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ELC - English Language Center Boston
Student Spotlight: Andrea Baldini September 22nd, 2015

From the 2012 London Olympics to ELC Boston

Andrea Baldini enters school every day wearing his navy colored backpack. On most mornings, you can hear him conversing with his newly made friends, of which he has many, his Italian inflection reverberating throughout the front office. He uses his sense of humor to interrogate and question stereotypes. Often gesticulating rhythmically and with great drama, he will overly pronounce his vowels, a caricature of an Italian accent which Americans commonly accept as true. He never takes himself too seriously and yet his focus and determination is sharp. It would not be too far fetched if you find yourself gravitating towards him, enthralled by his energy and zest for life.

One would never know that he is the 2012 London Olympics gold medalist for fencing. His passion for the sport developed at a young age and his journey to the top required passion, dedication, and adaptability. We had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Andrea to talk with him about his time here at ELC Boston and how he overcame one of the darkest moments in his career.  

1. In terms of your experience at ELC in particular and Boston in general, what do you feel most proud of?

I think that I improved my English and I think that ELC helped me a lot with that. I really enjoyed the time spent here, not only during classes but even in the extra activities. There are many memories but I had 3 wonderful teachers and they were able to teach while at the same time remaining funny and keeping the atmosphere fun. You can learn by having fun.

2. What teacher at ELC made the most impact on you and why?

Dave because from the beginning, even if the class was already filled with older students for many weeks, he started to joke with the new students as though we were always part of the class. He helped us to quickly integrate.

3. If you could only keep 5 possessions, what would they be?

I will keep my medal, frisbee, ELC grammar book, toothbrush, and Oasis CD.

4. What are some of the most important lessons you learned in life? How did you learn them?

When you find an obstacle in your life, for sure you will find many, you must never give up. Go ahead and reach your dream and your goal. I learned that practicing my sport and I think that sports can be like a school of life and can help you to live the life with the same values.

5. What is your strongest personal quality?

My perseverance because you have to work hard, you have to know that the results never arrive randomly but always through dedication. The same principles apply to learning English.

6. How did you get into fencing?

I was 6 years old and my Grandma watched me play with a plastic sword. She decided to bring me to a fencing club. I have been lucky because in my city there is a famous fencing club so even if many of my friends played soccer, my Grandma had this kind of intuition. In the beginning I played 2 sports, soccer and fencing, but I fell in love with fencing. I decided to choose fencing.

7. What was one of your most defining moments in life?

One week before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which I qualified for, I was unfortunately suspended for 6 months. The news was big and devastating. During that time, I had to work hard to prove that the suspension was unjust and false. When I was cleared, I was able to return, even though my ranking had dropped. After just one season after I returned, I won all of my competitions and earned the top ranking. Even though I am an olympic medalist, this moment was one of the most defining because it was not about the result, it was for me, proving that I was innocent. That was more important than the sports result, maintaining my integrity. This was always necessary and to make this comeback has been such a proud moment for me.

We are also proud of Andrea Baldini, for his commitment to learning English and continuing with his passion for fencing. If you want to learn more about his story, be sure to check out his book, Pechino, la città proibita.*

*English translation: Beijing: The Forbidden City

Take a look at Andrea’s interactive website here: http://www.andrea-baldini.com/!

Andrea - Boston student spotlight