Last January I decided to take advantage of the freezing weather to lock myself up, save some money, and study for my English certificate in Advanced English, which was one of the goals I was set out to achieve during this year. I am aware that tests rarely speak the whole truth because there are so many factors influencing the result, but for me it works as a motivation. Having deadlines always makes me go the extra mile, and this time it has paid off. I was hoping to have a C1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and I scored an A grade, therefore I am officially C2, as English as it gets! I am flabbergasted since is a better mark than expected, plus this will allow me to apply for any Master’s Degree or PhD in the future if I ever decide to continue my studies. Furthermore I realized that self-studying and being in charge of my own learning curve is what works best for me, since I can concentrate better, and choose which part deserves more time and attention.
However, this is suitable up to a point, and I am aware that I couldn’t have gone this far without the wonderful lessons donated by Englishour School to the EVS volunteers. Thanks to the superb teachers there I was able to correct the huge amount of mistakes I was making without me noticing. Anyway, all this doesn’t mean my real English is perfect, so I will keep working on it. At this point I’d like to thank everyone at the YMCA that has ever spoken to me more slowly, repeated an idiom, explained a new word, taught me Irish slang, or taken the time to be patient with my failures translating Spanish terms to English and come up with an alternative for me (you guys don’t have the word touristic! My bad. But I seriously think you need put it into the dictionary, as it accurately describes what Temple Bar is, much more accurately than the correct one, ‘touristy’, which for me sounds unnecessary posh)
On another topic, these days I have had the opportunity to join the Youth Work team in a Residential in Carlingford -lovely place-, a cooking workshop, and in an outing in Howth.
The young people had a good time and it was a great way of strengthening bonds with the leaders, keeping the young ones engaged. My mission there was to take pictures of all the experience in order to create a thank you album and video to send the sponsors. But I really appreciated the time with the kids, and it has granted me a deeper knowledge regarding the YMCA mission and its importance in these children’s lives & opportunities.
All this makes me reflect about the great opportunities I have had in life. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have complained a lot. I would like to have an advanced degree by now, or to have studied in a college abroad when I was 18 so my English would be perfect by now and I could have aspired to a writing job in, say, The New York Times or a big cinema studio. But now I appreciate much more all the opportunities I did have, the efforts my family made to help me with all the means they had, and the work I did towards my goals. Also, I am more satisfied with how I re-scaled my dreams according to the chances I got in life. I am much more closer now to make peace with that idea, which gives me an overwhelming sensation of gratitude. Who knows, everything is possible in this life if you do your bit and maybe get a lucky break.
Certainly, my EVS has granted me that state of mind.
My wish now is that the young people here learns to be resilient as soon as possible (ideally much earlier than me) so they can grab the best options they are provided with and don’t let them go without fighting!