Unforgettable Holidays in Portsmouth – Ivanovo State Power University Students

As language teachers, we prepare and go to class, meet lovely students, teach and then prepare for the next class. Once in a while we get a little insight into what it means to be on the other side of the desk. Please do read the following accounts from our lovely students from Ivanovo, it shows beautifully how important the time our students spend in England learning English and the huge impact it can have on their lives, it is really quite moving.


Our lovely friend Olga, from Ivanovo in Russia, recently sent us this article that was published on their website. Al-Taiasne Sabrin has very kindly translated it so we can understand.  

First here is a video in Russian from Valeriia Gunina, Sofya Gruzdeva and Anastasia Leschenko:

Successful cooperation of Ivanovo State Power Engineering University with LSI/IH Portsmouth continues. In February thanks to this cooperation 14 other students took their unique chance to spend 2 unforgettable weeks in Great Britain and to study in an international language centre. This year among the members of the group there were students and graduates of ISPU and Ivanovo State University.

For most students, it was their first experience of studying abroad. But there were also students for whom it was their second trip, some of whom had already been to LSI/IH Portsmouth four times.

The students were happy to share their vivid memories of the trip. We hope that their feedback about studying in LSI/IH Portsmouth will inspire other students and next year they will go to Portsmouth and realize their long-held dreams to visit Great Britain. And it is more important that they will have an opportunity to improve their English under the guidance of very experienced teachers from LSI/IH Portsmouth.

Olga Romanova (associate professor of the Intensive English Learning Department, group leader)

This year I was lucky to become the leader of a group of students who decided to spend their winter holidays in Portsmouth in order to improve their English. The process of preparing for this trip is very time-consuming. We need to negotiate with our English partners, to help students to prepare all documents for a visa center, to solve all organizational issues. However, thanks to my colleagues Natalya Dudareva, Irina Ermakova and Olga Belobokova we coped with all these difficulties to give some more students a chance to go to Great Britain and enjoy their trip to Portsmouth and their studies in LSI/IH Portsmouth.

During this trip, I wasn’t only the group leader, but I was also a full member of one of the student groups. I was happy to become a student again, to do all the tasks offered by my teachers, to participate in discussions with my groupmates, among whom there were students from Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Yemen, and to do my homework in the evenings. I enjoyed my classes with Joel Burchett, Neil Jenkins and Rebecca Blakey and I am very grateful to my English teachers for this experience.

Moreover, I had a chance to observe classes of Jeremy Catlin, Jenny Jones, Ceri Tipler and John Dobbin and I liked them very much. Furthermore, I want to add that I was glad to hear good opinions of my colleagues about the students from our University.

Sabrin Al-Taiasne (graduate of ISPU) and Yasmin Al-Taiasne (graduate of Ivanovo State University)

It’s the fourth time already that we spend the first two weeks of February in the wonderful city of Portsmouth. The city lives, changes, new shops and restaurants are opened, but what always remains the same is the wonderful teachers whose lessons you really want to attend and wonderful hosts to whom you get so attached that you feel like a member of their family and you just tease each other and laugh together. Here you can always meet interesting students from different countries. Friendship with some of them will remain with you for the rest of your life. And of course, there’s a wonderful atmosphere in Portsmouth: clean streets, seashore, British accent and English pubs. This is the place where you would like to stay if not forever, then for a very long time.

Anastasiia Blokhina (graduate of ISPU)

I want to express my sincere gratitude to the IELD (Intensive English Learning Department) for the excellent opportunity to visit England and practise my conversational English.

I have been dreaming about this trip for 5 years but there were always different obstacles: I either didn’t have enough money or wasn’t allowed to get a vacation. Eventually, in September I told myself: “It’s time!”

To my mind, everyone who learns English dreams about visiting England.

In Ivanovo I really don’t have enough conversational practice but during this trip I spoke English every day. I liked it very much that in LSI/IH Portsmouth, the school where we studied, a lot of attention was paid to the development of conversational skills. We spoke English at our lessons a lot. It is a school where there was a relaxed atmosphere contributing to communication and openness.

In addition, I was pleased with a variety of activities organized by the school: conversation club, job club, salsa lessons, Latina dance parties, trips to different cities, cinema outings and football. Here everyone can find everything they like. I had no time for boredom. I even did not want to leave.

Portsmouth itself impressed me with its sea and the Spinnaker tower – the local landmark, the tower with an observation platform and a glass floor. When I got up there I felt dizzy at first but then I even made a few selfies lying on this very floor.

Another dream of mine has come true. During this trip I visited London. And although on the first day I didn’t see many places of interest because of bad weather, on the second day I decided to explore the city center and bought the Hop-on hop-off double-decker open top tour. I saw all London major sights. It was unforgettable!

The hostess of the house in Portsmouth, where I was staying, welcomed me warmly and every day she cooked tasty traditional English food for me. For example, I tried a Shepherd’s pie. Moreover, every morning I had porridge and tea with milk for breakfast.

I also made a lot of new friends and I hope that we will keep in touch and it will help me to improve my English.

I also want to thank the teachers of the Intensive English Learning Department: Olga Romanova who helped me a lot by giving advice before the trip and during my stay in Portsmouth, Irina Ermakova who helped me to translate my documents, and the department office manager Olga Belobokova who helped us in solving the trip organizational issues.

For me, this trip to England was a real challenge! It has definitely changed my life! I hope that in the near future I will come to the wonderful city of Portsmouth again.

I strongly recommend all those who learn English to visit Portsmouth and to study in LSI/IH Portsmouth.

Anastasiia Gubernatorova (graduate of ISPU)

This was my first trip to LSI/IH Portsmouth and England in general. To say that I’m impressed means to say nothing! What impressed me the most was the approach to students in LSI/IH Portsmouth. Here we were asked what exactly we want to study, what topics we would like to review in the class, whether we are satisfied with the quality of the lessons and whether additional materials are needed.

All the teachers who we were lucky to have are very cool! At the lessons we were constantly busy with something, we discussed a lot of different topics. Under such conditions, it is simply impossible not to remember our almost forgotten English. I specifically want to mention Eoin, a teacher who worked with us only 3 days, but managed to charm us with his friendliness, creativity and that wonderful gesture – an excursion to the Portsmouth museum instead of the last lesson, for which, however, he did not forget to prepare assignments for us.

Portsmouth is a small picturesque city, which is the best one to immerse in the youthful student atmosphere of provincial England. We literally didn’t spend a single evening at home, instead there were trips to the sea, salsa lessons, conversation club, movies, live music in pubs, a lot of new acquaintances and phone numbers in WhatsApp, and a southern English accent which we could hear everywhere!

A trip to London deserves a separate story – a short break from study, many impressions, the uniqueness of the city, and the moment when we could see the things we’d seen only in the English language books.

Valeriia Gunina (ISPU)

A trip to Portsmouth was an unforgettable journey. We had two weeks to practise English, to improve pronunciation, to learn new vocabulary and to meet new people. The opportunity to live two weeks in an English family gave us a chance to get acquainted with the life of ordinary British people, to see the country from the inside, to understand how welcoming and friendly the representatives of this beautiful country are.

Teachers at the school explained everything in such a way that it was easy to understand the material, they were ready to help in any situation. Every day after classes the school organized various interesting activities and all students could meet and talk.

In this trip I met wonderful people with whom we are now best friends. I highly recommend everyone to go to Portsmouth because you will get unforgettable emotions and impressions. And you will definitely want to go there again as all members of our group!

Denis Belykh (a student from Moscow)

It was really cool! When I was only planning to go to England I could not even imagine that I would gain so much experience, so many new friends and impressions! I advise everyone to visit Portsmouth and to study in LSI/IH Portsmouth PORTSMOUTH if there is an opportunity. It is a very useful experience in terms of improving your language skills. I am delighted!

Anastasia Leshchenko (ISPU)

My first trip to England was an unforgettable adventure. For the first time I was able to see and feel what it’s like to live in another country, to study in an English language school, to travel, to try something new.

The host family was very kind to me, and I am very grateful to them for their openness and friendliness.

Of course, my best memories are connected with LSI/IH Portsmouth and my teachers. Thanks to this trip I’ve got the necessary language practice, have become more confident in speaking English. I’ve learnt about the culture and traditions of not only England but also the countries which the students I studied in the same group with at LSI/IH Portsmouth came from.

And of course the most unforgettable event in my life was the trip to London for a weekend! We were able to see all those incredible places from postcards and magazines: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and many others. This trip became unforgettable thanks to the guys from our Russian group and to the teachers of the Intensive English Learning Department, especially Olga Romanova.

Sofya Gruzdeva (ISPU)

This year it was the second time I’ve gone on the trip to LSI/IH Portsmouth in Portsmouth. The trip was organized by the Intensive English Learning Department.

Despite the fact that I was put in the FCE Cambridge exam preparation group again, the classes were still productive and interesting. I’ve learnt lots of new things about exam tasks and also have learnt a great deal of useful words and phrases which are necessary not only to pass the exam, but are also widely used in everyday life. Also this time I was lucky enough to try myself in the mock exam. It was like a real exam after which we were informed about our results and our English teachers commented on them: which tasks were done well, and which ones still need to be worked on. Thanks to this experience, I realized that I can pass this exam and I have plans to do it in the near future.

And of course I can’t but to mention the weekend, which I spent this time in Leicester and London. As for Leicester, I agree that this choice may seem strange, but I’ve wanted to see this city in Central England for a very long time and now my dream has come true! This city will be associated with another very bright event in my life: visiting the stadium, the English Premier League match between the “Leicester City” and “Swansea City” teams for the very first time, which made an unforgettable impression on me.

Well, London is a city in which you will always find something to do. This time my choice was the “Abby Road” studio, associated with the legendary group “The Beatles”, the museum of Sherlock Holmes and some other interesting places.

In conclusion, I want to say that the UK is a special country, and I am very happy that I had the opportunity to visit it and to touch its history, for which, of course, I am very grateful to the Intensive English Learning Department!