Interview with Gulsum Kismanova – Returning St Giles Brighton Student
Gulsum Kismanova, a St Giles student from Kazakhstan, first studied at St Giles Brighton in 2010. Since then, she has returned 7 times!
How long have you studied at St Giles?
I had no English at all when I started studying at St Giles in January 2010. I remember my first day vividly: it was raining and dull and I was wearing a traditional Khazakhstani fur coat and hat, which got dripping wet and was very heavy! I have a long-term visa and come to study for 2 or 3 months at a time; I have studied General English with Business but on my last trip I had lessons in the Platinum centre, including some one-to-one sessions.
Have you seen any changes over the past 5 years?
The cafe has certainly changed! So have the teachers and the roles of other personnel.
Tell me about your business activities.
I was a doctor of medical sciences and a scientific researcher and lecturer in the theory and practice of pathology; I also wrote text books. Then I joined my family business (in the geological oil/gas industry) when I was in my 50s and am the Business Development Manager. I am in charge of communications and networking, developing future potential partners and creating new jobs for our employees.
What benefits have you seen in your business life because of your increased competence in English?
Language now works for me! It helps me to co-operate with people, negotiate, sign agreements and contracts. I have less need of translators and interpreters, which is helpful because sometimes they are not experts in my business, they don’t always have the vocabulary I need.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like to read books and learn about everything on the internet. I listen to English songs (I like the country singer Kenny Rogers!) and reading poetry.
Where else have you travelled?
I lived in Moscow for 5 years and for a short time in the UAE; I had trouble in the hot weather in Dubai and Abu Dhabi! I also have business contacts in Seoul, South Korea and now China and partners in Germany too.
Tell me about your activities – geology?
I discovered the Brighton and Hove Geological Society on the internet and visited them several times whilst studying at St Giles Brighton. I attended lectures on local geological structures and have established contact between the Society and the Association of Geologists in Kazakhstan. I am planning to organise joint events and conferences between the two groups for research and to present results.
What are you planning for the future?
My goal for the rest of my life is to study English; I want to come to the UK every year, if my visa permits. I find listening to the BBC and CNN is helpful for my listening skills, although English is spoken at a different speed in the USA! I listen to the European news in English and do courses on the internet for my personal development. I don’t want to give up!
Gulsum (far right) with her fellow students in the St Giles Brighton Platinum Centre
Find out more about learning English at St Giles Brighton.