Pablo Perrot is a year nine student at EIFA International School London on Duchess Street. The 13-year-old joined the senior school in January 2018 after his family relocated from France to London. Pablo lives in Marylebone with his parents and two sisters
Interview: Jean-Paul Aubin-Parvu
Portrait: Orlando Gili
My father is French and my mother is Spanish and I have two sisters, one older and one younger. I was born in France, in the town of Dourdan, which is close to Paris. My parents and older sister had been living out in China but returned to France for my birth. We went back to China until my little sister was born, then came back to France again and remained there during my early years.
My father is a train designer and eventually needed to relocate for work. My parents had the choice of moving to either London or Buenos Aires—they decided on London. We now live in Marylebone, fairly close to Baker Street. London is a huge, busy city, which was totally new to me because I’d only ever lived in a town before, but I think I’ve adapted quickly.
I joined the EIFA senior school in January 2018. Everybody here has been really friendly—my classmates were really nice, and they helped me to get to know more about the school and the city. When I arrived, my spoken English was far worse than it is today, so being at this school has really helped my language to improve. At my previous school in France there were 28 students in my class, but here the classes are much smaller, which I think makes learning easier.
Confident and prepared
The teachers are excellent and try to help us to be more confident, to be able to manage lots of things and to really prepare us for our iGCSEs. For example, we have methodology lessons that teach us how to analyse documents and how to be properly organised for exams. My favourite subjects include French and English, and I also find history fascinating, learning how humans have developed over the centuries. We are currently studying the French Revolution, which is really interesting.
I study three languages: English, French and Spanish. We are doing a lot of work in Spanish at the moment and our teacher has been giving us plenty of exercises to help us progress. There are different groups: one is for those students who have never learnt Spanish before; we then have a group who have spoken Spanish and who know the basics, like me; and there’s the iGCSE Spanish group, who are excellent.
I wouldn’t describe myself as either bilingual or trilingual—not yet, anyway! I have a really good French vocabulary and let’s say that I can manage with English. I have been slowly improving—before I came to London, my English was probably about two out of 10, and now it’s maybe a seven! But my Spanish isn’t much good yet. Even though my mother is Spanish, at home we only really speak French.
Put on a show
I really enjoy drama lessons. With Mr MacDonald we are currently doing a lot of acting and trying to learn our lines, because on the last day of school we are putting on a show for the parents. We also have music lessons. Our new music teacher, Miss Rosal, is teaching my class the ukulele. It’s not an easy instrument to play because you need good finger reflexes.
I love sport and each term we do a different one. Last term it was running, and now we’re doing ultimate frisbee. We go to a sports centre in Swiss Cottage to play football and this term we are also doing pop dance. We are learning all the moves and then we’ll be able to create our own choreography.
Obviously EIFA is an international school, so the students come from all over the world. There are only nine students in my class and we are many different nationalities. We have two Swedish pupils, one Russian, one Austrian and two from African countries—and that’s just in one class. We speak a lot of English, but because mine isn’t very good yet I tend to speak French with my friends.
London is one of the best cities in the world and I’m really enjoying living here with my family. This city isn’t perfect but it’s better than the average and the people are actually very friendly—much friendlier than they are in Paris. One of the great things about living in Marylebone is that it’s so central. Baker Street station connects with so many different tube lines, which means you can get anywhere in London so easily.
I love going to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. I find it really interesting and also believe that it helps to improve your imagination. We have art lessons at school and though I really enjoy the subject, I can’t draw very well. The Sea Life London Aquarium on the South Bank is another of my favourite places. The aquarium is right beside the London Eye, which I’ve actually been on five times.
Luckily my family live fairly close to Regent’s Park. It’s a wonderful place. I don’t get to spend as much time in the park as I’d like because we do get a lot of homework, but once I’m finished that’s where I usually go. I don’t have a bike, but I do have a scooter. I also like Paddington Street Gardens, which is a much smaller park but still very nice.
A football commentator
I love football. Luka Modric´ is my favourite player and I support Manchester City. Paris Saint-Germain are my favourite French team, with Edinson Cavani being my favourite player at the club. I also support the French national team, who won the World Cup last year. That was just wonderful. I watched all of their games and enjoyed every moment.
In later life I would like to live close to Paris, because my ambition is to be a football commentator for France’s Ligue 1.