Check it Out

Some Idioms and Phrases from Students in the Classroom

Back in summer, our front desk team at EC Boston made a couple of posts about idioms and phrases. Today, Michael is posting about some idioms that he has heard students using in his class so far in September. Michael teaches the Advanced (C1) class, so many of his students have been practicing these for a while now! The class spends most of their time and effort developing their ability to engage with ‘Complex Language to Express Complex Thought’, and this idea is practiced across the reading, listening, reading, and speaking skills. Sometimes, it’s appropriate for students to speak or write with a formal tone. However, sometimes students have to be informal, or colloquial, and this is when all of our idioms, slang terms, and interesting phrases come into play. So here are a few phrases that Michael was very impressed to overhear his students using recently:   ‘The funny thing is…’ Deeply engaged in the narrative tenses while telling a story yesterday’s lunch, Tomoya was able not only to fluently use this idiom, but also to switch very subtly to the present tense ‘is’, which just helped to bring his story to life. Sometimes we focus on speaking concisely and accurately, but Tomoya was able to really engage and entertain with his story – this is how he does it!   ‘Check it out…’ This one seems simple, but actually it can be really helpful in terms of tone. Basically, it means the same as ‘look at this’, but in the context of a conversation, it’s very soft and friendly. So, while you’re directly telling somebody what to do, the friendly nature of the idiom means that this could never be rude. Pretty useful! Felipe used this last week, and now everyone is at it!   ‘Better late than … Read more

Amtrak Boston

A Great Transportation for Students in Boston: Amtrak

Introduction Are you interested in traveling to another city, state or country? Language study in Boston is an excellent experience because, not only is Boston a great city, but it’s also close to other exciting places which you can visit from here. If you use the ISX travel, you can go there like New York and Washington D.C. by bus. However, if you go there individually, you can use the transportation other than buses. The long bus movement must make you so tired. Instead of buses, there is a comfortable train in the United states. Today, I’ll introduce you the third transportation in United states called “Amtrak”. What is Amtrak? Amtrak is one of the trains which runs all over the United States and parts of Canada like Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Niagara Falls so if you take that, you can go wherever you like even from east to west. It runs not only urban cities like New York, Seattle, Philadelphia and Miami but also countryside like Montana, North Dakota and Kansas. The fastest speed of Amtrak is 150 mph (241 kph) and the average speed is 100mph (160kph) so some of you like European and Japanese who use usually Euro Star, TGV and Shinkansen feel it slow. Of course, the tickets are more expensive than buses. The charms of Amtrak Let’s compare Amtrak with greyhound bus. Greyhound bus is the bus which also runs all over the United States and part of Canada. Amtrak is more expensive than the buses. Moreover, it takes time to reach the destination. From Boston to New York, for example, Amtrak takes time as much as buses. It’s about 4 to 5 hours. However, Amtrak has charms buses don’t have, and charms that faster European and Japanese trains don’t have. First, the breadth of … Read more

Thanksgiving Turkey

Fall Events to Look Forward to in Boston Part 3

Hi, it’s Kazuki again with more posts about the fall season for those of you who want to learn english in boston. Maybe I saved the best until last! Thanksgiving In November, in TD Garden and Downtown, many events are held like basketball games, ice hockey games, concerts and theaters. People start getting into the seasonal spirit. On the last Thursday in November, there is a national holiday called Thanksgiving Day – officially America’s biggest annual celebration. Thanksgiving is a celebration of coming together and sharing with the people around you. It originates from a meeting a very long time ago between European settlers and Native Americans. Actually, Thanksgiving is becoming a controversial topic in the United States because of the history of this event, with growing support for the rights of Native American people. However, what is for certain is that this is still the biggest celebration in the country where families get together and experience what many would say is the most clear example of United States culture. In particular, students who stay with our wonderful host families (currently the highest-rated host families in all of EC!) get to experience this celebration with a real American family, and every year the students have so much fun. Also, Thanksgiving is famous for Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving. This is the bargain day. You can receive much discount at almost all every shop and outlet like Newbury street, Assembly Row and Wrentham Outlet. Let’s get what you really want by using this day! It’s a well-known fact about America that people go crazy for Black Friday. For many of our students, this is a fascinating experience because it is completely unique to American culture. Many shops open very early for this day, and at the popular shops, hundreds … Read more

Halloween Pumpkin

Fall Events to Look Forward to in Boston Part 2

Hello! So my last post was about Columbus Day. Now, I’m writing again with another fantastic thing for students to do in Boston this fall. We hope this make you excited to Study English in Boston!   Halloween Another exciting event in Boston is Halloween. Halloween is one of the largest celebrations in the United States. One of our Teachers, Michael, is from the United Kingdom. He says that in the UK, most people don’t really celebrate it. But in the US, everybody loves Halloween! To tell the truth, the Halloween day, October 31st, is not a national holiday. However, almost of all American do the Halloween party after their job or school. They enjoy dressing up in costumes and decorating pumpkins. While Halloween itself is on October 31st, Americans usually starts to get excited about it from the end of August. Starbucks, for example, start to sell their pumpkin spice lattes. One of the largest events in Halloween Boston is Halloween on the Harbor. Every year our students (or at least the ones who are 21 or older!) have so much fun at this event. Everybody dresses up in a crazy costume, and then you get in the Boston Duck Shuttle and this takes you to many different parties at different venues on Boston’s waterfront. It costs $20, but the proceeds go to a local charity, which means you’re having fun and it’s also for a good cause! Moreover, in Massachusetts, there is a city which is famous for Halloween. The name of this city is Salem. Salem is known as “Witch Capital”. If you stay in Boston during Halloween, we definitely recommend you go to Salem. Salem is famous for the Salem Witch Trials in the 17th century where many people were accused of witchery, and some of … Read more

Columbus Day Parade 1

Fall Events to Look Forward To in Boston Part 1

Hi there! It’s Kazuki. I’m going to make a few posts about exciting things which happen in the fall in Boston. Did you enjoy your summer in Boston? Although it was a hot summer, I felt it was relatively comfortable to stay here. Recently, it has started to get a little colder, and I’ve started to enjoy some hot coffee in the mornings. It means that the next season fall is coming soon. Boston’s fall has some charms which Boston’s summer doesn’t have. What do you want to do in fall? Let’s check the fall events in Boston. Columbus Day Columbus Day is an American national holiday on October 11th. First of all, do you know who Christopher Columbus is? He is not American but Italian. He was an Italian explorer and he was the first European man who found America at the end of the 15th century. October 11th is the day is the day Columbus arrived at America. In Boston, there will be many events. Especially, Boston Columbus Day Parade is one of the largest events in Boston. Boston’s Columbus Day Parade is a wonderful celebration of Boston’s Italian heritage, with Boston having a large population of Italian Americans. It also celebrates the American soldiers and other military personnel from Massachusetts and thanks them for their service. There are so many exciting things to see in the parade, such as marching bands with brass instruments like trumpets and tubas, military bands, entertainers, floats from lots of different types of local businesses, and people say there are bagpipe bands, too! The parade always occurs on the Sunday before Columbus Day. This parade is usually in the North End and East Boston and was born in 1937. And remember, these are two great locations where we have student residences! So, … Read more


Students Paradise — Harvard and MIT

Well, here’s another great thing about heading out of the summer and into the fall at EC Boston. The university fall semester is going to begin! Do you want to hear a crazy fact about Boston? There are over 100 universities and colleges here! Over 100! And of course, the most famous ones would be Harvard and MIT. In fact, Harvard University is the single oldest university in United States of America. One of the favorite activities for many of our students is to take a tour of these university campuses. Both universities offer very exciting tours for our students. Who doesn’t want to visit these beautiful campuses? Also, this is another great opportunity for our students to practice their English skills in a real-world environment. The tour guide gives a lot of information about the university — they tell about the history, about the classes, and even about the famous celebrities who attended. Did you know, John F Kennedy went to university of Harvard? As did our Student Services Coordinator Stephen’s favorite actor, Tommy Lee Jones. So the tour guide is always really friendly, and they like to engage our students in conversation. This means that, after our students listen to all of the information, they get to engage with the tour guide and ask questions. Our teachers put in so much effort into developing our student’s listening and speaking skills in the classroom, and then when students go on activities like this one, they get a wonderful opportunity to practice what they learn in an interesting environment. Both of our Student Services Coordinators, Stephen and Michael, as well as our intern Kazuki, have been on these tours. They had a great time, too! Kazuki hopes that, one day, he’ll be able to study at MIT as a graduate … Read more


Student Testimonial – Nawaf

One of our students, Nawaf, just graduated. He had been here at EC Boston since April, 2018 — that’s a pretty long time! But in that time, he went on a fantastic journey from pre-intermediate all the way up to proficient. That’s right, he went all the way from the B1 to the C2 level. And that’s not all, he was a student ambassador, he was heavily involved in our EC Boston Volunteer Club, and — maybe most importantly — he had a wonderful experience as he learned English. See what he had to say below: I’m Nawaf, a student by trade. I’ve been here close on 17 months, starting at pre-intermediate and eventually, I reached proficiency, then graduated. Never have i regretted my decision to study at EC Boston. Firstly, the staff were highly qualified and genuinely nice. Not only that but also the chance to meet wonderful friends from all over the world, which provided me the perfect atmosphere to brush up what I’ve learned in school. Another thing worth mentioning is the activities. They set up a fascinating environment to make friendships and let me get the most out of my time in Boston. Well, I’ve had a good run at EC, and now I’ve been accepted into Arizona State University. So, my new plan is to see through my studies in mechanical engineering. So, I really recommend everyone not to hesitate about coming to EC Boston. Clearly, Nawaf was very happy with his time here at EC English Boston. When he goes off to Arizona State University next semester, we wish him the best of luck. And, what’s more, we hope he remembers us here at EC Boston, and we hope he remembers all of the skills we taught him! If I ever need a mechanical … Read more

Downtown Boston

Downtown Boston — What Can Students Do Here?

It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that Downtown Boston is just the financial district. Sure, it’s true that a whole host of big, global companies have their offices here. And sure, it’s true that many of the city’s skyscrapers are dedicated to big banking and accountancy firms. However, there is so much for students and tourists to do in Downtown Boston! Firstly, why not enjoy some American History? If you’re interested in American History, Boston is the only place for you. There’s a redbrick path which runs through the streets of Boston. It’s called the Freedom Trail, and if you follow this trail through the downtown, you’ll get the opportunity to see so many of the amazing historical sites. Secondly, while you’re checking out that history, go shopping! Downtown Crossing has hundreds of shops to appease all of your shopping needs, but if you’re such a shopaholic that Downtown Crossing isn’t enough, check out even more shops in Quincy Market! And you know what else is right next to Quincy Market, right? Yup – EC Boston! We’re right in the heart of Boston’s Downtown. Faneuil Hall was voted by Forbes as the 4th most popular tourist destination in all of America! Here’s another idea — eat all of the seafood! There are so many seafood restaurants in Boston, including America’s oldest restaurant. Yeah, you read that correctly — America’s oldest restaurant! We have two particularly famous seafood dishes here. 1: The Lobster Roll. While you can get this in many places, you’ve got to try it here — Massachusetts style. 2: Clam Chowder. A really thick, creamy delicious soup with clams and crackers. And really, I’m just scratching the surface (Idiom — it means these are just a few details, but there are so many more!) here, go … Read more

EC Boston Graduation

Students Say Goodbye to Summer, Get Ready for Winter

Here in Boston, it’s finally time to say goodbye to a very hot summer. Our students have made the most of the hot weather — they’ve been to the many beaches we have, they’ve visited all of Boston’s public parks, they’ve walked the Freedom Trail, kayaked on the Charles River, watched the Boston Red Sox, and eaten more lobster rolls than anyone could imagine. However, now we’re moving into Fall. The city is changing, and our school is changing, too! Today, we had our last big graduation of the summer. Some of our students who graduated today were only with us a very short time, but they really enjoyed their stay! On the other hand, some students have been with us a good while, including Aseel who stayed for 38 weeks! Now that we have less students as we head into fall and winter, the atmosphere in our school changes. Firstly, the students get to know each other much better, and this is a really positive thing. Everybody gets the chance to learn about different cultures, and our students sit at their lunch tables and exchange their stories. Practicing their English! Another positive about the school getting smaller, is as well as students getting to know each other better, our teachers get to know the students better! Every year in the winter, students are always so happy that their teacher can offer them so much personal attention. You need help with an essay? No problem, the teacher has more time. You want a recommendation for something to do? Easy, your teacher knows you well and knows what you like. While it’s going to be too cold to go to the beaches soon, the fall and winter seasons see some of Boston’s most special activities. For example, people travel from all … Read more

Lead Teacher Rick

‘What’s Your Favorite?’ with Lead Teacher Rick

This morning, our Lead Teacher here at EC English Boston looked very busy in his office. So I told him, stop what you’re doing for just a moment and have a chat with me! Rick is a Detroit, MI native, but he is now proud to call Boston home. He and his wife recently bought their first house together here — congratulations! I asked Rick just a few questions about his favorite things in Boston.     What’s your favorite thing about teaching at EC? There are so many wonderful things about teaching here. The school has an excellent location, right in the heart of the city. Our classrooms have fantastic technology and resources. I work alongside many teachers who have been at the school for 5, 6, 7, even 8 years. But, I would have to say, the best thing about teaching here is the students themselves! We have students from all so many different countries and backgrounds, all different ages, and seeing them teach things to each other in the classroom makes my job so much better. And easier!   What’s your favorite thing do do with your family in Boston? I’m a big fan of Piers Park in East Boston, to tell you the truth. As you know, my daughter, Emma, is 17 months old, so she loves getting out and about in the nice weather. At Piers Park, you’re right there at the harbor with that ocean breeze keeping you call and the beautiful view of the Boston skyline. We go there for a picnic about once a month, I’d say. There’s a big playground in the park, so Emma can run around and enjoy herself.   What’s your favorite thing to do alone in Boston? Honestly, I like just walking around the city. There’s just … Read more