A chat with our STUDENT OF THE YEAR – Anastasia Sozinova

When Anastasia Sozinova found out she had won the inaugural William Smith Memorial Award as our Student of the Year at City Language School she was a little surprised. 

“I didn’t expect it,” says the 25-year-old. “I was just doing what I wanted to do and for me it was pretty normal. I didn’t think what I was doing was in any way exceptional. When I was told, I was very happy. Surprised and happy.”

Last week (Saturday, November 4th), Anastasia picked up her award at a ceremony in St. Ann’s Church in Dublin.

Anastasia collects the inaugural William Smith Memorial Award from Jonathan Smith, brother of the late William Smith

“I never experienced something like that before,” she says. “It’s completely different from how we do these ceremonies in my country. I saw it in movies but I got to see it with my own eyes and to be involved. I enjoyed it a lot.” 

Anastasia arrived in Ireland in summer 2022 to start her English Language journey with us City Language School. As is the case with most of our students, she had many reasons for coming to Dublin. 

“I came through an agency,” says Anastasia. “They recommended Ireland because you can study and work here. Not all places have that. So that’s the reason I came but now I am just in love with Ireland. It feels like a nice place to live. It feels like home and City Language School is an amazing place to study English.”

So amazing that Anastasia decided to sign up for a second and then a third course with the school on completion of her first.

“I have spoken to students from other schools,” she says, “and from what I hear and when I compare them, City Language has really good teachers.”

City Language School Dublin’s Student of the Year, Anastasia Sozinova, with teacher Pádraig O’Beirne

Of course, life in Dublin is not just about the teaching and learning of English. The school has also given Anastasia a platform, a place where she could ground herself in the capital and gradually explore all it has to offer.

“We are all exchange students,” says Anastasia. “We leave our friends and family and we come here alone. We have no one. On my first day, I was very anxious about going to the school, and talking in another language but from the moment I got into that first class and met the teacher, I instantly felt relaxed. I felt safe and free. Eventually, I made friends there and everyone was so nice and friendly. You feel like you have your own community. Of course, you don’t have your old friends but you have new ones and I think City Language School helps with that a lot.”

Though Anastasia herself was a little surprised to receive the Student of the Year award, those who have seen her English language skills blossom over the last year are not so shocked.

“Anastasia completed two courses without missing a single class,” says her current teacher, Pádraig O’Beirne. “That kind of attendance in two courses is exceptional. She’s never late, she is loved by all her classmates as she is always there to lend a helping hand for those who need it. On top of that she always has an incredibly positive attitude and a strong desire to improve. All of this was reflected in her excellent exam results too. Basically, she is an ever-present ball of positive energy which she spreads around the school and shares with the students and staff she comes into contact with.”

City Langauge School Dublin’s Student of the Year, Anastasia Sozinova, with Director of Studies, Aoife Harrington

Anastasia’s excellent attendance might have something to do with the fact that she lives on the same street as the school. Her city centre location also makes it easy for her to get to her work at a nearby steakhouse where she “earns good money” and of course adds to her ever-improving English.

When Anastasia came to us last year her level was B1. Today she speaks, writes and listens in English at a C1 level and she recently added IELTS to a growing list of qualifications and achievements.

Inspired by her time at City Language School, she is planning to become an English teacher.

“I’m going to try to do CELTA and after I will see,” she says.

Perhaps someday we will see her on the other side of the desk at City Language School.

City Language School in the Heart of Dublin

City Language School is right in the heart of Dublin City Centre. Dublin is the proud and vibrant capital of Ireland and with its cosmopolitan and modern feel, it has repeatedly been voted Europe’s friendliest city by Trip Advisor. Dublin boasts strong links with literature, music, dance and storytelling. As you walk through the streets of Temple Bar, you can absorb the musical tradition which spills onto the streets from the many bars and restaurants; truly a city of enormous beauty! Dublin is surrounded by breath-taking natural scenery that will leave you with lifelong memories. It is perfectly located on the eastern coastline of Ireland and is a convenient gateway to the rest of Europe.