Cristina Zuppa has brought students an incredible 7378 miles (11874 km) from Argentina to Anglo-Continental School every year for the past 10 years! Young learners and, more recently, older professionals, have enjoyed her friendly advice and comprehensive instructions for learning English in the UK. Cristina has prepared many Argentine student groups for the culturally unique experience of studying in the UK, particularly in Bournemouth.
As Cristina prepares for her retirement, I sat down with her to find out more about her experiences over the years, and what first drew her to Anglo-Continental and Bournemouth.
Cristina began by explaining about how she had been teaching English for a long time in her native Patagonia, where she runs a language school. 10 years ago, she decided to offer her students a unique experience; “of visiting the home of English, the United Kingdom.”
She describes how she usually brings teenagers to study here in the UK. However, recently her market has diversified. “Some years ago I brought a group of adults (to Anglo-Continental), and this year, I have been fortunate enough to escort two groups to Anglo-Continental. The first being teenagers and the current group being a group of adults.”
The first time Cristina came to Bournemouth was in the 1990’s,
“I don’t remember the year exactly, and it was a bit different then from what it is like today, but I liked it the first time I came here.” Her face lights up as she describes her initial reaction; “I fell in love at first sight! Bournemouth is quiet compared to other cities. It’s safe, it’s open, it has very nice green spaces and there is the beach. Most of all (I like) the school (Anglo-Continental).”
Her explanation of the students’ experience of Anglo-Continental is a very flattering one. “They feel very happy at the school because they do lots of things and make friends from many different countries, which makes me very happy.”
Cristina goes to great effort to help students to prepare for life in the U.K.
“I have been coming here a long time, so I prepare them before they come. But, to tell you the truth, the first few days are a culture shock. The timing of daily life and the way the English households are managed is all new to them. They also have to speak another language that they have been learning …but it only lasts for 2 or 3 days at the most. After that they are completely at ease and happy …By the end of the course, what do they say to me?” Cristina laughs whilst she recalls her students’ reactions. “Why do I have to go home? I want to stay a little more!”
She explains how the students enjoy the classes at Anglo-Continental. “They like the way it works and the way that they can interact with other students from different countries.” Her feeling is that the majority of her students feel that the teaching at Anglo-Continental is very flexible to their level of understanding.
I finally ask Cristina what advice she would give to a student coming to England from Latin America or Argentina. “Come to Bournemouth!” Her advice is that they should be aware of the rules of the road, as she feels sometimes people in South America take a more relaxed way to crossing the road or keeping an eye out for traffic.
She adds, that they will need to get used to the British schedule. For example, eating dinner at 6pm instead of 8 or 9pm in her native Argentina. “…eating at 6 o clock is, wow! In the beginning you can’t believe it. But then, after you have eaten at that time for 4 weeks, you want to change your own timetable. Because you go to bed after you have digested the food and you sleep like an angel.”
Anglo-Continental’s management and staff have thoroughly enjoyed welcoming Cristina Zuppa and her students to Bournemouth over the years. As her son, Sebastian, accompanies the groups in the future, we hope to see Cristina continue to visit and to say hello. We wish her all the best for her retirement and future plans!