EF Stories: Jacopo from Italy at EF Los Angeles
Jacopo, an EF Ambassador since 2016, shares his experience in Los Angeles with EF.
Tell us about your experience with EF in Los Angeles!
In July 2016, I embarked on a 3-week journey to Los Angeles to participate in the "summer" course with EF. It was an incredible experience. I had the opportunity to meet many local people, some of whom I still maintain contact with today, although our interactions have been somewhat reduced due to the recent pandemic. More importantly, I had the chance to immerse myself in a culture that continues to fascinate me, and I'm eager to explore it further. In fact, I'll be returning to California in 2023, this time for a 9-month stay!
What sets EF's English classes apart is that they are anything but what I consider "boring" school lessons, filled with grammar rules and endless texts. Instead, they are interactive, enjoyable, and, above all, captivating. In just 3 weeks, I made more progress in my English language skills than I would typically achieve in an entire school year.
What are the top three aspects you loved most about L.A.?
First and foremost, the sheer enormity of L.A. is awe-inspiring; with over 20 million inhabitants and a total area that almost rivals that of Liguria, it's a city that offers an incredible array of experiences. This leads me to the second thing I cherished most: the diversity and the wide range of cultures and activities available. Lastly, it's the local people who captured my heart. They are incredibly open, friendly, and welcoming to everyone, without any prejudice, even towards strangers.
What activities did you engage in with other students?
Apart from the usual classroom lessons where we collaborated on various topics, I have fond memories of the times when we explored the city together on organized trips using school buses and so on...
Could you describe the most intense moment you encountered in California?
Surprisingly, my most intense moment occurred with my host family. It was a simple birthday celebration for their son. However, I witnessed everything I had seen in movies for years materialize right before my eyes: games, balloons, a swimming pool, music, a multitude of people, and so on... I believe EF offers not only a language improvement experience but also an opportunity to immerse oneself in and discover a completely new culture!
How has this experience transformed you?
This experience opened my mind in profound ways. Even though I had always lived in a large city, there's often a tendency in our country to conform and align with the prevailing mindset of that particular city. In America, I learned that each of us has the potential to become whatever we desire, that others' opinions only hold a certain degree of influence, and that there is a profound sense of absolute freedom.
What advice would you offer to individuals who are considering going abroad with EF or are uncertain about the idea?
I would advise them to follow their curiosity. Every city you visit will provide a similar level of education in the course you choose; the only differences lie in the culture and the location. Don't be afraid of feeling out of place in a foreign environment; instead, embrace the "discomfort zone" because it's within those challenges that you'll emerge stronger and, most importantly, more enriched.
Do you believe you've acquired skills that will prove useful in your future career?
Certainly, everything I've mentioned, including language proficiency and mental flexibility, are highly valuable skills in the professional realm as well!
If you could board a plane right now, where would your next EF destination be?
My heart would likely lead me back to my beloved California, but I would also be eager to explore some new states!