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CISL Student Florian Learns Project Planning, Social Media, and Corporate Design at Casas Advisors!

September 28, 2017

Have you dreamed of improving your English skills for a future job? CISL’s Career English program provides students with the English skills necessary to succeed in the work environment AND offers international students a chance to spend time at an American company!

Our German student, Florian, recently learned English at CISL and then spent time at Casas Advisors, a real estate company. Florian shared some of his experience with us.

CISL Student Florian Learns Project Planning, Social Media, and Corporate Design at Casas Advisors!

Objectives and expectations

Florian’s goals before the Career English program were clear. “My main objective and intention to enroll for the Career English Program at CISL was to improve my business English and to gain some work experience abroad to improve my CV.”

Why did Florian choose CISL? He admits that it’s not easy for international students to find such an experience at an American company without the help of programs such as CISL’s Career English. Florian recalls that “A major issue for finding a company for me was that most companies require to pay their interns and therefore they need to have a working visa.” Thankfully, with the help of CISL’s Career English Coordinator, Florian was able to find a placement at Casas Advisors, a real estate company in San Diego.

Florian’s tasks and responsibilities

Florian spent two months at Casas Advisors, where the “team was very dedicated to integrate me into the team and to always find challenging tasks for me.”  His responsibilities were varied and challenging. “To summarize my activities I created the following list for a quick overview:

  • Creation of social media analysis and planning tool; definition and implementation of recommendations
  • Development of corporate design
  • Creation of buyers & listing presentation
  • Calculation of ROIs of planned real estate investments for creation of investors pitches
  • Increased transparency of projects through Gantt-Project management planning
  • Administrative activities (reply to enquiries, ordering etc.)
  • Revised marketing material

Improving English through a host company

Florian says he saw great improvements to his English skills after spending time with his host company. “Reviewing my time as an intern at Casas Advisors I can say that those two months were great . . . [I was] able to improve my business English in this environment. Mostly this improvement was caused by making phone calls or attending meetings and holding presentations.” Another reason Florian’s English improved is because of his interactions with employees of the company. “Working together with my co-workers made my work more fun, interesting and flexible at the same time. I worked closely with Linda Paz, the Broker’s assistant, and Santiago Orvananos, the Owner and Broker of Casas Advisors.”

Was it worth it?

Florian says yes. “I was very pleased with my working experience in San Diego. Through the aforementioned activities I was able to improve my skillset according to Excel & PowerPoint . . . it was an awesome experience which I highly recommend. I can only speak highly of Casas Advisors.

Congratulations to Florian for a successful experience with a host company, and many thanks to Casas Advisors for providing such a welcoming environment for Florian to improve his English!

executive-english-premier-english-business-meeting-management-language

CISL’s Career English Program offers students the opportunity to improve their English skills in the classroom and at an American company. Students first spend time in the CISL classroom, which has small class sizes (no more than 8 students!) that allow English learners to quickly improve. Students then work closely with the Career English Coordinator to create an American resume (which is different than a CV) and interview with American companies. Students spend at least two months improving their English in a work environment, either while still taking classes at CISL or after completing their CISL English courses. Contact CISL for more information.

 

CISL San Diego IELTS Uncategorized

How to Pass the IELTS Exam

September 11, 2017

How to Pass the IELTS Exam

Are you planning to take the IELTS exam? Don’t stress: we have all of the tips you need to pass the test. Follow these recommendations and learn how to pass the IELTS exam.

How to Pass the IELTS Exam

Know the test format

This may sound obvious, but it’s very important. The IELTS test is long: it lasts many hours and has many parts and questions types. Know what is expected of you before you take the test. This will improve your confidence, your efficiency, and your score.

How to do this:

  • Take an IELTS preparation course.
  • Complete many practice tests.
  • Read the IELTS website for information about the test.

Have some strategies ready

Of course, you still can practice English that is specific to the test. For example, in the writing section, learn how to write a good thesis with predictors, how to begin your essay with an effective hook, and how to use a colon and semicolon. You can also study some useful idioms, slang, phrasal verbs, and vocabulary words to speak about yourself, your family, your education, and your future goals: these are common topics for the IELTS Speaking Part 1.

How to do this:

How to Pass the IELTS Exam

Practice the speaking exam

Don’t just practice speaking: practice the exact speaking exam. At CISL, students have mock (pretend) speaking tests that prepare them for this portion of IELTS. You will be surprised at how nervous you are, even when you are taking a practice test! After several practice exams, student confidence and scores improve greatly thanks to practice and teacher feedback. Don’t miss this important step.

How to do this:

How to Pass the IELTS Exam

Manage your time wisely

The IELTS test is long, but with so many questions and sections, students always find themselves pressed for time. Know how long each part of the test is and approximately how long each section will take you and you will manage your time better: this will allow you to spend more time on the sections that need more attention.

How to do this:

  • Practice makes perfect! The only way to know this information is to take several practice tests.

Learn English, not IELTS

Remember, the idea of preparing for IELTS is to improve your English (not just pass the exam)! Learn to love English, put some passion into learning the language, and enjoy. This will improve your relationship with the language . . . and your score will most definitely improve.

How to do this:

  • Consider studying for the IELTS exam in an English-speaking country.
  • Make friends who speak English.
  • Immerse yourself in English: change your phone to English, watch movies in English, and listen to some podcasts in English.
  • Read every day in English: make it a habit!

How to Pass the IELTS Exam

CISL San Diego offers intensive IELTS preparation classes for students of intermediate and advanced levels. The CISL small-class policy (never more than 8 students per class) allows students to improve their English and IELTS skills quickly, with more attention from the teacher and excellent feedback from qualified instructors. Contact CISL for information on IELTS classes in San Diego, California. 

Career English CISL Premier CISL Premier English CISL San Diego English for Engineers Featured Vocabulary

20 Useful Engineering Resume Vocabulary Words in English

August 15, 2017

Useful Engineering Resume Vocabulary Words in English

Writing a resume is difficult: how can you describe yourself, your education, and your accomplishments without sounding cliche, boring, or arrogant? Verbs that concisely explain your job responsibilities will help you when writing a resume. These 20 useful engineering resume vocabulary words will help you when applying for your engineering job or internship.

Note: these terms have been selected for several engineering fields, including biochemical engineering, mechanical, structural, operational, and civic engineering. The form of the word given is the past tense of each verb, and the example is written in the style you might see on a resume. To better understand the format of a U.S. style resume, see our articles “Resume vs. CV: What Is the Difference?.”

20 Useful Engineering Resume Vocabulary Words

Accelerated

Definition: Increase in rate, amount, or extent.

Example: Invented a machine that accelerated production speeds.

Affected

Definition: Have an effect on; make a difference.

Example: Affected change in production by designing a more efficient machine.

Analyzed

Definition: Examine (something) methodically and in detail, typically in order to explain and interpret it.

Example: Analyzed data from surveyors to make informed suggestions regarding city planning.

Applied

Definition: Make something be applicable or relevant.

Example: Applied various structural engineering theories to work in the field and in the office.

Appraised

Definition: Assess the value or quality of.

Example: Appraised local structures to determine their durability.

Briefed

Definition: Instruct or inform (someone) thoroughly, especially in preparation for a task.

Example: Briefed city officials on the status of local bridges and other structures.

Useful Engineering Resume Vocabulary Words in English

Cataloged

Definition: Make a systematic list of (items of the same type).

Example: Cataloged laboratory data for analysis.

Diagrammed

Definition: Represent (something) in graphic form.

Example: Diagrammed electrical circuits of residential and office buildings.

Diagnosed

Definition: Identify the nature of (an illness or other problem) by examination of the symptoms.

Example: Diagnosed weak areas of older buildings in order to suggest repairs.

Enabled

Definition: Make (a device or system) operational; activate.

Example: Enabled a new form of solar-powered energy.

Engineered

Definition: Skilfully arrange for (something) to occur; design and build (a machine or structure).

Example: Engineered a new form of solar energy collection.

Useful Engineering Resume Vocabulary Words in English

Facilitated

Definition: Make (an action or process) easy or easier.

Example: Facilitated meetings between business owners and local residents regarding structural damage to local buildings.

 

Installed

Definition: Place or fix (equipment or machinery) in position ready for use.

Example: Installed new circuits for energy-efficient electricity throughout the building.

Mapped

Definition: Record in detail the spatial distribution of (something).

Example: Mapped data regarding energy consumption throughout the city.

Measured

Definition: Ascertain the size, amount, or degree of (something) by using an instrument or device marked in standard units.

Example: Measured the levels of pollution in local waters.

Modeled

Definition: Use (a system, procedure, etc.) as an example to follow or imitate.

Example: Modeled new software on components of previous versions.

Modified

Definition: Altered or changed.

Example: Modified older machines to increase production.

Operated

Definition: Manage; (of a person) control the functioning of (a machine, process, or system).

Example: Operated and examined machinery for maintenance and review.

Optimized

Definition: Make the best or most effective use of (a situation or resource).

Example: Optimized production of machinery.

Revised

Definition: Reconsider and alter (something) in light of further evidence.

Example: Revised reports from biologists; included data and suggestions regarding actions to be taken.

Useful Engineering Resume Vocabulary Words in English

CISL San Diego provides an intensive English for Engineering course for students who are working in (or interested in working in) the field of engineering. This course provides the vocabulary and language skills necessary for the student’s particular field: lessons can be catered to the student’s interests and professional needs. CISL’s English for Engineering course can be taken alongside the Career English program, which places students in an American company in order to use their English skills in the workplace. Contact CISL for more information.

 

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American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

July 15, 2017

Business English is more than just learning the language, phrasal verbs, and vocabulary that you need to be confident in a professional setting: it also includes learning the American business traditions that you need to know in order to conduct business in the U.S.! Do you know these American business traditions? See how they differ from the business traditions in your country.

American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

 

American Business Traditions

The handshake: an important first impression

The handshake is your first impression in business and it is considered VERY important. Make sure that during a handshake you:

  • Hold the person’s hand firmly
  • Look the person in the eye
  • Smile
  • Saying something such as “nice to meet you” or “it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Formal names and titles

Before meeting with the person, make sure that you know their full name . . . but always use “Mr” and “Ms” when you first meet them. If the person has a title, such as “President” or “Doctor” or “Professor,” use this title + the person’s last name. Here are some examples:

  • It’s a pleasure to meet you, Professor Smith.
  • Nice to meet you, Doctor Jones.
  • Pleased to meet you, Vice President Roberts.

If the person prefers for you to use his or her first name, they will tell you. Usually, please say “Please, call me [first name].”

Dress to impress

It is true that Silicon Valley has a reputation of companies that accept very casual attire (think about Mark Zuckerberg, for example: he always wears a grey shirt!). However, in traditional business settings, it is important to dress professionally. For men, this often means a tie and a long-sleeved dress shirt; for women, this can mean nice slacks or a skirt and a dress shirt.

American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

Forget gifts; remember hand-written notes

In the U.S., gifts can be seen as bribes (gifts you give someone to persuade them to make a decision). Instead, try to be thoughtful: send a hand-written note after the meeting and thank the person for his or her time, and suggest an opportunity to meet again.

American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

Business cards before or after

Business card culture in the U.S. is very casual. Once you meet the person and get settled (sit down, take out your meeting notes) you can present your card; sometimes, this is something people do at the end of the meeting. The only thing that is important is giving your card when the other person does. If you’re unsure, wait to see when the other person gives you his or her card, then do the same.

If the card has an interesting design or logo, it is appropriate for you to give the person a compliment.

Smiles, eye contact

Body language is very important during a meeting. Be sure to smile, look at the person when they are speaking, and make eye contact. Avoid using your phone, and take notes if you can. Make sure that your phone is turned on silent so that it does not ring or buzz during your meeting.

Lunch meetings are productive

Lunch can be lunch . . . or, it can be an opportunity to discuss business. In American culture, it’s very common for people to have a productive lunch meeting where they eat together and talk about business plans.

American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

Avoid smoking

Of course, there are some people in the U.S. who smoke, but many do not. It is considered rude to smoke without asking the people around you if it bothers them: to be safe, leave your cigarettes in your bag and wait until after the meeting.American Business Traditions + Common English Business Idioms

Common Business Idioms

Do you know these common business idioms?

To talk about similarities

To be in the same boat

Definition: to be in a similar situation.

To be on the same page

Definition: to understand someone; to agree with someone.

To talk about strategies

To cut corners

Definition: to not do things thoroughly; to not follow the normal steps for a process or project.

Game plan

Definition: a plan of action for a project.

To meet someone halfway

Definition: to compromise.

To think outside of the box

Definition: to think creatively.

Trade-off

Definition: to sacrifice something in order to gain something else; to compromise.

To talk about struggles/difficulties

A long shot

Definition: something that has very little chance of success.

To be between a rock and a hard place

Definition: to have the choice between two difficult decisions, both with outcomes that are not ideal.

To go out of one’s way (to do something)

Definition: to give extra effort, resources, etc. to help someone.

To have one’s head underwater

Definition: to feel overwhelmed, unprepared.

Converse International School of Languages in San Diego and San Francisco provides Business English classes with no more than 8 students per class (an average of 7 students) to help you improve your English skills for the workplace. If you need more intensive practice, CISL’s Premier English Executive Programs for professionals offer intensive instruction with 4-student classes focused on your career’s required English skills. Watch our testimonials below to hear about the success CISL students experience in our small classrooms and intensive curriculum. 

Contact CISL to learn more about our San Diego Executive English Program and our San Francisco Global Success Program and to begin the next phase of your career: conducting business confidently in English! 

 

Cambridge Exams CISL San Diego CISL San Francisco

5 Things You Need To Know Before Taking The Cambridge CAE or FCE Exam

July 8, 2017

Are you taking the Cambridge CAE or FCE Exam soon? Studying can be stressful, and so is test day! How should you study? What should you study? And what should you expect on test day? There are so many questions students have! Here are 5 things you need to know before taking the Cambridge CAE or FCE Exam.

5 Things You Need To Know Before Taking The Cambridge CAE or FCE Exam

There is a right way to study

Cambridge CAE and FCE exams have four official parts: Reading and Use of English, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. In each of these parts (called “modules”), there are many smaller parts; for example, Reading and Use of English for FCE has 7 parts (8 for CAE); Speaking has 4 parts, Listening has 4 . . . it’s a complicated test! Many students do not know where to begin.

Self-study is possible using the materials Cambridge has purchased. However, with such a complex test and so many parts, students often get confused . . . plus, there is no way to improve your speaking with self-study. A qualified instructor is necessary to help you understand each part of the test and the tips and tricks for passing each section. A teacher will also help you improve your pronunciation and speaking confidence.

On test day, know what to bring (and what not to bring)

Make sure you bring your valid photo ID, pencils, and erasers to the test. Electronics cannot be brought into the room, so if you want to watch the time, bring a watch (or use the clock that will be in the room). Food and drinks are also not allowed.

For more information, read these documents about Exam Day Tips for the paper-based test and the Speaking Module. They are from Cambridge ESOL.

Exam Day Tips, Paper-Based Test

Exam Day Tips, Speaking Module

You can also read Cambridge’s official Summary of Test Day Regulations for Candidates.

Understanding the test format saves time

Picture this: the Speaking Module recording begins, and the beginning of the recording is the instructions for the test. If you know the test rules, you do not have to listen to this portion of the test: instead, you have extra time to read the contents of the test.

For some, the test format is a little strange; for example, in the CAE Reading and Use of English Part 4, you must rewrite a sentence. Half of the new sentence is already written: you must use one given word plus 2-5 more words to complete the second sentence. What a strange format! If you know this in advance and have practiced this many times, this section is not a problem . . . but if you’ve only seen it a few times, you will probably have to read the instructions again. This is a waste of precious time.

5 Things You Need To Know Before Taking The Cambridge CAE or FCE Exam

When you consider that the entire test has many different parts (and that each part has different instructions and rules), then you see how understanding the test format saves time.

You can request your partner for the Speaking Module

Did you know that you can request your partner for the Speaking Module? You can! Talk to your Cambridge instructor about how to do this.

If you do not request your partner, you can still know who your assigned partner is before the speaking test. This gives you time to meet your partner and practice, which is very important to do before test day.

If you are assigned a partner who is very shy, check out our article on How To Deal With A Shy Speaking Test Partner.

Knowing what Cambridge wants will improve your score

Many parts of the Cambridge Exams (like Writing and Speaking) are not “right” or “wrong”; therefore, they are graded by trained teachers. But how are these instructors grading your test? Knowing what Cambridge wants will improve your score.

For example, the Writing Module is graded on the following:

Content (Did you answer the prompt? Did you include enough information?)

Communicative Achievement (Did you create the letter, report, review, essay, etc. as you were instructed? Did you correctly present your ideas to the reader?)

Organisation (Are your sentences and paragraphs well connected?)

Language (Did you use appropriate vocabulary, and a wide range of vocabulary? Did you use varying and complex sentence structures?).

A good Cambridge instructor will base his or her lessons on these things so that you have the tools you need to succeed in each module. Once you have these tools, you will use them as you write . . . and your score will improve.

Converse International School of Languages has been a trusted Cambridge Testing Centre for over 25 years and is proud to provide quality English instruction in small classes (no more than 8 students). To learn more about our Cambridge FCE and CAE programs, contact us.

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