Teacher Gifford on San Francisco History

  Everyone knows that Teacher Gifford is Mr. San Francisco.  He knows about everything ranging from the best hike trails to Student Housing in San Francisco.  Just ask him anything about this amazing city and he will give you a great answer!     San Francisco is a city that is constantly redefining itself, which has been a continuous theme since the city’s birth. So being aware of the city then and now becomes crucial for even the most basic understanding of what the city of San Francisco is– and how it has gotten here. In 1846 it was still called Yerba Buena, its name from the Spanish period, when the population doubled with the arrival of a boatload of 240 settlers. It was still a village of 469 inhabitants in 1847 when the American alcalde (mayor) Lt. Barlett changed the name to San Francisco, making the name consistent with the Mission and Presidio named in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi by the first Spanish to arrive in 1776. The discovery of gold on January 24, 1848 at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma transformed everything (Coloma is 130 miles/200 km from San Francisco). The village of San Francisco transformed into an “instant city” as 49ers chased the Gold Rush, using its deep-water port as the main entry point to the gold country. By January 1869 the population reached 35,000 and continued to climb, as San Francisco became the not only the sole major city on the U.S. west coast, but grew into one of the richest cities in the world. But true to its tradition of transforming and reinventing itself, it also burned down to the ground six times in the first eighteen months after the discovery of gold. San Francisco has gone through several cycles of devastation and rebirth. … Read more

English language school SF

Saleh’s Trip to Tahoe with Host Family

I’m going to talk about my trip in Lake Tahoe, it was an awesome trip with my homestay. It was in Jan 26th. we were 5 people, me, and the father of the family, and his wife, and the two of the children. We went Saturday morning at 5:00 a.m., we ate a breakfast in the way, and we arrived there at 8:00 in the morning. We went to sky boarding from 10:00a.m. until 3:00 p.m., after that we went to Reno Nevada, it take an hour a half. They rent from me a room with the children, and one of them, and there is a big buffet, and the dinner was delicious. After that we went to sleep because we were so tired. Th next day, we ate the breakfast in famous restaurant, after that we returned to SF. Saleh studies General English at EC San Francisco English language school sf. Be sure to have fun and do a Homestay San Francisco.

EC San Francisco English Students Making A Difference As Global Citizens

Hi students and readers, It’s been another great week at EC San Francisco and we had to say goodbye to many awesome students. There were also a number of great activities, one of which was the EC San Francisco Global Citizen Program’s inaugural visit to the Sequoias San Francisco, a local retirement community located near Japantown. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Global Citizen, it is EC’s community service elective class that offers students the chance to interact with Americans in an engaging setting outside the EC San Francisco campus. It’s a project based class that offers students a chance to give back to our community and talk to English speakers in ways that aren’t really possible in our other elective classes. Our most recent visit to Sequoias saw the students teach the residents key words and phrases in their native languages of Spanish, Korean, and Japanese. They also discussed their life experiences and, as a teacher, I must say it was immeasurably rewarding to see both the students and residents laugh and share personal stories. While many of our students visit San Francisco’s trendy locales that are frequented by twenty-somethings, they don’t often get a chance to spend time with seniors. This program gives them the chance to do just that and learn from individuals who have a wealth of knowledge to share. For any students interested in joining Global Citizen, I strongly encourage you to do so. You’ll put your new found language skills to good use and make memories that’ll stick with you for many years to come. Teacher Tim  

Winter Adventures in Lake Tahoe While Learning English at EC San Francisco

Lake Tahoe  By Student Ambassador Bastien B. The last time I wrote a blog was about my trip with fifteen friends in the Yosemite Park. Today, I am back with a new story in a new place: Lake Tahoe. The largest freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevadas of the United States, it is located along the border between California and Nevada. Ski resorts, frozen beaches, wonderful bays, clear water, I can tell you many reasons to go there. Again, it was a cosmopolitan weekend: fifteen people, five different nationalities, three cars and one crazy American house. We were in Tahoe City, on the Northwest of the lake. From San Francisco, it took nearly three hours and twenty minutes to drive there. I’m going to explain to you how we had planned our weekend. On Friday after school, we left directly from the city. At this time of the year (17th of January) the darkness came early, so we arrived at our final destination during the night. We took a rest and mainly enjoyed the Jacuzzi on the roof. Warm water at two in the morning, an almost full moon and somewhere in the forest, it was almost idyllic. On Sunday, our plan was to ski and see this thing white and which could eat, the snow. Effectively, we were with some people who had never seen it. Try to imagine the stars in their eyes when they saw it for the first time. From the beginners to the almost professional skiers, everyone fell down at least one time. And of course, I was here with my GoPro (camera) to record all of that. The weather was perfect, wonderful blue skies and it wasn’t cold. So we could have skied or snowboarded, for the most courageous of us, without gloves or … Read more

EC English Students Invaded Yosemite National Park!

Hi ECSF students and readers, I’m a new writer. My name is Bastien, from France and I’m 21 years old. I’m a new Student Ambassador and consequently you will see me during many weeks in the editorial line of this blog. Today, I want to share with you my trip to Yosemite National Park with fourteen other EC students. At EC San San Francisco you meet awesome people and so, when you decide to organize a weekend with these people, you know that you will enjoy your time a lot! We rented a huge house about an hour away from the Park. We had a lounge room with a billiard, a Jacuzzi in the bathroom; an enormous table for eating the brunches of our chief cooks… All the things you need to spend a good time with your friends and just enjoy the weekend! When we arrived to Yosemite, we smelt the pure air of the mountains and forests. Imagine the colors of the fall, a blue and sunny sky, a big hot jacket and the deer who passed close to you. The landscapes are wonderful and all amateur photographers could find their pleasures and take beautiful photos. Just look at mine! Since we visited Yosemite in the Fall, the sunset came quickly and early, so be careful about your arrival time. If you meet a bear during the night, you might not be happy! Of course, I am only kidding .J On the way back, we decided to pass a few hours at the “New Melones Lake”. With nobody around us, we were alone in this world. We took a rest and enjoyed these moments together. On the highway, we were lucky to see an awesome red sunset. We stopped the cars to take pictures. It was the highlight … Read more

English + Wine, Yes! Learn English and Learn about Wine

One of the things that makes EC San Francisco a top English language school in San Francisco is the English + Wine program.  A recent student from Japan, Ken Tatsumi, enrolled in the program.  Here is what he wrote about the English + Wine course. “I have a reason why I chose this school.  Because this school has a wine class which was organized for me.  There are tasting classes, wine and cheese matching class and windey tours.  I could enjoy especially the winery tours.  Not only drinks, but studying about tasting, and history of wine making in California.  It was my precious experience in San Francisco.” Several other students joined in the winery tour to Sonoma where we visited 2 wineries, Two Amigos and Buena Vista.  

Writing Class Blog Posts for November!

This week the writing class had the option of choosing one of three topics for their blog posts. With the three day weekend coming up, there is a lot of opportunity to explore. Here were their options: 1) What to do with a three day weekend in the SF Bay Area 2) Cool things to see outside of San Francisco (and how to get there!) 3) The most interesting thing you have seen in SF that is not something that is easy to find, or very common for tourists to see.   Read on to see what you can learn from our students about the best way to spend your free time in the lovely Bay Area!   1) Gabriela San Francisco is a city where people are not able to be boring, and in a three day weekend you can have so much fun.  I have chosen three things to do in my last weekend in this amazing city. –          First day – Sandcastle contest on Ocean Beach: Northern California’s largest sandcastle building event , is a spirited competition between teams of architects, engineers, contractors, designers and local elementary school students. It’s a different activity to do in SFO Bay area , people can go there, see how they build the sand castles,  having a relax time at beach and at the end of the day just watching the beautiful sunset.   –          Second Day- Napa Valley: One of the most important things that you have to do when you visit San Francisco is going to Napa Valley to visit the most important vineyards of California and to taste some of the most delicious wines in the world, enjoying breathtaking and romantic views. If you want to go there by the most american way you can rent a Mustang, … Read more

Off the Beaten Track: Yosemite in the Autumn

It sounds odd to talk about Yosemite as “off the beaten track,” since this world-class park is a destination for hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world.  But most people thinking of Yosemite think of thundering waterfalls along with towering cliffs, and in the fall, although the cliffs still loom, the water is largely silent.  The long dry summer takes its toll on the rivers and streams, and in a dry year (such as this one), smaller creeks like Bridalveil may be dry, or nearly so.  And so, many people choose not to visit at this time of year. And that is part of the charm.  The Valley is winding down, cooling off, and preparing for winter.  You may see more bears and coyote in the valley, looking for food among the red and gold fallen leaves, or the golden grasses and ferns.  The shadowy edges of the Valley may be chilly all day, as cold seems to radiate from the cliffs, while the central areas will still be warm.  In the morning, you may see ice on the edge of the river. This is the best time to have the Valley as much to yourself as is ever possible.  It’s a great time to hike the “Mist Trail” beside the largest (although not tallest) waterfall in Yosemite, Vernal Falls.  In the Spring, it may be too wet, and the trail is sometimes closed because of the risk to hikers, but at this time of year, you can climb near the waterfall, and not feel like you are in a massive cold shower. Late October through mid-November is a great time to visit this park, one of California’s great natural wonders.  You can reach the park easily by car (or Amtrak) from EC San Francisco in around … Read more

Off the Beaten Track: a Spa in the Wine Country

October and November are prime times to visit the Napa Valley, both for wine tasting, and for the spectacular fall color.  At this time of year, the poplars shine with bright yellows, the oaks are a dusky gold, and the grape leaves are every shade from orange to scarlet to a red so deep it seems almost black. However, as popular as the Napa Valley is, few tourists go as far up the valley as the gem of the region, the charming resort town of Calistoga.  As does nearby St. Helena, Calistoga sports a compact downtown, with a variety of enchanting shops, bakeries, and restaurants.  But, unknown to many, Calistoga also is a hot springs resort, with around half a dozen spas offering a variety of services from simple hot pools to full spa treatments with mud baths and herbal rubs.  Some of the facilities are day only, while others have full motel services, with the soaking and swimming pools as part of the package.  As the nights (and soon, the days) become cooler, breaking up a day of auto touring and winery visiting with a soak in rejuvenating hot mineral water becomes an ever more attractive idea.  (Even in winter, with the leaves long gone, sitting in hot water while looking at the nearby snowcapped hills has a charm all its own.) Calistoga is pretty hard to reach on public transportation, but it is an easy ride by car from San Francisco.  Many students at EC San Francisco visit the Napa Valley, either by rental car or tour, but if you choose to go, don’t forget Calistoga.  You won’t be sorry.  

EC San Francisco English School Students Visit Stanford Medical Center – a Unique Opportunity!

EC English students were led by Brazilian doctor Edinaldo Torres, MD – Vascular Surgeon (second from left).  They visited Stanford Hospital & Clinics in the city of Palo Alto on October 4, 2013. The delegation was composed of physicians, nurses, nutritionists, human resources, journalist, and others, totaling 13 visitors, all  students at EC San Francisco, a San Francisco English School! The students were guided by Sheila Tost (Medical Services International Business Development Manager) and Robert Isom, MD (Clinical Service Chief, Division nephology & Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine) who presented the infrastructure for atendance, study, research, humanization of the hospital and future challenges, such as building a new hospital that is already underway. Dr. Isom answered specific questions for doctors and nurses detailing the great advances in health developed at Stanford University. All the students were fascinated with the humanization of the hospital and the great challenges for the future.