College and was hosted by the Worden family; lovely people with whom twenty years later I still remain in touch. During the program, I was able to practice my English, further my knowledge of the language and culture, and appreciate the experience in an American home. I am grateful for this as well as for the opportunity of sharing our own customs with them. My mission in life is teaching English and being part of my students’ lives. Graciela was my best teacher and has been a dear friend for over half a century.
One of the things that the Founder of the Institute, Graciela, taught me before I moved to the United States was the importance of being able to speak English in order to communicate with people. Even though I only studied at the Institute for less than a year, I was able to learn the basics of the language as well as the importance of being bilingual. Once I moved to the states, I enrolled in English as Second Language (ESL) classes right away. I confirmed that I had acquired the basics of the English language thanks to San Patricio Language Institute. I consider Graciela not only as a mentor but also as a friend, and to this day we keep in touch. Being a student at San Patricio makes you a part of their family for the rest of your life.
One of the greatest experiences in my teaching career began with my advanced literature course at San Patricio Institute. Teaching is a profession in which you often do not see the fruits of your labors until well after students leave and go out into the world. When I began using novels as the foundation of the course, I noticed a shift from teaching English as a subject to practicing reading and speaking skills and using English as a tool. Conversations became more philosophical and practical, students made connections that activated background knowledge, and vocabulary acquisition improved dramatically in a context-rich environment. Although I enjoyed teaching the course, I did not think much of it at the time. Years later I found out that the course had a lasting effect on one of my students. She had become a teacher herself and she adopted similar methodologies in her courses. A great sense of pride washed over me when I realized just how important my classes meant to her. Teaching is truly a blessing.