Esmelis Rafael Brito, 26 years old, from San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic.
He has been living in Spain for 9 years where he lives with his mother (pharmacist). He arrived Spain when he had just finished his Baccalaureate and here he has studied to becomean Electronic Technician.
His sister and some of his cousins also live in Spain. Back in the Dominican Republic are his father and an older brother. He likes basketball, reading books (in different languages) and travelling.
-Rafael, your mother tongue is Spanish. When and where did you reach your level of English?
I love languages. In my country I studied English and French. English has a lot of influence in the Dominican Republic because of the proximity to USA, in fact, like many Dominicans, I have family that lives there.
I have forgotten a lot of my French although I still can understand it perfectly. I also studied with an Erasmus scholarship in Cologne, Germany, and over there my interest for German started. I am now studying German. In the future I might start with Italian. I don’t dare with Chinese yet but…you never know.
-The Dominican Republic is among the countries where English is best spoken as a second language. Spain is at the bottom of that list. What recommendations can you give us to make children get closer to and better at English?
Basically two things: study English and if they have the opportunity travel to an English-speaking country to practice the language. The languages must be studied, obviously, but if one has the possibility to travel and live in any country where English is the official language, it is an unbeatable opportunity to get a perfect level of English.
-And to the children, what suggestion can you make to the students so that learning English gets easier for them?
My advice is to listen and to repeat, basically, listen and repeat, listen and repeat…
-What about the bilingual program which Cabo Mayor School is committed with, is that enough?
Yes, I think it’s perfect. Quite complete.
-Do you find it difficult to work with children in the classroom?
It depends. With the little ones you have to have more patience. The older ones are a bit more complicated.
– How was your school when you studied Primary? Is there anything in Cabo Mayor that reminds you of it?
Until I was five I studied in a school similar to Cabo Mayor. Although over here the teaching methodology is more dynamic, with activities after class at a much more earlier age. In San Cristóbal these type of activities begin at the age of 6. At that age I joined the Loyola Polytechnic Institute that the Jesuits have in Santo Domingo. This school was nothing like Cabo Mayor. It was very big and with a play area. There we celebrated birthdays, with a party, balloons and cake. And I remember the championships of basketball and volleyball, the music, the theater…
–What do you miss the most about your country?
The adaptation has not been so difficult. In Cantabria people are very friendly and as I was commenting part of my family is in Spain. I have made new friends here. Plus to this four of my best friends from childhood have also come to live to different parts of Spain, so now I have a great excuse to travel in Spain. In fact, we have already met a few times.
-Rafael, do you like living in Santander?
Living in a small town and by the sea is a privilege. I prefer small towns for living. And in my country I had the sea twenty-five minutes away.
For the moment I would not change this city, although life here is more expensive. And I do not plan to return to the Dominican Republic, except on vacation.
Rafael, thank you for answering our questions and allowing the children and families to get a little bit closer to you. We wish you good luck and a happy time in Cabo Mayor.