British English or American English

February 9th, 2018

Where you learn your English affects not just how you pronounce words but even the vocabulary you use. Which language do you speak? British English or American English?
British English or American English

British English or American English Test

Anticlockwise or counterclockwise

Biscuit or cookie

Chemist  or drugstore

Autumn or the fall

Car park or parking lot

Crisps or potato chips

Sweets or candy

Casualty or emergency room

Cinema or movie theatre

Dustbin or garbage can

Football or soccer

Garden or yard

Holiday or vacation

Lift or elevator

Lorry or truck

Mobile phone or cell phone

Petrol or gas

If you selected the first option in each line, you are speaking British English, the second option being American English.  Did you end up with a mixture of the two? The reality is in many cases, even the Brits themselves may end up using ‘Americanisms’.  Perhaps not too surprising when you consider  the global dominance of American movies and TV.

Have we piqued your interest?  Discover more with Oxford dictionaries.

Changing Life’s Priorities – Studying English at LSI

February 5th, 2018

We wanted to share this humorous and heartfelt account of one student’s experience of studying English at LSI and his reasons behind taking up his studies. It was written by Spanish journalist, Nacho Goicoechea, who has been studying English at LSI Brighton. As you will see from the photos, he’s not a bad photographer either! Nacho’s story …

Studying English in Brighton - Nachos

Hello. My name is Nacho, I am 35 years old, and I was a workaholic. I know I’m not in an AA meeting, but if I was, this could well be my opening line. I work in journalism and I owned my own company in Spain, an agency creating tailored content for sports clubs. My life was my work. I would work six days a week, 12 hours a day, leaving me no time for anything else. I had no girlfriend, and barely any spare time to spend with my friends or family. Infact the last time I stopped to blink, I was 30 and using work to recover from a break up.

After five years, I realised that I had to make a change. I needed an excuse to just leave everything behind me and make a fresh start. I suppose that studying English was as good a pretext as any, so I made up my mind and I quit my job. Life, or karma if you prefer, can be hard sometimes. I do have to admit however that it knows how to reward you when you finally learn how to listen. For the first time in ages,  I  began to sleep well. I even had time to  meet an incredible girl, and finally find some peace of mind. So I packed my bags and set off on my new adventure.

I decided to come to Brighton because a friend of mine had lived here for a couple of years . She’d told me what a wonderful place it is and how right she was! Brighton was far enough away for me to forget all my bad work habits, but close enough for the people that I love to come to visit me. I felt the city receive me with open arms. It is so similar to my hometown that I immediately felt at home.

Here, I am facing my fears – it’s my first time living abroad, knowing nobody.  I’m outside my comfort zone, constantly challenging myself. Although it may sound like a cliché,  I am doing stuff that I’ve never attempted in my life before. I’ve learnt how to carve pumpkins for Halloween. Can you believe I even won the school contest?  I took part in the Christmas Panto (I wanted to die of embarrassment but I did it) and I skated on ice without falling once! I took tea and scones at 5 o’clock with my little finger proudly extended and I enjoyed a football match in the Amex Stadium -go Seagulls! I’m having the time of my life. The most important thing is that I’ve found myself. So mission accomplished.

Of course my English is improving a lot thanks to some amazing teachers. A special thanks to Justin and Steve who have been very supportive and patient. When I arrived, I wasn’t able to write an email or barely make a phone call. Now I’m happy because I have time to read, watch movies and  whole TV series. I spend my weekends walking on the beach, taking photos of the pebbles, the seagulls and my  own personal favourite Brightonian landmark, the old West Pier. The people I’ve met from all over the world, the places I’ve been to and all the things I’ve experienced will always be part of me. Brighton will always be in my heart.

Photos of Brighton taken by Nacho who was studying English at LSI Brighton

Check out more great photos on  Instagram @nachogoico or out more about studying English at LSI Brighton.

The Benefits of Language Learning for Older Students

February 5th, 2018

It seems that the old adage ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ definitely doesn’t apply to language learning.  Recent studies show not only just how beneficial language learning is for the brain but that in some ways older students have an advantage over younger students. Great news indeed for those of us who are 40+ and looking to embark on learning a new language!

Research has shown that older students out perform their younger counterparts in areas such as vocabulary acquisition, better study skills, literacy skills and mnemonic devices. In general older adults have a larger vocabulary in their own language. They use this knowledge to map the newly acquired vocabulary to. However older students are more likely to struggle with pronunciation and the grammar and syntax of the target language.

Learning a language also helps to keep our brain fit. We know from current research that our brains change in response to new experiences and adapt accordingly. Thus acquiring new language skills actually develops new neural pathways in the brain adding increased flexibility. We are in essence giving our brain a good ‘work-out’.

It is true that it is more difficult to learn a language as we get older. However some researchers argue that we gain more if we learn at an older age. Thomas Bak was a researcher on a large project carried out by Edinburgh University.

“Learning a language later on in life might be more beneficial than learning it earlier, because it takes more effort. It has parallels with physical exercise. A stroll is good for your health, but not as beneficial as a run,” claims Bak.

It seems that there are so many good reasons to take up a new language. Why not check out our many language courses on the LSI website.

Language Learning for Older Students

Students at LSI New York

 

Learn to teach English on LSI Brighton’s CELTA Course

January 18th, 2018

Would you like to learn to teach English?  Throughout January, LSI Brighton has been running it’s popular CELTA  teacher training programme. The course focuses on the skills needed to become a successful English language teacher. Find out more about the course here.

It seems however that some of our newly trained teachers have plans which go beyond the usual class teaching. Once they have completed their CELTA course, five students plan to use their new skills in a very different way. Instead of basing themselves in the classroom,  they will be leading adventure and activities holidays for international students. They work for the PGL organisation which specialises in outdoor activities for young people.  PGL has used LSI for a number of years to train its staff . The company offers  English Language programmes which combine English courses with Orienteering, Archery, Climbing and Raft Building. It would be true to say therefore that the ability to teach English is a skill that can be used to support many many other skills!

Learn to teach English and open great job opportunities beyond the classromm

The English Coined by Shakespeare

January 17th, 2018

English coined by William ShakespeareThere are few of us who haven’t heard of William Shakespeare, the famous 16th century English playwright. Most of us would even be able to name at least one of his most famous works. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet or Macbeth perhaps? Far fewer of us though would have claimed to have read one of his plays  or been to see a performance. The archaic language makes comprehension difficult even for native English speakers.

However the language of Shakespeare may not be as out dated as it may at first appear. Many terms that Shakespeare either coined or popularised  are still in common usage even today. The following is a list of our favourites:

In a pickle’ – To be in a difficult position (The Tempest)

‘Waiting with bated breath’ – To anticipate something with great eagerness ( The Merchant of Venice)

‘On a wild goose chase’ – A search for something that is difficult to find or doesn’t even exist (Romeo & Juliet)

‘The be-all and end-all’ – The only thing/person that matters (Macbeth)

‘A heart of gold’ A sincere, generous and kind nature  (Henry V)

‘Fair play’ – Conformity to agreed rules or morally upright conduct  (The Tempest)

A  ‘Gossip’ – A person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others (A Midnight Summer’s Dream)

‘Gloomy‘– Unhappy and without hope (Titus Andronicus)

And last but not least ‘Fashionable’ – Conforming to the current style or fashion (Troilus and Cressida)

Find out more about Shakespeare’s contribution to the English language.

LSI Zurich Celebrates St Lucia

December 19th, 2017

December 13 is Saint Lucy’s Day. Also known as St Lucia, she is mainly celebrated in Scandinavia where her day becomes a festival of light. This year, LSI Zurich celebrates St Lucia with a special evening of ‘light’.

As part of the theme of light, there was an exhibition room where students showed their art & craftwork. Examples of our students creativity included candle holders made by Hans and a photographic slide show produced by Rafael. In the room next door, LSI Zurich’s German students gave performances for all the language students.  Some enacted  a Dürrenmatt poem whilst others presented a sketch based on an old Grimm’s fairy tale. Later in the evening staff and students listened to Christmas stories and pulled crackers. There was even a  blazing fire and soul-warming Christmas food. A hint of Xmas magic was definitely in the air.

However the  highlight of the evening was perhaps the performing dog that brought the Brechtian-style fairy tale to life – it almost stole the show. It  reminds us that our students are not just language learners. We discovered a lot about their hobbies and interests during the run up to the show!

LSI Zurich celebrates St Lucia with an arits and craft exhibition

LSI Berkeley celebrates Thanksgiving

December 4th, 2017

Every year LSI Berkeley celebrates Thanksgiving at the end of November. This is a special day for all Americans when families gather to give thanks and eat a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Many spend a lot of time cooking and preparing for this feast, which includes a turkey and many other side dishes.

In honor of the holiday, LSI Berkeley decided to host our own Thanksgiving meal, but with an international twist. We held a potluck, a meal where everyone contributes a dish, so that students could share traditional food from their home countries. We had an amazing spread of dishes from ten different countries. Dishes included kimchi fried rice from Korea, falafel from Israel, apple cake from Italy and tea eggs from Taiwan. Students loved getting a chance to try their classmates’ home cooking. Some even exchanged recipes so that they could recreate the dishes at home. All in all, it was a really fun event that left everyone very full! We look forward to holding more student potlucks in the future.

LSI Berkeley celebrates Thanksgiving with a Pot luck lunch

Find out more about other recent events at LSI Berkeley.

LSI Scholarship Awarded to Princess Sirindhorn

November 24th, 2017

The York Institute in Bangkok recently presented an LSI Scholarship to Princess Sirindhorn. The Thai princess is the daughter of the late and much loved King Bhumibol. The scholarship consists of an intensive 8 week course at LSI Canada with free half board accommodation. The princess received the scholarship during a formal ceremony. Whilst the Princess herself will not be taking up the award she will be choosing a member of her own staff to attend.

LSI Scholarship awarded to Princess Sirindhorn in a ceremony at the palace

LSI Scholarship Awards and the York Institute

The York Institute is one of the twelve companies which set up the Thai International Education Consultants Association (TIECA). Since the 1980s  the association has set up exchange programmes between Thailand and the US and Canada. Many Thai students have benefited from these exchange programmes. More recently the York Institute have been working to attract Thai students to Northumbria University and Birmingham University in the UK.  Over  the last few years,  TIECA has approached LSI to offer scholarships. We have been more than happy to help!

Halloween Party for LSI students in London

November 3rd, 2017

This year, the teams at LSI London Hampstead and Central went all out to celebrate Halloween. A Halloween party was organised in a hip Islington Venue, the Taproom, and students from both schools were invited to attend. As usual there was a fancy dress competition during which even Santa made an appearance. Students and staff had great fun parading along the Halloween catwalk. The LSI London Central team then had the solemn task of choosing the winner. A scary drag queen was presented the winning prize of a day trip to a UK destination of their choice.

In addition to the fancy dress parade, students were treated to the screening of short horror films. These films had been made by students in class earlier in the week, and were watched with great hilarity. There was also a scary quiz with students teaming up to beat students from the opposing school.  A Halloween party celebrated with much fun and frivolity and without a single pumpkin in sight!

Halloween Party organised by LSI London Central and London Hampstead

Find out how students in other LSI schools celebrated Halloween.

Impressions of Paris – A Source of Eternal Love and Inspiration

November 2nd, 2017

One recent student at LSI Paris, discusses her impressions of Paris and of LSI. Rebecca Rosen is from Denmark and it appears that living in Paris has been a long held dream.

“My first trip to Paris was when I was 8 years old. I was on a trip with my mum who used to live and work as an au pair there when she was younger. I clearly remember my first impressions of Paris, its people and its contagious spirit. According to my mum I was so taken by Paris that I said: “Mum, I want to live here some day.”

In March 2017 I decided to follow these dreams. For six months, I stayed in the city and was able to experience Paris at first hand . It was a snap decision made a few weeks beforehand and not particularly well-planned . I had no specific aim apart from at long last getting the chance to explore and experience the culture of the French city that had stolen my heart as a child.

Having studied basic French in school for 5 years, I had some knowledge of the language. However this was an opportunity to learn more and I was eager to reach a higher level. So, one afternoon upon wandering around le Marais I went to enrol at LSI Paris. I followed the course for four weeks and  vastly improved my language skills. More importantly, though, I met some truly wonderful people, some of whom I still speak to regularly.

Looking back at my trip I’m very glad that I found someone with whom I had a common ground.  Going to LSI for the first month of my stay definitely helped me to settle into my new, though temporary, life. During my stay I got to further indulge my interest in fashion and art. The streets of Paris have an inspiring, creative spirit that  is absolutely contagious.

If, like me, you appreciate aesthetics and thrive on beautiful surrounding, history and interesting people, Paris is definitely the place to be. It’s a place that I plan on returning to as soon as the chance presents itself. Allez! Découvrez Paris – la meilleure source d’amour et d’inspiration éternelle.”

Find out more about study at LSI Paris.

Rebecca Rosen Impressions of Paris - Eiffel Tower and Marais District