Studying abroad for the first time is always exciting, especially if you are just 16.
But the experience was even more special for Laura Strazda, who came from Latvia to Excel English in London this summer.
Laura has cerebral palsy, which affects her legs. So she uses a wheelchair, and needed to find an English language school which could accommodate her.
Laura and her mother, Agita Kalvina, were delighted by how easy it was for her to study and see the sights in London, compared with her own country.
"She had a fantastic time," says Mrs Kalvina.
"I was amazed by how much she was able to do after five hours in class each day. She loved the teachers and the interactive methods they used at the school. There were small groups and they concentrated on where the students needed to improve.
"She learned more in a couple of days on some grammar topics than she does in a year at school."
Laura was accompanied by her mother for one week, and a family friend for another. She loved both sightseeing and shopping in London.
"It is all very accessible," says Agita. "I was most surprised in London, because it was so accessible. We went on the buses. We went to the cinema. We went shopping – the fitting rooms aren’t usually big enough for a wheelchair. It's very positive in London. Sometimes in Latvia people pay too much attention to the wheelchair but in the UK people are used to it. We found it positive and very friendly."
Laura is planning to attend university outside Latvia, where it will be easier to find a wheelchair-friendly place to study. So she is likely to return to London to improve her English, so she can study in the language later.
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