TAGS: AlgeriaAlgerianAlgiersBay Areaenglish as a second languageESLESL in San FranciscoIICIIC StudentsIntercultural Institute of Californiainternational studentsinterviewLearn English in San FranciscoSan Francisco


Name and place of origin:

Lotfi from Algiers, Algeria


Why do you want to learn English?

Good question. Why? For my job, because I have a degree in hospitality and business. I also want to learn English for myself to meet new people of different countries. I primarily am here, learning English because this language is not spoken in Algeria.


Tell us a bit about your home country and culture there:

It is a Muslim country. The people are sociable and friendly. Everyone comes together thanks to our religion and educational background. Our second language is French.

The country also experiences 4 seasons. We have the Sahara desert in the South of Algeria and the mountains with snow in the north. Within a single day, you can experience all the seasons.


What are some differences you notice between the Bay Area and your home country?

The culture and customs are quite different between here and home. California’s culture is more fast-paced. Life is accelerated. For example, when children turn 18, they are pushed out of their homes, willingly or by societal force to enter life. Society takes no pity on its youth.

Also, people are more reserved in the Bay Area, with each person fending for him or herself. BUT, as soon as there’s an opportunity to meet with others, you feel a sense of community.

Architecture is another big difference I have noticed between here and Algeria. Algiers is like a little Paris, while San Francisco is a mix Europe and America.

The Bay Area is also very expensive.

algeria map

What is your favorite aspect of American culture?

I admire people’s curiosity and their sense of conversation. In other words, people here truly care about how you are doing.


What do you like to do for fun in the Bay Area?

Since I am an international student, I take my time to discover everything the area has to offer and take advantage of all opportunities, that I will cherish dearly. I love the variety of food. If I want Chinese, I can eat Chinese. If I want Indian, I can eat Indian. I also like the variety in people. You can find any nationality in this city!


What is your favorite English word/phrase you’ve learned?

“I’m sorry!”


This interview was conducted orally and written by Laila Zandi