By Dianne Kuijs, The Netherlands (CISL San Diego Student)

After all the preparations, the journey to San Diego, and all the first impressions of the city, I began my lessons at Converse International School of Language (CISL) last week. Although I was already settled in San Diego, as I walked into the building of CISL I felt a little bit excited. CISL is located in the downtown area, on Broadway Avenue, and is very easy to find. I live in the student residence of Vantaggio. It is located on State Street and it only takes me 20 minutes to get to the school’s building.

My first day of class was Monday, and that day I had to take a test. This is mandatory at CISL so that you are placed in an appropriate class level. You also get information about San Diego and the school, like the computer room and the various activities offered in addition to daily lessons.

On Tuesday the lessons really started. When I arrived at school, I found out in which level and class I was placed in and shortly thereafter, the lessons began. I was placed in level 8, in a class with 6 other students, all from different countries.

I had a very kind teacher named Christine. The lessons were great and Christine really helped me with the individual questions I had. But after two days, I had a feeling that level 8 was to easy for me. Christine also thought that it would be better if I tried a higher level and told me that I had to visit Matthew, the director of CISL.

When I talked about the situation with Matthew we soon agreed that I should try the highest level, level 10. So I received new books and a form in order to attend a level 10 class the next day. I really enjoyed the lesson, and like before, I also enjoyed the students in the class and the teacher, Kristy. They were all very kind. I decided that this level was better for me, so I immediately transferred permanently.

Every morning the lessons start at 9:00 a.m. and continue until 12:40 a.m. You have a break between 10:40 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. During the break all the students talk and visit with each other. I really like talking with all the
students from different countries, and that’s how I have already met a lot
of people in such a short time.

During my lessons we do several things: we have discussions about many different topics; we improve our grammar and vocabulary; we may watch a documentary; or we will write essays. For the students that are studying for four or more weeks at CISL, they will do a presentation on a topic of their own choosing. So during the lessons you are not only improving your English but you are also learning a lot about other countries, cultures and other topics. The lessons are very interactive; in class it’s actually very cozy. When you make a mistake it’s not a problem at all and you can ask anything.

This first school week went really fast for me. My English has already improved and I’ve met a lot of new people. In addition to the lessons, I have also participated in different activities around town with other students. Most of the time school feels like an obligation, but here it’s just a lot of fun. That’s why I’m really looking forward to my upcoming weeks here at CISL!