An interview with myClass student - Valikhan Akhmetov

Do you like Singapore? What are the things you like about this country? 

I am from Kazakhstan, and in 1995 I graduated from National Medical University in Kazakhstan. After that I studied Economics at Kemerovo State University in Russia. I‘ve been working in government owned organizations and Ministries of our country, as well as in the private sector, in education, public health, hospital facilities and management.

Why did you choose to come and study at the British Council in Singapore?

I really enjoy Singapore, I love this country because of many reasons. First time I came here in 2007, as a member of health care management team. We visited to share experience with local government and health care units, to obtain some new vision and ideas to be implemented into our health care system. It was a great opportunity to establish new linkage and find cooperative partners.

I liked the weather, friendly people, absolute safety, business climate and comprehensive approach in decision making.  Also a huge variety of culture and cuisine from almost all over the world offering delicious and fresh meal. Before that, I had read Singapore's Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s book 'From the third world to the first' and also had an opportunity to listen to his public appearance and was impressed by his personality, manners and his authority for the audience – a magnetic personality. 

I decided to come to Singapore because I have had here my friends and partners, who helped me with my accommodation first time and gave me a cohesive opportunity to study English besides our meetings and work. It was them, who told me as well that if I want better school I should try to arrange British Council, for sure.

What was the reason to learn English? I understand clearly that almost all knowledge, new inventions, in sciences technologies and even business – all created and shared in English. Being able to read, understand and communicate with English speakers gives you very competitive advantages. 

Do you feel you made a lot of improvement? Which part of your English improved the most?

Thereby, now I can definitely assume that I have made big progress in English. For instance, especially in speaking, and reading with much deeper understanding. That was my primary task, of course writing skills become much better too.   

What do you find difficult about using English?  How did the British Council help you with this?

One of the most difficult moments was listening and understanding the exact meaning of what was said. My job has close acquaintances with international organisations (World Bank, World Health Organisation and United Nations-related organizations and etc.) and partners from foreign countries, so it is significantly important to speak English as a language of multinational usage.

Recommendations that were given by my colleagues here, were 100 per cent true – hence, in British Council I get an unmatched opportunity to speak and listen to multicultural community, get an approach to very different resources of learning English. Different teachers and their manners, interesting materials and convenience in accommodation. Suitable schedule and library - all these details made my learning process very comfortable.

You attended a lot of myClub activities. How did these help you? Did you have a favourite?

myClub activities were very useful. I would separately emphasise ‘English through Art’, really outstanding and unforgettable, emotional and moving. This time I participated in myClass, that was considerably differ from fulltime classes that I’d experienced before. With their narrow topics, artificially created practical issues and activities it is very hard to overestimate value of them. I am sure that they were particularly useful for me in improving 'thinking in English'. 

Do you have any advice or tips for people who are thinking of learning English or already doing so?

I am very glad that I have chosen British Council few months ago, and I keen on improving my English furthermore. It really helps if you study in right school, with English speaking environment classmates from several countries. Never stop to study, do not hesitate to speak. 

Would you recommend British Council Singapore to friends? Why (not)?

I will for sure strictly and insistently recommend to whom I know to start studying English in British Council.