City Language School is putting the Lex back into Lexical Learning

\”It\’s not often you get the chance to work at a school like this with such an international reputation.\”

City Language School Director of Studies, Alexa Randell, is from Preston in the UK. She recently arrived from Spain to take up her new post at our Dame Street Centre of Studies. We caught up with Alexa for a quick coffee and chat about her career and her vision for the school in Dublin.

How did you get into teaching?

I had a career change in my late twenties. I was an architect’s technician before and then the economic crisis happened and I was made redundant. I had always thought about moving somewhere with a bit of a warmer climate, so I moved over to Spain and I trained to be a teacher.

I was six years in Spain, mainly in Seville, and then the opportunity of making more of a career out of teaching came up over here in Ireland and I moved to Dublin.

So I have been in teaching for about seven years in total. While I was in Spain I completed my DELTA and I was looking for something a bit more challenging so when this opportunity came up I jumped at it. It\’s not often you get the chance to work at such a well-known school with an international reputation.

Had you been to Dublin before?

I came to Dublin when I was 11-years-old and remember I hated it because it was so busy and there was so much traffic and construction at the time. I arrived at the end of January and I like it a lot better this time. There’s a lot to do, it caters for everyone you can always find the things that you want and in terms of music it’s great, there’s a great mix and the fact that’s there’s a great mix of restaurants too – Greek, Italian, Chinese.

Where do you live in Dublin?

I’m very central. We’re on Patrick’s Street just five minutes from the school. It’s great to be in the heart of it.

How do you like working at City Language School?

I really like it here. It’s probably the biggest team I’ve worked with and it’s a great mix of students too – all the different personalities. Everyone is really friendly. There’s always a good atmosphere and there’s plenty going on we had St Patrick’s Week celebrations recently which was great and we had great fun with our Easter competition.

What do you do in your free time?

I like going to the gym. I do that every day after work and then I like getting to know Dublin better. When I first moved here I was in Phibsboro for two weeks and I really like it up there so I go up there whenever I can and we were out in Dun Laoghaire the other day which is beautiful. So still plenty to explore.

Why is Dublin a good place for students do you think?

There are a lot of students here. It’s a capital city with lots of people to meet; there’s a large community of students here now. There are a lot of intercambio nights where you can meet students from other countries and speak to them in whatever language you choose. There’s one at The Turks Head pub and another one at the library in the ILAC Centre and these are great things for students to go to and practice.


Alexa used quite a few phrasal verbs in our conversation. These can be difficult to understand but are very very common in English. Context is the most important part of understanding a phrasal verb. Often it is worth just guessing what it might mean but here are some of the phrasal verbs we highlighted in the text and their meaning.

get into something = start a career in/start an interest in something 

catch up with someone = meet someone for an informal conversation

come up = present itself

jump at (an opportunity/an offer) = take (an opportunity/an offer) enthusistically

take up = start a new position in a job

(stuff) going on = (stuff) happening