Matteo Bernardi (pictured here with Scottie the School mascot) is from Rome. He arrived in Edinburgh seven weeks ago to study at Global School of English and he’ll be here for another four weeks. He kindly agreed to meet me recently to tell me how he is getting on and what he thinks about the School and Scotland.
Matteo, who is from Rome, originally wanted to be a professional footballer and was pursuing a career with one of the lower league teams in Italy but unfortunately had to give up that ambition when he suffered a bad leg injury. Now, he intends to become a pilot and, as he said, you can’t be a pilot if you can’t speak English! However, you can still watch football, even as a pilot, and Matteo is a huge fan of Lazio (one of the two teams in Rome – “the better one” he says!).
I asked why he had come to Scotland rather than go to London.
“Very simple,” he replied, “my brother studied at Global School three years ago and he recommended it highly. He said it was much better than London – and it’s cheaper to live here too!”
We then discussed what he most enjoyed about Scotland.
“For me, the most important thing is how friendly the people are in Scotland. They really will help you, even if they don’t know you.
“Also, the public transport in Edinburgh is amazingly good. It’s very different from Rome.”
Were there any things that surprised him I wondered?
“Yes – people wearing kilts! I went to the airport a few weekends ago and it was full of Scottish rugby supporters, all wearing kilts. My friends in Italy know all about kilts and bagpipes, but don’t understand why a man would wear a skirt!
“The other thing that was a (pleasant) surprise is that the supermarkets here are open for far longer than back home in Italy. There, they close at around 6.00 pm or 7.00 pm at the latest, but here you can still buy anything at 11.00 pm or even later.”
Finally, I asked him about the School – what does he think of it?
“It’s very good. The teachers are very friendly and as well as teaching us, they give advice about places to go and things to see in Edinburgh and Scotland. Like my brother, I would definitely recommend that if you want to study English in the UK you should choose this school.”
Interview, Alastair Blair