Eating Kabsa in EC San Francisco at the Beach

Nawaf and Abdullah: “School, we like it so much!”

We are 28 and 21 and we are from Saudi Arabia. We came here in SF to study Enligsh. We study English at EC, it very good. School, we like it so much. We didn’t go to all places here in SF but we visited many restaurants here and all restaurants here in SF is very good and we visited San Jose and Golden Gate. That’s it because we don’t have a lot of time. We came here to study Enligh, we like to stay in school because we have  a lot of friends there and we watched some movies in cenima. It was amazing things and we went to maria beach, we like here the people. They are very friendly and building we think SF is very good city, but we have a plan for future. Thank you. Learn English while you have fun here at San Francisco Language Center.

Learn English in San Francisco – Surviving your first several weeks Series: Communication!

In the 21st century open-mindedness is one of the most desired things by all the people all over the world and, since San Francisco is seen as the capital of the mind’s freedom, a lot of people (especially young people) dream of seeing at least once in their life this beautiful city. But since I arrived here I noticed something really strange and I had always been asking myself one question: “Can open-mindedness be a problem?” But I could not find an answer to this question mark because after it I had always to ask myself: “If something is wanted so much as open-mindedness is, how it can be a problem?” After five months spent in this city, I think I could answer this question by saying that open-mindedness could be a problem, especially if you come from a small country mainly populated by close-minded people that don’t see unusual things well and that usually don’ t like to approach strangers. “Approaching strangers”. What a beautiful, strange, fearful, normal and unusual concept. Put simply, it is just a subjective concept, but when you live in San Francisco for five months, you realize that approaching strangers is everything but subjective. In fact, while walking down the streets of the Bay Area, there has never been one time that I could have felt “non-wanted” among San Franciscans. They seem to love me; they seem to love to talk to me just to hear my accent. After five months here, I realized that San Franciscans love to talk to people, no matter who they are. Personally, I think that communication between people in this city is just wonderful, but, as I mentioned before, it could be a shock. How nice is it when you step on the BART train and you are tapped on the … Read more

Learn English in San Francisco – Surviving your First Several Weeks Series: Weather!

Arriving in San Francisco, adapting to the weather might represent a serious challenge. Whether you’re from a warm country or used to cooler climates, there really is no place like San Francisco (in every sense)! Weather in San Francisco is crazy and at first it might puzzle you, but don’t let it fool you! The City by the Bay can offer you four seasons in one day, accordingly weather conditions may change in a matter of minutes. So be prepared! The secret to San Franciscan weather is layers. If you’re wearing several, in case there is a sunny moment, you can always take something off, but as soon as it cools down again, put it back on. Also, don’t trust what you see looking out of the window in the morning. The sky may be cloudless, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a warm day. There might be a strong wind making you shiver or sudden fog chilling the temperature. Of course, the opposite might be the case as well. A cloudy, windy morning sky can quickly change to a perfect summer day, even if you’re dressed for arctic climates. Therefore, here comes some practical advice about staying warm from (a little) experienced San Franciscans: As above-mentioned, it’s all about layers! As a basic, it’s best to put on a t-shirt and a sweater, and if you like, add a cardigan. Over that, a jacket is necessary. Then it’s always a good idea to carry a scarf with you, especially during those windy times of the day. Some people might even recommend you to carry gloves and a hat. In addition to that, closed shoes are always nice, especially if you are sensitive to getting cold feet! Another thing to consider is the buildings’ inside temperature caused by … Read more

Learn English in San Francisco – Surviving your First Several Weeks Series: 4 Tips for Public Transportation!

Surviving the transportation of San Francisco can be something very difficult for a newcomer in the city. Having so many different bus lines, metro, light rail systems could turn your first week into a nightmare. But…learning how to use the public transportation in San Francisco is not that hard at all! (thanks goodness!). Here are four tips for you: First of all there are two big companies of public transportation, Muni and BART. The first one, Muni, works only in San francisco and it’s the owner of both the Muni busses and the Muni metro/light rail system, these are the ones in charge of taking you everywhere inside San Francisco. BART works all the way from Oakland to Millbrae (SFO Airport). From my POV, it only works if you’re looking forward to go to going to Oakland or if you are living in a host family (usually those are located in Balboa Park/Daly City/Pacifica/etc..). It is also helpful if you are staying in The Monastery, and could be useful since is the fastest way to get to school! (You could take a bus or a light rail but it would take much longer and you will only save around $10 per month!)                    First tip: Buy a clipper Card and load it with a Muni Fast-pass! How does it work? Easy! The clipper card is a magnetic card that you Load up with money for public transportation services, you pay a monthly fee and you get unlimited trips on the service that you paid for! The Muni Fast pass includes unlimited trips on both Muni Metro and Muni bus and Unlimited trips on the BART, BUT, BART only works between Embarcadero Bart station and Balboa Park Station, so if you are planning on going to Oakland or somewhere in … Read more

Learn English in San Francisco – Surviving your First Several Weeks Series: Food in San Francisco!

One thing you must know before coming to San Francisco is that your usual food doesn’t exist here. You have to get used to new smells, new flavors, new habits and you’ll probably sense them just by walking down any restaurant district filled with any type of international cuisine. You are going to have so many options that you will want to try them all and end up not knowing which one you want to try. The funny thing is: I am not only talking about restaurants. This is the same feeling you’re going to get when you walk into your first food store. Let’s say you want to buy just some milk and cereals. Pretty easy usually, isn’t it? Well, it is not. Once you get to the right section after some wandering around, you’ll have to decide among hundreds of brands, tastes, prices, discounts, boxes, names that you don’t know, flavors that you never heard about and so on… and finally, when you’ve picked the one that looks more familiar to you and you approach the line to pay and get out from that chaos… the milk!    Here we go again then: low fat milk, 2% fat milk, chocolate milk, coconut milk, soya milk, bio milk, rice milk etc. This happens with whatever you want to buy in any places you will go. It may sound strange but, you are going to get used to it. No worries. Let’s talk about some tips.   If you need to buy facilities, goods of every kind or cheap food the place where you want to go is Target or any kind of Mexican market in Mission district. They might look suspicious, anyway their products are totally fine and prices are really affordable. Otherwise, if you don’t care so much … Read more

Learn English in San Francisco – Surviving your First Several Weeks Series: Empire of Tolerance

If you considered your home as an open-minded spot, please forget everything you knew about the concept of open-mindedness. Here you are going to arrive in the empire of the tolerance, acceptance, broad-mindedness,… The city by the bay is more than a “pretty face,” it’s also a place where you are going to learn how to manage your reactions to people that are different from you, how to understand them and how to accept them. It will (it did at least in my case) make you think deeply about how you saw the world before coming here and how you will see it after spending a few weeks in this amazing city. My first example will be about the subject of gays in San Francisco. In many countries, you can’t really see gay couples walking down the street holding hands. You can actually rarely see them in general. Here, in San Francisco, you can see them kissing in the street, holding hands, walking arm in arm. And I promise you, it’s something beautiful to see. In contrast of what you might have thought, it makes you totally comfortable. My second example is the homelessness. Before coming here I tended to be unpleasant when homeless people were coming to talk to me because in my country (Belgium) homeless people are usually disagreeable and are just asking for money. However here it’s different, and the San Franciscans know that and they act in an awesome way. If a homeless person comes to them and asks them about money, they won’t just shake their head and walk away, some of them will stop and talk to them. So after having seen this kind of behavior for 4 months, here is my advice. If a homeless person gives you a compliment, accept it and … Read more