Congratulations to Team Peanut Butter Jelly Belly!

September was Wellness Month at EC Schools, and so  teachers, staff members, and students from the EC language schools around the world participated in the Taking Steps Towards Wellness Step Challenge to promote good health and the benefits of exercise. EC San Francisco had five teams of four people each who participated, and each week one person from each team wore a pedometer to measure how many steps they took throughout the week. The Peanut Butter Jelly Belly Team (named after the famous YouTube video), which included Heather (teacher), Florent (Residence Coordinator), and students Boon and Ark was the team with the most steps, with over 360,000 steps total. EC SF student Maria Victoria of the Earthquakes team was the individual with the most steps, with a total of 115,669 steps taken during the week! At the end of the contest, all participants received $5 coffee gift cards for a job well done. As well as the friendly competition at school, there was also a contest between all of the EC schools in three categories. A team from EC Vancouver won for the highest group total, Victoria from EC Central was the individual with the most steps taken, and our own Team Peanut Butter Jelly Belly won the most fun category, for the best and most creative photo, for the photo seen above. Here was the “official” announcement: The Taking Steps Challenge is just one of many interesting and enjoyable activities that can be experienced at EC language schools. Studying English shouldn’t just be educational, but a lot of fun!

Meet the EC SF Staff: Florent, our Residence Coordinator

Meet Florent, the Residence and Student Services Coordinator here at EC San Francisco! Florent joined the EC SF team in April, and is in charge of coordinating student stays at the Monastery Student Residence and several other student residence facilities around San Francisco. Florent brings to his position a passion for creating learning and cultural experiences for students, as he believes that attending EC SF should be more than just taking English courses in the USA, but a potentially transformative life experience as well. As someone who has studied and worked in different places all over the world, he is particularly invested in EC’s commitment to helping students succeed in a global community. One way he has done this is by leading the group for EC SF Working Professionals, a place for adult students to connect and support their learning of English for professional use. Here are a few questions we asked Florent to get to know a little bit more about him and his position at EC SF. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. I was born and raised in Aix en Provence in the South of France. I moved then to Toulouse, in the South West, to pursue a Master degree in Management. From the first year on, I got involved in a newly created student organization dedicated to welcoming international students to our school, similar to the Ambassador Program we have here at EC. This was an amazing experience, both personally and professionally. During the program, I got the chance to be an international student myself during a semester abroad in Victoria, BC, Canada. I also interned in Oxford in the UK, Valparaiso in Chile and now in San Francisco. Students can certainly ask me about culture shock, because I experienced it many times too! I learned a lot about myself through all of these experiences, although it … Read more

EC SF Celebrates the Best Teachers an English Language Center Can Have!

Today EC San Francisco celebrated World Teacher’s Day, which is held every year to recognize and appreciate teachers and educators–and since EC San Francisco has some of the best teachers that an English language center could have, we definitely had a reason to celebrate! Here’s what Elisa, EC SF’s Academic Director, had to say about the day’s activities: We took the opportunity to use this day to show our teachers our gratitude, thanks and appreciation for all that theydo.  EC teachers work tirelessly to provide our students with interactive language instruction and to make sure students are on track to success! Celebrations included having students lead classes to give teachers some R&R, a Burrito Bar lunch, and gift cards given to each and every one of our teachers.  We love YOU EC San Francisco Teachers! One of the many ways students were given the opportunity to express their appreciation to their teachers was to write a note on a large piece of paper provided by the school. Here’s a glimpse into what students had to say:   Student Wael takes over teacher Heather’s class for a bit: Thank you again to all EC San Francisco teachers–keep doing the amazing work that you do every single day!

Bruno’s Testimonial: “The students are great, the location is perfect”

Bruno from Brazil was only here for a short period of time, taking two weeks of English courses in the program English for Work in San Francisco. He attended school during his vacation time, and is returning to his job back home in Brazil. As such, the English for Work program was ideal for a student like Bruno, as it is specifically designed to help students develop fluency and communication skills that help in the English-speaking business world. Before he left, however, we asked Bruno a few questions about his experience, and here is what he had to say: Why did you choose to study at EC San Francisco? First of all because of the city: I didn’t have much time and I wanted a city with many tourist points. What was your favorite thing about EC San Francisco? Everything was good. The students are great, the location is perfect, and of course all of the staff of the school are great. What is your favorite memory of San Francisco? All of my two weeks were great! What advice would you give to a new student learning English at EC SF? Don’t lose time! Enjoy everything you can! Thank you so much, Bruno! And best of luck to you as your return home and put all of your new skills and abilities to work in the business world–we know you have a bright future ahead of you!  

Meet the EC SF Staff: Ashley, our Student Services Manager

This week EC San Francisco welcomed back Student Services Manager Ashley, who has been on maternity leave since April. Ashley’s job is to oversee the Accommodations and Student Services functions of the school, looking for ways to constantly improve the experiences for EC SF students. She has many years of experience in international and English language education, and we are very excited to have her back! Ashley, tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m happy to be back at EC SF after having been away for six months on maternity leave. In May, my husband and I were blessed with a beautiful and healthy baby girl. She is full of smiles and bring so much joy to our family. I’m native to California but have spent many years living on the East Coast and abroad. I love talking to students about the United States. I am a firm believer that travel is equally as important to your education as being in a classroom. Travel and education are my passions. Before completing my Masters in International Education, I taught and/or traveled to 17 countries. Some of the most memorable were England, Belize and Malawi. How long have you been working at EC? Four years. What is the best thing about your position at EC? The best part of my position at EC SF are all the amazingly diverse, well-traveled and interesting  people I get to share my days with. From the staff to the students, I am perpetually broadening my understanding and appreciation for the world. What is your favorite/most memorable experience abroad? My favorite experience abroad was the summer I spent three weeks island hopping through Greece. Rarely did I sleep in a bed. Most of the time I slept on beaches, boats and tree houses. … Find out more about the EC SF, an English language school in … Read more

Meet the EC SF Staff: Marin, our Academic Year (AY) Coordinator

Meet Marin, the new English Language Academic Year (AY) Coordinator here at EC SF, an English language center in San Francisco! For those who don’t know, the English Language Academic Year program is for students who study at EC for 24 weeks (approximately six months) or longer, which gives students the opportunity to really focus on learning English in a comprehensive manner. Academic Year is highly encouraged for students with an academic focus, whether planning to take the TOEFL or Cambridge tests, wanting to get ready to attend an American university, or need to be fluent in English for their job or career. Academic Year students receive extra support in their learning, including the opportunity to attend lectures, meet with a tutor, and receive a certificate at the end of their program. As well as taking on some teaching duties, Marin’s job is to make sure all of this runs smoothly! … Here are a few questions we asked Marin to help us get to know her and learn a little bit about what she likes about her job. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. I’ve been working in EFL (English as a Foreign Language) since 2004, first in Russia, then the USA. The Bay Area is my home, and I’m happy to be back! My favorite things to teach in an English course are conditionals, idioms, and pronunciation. How long have you been working at EC SF? Just over two months. I started in the middle of July 2014. What is the best thing about your position? I like being able to talk to the students one-on-one and see how much better their English gets during their stay here. What is your favorite or most memorable experience abroad? In 2007, I spent the summer travelling across Siberia. It was a great trip in general, but I … Read more

Meet the EC SF Staff: Elisa, our new Academic Director

Meet Elisa, our new Academic Director here at EC San Francisco, and the newest member of the EC SF team! She has previously worked at EC Miami, and brings both extensive experience in ESL education to her position and the benefit taking English courses in America can have for students. Elisa, please tell us a little bit about yourself. I have taught English for about 10 years, in Chile, New York City and Miami and became a certified CELTA teacher in 2005 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I have been an Academic Director for four years now and just moved to San Francisco from Miami, Florida! I love that ESL brings people from all over the world together under the same common goal and I love being a part of that process. As a native of Los Angeles and having moved around plenty since then, I am thrilled by the English teaching/learning opportunities that San Francisco has to offer. I enjoy the international flare that big cities offer and especially enjoy the experience of introducing the highlights of these cities with newcomers. My goal is for students to feel welcomed and guided and hope that as they participate in the fun and craziness that San Francisco offers, they pick up a little English too! How long have you been working at EC? I was the Academic Director at EC Miami for 2.5 years. What is the best thing about your position at EC?  I get to work all kinds of people (teachers and students alike!) who have pretty cool and interesting backgrounds. What is your favorite/most memorable experience abroad?  Trekking in Patagonia in South America– you’re at the bottom of the world, very far removed from everything and the landscape there is unreal. What is your favorite thing about San Francisco?  I don’t know … Read more

The San Francisco Insider – Drew’s Tips: Friday nights at the De Young

Ready for a break after your week of studying hard for your English courses? The San Francisco Insider is a regular contribution from EC San Francisco teacher Drew Rogers, who knows how to make the most of anybody’s stay in the San Francisco Bay Area! … We are lucky to have so many cultural freebies in this city, and  the first event I’ll bring up is a grand tradition called Friday nights at the De Young (museum). Depending on the month or even week, musical acts change depending on the cultural event. For instance, generally, near Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican band will perform; or if it’s a Spanish theme, well, guess who shows up on stage? It goes from 5:30–8:30pm  every Friday, all ages welcome; cash bar, cafe/restaurant, free live music, arts and crafts–and see the museum  for free as well! So how else do you explore your journey in this robust town? Well, the first thing to do is check out my favorite budget-friendly center where you only need fast fingers to win prizes (I have) while perusing the various events both in SF as well as in the Bay area. Yes, http://sf.funcheap.com was started by a  student  who moved here with little money to waste, and his friend got tired of lending him money; so he did what every smart  student might do: he went to every event that was free– or almost free– and now he’s parlayed that into his own website that lists daily activities for the week with live links/info (and he’s now a VIP everywhere making good $$)! On this site you’ll find everything from a world famous DJ playing late nights for only $5 (last weekend, Mark Farina) to only paying $8 for ice skate rentals with  2 hour skate at Yerba Buena ice rink behind the Metreon. Btw, that special is every Wednesday night starting at … Read more

Dong Ho Na, English language student from Korea Recommends EC

Dong Ho Na leaves EC San Francisco today for EC Los Angeles.  We will miss him!  Here are some of his comments about his experience! ” Actually I had studied and two different schools. Finally , I found EC. It was the most interesting, challenging, great experience since I’ve arrived in the U.S.A. Though they work a little bit slower than NY, they were really nice and kind. If someone wants to study in America, I will definitely recommend EC school.  It was really a good experience and I realize that I made a right choice. Thank you”

English Language School in San Francisco visits Dolby Labs

On March 29, 2013 EC Pre-Intermediate and Business Lab students at EC San Francisco, an English Language School in San Francisco, took a field trip to Dolby Labs. The trip was prompted by Matthias, a Business Lab student from Switzerland, whose class project is doing a financial analysis of Dolby Labs. Their teacher, Cyndi Cadua, contacted Dolby by email and was informed they do not give public tours but would make an exception in this case. Roberto Landazuri, Dolby’s Corporate Archivist was kind enough to lead our tour.   The students learned about the building where Dolby’s worldwide headquarters is located near the Potrero Hill neighborhood. The building was built as a canvas factory in 1910, not long after the 1906 earthquake. During Dolby’s seismic retrofit in the 1980s, gravestones were discovered at the site and it is speculated that some of the building’s materials are recycled headstones. In the center of the building is small room, with two foot-thick doors on either end. Back in the early 20th century, the factory employees were paid in cash so a “vault room” was required to store all the money.