My experience in three acts: Against all odds

A story of our student from Venezuela, Sofia Margarita, talking about her studying time with us before, during and after the lock-down.

By Sofía Margarita - student

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Sofía Margarita, 30 years old and from Caracas, Venezuela. I’m a Biomedical Scientist and last year I made the decision of starting a new path in my life and look for new opportunities here in Europe. I decided to enrol on a Masters in Spain in Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Management following the objectives I’d envisioned for myself. Due to the fact that this Master is entirely in English I decided that, even though I already had a good understanding of English at an advanced level, I could improve it and focus on Business English to be better prepared for my studies. International House Newcastle was recommended to me as the place to fulfil this goal and I couldn’t have made a better choice. Keep reading to know why.



I arrived in Newcastle on 6th March 2020 and my course began on 9th March. As I mentioned before, I had selected the Business English course. The first week everything went according to plan, I’ve found the course very interesting and with the opportunity of practising my conversation skills with the other students. There were four of us. On my second week, the concern in the air due to the CoVid-19 pandemic situation could be felt and the possible compulsory lockdown imposition. Some students were already talking of going back home after witnessing what was going on. The week ended successfully and we arrived to the feared Monday 23th March. That Monday there was much expectation in the air and, indeed, that same afternoon the compulsory lockdown in the UK was announced which, without any hesitation, it turned more than one student’s plans upside down and, of course, it made a huge impact on the school as well as so many other businesses throughout the country.


After a week, IH Newcastle stepped out of their comfort zone and took a chance by changing their teaching model and migrating to the online mode (which I explained in greater detail in a previous blog post), which allowed students to complete their paused courses due to the pandemic and, in some way, to confront this unforeseeable crisis. That’s why, from 30th March I resumed my classes, but this time I was switched to General English because there was no other student in the Business English course. I continued my next 9 weeks making the most out of the course, brushing up on what I already knew, learning new vocabulary and, at the same time, working on NetLanguages® and Harvard ManageMentor® platforms which was already included in my original Business English course. When I was about to finish my 12-week course, I realised the lockdown wasn’t ending anytime soon, so I made the decision to extend my course for 12 more weeks to keep myself busy while abiding the lockdown. Later on, IH Newcastle announced it was going to reopen on 17th August, which was my last week in Newcastle, but I was eagerly waiting for the moment to be at the school once again.


Finally, 17th August arrived, the long-awaited day. Taking into consideration all the government’s guidelines, IH Newcastle reopened and all the staff: management, teachers and maintenance made (and are still making) their best effort to resume the daily activities in the school. It’s worth mentioning that my return flight to Barcelona was cancelled, so I decided (once more) to extend my course for a couple more weeks and, even though the classes haven’t had as many students, the teaching quality hasn’t been found wanting, that’s why I can’t be more certain about choosing IH Newcastle as my language school. What does the future hold? No one can’t tell for sure, but we must definitely give our best to overcome the obstacles that tomorrow may bring and keep moving forward to achieve our goals whatever they may be.