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ELC Los Angeles
ELC - English Language Center Los Angeles
Dora Antal – Student Spotlight January 5th, 2018

Meet our student all the way from Hungary, Dora! She enjoys studying foreign languages and experiencing new and different cultures. She loves spending time in LA perfecting her English in order to pursue higher education at an American university. Find out some more about her background below!

Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place(s).
I was born in the northwestern part of Hungary in a small town called Tata. It is one of the historically important towns in Hungary. The town was built around a big lake with the famous Esterhazy Mansion and a castle surrounded by a beautiful English garden. Back then, people followed a self-sustaining lifestyle, they used to have farms and grew their own plant for living. When I was 2 years old, we moved up to the suburban area of the Hungarian capital, Budapest. In my childhood, we moved a lot, but we always stayed in the metropolitan area of Budapest. Both Budaors and Dunakeszi where I was raised are developed cities with a family-oriented atmosphere only about 20 mins from the city-center of Budapest. People live in big family houses and kids take the train to go to school. There are no big nightclubs in such cities, so that the youth need to plan to have parties. They need to take into consideration that the last train leaving in Budapest is at midnight and the first is scheduled at 4 am.

What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
I love traveling, exploring new cultures and meeting different people from various countries. While I almost have visited all of the European countries, most part of America and Asia is yet to be revealed. Coming from my passion to travel, I am enthusiastic about learning languages. Besides Hungarian I speak English, German, Italian and I have also studied Russian.

What is your special talent?
I can say that my special talent is my quick learning skills, especially in case of languages. A few months living in a foreign country and having language classes is enough for me to acquire and adequate level of the language.

What is your profession? What do you like about it?
I am freshly graduated university student with an International Business degree. Being an international expert I am happy about my profession that in one sense serves my passion about traveling and exploring new cultures and economies.

Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Pets? Do they live close to you?
Unfortunately, my parents divorced when I was 13, so I consider my mom, my older brother and my grandma to be my close family. When my mom was working, my grandma parented us, cooked for us, and helped to finish our homework and get ready for the next day in school. Despite we already live separated from each other, we always spare time for family gathering and lunch on the weekends. Furthermore, I have a dog. She’s from a Hungarian hunter dog breed called Vizsla. Her name is Myra, she is only 2 years old. She has a strong personality, sometimes believing that she is a human. When I am home, I regularly go for a hike with her to the mountains or go for a walk in the forest. While I am in Los Angeles she stays with my brother in a house with a big garden. Of course, I miss her so much, but a city like LA is less convenient for a hunter dog, than Hungary.

Why did you choose to study English in Los Angeles? Did you consider other options?
First, I chose Los Angeles to study English because of its warm weather. I don’t like the European cold winters; my preferences are built around sunny beaches and palm trees. What is more, I have already been to the East coast of the US as a tourist, but not on the West. Thus, I immediately knew that Los Angeles is the perfect place for me.

What are all the ways that Los Angeles is different than your city/town?
The biggest difference between LA and Budapest is that Los Angeles offers more opportunities to go out for a dinner or do sightseeing, all topped up with a diverse cultural scene. Another difference is in the dimension of sizes. While Budapest has several narrow streets and the biggest freeway consists of maximum 3 lines, in Los Angeles people commute with large SUVs on 5-6laned freeways, where European cars seems tiny. If you are on the road for 2 hours in Hungary, you end up in a neighboring country, however in Los Angeles there are bigger distances and it might happen that whilst you’ve driven an hour you are still in Los Angeles.

What were you most surprised to learn about the US or [City]? Did you experience any culture shock?
Already living in Los Angeles for 3 months I experienced a culture shock as not only the lifestyle, but also the mentality of people was different from my home country. In the beginning, I didn’t understand why everybody approaches me and asks how I am, as in Hungary strangers don’t talk to each other. Here in LA everybody seems friendly with their wide smiles and open heart with the intention to become your friend. This phenomenon enlightens your days making you happy and smiling all day.

What do you miss most about your country?
I miss the Hungarian cuisine the most in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, there is no traditional Hungarian restaurant in Los Angeles offering authentic Hungarian dishes. It might happen that the staple ingredients for a Hungarian meal are not available in the US.

What are your top three favorite places in Los Angeles?
One of my favorite places in Los Angeles is Runyon Canyon Park, where there are several trails to hike with an amazing view over the city. Another one is Universal Studios, where I could have a better insight of the world of Hollywood and the movie industry. My favorite beach is Santa Monica that is rich of interesting facilities to enjoy your afternoon there.

Where have you found the best food from your country in Los Angeles?
Despite there is no traditional Hungarian restaurant in Los Angeles, there is an Italian restaurant whose owner are Hungarian. It is called TOMGEORGE, located in downtown and besides Italian dishes it offers the traditional Hungarian goulash soup on their menu. Whenever I go there I feel a bit of home, speaking my mother language and eating goulash.

Favorite moment in class at ELC:
My favorite moment in a class at ELC is when it comes to a discussion tasks. ELC covers a wide range of topics and with its internationally diverse base of students one can gain a better insight of the other student’s perspective about the given topic. This way the students not only improve their language and social skills but also widen their overall knowledge about the world.

Favorite activity at ELC:
In spite of the wide range of activities ELC offers, the in-class and between class activities are on the top of my list. What makes ELC unique is that they organize small events and celebrations on holidays, such as Halloween or Christmas. These creative events ensure an atmosphere for the student who are far away from their hometown to feel home, count on the teachers, colleagues and student as their own friends building a temporary family during their stay.

What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?
The most important advice I can give to those who desire to learn English is to go to a native English speaker country to study. This way the learning experience is not limited within the walls of the class room but the individual is encouraged to put the language into practice immediately outside of school. Acquiring a language in a country where they speak it from native people makes the studying much more fun bringing memories we will remember forever.

What are your plans after ELC?
After ELC I plan to apply for Masters of Accounting in English at one of the universities in Los Angeles. After graduation, I prefer to stay in the US and work. I believe that ELC strongly contributed to achieve my goals in acquiring an advanced level of English and helped me to prepare to face the challenge of completing a university degree in English.

Dora hiking in L.A.

Dora on Halloween