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The 5 Best Sunset Views in SF + Sunset Color Vocab

June 21, 2017

California sunsets are one of the best things about living in this beautiful state. When you’re studying English in San Francisco, be sure to enjoy the sunset each evening! These locations offer the 5 best sunset views in SF.

How amazing are the sunsets in California? Take a look on Instagram and you’ll see! Each of these photos were posted within the last day, which shows how amazing the California sunsets are.

The 5 Best Sunset Views in SF

Twin Peaks


Wear comfortable shoes and grab a jacket: the wind at Twin Peaks can be strong, and the hike up is a bit of work! Once you’re at the top, you have stunning views of San Francisco. Stay after sunset and watch the lights of the city come on: this view is beautiful any time of the day.

Twin Peaks: 501 Twin Peaks Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA

Lands End

A post shared by Robert L. Gee (@_no.27_) on


Lands End is a park in San Francisco that has many hiking trails, including the famous oceanside California Coastal Trail. San Franciscans use this trail to run and hike, but they also take a moment to stop and enjoy the sunset from the beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Mile Rock Point and Mile Rock Beach.

Lands End: 680 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA

Bernal Heights Park (and Summit)

A post shared by Karen (@moxykk) on


Bernal Heights Park is built on a hillside, and its park and trails provide stunning 360 degree views of San Francisco. Enjoy the trails and the view past San Francisco: on a clear day, you can see surrounding cities in the Bay Area such as Daly City.

Bernal Heights Park: 3400-3416 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

Corona Heights Park

A post shared by David Olem (@davidolem) on


Corona Heights Park is next to the Castro and Corona Heights neighborhoods in SF. The views, which are unobstructed, allow visitors to see Twin Peaks, Downtown San Francisco, and beyond. Be careful: the steps leading up to the top do not have handrails, so it can be a little scary!

Corona Heights Park: Roosevelt Way & Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA

Alamo Square

A post shared by Steven Lemeshow (@slemeshow) on


This park has views of the most famous houses in San Francisco: the Painted Lady Victorian houses! Alamo Square Park was just renovated and re-opened in May, 2017. In addition to enjoying the architecture of the mansions surrounding the park, visitors can see San Francisco City Hall, Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge . . . and beautiful California sunsets! 

Alamo Square: surrounded by Webster Street (east), Golden Gate Avenue (north), Divisadero Street (west), and Fell Street (south)

Best Sunset Views in SF

Sunset Color Vocab

How do you describe the beautiful clouds, the amazing colors, and the effects of the ever-changing sunset over the Pacific Ocean waters? These colors will help you

Shade:

Definition: the intensity of a color (whether it has more light or dark to it).

Example: Look at the many shades of pink in tonight’s sunset!

Hue

Definition: a color or shade (similar to the word “shade” . . . although an artist could explain that they are different! For learning English, think of “hue” as a synonym for “shade” or “color”).

Example: Last night’s sunset had so many beautiful hues.

Color + ish (blueish, pinkish, etc.)

Definition: a color similar to the one used in the word, but not exactly the color. (Use this word when you don’t know the exact color you’re describing.)

Example: The sky was a blueish, purplish color: it was so lovely.

Stunning

Definition: very beautiful.

Example: What a stunning view . . . and sunset.

Ablaze

Definition: on fire.

Example: The sky was ablaze during the red and orange sunset.

Cast (verb)

Definition: to cause light or shadow to appear on a surface.

Example: The sun cast its light on the clouds and created a stunning sunset.

Ray

Definition: the streaks/lines of light (from the sun).

Example: The sun’s rays were shining through the clouds as it set.

Best Sunset Views in SF

Radiant

Definition: bright.

Example: The radiant sunset was impossible to capture in a photo. You had to be there to really see  it.

Crimson

Definition: a shade of red (often used to describe the sky).

Example: The crimson sky turned into a deep blue.

Glow

Definition: to shine brightly.

Example: It looked like the sky was glowing.

Trace

Definition: a hint of something; a touch of something.

Example: I could still see traces of orange in the sky an hour after the sun set.

Share your California sunset photos to Facebook and be sure to tag CISL and add #CISL to your photos!

Photos from Pixabay. 

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The Word ‘ALSO’ in English + Places You Should ALSO Visit While Studying in SF

May 1, 2017

Do you know how to correctly use the word “also” in English? It might be a small word (just four letters!) but it is used quite often. Today we are looking at how to use the word “also” in English; then we will look at this word in action by learning about some places you should “also” visit while studying English in San Francisco!

The Word ‘ALSO’ in English

We use the word “also” to add an agreement to a statement.

Examples:

  • Yesterday I went to Little Italy. I also went to Mission Beach.
  • I tried surfing and we also tried kite-boarding.
  • I took the TOEFL exam. I also took the IELTS exam. I know, I’m crazy!

Placing “also” in a sentence

The word “also” is placed in the sentence in relation to the sentence’s verb or verbs.

Use #1: With a “be” verb

The word “also” comes after the BE verb.

Examples:

  • My teacher is a Cambridge instructor. She is also an IELTS teacher.

Use #2: For all other verbs

For all other verbs, “also” is placed before the verb.

  • I tried fish tacos. I also tried a shrimp burrito.
  • My teacher taught us how to use phrasal verbs during the Cambridge Speaking Module. He also helped us learn how to naturally incorporate idioms into our speech.

Notice that these verbs are one-word verbs: in the examples above, we use “tried” and “helped,” which are in the past tense. What about verb tenses that are more complicated?

Use #3: For sentences with more complex verb tenses

For verb tenses that use two words, “also” goes between the two parts of the verb. Examples include the Present Continuous, Past Continuous, or Present Perfect. This also includes verbs that are used with modals.

  • You’ve been to the theater in SF? I’ve also been there!
  • I was also working out last night at the gym.
  • We could go check out Haight-Ashbury tonight. We could also explore the Mission District.
  • When you’re living in SF, you should definitely go to Dolores Park. You should also see the cool Comic Museum!

Places You Should ALSO Visit While Studying in SF

You’re probably going to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, Union Square, and Alcatraz. Chances are, you’re going to check out Golden Gate Park, ride a cable car, and explore neighborhoods like Haight-Ashbury and the Mission District. But we also suggest that you leave the city on occasion: there is so much to do and see outside of SF! The following suggestions are for day trips or weekend trips for SF residents. Have you visited these really great cities and locations?

Sausalito

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and you arrive in Sausalito, a charming seaside town with beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay. The city is famous for its houseboat community (almost 500 in total!) and is a lovely place to explore: check out the Marinship neighborhood’s waterfront and beach (you can rent canoes and kayaks!) and walk down Caledonia street for some excellent shopping. The city is filled with excellent restaurants and adorable cafes.

To most fun way to get to Sausalito is by ferry. Check out our post on Sausalito and the Golden Gate Ferry for more information.

Berkeley

The city is famous for many things: its prestigious university, its liberal community, and its hippie culture are just a few! Berkeley is considered the intellectual heart of California by many: you might feel smarter just walking along its streets! (We are joking . . . but we really do recommend walking down some of its streets, particularly famous Telegraph Avenue and Solano Avenue.)

Berkeley is easily accessed by public transportation: the BART station in Berkeley is located on Shattuck Avenue (very close to UC Berkeley).

Napa and Sonoma Valley

The most famous wine region in the United States is just a short trip from SF! Napa is the most popular of the two regions, but Sonoma also offers award-winning wines and beautiful scenery. Check out some of the tours you can book if you’d like to have a guide, or rent a bike for a closer view of the grapevines! The area also has charming towns to explore such as Yountville, Oakville, and Rutherford.

Before taking a trip to Napa, read our article on Wine Tasting Vocabulary.

Santa Cruz

The beach boardwalk, beautiful parks, and downtown are heavily influenced by California surfer and hippie cultures; these locations are some of the many reasons to visit Santa Cruz. Walk down the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and ride the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster, check out the beaches and watch the surfers, and then go hiking in the beautiful mountains and see the gorgeous pine trees.

The Highway 17 Express bus will take you from San Jose to Santa Cruz in about an hour. Check out the Santa Clara Valley Transport Authority for more information.

Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay’s beaches, water sports, fishing, and hiking make it a popular destination for many Northern Californians. Explore one of California’s most charming seaside towns (and be sure to enjoy some of the Pacific Ocean’s fresh seafood)!

The best way to get to Bodega Bay is by car (it’s less than 1 1/2 hours driving). For information on how to rent a car, read our post on Renting a Car as an English Student. With public transportation, the bus takes about 3 hours: take Bus 72 towards North (from the Perry Street stop) to the Santa Rosa Transit Mall (Second St. and B. St. stop). From the Santa Rosa Transit Mall, take Bus 95 towards Point Arena (Northbound) to the Highway 1 and Tides Inn stop at Bodega Bay.

 

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Best bike routes in SD and SF + biking vocabulary

October 17, 2016

There are so many ways to enjoy nature and stay in shape while studying English at CISL San Diego or CISL San Francisco. From the running routes to the hiking trails to the yoga classes, there is always something to do that will keep you in shape!

Another great way to exercise while you are an international student in California is by biking. San Diego and San Francisco both have great bike paths to help you see the cities while exercising. Check out some of the best sites to plot your next ride, but before you do, be sure to learn some bicycling vocabulary!

Bike paths in San Diego

It probably isn’t surprising that many of the bike paths in San Diego are near the ocean. Ride with the ocean breeze in your face and the smell of the salty sea in the air, and make sure to stop along the way to enjoy some of the boutique shops and beautiful natural sights!

Mission Bay’s scenic 12-mile route

CISL students love the Mission Bay ride, which is 12 miles in total. The many bike rental companies in Mission Beach make it easy to rent a bike if you don’t have one! Check out the City of San Diego’s website for an excellent article about the Mission Bay Bike Ride.

Bike.Biking.Bicycle.Sun.Summer.Beach

San Diego Union Tribune’s Guide

The local SD newspaper, the San Diego Union Tribune, has published an excellent guide to biking. This detailed article provides information on the level of difficulty for each trail, tips on where you can stop for bathroom breaks, and other pertinent information such as where to park, things to look out for (such as traffic, or pets on the trail), and ways to extend the trail if you’re not tired once you’ve reached your destination.

Silver Strand Bikeway

This trail, which takes you from Coronado to Imperial Beach, is a favorite for San Diegans (it can also be walked)! Choose between starting or ending in Coronado, home of the famous Hotel del Coronado and the beach voted the Best Beach in the U.S.

>Coronado.HoteldelCoronado.Beach.Hotel

Bayshore Bikeway

Are you ready for a strenuous ride? Check out the Bayshore Bikeway! This route, which is recommended by the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, is a total of 24 miles: 13 of these miles are car-free, and the remainder is on designated bike lanes or bike routes. After a ferry ride across the San Diego Bay, your route begins at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Cyclists go through Coronado, the Silver Strand, Imperial Beach, and Chula Vista before ending Downtown.

SanDiego.Harbor.Bay.Downtown.Skyline.Sail.Sailing.Boat.Coronado

Bike paths in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito

See the iconic bridge in an entirely different way with this famous cycling trip! Starting in San Francisco, make your way across the bridge and ending in charming Sausalito. (Don’t forget to enjoy the view from this side of the Bay!) Numerous cycling companies offer bike rentals and tours.

GoldenGate.SF.SanFrancisco.Bay

SF Gate’s Guide to Flat Routes in SF

Don’t want to bike uphill in a city known for its steep terrain? Check out SF Gate’s excellent Guide to Flat Routes in SF. The secret to avoiding the hills? Knowing when to turn off of heavily traveled streets onto smaller, less-traveled ones in a way that avoids inclines. These routes are known to locals as “wiggles” and, according to SF Gate, “The best known of these serpentines is the one Weiss now correctly uses to connect central Market, via the path behind Safeway and through the Lower Haight, to the Panhandle and the western neighborhoods beyond.”

Couple.Dating.HoldingHands.Bike.Bicycle.Love.Relationship

SFist’s Guide to Bike Paths

In addition to some of the more popular routes, SFist’s Guide to SF Bike Paths provides routes that are slightly lesser known, such as the beautiful Baker Beach ride that’s just 5 miles from the Panhandle. Locals know best!

Bike Vocabulary

bike

Do you know each of these words? If not, look them up!

Bike parts

  • Handlebars
  • Pedals
  • Gears
  • Brakes
  • Spokes

Verbs

  • To pedal
  • To brake
  • To switch (gears)
  • To pump (tires)

 

 

American Traditions California Life Featured San Francisco San Francisco Travel Tips Suggested student activities

“Leaf” expressions + fall activities

October 5, 2016

“To ask why we fall in love is to ask why the leaves fall. And to ask how we stay in love is to ask how the trees stay.”
-Jinvirle

Fall is here! With this season comes fall traditions, such as Halloween, pumpkin carving, haunted houses, Thanksgiving, and the famous pumpkin spice latte that many Americans love. With all of these traditions and the beautiful fall weather, it’s a great time to be an international student in California!

The season American call “fall” is also known as “autumn.” Why is it called “fall?” Because the leaves fall during this time of year! To celebrate, we are looking at some English expressions with “leaf” and then providing our students with suggestions for things to do in San Diego and San Francisco this fall.

Fall.Leaves.Trees.Nature

Leaf Expressions

To turn over a new leaf

Definition: to start over, to act in a different manner or change your attitude about something.

Example: We had a difficult beginning to our work relationship, but I’m willing to turn over a new leaf and work together on this new project.

Leaf through

Definition: phrasal verb with leaf; to quickly turn the pages of a book or a magazine, reading only a little of it.

Example: I leafed through the magazine and decided not to buy it.

Read.Reading.Book.TOEFL.IELTS.CAE.FCE

Shaking like a leaf

Definition: shaking and trembling from fright.

Example: I was so nervous before my interview. I was shaking like a leaf!

Make like a tree and “leaf”

Definition: an English joke: “leaf” sounds like “leave,” so the expression should be “make like a tree and leave.” The expression “Make like a BLANK and BLANK” is common in English.

Example: This guy is annoying me. He needs to make like a tree and leaf!

apples

 

Fall activities in SF

Take a wine tour

As the leaves on the vines turn beautiful colors, Napa becomes a beautiful place! Harvest is over and the vineyard workers are eager to talk about what they think the newest vintage will be like. Visit the tasting rooms, snap some photos of the colorful landscapes, and learn all about this world-famous wine region. Check out our Guide to Napa Valley for some suggestions for this road trip, and make sure to learn some wine tasting vocabulary before your visit!

Vineyard.Napa.Winery.Sonoma.California.Agriculture.Grape.Vine

Visit a haunted house

Haunted houses pop up throughout the city in October and yes, people are crazy enough to be paid to be scared! Haunted houses are like interactive theaters where people walk through the (very scary!) production. The costumes and the acting are incredible! Be sure to check out our article on the most haunted places in San Diego and San Francisco and our guide to the best haunted houses in San Diego, which includes the impressive Balboa Park Haunted Trail.

https://www.facebook.com/TheHauntedHotel/photos/pb.127686245387.-2207520000.1414314242./10152331648625388/?type=3&theater

Photo from The Haunted Hotel SD.

Take a trip to a pumpkin patch

Take part in this fun Halloween tradition of choosing your pumpkin from a pumpkin patch and then carving a face or design into it! Our Guide to Pumpkin Carving includes all of the tools and steps necessary to carve your own pumpkin, but check out the Activity Calendars for CISL San Diego and CISL San Francisco to see if CISL is also hosting its own pumpkin carving!

Halloween.Pumpkin.Carving.Holiday

See a football game

Football season is synonymous with fall! Visit a high school, college, or professional game and take part in this American tradition. If you’re a CISL San Diego student, check out the Chargers: CISL San Francisco students have their choice of the San Francisco 49ers or the Oakland Raiders.

Football.Game.Sports.Fan

Check out the festivals

Wine festivals, film festivals, food festivals . . . you name it, and there’s a festival for it this fall! Check out the San Diego and SF Travel websites for a list of festivals.

 

Want to learn a little more about fall? Check out some of our fall-related articles!

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Running vocabulary + running routes in San Francisco

September 21, 2016

San Franciscans are some of the most in-shape people in the U.S., and it’s no wonder why: the city’s abundant farmer’s markets selling fresh California produce and the numerous parks and open spaces suit those who love the outdoors! San Francisco’s terrain and cool weather also make it a runner’s paradise. Whether you’re a novice or a marathon runner, you’ll find a route that works for you in SF. Here are some suggestions for websites, articles, and apps to help you run in San Francisco.

GoldenGate.SF.SanFrancisco.Bay

 

Running Routes in San Francisco

Map My Run

http://www.mapmyrun.com/us/san-francisco-ca/

These maps include details of the route length and elevation. Routes are plotted on a large map of the city, so you can easily see where the routes are located.  The mobile app is excellent!

 

Strava

https://www.strava.com/local/us/san-francisco/running/routes

Routes include a map, photos, length, elevation, and a description of the route and its highlights.

 

Refinery

http://www.refinery29.com/running-routes

Beginner, intermediate, and advanced routes are mapped out for you in this informative article.

 

 

Running Vocabulary

Beach.Run.Exercise

Warm up

Definition: to do movements that prepare the body for intense exercise. Warming up prevents injury because it prepares the muscles for a workout.

Example: We suggest that you warm up for about ten minutes before you begin running.

Cool down

Definition: movements that help the muscles relax after an intense workout. Walking and light stretching are examples.

Example:  To cool down, we walked through the park after our run.

Pace

Definition: the speed in which you run.

Example: My pace has increased a lot since I learned how to control my breathing.

Perspiration

Definition: sweat!

Example: A little perspiration is good for you!

Endurance

Definition: the ability to exercise for a longer period of time.

Example: He is a great endurance runner, but he’s a very short sprinter.

Sprint

Definition: to run very fast, usually for short distances.

Example: We sprinted at the end of the race.

 

Check out some of our other articles about exercising while you are an international student in California!