"Give them the gift of words"


Dimitar Parlapanski Brings English Skills To Bulgarians At www.EFLclass.com

Categories: ESL Vocabulary, Vocabulary for Success, Vocabulary Resources |

Like many other successful English-speaking business people, Dimitar Parlapanski decided to share his skills and promote the English language in his native country. At the European Language Centre (www.eflclass.com) in Sofia, Bulgaria, students can learn conversational English by talking about real-world situations and stories, or focus on honing their vocabulary and grammar by studying to pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), a required exam for anyone who wants to work overseas or with a multinational business organization.

UV: When you started your school back in 2000, the internet was already playing a major role in connecting people and businesses, and English a required skill. How have things changed for you and your school since then?

DP: Yes, back in 2000 the internet was a major channel of communication and information. Of course the internet is a very dynamic system which has undergone a lot of changes since then. It is enough to mention the appearance of social networks, blogs, the growing opportunities for expressing your personal view and making comments. From a professional point of view, I would distinguish the English language educational websites. Their number has grown up tremendously since the year 2000, as well as the variety of aspects they cover. In our school we encourage our students to use them in their work at home and we can see how this elaborates their skills and knowledge. And also, we feel that this brings an enjoyment to them.

UV: You offer sample IELTS online exams to help students prepare for those tests. Are you planning on adding more online and self-paced study materials to the site?

DP: Yes, it is our intention to widen the scope of our online lessons beyond currently existing IELTS and job interview resources. We are planning to develop and include examples of day to day situations, similar to those we use in our conversational English course in class. In this way the site will be more helpful to our users.

UV: Your General English classes are designed for people who are just starting out learning English as well as those who learned the language in school but have forgotten their studies over time. Do you have different courses for young students, as well as classes for adults?

DP: In fact, the emphasis in our current strategy is on adults. But hopefully in the future we would increase the number of our staff members and start offering courses for children and younger learners as well.

UV: Professionals will find that your Specialized English courses are very helpful in providing them with the scientific, medical, and academic vocabulary for the fields they work in. You also offer something unique: a course designed to teach English terminology for homeopathic medicines and treatments. Why did you decide to offer this particular course?

DP: The reasons to include a course in homeopathic English in our portfolio are two. Firstly, we have looked for an educational niche. Besides that, I myself have accomplished a two year course in homeopathy. Therefore, I realize quite well how peculiar and difficult homeopathic lexis can be, especially for persons who lack a proper training. And while the number of homeopathy practitioners in Bulgaria is growing, as well as the institutions offering homeopathic courses, to our best knowledge here still there is no other English language school or another institution that offers classes in homeopathic English.

UV: Your website is in Bulgarian (although easily translated using Google tools) and your classes are taught in Sofia. Is the school only open to residents of Bulgaria, or do you welcome students from other countries, too?

DP: Occasionally we have taught foreign nationality students. However, at present, our education is limited to Bulgarian residents with sound Bulgarian language skills. But today Bulgaria is an EU member and we expect this would increase the interest in opportunities for education in Bulgaria among the people from nonmember countries. So, in the future, we might develop programs for foreign citizens and adopt students from other countries too.