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ELC Boston
ELC - English Language Center Boston
Student Spotlight – Philipp Schmocker June 7th, 2017

Philip Schmocker studied in Boston for just four weeks. But he’s had some great adventures here and made a lot of awesome friends. Philipp’s home is in Switzerland. Interestingly, he’s been in the United States on four previous occasions, and even did a stint studying English in Santa Barbara almost 20 years ago. Philipp picked up his studies again in Switzerland a year and a half ago and then came here to put his English into action.

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

I’m most proud that I have been able to speak well. In fact, this past week I was moved up to a higher level grammar class…  but I kind of didn’t want it (lol). I like all my classmates and was really comfortable with the teachers. But the promotion means that ELC Boston has really helped me improve.

What has been the best activity you participated in and why?

I like walking in Boston; just going around and exploring the city. Learning the local sites of Boston, like the Public Garden, where I go to sit and watch the people, or the waterfront at Boston Harbor where I often stroll. I’ve done many of the ELC activities where we explored different parts of the city.

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

All my teachers have been great. Challenging and strict when necessary, but they’re also kind and most especially fun. Timothy always had a good handle on the students in his class. Maybe he’s made the most impact on me. I also got along with Nych and Katherine and really enjoyed speaking with them.

What are your hobbies?

Stand-up paddleboarding is a passion of mine. I’ve been doing it for about three years. The story is that back home I became a volunteer fire-fighter (that’s a story for next time). We have to do a lot of different training exercises to be on the team. One of the lessons they planned for us was to try stand-up paddleboarding. So we all went, and I fell in love. Now I own three of my own boards! And I can’t wait to get back home on my lake.

Another hobby I’ve had for years is motorcycling. I actually have a pretty awesome bike at home in Switzerland, and I spent some time here in the United States, years ago, biking across the country. But motorbikes is an expensive hobby to have. In the past years, I haven’t done as much buying and training.

What is your favorite english word?

Well, this isn’t my favorite word, but phrasal verbs are super important. For example: put up, put down, sit up. I remember studying them in Switzerland, but with Katherine, I realized the proper usage and how central this part of speech is when communicating in English. I know it sounds weird, but I like English grammar, I find it interesting and very different from Swiss German. Katherine would even make game quizzes for us to practice on our cellphones.  

What is your favorite American food/place?

Oliveiras. Definitely. It’s a Brazilian all-you-can-eat buffet. The food is delicious. I especially loved the Barbecue and the large fruit salad bar. You can reach it by taking the Blue Line train to Airport Station across from the highway. It’s a really authentic eatery. I went with my Brazilian friend and she approved the meal. Also all the staff were from Brazil.

What would your advice be to an incoming ELC student?

Take time, and walk through Boston. Walk, and explore, and rest, and walk more, maybe get lost, find some new adventure. There are so many different, interesting places to explore! Cambridge, Back Bay, all the museums, Harvard and MIT, I feel like I could live here for years and find a new area or neighborhood everyday.

What does the future look like for you?

I’ve found here new motivation for my classes in Switzerland. After studying there, just the books, I was tired. But after ELC Boston I’m excited, energized, and refocused on my studies. I have new techniques and skills that I’ve identified and can take home to practice. And maybe after studying more in Switzerland, I’ll return again to Boston.

Philip Schmocker ELC