Hot Spots in NYC as Chosen by Our Own LSI Students

March 10th, 2015

NYC is a place where you can find anything—from opera uptown, to experimental performance art in the East Village, to a hockey game at Madison Square Garden, to a carnival on the beach on Coney Island—and everything in between! The difficult thing about NYC is not finding something to do, but finding time to do it all. It’s always good to come to this diverse, vibrant city with an idea of what you would like to see and do. We asked our student body for some tips on fun and memorable places to go, and things to do. Here ‘s their list …

Top restaurants: Students recommended a few great restaurants in NYC. First was a restaurant right in our building, EET. It’s located on the 3rd floor, and it’s a great place to get a quick, healthy, delicious lunch before afternoon classes, or a latte or kombucha at break time.  Students also are crazy about Shake Shack, a chain burger joint that has locations all throughout the city. They are best known for their milkshakes, as you may have guessed by the name. Another special mention was Momo’s Sushi Shack in Bushwick, Brooklyn. If you are a foodie who likes creative, modern takes on Japanese food, Momo’s Sushi Shack is the place for you.
Top night spots: Students were all about rooftop bars and clubs! Drinking, socializing and dancing in the open air, with a unforgettable view of the New York City skyline at night, was recommended by many students. There were a couple of specific places they suggested: The Top of The Rock was the main one, which is located on the rooftop of Rockefeller Center. Other honorable mentions were PhD rooftop, 230 Rooftop, and the Boom Boom Room at the Standard Hotel
Top places to shop:  The Blue Lagoon. LSI NY is located in the heart of Soho, a neighborhood which offers endless shopping opportunities, with boutiques from top designers like Maison Martin Margiela, Alexander Wang, Chanel, and Ralph Lauren right around the corner. Century 21, a downtown boutique in the Financial District, received top marks from students who like designer clothes and accessories at markdown prices. For students who like to travel farther for even lower prices, Woodbury Commons, an outlet mall in New Jersey, is the best place to go—you can take a bus from 42nd street and 8th avenue for $5. And for students who prefer treasure-hunting for vintage or secondhand clothing, Beacon’s Closet is the place to go, with multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn..
Top weekend activity: Brunch!  New Yorkers love to enjoy a leisurely mid-day meal on the weekends, laughing with friends at a sit-down diner or restaurant and accompanying the delicious food with bottomless cups of coffee and a mimosa or bloody mary. Our students have a similar fondness for brunch; it was their top recommendation for a must-do on an NYC weekend. A couple great restaurants to try: Clinton Street Baking Company (famous for their pancakes, on the Lower East Side); Diner NYC (a hipster staple in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn); and Edward’s (great for groups, just a few minutes from LSI NYC in TriBeCa).
Out of doors:  Though NYC is known for its skyscrapers and its culture, you can still enjoy a taste of nature while you are here! Our students know that if you would like to hug a tree or smell a flower or two, but stay in the city, you should visit the High Line Park, Central Park, The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, or the Bronx Botanical Gardens. If you would like to collect a seashell or dip your toes in the ocean, take the N,Q, or F train to Coney Island, or the Far Rockaway A train to Rockaway Beach. And if you need a longer getaway, make sure to take a trip up to Niagara Falls and bask in the majesty of this world-renowned, powerful waterfall. No matter when you come to NYC, you can find lots to do and to see. Make sure to check out timeout.com/newyork to stay abreast of all of the goings-on in this city that truly never sleeps.

 

World Etiquette Expo at LSI NYC

March 3rd, 2015

The nuances and implications of behaviour around the world can be mind-boggling. The same gesture can mean totally different things in two different countries. For example, slurping your noodles in the USA can be quite rude, but in Japan, it is a sign of respect for the cook! Each country and culture has specific methods of interacting and demonstrating politeness, and especially for international business-people, learning these cues can be a big help to getting along and getting ahead in different settings.

Takao Kuki at LSI New York

Takao Kuki at LSI New York

For Takao Kuki, a Mini Group student at LSI NYC, our international student body was a great source of information on global etiquette. He realized that students from around the world could clue him in on how to behave in different places and spaces. With the help of his teacher, Ada Petty, he designed, developed, and carried out a “World Etiquette Expo” where along with improving his English and making friends from other classes, he gained information about polite behaviours around the world.

Highlighting differences in etiquette between Japan and the USA

Highlighting differences in etiquette between Japan and the USA

Takao’s expo, set up on a table in the spacious hallway connecting our classrooms, had 5 different interactive elements: a presentation, a brochure, a video, a questionnaire, and a world map. The map was a big highlight of the event: students were encouraged to leave short blurbs about etiquette in their countries and cities stuck to the map on neon sticky notes. Watching the notes accumulate over the course of the two-day Expo really demonstrated the interactivity of the project, and it was also wonderful to see students pouring over the contributions from one another.

Expo Map and Video Presentation

Expo Map and Video Presentation

Takao, a consultant from Japan, was here at LSI for three weeks, combining our Mini Group 20 class in the morning with 5 individual lessons in the afternoon. He said that the Expo was an unforgettable capstone to his time here: “It was an impressive experience to communicate with worldwide students from the Middle East, Asia, South America and Europe. I was very, very happy to hear their positive comments.” The Expo caused quite a buzz throughout our student body: at the monthly pizza party, students from different classes were caught in conversation with one another, comparing and contrasting rules of politeness they had seen on the map.

Many thanks to both Takao and Ada for this thought-provoking, fruitful Expo! This interactive project designed especially to suit the needs and objectives of one Mini Group student, Takao Kuki, had a multiplier effect, generating international discussion and understanding throughout our student body. Well done!

Capture Your Memories

March 1st, 2015

For many LSI  students, their experience here at our schools is one they would like to remember forever.  The friends they make, the fun times both inside and out of classes, field trips, nights on the town… when students leave, they often say that their memories of their stay are as valuable, if not more valuable, than the English that they learned. LSI New York’s departing assistant director Victoria Reis, has put together some suggestions on how to capture these memories and practice and improve your English along the way.  Below are a few simple ways you can simply and simultaneously capture your memories as well as improve your English.
Video Log

If you have a laptop with a camera, keeping a video log is a great way to record your memories. Every evening, just sit down in front of the computer and—in English—share a few of your favorite stories or moments from the day—these can be people you met, things you learned in class, or funny anecdotes from your daily life. One special thing about a video log is that it will be easy to show the camera the fun things you find or buy; just pick them up and bring them into the frame. You could also have your new friends make a guest appearance on your videos. Who knows, if you share your video log on YouTube, your “Adventures of an LSI student” video log might become a viral sensation! Video logs would be especially helpful for students who want to practice their paralinguistic skills—gesture, facial expressions, and body language.

Voice Memo

Another digital way to capture your memories is via the voice memo feature on your phone. Just tap the record button and speak (English, of course) into your phone’s microphone. A great thing about voice memos is that they can be made on the go—you can record them while you are walking to your homestay or hotel, while you are waiting for your friends in a park or a café, or even in bed right before you fall asleep! Voice memos would be a great technique for students who want to practice their fluency, intonation, and pronunciation skills.

Blog

A blog, or web-log, is another way to keep a record of your stay at LSI and improve your English at the same time. Writing a few sentences a day on your computer, and pushing upload, will provide you with an easy-to-follow, chronological account of your experience. You can also upload pictures—as well as links to your videos and voice memos, if you want to! One great thing about a blog is that it can be easily accessible by people all around the globe, so it’s a great way to keep your friends back home updated on how much fun you are having. A blog would be most useful for students who want to practice their writing, vocabulary, and accuracy. Make sure to set your computer’s spell-check to English!

Scrapbook

Scrapbooking can be a great method to save memories, especially for visual or tactile learners. To make a scrapbook, you paste pictures and other paper souvenirs—notes from class, movie tickets, or newspaper articles, for example—into a large book, making sure to leave lots of room to write funny or informative captions for each item you paste in. This can be a great way to organize your thoughts, and can be a great gift to bring home to your parents.

Journal

For students who want to work on their handwriting and spelling, a journal can be a great way to do this, and record your adventures at the same time. A journal is great because you can write in it anywhere, and you can write about anything. Journals are often more personal, so you can keep a record of your impressions of others, fears and challenges, without having to worry about anybody else seeing it. A journal can be just for you, and it can be an unforgettable treasure to look back on both when you get home as well as throughout your stay. Sometimes the troubles you were having at the beginning of your study abroad can seem quite silly once you have been at LSI for even just a few weeks!

All of the above methods are great ways to capture your memories and improve your English at the same time. If you practice these habits regularly, you can also watch your English improve gradually, and see yourself gain capacity and confidence in your new language and your new life at LSI.

Travel tips New York: Williamsburg – America’s Hippest Neighborhood

February 20th, 2015

Williamsburg is the epicenter of Brooklyn and the most happening neighborhood in New York City. Once largely industrial with modest housing for immigrants, it is now a mix of renovated luxury loft buildings, art galleries, shops and eateries, all geared toward the artistic, music-loving stylish hipsters that now populate the local streets.

Brooklyn Bowl
An unusual venue: half bowling alley and half concert venue. Bowl, have dinner and see a concert all at the same time. Food is prepared by one of Brooklyn’s leading names in restaurants. Concerts are sometimes sold out, so buy tickets in advance.
Shop Vintage
If you love vintage clothing and shoes, Williamsburg has a lot to offer in different price ranges. Don’t miss the huge and popular Beacon’s Closet. For designer labels visit Fille de Joie, Malins and Amarcord, among others!
Mast Brothers Chocolate
Owned by two brothers, this award winning chocolate shop features a storefront and factory where the chocolate is made. Various flavors are wrapped in their own individually handmade paper designed by family and friends. You can also take a tour of the factory!
Black and White Gallery
An art and project space that features the work of emerging artists and those advanced in their careers. They have another space in Chelsea, but this location is specifically designed for installations. The typical style is aggressive and avant-garde. Free of charge!
Eat at Diner
Have lunch or dinner inside a genuine 1950’s railcar. The food is a healthy and delicious version of neo-Americana, and the intimate, retro ambiance is unique!

For information about New York and studying at LSI , contact us at LSI New York .

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

February 6th, 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.
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)