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10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

August 13, 2017

 

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

It is the state of Hollywood, Napa Valley, Silicon Valley, Yosemite, stunning coastlines, and some of the U.S.’s most iconic cities . . . do we really need to make a list of OTHER reasons you should study English in California? We will go ahead and try, just in case you aren’t convinced you would have the time of your life on the “Best Coast.”

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

#1: Culture and diversity

New York likes to claim that it wins the “diversity award,” but California has some of the most diverse cities in the U.S. In fact, the majority of California’s population is made of minority races and San Francisco and San Diego have both been listed in the top 20 cities in the U.S. for cultural diversity. Settlers originally came from China, Japan, and even Russia (have you heard of the Russian River?) Today, immigrants from throughout the U.S. and around the world make California their home. The result? A state filled with open-minded people, many cultures, unique architecture, and delicious foods.

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

#2: Natural landscapes

California has scorching desserts (Death Valley!), beautiful beaches (too many to count!), and everything in between. In one day, you can start your morning in Lake Tahoe (located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range), then you can end that same day dipping your toes in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The most beautiful national parks, such as Yosemite and Redwood National Parks, are must-see natural landscapes.

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

#3: Amazing food

California is famous for its beaches, but many people do not realize that the state has a massive agriculture industry. In fact, California’s agricultural industry is twice that of any other state! California’s 76,000 farms and ranches produce some of the highest quality vegetables, fruits, and meats. (This explains why there are so many great farmer’s markets for residents to enjoy!) Wine regions throughout the state produce world-famous wines, and olive trees are also common in this Mediterranean-style climate: the state has more than 400 olive growers and olive oil producers. Of course, with its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, fresh seafood is always an option in California. All of these high-quality ingredients create the tastiest California foods!

The population diversity’s influence on California cuisine is clear: San Diego’s Little Italy restaurants serve hand-made pastas and wood oven-baked pizzas; delicious Mexican food abounds, and California-style sushi (a unique fusion of California produce and Japanese food) are popular meal options. Of course, when all else fails, there’s the best (and freshest) fast food: In-N-Out!

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

#4: Exciting cities (and charming towns)

Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are world-famous favorites, but California also has many small towns with charm and beauty. Explore mining towns such as Julian and Nevada City to feel as if you have been transported back in time; gorgeous towns such as Yountville and Cambria are perfect for weekend trips.

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

#5: The coolest English accent (and slang)

Maybe we are biased, but the West Coast really is the “Best Coast” when it comes to its accent! The California accent was made famous by Hollywood, and many think it is the most clear and easytounderstand accent. Learn how to speak like a Californian in our article How to Speak Like a Californian and pick up some surfer slang with our Surf Slang Guide.

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

#6: Active lifestyle

With the beaches and beautiful weather, is it any surprise that Californians love to exercise? In California you can find state-of-the-art gyms, incredible yoga and Pilates studios and instructors, fun classes such as Body Pump and Barre, and Crossfit. You can also enjoy the weather and go hiking, take part in water activities such as surfing and kitesurfingcanoeingkayaking, and paddleboarding. During the winter, try some of the nation’s best skiing in Lake Tahoe, Mammoth, and Big Bear.

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

#7: Sunsets

There are no words to describe the California sunset over the water. For many Californians, stopping to enjoy the sunset is a daily occurrence: just become friends with a few Californians on Instagram and you’ll see how beloved the sunsets are. Learn how to describe the sunset with our Guide to Sunset Vocabulary.

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

#8: Laid-back people

Is it any surprise that the same people who stop to watch the sunsets and love to surf are also happy, laid-back individuals? Californians are often told they are the friendliest people in the U.S. Come see for yourself!

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

#9: Fun neighborhoods

San Diego’s Little Italy was voted one of the best neighborhoods to live in the United States, while San Francisco is home to famous neighborhoods such as the hippie area of Haight-Ashbury. From famous neighborhoods such as these to more hidden gems (like San Diego’s surfer-filled Ocean Beach), there is an area that matches the personality and interests of everyone.

10 Reasons You Should Study English in California

#10: Daytrips to incredible locations

It’s difficult to grow tired of California’s beautiful cities, but if you ever feel the urge to explore, the rest of California is waiting for you! Napa ValleySanta Barbara, Yosemite, Hollywood . . . even neighboring Las Vegas is a quick trip. Where will you go, what will you see, and who will you meet?

 

California Life Featured San Diego Vocabulary

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing (+ Surfing Vocabulary and Slang)

August 6, 2017

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing (+ Surfing Vocabulary and Slang)

Surfing is a way of life in California, so it is no surprise that surfing vocabulary and slang are parts of the language on the West Coast! We are providing an infographic from Finbin (a website about water sports) about the bodyboarding vs. surfing debate. Do you know the difference? Have you tried both, and if so, which do you prefer? The language in the infographic is for advanced students, but students of every level can learn the surfer slang it includes!

Surfing Vocabulary and Slang

Blackball (black ball)

Definition: The black flag (with a large black circle) that lifeguards use during “no surfing” times. The word is now also used to talk about prohibited areas or actions.

Example: Who is most likely to get insanely barreled in that black ball beach break?

Barreled

Definition: Hit by a wave

Example: Who is most likely to get insanely barreled in that black ball beach break?

Beach break

Definition: When waves break over a sandy area.

Example: Who is most likely to get insanely barreled in that black ball beach break?

Home break

Definition: Your preferred surf location.

Example: If your home break is a spot shared by surfers and bodyboarders alike, you’ve probably heard side comments about the unspoken rivalry.

Lineup

Definition: The line of surfers waiting (in the water) for a wave.

Example: It became easier for all types of individuals–young, old, and older–to paddle to the lineup and catch a wave to get their fill of stoke.

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing (+ Surfing Vocabulary and Slang)

Paddle

Definition: To place your arms in the water and use them to move your surfboard.

Example: It became easier for all types of individuals–young, old, and older–to paddle to the lineup and catch a wave to get their fill of stoke.

Prone position

Definition: The position a bodyboarder is in: holding on to the board, stomach on the board.

Example: The prone position offers more stability and balance.

Radical

Definition: An expression meaning “cool.”

Example: You’ll get to ride waves in more radical ways and you sure will have the biggest smile on your face.

Stoke

Definition: “excitement.”

Example: It became easier for all types of individuals–young, old, and older–to paddle to the lineup and catch a wave to get their fill of stoke.

Wipe out

Definition: To fall off the surfboard.

Example: You also won’t have to worry about falling off and wiping out.

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing

Thank you to Finbin for this infographic about the differences between bodyboarding and surfing! CISL often arranges beach activities such as surf lessons: ask the Front Desk for information or check out the month’s Activities Calendar.

Additional Vocabulary

Attest to

Definition: To affirm something is true.

Example: Global surfing competitions, giant surf brands, million-dollar surf movies, and all the images circulating on print and digital media can all attest to the overgrown bubble that has enveloped much of surfing.

Avid

Definition: Enthusiastic.

Example: Morey himself was an avid surfer.

To burst (a/one’s) bubble

Definition: To destroy a feeling of happiness or a commonly accepted idea.

Example: Tom Morey burst that bubble when he invented the bodyboard in 1971.

Catch on

Definition: To become more popular.

Example: The trend has caught on.

Charge (something)

Definition: To run to something with great speed (or, in this case, swim to something).

Example: You can charge bigger waves like it was a walk in the park with a bodyboard . . .

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing (+ Surfing Vocabulary and Slang)

Downside

Definition: Disadvantages.

Example: It’s hard to think of a downside to bodyboarding.

Dwellers

Definition: People who live somewhere.

Example: History has it that the first surfers among the Pacific dwellers were those who had royal blood.

Elevated

Definition: A higher level.

Example: Surfing has always enjoyed an elevated status as the sport of kings.

Exclusive

Definition: Not available to most people.

Example: This status gave surfing its sublime appeal, make it aspirational and somewhat exclusive.

Game for

Definition: Prepared; ready for.

Example: What are you game for?

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing (+ Surfing Vocabulary and Slang)

Physiques

Definition: Physical forms (bodies).

Example: Bodyboarding can be enjoyed by riders of all ages and physiques.

Overgrown

Definition: Enlarged; too large.

Example: Global surfing competitions, giant surf brands, million-dollar surf movies, and all the images circulating on print and digital media can all attest to the overgrown bubble that has enveloped much of surfing.

Tug-o-war

Definition: A game in which two teams pull on a rope and try to pull the team towards them.

Example: Nobody knows who declared this psychological war between wave riders and their differing weapons of choice, but it looks like the silent tug-o-war is here to stay.

Tune out

Definition: Stop listening to someone or something.

Example: If you can tune out the haters, you’ll have no reason to regret picking up a bodyboard.

Sublime

Definition: A level of spiritual happiness and divinity.

Example: This status gave surfing its sublime appeal.

Would you like to learn more surfer slang? Check out our articles The Word Gnarly, and California Surfer Slang for English Students

California Life Featured Los Angeles Vocabulary

The Most Beautiful Places in LA + 5 Beautiful English Words

July 18, 2017

In a city of nearly 4 million people, is it possible to find beautiful escapes? In Los Angeles, there certainly is. The area’s parks and beaches provide plenty of natural escapes for its residents and visitors, and there are many man-made gardens to provide relaxation and beauty. During your next trip, be sure to see the most beautiful places in LA.

The Most Beautiful Places in LA

Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens

Most Beautiful Places in LA

Over 100 acres of desert gardens, Japanese gardens, and manicured lands surround this library, which has a beautiful collection of 18th and 19th century art. Tickets are available online; the library also offers a Free Day each month.

http://www.huntington.org

The Getty Villa

Most Beautiful Places in LA Most Beautiful Places in LA

This Pacific Palisades home is a window into the art world of Ancient Greece and Rome. The house itself is even art: it was designed to look like an ancient Roman country home. Guests can tour the gardens, eat Mediterranean food at the restaurant, and of course view the impressive art collection. The Getty Villa is home to 44,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan items and has 23 permanent galleries (plus five galleries for exhibitions that change).

http://www.getty.edu/visit/villa/

Malibu Creek State Park

Most Beautiful Places in LA Most Beautiful Places in LA

This beautiful nature preserve is an escape from the craziness of the city (and is also famous: Hollywood producers love to use the location for movies!) You can find Malibu Creek State Park in movies such as Planet of the Apes. Visitors can hike, bike, kayak, horseback ride, and even camp.

http://www.malibucreekstatepark.org

Sandstone Peak

Most Beautiful Places in LA Most Beautiful Places in LA

One of the most beautiful views in Los Angeles is from Sandstone Peak. It is the tallest place in the Santa Monica Mountains and a popular spot for mountain climbers.

https://www.hikespeak.com/trails/sandstone-peak/

5 Beautiful English Words

Now that you’ve learned of a few beautiful places, why not learn some words related to beauty? These 5 beautiful English words will make your vocabulary a little more alluring.

Eloquence

Definition: fluent or persuasive speaking or writing.

Example: The eloquence of the speech really impressed me.

Ethereal

Definition: extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world.

Example: Look at this ethereal photo of my friend’s children. They are so beautiful.

Iridescent

Definition: showing luminous colors that seem to change when seen from different angles.

Example: The iridescent colors of the sunset are hard to capture in a photo.

Talisman

Definition: an object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck.

Example: He gave her this ring as a talisman for her travels.

Waft

Definition: pass or cause to pass easily or gently through or as if through the air.

Example: The smell of the pie wafted through the house and made me hungry.

CISL San Diego students often take quick trips to Los Angeles while they are studying English in SD. Have you been? Post your photos on the CISL Facebook Page!

California Life CISL San Francisco Featured Grammar San Francisco San Francisco Travel Tips Student Activities Student Life

English Prepositions of Location (AT, ON, and IN) + SF’s Best Beaches

July 1, 2017

Prepositions are some of the most difficult aspects of English for many language learners: especially English prepositions of location such as AT, ON, and IN. (These are also called prepositions of place.) Learn how to use them properly to avoid confusion! Since CISL offers English courses in San Diego and San Francisco, we can’t think of a better way to practice English prepositions of location than to use examples of these prepositions in relation to something every Californian loves: the beach!

English Prepositions of Location (AT, ON, and IN)

English Prepositions of Location (AT, ON, and IN)

She is AT the beach, ON the sand, and IN the sun. Lucky girl!

English uses AT, ON, and IN for prepositions of location.

AT

The preposition AT can be used for a location, to show a destination, and to show a direction that something moved.

For location:

  • I’m at the store. Do you need anything?
  • I will call you when I’m at home.
  • Meet me at the coffee shop in Little Italy.

For a destination:

  • We will arrive at the final stop soon.
  • I thought the drive would be long, but before I knew it, we were at home!

For a direction:

  • Why are you looking at me?
  • In dodgeball, you have to throw the ball at the other players to try to hit them. (Notice how this is different than throwing a ball TO someone. When you throw a ball TO someone, they try to catch it. When you throw a ball AT someone, you are trying to hit them!)

ON

The preposition ON is used when we speak about the surface of a space. Imagine that something is on top of an area, not inside.

  • I was tanning on the beach when I saw dolphins!
  • I spilled coffee on my shirt.
  • They put some plants on the walkway of the house.
  • I was jumping on the bed and I fell.
English Prepositions of Location (AT, ON, and IN)

Do you get IN the water when you are AT the beach? Or do you stay ON the sand?

IN

The preposition IN is used when we speak about the area of a space. Imagine that something is inside of a space or area.

  • I am in my room.
  • She is still sleeping in her bed.
  • She won’t be in the office this week. She is sick.
English Prepositions of Location (AT, ON, and IN)

IN the wave or ON the wave? Both, actually!!!

Practice: IN or ON?

The prepositions IN and ON are often confused. Try this lesson to see if you understand the difference. Remember: when choosing the preposition, ask yourself if it is inside of a space or on top of a space.

  1. CISL is located __________ San Francisco and San Diego.
  2. The San Francisco location is __________ the top floor of a building.
  3. The school is also located __________ Market Street.
  4. Some students live __________ a hotel __________ San Francisco.
  5. The school is __________ Market Street; Market Street is __________ the Financial District.
  6. The other campus is __________ San Diego.
  7. The school is __________ a modern building.
  8. The building is __________ Broadway.

The answers are at the bottom of this page.

SF’s Best Beaches

San Diego gets all the credit for having beautiful beaches, but the truth is that all of California offers stunning coastline! Have you explored these five beaches that we consider to be SF’s best?

Ocean Beach

Surfers love Ocean Beach for its strong waves, and locals love it because it is a place where they have beach bonfires. Ocean Beach is also the perfect place to watch the sun set in SF!

wavy

A post shared by joe bennett (@tk.joe) on

How to get there:

Take the 5R bus to the La Playa and Fulton St. stop.

Baker Beach

Baker Beach provides visitors with a beautiful view of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Yes, the beach is also a nude beach, but locals know that it is so much more: because fewer people visit Baker Beach than Ocean Beach, it’s a much quieter and more peaceful place for relaxing. Many couples come to Baker Beach to take their engagement or wedding photos, which prove that it’s a romantic beach spot!

How to get there:

Take bus 7 to Lincoln Way and 21st Ave,; transfer to the 29 Baker Beach bus and get off at Lincoln Blvd. and Bowley Ave.

Aquatic Park

Aquatic Park is actually a protected beach and swimming area in the San Francisco Bay. The protective cove makes it a safe place to swim, and Alcatraz and Marin are beautiful backdrops to your day at the beach. The best part? Across the street from the beach is Ghirardelli Square, so visitors have a delicious option for post-swimming dining!

How to get there:

Take bus 47 to Fishermen’s Wharf. Get off at Van Ness and North Point St.

Answers:

  1. CISL is located IN San Francisco and San Diego. (The school is inside the area of San Diego and San Francisco.)
  2. The San Francisco location is ON the top floor of a building. (The school is located on top of 
  3. The school is also located ON Market Street.)
  4. Some students live IN a hotel IN San Francisco. (The students live inside of the hotel; the hotel is located inside of the area of San Francisco.)
  5. The school is ON Market Street; Market Street is IN the Financial District. (The school is on the area of Market street and is located inside of the area of the Financial District.)
  6. The other campus is IN San Diego. (The school is inside the area of San Diego.)
  7. The school is IN a modern building. (The school is inside of a building.)
  8. The building is ON Broadway. (The school is on the area of Broadway St.)
California Life Cambridge Exams Featured Student Life

Why You Should Take Your Cambridge Course in California

June 27, 2017

According to Cambridge ESOL, each year more than 5 million people take the Cambridge Exams in 130 countries. With so many options, why should you take your Cambridge course in California? Here are just a few of the reasons to consider taking your Cambridge course and exam in the sunniest and happiest U.S. state.

Why you should take your Cambridge course in California

Why You Should Take Your Cambridge Course in California

(and how to choose the school that is right for you)

Studying on the beach is the best kind of studying

Sure, libraries and coffee shops are great (and cities such as San Diego and San Francisco have great coffee culture and amazing libraries!) but at the end of the day, it’s preferable to enjoy the beautiful California weather and study while working relaxing on the beach. Enjoy California’s 840 miles of coastline while also improving your English (and your tan)!

Why You Should Take Your Cambridge Course in California

Friendly, happy people

What is the best way to practice English? By making friends who are native speakers! Californians are said to be the friendliest and happiest people in the United States. In a recent study, 12 California cities were in the top 20 happiest cities in the U.S., including both San Francisco and San Diego.

California is a diverse state with people from all over the world. Politically, Californians are left-leaning (Trump is not someone a Californian loves!) and are proud of the international aspect of their state. This openness and inclusion makes California a friendly and welcoming place for international students of any ethnicity or background.

Why You Should Take Your Cambridge Course in California

Expose yourself to accents other than British/Australian

The world does not speak one form of English, but many: with a Cambridge course, you will learn the standard UK spelling and pronunciation through the texts and practice tests; in your everyday life in California, you will learn the standard (Hollywood) English that people around the world agree is the easiest to understand and most clearly spoken. In the end, you get the best of both worlds (and speak some California slang when you return home)!

Cambridge is known for using non-native speaker accents on its exams, so this is a priority when it comes to language learning for CAE and FCE. When choosing a school, make sure you select one with high population diversity. This will allow you to meet people from all over the world and become accustomed to different accents.

Why You Should Take Your Cambridge Course in California

Well established, accredited schools

From beachy San Diego to urban San Francisco, California has many language institutions for you to choose from. When selecting a school, make sure that you think about a few things, including:

An emphasis on speaking within the curriculum. The Speaking Module of the Cambridge exams is incredibly difficult, and many students need extra help in this area. Make sure that your school provides an emphasis on speaking so that you have a lot of chances to practice and improve.

Class size. In order to improve your English (especially in speaking), you will need lots of feedback from your instructor. Schools with small class sizes will allow you to spend more one-on-one time with your teacher so that you will improve quicker.

Student diversity. Part of being an international student is meeting students from around the world: make sure that your school has a diverse student population!

Accreditation. The most important accreditation organization in the United States is the Commission on English Language Accreditation. This organization is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and is specifically for English language learning schools. The standards are very high for a school to be accredited: the school must complete a very long application, attend workshops, write reports, and have visits from the CEA staff. The accreditation process includes looking at the school’s curriculum, teachers, staff, and administration; additionally, CEA considers factors such as how schools rate student achievement and progress. Use the CEA search to see if your potential school is accredited.

Bonus: if the school is also a Cambridge Testing Centre, you know that they are Cambridge approved!

Cambridge Testing Centres are highly trusted

A Cambridge experience doesn’t have to happen in the UK! The process of applying to be a Cambridge Testing Centre is difficult, and all centres (usually schools) have many visits and inspections from Cambridge. If you take your course and exam at a certified Cambridge Testing Centre, you are assured that you are getting a Cambridge approved experience. When booking your course, make sure you choose a trusted Cambridge centre.

Why You Should Take Your Cambridge Course in California

A healthy lifestyle

It’s not just the sunshine and Vitamin D that keep people healthy in California: the state’s citizens are known for being some of the most active and physically fit in the U.S. Learn some water sports, play basketball or tennis or volleyball in the many parks or beaches that surround you, go hiking on trails that go through the city, or enjoy some of the most impressive gyms, boot camps, and yoga studios in the world. In the winter, grab your skis and see why the state once hosted the Winter Olympics!

 

Why You Should Take Your Cambridge Course in California

Great food (and drinks) for study breaks

Stay healthy with California’s obsession with fruits, healthy drinks, and avocados . . . and then cheat a little with the most delicious California burritos, sushi, and burgers. (It’s all about balance!) On the weekend, celebrate a hard week of study by exploring the microbrew beer culture of California or visiting some of its beautiful, world famous wineries.

 

Why You Should Take Your Cambridge Course in California

Accessibility

California’s many international airports make it easy to arrive and to travel on weekends. San Diego’s airport, for example, is located next to Downtown San Diego. A cab ride from the airport to Little Italy (where many international students stay) is less than 10 minutes! From San Francisco’s international airport to the city’s Financial District (where many international students live) is less than 25 minutes. San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles international airports offer non-stop flights from many locations year-round, including the following:

  • Amsterdam
  • Berlin
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Istanbul
  • London
  • Paris
  • Tokyo
  • Zurich

 

Why You Should Take Your Cambridge Course in California

Diversity

The majority of Cambridge classes in the U.S. are taken by Swiss students . . . but not in California. California Cambridge classes are more diverse because the state is also an ideal destination for many Asian students, so a Cambridge course in California is more likely to have students from countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Additionally, Cambridge is now accepted by U.S. universities, so more and more students from other countries are enrolling in these courses. When choosing an English language school, always ask about the student diversity.

Why You Should Take Your Cambridge Course in California

 

Since 1972, CISL has provided quality English language training to students from around the world. It is accredited by the Commission on English Language Accreditation and is also a certified Cambridge Testing Centre. CISL’s 8 student policy provides its students the opportunity to improve their English is a small classroom with one-on-one attention from their qualified instructor, and CISL’s impressive student diversity allows students to meet people from around the world. Contact CISL to learn more about studying for the Cambridge Exams in San Diego or San Francisco or watch our video about Cambridge courses below.