The Student Voice – Haley’s Story

Haley’s love for Festivals and the English language

My name is Haley. I’m from South Korea. I’m living in Cork and learning English at Cork English Academy.

My main reason for studying abroad was to go music festivals in Europe!!

When I was 10 years old, I started to listen to many kinds of music especially rock music. When I was 14 years old, I went to a concert for the first time in my life.  From here on I attended rock festivals every Summer.  Of course, I went to a lot of hip-hop gigs and electronic festivals also because I like these kinds of music as well.

I was curious about going to festivals abroad. I researched different festivals and watched videos on Youtube. Finally, I decided I would like to go to festivals in Europe.

I wanted to learn English before going to because I would attend these festivals for whole days and sometimes alone. I felt if I could speak English well, I’d be able to survive anywhere I went.

   

Why Cork? 

Cork is smaller than Dublin. I knew that Cork would only have a few Korean students. I really wanted to be an independent person.

Living costs are relatively lower in Cork than Dublin and other cities.

Also, Ireland is in Europe! While living in Ireland I would be able to go to any music festival I wanted in Europe.

What gigs and festivals did you go to?

I already knew that most of the music festivals in Europe are held in June or July. That’s why I started my course in January. I wanted to concentrate on studying English before going to music festivals and gigs.

My first gig in Ireland was Lukas Graham’s Concert in Dublin in February. In the middle of the course, I went to Justin Bieber’s Concert. At the end of the course, I took off to Sweden because I wanted to see Coldplay. From Sweden I went to Belgium for the Rock Werchter Festival.

I had good experiences in Rock Werchter because I went camping for 6 days. I usually prefer to go to music festivals with camping.

After finishing Rock Werchter, I moved to Madrid because of Mad Cool Festival. For 3 days, I could feel their passion in this festival. Afterwards I traveled in Southern Spain and I came back to Cork.

Of course, I was happy to see many artists in festivals and gigs but the most important thing was that I met many people everywhere I went. I met many international people because I could speak English!

   

Can you tell us a little bit about your course?

I started my course in A2. At that time, I couldn’t speak or listen in English well. I learned a lot in my General English course and improved in my listening, speaking,writing and reading.

I graduated from my course at B2 level. Whenever I had problems with studying English, my teachers helped me. I could ask them anything.

I used to attend free classes in the school after finishing my class (Steve was the best teacher!).

I had a test in school every Friday to review what I had learned that week. I could get feedback from the teacher about my progress after the test. If I had a weakness the teacher gave me extra exercises.

I got help from the reception whenever I had questions about the school or cork life. Also, I met many international friends in my class. I will miss all of friends and teachers and receptionists.

What aspects of English language learning are you improving in the most?

In my case, I didn’t like to study grammar. It was too hard for me to learn. At home in Korea I couldn’t understand when I heard explanations in Korean. However, when I learned English grammar in English, I could understand it. I have even started to get interested in English grammar.

Now, I have lots of confidence. Korean students don’t usually have much confidence while using English and I don’t translate from Korean to English when I speak.

What aspect of English language learning are you finding the most challenging?

Asking questions was the most challenging for me at the beginning because the sentence structure in Korean is different.

Also the Korean language doesn’t have articles like a, an and the so I made a lot of mistakes when I spoke and wrote.

I used to attend the free conversation and grammar workshops in the school to overcome my weaknesses. Also I hung out with friends not only in the classroom but around Cork city.

My teacher assigned writing homework every week and also corrected it. This helped me improve weekly.

Is it easy to make friends in Cork?

Yes of course. Cork people are so kind. People asked my questions in pubs, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, clothes shops etc. When I asked questions people always responded with a kind smile.

You can make friends in Cork English Academy. I went to the pub with my friends and we had a great time at parties!

Of course, you’ll be able to meet many people when you travel like me because we can speak English.

Now, I’m just waiting for my next festivals and gigs! You can achieve your goals and get a lot of experiences when you can use English. Come to Cork, come to Cork English Academy!