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Casual English for Conversation

June 12, 2018

Casual English for Conversation

“Conversation is food for the soul.” -Proverb

Conversation is an art and can be difficult in any language. When learning English, it can be even more difficult if you do not have the right vocabulary words to ask the right questions! The next time you have a conversation in English, try using some of these questions and phrases. They will help you to have a casual conversation in English, which will allow you to get to know someone a little better.

Casual English for Conversation

Use these questions to begin a conversation with someone that you know.

What’s new? OR What have you been up to lately/recently?

Use these questions to ask what is new in a person’s life.

  • What’s new?
  • Not much, what’s new with you?
  • OR
  • What have you been up to lately?
  • Just working and life. What about you?

Casual English for Conversation

What’s new in your world?

This is another question to ask about a person’s life and what is new.

  • What’s new in your world?
  • Not much, to be honest. Just working and studying. How about you?
  • OR
  • What’s new in your world?
  • A lot of work lately! And we are getting ready to go on vacation. And you?

Casual English for Conversation

How have you been?

This general question is to ask how a person has been since you last saw him or her.

  • How have you been?
  • Good! And you?
  • OR
  • How have you been?
  • I’ve been good! What about you?

Casual English for Conversation

How are things?

This casual conversation question is just to ask, in general, how the person’s life is going.

  • How are things?
  • Fantastic. I’ve just started a new job. You?
  • OR
  • How are things?
  • Things are great. A little busy lately but good. What about you? How are things?

Casual English for Conversation

It’s been forever!

When you have not seen a person in a long time, this is a great phrase to use. Usually it is followed by a question about how the person has been doing.

 

  • It’s been forever! How are you?
  • OR
  • It’s been forever! How have you been?

 

Casual English for Conversation

How’s _____ treating you?

When you want to ask about the person’s job, project, or relationship, use this question.

 

  • How’s life treating you?
  • How’s the new job treating you?
  • How’s married life treating you?
  • How’s life in San Diego treating you?

 

Casual English for Conversation

What’s up with _____?

This question is a good way to ask about the status of something in the person’s life. Usually you knew something about this topic but have not had an update recently.

  • What’s up with that job promotion? Did you get it?
  • What’s up with your neighbor? Did he move?
  • What’s up with your sister? Is she still dating that guy?

 

California Life CISL San Diego Executive English Featured Idioms and expressions San Diego San Diego Travel Tips Suggested student activities Vocabulary

Golf Expressions in English

April 9, 2018

Golf Expressions in English

Do you love to golf? This sport is incredibly popular in English, so it is not surprising that there are many golf expressions in English. How many of these have you heard?

English also uses many expressions from other sports: read our Sports Related Idioms for more information!

Golf Expressions in English

Above/below par

Golf definition: “Par” is the number of attempts a player should make before putting the ball in the hole. (It can also be used for  many rounds of golf or for entire tournaments.) To be “above par” means that it took the player more attempts than “normal”; to be “below par” is the opposite.

English definition: Better or worse than average.

Example: Your writing and vocabulary skills are above par, but we need to work on your pronunciation.

Not up to par

English definition: Not as good as something should be; below average.

Example: I’m worried that my skiing is not up to par with my friends. We will see this weekend when we go to Big Bear!

Hole in one

Golf definition: Hitting the ball into the hole in one attempt. 

English definition: A successful attempt at something.

Example: Your presentation was a hole in one. Excellent job.

On par with

English definition: To be at the same level as something or someone else.

Example: My running isn’t on par with Silvia’s, so it’s difficult to exercise with her.

Par for the course

English definition: Typical.

Example: Spending 2-3 hours on social media each day is par for the course these days.

Tee up

Golf definition: To get ready to hit the ball; to put the ball on the tee (the small wooden piece that goes into the ground).

English definition: Prepare something; make detailed arrangements.

Example: The children are teeing up for their annual spring concert.

Golf Expressions in English

CISL San Diego organizes private or group golf lessons for students upon request. The lessons, which are either 30 minutes or one hour, are organized at one of the four beautiful golf courses in San Diego (La Jolla, Coronado, Balboa Park, or Fashion Valley). The lessons include equipment. For more information, contact the CISL Activities Coordinator at sdactivities (at) cisl (dot) edu.

Business English Career English Featured San Diego Student Life Voices of CISL

CISL Career English Student Tatiane Learns Marketing with an Event Planning Company

March 23, 2018

Tatiane spent time with Gaslamp Event Management, in Downtown San Diego’s hip and historic neighborhood called the Gaslamp District.

With CISL’s Career English program, students practice their English in the CISL classroom and then spend time at an American company. At their host company, students practice English in the office, in meetings, and through writing emails and creating documents. The CISL Career English program is the perfect way to gain important language skills for your career!

Career English student Tatiane recently wrote a report about her experience working with Gaslamp Event Management, a successful event planning company located in Downtown San Diego. We are impressed with her experience and with how good her writing skills are!

Here are some of the highlights of Tatiane’s report.

Why Tatiane chose CISL’s Career English Program  

My main objective when I chose the program was the opportunity to volunteer in an American company and then add it to my curriculum as a international experience with higher relevance.

What the Career English Program consisted of

In order to start the program, I completed 6 weeks of English classes and went through preparation for interview. GEM was my second interview and I feel confident to make it. With Grace, the program coordinator, help and support I corrected all mistakes regarding my resume and I learned how to create cover letter.

In general, the program meets my expectations. In addition, I would recommend CE for potential students who aim curriculum enrichment and an alternative international experience.

About her experience with Gaslamp Event Management

In GEM, I worked with Sin Bosier, the owner and CEO of the company. When I first started, it was close to Halloween Holiday and the company was hosting a event called San Diego Zombie Crawl. I worked during this event, taking care of the social media and also helping to organize the final details. I also worked in the two days of the event, checking in people and making live videos to post on Instagram.

After the event I focused on Downtown Dolls, which is a division of GEM. My main tasks were:

1 – Responsible for the social media for Downtown Dolls (IG + Facebook).

2 – Develop and launch the new Website for Downtown Dolls, by working with the web developers to make all the changes necessary and also all the site design. So, basically, I needed to identify problems and come up with solutions for them to change on the website.

3 – Talent managing in Downtown Dolls –  select the models that applied and schedule the interviews. Fill data base and point out models who fits the Downtown Dolls profile.

4 – Support if it’s necessary the others with tasks – proposal to clients, quotations, follow up and recap of the events.

Her final thoughts on the Career English Program

My experience at GEM helped me to feel more confident with the use of my English and I can tell for sure that I was not treated like a foreign or a outsider. Sin always pushed me to work as I was native and helped me with all I needed. What I enjoyed the most was the fact the I could really see what is like a company in another country and also the trust that was confided in me.

We are so pleased that you enjoyed your experience, Tatiane! Best of luck to you in Brazil!

 

CISL San Diego Featured San Diego San Diego Travel Tips Voices of CISL

Meet our Japanese Liaison, Joseph!

March 21, 2018

Did you know that CISL has a Japanese Liaison? CISL staff member Joseph is Japanese and lived in Japan for more than 25 years. Now, we are lucky to have him as CISL’s Assistant Academic Manager and official Japanese Liaison.

We interviewed Joseph to learn more about his life, his Japanese family, and his job at CISL.

Meet our Japanese Liaison, Joseph!

CISL: Tell us about your time in Japan and how you learned to speak Japanese. 

Joseph: I grew up in Japan, mostly in Okinawa.  I have family there (my mother is Okinawan).  I lived in Japan for over 25 years before moving to the United States.  Since we spoke English in our house, I mostly used Japanese to communicate with my relatives in Japan.

I went to school on the American military bases, so I was educated in English.  I did study Japanese in middle school and high school as well as college.

 

CISL: What are your credentials and experience teaching?  

Joseph: I have been ESL teaching for 17 years.  I taught in Japan for 8 years.  I have taught in various schools in Tokyo, Chiba, and Okinawa, from languages schools, to special education and a high school (as well as at some companies)

 

CISL: What is your position at CISL and what do your responsibilities include?

Joseph: I am the Assistant Academic Manager.  I oversee the teachers as well as the students in the school.  I help the students if they have questions about their classes or would like to try another one.

I also am the Japanese Student Liaison, so if a Japanese student has difficulty understanding in English, I can explain to them in Japanese.  I also teach the FCE course and have been teaching it for 8 years.

 

CISL: Why would you suggest that students choose San Diego? What is one thing that surprises students about SD/Southern California?

Joseph: San Diego, like the rest of Southern California, is known for its weather and its beaches.  It has a mild climate so it never gets too hot or too cold.  There are a lot of activities which can be done in San Diego, such as surfing, hiking in the mountains or desert, skydiving…..you can even go skiing in the winter!

 

CISL: What is one tip you have for new students?

Joseph: The best thing to do is to immerse yourself in English.  It is the best way to learn.  Talk to people.  If you only converse in the classroom, it will be challenging to speak to native English speakers.  Do as much reading and listening as possible.  Even from watching TV, you can improve  your listening skills and learn new vocabulary.  Reading can help to understand not just vocabulary but sentence structure and paragraphing.

 

CISL: What CISL program excites you the most, and why?

Joseph: For me, it is definitely the Cambridge program!  As I have said, I have been teaching FCE for 8 years and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet!  You can learn a lot in a short period of time, and it is always nice to see the improvements the students have made as they go through the course.

 

CISL: What is a misconception about life in the U.S. that many Japanese students have?

Joseph: I don’t think  I would call it a misconception, but I don’t think a lot of Japanese don’t realize just how diverse the United States actually is.  Different regions have their own dialects and cultures (much like Japan).  Sometimes going to another state is like going to another country.

 

CISL: What’s one thing that students must do when in SD?

Joseph: Everyone knows to go to the beaches here, so checking out hiking trails such as those in Mission Trails Regional Park is worth the effort to see the natural beauty of San Diego.

 

Thank you for taking time to give our students some tips, Joseph! And thank you for all the work that you do for CISL students. You are such a wonderful addition to our school!

Featured Junior Programs

6 Reasons to Study English with CISL’s Junior Program

March 21, 2018

6 Reasons to Study with CISL’s Junior Programs

There are many English camps for teens in the United States: why choose one of CISL’s Junior Programs? CISL’s camps provide more than just English training and a chance to study in the U.S. Learn why CISL is the best choice for an ESL camp in the U.S. for your teenage son or daughter.

6 Reasons to Study with CISL’s Junior Programs

A Trusted and Established School  

Converse International School of Languages has been providing English instruction since 1972. CISL’s more than 45 years of experience shows in its relationships with partners, its curriculum, its teacher training, and its student services. CISL is also fully accredited and is a Certified Cambridge Testing Centre for the Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) and First Certificate Exam (FCE).

6 Reasons to Study with CISL’s Junior Programs

Prime Study Locations

CISL’s Juniors Programs are offered at some of the most beautiful college campuses and cities in the United States. Students have both East Coast and West Coast options. On the East Coast, students can choose Yale University or Georgetown University, two schools with a rich history and beautiful campuses. On the West Coast, students have their choice of three of the most beautiful locations in California: San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco (Berkeley). While many people are familiar with UC Berkeley (one of the highest-ranked universities in the world), few people outside of the U.S. are familiar with Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) or the University of San Diego. Both are private Catholic schools with some of the most beautiful campuses in the United States (and both offer beautiful views and incredible facilities).

6 Reasons to Study with CISL’s Junior Programs

CISL offers two options when it comes to accommodations: on-campus dorms, or a host family residential stay. If students would prefer to stay with a host family, they may choose CISL’s San Diego Homestay program. This allows students to practice English with an American family and learn more about the day-to-day life of Americans.

Effective and Engaging Curriculum

Each of CISL’s programs focuses on improving students’ English skills. However, CISL goes above and beyond by also providing curriculum that improves student leadership skills and the ability to communicate in English in regard to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

6 Reasons to Study with CISL’s Junior Programs

Focus on American Culture

With CISL’s programs, students have the chance to participate in Cultural Workshops. These workshops, which are 1.5 hours long, introduce students to aspects of American culture. Students learn more about American history and community, providing them with an enriching experience in the country they call “home” for several weeks.

6 Reasons to Study with CISL’s Junior Programs

Fun Activities (Every Day!)

CISL provides activities every day of the week. Students have the opportunity to participate in physical activities, such as sporting events; relaxing events, such as beach days or shopping days; cultural activities, such as museum visits and neighborhood tours, and half-day and full-day excursions to surrounding areas such as New York and Boston (East Coast programs) and LA and San Diego (West Coast programs). Students who study in California also have the option of one-week “Best of Southwest” and “California Coast” trips.

6 Reasons to Study with CISL’s Junior Programs

Qualified and Dedicated Instructors

CISL’s 45 years of English instruction shows in its teachers, who are qualified not only to work with English learners but are also experienced working with the teenage demographic. In the CISL classroom (which never has more than 10 students), the teacher has the opportunity to work with each student individually, improving his or her confidence as a young adult while also improving his or her English skills.

6 Reasons to Study with CISL’s Junior Programs

To learn more about CISL’s Junior Programs, visit the CISL Junior Program website or contact CISL.