Cactus Opinion: London (by Richard Bradford)
Monday, 5th May 2008
Richard Bradford, MD of Cactus UK, gives us his thoughts on language learning in London
Warm air hurtles down the endless tube system - carrying with it the stressed, harangued humans from A to B, like rats in a sewer after the rain.
A cocophony of taxis, buses and motorbikes, throbbing slowly through dirty streets. Cyclists weave precariously, curt when cut up.
Scruffy no-name newsagents and takeaways line the spokes of the wheel, leading to the hub and hubbub of London’s centre - and its Empire stores of international chains and labels.
I don’t particularly like London. I don’t like the rush, the bustle, the people, the heat. I yearn for the comparative peace and harmony of Brighton, and understand why so much of London comes to Brighton as a get away at weekends and bank holidays.
But the buildings draw me back. In a country where so many of our traits and national opinions are an embarrassment, the architecture of the capital, and its grounded, almost rooted structures remind me that I’m British, and that I’m proud to be so. There’s nothing to invoke a sense of nationalism more than walking along the Thames early on a Sunday morning, or looking south down the Thames towards Westminster, just after dusk on a warm summer’s evening, from the footbridge at Embankment.
If you’re looking to learn English in London, the criticism raised by students is that nearly no one is English. People working in shops and restaurants and bars, generally aren’t English. One good way though, is to combine English with work experience - an internship, as you will then most likely be working alongside English native speakers. Your own level of English will have to be at least intermediate though, to get any worthwhile work experience.
Even better, study in Brighton, and visit different parts of London each weekend.