How To Teach an Old Dog New Tricks – Language Learning Tips for the Older student

January 30th, 2015

Mature student Donato, who is currently studying English at LSI Brighton,  put together some amusing language learning tips for the LSI Brighton student publication ‘LSI Living’…

Are you in your thirties/forties/fifties/sixties? Does your English go slightly beyond “Nice to”meet you” and “How are you?” Do your children use English like a secret language, so that you are never aware of what they are getting up to? Trust me, it is never too late! Here is some good advice to improve your English based on my own experience:

  1. Attend an LSI Brighton course. Yes, your classmates will be teenagers looking at you as if you are a strange insect who’s fallen in their soup . One of them could, even tell you: “You know, my mother is much younger than you!” (true story]. The right reaction to that? Stop crying and go on studying!
  2. Watch English movies in the original language. It is going to be a weird experience, I know, but when you get Maggie Smith’s lines in “Downton Abbey”, oh, guys, you will be so excited!
  3. Try to read English books. Don’t start with the greatest masterpiece in UK literature: you will never get through it. Start with comic strips, instead, and then go on to something else . If you have a hobby,
    choose a publication dedicated to it: reading will be easier and pleasant.
  4. Study A LOT and do your homework. You have lost a good part of your neurons, ( sorry about that), and learning is not as easy as when you were in your 20S. BUT, you are older and more mature (I mean, you should be … ) so that when your classmates are leaving for a party on the beach, tell them “Enjoy the party!”, take your worksheets and review the lesson. (It sounds a little bit sad, right? Yeah, I agree with you).
  5. Driving your car to work, wear your earphones and start a conversation with your invisible teacher. Be careful, he/she is very strict !
  6. There are so many chat and discussion forums. Sign up and let’s start to write to someone in the UK. OK, your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend probably wouldn’t be happy at all to know about that. But in a couple there are some secrets that have to be kept!

LSI Living – The LSI Brighton newsletter Produced by Students for Students

January 23rd, 2015
LSI Brighton News Team

LSI Brighton News Team

Teacher Delia Chandler is spear-heading an innovative new project at LSI Brighton. Under her expert guidance (Delia has spent 25 years in journalism, travelling and the arts), LSI students are learning the requisite skills to work in journalism, in graphic design and  in publications whilst improving their own language skills. However as Delia explains the main purpose of the publication is to ‘inform, entertain, and ease the transition from [the student’s] home country into the LSI language school community’.

The production of the newsletter had previously been used as part of an intermediate level class project but Delia decided to take the project one step further by offering students of all backgrounds and abilities the opportunity to put what they had learnt in class into action.

The  current students who make up the newsletter staff are pretty representative of the LSI Brighton student population, hailing from many different countries and working backgrounds. What unites them is their common interest in journalism, photography and graphic design. The newsletter staff are proving to both enthusiastic and committed, with the weekly newsroom meeting to discuss short story ideas and production issues, being well attended.

Check out the LSI Living Publications on the following links:

LSI Living Issue 1

LSI Living Issue 2

LSI Living Issue 3

LSI Living Issue 4

A Festive Gingerbread House Competition at LSI Berkeley

December 17th, 2014

Students and staff came together at LSI Berkeley on Friday, December 12th to kick off our holiday celebrations with what has become an annual gingerbread house competition.  As always, this competition was a reminder that there can be so much more to LSI students than English Language Learners.  Our students are architects, marketers, engineers, and story tellers—and today they got to show off some of those skills.

Each class at LSI was tasked with the creation of a gingerbread house to be judged by our administrative staff based on creativity, overall execution, structural stability, and presentation.  The results were incredible.  Some classes went the traditional route and some brought a whole new perspective to gingerbread houses.  There was a ‘Mick Jagger’ gingerbread house, featuring an oversized icing tongue as a welcome mat.  One class decided they’d incorporate a little bit of Halloween charm, and wound up creating a Ginger-House-of-Horrors, complete with front lawn graveyard.  The winning gingerbread house was a retelling of the ‘Three Little Pigs’ story through a gingerbread tableau—students created not one, but three houses, each representing a different one of the houses in the iconic fairy tale.

Happy Holidays from all of us here in Berkeley!

Ann Bassini Milanezi with her Gingerbread House (left) and the winners with the 3 Little Pigs (right)

Ann Bassini with her Gingerbread House (left), the winners with the 3 Little Pigs (right)

Berkeley/San Francisco: A City of Neighborhoods

November 10th, 2014

While many tourists might flock to some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s more famous attractions like Alcatraz Island, Pier 39, or the Golden Gate Bridge; LSI students know that the real gems of this region are its many multicultural neighborhoods, and the great food to find in each of them!

MissionNeighborhood THE MISSION DISTRICT
This historically Latino neighborhood in the heart of San Francisco has been home to many waves of immigrants from Latin America. Its vibrant murals and famous burritos have made it a favorite haunt of LSI students, and the city’s young high-tech workforce.
San Francisco is home to North America’s oldest Chinatown, where Chinese immigrants first settled in the 1850’s. This enclave retains many parts of Chinese culture, and is widely known for bringing Chinese cuisine to the United States. The Dim Sum is simply to die for!
Located just North of LSI in Berkeley, the Gourmet Ghetto is widely hailed as being the birthplace of California Cuisine as well as the now world famous Farm-to-Table movement. With incredible restaurants like Chez Panisse, the Gourmet Ghetto has been setting trends in healthy green cooking since the 1970’s.
The Castro neighborhood is the longtime home to San Francisco’s vibrant LGBTQ culture. This vibrant neighborhood, centered around the historic Castro Theater, is at the epicenter of LGBTQ politics and culture in the United States. It’s also got some of the best night life and cafés around! The famous Twin Peaks café is a favorite.
This neighborhood, located on Oakland’s north end, is frequently rated one of the best places to live in the Bay Area. At the heart of Rockridge, you’ll find College Ave, teeming with restaurants and cafés, this favorite of local artists and writers can be the perfect place to study, or for a night of fine dining with friends!

For information about Berkeley and studying at LSI , contact us at LSI Berkeley.

Berkeley – the Student’s Choice

November 7th, 2014

Rather than listing the same fact you probably already know about what makes the Berkeley area so great, we decided to poll our students about what they think the best places to go are. For all you who’re thinking about making a trip out here soon, pay attention! Our students have some good picks!

TOSS is located right in Downtown Berkeley, and is a favorite lunch destination for LSI students. The menu is just a perfect California fusion, offering some new takes on your favorite noodle dishes from all over Asia!
It’s no wonder Eureka made the pick for favorite bar in town, students can practically see it from their classrooms! Located just across the street, Eureka is part of a growing microbrew movement offering a huge variety of delicious, locally made, beers.
We love Berkeley, but even our students know that to see California, you’ve just GOT to get out of the city. With so much to choose it was a close race, but the student pick for Top Destination was the stunning Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Union Square in San Francisco was an easy pick for best shopping around. Whether you’re a lover of high fashion, or prefer a more modest look, Union square will offer your favorite stores; from the ultra-chic to the everyday.
Getting out to one of the many professional sports games offered in the area remains the top weekend activity. We’re lucky to have two baseball teams, three football teams, and two basketball teams right next door. Even the local San Francisco Giants just won the world series! LSI students can’t get enough.

For information about Berkeley and studying at LSI , contact us at  LSI Berkeley.

LSI Berkeley Celebrates Halloween in Style

November 6th, 2014

Here in Berkeley few holidays are as important as Halloween. For both students and staff, this yearly celebration of all things bizarre, spooky, and weird is the perfect opportunity to showcase our creativity.  Costumes this year ranged from the ordinary to the downright bizarre.  Some favourites included a hunchbacked grim reaper, a pair of flappers from the 20’s, baby swimmers, and a near perfect Mario.  Even school Director, Greg Wickline, got involved with a great strait-jacket costume!

Some rather unusual school uniforms!

Some rather unusual school uniforms!

Our Halloween party included some of the gems of Halloween tradition, complete with a playlist with all of the classic Halloween tunes.  With the school decked out in spiders, cobwebs, skulls, and all things haunted, we filled the central atrium with Halloween cheer.  The festivities were opened with a pumpkin carving competition.  From there we rolled right into a manic mummy wrap competition.  To close, we threw a costume contest with a scream-o-meter judge.  The winner was Daisuke Horikoshi from Japan with his Mario costume.  We’re pretty sure most of Berkeley could hear the screaming for his performance!  Now, with bellies full of candy, we wish all of you a Happy Halloween from Berkeley!

Wrap the mummies (left) and carving the pumpkins (right)

Wrap the mummies (left) and carving the pumpkins (right)

Halloween Craziness at LSI Boston

November 5th, 2014

This year’s Halloween party at LSI Boston was better than ever. Almost all students & staff dressed in costumes to celebrate, and pizza and plenty of Halloween-themed treats were served.

During the course of the party, we had several contests with prizes. Some of the contests included a donut-eating contest—where you have to try to eat a donut hanging from a string without using your hands—a mummy-making contest—where students team up to wrap another student in toilet paper to create a “mummy”—a pumpkin painting contest, and a costume contest.

Halloween madness: Clockwise from top ( Students and staff, wrap the mummy, donut eating contest, painted pumpkins, our students

Halloween madness: Clockwise from top ( Students and staff, wrap the mummy, donut eating contest, painted pumpkins, our students

The Halloween party is one of the most fun events for students and staff of the whole year, and we look forward to doing it again in 2015!

Wedding bells for Shun from our LSI Japan Support Office

November 4th, 2014

We are pleased to announce that one of our LSI Japan support office staff was recently wed in Tokyo! Shun married his school sweetheart Yasuko, and here is a piece written by Shun about their special day:

“Our wedding had a real homely atmosphere just like what LSI schools have.

Yasuko and I have been friends from the age of 6 and went the same elementary, Junior High and High schools. So most of our friends know each other really well. Weddings in Japan are traditionally held in Shrines wearing Kimono for the bride and Hakama for the groom, but church weddings are becoming more common for our age group. However, we had a special reason for deciding to have a church wedding. The schools we went to were Christian schools, and our bible teacher was able to give us the speech as pastor at the chapel. We had a very special feeling at the ceremony with our families, old friends and teachers, and colleagues at the beautiful chapel. Then we promised to love each other forever!

In Japan, some people still have weddings in Shrines, but more people have their wedding in chapels or hotels, but the common purpose of whichever ceremony is to promise your love to each other! Thank you and blessings to everyone! ”


Congratulations Shun and Yasuko – we wish you a long and happy life together!

Shun and Yasuko in the chapel

Shun and Yasuko in the chapel

Shun and Yasuko after the ceremony

Shun and Yasuko after the ceremony

Shun and Yasuko with our LSI Japan Support Office Staff - Fumihiro, Hiroko and Junko (L-R)

Shun and Yasuko with our LSI Japan Support Office Staff – Fumihiro, Hiroko and Junko (L-R)

LSI Berkeley Shares an International Feast

October 28th, 2014

Here in Berkeley we like to celebrate the beginning of fall in style. All of Berkeley is abuzz with the return of students to courses at the UC Berkeley campus, just as students here at LSI are starting to buckle down.  With so much excitement in the air, we thought it was time for one of our favorite events: a good old fashioned potluck!

October2014PotLunchWith students from over twenty countries sharing food from their hometown, it was a great opportunity to laugh and eat with friends, while also learning a little bit about the incredibly diverse cultures our students come from.  Students, teachers, and staff came together to share a meal that seemed to never end.  Some of the favorite contributions were: empanadas and brigadeiro from Brazil, risotto from Switzerland, sushi from Japan, latkes from New York City, a pineapple cake from Taiwan, and so much more!

As if this wasn’t enough fun for one Friday afternoon, we also got to celebrate the birthday of one of our most loved and appreciated teachers, Andrew Peritore.  Andrew contributes so much to LSI, both inside and outside the classroom, and it was great to see him honored by the whole school at once.  Though we might have all grown a couple belt sizes, we couldn’t be more excited to share the fall with such an amazing group of students.  And now on to Halloween!

The New Management Team at LSI London Hampstead

October 27th, 2014

We’d like to extend a warm LSI welcome to our new school director and assistant director at LSI London Hampstead, Maggie Carruthers and Kat Holloway.

From left to right: Kat Holloway and Maggie Carruthers

From left to right: Kat Holloway and Maggie Carruthers

Maggie Carruthers, our new school director, comes to us after seven and half years working as a school director for Kaplan in southern Brazil. Despite her rather Scottish sounding surname, Maggie actually hails from Brazil but has spent several years in London. With a CELTA, a BA in Law, and a Masters in International Law under her belt, Maggie is highly qualified and with a total of  14 years working in EFL as a teacher, senior teacher, academic director and school director, can call upon a vast amount of experience for her new role with LSI. Despite a busy schedule, Maggie still finds time to study for the diplomat exams, her long term goal being to work as a diplomat in Afghanistan.

Maggie: ” I want to make a difference to people’s lives , which is one of the reasons I love teaching. As a diplomat though , especially somewhere like Afghanistan,  I feel I could really help to change people’s lives for the better .”

Our new assistant school director, Kat Holloway,  also has plenty of international experience and excellent EFL credentials with both DELTA qualifications and a Masters in English. Earlier customer focussed roles included advising on unforgettable gap years for eager but often inexperienced students, looking for their first independent, global adventure. In Kat’s first ever teaching role, she was thrown straight in at the deep end. She spent 18 months working in Taipei teaching students ranging from the Kindergarten all the way up to international businessmen, surely a challenge even for the most experienced teacher!

Kat flourished though and was soon looking for a fresh challenge. Moving to Madrid, she worked at both the Chester School of English and Hylands working as a teacher, then teacher trainer and finally during the last year as the Director of Studies.  Kat is really happy about her move to London.

Kat: “I’m sure I’m going to love living in London, there’s always so much to do. The atmosphere at LSI is so friendly so I know I’m  going to love working here and being part of the LSI London Hampstead team. ”

Welcome on board guys!