Tancredi Merlo is the leader of a group of 20 students from Veintimiglia in Italy, a town in the Liguria region near the border with France.
Most of the students have never been to Scotland before, but they have enjoyed the two weeks in our country, travelling extensively to the Highlands and going on a boat trip on Loch Ness (although I am assured they did not see the Loch Ness Monster!).
For some of them, it’s their first time away from home without their parents, so the emphasis has been on having fun and visiting as many different places as possible. Tancredi believes that the trip to the Highlands was a highlight and they have also visited Glasgow (“very busy!”), had a Harry Potter tour, been to Edinburgh Castle and lots of museums, and also had a trip to a distillery to learn how Scotch whisky is made. Before they leave they are going to Rosslyn Chapel where they will learn about its connection to the best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code; and they also hope to go swimming at Portobello Baths.
The biggest surprise for the students was the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They had been to a show almost every night. The show, “Trump, the Musical,” was the best one they had seen, very funny and very different from what they are used when they go to the theatre in Italy!
As regards the School, Tancredi told me that the teachers are good and have looked after the students well. He also praised the style of the teaching and the fact that there are small classes. One particular advantage is that Global School is self-contained so all the students are taught in the same building. He has had experience of other schools where they have hired premises spread across a city, which is not good for the group leaders who, naturally, want to keep an eye on their students. Tancredi also felt that the students have gained in confidence in speaking English, although ideally he thinks that they would have benefited from being here for more than two weeks.
Finally, I asked what would be the one thing that the students would remember most about their trip to Scotland. The answer might be a surprise to many, as he said that it would be the architecture. “Edinburgh is a city with a lot of character,” he told me, “and it’s different from other places they have been and, of course, very different from their home town. However, we have all enjoyed ourselves here and would recommend Global School and Scotland to any other groups thinking of making a trip to improve their English skills and learn about a new country.
Interview, Alastair Blair