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ELC - English Language Center Santa Barbara
Student Spotlight – Christian Ilgenstein August 30th, 2019

Christian Ilgenstein is from Germany and is studying at ELC Los Angeles for 20 weeks in our Intensive English course.

Christian’s birthday dinner with his host family.

Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place(s).

I was born and raised in Engen, Germany. Engen is a small town with a river nearby and it also has a nice castle called Villa Musiha.

What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?

My hobbies are long distance runs, playing piano, reading, and playing poker.

What is your special talent?

I am very good at analyzing things. I’m also very fast in reading sheet music.

What is your profession? What do you like about it?

I’ve recently finished my bachelor studies. I studied economics with a major in financial markets. I like money and what fascinates me is the fast pace of the unimaginable amount of money that surrounds us.

Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Do they live close to you?

I have no kids, but four siblings. Two live far away. My brother, Skren, is in Berlin and Hileen is in Hanover. My other two sisters, Nicole and Nadine, live in the neighboring town.

Why did you choose to study English in Los Angeles? Did you consider other options?

I wanted to go to a big city. Other cities I had in mind were New York City, Chicago, San Diego, and San Francisco. The weather in LA is pretty nice.

What are all the ways that Los Angeles is different than your city/town?

LA is a very diverse city. So many different cultures are living together here. You go to some districts/places of LA and you think you are in another world.

What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Los Angeles? Did you experience any culture shock?

Actually, I can’t think of one culture shock that really surprised me. People here are friendly to each other. There are so many different cultures that come together, so people here are generally open-minded to different people and languages.

What do you miss most about your country?

Kebab, my favorite food.

What are your top three favorite places in Los Angeles? 

The UCLA campus: I really liked spending my time there in the library and around campus in the afternoon.

Santa Monica and Venice Beach: Every few days I ran at the beach. Many people are out there, and the view is beautiful.

My host family’s home in Santa Monica: I really enjoyed spending time with my host family, and having dinner together was always nice.

Where have you found the best food from your country in Los Angeles?

No where. I haven’t been to any German restaurants yet. I should try it.

Favorite moment in class at ELC:

I can’t think of one moment because in the last three months, there were so many funny and nice moments I had with my friends and in class.

Favorite activity at ELC:

I like having lunch together with friends after school.

What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?

The first time you come to class, you are insecure about talking in English. The most helpful tip I can give is to talk! Talk as much as you can. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes. Everybody is still learning, but you have to practice. Talk as often as you can with your friends or in class, even if your friends are from the same country.

What are your plans after ELC?

I’m gonna go back to Germany and apply for some internships. This will take around a year. After that, I want to continue my studies in finance. I might go to a business school in the US.