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.
Chinatown CHINATOWN
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!
GourmetGhetto THE GOURMET GHETTO
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.
Castro THE CASTRO
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.
RockRidge ROCKRIDGE
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!

BKTopRestaurant TOP RESTAURANT
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!
BKTopBar TOP BAR
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.
TopDestination TOP DESTINATION
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.
BKTopShoppingSpot TOP SHOPPING SPOT
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.
BaseballGame TOP WEEKEND ACTIVITY
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!

A Fond Farewell to Sally

October 27th, 2014

On Friday 24th October  school director, Sally Muse, said a sad farewell after seven years at LSI London Hampstead. It was a poignant moment for all the staff at the school  as Sally has become such an established and valued member of the Hampstead team.

It only seems like yesterday when the then school director Tania  announced that one of our newly appointed teacher’s was a dead ringer for American actress Cameron Diaz – that was our introduction to Sally!

Sally being presented with the photo

Sally being presented with the photo

An amazing teacher ( student feedback can’t be wrong !), and highly driven, Sally studied for both  her DELTA and a  Masters in TESOL whilst working as both a teacher and then Assistant School Director at London Hampstead. At times it’s been gruelling as Sally worked hard,  putting in long hours to achieve the highest standards in both her work and studies – successfully so in both cases. Her highly professional approach was recognised by our management team and when the previous school director Greg relocated to our school in Berkeley,  Sally was the natural choice to replace him.

On Friday the staff at Hampstead organised a little ‘goodbye’ party. Just to ensure that she won’t be  forgetting us too quickly, Sally was presented with a fun ‘class’  photo of  the LSI London Hampstead staff ( in their younger days !)

” I’ve had a wonderful time at London Hampstead, ” commented Sally.  “I’ve learnt so much and have had so much support from my colleagues. That’s what I’m going to miss most – the staff and the students but I’m so excited about starting out  on a new phase of my life.”

From everyone at LSI we wish Sally well with her upcoming wedding and plans to pursue a  career in EAP in a university setting back in her home town of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

LSI New York end of month Pizza Party!

October 13th, 2014

On the last Thursday of every month at LSI New York we throw a Pizza Party at lunch time. Students and teachers come together and socialize for a fun hour. Every month teachers nominate a Student-of-the-Month; this student is chosen based on overall academic performance and advancement, excellent attendance, helpfulness to other students, amongst other things.

At this last pizza party in September we tried something different: in the week running up to the event we patrolled the halls and handed out raffle tickets to anyone speaking English. We called this our Caught Speaking English event. At the pizza party a raffle was drawn and the winners walked away with Yankee baseball caps, I Love NY Tees and two $50 gift certificates for any event offered by ISX, the student travel company that organizes weekend and day trips for students in the NY area.

Fun was had by all, as seen in the pictures on our facebook page. Here is just a sample of some of our students eating pizza and winning prizes!

Eating pizza and making new friends, New York style!

Eating pizza and making new friends, New York style!

Pizza pizza pizza!

Pizza pizza pizza!

Students enjoying pizza

Students enjoying pizza

Our English speaking raffle prize draw rewarded students for speaking English in between classes

Our English speaking raffle prize draw rewarded students for speaking English in between classes

More prizes from our raffle!

More prizes from our raffle!

Students won t-shirts in our English speaking raffle draw

Students won t-shirts in our English speaking raffle draw

More pizza!

More pizza!

LSI New York students enjoying pizza together

LSI New York students enjoying pizza together

Feature Destination – Brisbane

September 9th, 2014

This month we would like to share some information about lovely Brisbane, where LSI has a centrally located school.

LSI Brisbane class

 

Here are some quick facts that you may not know about Brisbane:

  • It’s the 3rd largest city in Australia with a population of approx. 2.2 million
  • Brisbane is a very young city – only 189 years
  • The G20 are meeting in Brisbane in November this year
  • The streets of the CBD look like a grid from above. They are named after members of the Royal Family. The “male streets” run from southeast to northwest and the “female streets” run from southwest to northeast
  • Brisbane has some of Australia’s tallest buildings
  • The climate is subtropical – the winter is wonderfully warm in Brisbane, with the temperature during the day usually sitting around 22-24 degrees Celsius
  • Some of Australia’s highest rated universities are in Brisbane: Griffith University, the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology
LSI Brisbabe building

LSI Brisbabe building

Central Brisbane park with city skyline

Central Brisbane park with city skyline

Brisbane River and City Skyline

Brisbane River and City Skyline

Sports in a central park, in mid-winter!

Sports in a central park, in mid-winter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some top things we recommend you do/visit while you’re in Brisbane!

“Brisbane Powerhouse” – more than just an arts venue, it’s an essential Brisbane destination – so many things to see and do, music, comedy, theatre, cabaret, visual arts, installation work, food and drinks overlooking the snaking Brisbane River… all situated within the historical building originally built in the 1920s as a powerstation and renovated in 2000.

Brisbane powerhouse

Brisbane powerhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original Live Music Scene – pioneers of the Punk Era THE SAINTS hailed from Brisbane not to mention the Bee Gees, Savage Garden and Powderfinger.  Brisbane is teeming with live music venues, from boutique style stages to major concert venues.

The music scene in Brisbane

The music scene in Brisbane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallery Of Modern Art – this world class art gallery is a building filled with light and space and is a work of art in itself… hosting a huge range of exhibitions, arthouse cinema and next to the Queensland State Library on the bank of the Brisbane River.

Goma, or the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane

Goma, or the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – you are allowed to hold a koala, the only animal sanctuary in Australia where this is permitted.

The famous koala!

The famous koala!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunshine & Gold Coasts – just an hour’s drive either way from Brisbane are Australia’s best beaches and national parks, and just a few hours further north is the beginning of the utterly unique Great Barrier Reef.

The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’d love to see you at LSI Brisbane!