IALC’s newest member, Emerald Cultural Institute, based in Dublin, Ireland has built a strong reputation for outstanding quality in this most colourful European City.
Today we spoke to Mauro Biondi, Director of ECI to find out more about the school, life in Dublin and how they feel about joining the IALC family.
Q: Hello Mauro, the first question that comes to mind is you have an Italian name, whats the Irish connection?
A: I came to Trinity College Dublin to write my thesis on the Northern Ireland question in the early eighties and met my future wife in university.
Q: How has 2010 been for the school?
A: After a difficult beginning we are experiencing signs of recovery in the market. Recession always requires change and we have worked hard at improving our efficiency, extending our product range and on our marketing. We have an excellent team who pulled out all the stops.
Q: You were established in the mid-1980s. How have things changed at the school over the years ?
A: We started out with just summer programmes. In 1993 we acquired our beautiful headquarters in Palmerston Park. Our gradual growth over 25 years has not just been in numbers but also in the geographical distribution of our students and in the variety and quality of the programmes we offer.
Q: What are your main aims for ECI?
A: The slogan for our 25th anniversary probably sums it up best of all. Your needs. Our experience. We are committed to an ongoing evaluation of what we do in response to the constantly evolving world of international education, without ever losing sight of the individual learner who is at the core of everything we do. This means we have to constantly adapt all aspects of our programmes to meet the emerging needs of international students.
Q: From which countries do the majority of your students come from?
A: Asia: Korea and Japan
South America: Brazil
Europe: Italy, France and Spain
Q: Is the famed Dublin nightlife a big attraction for students?
A: Yes. Dublin is a hive of activity in the evenings. There is a wide variety of entertainment on offer from theatre to live music to the traditional pub life and nightclubs stay open until the early hours especially at weekends.
Q: What would you say are the biggest challenges facing your school and language study in Ireland?
A: To maintain a dynamic approach to the world of language studies and to adapt to the constantly-evolving world of international education. To counteract the volatility of choice of destination due for example to currency fluctuations, with a strong message of a stable and quality product.
Q: How does it feel to be part of IALC, a very exclusive group of quality language schools?
A: It is a wonderful opportunity for our professional development and will be a great support to us in our ongoing commitment to quality. Quality assurance is the only strategy that will work in these difficult times.
Q: Moving on to find out more about you, which is your favourite city in the world and why?
A: Sorry but I have to give you two cities. Rome for its historical, cultural and artistic heritage and Rio de Janeiro for its stunning beauty.
Q: Your favourite pastime?
A: Reading and listening to music.
Q: Your favourite meal?
A: After a long marketing trip, two fried eggs accompanied by a few glasses of Amarone!
Q: Your dream dinner guests?
A: My wife and children. I seem to see so little of them these days!
Q: Finally, what would you say are the main benefits of studying English in Dublin?
A: Besides the fact that the Emerald is based here? Seriously, Dublin is a capital city of human dimensions, which has a long history of education and hospitality. I will call on William Butler Yeats to explain better than I ever could. He said, Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire. This has been our experience over the years. When students come to Ireland, the study of English is just one facet of their educational experience here. Most become fascinated by the music and culture of the country and this lights a flame, which aids them in their learning of the language and enriches their overall experience here. Yeats also famously said, There are no strangers here; only friends you have not yet met. Most students will remark on the friendliness of the Irish people who are open and anxious to make a visitors stay as pleasant and fruitful as possible.
Founded in 1986, the Emerald Cultural Institute has a worldwide reputation for professionalism and academic excellence. It is located in a Victorian mansion in a prime area of Dublin and recognised by the Irish Department of Education and ISO 9001:2000 accredited.
For school enquiries please contact:
Emerald Cultural Institute