Student Spotlight – Maria Botero

Maria Botero is from Colombia, and is studying at ELC Boston for 14 weeks in our Semi-Intensive Plus Course. When Maria isn’t joining other students on ELC activities you can find her exploring the city and trying new foods. Maria is a bright energetic student that teachers love having in class and is motivated to improve her English so she can one day go to university in Boston!

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

I was born in Colombia and raised on a farm then moved to the city when I was 9 years old. I studied in the town though and I like both. Just imagine a farm, lots of animals, horses, chickens, everything!

What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
I like watching movies and television shows. I like reading and drawing, but I’m not very good. I like it, but I’m not that good. I play the piano, I started when I was a little girl, then I stopped, but then I started playing again when I was about 14 years.

What is your special talent?
I don’t have a special talent! I can dislocate my elbows if that counts!

What is your profession? What do you like about it?
I’m still a student and I really like being a student here. I like the environment here, the teachers are all really nice. The teachers are a big reason why I like studying and the environment is really comfortable.

Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Pets? Do they live close to you?
I live with my parents in Colombia. My parents have been together since they were in high school, but they got married when I was 14 so I got to be the flower girl. I have a brother who also studied here, he’s older than me. He studies in Colombia, but he loves Boston. I hope he will come visit me while I am studying here. I have many pets! I have a mini pig named Bacon, even though I’m a vegetarian. I also have three ponies, cows, and two dogs named Macaroon and Cusu. I have many animals because my dad is a farmer. Here in Boston I have a hairless cat named Bally!

Why did you choose to study English in Boston? Did you consider other options?
I decided to come here because my brother studied in Boston and he loved the city! I also have cousins here so it’s nice to have family around. I considered studying in Spain for university, but then I decided to come here and study English.

What are all the ways that Boston is different than your city/town?
Everything is different here, the food, the buildings, but mostly the culture. The people here are really nice and they don’t really care about other people as in they don’t care about the way other people look or what other people do. People here don’t really judge other people, which is not really like back home for me.

What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Boston? Did you experience any culture shock?
I don’t think I was really shocked by much here because my brother studied here and I have cousins here who told me about what to expect in Boston. I was most shocked about how people don’t really mind what other people here do.

What do you miss most about your country?
I really miss my family, but that’s really the only thing I miss. I also miss the weather a little bit, but I like watching the weather change here. I mean, even the difference in weather from yesterday to what it will be tomorrow, it’s fun to see and you can wear all different clothes.

What are your top three favorite places in Boston?
My favorite places are the Boston Common, Coco Beet (you have to try the acai bowl!), and ELC! I love it here!

Where have you found the best food from your country in Boston?
I know there is a Colombian restaurant in East Boston, but I haven’t gone. I don’t eat meat and all Colombian food is like a big piece of meat, fried pork, so I prefer to try other foods. I live in Colombia so I can eat that food when I go home. I want to try new foods while I am here.

Favorite moment in class at ELC:
When we play that card game in Dave’s communications class. It’s a game where you pick a card with a question and you have to talk about it. It always has funny questions and it’s really fun to play that game in class.

Favorite activity at ELC:
Potluck! I love bringing my food and eating everyone else’s. (Maria makes the best rice pudding for potlucks!)

What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?
Come to ELC and practice. The teachers are great and you will learn. It’s good to be somewhere where everyone speaks English.

What are your plans after ELC?
I don’t really know yet. I know I want to go to university and I may want to study in Boston. I might come back to ELC to study for TOEFL or IELTS if I want to go to university in the United States. I need to figure out what I want to study first, that’s the biggest question! Maybe we can start a farm here, I’ll show you!

Boston Waterfront

ELC on Beacon Hill