Learning a non-native language not only does it provide us with the ability to communicate but it also helps understand the world, its culture, its tradition, its people.
Our report aims to offer you an opportunity to enrich yourself with the English world thought our most sincere and near experience, though our vision as students.
St Patrick’s day
St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, in honor of its patron saint, St Patrick of Ireland, which is celebrated on March 17th. Originally, it was a Catholic holiday, but over time it has gradually evolved into a secular holiday of Irish culture and in a way a kind of National Day. It is a Christian celebration that takes place on Monday when March 17th falls on a Sunday.
This year St Patrick’s Day took place on a brightly Wednesday as we had the chance to talk with Ralph, an authentic Irish, born in Belfast, that came to visit us to our school, Col·legi Episcopal to do an interesting talk about the British culture and traditions for St Patrick’s day, addressed to High School students.
During the talk, Ralph made students engage and participate, he introduced the talk asking people what their thoughts were when they heard about British culture and traditions. As a result, when people think of Britain, they often think of people drinking tea, eating fish and chips, and wearing bowler hats. However, but there is more to Britain than just those things.
He spoked about the history of Ireland, and the wars and problems that British people had and still have. He also engaged students to participate with music, flags, songs… that together with his words made it entertaining, charming and simply genial.
On the other hand, in the English extraescolar, P4 and P5 grades, pupils and teachers decorated the classrooms, played games, danced the traditional Irish music and learned about its culture. Good, primary grade pupils discovered legends of castles and green landscapes belonging to the Irish world and its main icons: the Celtic cross, the leprechaun, and others.
By learning about St Patrick, we could learn about Ireland, its culture and traditions, its main representative icons and symbols and its music.
We talk to Ralph personally as we wanted to find out about his life and his thoughts. We thanked him for having allowed us to spend such a charming time!
For this interview we wanted to get to know you better.
- Which four subjects do you think would describe you better?
Probably English because I have taught and done a lot writing. Then maths, believe it or not because I like working with my hands and I need Maths when I want to design something or build something. Maths is very useful. Then probably other languages because I do not live in an English-speaking country I live in a Catalan/Spanish speaking country so languages would be important. And the last one, I think culture for me would be important because I’m very into my own Irish culture and British culture and I quite enjoy the Spanish/Catalan culture.
- What is your favorite thing of Ireland?
It is a really hard question because I really love so much everything about Ireland, but if I had to choose one thing of Ireland, I think it would be just the countryside, the views, the beaches, the forest, the castle… that’s probably what I like the most.
- If you could define yourself in one word, what would it be? Why?
Stubborn. It’s because I’m a little old and I have my own ideas and my wife always says, “you’re like hard to turn”, so I’m probably now a little stubborn.
- What is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement was probably marrying my Catalan wife, because I just love her so that’s my biggest achievement and of course having children.
- What is your profession or what was your profession?
I was police officer in Northern Ireland in the Royal Ulster Constabulary for over 30 years. During that time we had the terrorism war with the Irish Republican army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary was the most dangerous place forced to be in the world, I think according to the United Nation, was a very dangerous place.
- If you could have another job for the rest of your life, what would you chose?
I think I would like to show people around my country Ireland, because I enjoy doing that.
- What do you miss the most of Lleida when you are in Ireland? And the same otherwise.
If I’m in Ireland what I miss the most is my wife and when I’m in Lleida what I miss the most is my children and my grandchildren’s.
- Do you find it very tiring going from Lleida to Ireland? And same otherwise.
Yes, but only because I am getting a little bit older and because I do not have the same energy level as you have.
- Our teacher of journalism, Raquel as you know, told us you take people and host them in Ireland at your house for two weeks, and while they are there, they learn about the culture of Ireland. Could you tell us with more specifically what do you do when they stay there? And how does it work?
I usually have 3 or 4 young people and they live with me for two weeks. In the morning we have breakfast, we chat and then we do one or two hours of learning, but the learning is related to the place we are going to visit. For example, if we are going to visit an important building, for one hour more or less, we learn all the vocabulary and all the language about this building and then we just go and visit. We spend all day outside and sometimes we just go for a walk through a forest, and we talk about the trees, the plants… With this, they grow their vocabulary, and we have lunch in a park and then we go home and then they have “free time” to talk with your friends. And at nighttime, we normally have dinner, and we play games. And every day they have to write a diary of what they do and then I look into their diary and I see if they understand it the visit and If they do not, I try to explain to them the different grammar and vocabulary, and they just do this every day, you pick somewhere different, it’s beautiful. Some students want to stay for another week.
- Do you like the idea of hosting people to your house?
I teach privately at my house, so normally the student I teach privately go to Ireland in the Summer, a group of 3 one week or two then another one and the weather over there, in Ireland is really nice these days.
- What is freedom for you?
I think freedom for me is that related to choose what I want to do each day that I live and being able to do it.
- How did you take the king’s death?
The whole country was very sad, and many people were crying because the royal family in the United Kingdom the majority of people love them, so it was a very sad event when he dies, because we watched them every day, they are part of our lives. Through the centuries our sons and our husbands and fathers went to fight in the war and their sons went to fight too. They are part of our country and it is sad.
- Do you think the monarchy is racist? Referring to the interview of Meghan Markle and prince Harry.
I think they probably are not, but there are probably some people in the organization who are racist, and it is because there are racist people everywhere. The monarchy is a very big organization. There are thousands of people, so there might be some people who are racist.
I watched the interview and I think they are quite honest about what they felt, but of course there are two sides to every story, and we do not know what the other side of the story is. I am neutral. I do not think they are bad, or I do not think they’re good. I am neutral.