We often describe our school as being like a big family. We hope you feel the same way too! Just like a family, we feel a bit sad when one of our students leaves, and we get excited when someone comes back to visit us. So imagine our delight when we found out that Miki from Japan, who first studied with us 25 years ago, was returning for a 2-week stay…
…and then imagine Miki’s surprise when by chance she was placed with the same teacher as she had in the 1990s! An amazing coincidence!
I met up with Miki on her final day to find out about her experience of coming back to Lewis. For a bit of fun, we also recreated some old photos of hers with help from her new classmates. Check them out below and see if we managed to copy them exactly!
“I felt like I was in my dream world…”
Stepping Through the Door Again
“I have to tell you it felt really strange,” said Miki, when I asked her to describe that moment when she walked through the front door again. Her memories of Lewis School were very vivid, but because of the time that had passed, it had started to feel like just a dream. “I couldn’t think it was real any more – it’s been so long! So when I turned up at the front door and stepped in, I felt like I was in my dream world, with people from my dream. It’s hard to describe!”
Surprisingly, Miki didn’t think the school had changed very much. It had got bigger (she recalled there were only two buildings when she first came, whereas now there are four), but the character was the same. “I see some changes, but not major ones. The homely atmosphere hasn’t changed at all. You feel really welcome and teachers are very engaging, skilled, and are ready to help you.”
Meeting Andrew Again
Miki already knew two people at the school: Alistair, our owner/director, and Andrew, who had been her teacher back in the 1990s. To her great surprise, she was placed in Andrew’s class, just as she had been all those years ago.
“I didn’t think he would remember me, because it has been so many years and he has had so many students… but he did. It’s really overwhelming!”
Stepping Outside Her Comfort Zone
At this point, Andrew joins the conversation and shares a few funny stories from the past. It makes me wonder whether Miki has changed as a language learner in the intervening years. Miki thinks she has.
“Last time I was here, I was willing to learn, but never be out of my comfort zone. I learned something passively, and if I found some difficulty in a certain area [of language] I just let it go.” So now, does she push herself more and learn more actively?
“Yes, I think I’m more keen to learn” she laughs, “because I know my time is limited.”
Miki’s experience is a useful lesson for language learners – learn actively, make the most of your time, and challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone. It’s also a perfect example of how once you’ve been a Lewis School student, you’re forever part of our family.
A big thank you to Miki and to all of you who make our job so rewarding!
Before and After Photos
Miki studied General English at the Lewis School of English, Southampton.