We shared tea with sugar and cold milk (“very important”) with our teacher Marco Barbensi. He arrived in Barcelona almost 15 years ago without speaking a word of Spanish and not knowing anything about the local culture. Now he has been here 13 years teaching English and has now learned Spanish.

With this name you could be Italian.
Yes, in fact I am half Italian, from my father’s side. My mother is English and I was brought up in Blackburn, which is in Lancashire.

What do you like most about teaching at NELC?
This will most probably be the freedom of teaching different topics without having to follow a strict programme. There is a programme to follow, although there is freedom to cover various topics, which allows much flexibility.

What NELC features are not offered by other language schools?
The opportunity for the student to benefit from the more personalised, individual attention in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.

A story of something that happened to you in class.
One time in class we were covering the very interesting topic regarding diet after having watched a small video (students were in groups) suddenly one of my students became tearful and she had to leave the class. You can imagine my thoughts when this happened! It transpired she had just received some bad news and had to leave the class early.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your students?
Each student progresses at their own pace – hence the importance of a structured, personal programme for individual needs.

Tell us your favourite English word.
Antidisestablishmentarainism! It’s a long word, which many people don’t know about. It’s connected to the church.

What’s your least favourite?
Gobshite! A negative word, colloquial in its nature and means “stupid, foolish or incompetent person” eg. “You’d have looked a right GOBSHITE, turning up in a suit for a pajama party!”

 What word or phrase you use most often?
“Better late than never” or “No news is good news” Phrases we often use! 

What song do you play to motivate yourself?
No song in particular, but mostly songs from the 80´s, the best era!

Could you recommend a book?
The Diceman by Luke Rhynhart.

And a movie?
The Shawshank Redemption. It’s a moving, slow relaxing movie. Great to watch with a nice pot of tea and some biscuits!

What dish from your country do you miss most?
Jam Rolley-Polley Pudding 

What is your favourite local dish?
From Barcelona? Got to be Pa amb tomaquet.

Your favorite place to get lost in Barcelona.
Zona Franca? Only kidding! Mmmmm… El Raval 

What do you do on a Sunday morning?
Rest from the week. I love Sunday mornings. It’s very quiet and there is very little traffic on the roads, which makes for a great change from traffic during the week. Spending quality time with my family is also very important.

What do you always carry in your bag?
Pen and paper – always useful.

Who do you think should appear on a 20-euro note?
Placido Domingo.

 What super power would you like?
To fly.