Archive for April, 2014

Live Streaming Events for LSI Professional

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

The LSI Professional team delivered two live presentations to launch the new online tuition for professionals. The first live stream took place on Wednesday April 30th  followed by a second one on Saturday May 3rd . Both presentations involved a 20 minute talk on professional writing and were followed by a question and answer session hosted by the Director of LSI Professional, Michael Choguill, Covered during the talk were topics such as the essential features of effective written reports, key features of grammar and vocabulary and  useful tips about register and tone, the live streams.  To check for future events please check out  LSI Professional on our website.

The LSI Language Tests App – Latest Update

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Version 2.2 of LSI’s Language Tests App is due to be released any day now – it is currently awaiting approval in the App Store. While the overall look and feel of the App remains the same as previous versions, information on our worldwide schools & courses offered have been updated, and the user interface has been enhanced. Most important of all and for the first time, we have added extensive French & German tests to the existing English test. These not only test your grammar, but also reading, listening and writing skills. Furthermore, devices equipped with a microphone will be able to submit a speaking file to LSI for evaluation. It has been a long time coming, but we believe the wait worthwhile. Keep your eyes on this space: an Android version is planned for release later this year.

The new look Language Tests App

The new look Language Tests App

A Rather Unusual Cambridge Class at LSI Vancouver

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Sometimes things in life just come together in an interesting way . LSI Vancouver school director Chris Beck explains what happened this spring on the Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) preparation course in Vancouver …

The CAE class - Ignacio far right, Tomoe far left, William and Jay centre

The CAE class – Ignacio far right, Tomoe far left, William and Jay centre

First, we got a booking from Tomoe Takano, who was a Japanese student at the school 8 years ago – but who has been in contact with LSI and a lot of our ex-students over the years. She had even visited many of the friends that she’d made in Vancouver visiting Korea, Taiwan, Germany, and Switzerland. I remember a lot of students in the 20 years I’ve worked at LSI, but sometimes what I remember is a little strange! My outstanding memory of Tomoe, for example, is that she was the cutest ‘Cat’ I ever saw at our Halloween party.

Next, Ignacio Portus from Chile contacted us about joining the spring CAE course. Instantly I thought what an  interesting coincidence it was to have two returning students in the same class. Ignacio had studied at LSI Vancouver three years before and was well remembered here because of how he grew from an insecure young man concerned only about himself into a popular leader amongst the students. During his recent visit Ignacio explained to me that he had become a more confident person because he felt “loved” here. “LSI gave me, at the right time, what I most needed: love and confidence to believe in myself.”  Ignacio even brought his best friend, Vicente, also from Chile, to study CAE with him.

Our next two students to join the class together were Jaeyeon Min (Jay) and William Morgenstern. They had both been students back in 2010. Jay recalled that on her first visit she had been at a pivotal point in her life. From Korea, she was unhappy with the usual expectations to get a ‘fancy job’.“Honestly, it was a trip to escape reality.” She was frustrated and unhappy because she felt uninformed about the world, immature and lost. At LSI Vancouver.”I learned how to respect other cultures and the important values such as fair-mind, passion and curiosity.” One day at school she was invited to another student’s birthday party.  Attending the same party was William who had only just arrived in Vancouver on his first ever trip alone from his native Germany. He was excited, but worried. “My worries soon disappeared. At LSI I met a lot of people from many different countries and made so many friends. It was such a different feeling than I ever had before in my life.The classes were very interesting and I improved my English quickly. I even celebrated my birthday in Vancouver and at the party I met Jay, my future wife, for the first time.”  After their studies Jay travelled to Germany to be with William. This lovely couple are now married and had decided to  come back to LSI Vancouver  again with their plan to go on  to university here.
Jay says ”LSI Vancouver is not just a language school which teaches you English. It provides a great combination of learning English and cultures which you can never learn in your own country. The greatest assets of LSI Vancouver are the teachers and staff. You can feel that you are not just a number to them. They care about you from their heart and are willing to help you to be successful and happy in your life. I do not feel any distance from them and can talk about anything with them from small talk to even a serious discussion about any topics – just like best friends. And believe me it does not matter how good your English is. The amazing fact is that the friendly and warm atmosphere which teachers and staff create affects students at the school as well. This small but lovely school has the power to make people’s minds open.”

A truly a heart-warming sentiment expressed by Jay and  what a wonderful experience to meet all these students again and to hear their reasons for coming back. I think you’ll all agree – a rather unusual class!

Easter Celebrations at the LSI schools

Friday, April 25th, 2014
Spot the Easter Eggs at LSI San Diego

Spot the Easter Eggs at LSI San Diego

As is customary many of our LSI schools celebrated Easter this year with the eternally popular Easter Egg hunts around the school. This year however LSI London Hampstead decided to add even more fun and hilarity to the proceedings by turning it into a race.

Students were asked to assemble in the garden grouped in their classes and the rules were then announced. Each class or ‘team’ had 10 minutes to find as many tiny eggs as they could hidden somewhere around the garden with the winning team receiving a special prize. During ten minutes of mayhem, around 50 teachers, students and staff rushed around the garden with the occasional collision, ferreting around in bushes, clambering up trees and delving through the bins to root out the chocolaty treasures.

Way in the front with an amazing 42 eggs, the winning team was led by teacher James Butcher. The special winners’ prize? An even bigger chocolate Egg!

The Race for eggs at LSI London Hampstead

The Race for Eggs at LSI London Hampstead

Table Tennis Tournament at LSI London Hampstead

Monday, April 14th, 2014

The Winners with their Trophy

Deep inside the depths of our school in London Hampstead, it’s possible to discern the faint tap tap tapping of a table tennis ball in constant motion. This year’s table tennis tournament has proved to be highly popular and hotly contested by both the LSI staff and students. For weeks before the tournament started competitors found themselves vying for time slots to hone their skills. Due to the high numbers of entrant (twenty-four in total!) it was decided to make it a doubles tournament. Spread over an entire week, disappointed contestants were knocked out in first rounds, quarter finals and semi-finals. Nicely representing different sections of the LSI population, students Yusuke Yamauchi and Kota Kimura, both from Japan, faced teachers James Butcher and Michael Sisley in the finals. With fellow LSI students and staff watching in support, the contestants battled for points over two closely fought matches with the teachers finally emerging victorious. Lifting the trophy (a box of chocolates) both James and Michael claimed the moment as the highlight of their table tennis careers to date! Watch the match highlights  below.

Quirky facts about San Diego

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Did you know the following interesting facts about San Diego?

San Diego is the birthplace of California. The first European exploration of the West Coast was by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese navigator sailing for Spain, who landed in San Diego on September 28, 1542.
April2014SomeLikeItHot San Diego has the largest wooden structure in the US. When it opened in 1888 the Hotel Del Coronado was the largest resort hotel in the world. Ten different US presidents have stayed here and it was the location of the film classic “Some like it hot” starring Marilyn Monroe.
San Diego imports 80 to 90% of its water. Around 168 million gallons of water are imported every day and if placed into gallon bottles they would encircle the earth more than one and a quarter times.
San Diego is home to the world’s oldest working ship. The Star of India was built in 1863 and  has completed 21 circumnavigations from her home port of San Diego.
San Diego’s cultural life .The Old Globe and the La Jolla Playhouse of San Diego have sent more shows to Broadway than any other U.S. city.

We’re happy to receive any more fun trivia. Please send any titbits you have to . Why not come and join us in San Diego – we look forward to welcoming you to LSI San Diego!

A beach lover’s paradise – advice from LSI San Diego

Friday, April 11th, 2014

San Diego is well-known for its many beaches, each one with its own personality. Depending on what you want to do, find the beach right for you. Here are our suggestions:

Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach: The Southern-most beach near the border, IB is quiet and most famous for its annual Sandcastle Competition.  A chance to walk on the wooden pier makes the trip worthwhile.
Ocean Beach: A favorite among the hippie and Harley crowd, OB has easy-going surf, fishing off the long pier, and plenty of dog-friendly spots. The unofficial motto of OB is: “Keep Ocean Beach Weird” Hodad’s welcome!
Coronado: A wide, golden sand beach great for family fun and slow strolls by the Hotel Del Coronado.  Voted “America’s Best Beach” in 2012.
Pacific Beach: Another popular tourist beach for the college-age crowd. Garnet Avenue comes alive at night with bars and clubs while Law Street is a local spot for surfing and chilling with friends during the day.

Coronado beach

La Jolla beach

La Jolla: The La Jolla Cove provides a perfect chance for amateur snorkeling and La Jolla Shores remains a terrific destination for swimming, kayaking, and other activities. Meet a seal up close!  Definitely the beach you are most likely to spot a Lamborghini.
Torrey Pines State Park: Away from the crowds, you can experience nature by itself at Torrey Pines. Try hiking a trail or searching the beach for shells.
Mission Beach: San Diego icon complete with roller coaster and boardwalk.  A favorite among teenagers, MB is a great locale for people-watching, sunbathing and playing volleyball. The boardwalk links to Mission Bay and is popular among rollerbladers, skaters, joggers and others.
Solana Beach: A short train ride away, SB gives a glimpse at a cozy surf town with simple spots and steady surf.

Mission Beach

In addition to these, you may get curious and want to find smaller, lesser known beaches such as Garbage Beach, Windansea, Sunset Cliffs or Del Mar.


Learning to communicate in a new language ? It’s not all about words!

Friday, April 11th, 2014

LSI San Diego Academic Director Blake Winter discusses the hugely understated importance of body language and gesture in language learning.

Hand gestures aid verbal communication

Hand gestures aid verbal communication

“It has been said that language captures the melodies, rhythms and tones of the people speaking it, that each way of communicating around the world embodies the culture it comes from. And yet, when one travels or is hesitant to fully attempt conversation in a new language, there is a second method of communication that proves equally useful: gesture. Body language, too, goes a long way at showing how a culture interprets the world.

Perhaps you are looking for a bite to eat, a restroom to use, a map to hold or simply trying to find the entrance to a cathedral. In these cases, body language can get your point across without a word being said. At times the same gesture is used differently in two or more cultures, often leading to some interesting confusion. Everyone has an anecdote about trying to use a certain gesture in a foreign land and getting an unexpected result.

When learning a new language, adopting the local gestures and body language as part of that language can be a significant way to reinforce learning new vocabulary, sentence structure and pronunciation. For example, if you see an old friend and remark “Hey buddy, long time, no see!” with your hands at your sides, you are not projecting the idea you are welcoming a conversation. On the other hand, if you have your arms wide and splash a big smile over your face, you are clearly showing that you would like to catch up with this old friend and exchange news.

Matching body movement and language can be categorized as kinaesthetic learning, which utilizes muscle memory and established neural pathways in unison. Think of the easiest way to explain a body movement verb: simply do it. Shrug, wink, clap, cough, sneer, grimace, pout, sigh, yawn—no written definition replaces the directness of action.

If you’re still not convinced gesture is key to language acquisition, compare a phone conversation with a person-to-person encounter. Which is more difficult and why?

When you are picking up new phrases and refining your speaking skills, linking these words to a corresponding gesture is an effective and proven shortcut to help you remember faster and easier.”

Facial expressions and body language help to express meaning

Facial expressions and body language help to express meaning