Best way to learn a different language!

Here at ECLA, we try our best to bring you fun, interactive ways to learn English. But did you know that along with school, making friends can help you learn English faster? Studies show that making friends with people who are fluent in the language you are trying to learn actually improves your English capabilities! Why? Simple, when interacting with English speakers, especially those who aren’t familiar your language, you’re forced to talk in the common language, in this case, English! Although it may seem difficult, it actually helps you in the long run. When talking to a native speaker, you learn new words that you are more likely to use because of your similar interests. A book can only teach you so much, luckily, there’s plenty of friends at ECLA that can help you become an English pro in no time!

Momma, why do we carve pumpkins?

With our recent pumpkin carving contest, it would only be appropriate to explain how pumpkin carving came to be. We all know that October is mostly defined by the spooky Halloween season. This is the time where we eat candy, make costumes and trick-or-treat. But haven’t you ever wondered how pumpkin carving came to be a staple for Halloween? Well, way back when, there was something a called a Celtic Festival of Samhain. This was celebrated on the sunset of October 31st and lasted through the sunset of November 1st. The festival celebrated and honored the deceased relatives of friends and family. It was believed that this time of year was the most magical. In order to welcome the spirits and lead them to their homes, they would carve turnips, pears and veggies and put lighted coals. It was also believed that displaying these lanterns would ward off evil spirits from entering the home. Now though, we just carve pumpkins for fun, yay!

Menu Etiquette—or lack thereof

Have you ever gone out with friends, chatted up the table and realized that the waiter is taking their sweet time to get to you? You must be thinking, “Man, this server stinks!” Little do you know, that just like bad breath wards out potential suitors, your menu etiquette, or lack thereof may be to blame. It’s funny, even as an American, I too have to learn certain acceptable behaviors. I remember being at a restaurant with one of my best friends. We sat there, took our time randomly glancing at the menu and kept swapping stories about the horrors of high school. As I kept yapping about a cute guy named Conor May, I saw my friend giving me the stink eye. I quickly quipped, “Oh my gosh, this waiter is taking forever, right?” As I was looking for a signal of approval, she asks, “Are you ready?” I quickly responded, “yeah?!” then she annoyingly says, “then close your menu!” Baffled by her odd request I asked, “why?” Well, with that question I opened the door for a very unwelcome lecture on how for the most part, waiters will not approach a table until all menus are closed. Apparently, this is the universal signal in the food world for “Hey, I’m hungry and I’m sooo ready to order.” Much to my dismay—but proving her point—the waiter rushed to our table and said, “Well, it looks like you’re ready to order!” See? We can all learn something about this little anecdote, are you hungry and want to be waited on? Then close your menu and stop hating on the poor server! Your friends and tummy will thank you!

Halloween is when?

    You know what this Thursday is? It’s Halloween! Many people may have a costume others may not. Hey, maybe you got invited to a get together and are thinking of not going because you don’t have a costume. Don’t be that guy! You know what Halloween is about? You might be thinking candy, well, yes, it’s candy, but also creativity! Many people maul over the idea of a sexy costume or a clever costume. Clever always trumps sexy. You know why? Because everyone is always going to be a “sexy nurse” or a “sexy cop” or a “sexy” whatever, but being a mutilated nurse is much more fun, not to mention memorable. In my experience, I’ve realized that the best costumes are the under rated ones. You don’t have to waste a fortune to have a good costume. The key to a great get-up is improvising. Use the tools you have available to you. Have a bag of balloons and tape? Be a grape with crazy, static hair! Remember, in the end, it doesn’t matter what you dress up as, but when in doubt, be a zombie!

Downtown Art Walk

Do you love art? Do you love food? Then join us every 2nd Thursday of the month to visit the Art Walk in Downtown LA! Downtown Art Walk is a monthly showcase and celebration of galleries, artists, restaurants, shops and small businesses. It is a self-guided tour located between intersections of 4th and 7th Street and Spring and Main Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The tour started in 2004 and now has over 50 galleries with over 25,000 people visiting every month! In comparison to Museums, the Downtown Art Walk is much more interactive and allows visitors to view art and art exhibits at their own pace while exploring the heart of LA. But wait! There’s more! The Downtown Art Walk also has FOOD TRUCKS! Food trucks are restaurants-on-wheels! It is a great way to explore the variety of ethnic food that LA offers with Angelinos’ flare and style! Sign up at the front desk today to visit this exciting event! Check out this picture from the Downtown Art Walk website!

ECLA Teacher Feature: Claudia Aragon!

I was born 110 miles outside of Los Angeles in an almost country/almost desert city called Bakersfield. However, I was quick to leave it to start up a life in Los Angeles via UCLA. After graduating in 2009 with a BA in Psychology, I chose to celebrate with a two-month long vacation to Italy, one that ultimately ended up lasting two years. In my time there, I explored the Amalfi coast, a coastline that I had been traveling to and loving since I was a child, improved upon my Italian, and dabbled in teaching English to Italians.   Now back in LA, to which I have become practically a native, I am also back studying at UCLA, however business this time.  Alongside, I am fortunate to be here at EC teaching English to International students.   EC’s methodology is distinct from other competing schools. Here, the students are taught more than just the knowledge of grammar structures and vocabulary but also, American humor, colloquial expressions that cannot necessarily be translated, and the means by which to navigate across linguistic boundaries. The result is that EC students do not graduate simply feeling more confident in their English abilities; they graduate feeling more fluent in American culture. And in my opinion, what more could ESL students want from a traveling experience abroad in Los Angeles?

Meet ECLA’s Interns from Japan!!

Nozomi and Naoto are our new interns at ECLA! They are two young ambitious university students from Japan. They are here to gain meaningful Business and Business Administrative experiences while exploring the beautiful city of LA!   Intercultural communication, which is my major in Rikkyo university, is so interesting since there is no end to exploring answers and questions. I really liked to watch TV programs which show the landscape and culture all over the world when I was young. Japan is quite far from anywhere, so I dreamed of communicating with people who speaks different languages. Studying abroad in Ireland gave me basic English communication skills. I would like to greatly improve my English, here at ECLA. After I would like to get a job at a Japanese company where I can use my experience and skills. I’m so excited to see the HOLLYWOOD sign since I love movies, especially Science fiction and action films.   My message to future students: I found it great to work with people here. The staffs and teachers are cheerful and helpful. Please don’t hesitate to explore other cultures. We are not here only to study English. We have the best environment ever to experience a lot of different cultures.   Hi all. I’m Naoto Kuwabara, intern of ECLA. I’m very glad to be a member of this company. I’m from Japan and I can speak Japanese and English. I’m currently a university student and I belong to the faculty of economy. My major is finance. During university life, I’ve studied English through my club activity. I love English and I want to work abroad in the future, so here I want to learn how the business goes in the US and also about business English. This is the second time to come … Read more

ECLA Teacher Feature: Ryan Hawes

My name is Ryan, and I’m a 24 year old Southern California native. In 2011 I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Anthropology from UC Santa Barbara. I love music, traveling and working with people of all ages. Last year I taught English and studied Chinese in Taipei, Taiwan. I lived in the city center, near the famous building, Taipei 101. I had an excellent and adventurous time learning a new language, experiencing a new culture and meeting so many new and wonderful people. In my spare time, I enjoy listening to records, surfing beside Santa Monica pier and going out to try new and delicious restaurants in Los Angeles. Watching funny YouTube videos is a guilty pleasure of mine which has consumed hours upon hours of my life. During my time at EC I have tried to achieve a positive and interactive learning environment, whereupon my classes are continuously speaking, reading, writing and learning. I believe in an encouraging and fun learning environment where students are able to enjoy the experience of learning, rather than solely doing exercises from a book. I hope to stay at EC and further explore the amazing city that is Los Angeles and am looking forward to an exciting future in the months to come. I am a very positive and open person, so if you see me walking by you in the hallway, don’t hesitate to say “Hello!”

Learn English Quickly in LA with these Pronunciation and Spelling Tips!

With many rules and exceptions, learning English as a second language can be very difficult. So how can students learn English quickly in LA? By reading “The Chaos” aloud, a poem written by Dr. Gerard Nolst Trenite, you can quickly improve your pronunciation skills and see the irregularities of English spelling. If you don’t know how to pronounce certain words, then ask a native speaker! The Chaos Dearest creature in Creation, Studying English pronunciation, I will teach you in my verse Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse. I will keep you, Susy, busy, Make your head with heat grow dizzy; Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear; So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer. Pray, console your loving poet, Make my coat look new, dear, sew it! Just compare heart, beard, and heard, Dies and diet, lord and word. Sword and sward, retain and Britain (Mind the latter, how it’s written!) Made has not the sound of bade, Say-said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid. Now I surely will not plague you With such words as vague and ague, But be careful how you speak, Say break, steak, but bleak and streak. Previous, precious, fuchsia, via; Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir, Cloven, oven; how and low; Script, receipt; shoe, poem, toe. Hear me say, devoid of trickery: Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore, Typhoid; measles, topsails, aisles; Exiles, similes, reviles; Wholly, holly; signal, signing; Thames; examining, combining; Scholar, vicar, and cigar, Solar, mica, war, and far. From “desire”: desirable–admirable from “admire”; Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier; Chatham, brougham; renown but known, Knowledge; done, but gone and tone, One, anemone; Balmoral; Kitchen, lichen; laundry, laurel; Gertrude, German; wind and mind; Scene, Melpomene, mankind; Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather, Reading, Reading, heathen, heather. This phonetic labyrinth Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth. Billet does not end like ballet; Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet; Blood and flood are not like food, Nor is mould like should and would. Banquet is not nearly parquet, Which is said to rhyme with “darky.” Viscous, viscount; load and broad; Toward, to forward, to reward, And your pronunciation’s OK. Rounded, wounded; grieve and sieve; Friend and fiend; alive and live. Liberty, library; heave and heaven; Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven, We say hallowed, but allowed; People, leopard; towed, but vowed. Mark the difference, moreover, Between mover, plover, Dover, Leeches, breeches; wise, precise; Chalice but police and lice. Camel, constable, unstable; Principle, disciple; label; … Read more

Teacher Feature: Christine Chang

ECLA is delighted to welcome Teacher and Junior Program Coordinator, Christine Chang, to the team. Learn more about Christine by reading her introduction below. “I knew the first day of kindergarten that I would become a teacher one day! Of course, I’ve come a long way since kindergarten and am excited to be at EC Los Angeles! In high school, I volunteered at a local elementary school and met a first grade girl who had recently immigrated from Iran. She spoke no English at all, and I worked with her for the year so that she could become integrated into her class. It was an experience that showed me that I had talent and passion for teaching English. Since then, I’ve geared my life towards improving as a teacher by going to university, travelling and working with different types of students. I especially enjoy teaching ESL because I see how students from different countries and cultures not only get to learn a language but also learn about each other. I came to EC Los Angeles with teaching experience, but I’ve learned so much about teaching from EC’s method. I’m excited to be developing as a teacher so that I can tailor each of my lessons to my students and their specific needs. I want to be the teacher that students remember as the one who cared about them and their learning and as the teacher who helped them markedly improve their English. I know that the EC method is the best way to ensure that I will be the teacher that I want to be!”