Presentation on Sweden!

Presentation on Sweden at the EC English language school in London! Have you ever listened to ABBA, bought something from IKEA or used Spotify? Did you know ABBA was a Swedish pop group and the companies IKEA and Spotify were founded in Sweden?  Even more information were included in the presentation on Sweden! It was held twice during the previous Thursday, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Delicious Swedish candy such as Marabou milk chocolate and Ahlgrens bilar were provided during the presentation. You could not join us? Do not worry! We give a brief summary of the Swedish presentation below. In general: Location: Scandinavia, northern Europe. Companies founded in Sweden: IKEA, H&M, Spotify, Skype and Volvo. Well known candy: Marabou milk chocolate, Ahlbrens bilar and Djungelvrål, love it! Dishes: Herring and potatoes with dill and eggs, sandwich cake, crisp bread and falun sausage with macaroni. Famous people:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic – football player. He has played for a several clubs such as Barcelona, Ajax, Swedish national team and much more. ABBA – pop group. MAMMA MIA, Here I go again! Yes, you are singing one of ABBA’s songs! Zara Larsson – pop singer-songwriter. Maybe you have listened to Ruin my life, Lush Life or recognise her name from the Top 50 on Spotify? Avicii – DJ, remix artist and record producer If you have not, listen to his songs, for instance Wake me up, Without You or Waiting for Love.  Astrid Lindgren – Writer. One of her famous characters might be more familiar, Pippi Longstocking! Have great day! Or in Swedish, ha en bra dag! EC London, Alice

EC London English Students get a presentation on Switzerland

In the last few weeks, EC students who are attending English Courses in London had the opportunity to join my Switzerland presentation. As it was so popular the first time around, staff and students requested it be presented again! During both presentations I talked about the different languages spoken in my country. It’s common for people who had never heard of it before to ask “Could you say something in Swiss?”, but since we have four national languages I explain that in Switzerland we speak German, French, Italian and Romanch. As well as having different languages in our little country we have also different food cultures. I showed them some pictures about: Polenta, Rösti, Raclette, Cheese fondue, Chocolate, Älplermagronen, Meringues, Basler Leckerli, Apfel Strudel, and other delicious food. Rivella and Fizzy are two drinks that you can only find by us. In my country we have cats, dogs and other usual pets, but among our woods, we have some animals that you can’t see everywhere. For example: eagles, deer and the Chamoi, bear as well as wolves Lynx, stoats or frogs, white hares and even marmots! If you want to visit Switzerland of course you have a lot of travel options. Renting a car and doing the “Ground Tour” is my top tip. You can drive for 1643 km in seven days, if driving around five hours per day. On your trip you’ll see 45 of the top destinations including 12 World Heritages Sites (UNESCO) and two biospheres! The recommended season do to this trip is in Summer, so from April to October. Amazing landscapes will be blow your mind. You’ll see 22 lakes and pass over five alpine passes that exceed 2000 meters above sea level. This route, if you prefer, is also possible to do on a panoramic train; it’s … Read more

Academic Assistant Ramao leaving EC London after 18 months

  Today we have a very special blog from a very special person.He was part of our fantastic team in school of English EC London for over 1 year. First Ramao was a student in EC London followed by an Internship and became an Academic Assistant. In his blog It’s all about tips for transport, accommodation and the passion of travelling.   ”My name is Ramao, I’ve been living in London for a year and a half. Since I moved to London I’ve visited over 42 different cities in 20 countries (so far) – most of them on weekend trips. My hobbies are cooking, photography and, of course, travelling.   London then. Pretty amazing huh? Massive yes – especially for those with wanderlust   Let’s skip the obvious about the city: Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s too big. Yes, it’s crowded and yet you can be lonely. Yes, the air pollution is awful, not to mention the weather. And even with all those negative points, London is a place to be. It might not be THE place, but still…   I’m not going to say that it’s the dream for everyone, I do believe people can actually hate this city – mainly because of some of the reasons above. Despite all of that, if you have a thing for travel then I must say there’s no better place to be.   London is one the most connected cities in the world (if not THE most) with five airports and one international train station. Apart from that, geographically London is sort of a gateway to Europe – you can be in the majority of countries in Europe and North Africa in 3 hours. I come from Brazil (the extreme south) so my personal standards of distance and time in terms of travelling are ‘slightly’ bigger than those … Read more

Welcome to EC Canada!

EC proudly announced the additon of LSC’s three Canadian schools into the ever-growing EC family last month bringing the total number of EC English language centres to 15 around the world! LSC is the oldest and most respected private language school in Canada. They have many years’ experience teaching English to international students, and a reputation for academic excellence. EC Toronto Canada’s largest and most multi-cultural city has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Shopping, food, sports, museums and nightlife – Toronto has it all. Our school is in mid-town Toronto and has spacious classrooms and modern facilities. EC Vancouver Rated as one the world’s greatest places to live, Vancouver is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and huge mountains. This is a wonderful place for outdoor activities and to explore nature. The city’s a relaxed and interesting place to stay with a variety of cool neighbourhoods to check out, and our large city-centre school is at the heart of the action! EC Montreal Located in the province of Quebec, Montreal is the world’s largest fully bilingual city (English & French). Its European atmosphere and international flavour make it one the most unique cities in the world. Our modern school is located in the Faubourg shopping mall in the city centre. For more information (or to book an EC course in Canada) go to http://www.ecenglish.com/learn-english-canada.

Intern Experiences at EC London

EC London takes in students from all over the world, but we also welcome international interns who come and train with us to gain crucial workplace experience. One success story comes from Hong Kong. Jane Lau trained with EC London junior school this summer and we loved having her here! I’ll let Jane tell you the story… ‘Hi, I’m Jane Lau. I am an Uni student majoring in Translation and I’m from Hong Kong. This summer, I interned in EC London for 2 months and mainly worked in Catford for the Junior Programme. That was one of the most incredible experiences in my life that I would like to share with everyone. This was the first time for me to work in an English-speaking and multi-ethnic environment. Before I came to UK for the internship, I was a bit nervous about working in a new environment. But my experience proves that my worry was unnecessary and I have learnt a lot through this internship. I had a really great time working with colleagues at Stukeley Street and in Catford Junior School. They are all very caring and nice. We worked as a team and we had a really good time working together. Though some tough things might happen, but it is nice that there is always someone who can share and support you. Having been working in a pure English environment, I find that now I’m more confident in speaking English, great thanks to my colleagues. Another thing that I found the nationality mix in my workplace provided me a precious opportunity to learn cooperating with people from different cultural background and exchange out ideas and thoughts. And of course, I have learned so many practical skills from the work place that were beyond what I expected. Thanks EC! I … Read more

End Evaluation

So, amazingly this is my 23rd and final week of living in Guangzhou, south China. I travel to Hong Kong tomorrow and then fly home to London early on Friday morning. I can hardly believe that the time has come to pack up and say goodbye to the people and places I have come to know so well. In the last few days I have started to think about what I will miss and what I will be happy to leave behind! Here are my conclusions: What I’ll Miss: My Chinese classes, my teacher, all our new friends, our lovely apartment, the free gym and swimming pool, weekends in Hong Kong, having so much free time, unbelievably cheap manicures, speaking Chinese, shopping at the markets, walking along the river in the evenings, being surprised by something new every day, Boca cafe and Melody the lovely waitress, never having to wear a jacket, moments of thinking “We live in Chiiina!”  What I Won’t Miss: squat toilets, all the spitting, eating with chopsticks, Guangzhou taxi drivers, the smog, the supermarkets, paying £6 for a box of Cornflakes, eating snake and toad, taking your life in your hands every time you cross the road, being stared at! So, overall I think I would have to give my China experience a score of 5.5 on the End Evaluation form. It has been a real adventure and I am so happy to have done it but am really looking forward to going home and getting back to my old life. See you back in London! P.S. Who do I speak to about my scores of 3 or below?

It’s Good to Talk

  The people of Guangzhou in south China really do love to talk! On the street, in the car, riding a bicycle – you name it, mobile phones are never far from people’s ears in this city.     Here are my top ten favourite unusual places where I have seen people chatting on their mobile phones:     10) On a very crowded underground train (yes, the phones here even work under ground!) 9)     In a cable car 8) While participating in a yoga class 7) While teaching a yoga class 6) In a crowded lift 5) On a bamboo raft 4) While riding a tandem 3) While riding an elephant 2) Standing on the peak of a very peaceful mountain     … and finally, drum roll please…     1) While taking off in an aeroplane!

Sydney Highlights

I’m visiting Sydney, Australia for the first time and these are some of the highlights so far:  1. A bus driver who waited for a family to buy their prepay tickets in a kiosk and was friendly and polite…. 2. Sydney fish Market- buy cooked king prawns, oysters and salmon and tuna sashimi then eat at the picnic tables at the Market 3. Australia Museum- dinosaurs, skeletons, jellyfish and giant wombats… Incredible! 4. Sydney harbour and operahouse 5. Bondi beach- the outdoors lifestyle second to none 6. Royal botanic gardens- complete with bats! 7. botanic gardens- complete with bats! 7. Wooloomooloo- 8 o’s and a great wharf!

Sun, Sea & Singha Beer

I have been in Thailand now for almost two weeks on holiday and am proud to say that I have learnt several Thai phrases. I am not so proud to say that the one which gets most practice is “Beer Sing Song Kaa!” which means “Two Singha beers please!” My friend Gemma has lived in Thailand for the past four years and works as a teacher at the local international school. I spent the first few days of my holiday in Phuket where Gemma lives then took a boat to Railay to meet another friend for five days of chilled-out bliss on the beach. Last night we arrived in Bangkok for our final few days of culture, shopping and sundowners. This morning we took the Chao Phraya Express boat to visit the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew temple and tomorrow we are going to shop at the markets and experience a real Thai massage.     Thailand is without doubt the most beautiful country I have ever visited. The beaches are stunning, the people are friendly, the scenery is incredible and the weather is gorgeous every single day. I feel very lucky to be here and very much hope to come back one day!

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