Browsing Category

Academic Year Abroad

Academic English Academic Year Abroad Cambridge Exams EAP IELTS Listening Practice TOEFL University Pathway

5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

July 22, 2017

Forget listening to podcasts about learning English: instead, learn about English through podcasts about interesting subjects! If you need to improve your academic English skills for the American college or university setting, spend some time listening to these fascinating podcasts about science, the humanities, culture, and technology.

5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

Astronomy Cast

5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

Travel through space all learn all about the cosmos! Where did the Earth’s water come from? Do planets have seasons? How can you make a telescope at home? Who are some famous astronomers throughout history? Hosts Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela L. Gay answer questions you’ve always had about the universe.

National Public Radio (NPR)

5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

Science, news, comedy, education, culture, technology: take your pick! NPR has many award-winning, well researched and well produced podcasts on various subjects. The content will keep you interested as you improve your listening skills with one speaker, two speaker, three speaker, and interview style recordings.

NASA Science Casts

5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

NASA offers many podcasts on different subjects. Some focus more on specific projects (such as the Space to Ground podcast about the International Space Station), some focus on education (check out The Beautiful Universe), and others are news-focused, like This Week@NASA.



5 Podcasts for the Academic English Student

Philosophy, history, science, and the human experience come together in RadioLab, and incredible podcast produced by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich.

Converse International School of Languages offers English courses in San Diego and San Francisco, California. Improve your English through CISL’s small, eight-student classes: students can choose from Standard English, Intensive English, or specific courses such as TOEFL Preparation, IELTS Preparation, Cambridge Exam Preparation, and English for Academic Purposes. After EAP, students can attend college in the U.S. through CISL’s Academic Year Abroad and Pathway programs. 

Academic English Academic Year Abroad Featured University Pathway Writing

Academic English: Writing a Paragraph + CISL’s EAP and Pathway

January 18, 2017

Are you an international student preparing to attend college in the United States? With CISL’s Pathway Program, students first attend CISL’s English for Academic Purposes Program and master the academic English skills necessary to succeed in the rigorous American classroom. Students then transfer to one of CISL’s esteemed Pathway Partner schools, such as Palomar College or Santa Barbara City College, to complete their degree.

One of the main aspects of CISL’s EAP program is learning how to write an effective essay. This is the cornerstone of the American academic system! Mastering the essay begins with mastering the paragraph. Do you know how to write an effective paragraph?


Writing an Effective Body Paragraph

An essay typically consists of the following:

  • An introduction
  • Body paragraphs (2-3, but this varies)
  • A conclusion

We are going to take a look at the body paragraphs and how to write them effectively. But first, let’s look at their parts.

A paragraph consists of several parts:

  • An introductory sentence. This is the sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. It tells the reader exactly what the paragraph will be about.
  • Supporting sentences. These sentences support the main idea of the introductory sentence. Every sentence in the paragraph should directly relate to this main idea. Although this sounds simple, in the end it’s very easy to begin writing and get off topic!

Here are two examples of paragraphs with an introductory sentence and supporting sentences. Where do you imagine that these paragraphs would be placed in the essay?


Paragraph 1

Researchers also discovered that flights affect one’s ability to reason. In a study of over 1,000 participants, scientists asked each person to complete puzzles and other problem-solving exercises while on the ground and then again in the air. Researchers reported a 20% decreased in the participants’ abilities to problem solve while flying versus in the air.

This next example has a sentence which doesn’t belong. Can you find it? Why do you think it doesn’t belong in the paragraph?


Paragraph 2

The first reason I believe that school uniforms are beneficial is a personal one. I attended two high schools: the first required us to wear uniforms while the second did not. I found that the morning routine during my first two years of school (in which I wore uniforms) were significantly less stressful than my last two (in which I did not wear uniforms). With uniforms, I knew exactly what to wear each day and. Also, I found it easier to make friends in the school where I wore uniforms because we did not have the distraction of fashionable clothing and the status associated with wearing certain brands.


Further practice:

Rewrite Paragraph 2 so that it meets the requirements of a good paragraph.

Write another body paragraph after Paragraph 2. What would you say?


Academic English Academic Year Abroad CISL San Diego CISL San Francisco EAP Featured University Pathway

Is English for Academic Purposes the program for me? The advantages of EAP programs

April 24, 2016

When choosing to study English abroad, you have so many choices to make. In which country will you attend courses? What accommodations are best for you? What language school is right for you? And which courses are best to enroll in?

One of the many courses you may have to choose from is English for Academic Purposes. English for Academic Purposes (often called EAP) is a popular course in language schools. EAP classes are designed to provide students with the English listening, speaking, writing, reading, and grammar skills necessary in order to prepare students for life in the academic setting. Many students, therefore, attend traditional college or university classes after they graduate from an EAP class.


Here are some questions to ask when deciding if the EAP course is right for you:

  • What are my ultimate English goals? Am I interested in improving my speaking skills for travel, communication, and socialization? Or do I want to pursue education in English or a job where I use English?
  • In the future, will I need an EAP certificate for a potential job? Or will a certificate from communication-based courses suffice?
  • Am I a more serious student? Am I willing to dedicate more hours toward study than communication classes require?

CISL San Diego class

After deciding that an EAP program is right for you, make sure that you research your school’s EAP program. A good EAP program should have the following:

  • Clearly defined curriculum that leaves room for adjustment so that it meets the needs of individual students
  • Emphasis on academic vocabulary
  • Curriculum designed to help you understand the research and citation processes
  • Access to a computer lab and its online resources
  • At least one academic paper and lessons about how to correctly edit/receive feedback
  • Clear grading policies to ensure that you earn your grade
  • Options for students who want to pursue an education in the U.S. after graduation from the EAP class


Once you’ve decided to enroll in an EAP course, here are some tips for your next moves:

  1. Begin researching your education options for after your EAP course. Are you interested in taking a semester of classes at an American community college, like with CISL’s Academic Year Abroad Program? Or are you interested in obtaining a degree from the U.S., like with CISL’s University Pathway Program?
  2. Start studying now! Begin researching academic English vocabulary and idioms, TOEFL and IELTS exams, and also research what life is like in the American classroom to better prepare. Here are some CISL Blog articles to help you:
    1. Five Academic English words to impress your professors
    2. Improve your English by learning academic-based vocabulary words
    3. Daily habits to improve your English skills
    4. Choosing to Study Abroad: The advantages of a U.S. College Degree
    5. Question Styles for TOEFL Reading

Click here to learn more about CISL’s English for Academic Purposes Program, the Academic Year Abroad, and University Pathway.

Academic English Academic Year Abroad EAP Featured University Pathway Vocabulary

Five Academic Vocabulary Words to Impress your Professor

April 11, 2016

Five Academic Vocabulary Words to Impress your Professor


Are you thinking about attending university in the U.S.? CISL offers students the Academic Year Abroad Program, where students first attend CISL classes and perfect their English before taking one semester of classes at community college, and Academic Pathways, where students attend college or university directly after CISL (without taking the TOEFL). After this memorable experience, you will have excellent English skills and knowledge of life in the American college classroom. How exciting! To help you prepare, we have five academic vocabulary words you need to know in order to impress your professors. Use these in class discussions, incorporate them into your presentations or essays, and watch your marks soar!

Five academic vocabulary words to impress your professor

  • Ameliorate
  • Banal
  • Cadre
  • Didactic
  • Exiguous


  • Definition: To make or grow better.
  • Example: Several strategies have been implemented in order to ameliorate environmental pollution; in this essay, I will discuss three of these strategies and analyze the effectiveness of each.


  • Definition: Commonplace; trivial.
  • Example: I found his essay to be boring and full of banal arguments that did not convince me of his thesis statement.



  • Definition: A core or nucleus of trained or otherwise qualified personnel around which an organization is formed.
  • Example: After university, it is my hope to join a cadre of lawyers working together to fight environmental pollution caused by big businesses.


  • Definition: Conveying instruction; teaching some moral lesson.
  • Example: Bill Bryson’s didactic novels are entertaining and educational.


  • Definition: Extremely scanty (bare).
  • Example: The exiguous research on this topic made it difficult to write my essay, but I think I did a good job.

Would you like to learn more academic English words? Check out this awesome list of Vocabulary and Lexical Resources from IELTS Podcast.

Come study with us! Contact CISL to learn more about our Academic Year Abroad Program and Academic Pathways Program.