EC Fun Facts: Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic image of the San Francisco Bay Area and is often considered the region’s most famous landmark. Here are some fun facts we bet you didn’t know! 1. The Golden Gate Bridge has a length of 4,200 feet. 2. The bridge is capable of withstanding earthquakes of 8 points on the richter scale. 3. The bridge cost an approximate total of $27 million! 4. The west coast monument has featured in several Hollywood blockbusters, including Mega Shark and Giant Octopus, Vertigo, Hulk, X-Men: The Last Stand, Superman: The Movie and James Bond: A View to Kill . 5. The starting toll price to cross the bridge was just $0.50c. Today, the fee is $6.00! 6. Many people choose to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. However, walking is also a popular choice with pedestrians able to walk on the east side of the bridge. 7. The Golden Gate Bridge has a great working record and since the 1930s, has only been closed a few times as a result of poor weather conditions. Reference:

EC Accommodation: Homestay or Residence?

Studying English abroad can be one of the most invigorating experiences in your life. What’s not to enjoy? You learn, socialize and become familiarized with a range of colorful cultures from all over the world. However, we’ve left out out something essential here. You guessed it… accommodation! Rarely, before studying abroad do students assume that their choice of accommodation will have a significant impact on their language travel experience. Whilst most students might be happy to settle for ‘whatever’, or rather, choose something basic and affordable, understanding the benefits of different types of accommodation requires students to think carefully about what they want to get out of their English studies, as well as their personality. Today we’ll consider two popular options for students looking to incorporate travel with educational goals: Homestays vs. Student Residences. In recent years, the popularity of staying in a student residence has increased. What’s the big deal? Well, there are several reasons. Firstly, residences are sociable. Very sociable. You’ll have the opportunity meet individuals similar to yourself and share different cultural traditions. In fact, introducing and educating other students about your home country can be quite rewarding indeed! Similarly, residences are a popular choice because students often gain more independence than they might at a homestay. If you’re on the younger side, this can be a great advantage and allow you to be in control of how you spend your time abroad outside of class. After all, you’re not learning abroad to experience the life you had back home! However, beyond such freedom and the large formation of new friendship groups, residences might not be the best option if you’re a serious learner. Yes, making new friends is an important part of learning a language. However, you will be surprised by some of the interesting people … Read more

Why is it so cold here? Its summer!

San Francisco summers don’t have too much in common with summers in other places. You will see billowing white fog, the majestic product of sea spray, wind and Central Valley heat, San Francisco summers are characteristically overcast and cool, while the marine layer usually burns off by the afternoon.  Another unusual feature of our weather are our micro-climates.   San Francisco is a city with microclimates and submicroclimates. Due to the city’s varied topography and influence from the prevailing summer marine layer, weather conditions can vary by as much as 9°F (5°C) from block to block, sunny in one neighborhood and overcast in another. Our region is known as the San Francisco Bay Area and  can have a wide range of extremes in temperature. In the basins and valleys adjoining the coast, climate is subject to wide variations within short distances as a result of the influence of topography on the circulation of marine air. The San Francisco Bay Area offers many varieties of climate within a few miles. In the Bay Area, for example, the average maximum temperature in July is about 64 °F (18 °C) at Half Moon Bay on the coast, 87 °F (31 °C) at Walnut Creek only 25 miles (40 km) inland, and 95 °F (35 °C) at Tracy just 50 miles (80 km) inland. So, if you are a little cold today, you can get on BART after class and go to Walnut Creek for some much warmer weather in only 35 minutes!

Answer Sheet: Cambridge ESOL Tricks and Tips! (Key Word Transformation)

As promised, here are the answers to the Cambridge FCE questions provided just a few weeks ago! Remember, a perfect sentence on the exam would give you 2 points. Example Sentence: In many countries you may leave school at the age of sixteen. Key word: ALLOWED Correct answer: In many countries, you are allowed to leave school when you are sixteen. Example Sentence: I am similar in appearance to my father Key word: LOOK Correct answer: I look like my father. Example Sentence: Don’t worry about the weather tomorrow. Key word: POINT Correct answer: There is no point worrying about the weather tomorrow. Example Sentence:Travelers in Thailand come from several countries. Key word: OVER Correct answers: Travelers in Thailand come from all over the world.

San Francisco Pride 2012

The San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration, usually known as San Francisco Pride, is a parade and festival held at the end of June each year in San Francisco to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their allies. The Mission of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee is to educate the world, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture, and liberate our people. The 40th anniversary parade in 2011 included over 200 parade contingents, and is described on the official website as “the largest gathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation.” 2012 Event Theme: Global Equality The event theme for the 42nd annual San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade was selected by Pride’s Membership at our Annual General Meeting on September 10, 2011. SF Pride Celebration Saturday, June 23, 2012 Noon to 6:00 p.m. in SF’s Civic Center Sunday, June 24, 2012 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in SF’s Civic Center San Francisco Pride has been said to be “one of the last remaining pride events that can truly be called a rite of passage.” The SF Pride Celebration will be held over the weekend of June 23 and 24, 2012, in downtown San Francisco in Civic Center at the foot of San Francisco’s historic City Hall where Harvey Milk once stood and addressed Pride-goers more tha thirty years ago. With over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and more than 20 stages and venues, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest LGBT gathering in the nation. The Celebration at Civic Center is host to our Main Stage which has been host to incredible acts like Lady Gaga, the Backstreet Boys, Asian pop sensation BoA, Solange Knowles, the Cliks, Margaret Cho, Kat DeLuna, Inaya Day, Crystal … Read more

SF Weekly’s Summer Guide 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 – 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Cost: $10.18 (including service fee $3.18) La Mar Cebicheria | Pier 1.5 Embarcadero, San Francisco CA 94111 SF Weekly release the special issue which is named Summer Guide every year. This guide will let you know places and upcoming events which highly recommended in all summer: dining under the stars, dancing the night away, bars, shopping, music, art and events. To celebrate this special issue and the arrival of summer, SF Weekly hosts an annual event which is called Summer Guide Party on June 20 at Pier 1.5 Embarcadero. You can enjoy the party from 6 to 9 pm with complimentary appetizers, refreshing drinks and entertainment. Tickets are available on for only the people who 21 years old and over. It costs $10.18 (including service fee $3.18) with discount code FuncheapSF or $15 at the door. By Iuha Park (EC Student Ambassador)

Cambridge ESOL Tricks and Tips! (Key Word Transformation)

One of the most challenging sections for students at EC San Francisco English school when taking a Cambridge ESOL examination is the Use of English ‘Key Word Transformation’. This section of the exam requires a student to understand a number of different relationships simultaneously occurring within the English language. Candidates are provided with an example sentence and a ‘key word’. Using this ‘key word’, the student is expected to re-write the original sentence whilst keeping it’s context and meaning the same. One point may be awarded for a semi-correct answer that appropriately uses the key word, while two points is awarded for a perfect sentence. There are a number of procedures, tips and techniques to get better at this type of exam task. However, the most effective advice I can give is to practice, practice and… yes, practice! Below is a list of some of the fundamental (that means basic!) language mechanisms Cambridge ESOL expects its candidates to be familiar with: – Collocations in the formation of two part phrasal verbs (break up/fill out/take off) – Changing present tenses from an infinitive to a gerund (William likes to eat chocolate vs. William likes eating chocolate) – Personal pronoun inversion (I shouldn’t eat pizza vs Eating pizza isn’t good for my health – Fixed expressions synonymous with words in the original sentence (I hate it when dogs bark vs. I can’t stand it when dogs bark) – Shifting a tense or word category found in the original sentence to a different tense whilst keeping the same meaning in the second sentence (I enjoyed playing soccer with my friends vs. I played soccer with my friends and it was enjoyable) Looking at the list above might seem scary, but that is normal! Improving your score on key word transformation takes time and … Read more