A group of five performing arts professionals from Colombia are attending Edinburgh College to develop their English and find out more about the prominence of the creative industries in Scotland.
Diana Cifuentes, Juan Orozco, Angelica Corredor, Nathalia Contreras, and Mateo Rueda are participating in an eight-week programme, which involves them spending time in and out of the classroom improving their English language skills, learning about the creative industries in Scotland, and experiencing Scottish culture first-hand.
College lecturers are running the varied and challenging English language programme, supported by the British Council in Colombia and ICETEX, a Colombian government entity which facilitates access to educational opportunities, as part of the BRICC scholarship scheme.
The programme covers 15 hours of general English language development and six hours of performing arts classes each week. The practical performing arts lessons include acting, drama, aerial, musical theatre, make-up artistry, and dance. The group will also learn more about the creative industries landscape in Edinburgh by going on sector-related industry visits throughout the capital during their visit.
Away from the classroom, the group has already visited Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland, with further trips planned to explore St Andrews, Glasgow, North Berwick and Glenkinchie, as well as visits to the National Gallery of Scotland and Holyrood Palace. They will also get to experience a true Scottish ceilidh during their stay.
Twenty-six-year-old actress Diana Cifuentes said: “This experience has been fantastic so far, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of our time here. As well as having the opportunity to improve our English language skills, we have also got the chance to explore the city and it has been amazing.
“I work in the arts sector for the government in Colombia, and there is a big difference between the opportunities available here. In Colombia, there is not much support or many job opportunities in the creative industries, so it’s a good experience to come to Scotland to see how the sector can thrive.”
Thirty-two-year-old artist Juan Orozco said: “I really appreciate having the opportunity to come to Scotland to undertake this learning experience at Edinburgh College. It enables me to experience what learning in the creative industries in this country is like, whilst also being able to improve my English language skills.”
Edinburgh College International Business Manager Sarah Gore said: “It’s great to be able to welcome the group from Colombia to study with us as part of this programme. Few cities in the world can match what Edinburgh has to offer for students and professionals of the performing arts and at Edinburgh College we have fantastic facilities and a vast range of experience in this area. The Colombian group themselves have come here full of enthusiasm and eager to make the most of their time in Scotland. I am confident that this programme will be a great experience not just for the group, but for those working with them for the duration of their time here.”
Head of Tertiary Education at British Council Diana Basto said: “We are sure the experience at Edinburgh College will be highly beneficial to participants in better understanding the performing arts sector in the UK. By improving their English language skills, we hope they will have more opportunities to create bilateral partnerships and promote their work at an international level.”