Language teacher and student. An appreciation

ANA-MARIA Wilson, who has died shortly after her 24th birthday following an epileptic seizure, was a much loved and popular young woman.

Born in Edinburgh to a Colombian mother, Liliana, and Scottish father, Steven, she had two younger sisters, Amy and Natalie. Despite serious health issues she did not allow them to define her life but instead pursued a variety of worthwhile experiences

She lived mostly in the south side of Edinburgh where she attended St. Peter’s Primary School before going on to St. Thomas of Aquin’s High School. Brought up effectively to be bilingual she first showed promise at St. Peter’s and later excelled academically at High School. In her final year she was joint dux having secured top marks in Advanced Highers in Spanish, French, history and computing.

She then matriculated at Edinburgh University to study French, Spanish and Portuguese. Since visiting the battlefields of the Somme as part of a school First World War project she remained fascinated by France. Her course afforded her the opportunity to explore different aspects of Hispanic and French culture, enabling her to visit Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, Belgium, and France.

The ‘year abroad’ in her course in 2014/15 was split between Buenos Aires and Toulouse which she greatly enjoyed. From Argentina she visited Florianopolis in Brazil and Montevideo in Uruguay while during her spell in Toulouse she visited Barcelona and Carcassone among other places.

An enthusiastic traveller, last year she went to Belgium, spending time in Brussels and Bruges. Having gone frequently on visits to Colombia since very young, she grew very fond of it and saw it as her second home. She had made arrangements to go again around Christmas.

After graduating from university with honours, she spent six months between January and June this year as a language assistant in a primary school in Elche, near Alicante in Spain where she combined language teaching against a backdrop of games, music and dance. While there she visited Morocco and toured Andalusia.

She derived a lot of fulfilment from this work and was much appreciated by the children. On her return home, she received many letters from them which bore touching and eloquent testimony to her popularity, such as ‘you are the best’ and ‘we will never have a cool teacher like you.’

Ana-Maria enjoyed socialising with friends and playing guitar. Visits to the cinema, television dramas and reading books in French, Spanish and English were other interests. Her favourite title was The Great Gatsby to the extent that she had a tattoo of a passage from it.

She was a great help with Amy who has special needs and was able recently to give much appreciated assistance to Natalie with her ‘highers’. Ana-Maria was due to begin a post graduate master’s degree in translation and interpreting at Heriot Watt University.