The corporate training program for TechInput’s employees continues: in October of this year, Rezeda Tukhvatullina, Senior Project Manager, took advanced training courses at the Kaplan School in London. Rezeda describes her experience in this interview.
Why did you choose this particular training program? What was the purpose of your trip?
I chose the Intensive English program because the main goal was to get as much practical knowledge and language experience as possible in a relatively short time – 3 weeks. This program allowed us to study English for five hours a day, but at the same time left enough time to get to know the city pretty well and enjoy the trip.
How was it preparing for the trip?
First we collected all the necessary documents and got visas. Then we had to arrange medical insurance and deal with all the Covid restrictions: book a set of PCR tests in advance, which had to take on arrival in the UK, fill out the necessary form, etc. Once all the documents were ready, I picked where I wanted to go, all the interesting places I wanted to see, and learned a bit about life in the UK to ensure the trip would go smoothly.
How was everything organized, the learning process, lectures and seminars?
For the first week, during which I was in quarantine, courses were held online through Zoom. Despite being held online, the classes went very smoothly, technically speaking, they went off without a hitch. For the next two weeks I attended a real school in Covent Garden. We had three a day, from 8:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., lasting one hour and thirty minutes each. In the first two classes, General English, we studied grammar, studied new vocabulary, prepared for international exams, and did listening exercises. The third lesson was devoted to using a certain type of language; I, for example, had Business English. Al the vocabulary, tasks, texts and topics for discussion were relevant to business communication.
The classes were very active, everyone could ask questions and practice speaking the language with their teacher and classmates.
How effective was the learning process? What exactly did this course have to offer?
I think the most useful thing for me personally was overcoming the language barrier. Of course, you can’t learn all the rules of grammar and vocabulary in three weeks, but it was enough to overcome the fear of speaking. This course gave me the chance to communicate with folks from different parts of the world – each of whom speaks their own flavor of English – listen to them, build some mutual understanding and find a common language.
What else did you get up to do besides studying?
I studied in the first shift, so there was a lot of time left to get to know London. Luckily, I saw nearly all the sights from the list that I had made before the trip, visited the museums and galleries that I had dreamed of visiting, plunged into the life of London and even kind of got used to it.
What impressed you the most?
I was impressed by the people: how relaxed, impulsive, open, sunny and friendly they are. I think the thing that inspired me the most was just the people of London!
Do you think of this trip as an incentive from the company or what? How does the knowledge you acquired help you in your work?
I think this trip was not just a reward for the work I’ve done but a really fantastic gift. I find that the knowledge that I managed to refresh during the course has boosted my confidence in business communication. My job involves constant communication with customers in English, both written and oral. The knowledge I gathered from the Business English course has done wonders for my relations with our customers. In these classes, we were taught the basics of business English, which is great for those of us already comfortable with everyday speech who want to become comfortable using the language in broader areas of communication. In the classroom, we played role-playing games modelling the real problems that we can encounter in our work. Such practical exercises, along with the chance to polish my grammar and enrich my business vocabulary, helped me get over some anxiety and rigidity in business communication. The experience has made it easier and faster to find a common language with clients and to feel way more confident at work.
Would you go again? Any such plans?
Every journey inspires us to take new ones! This trip was a bit unusual, as the goal was to learn the language. I really appreciated this format, so I would be very happy to go to other countries for a similar program – to France, for example.