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Student Spotlight – Stefaniia Shmalko-Zatinatckaia May 8th, 2020

Stefaniia is from Russia and has been studying at ELC Boston for 8 weeks. She was enrolled in our Intensive 30 General English Courses and TOEFL Preparation Courses. On weekends, she likes to take advantage of Boston’s public transportation system by taking the train to nearby Providence, Rhode Island to go on adventures with her friends. This was her first experience living abroad.

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Where were you born and raised? 

I was born in Moscow. However, after some movements around the country and abroad, my family settled in St. Petersburg, Russia. This beautiful city is the capital of the times of emperors and the birthplace of revolutions. Sometimes, St. Petersburg is called “north Venice” and sometimes a “city built on swamps”. Yes, we are known for having humid weather!

What are your hobbies?

In my spare time, I shoot on my grandfather’s film camera. I think amateur photos on film have more life than in digital photos. They seem more valuable because to see the result, you need wait for your photos to develop.

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

I am student at St. Petersburg University. My major is sociology in digital society. Remember the checkboxes in a poll? Sociologists analyze the answers, but not only them! This is a science that uses completely different methods, answers many questions, and continually casts doubt on “common sense” and old beliefs.  

What were most surprised to learn about the US? 

The First what impressed me in the US was the sizes. Everything is bigger; buildings, cars, roads, portions in restaurant and even…. squirrels. In Boston they are everywhere, by the way!

What do you miss most about your country?

This is unexpected for me, but for some reason I miss the beautiful metro stations in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The subway in Boston looks simpler and looks more like a train station.

What are your top 3 favorite places in Boston?

Boston Common 

I live at the International Guest House, so my everyday journey to ELC goes through Boston Common and Boston Public Garden. I think this it is very cozy there. I rarely went by without stopping in one of the parks for a couple more minutes. It was especially good to look at people on the ice rink, sitting on a bench, and drinking hot coffee.

North End 

I believe that this is the most atmospheric part of the city. Here you can go to the Old North Church & historic site, one of the main attractions of Boston and the place where the struggle for independence began. You can enjoy great pizza and cannolis here. On a sunny day, I recommend you watch how planes take off on the other side of the bay.

Museum of Fine Arts

There is a wonderful art collection in one of the best museums in Boston. It is very impressive! Als,o there are a lot of great exhibitions and community events. For example, you could come to draw from nature or listen to a lecture.

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What was your favorite moment in class at ELC?

For me, the most impressive was the class in the communication class. When the teacher gave everyone roles that needed to be played in given situations. It was a very interesting and useful experience, especially considering that I always had problems with speaking the language

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

The best feeling is when you start thinking in another language and writing right away rather than translating from your mother tongue. It’s difficult at first and it is still often hard for me. Maybe, the first time you have to force yourself, but through time comes a feeling of lightness and ease. 

What are your plans after ELC? 

I want to come back to my city and after that I want to go on an exchange program from my university. A good level of English will be useful to me in this program. Of course, I want to return to the United States once again to further my eduation.