ECSD Is Thankful For…

During the Thanksgiving holiday, EC San Diego encourages students to participate in the holiday by expressing what it is they are most thankful for. Students, teachers, & staff fill out a feather and attach it to ECSD’s “Thankful Turkey” (see photo above). And our turkey is growing! Read below to find out what ECSD appreciates most. “I am thankful…” …for my family and San Diego weather. …for fun students! …for the opportunity [to be] abroad for 7 months, and having my friends and family who I can always rely on. …for Saleh and our classmates and Nick and Rebecca. …for all the love in this world. …for awesome co-workers and happy hours! …for EC One Love. …for the wonderful teachers at ECSD who help me and for the great students I have met. …that ECSD hired such nice people. …for my family and friends. …for Melissa, one of the best teachers ever. …for the beach and the sun and the waves. …for my family and friends. …for my family and friends, good health, having hope and faith. …for Love, Friendship, and Humanity. …for Lykai Nash – she has the best smile! …for our great students – like Mohammed ! …for having such fun & crazy roomies. …for this great time with my classmates in & out of school – FCE2 you are the best! I’m gonna miss you. …for my family, I love all of them. …for my wife, my son, and for the fact that I work with wonderful people at ECSD. …for Daniel’s help. …for having had this experience at ECSD. …for learning the cup song, meeting lovely teachers, escaping my family, and having a good time in San Diego. …for an unforgettable time in San Diego. …for having lived six months I will never forget. Every day, … Read more

Thanksgiving: It’s All About…The Food! (ECSD Recipes)

Halloween has its costumes, Christmas has its presents, and Thanksgiving has its food. Who doesn’t love a satisfying, fun, and relaxed meal with loved ones? Yes, Thanksgiving is the celebration of a historic moment in United States history, but nowadays it is also the time of year when family and friends come together over…a meal! Our EC San Diego family especially loves sharing this annual celebration with students. We throw a “Thanksgiving Gathering” the day before the feast, where students can sample traditional American desserts associated with Thanksgiving dinner. For ESL students who are both familiar with & completely confused by the US holiday of “Thanksgiving”, here are some amazing recipes to try out this month…or whenever you like! And, of course, cooking new recipes is always a fun & effective way to improve English skills. 1) “Herb & Onion Stuffing” (Because you will not be able to stop eating this!) Ingredients 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for the baking dish and foil 1 large loaf crusty bread, cut into 3⁄4-inch bite-size pieces 6 medium onion, chopped Some salt and black pepper 1/2 cup dry white wine 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 2 large eggs, already beaten 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves Directions Heat oven to 375° F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place bread on 2 baking sheets and bake bread until it is dry and crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, about 1 hour. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Add the bread, broth, eggs, … Read more

November Events in San Diego!

Halloween has passed, and now the month of thankfulness is here! November always has lots going on, with Movember, Thanksgiving, and preemptive Winter Holiday buzz swirling around – and San Diego is diving headfirst into the end-of-year excitement! Because we want our international students to experience the best of San Diego (no matter what month of the year), we have compiled a list of November events happening around the city. Make sure to jot these down into your calendar, and get ready to hit the town! San Diego Asian Film Festival Date: November 7 – 15, 2013 Price: TBD The San Diego Asian Film Festival is one of the largest exhibitions for Asian international and Asian American films in the world. Over the course of nine days, different locations in the city – including North Park Birch Theatre, Digiplex Mission Valley Cinemas, Cinepolis, and MoPA – show documentaries, short films, and animations. Different events also take place almost everyday, including galas, receptions, and art shows, and live music. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Date: November 16 – December 28, 2013 Time: 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM Showtimes vary throughout the run of the production. Please visit The Old globe website for a complete list of performance times. Price: Tickets start at $2 Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a fanciful, fantastic musical based upon the classic Dr. Seuss book. The Old Globe Theatre will be transformed into a real-life Whoville just in time for the holidays. Grab your ticket and enjoy a night of music and merry-making! 2013 San Diego Bay Wine & Food Date: November 18 – 24, 2013 Price: $45 – $200 The 10th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival welcomes 9,000 fellow wine and food enthusiasts, along with winemakers, brewmasters, 70 of San Diego’s top chefs, … Read more

Take Advantage of EC’s One-to-One ESL Courses!

Teacher Alec helps student Jennifer to improve her English listening, an important skill that Jennifer wanted to cover during her one-to-one ESL lesson at EC The idea behind EC’s individual English lessons is simple. These “one-to-one”s provide students with the opportunity to learn English and take part in developing personal lesson plans alongside their teachers. Individual English courses benefit every ESL learner no matter their English level. One-to-ones are the most flexible and personal courses available at EC San Diego. Why? Because one-to-ones can accommodate your schedule and they are tailored to your personal ESL goals. Know English vocabulary but don’t understand the difficult (and often confusing) aspects of English sentence structures? Spend a one-to-one lesson on English grammar and syntax! Because of the personalized nature of EC San Diego’s individualized English courses, you the student can choose which subjects you want covered!! EC students (brother and sister) Yves and Christina take one-to-one lessons together in order to practice together at home!  One-to-one English lessons allow for a flexibility that is does not come with EC’s regular Core English courses. You can go off topic during lessons, change what subjects are covered according to their needs, and also schedule one-to-ones to compliment their availability. A popular option at EC San Diego is enrollment in a General English group course along with one-to-one lessons. This method of ESL learning allows you to develop English in both interactive and personalized settings. Individual English courses at EC San Diego are available in 2, 5, or 10-lesson packages per week. These one-to-ones are perfect for ESL students like you who want to greatly improve their English over a short period of time. Learn English in the ways that you want to learn English – at EC San Diego!  

English Proverbs 101: Witty & Wise Sayings

“A proverb is the wit of one, and the wisdom of many.” – Lord John Russell (British politician). Proverbs in English, or in any language, are short sayings that express popular beliefs that are based on common sense or the practical experience of humankind. ECSD teachers mix things up by teaching students the meanings behind things like proverbs – that way, students get to know American culture along with the language. Proverbs are often metaphorical (i.e., they use words/phrases that places ideas alongside others, suggesting a likeness) and thus have remained common & constant parts of our societies. ECSD wants our ESL students to immerse themselves in the life around them – and what better way than to know these proverbs? Here are some well-known & well-used American proverbs (that you have probably heard, too!): “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” When someone has done something bad to you, trying to get revenge will only make things worse. “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Trying to convince people with ideas and words is more effective than trying to force people to do what you want. “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” Act the way that the people around you are acting (in cultural circumstances). This phrase might come in handy when you’re traveling abroad – often people will do things differently than you’re used to. **EC San Diego favorite –  the perfect proverb for ESL students who study English abroad! “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Strong people don’t give up when they come across difficulty. They just work harder!! “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Pictures have that strange ability to create within us strong emotions. They can also carry messages that written explanations may not be able to describe.  

English Pronunciation Tips & Tricks!

  Learning a new language is learning a new way to communicate with those around you. At ECSD, students are given an academic foundation for communicating successfully in English – by speaking it!! So how do you actually say all these new English words and phrases? Here are a few tips & tricks for ESL students: 1. Slow it down!! Students that try to hurry through their words lose the basic essence of what it is they are trying to say. We want our students to pace themselves according to their level and their ability to form new sounds articulately. If you speed through English words, try to listen as you do so: you will realize that you can’t even understand yourself! Slowing down also means taking pronunciation step-by-step: try single sounds, then words, & then finally a string of words together, or “phrase”. 2. It’s All in the Lips! Pronouncing English words means teaching your mouth new ways to move while using different muscles. Each day brings new challenges for every ESL student. Having trouble with [p]?  To make the [p] sound, have your two lips touching and blow out some air. As strange as this may be, try then practicing those [p]s with words that are familiar to you, such as Put, Play, Pie, or Pray.  3. Put On Some American Pop Songs!! Love listening to Gaga, Britney, or JT? Get going with your English pronunciation practice by turning up the tunes and singing along with American pop stars. Singing can be calming and fun – & the music helps to remember the sounds of the words (lyrics). 4. Get A Practice Pal. Feedback is key for students who want to know how they sound. So find a friend who can give good feedback about your English pronunciation skills. And your … Read more

What Are YOU Going To Be For Halloween, ECSD?

EC San Diego prides itself on having the best events for Halloween – who doesn’t love dressing in costumes & eating tons of candy? What’s more, ECSD’s yearly Halloween bash will be Thursday, October 31st, at La Jolla Cove! It wouldn’t be a real Halloween party without the costume contest.  So ECSD – what are you going to be for Halloween? Don’t know yet? That’s okay – here are a few places to check out in San Diego that sell the best-of-the-best costumes around! Buffalo Breath Costumes (2050 Hancock Street San Diego, CA 92110): A huge warehouse filled with every costume imaginable, along with wigs & other accessories that will make your Halloween costume stand out among the rest. *Costumes are also available for rental.* Spirit Halloween Stores (multiple San Diego locations): These stores are meant for Halloween-time fun – they sell costumes, decorations, & accessories for anyone who wants to do Halloween right! Buffalo Exchange (1079 Garnet Ave. San Diego CA, 92109): Buffalo Exchange is a used clothes store during the rest of the year, but during Halloween they really amp it up! Find used and vintage costumes that no one else will have (they sell new as well). Pink Zone (7880 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037 ): Only 400 feet from ECSD, Pink Zone offers inexpensive clothes and, during October, Halloween costumes. Go shopping for jeans, t-shirts, and a pirate outfit!     ECSD students will get the full experience over the next few weeks this October – so be prepared with these helpful costume hints! And something to keep in mind: the costume contest has six categories. They are, “Funniest Costume”, “Scariest Costume”, “Most Original Costume”, “Best Group Costume”, “Prettiest Costume”, & “Most Handsome Costume” !! It’s going to be a very happy Halloween, ECSD!

Why ESL Students Need to Read…And Then Read Some More!

This is Daniel, EC San Diego’s AY (Academic Year) Coordinator and wordsmith-in-residence. Daniel also runs ECSD’s Library, located in Room 7 (2nd floor), where students can take out books &  audio recordings to improve their English –  or just for fun! Reading is an important aspect of English language learning (as it is with learning any language) so we encourage all of our students at ECSD to come peruse the library shelves &  try out a book or two. Reading is a fundamental part of language & communication, so utilizing this invaluable resource can help students to efficiently and effectively improve their English language skills! Here, Daniel explains why he loves reading, and why ESL students should, too! Reading is invaluable. I mean, wherever you look you are always “reading” something, right? When you take the bus or subway, you are reading the names of the stops, the ads that are all around you, or even the newspaper of the person sitting next to you! It impossible not to read – so why not improve this vital skill?  I cannot stress enough how much reading can open your mind and expand your knowledge. It will give you a larger global perspective and will help you with all of your future goals -especially in the international world we live in today! Our books are all in English, of course, but some of them are by internationally renowned authors. Grab a Jane Austen novel or a novel by Gael Garcia Marquez! For students at lower reading levels, we have the Penguin level readers, which are focused on improving lower level students’ English skills. So yes, I must shout from the rooftops [of ECSD]: “Come to the library in Room 7! Literature awaits!”

A Rave Review of EC San Diego from Student Nadia!

Student Nadia W. gives ECSD five stars & this amazing testimonial about her experience learning English this summer! Thanks for the great feedback, Nadia. We do love what we do ♥! “I came to EC San Diego from Switzerland, the French part. I had previously gone to London EC, and for summer I thought I would go to San Diego!  I found EC Centers through my agency, ESL Séjours – they recommended it to me when I was looking for English schools abroad. I am currently enrolled in the General English program, and am at the Upper Intermediate level. My English has improved a lot during my time here, especially my speaking! I think it is because I come to school every day and have to speak English with my classmates, who come from everywhere all over the world. English is the one language we can all use to talk to each other, so I’m practicing a lot. The best part about learning English at ECSD is the friendly environment of the school and teachers. My teachers are so helpful, and I have never felt overwhelmed or intimidated by the learning here. The environment at ECSD is so welcoming! “[Outside of school] surfing is one of the most exciting things I did while studying at EC San Diego, and it was great! I mean, there is no ocean or “surf” in Switzerland, just a lake. I took surfing lessons three times, every time through the school. Also, the [San Diego] Zoo was really fun! Teacher Nick was there, and he knew lots of things about the Zoo – I think he’s been there a lot. “My advice for new students at ECSD? I would say to do the school activities to meet other people in a fun way. Also, talk to your ESL … Read more

Stock Your ESL Survival Kit With ECSD-Approved Vocabulary!

Studying English at ECSD also means living and participating in the everyday routines around San Diego. To understand and navigate the wonderful world of Southern California, it is necessary for international students and travelers to know some key English words and phrases. The following is a short-and-sweet lesson in English vocabulary as compiled by ECSD staff and teachers, thematically categorized for quick & effective English learning! Food: Restaurants, Grocery Stores, & More! “Grocery store” (n., common): also called a “supermarket”;  a very large store containing daily necessities from shampoo to household items to fresh produce & frozen food – many grocery stores also have a pharmacy (*Important Note: In the U.S., common grocery stores are referred to by their name alone. In San Diego, these are “Vons”, “Ralphs”,  & “Albertson’s”.) “Shopping cart” (n., common usage: “cart”): a pushcart on wheels (see also, “shopping basket” [n., common]: a smaller plastic container with handles, used for less items) “Checkout” (n., common): the multiple lanes at the front of the store where a cashier will price and bag items “Aisle” (n., common): a single row in a grocery store, usually numbered with short descriptions of items found on the shelves on either side (ex: Aisle 9 Paper towels, Disposable Plates & Utensils, Garbage Bags, Household Cleaners) “Prepared Food” (n., common): this is a section of a grocery store that contains “ready-made” meals, baked goods (breads, cakes, pastries), salad bars, and deli meats & cheeses The Weather Outside: “Overcast” (adj., common): used to describe a completely cloud-covered sky, seen most often during early morning and Winter “Santa Ana” (Proper Noun, common): “having a Santa Ana” refers to very hot, dry weather, and (less colloquial) experiencing the hot and dry Santa Ana winds that seasonally blow in Southern California, most often in Fall “Muggy” (adj., common): weather that … Read more