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Andrew O'Connell

I had always taken the language I speak for granted. I had no idea that the English language could be so interesting and that it had such a rich and colourful history!

I started teaching English as a foreign language around 5 years ago. Interestingly, one of the first things I realised I needed to do as a teacher of English was to go back and learn English myself!

Here I am contemplating the atrocities of ancient Rome at the 'Arena' in Verona.

When you're among English-speaking people, it's easy to communicate! But when you have to deal with people who don't know a word of English, it's a totally different experience! You often need to draw on all your resources to make yourself understood! It can be frustrating; it can be fun; but it's never boring and you're always learning something!

I've taught a wide range of people; primary-school children, teenagers, young adults and even retirees and from all walks of life! I've had students of varying abilities; beginners, intermediate students and advanced.

I worked in a school of English in the north of Italy. I took the opportunity to enjoy all that Italy has to offer: fine food, great coffee, the latest fashions, picturesque villages and a richness of history and art.

Of course, being based in Italy, I had Europe at my doorstep. When I had holidays, I travelled around Europe or to different parts of Italy.

That beautiful turquoise water? You'll find places like that if you take a ferry from the west coast of Italy to the island of Sardinia.

Oh! And don't miss Venice, the world's most beautiful city: that's the 'Ponte Rialto' (Rialto bridge) you see, on the 'Canal Grande' (Grande Canal).

So there you have it! I started off exploring a language and I ended up exploring the world!

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