One of the saddest things about a school like CISL is saying goodbye to all of our wonderful, warm students. So when an old student surprises us with a visit, you can imagine the excitement of the teachers and the staff! Just a few weeks ago, former CISL San Diego student Benedikt Olles from Germany popped back in to say hello. We were so pleased to hear how he has used his English skills since he graduated from CISL!

Benedikt studied at CISL  in August 2006, August 2007, and in Feb/March 2010. Each time that he studied with us, he spent about four weeks. He arrived at Level 9 and graduated at Level 10. After years of being an English student, we were so pleased to hear that he is now an English teacher!

We asked Benedikt a few questions about his experience at CISL. Thank you so much for stopping in to visit us and for sharing your CISL experience with our Blog!

 CISL: What is your best memory at school?

The good and highly motivated teachers who know how to combine fun with studying. The school itself has always been very nice, comfortable and welcoming. The staff is extremely friendly. The best experience was the weekend-trip to Los Angeles. -I never thought I’d like Disneyland this much. 🙂 The trip was very well organized and I made a lot of friends from all over the world.

 CISL: What is your best memory in SD?

I loved how easy I got around in the city. It is very easy to use public transportation -so you hardly need a car. I love the Trolley 🙂 The weather has almost always been great and the beaches are absolutely amazing. The city is clean and very relaxed. I’ve never experienced such friendly and helpful people as I did in San Diego. For me, San Diego has always been both a place of studying English and relaxation.

CISL: Have you used English since graduating from CISL? How?

I already was a university student for medicine when I came back to Converse in winter 2010 during my semester break. I’d always thought about becoming an English teacher one day and the 2010 stay at Converse opened my eyes. I quit medicine a couple of months later and I’m now becoming an ‘English as a foreign-language’ teacher. I’ve never regretted this big change.

CISL: Will you continue to use English in the future?

It’ll make my living. 🙂 Oh, and I hope my future students will use it a lot, too.

CISL: Have you stayed in touch with anyone from school?

I’ve stayed in contact with Francine, with Marc Mussachio, with Jessica Graham(she doesn’t work at Converse anymore) and I met Lou [my former teacher] last time [I visited the school].

CISL: What is one piece of advice you have for current and future CISL students in regard to living/studying in the U.S.?

Talk in English as much as possible: even with people from your own country. It seems silly at the beginning but it actually makes a lot of sense. Accept the rules that America has and you won’t get in trouble; be careful when buying a lot of stuff: an overweight suitcase is very expensive, you better bring an extra one. Be honest if you do not get along with your host family or if there are any other problems: this shouldn’t be the reason for an unpleasant stay.

CISL: What is one piece of advice you have for students who really want  to improve their English skills?

Make friends that are native speakers and stay in contact with them via e-mail, Skype also… a language has to be practiced.

CISL: What was it like to return to San Diego and to CISL last month?

I had to return to Converse when I got off the Trolley at Fifth Avenue because Converse has always been a part of my San Diego experience. I was very excited to see my former teacher Lou and everyone else who remembered me. This time I was only on holiday and I honestly missed going to Converse in the morning.

Thank you so much, Benedikt, for taking time to visit us during your vacation. You truly brightened the day of the CISL staff members! Best of luck in your future career as an English teacher. We hope to see you during your next trip to San Diego!