From Roller Skating to Language Adventures: Gaia’s Story about Learning English Abroad

From Roller Skating to Language Adventures: Gaia’s Story about Learning English Abroad

Categories: Kentish Town, London Living, Programmes, Student Stories


Join Gaia on her journey as she leaves Italy and heads to the bustling city of London to improve her English. Follow along as she navigates the challenges of learning a new language and immersing herself in a new culture.

Gaia started her English learning journey with us in October 2022 and took the IELTS exam by the end of 2022. With a score of 5.5, she easily met the requirements for our International Foundation Programme, and she promptly enrolled.

Through this blog post, you'll accompany Gaia on her exciting adventures and discover her aspirations and experiences in London, where she continues to grow and develop as a student and individual.

Revisiting Gaia's Childhood Ambitions

Growing up, Gaia was a curious and adventurous girl. She's always had a close bond with her older brother and found herself lucky enough to travel the world with her family, visiting destinations such as New York, Thailand, Spain, France, and more. Although she was exposed to English during these global trips, in her early years, Gaia had limited exposure to the English language and did not have many memories of actively using it in her everyday life.

One of her recollections from her primary school years was about her quirky English teacher, who would bring an old radio to class to aid students' pronunciation. She recalls not making significant progress in learning English. However, despite her limited experience, she later developed a curiosity for English language learning.

Fun fact about Gaia: At home, she had two cats named Oliver and Lulu, four turtles, a dog, and five fish!

For most of her childhood, Gaia was inspired by Italian figure skater Carolina Kostner and used to dream of becoming a roller skater herself. However, later on, her interests shifted towards fashion, and at the age of 13, she created her social media accounts and started following fashion bloggers like Chiara Ferragni.


Diving into English: Initial Language Immersion and Personal Growth

Gaia portrayed herself as a rebellious teenager with her own mind, full of energy and eager to explore the world around her. After her lessons ended at 2 pm, she would spend her afternoons with her family and then go out with her friends, grabbing a bite, hanging at an ice cream shop, relaxing in the town square and reading teenage magazines like Mondo di Patty.

During her college days, she took part in a quiz with her teacher, but her performance wasn't up to her liking. She found English and Maths to be the most challenging subjects. Gaia's passion for English music was the primary motivator behind her aspiration to study the language. She was determined to understand the lyrics to her favourite songs, so she decided to immerse herself in the English language. By her late teens, her new dream was to travel abroad, study English and gain independence.

"I think if you want to learn a foreign language, you should move to the place where they speak the language to have the opportunity to be more fluent. It's about the culture and meeting other English speakers," says Gaia.

Initially, she had the United States in mind, but she changed her plans and chose to stay closer to Italy as this was her first time travelling alone.

Gaia had a conversation with her dad regarding her plans to study English, and her father was supportive of her dream and spoke to his friends about it. Eventually, they arranged an appointment with an Italian agency specialising in helping students study abroad. They came across SCL International College in London during the meeting and were impressed by the school's reputation.

Getting ready for the big day: Moving to London

Gaia was thrilled when she received news of her course start date at SCL International College. Her new adventure to independence began in early October 2022.

The night before her flight to London, she's had an exciting farewell party with her dear friends. Afterwards, they visited a bakery in the early hours of the morning. Later on, her boyfriend drove her back home, where she prepared for the trip and together with her best friend, boyfriend and the rest of her family, they went to the airport.

Gaia had pre-booked SCL's transfer service. Upon her arrival at Stansted Airport in north London, a private taxi driver greeted Gaia outside arrivals and took her to our student accommodation.

She arrived early at the Kentish Town campus so her room was not yet ready, and she left her bags at the main reception and headed to a nearby bakery for a bite to eat.

She sat down on a bench with some Kentish Town locals, savouring her sandwich in the sunshine. The warm weather was a welcome surprise as she had heard that London was always shrouded in clouds. So that’s not true after all!

Fun discovery from her early London days: "If you bring an umbrella outside with you, it will be sunny and hot. If you don't, you'll end up wet," Gaia says.

Gaia's First Impressions of her Student Accommodation and School Life

When Gaia first stepped into her room, she was immediately struck by the soothing blend of milk and mint colours - her favourites! The room was spacious and well-lit, allowing her to easily arrange her belongings and personalise her space. She felt a deep connection with her room. The combination of colour and space filled her with joy and peace, making her room feel like a great place to start her new ventures.

Kentish Town_Room Studio Bathroom
Kentish Town_Premium Single Studio

On her first day at school, Gaia arrived with her notebook and pencil, eager to begin her new academic challenge. At SCL International College, everything is located in one building so she didn't even have to worry about commuting, bad weather or getting lost! A quick ride down the lift and she arrived at the school floor, relaxed and ready.

Upon arrival, she was warmly welcomed by Denisa and Gen at the front desk, who kindly assisted her in finding the correct classroom. Then, Gaia met her teacher Simon, and she introduced herself to her new classmates. In the class, she sat next to Sadeem and Sirin, twin girls from Saudi Arabia, as well as Nesibe from Türkiye and Fahres, also from Saudi Arabia. Gaia soon found herself fully engaged in the lessons and understanding the tasks.

At first, Gaia wasn't sure if she'd make friends, but that quickly changed. Over time, she became friends with all her classmates, and they started exploring London together. They added her to their WhatsApp group and began sharing experiences, memories, and moments of their daily lives. She studies daily and takes her lessons seriously, and also keeps herself busy both on and off campus. Gaia was happy to have found a supportive and fun community of friends in her new school.

Fun moments during her first days in London:

On Gaia's first day in London, she was eager to stock up on some essentials, so she headed to the local supermarket. As she approached the checkout, the cashier asked, "Cash or card?" Still getting used to speaking English, Gaia replied confidently, "All I want to do is pay."

The cashier asked again: "Cash or card?" But this time, Gaia replied in Italian: "Ma che vuole questa,” which means, "What does she want from me?"

The cashier soon realised that Gaia wasn't speaking English fluently and repeated the question more slowly.

Despite facing an initial language barrier, Gaia was glad to experience the warm and friendly approach of Londoners. Since that day, she was even more determined to enhance her English skills.

Progressing from IELTS prep course to International Foundation Programme

Gaia had a clear goal in mind when she enrolled in her combination course: General English & IELTS. She wanted to improve her overall English proficiency and score a decent grade in the IELTS exam because she knew that a high score would help her to get ready for a university education with our International Foundation Programme. Despite falling ill just before the IELTS exam, she was determined to achieve her objective and she persevered.

Her hard work paid off, as she received an overall score of 5.5. She was delighted with the result and felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. She promptly enrolled on our International Foundation Programme, choosing to specialise in Social Sciences.

How to book the IELTS test:

The process for booking an IELTS exam for SCL International College students is quite simple.

  • Inform us about your exam booking preference either during the initial booking process or after you have arrived at school - speak with your teacher or the SCL reception.
  • Since the IELTS exam is in high demand, finding a date at any IELTS centre in London is not a problem. However, it is recommended that you inform us as early as possible to avoid any last-minute issues.

Looking for some tips on how you can pass the IELTS exam? We've got the perfect resources for you. Check out the link below!

With the school's unwavering support and friendly atmosphere, Gaia finds herself at ease when seeking guidance or addressing any concerns with our academic team. Currently, she is taking General English, Law, Economics and Study Skills classes, and she finds the content engaging and challenging.

Tips from Gaia on how to overcome challenges of learning English: “I’ve been listening to different accents on YouTube and I also started watching a lot of English movies, set my phone settings into English and my Spotify as well as Netflix - subtitles are also in English.”


Gaia's goal is to attend a university in London that offers courses in media, communication, and journalism.

Our academic team went above and beyond by providing Gaia with research materials and discussing potential university programmes to help her make an informed decision. After considerable research, Gaia was able to narrow down her options and felt confident in her decision-making process.

She carefully crafted her personal statement recently and sent it to five universities in London. Thanks to SCL's partnerships, she was guaranteed entry into at least one of them. That certainly took the pressure off! Her top five included: Brunel University, University of West London, Coventry University, London College of Arts, and University of the Arts London.

Gaia frequently keeps in touch with her family through calls and video chats - especially with her brother. Having worked so hard to get here, she cherishes every moment of her London life, surrounded by her newfound friends.

Future goals of an international student in London

Looking ahead, Gaia sees herself finishing her university studies, travelling extensively, and being successful and happy in her career. One day, she wants to do what she loves and wake up each day feeling fulfilled and satisfied with her work. She recognises the value of English and eventually, is eager to pass on this knowledge to her future children.

For young students considering moving to London, Gaia's biggest advice is simple: "Stop watching social media, wake up, pack your clothes and come to London!"


Wondering what Gaia is doing now and which educational path she's chosen?

Read Part 2 of her story!


Start your journey today!

We thank Gaia for sharing her story with us and giving us a glimpse into her London adventures! Her pursuit has been a true testament to the fact that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

We hope this blog post has inspired you to take the first step towards achieving your own dreams. If you're ready to follow your passions and bring your ideas to life, don't hesitate to reach us at or use the button below to schedule a call at a time that suits you. Our team is here to support you - remember, there's no better time than now!

We have a rolling admissions policy which means you can apply any time, even just a few weeks before starting your programme, but be sure to leave enough time to secure your student visa.


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