By describing my story, I want to thank The English Language Centre Oxford for accepting me as a student and this is what I would like to say to my two tutors:
Dear Alexander and Mia,
Thank you very much for everything you've done for me; without your help I couldn't have succeeded.
For me, this year has been one of the most successful of my life. I feel great now without cigarettes, and I have fulfilled my dream to get the job that I've always wanted.
How is it possible to change one's life in only a few months?
A person needs to achieve certain goals in life before they can consider themselves successful. Success is to achieve set goals and I had certain goals.
Some of these goals were personal while others were professional. My professional goals in life were to be found in a good job that makes me happy and pays enough money to support my family.
It was very important for me to receive a good education. Most job fields require this. If I hadn't an education I wouldn't be able to function properly in the workplace and I wouldn't understand what to do, so education is the first and foremost way to become successful.
I speak five languages, so I decided to work as a translator in three of these languages, which were approved for the job I wanted. I started to work as an interpreter for translation companies who had contracts with government agencies. I love my job and my dream is to become a lawyer or at least work for one but, because of shortage of money, I haven't managed to go to university and read law. I have not given up and I continue to chase my goals.
One day, a friend of mine told me that a large firm of city lawyers needed a secretary who could speak very good English and a second European language. When I telephoned to apply for the job I was invited for interview by the manager. He told me that I had to complete an application form, but it was difficult and I messed it up.
I always knew I would have problems with English but I never understood what they were even though I attended several courses. In desperation I decided to ask for specialist help and determined to try Distance Learning. I enrolled for a course at The English Language Centre Oxford and met my online tutors Alexander and Mia.
The methodology is entirely different to other schools and at first I felt like quitting, but my tutors helped me to persevere and their objective is to focus on my learning needs rather than my value as a fee-paying student.
At first, my weekly essay and précis tasks were difficult. For example, I had to write a précis on Childe Harold, a poem by Byron, and an essay on whether legal immunity for certain individuals can be justified. According to the type of homework, I had to carry out research on the Internet by both listening to and reading materials related to the subject.
Although I was still a student, I understood that even after six years I had another chance to try again. So I applied for the job I didn't get and under the same conditions. This time, I told myself "Don't mess it up again, just answer all the questions". This is what Alexander and Mia taught me. That is, first think and then write. I would answer all questions in the same way as I write my essays and précis.
When I returned for interview, I was both hopeful and doubtful, because many people were applying for the same job. After a few days a man telephoned and informed me that I had the job. My dream had come true!
Now I understand why the previous courses hadn't helped me. First, no one had taught me how to think in the way that Alexander and Mia do. As Mia pointed out, it's so important to learn how to think. Once one has the hang of thinking, the rest follows.
It doesn't matter what you need to learn; once you know how to think, you can learn almost anything when you put your mind to it. Secondly, I think tuition is a very hard job, but to be both teacher and friend is much harder.
My teachers are my friends and they always help me with my language problems.
To understand me better, I'll give you a great example. On one occasion, I was asked to write on the possible impact on society if the use of hard drugs such as heroine and cocaine were legalized. Inevitably, during my live tutorial, the conversation touched on addictions to nicotine and alcohol, so I happened to mention that I'd smoked persistently for many years and failed to stop on numerous occasions.
To my surprise, Alexander stopped talking about my English and spent a full hour persuading me that it was in my own interest to throw away my cigarettes and spend the money on more useful habits and needs. I shall never forget his words when he told me that I'd better kill the cigarettes, otherwise the cigarettes would kill me. He emphasized that I've only one life and that it's my duty to take care of it and not subject it to needless damage and harm.
I think that the methodology used at The English Language Centre Oxford English is brilliant. However, their encouragement and motivation to stop smoking were equally effective and I owe them a debt of gratitude. I listened to their words and I decided there and then to stop smoking. This is a good example of the fact that faith in someone can change one's life.
What emerges from this is that the study experience at The English Language Centre Oxford is unique for a Distance Learning course, because a personal bond grows between student and tutor, and therefore the one-to-one tuition is truly on an individual basis and thereby special.