First day at EC London! (The Interns)

On our first day at EC London our task for the day was to be new students! During the registration in reception, we were introduced to each other, and given an outline of the task for the day. We started off at the EC Cafe with a short English test. We were just as nervous as the students, but once we began it was easy to understand and very clear. After a short break, there was a Welcome talk, given by Laura. The information was very useful for the students as it covered topics such as; accommodation, landmarks, public transport etc. This was followed by the Academic Induction by Rich. This outlined the different levels the students would be placed in. Information regarding timetables and how to read timetables was presented to the students. Although it seemed like a lot of information to take in, it was lively and fun! It was also good that the students were asked questions, and were also given the chance to ask questions themselves, just in case there were any confusions. Towards the end of the day we had a quick tour of the other EC London buildings. We were paired in groups, and given a short quiz to help find the other sites. Along the way we also got a glimpse of the local area. After the tour, we all gathered again at the EC Cafe for a short Welcome Event. After students were given their timetables, we all got to eat for FREE at the Cafe, which everyone was very excited about!! Overall, we really enjoyed ourselves and it was a nice experience being students once again! And it came as a shock for some of the  students to find out at the end of the day, that we were not students … Read more

The Year of the Tiger

  Sunday 14th February 2010 was a day for huge celebration in China as we all welcomed in the new lunar year!   Similar to December in the western world, the month leading up to this great day is an exciting time of preparation and anticipation. Here in the Guangdong province lanterns adorn the streets, orange trees decorate the buildings and red envelopes containing “lucky money” are hung from the branches to be given to all unmarried family members on the first day of the new year.   Most people spend the previous day travelling home to their families where they enjoy the week-long public holiday feasting on traditional delicacies and celebrating together.      Not having a Chinese family to go home to, we decided to make the most of our week by visiting the beautiful town of Yangshuo in nearby Guanxi province. There we enjoyed a wonderful few days of cycling, bamboo-rafting, walking and climbing the stunning karst mountains. Here is a photo of me on the bamboo raft with our faithful captain, Andy:     We stayed in a fantastic guesthouse called The Giggling Tree where the friendly Dutch staff made us very welcome and the chef worked his magic to create no end of mouth-watering dishes.   We returned to Guangzhou feeling rested, refreshed and more than ready to take on the Year of the Tiger!     Vocab focus: lunar year = the year according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar anticipation = hope and excitement adorn = decorate (formal) feasting = eating hungrily and with great enjoyment to make the most of sth = to use to the best advantage, to profit from sth mouth-watering = delicious

Private vs Group Tuition: Which is Better?

This week I joined the Level 2 group class at my Mandarin school here in Guangzhou, southern China. For the past two weeks I had been taking one-to-one lessons only so I was looking forward to meeting some new people and getting stuck in to the group lessons. After three days of the new course I started to think about the pros and cons of private and group tuition and decided to make a list (old habits die hard!): Private tuition – The Pros: – you can study at your own pace – you develop a stronger relationship with the teacher – you progress much more quickly in the short-term Private Tuition – The Cons: – it is a lot more expensive! – you don’t meet anyone apart from the teacher – lessons are very intensive (and tiring) because all of the focus is on you Group Tuition – The Pros: – you meet lots of other people from all over the world – other students ask useful questions that you may not have thought of – you have more time to digest the new language as the focus of attention in the classroom is not solely on you Group Tuition – The Cons: – you have to study at the same pace as everyone else – you may feel that your level is higher or lower than the other students in the class – it may be more difficult to remain motivated as you will (obviously) not receive the same level of attention from the teacher as you would in a private class For me the conclusion was clear: for a short-term course I would prefer to take private tuition and for a long-term course I would prefer group tuition with occasional one-to-one “tutorials” to monitor my progress and maintain motivation. … Read more

Ni you kongr ma?

“What do you like to do in your free time?” asked my teacher in Mandarin. “How do you say I like learning languages, reading, meeting people and going to the gym but to be honest but I don’t usually have much free time?” I asked in English. This was the standard answer I had always given in foreign language classes over the years. My teacher looked at me, confused. “I thought you were only working one day a week while you’re here in China?” she said. “That’s right,” I replied. “Well you’ve only been here for a week and you don’t really know anyone, how can you not have any free time?” Hmm, it was a good question. It’s true I had only been there a week and yet somehow I had managed to get myself on a committee to organise a “British Day,” joined a group called “Women in Business,” been to school every day to learn Mandarin, done some sightseeing and bought quite a lot of new clothes. Oh and looked into volunteering at a local primary school. I wondered what I would do if I did have some free time? I decided that this was a good opportunity to find out. On my first totally free day I revised the Mandarin I’d learnt while sitting outside in the sunshine, started a new novel that I’d got for Christmas, met my husband and some of his new friends for lunch and then went to a yoga class at the gym in the evening.  Turns out that sentence I’d been churning out all these years still suited me just fine.

EC London Student Christmas Party

Come to reception after your English lessons to get your FREE ticket for our Student Christmas Party on Thursday 17th December 2009. It’s at a internationally recognised London night club – see posters around the school for details. Well done to Geoff for organisnig such a fantastic venue for free ! Don’t forget we still have lessons on Friday 18th December before our school closes for two weeks !