Another five interesting things about Glasgow

Many of our students will take the train or bus to Glasgow, just an hour away from Edinburgh. Here are some interesting facts about Scotland’s biggest city.

Glasgow City Chambers, pictured above and a short walk from Glasgow School of English, is said to have more marble than the Vatican.  It was built in 1888 at a cost of £578,232 – the equivalent of £40 million today.

The City Chambers have been used as a stand in for the Vatican and the Kremlin in films.

Glasgow’s subway – the metro/underground railway system – is the only one in Scotland. It’s also the third oldest subway in the world. It is nicknamed the Clockwork Orange, because of the colour of the trains, and it’s an easy and cheap way to get round the city.

In the late 18thcentury, over half the tobacco imported into Britain came through Glasgow.

Although the one in Scotland is the original, there are more than 20 towns named Glasgow in the United States, with several more in Canada.

We found your school on the internet…the teaching, service and facilities are very good…

Anna Maria Aiazzi, Susanne Innocenti and Donatelle Bordati (pictured above) are teachers of English at Chinochini School in Florence in Tuscany in Italy (one of the most beautiful parts of that country, but that’s another story!).  Currently, they are here with 26 students from their city, on a study tour/holiday in Edinburgh.  They come to the British Isles every year, going to Scotland, Ireland and England consecutively.  They kindly agreed to meet to tell us their thoughts about Edinburgh, Scotland and Global School of English.

“We found your school on the internet.  We’ve only been here for a few days so far but the teaching, service and facilities are very good. Helen Marshall on reception in particular has been very helpful.

“The families our students are staying with are good too. It makes a big difference having good host families. We have to travel into Edinburgh every day so we get to see a lot of the city. The public transport is very good.

“For most of our students, this is their first time in Scotland. Some have been to Dublin and London.  The students are certainly enjoying being in Edinburgh, which we find very safe.

“We’ve been to Stirling Castle and we’re going on a trip to the Highlands and Loch Ness. The myth of the Loch Ness Monster is famous all over the world.  Back in Edinburgh, we’re also going to see the Elephant House Café, where JK Rowling began to write the Harry Potter books.

“Our school in Florence is a vocational school, where the students study technical subjects, food and drink management, electronics, etc. They all know that studying English is important because it’s the main world language for business and at some time in their working lives they’ll have to use it.

“However, as well as improving their English, we believe that one of the main benefits of coming to study abroad is that the students get to experience other cultures and peoples.  While the food in Scotland is different from our meals at home, and the weather is certainly very different, we find that these are some of the best memories our students take away from these trips.  They also learn about the history of these other countries.

“Overall, we are very satisfied with the way everything has gone and we would be happy to recommend Global School of English to anyone who wants to come to study English in the UK.”

Interview, Alastair Blair


Five more interesting things about Edinburgh

The QueenThe Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, is the Duke of Edinburgh.  This title was created in 1726, for Prince Frederick, the son of George I.

The famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh runs from the Castle down the hill to Holyrood Palace.  It is actually one mile and 107 yards!

Edinburgh Castle  is built on a volcano.  Don’t worry though, it’s extinct and has not erupted for 350 million years!

Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own Fire Brigade, in 1703.

Many people nowadays like body piercings. However, not many have as many as Edinburgh’s Elaine Davidson who is the world’s most pierced woman, with more than 9,000 piercings!

Some interesting things about Glasgow

Lots of students at Global School travel the short distance to the west to see Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city. It’s very different from Edinburgh.  Here are some interesting facts about Glasgow that you might not know.

The Horseshoe Bar in Glasgow city centre was established in 1884 by John Scouller who was a captain in the cavalry. The Horseshoe  has the longest bar in the UK, measuring 104ft 4in in length.

The film star Roy Rogers and his horse, Trigger, rode all the way round the Horseshoe Bar in 1954.

Glasgow also has the tallest cinema in the world, the Cineworld in Renfrew Street. It is 62 metres high, has 18 screens spread across six floors and up to 633 people at a time can attend.

Unlike Edinburgh, Glasgow no longer has a castle. However, it does have Castle Street, near the Cathedral. That’s where the castle used to be, but all traces were finally demolished in 1792.

People from Glasgow are called Glaswegians (or ‘weegies’ if you are from Edinburgh!). However, the term is relatively new, being first used by Sir Walter Scott in 1817.


Architecture, Loch Ness, Donald Trump (the Musical) and Swimming in Portobello

Loch NessTancredi 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

Perfect for young people; it’s safe and there is a lot to see and do

Global School currently has two large groups of students, from France and Italy, studying with us.  The group leaders and a few students from each country kindly took some time to give me their thoughts about Edinburgh, Scotland and Global School of English. Nicoletta and Fabrizia (teachers), and Giovanni (student) are from Venice, while Filip (teacher), Emilie and Pape (students) are from Paris.

From left: Emilie, Nicoletta, Fabrizia, Giovanni, Pape, Filip.

A few of them had not been to Scotland before.  Pape said he was pleasantly surprised, telling me, “I like it very much. It seems a peaceful country and the landscape is beautiful.”  Everyone agreed that the people they have met, both in Global School and in the street, have been friendly and helpful.

They were all surprised at how good the weather had been during their stay here (we are having a very unusual heatwave in the UK just now!). Giovanni said that the Highlands (in the north of Scotland) “are amazing and the temperatures are really nice for us as Italians – warm, but not as hot as at home!”

Another thing that surprised them was that Edinburgh has many people from all over the world living and visiting the city.  Also, as Nicoletta mentioned, Edinburgh is not a very big city by European standards and commuting from their accommodation to the city centre is quite easy, largely thanks to the efficiency of the bus service.

As far as the School is concerned, they were impressed with the atmosphere in the classrooms. Emilie said, “the lessons are really good and the teachers do a great job. Every person participates in the lessons and that helps improve our English.

When it comes to Scottish food, the three students were all in agreement that fish and chips are excellent, although Pape also said that he really liked Scottish steak pies.  None of them had tried haggis yet and when I told them what as in it (basically, the innards of a sheep!) they were not sure they would!

Filip made a point of saying how impressed he was with Edinburgh as a city in which to learn English.  “It’s perfect for young people; it’s safe and there is a lot to see and do. One thing in particular that is very good, and different from many European countries, is that the museums here are all free to enter – that’s great as it encourages younger people to visit them and learn about the country’s history, heritage and culture.”

Finally, all three teachers agreed that they would most definitely be back with other groups of students – the best recommendation any School of English can have!

Interview by Alastair Blair

More things you need to know about Edinburgh

You would expect to find lots of statues in an ancient city like Edinburgh, but did you know that there are more statues of animals than of women? We have the famous Greyfriars Bobby statue and also Wojtek the bear, but only one statue of a woman – Queen Victoria.

Some parts of Edinburgh are REALLY ancient. For example, the rock on which Edinburgh Castle is built is a volcanic plug and over 340 million years old!

Nowadays, we expect every city to have a Fire Service to tackle fires in buildings, but Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have such a service. After a number of fires in the city in 1703, “The Edinburgh Act” was passed and a “Company for Quenching of Fires” was formed. All the firefighters in those days were volunteers.

Ecole Diagonale – Our Sister School In Paris

École Diagonale is a private High School in the 5th arrondissement in the heart of Paris, with its four buildings located within a very short walk from the historic and magnificent Jardins du Luxembourg. It is a school that strives to combine the exceptional artistic and sports talents of its students with a rigorous academic programme and very responsive follow-up by its dedicated professors.

In the distant 1990, the establishment Diagonale started as a small education centre for additional classes in various subjects to help students improve their academic scores at their respective schools.  Quite rapidly, with the innovative teaching approach and the amazing ambition of our Principal and school owner, Mr. Michel Naniche, the education centre became a French State-recognised High School in 2008. These past years, we are proud to announce our excellent results at the National Baccalauréat with up to 92 % success rating. While, our school tends to be flexible towards the students ranked at high national level in various sports in France, our teaching methods of constant availability for our students proves to be very effective and productive. Although it started as a small education structure, today, we have about 600 students aged 14 to 18 in our establishment, and we plan to expand and be able to accept 800 students, next autumn!

As the main English professor to our senior students, I have always been trying to develop international projects and ways of co-operation with other schools abroad which would be a beneficial and enriching experience and opportunity for our ambitious students. Therefore, as part of my personal efforts and with the tremendous support of Ecole Diagonale, I initiated and am currently working on the development of our first international agreement of cooperation with another group of schools, the Glasgow/Global Schools of English in Scotland, with its two centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Filip Zafirovski (left) with Principal Michel Naniche.
Filip Zafirovski (left) with Principal Michel Naniche (wearing the Edinburgh sweatshirt!).

I have been a full time professor of English and Specialised English at Ecole Diagonale since 2011 and my personal international education background confirms my firm belief that language and international training are indispensable for any young person seeking to succeed personally and professionally. Since the age of 16, I have been travelling and studying abroad, earning my certificates and diplomas in foreign languages, international education, politics and international affairs, co-operation and development, cultural diplomacy and globalisation, which was crucial in my decision to teach my students to become well-rounded citizens of the world. Moreover, having done parts of my education in New York, Berlin, Bordeaux, Paris and southern Italy and Macedonia, I encourage my students strongly to travel, explore the world and study abroad in order to broaden their horizo

Finally, I sincerely hope that this sister school arrangement with the Glasgow/Global Schools in Scotland will be an excellent asset and option for our students to visit Scotland, learn about the Scottish culture, while above all, they improve their English skills at very reasonable prices. As the person responsible for developing this collaboration, I will personally do my best to enhance this joint project between our two schools, for the benefit of our students and all our staff members.

Filip Zafirovski




96% of our students recommend us!

If you are spending your money to come to the UK to improve your English then you want to have a good time here and know that your language skills will improve.  We can tell you how good our School is, how friendly everyone in Edinburgh is, and how our lessons will help improve your English, but how do you know if what we say is actually true?  It’s quite simple really: you don’t have to take our word for it, just read what our students say about us.

Every term we ask our students (that’s some of them over there, in the picture) what they think about us. They can say what they like – whether we’re good or bad – because the surveys are anonymous (that means the students can’t be identified from their responses).

Fortunately, the vast majority think we’re very good.  Our last survey asked a number of questions about the School and the answers show that in every area our students are getting great value for money and enjoying themselves in Scotland.

Agree strongly Agree Disagree
I liked the teaching style. 59% 40% 1%
I liked the class materials. 45% 52% 3%
I liked the friendliness of the school. 57% 14% 0%
The lessons met my needs. 54% 43% 3%
My English has improved. 47% 52% 1%
I liked the school trips. 51% 47% 2%
Yes No
Would you recommend the school to a friend? 96% 4%


For us, the most important statistic is probably the last one.  The fact that 96% of our students would recommend us (and do recommend us!) is what makes all our hard work worthwhile.  Our students also take time to write comments about our teachers, including the following:

“All my teachers are outstanding.”

“Really good teachers.”

“Thank you, your school is fantastic!”

That last comment makes us feel good.  Thank you (whoever you are!).

Some more amazing facts about Edinburgh

We like trees! There are more trees per head of population in Edinburgh than in any other city in the United Kingdom.

The city has two nicknames. One is “Auld Reekie,” which came about due to the smog and smells of the old city. Please don’t worry though – the city is not like that nowadays! The other is “The Athens of the North,” which started to be used to describe Edinburgh in the 1800s and was considered to reflect the city’s architecture and cultural achievements.

The number of people in the city can quadruple (increase four times) during the world-famous Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe Festival. In 2014, it is estimated that 2 million people attended the Festival and Fringe!