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California Dreaming! A look at CISL’s Jr. Program California Coastal Trip

November 29, 2016

CISL offers English summer camps for teens in locations throughout the United States, including East Coast camps at prestigious Yale and Georgetown University and West Coast camps in sunny San Diego, exciting Los Angeles, and unique UC Berkeley!

After 2 or 3 weeks of English studies, students at our Los Angeles teen camp (held at beautiful Loyola Marymount University) have the option of taking our one-week California Coastal Trip, which gives students the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful cities and beaches in California. What’s on the itinerary for 2017? Check it out!

LMU Junior Program’s California Coastal Trip, 2017

Day 1 (July 15, 2017): From LA to SF!

Students begin their day in beautiful LA and end in San Francisco: this trip is already off to a great start! Students meet in the morning at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and then head north to SF. The San Francisco adventure begins by exploring iconic Union Square.

americas_greatest_city_by_the_bay_at_union_square_san_francisco_ca

San Francisco’s bustling Union Square is an excellent place for shopping and people watching.

Day 2 (July 16, 2017): The Best of SF

Students enjoy the “Best of San Francisco” tour, which includes visits to Downtown, Twin Peaks, Lombard Street, Presidio Park, and the Golden Gate Bridge before stopping at Fisherman’s Wharf. After exploring Fisherman’s Wharf, students take a walking tour of beautiful Chinatown for shopping, dinner, and free time.

Photo source.

The smell of the sea air and excitement of city life come together at beautiful Fisherman’s Wharf.

chinatown-lantern

Chinatown is rich in history, culture . . . and incredible food!

Day 3 (July 17, 2017): Bay Cruise + Exploring SF

It’s time to see San Francisco from a different perspective: the water! Students embark on a Bay Cruise and have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and see the SF skyline from the San Francisco Bay.

GoldenGate.SF.SanFrancisco.Bay

Many travel over the Golden Gate . . . but how many have traveled UNDER it???

That afternoon, students have the option of the following:

  • Renting bicycles and riding along the San Francisco Bay
  • Shopping at Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, and the Galleria
  • Exploring Haight-Ashbury for a trip back to the 60s
  • Taking a ride in one of SF’s iconic cable cars
San Francisco Cable Car Bay View

Don’t leave SF without taking a ride in one of these historic cable cars!

Students then meet up again at the Hard Rock Cafe for a final dinner in San Francisco. Although it’s sad to say goodbye to this amazing city, the rest of California awaits!

Day 4 (July 18. 2017): Monterey to Carmel to Santa Barbara!

It’s time to see another stunning coastal city of California: Monterey! Students leave for this beautiful town in the morning and spend several hours exploring the Monterey Pier, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the California souvenir shop.

fishermans-wharf-Monterey-CA-California-Coastal-Trip-Teens

Many tourists visit locations such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, but few are lucky enough to explore cities like Monterey, which is a beloved gem to Californians.

After having lunch in adorable Carmel, students head to Santa Barbara and spend the evening exploring its charming Downtown.

Santa.Barbara.Beach.Water

Day 5 (July 19, 2017): Santa Barbara Beaches and Fun

After waking up in gorgeous Santa Barbara, students relax on its sunny and sandy beaches and have the choice of the following:

  • Enjoying a quiet beach day
  • Learning how to surf
  • Renting bikes or roller-blades

Surf.Surfing.Beach.Sunset.Water

The day of the fun in the sun ends with an evening strolling through beautiful Downtown Santa Barbara to see why this city is called “The American Riviera.”

Day 6 (July 20, 2017): Santa Barbara Morning; LA Evening

Visit-Santa-Barbara

Beach fun continues on the last day of the trip! Students head back to the Santa Barbara beach in the morning and then go shopping at the outstanding Camarillo outlets: the deals on designer clothing are crazy!

While heading back to Los Angeles, the trip makes two stops at beautiful, must-see locations in California: star-studded Malibu Beach and breathtaking Santa Monica. The day ends back in Los Angeles for some relaxation before heading home.

Hollywood.Sign.LA.LosAngeles

Day 7 (July 21, 2017): Final Goodbyes/See You Next Year!

English-Junior-Program-Teens-California

Students say goodbye to the friends they’ve made on this trip and then head back to their home countries with souvenirs, photos, memories to last a lifetime . . . and the ability to speak English confidently!

Would you like more information on CISL’s Junior Programs or the California Coastal Tour? Check out these resources:

Dining Featured Student Activities Student Life Suggested student activities

Weekend getaway: exploring Portland (+ some Portland slang!

November 24, 2016

Living and studying English in San Francisco or San Diego is a dream to many international students: the cities are alive with options for activities, festivals, shopping, eating, socializing . . . the list goes on and on! As great as SD and SF are, we encourage our students to see more of the U.S.: there is so much to see in this large and diverse country! One weekend destination we highland recommend is Portland, Oregon.

Portland is the largest city of Oregon, which is the state above California. The city is known for its unique and cool vibe: residents are laid-back, eco-friendly people who love nature and outdoor activities. Coffee and beer scenes are big in Portland, so there’s always a cool cafe or bar to relax in, and the hip music scene means that there are plenty of concerts to attend. Portland is a fun and exciting place!

It is easy to travel to Portland from SD or SF: just book a short flight (if you book in advance, you can get great deals) and you can arrive by late Friday afternoon/early Friday evening after your last CISL class. Here are some of the many things you can check out!

Weekend getaway: Exploring Portland!

Downtown and Willamette River

hawthornebridge-pano

“Keep Portland Weird” is the unofficial slogan of the city, so be prepared to see some unique and hilarious things (and people) when Downtown. Portland’s Downtown is small and easy to walk: check out the bars and restaurants on Hawthorn Street and the shops and galleries on Alberta Street.

coffeeshop_in_downtown_portland_maine

If you’re interested in a little more culture, check out the Portland Art Museum and enjoy the Asian, American, and Native American art collection before heading over to the Tom Call Waterfront Park for some fresh air (and possibly some exercise: there are many paved walkways and bicycle paths!). Have a picnic in the many grassy areas and enjoy the view of the Willamette River, and then stroll through the beautiful Lan Su Chinese Garden. Architecture lovers: be sure to stop and enjoy Steel Bridge, which is a famous landmark.

Enjoy the food and drink scene

Beer.Tasting.Brew.Brewery.Drink

There are over 30 breweries in Portland: grab a glass! The food truck scene is also thriving in Portland, so be sure and check out one of the local vendors for something tasty, like the delicious Mexican cuisine from La Jarochita (5th Ave and Oak St, Downtown), the mouth-watering porchetta sandwiches from Lardo, and Belgian fries at their best at Potato Champion. Not sure where to find food trucks? Check out Downtown’s Mississippi Avenue: it usually has a nice collection of local vendors.

StreetFood.Food.Vendor.FoodTruck foodtruck1

Relaxing with museums and nature

Learn a little about the history of the area at the Oregon Historical Society, and then spend the day exploring some of Portland’s many gardens! Check out The Grotto, a Catholic garden which has beautiful and serene gardens and a Pieta replica (pictured below). Then take a cab to Mount Tabor, which is a park that covers an extinct volcano. Pretty cool! Also cool? The gorgeous views from the top.

the_grotto_portland_8076781321

To plan your trip to Portland, Oregon, check out some of these useful websites:

Portland Slang

If you’re heading to Portland, make sure you know the local lingo! Here are some words that you need to know!

Pods

Pods are collections of food carts.  (We told you the food cart/food truck scene in Portland was strong!)

The Max

“The Max” is short for TriMet Metropolitan Area Express, the public transportation light rail that connects Portland to surrounding areas. You can even take it to and from the airport!

Stumptown, P-Town, Puddletown, Portlandia

Some of the many nicknames for Portland!

For more Portland slang, check out this great article “10 Slang Terms You Must Learn to Live in Portland.”

 

American Traditions California Life CISL San Diego CISL San Francisco Dining Featured Grammar Holidays San Diego San Francisco Student Activities

Grammar Lesson of the Month: Preposition/gerund combinations + things a CISL student can be thankful for

November 1, 2016

November 1st marks the day that Americans put away their Halloween decorations (and costumes!) and turn their focus to the next exciting holiday: Thanksgiving! Many Americans consider this to be their favorite holiday because of the warm traditions surrounding it: dinner with friends and family, lots of delicious home-cooked food, and a holiday focused on spending time with loved ones and being thankful for our blessings.

Thanksgiving.Food

A Thanksgiving tradition is to say what you are thankful for as you eat traditional Thanksgiving dishes. This is an excellent way to practice gratitude . . . and it is also a great way to practice a common grammatical construction in English: saying you are thankful for something uses the construction adjective + preposition + noun (gerund).

Here are some examples of this construction.

  • I am thankful for having dinner with my family. (gerund)
  • I am thankful for spending time with my friends and family. (gerund)
  • I am thankful for being healthy. (gerund)
  • I am thankful for not working on this holiday. (gerund)
  • I am thankful for my job. (noun)
  • I am thankful for my Mom’s delicious pie! (noun)

Note that with the negative example, we use the construction adjective + preposition + not + gerund.

Grammar English

Adjective + preposition + gerund combinations

Here are just a few of the many adjective + preposition + gerund combinations we have in English. Can you think of example sentences? Some suggestions are below.

  • afraid of
  • bored of
  • committed to
  • excited about
  • famous for
  • guilty of
  • happy about

Here are some examples using these combinations.

  • Afraid of. She was afraid of taking public transportation when she first arrived. But then she read our Guide to Public Transport in SD and SF and now she’s a pro!
  • Bored of. He was bored of doing grammar lessons and not speaking much in class. Then he switched to our school, CISL, and now he’s much happier.
  • Committed to. Our teachers are committed to providing our students with the best educational experience possible as an international student in California!
  • Excited about. I’m excited about celebrating the upcoming holidays. I just read the Guide for Shopping in SD and now I know exactly where to go!
  • Famous for. San Diego is famous for having beautiful weather all year, but did you know that it also has some great skiing just a few hours away?
  • Guilty of. We went to the SD Courthouse to watch a court hearing, and the man was found guilty of violating parole.
  • Happy about. He was happy about scoring so high on the CAE exam.

Things a CISL student can be thankful for

As an international student learning English at CISL San Diego or CISL San Francisco, you have so much to be thankful for! Here are just some of the things our students said they most appreciate.

Heart Beach Love Girl Sunset California

Great classmates and friends

With such a diverse student population (check out our nationality mixes for SD and SF!), CISL students have a diverse classroom of students. At break and after school, it’s not uncommon to mingle with students from around the world. What an exciting and unique opportunity!

Photo.Friend.Friends.Students.Park.Picture.Selfie.Instagram

Quality instruction

CISL teachers have advanced degrees and years of experience teaching English to international students. In addition, many have also lived and worked or studied abroad, so they understand what life is like for an international student!

Student.Question.Class.Teacher.FAQ

A beautiful city

How can you not be thankful when you are surrounded by the beauty of San Diego or San Francisco? From the unique neighborhoods like Little Italy, Chinatown, the Mission, or Gaslamp to places like Dolores Park or Balboa Park, there is always something new to explore.

San Diego

New experiences daily

Speaking of exploring, both San Diego and San Francisco provide students with the most exciting events, festivals, and activities. Check out a local happy hour, attend the next film or music festival, or check out CISL’s Activities Calendar to see what fun events CISL has planned for you. Of course, there’s always the beach!

Beach.Friends.Selfie.Summer.Photo

Real-life English practice

Living in the U.S. is a priceless opportunity to meet and mingle with native speakers. Learning doesn’t end when class is over each day: with your new friends from around the world and your after-school and weekend social activities, you are continually practicing your English while a student at CISL. Fun AND learning at the same time, in beautiful places and with wonderful people? That’s a lot to be thankful for!

 

 

California Life Dining San Francisco San Francisco Travel Tips Student Activities Suggested student activities

SF’s SoMa “StrEat” Food Park + Ordering Vocabulary

August 16, 2016

San Francisco is known as being a hub of cultures, so it comes as no surprise that you can find incredible food in the City by the Bay! But after checking out the clam chowder bowls of Pier 39, eating some chocolate from Ghirardelli, and trying some of the fusion restaurants in San Francisco, there’s something else CISL international students must try: the SoMa StrEat Food Park.

foodtruck1

SoMa “StrEat” Food Park

This unique concept includes 10 vendors who come together to sell their treats in the same location. The area, located in SoMa, offers much more than just food: games, music, and even free WiFi are available for customers! Try something from one vendor, grab a side from another, and then dessert from a third . . . the options won’t be the same next week, because the vendors will change! For that reason, it’s best to attend the SoMa StrEat Food Park VERY hungry!

SoMa StrEat Food Park

Photo from SoMa StrEat Food Park

SoMa StrEat Food Park 

428 11th St
San Francisco, CA
94103

11 am – 3 pm 
5 pm – 9 pm 

Website

Facebook

 

Restaurant.Burger.Burgers.Fries.Order.Food

Vocabulary for Ordering in the U.S.

Before you head over to SoMa, make sure that you know how to order your meal! Do you know how to order, from start to finish? Check out these commonly used expressions.

Beginning your order

May I please have a _____?

One _____, please. 

Could I please get a _____?

Asking for advice

Don’t know what to order? Ask them for the recommendations?

Hmmm, I’m not sure. What’s good here?

What do you recommend?

This is my first time here. What’s popular?

What’s your specialty?

Burger.Cheeseburger.Beer.Food

Specializing your order

Could I please have  . . . on the side?

No ______, please.

Could I add _____ to that?

Can I substitute _____ for _____?

 

Questions about ordering

Do I pick it up here, or will you bring the food to me?

Will you call my name?

Where are the napkins and condiments?

Restaurant.Order.Food.Coffee.Cafe

Paying

Can I pay with a card?

Do I pay now, or later?

 

Where are your favorite places to eat in SF? Tell us on Facebook!

 

 

California Life Featured San Diego Student Activities Suggested student activities Vocabulary

Beach activities + beach vocabulary

August 10, 2016

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”
—Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

Whether you are on dry land or in the water, there is always something to do at the beach! How many of these activities have you tried as a CISL student in beautiful California? Equally as important, how many of these beach-related vocabulary words do you know? Check out our Activities Calendar to see if we are organizing events such as surfing, beach trips, or other excursions. There is always something happening at CISL!

Beach activities on dry land . . .

Tan/sunbathe

Beach.Friends.Selfie.Summer.Photo

Soak in the San Diego sun (and snap a few selfies while you’re there)! The only “problem” with sunbathing? Deciding which beach to go to! Check out our article The Personalities of San Diego’s Beaches to learn a little about the more popular locations in San Diego.

Play beach volleyball

Volleyball-SanDiego-ESL

Grab some friends and make a team, or join a team that’s already playing! Our Beach Volleyball Guide gives suggestions for places in SD to play volleyball: check out this article and learn all about this fun beach sport.

Play paddleball

Paddleball.Beach.Game.Fun.Friends

All you need are paddles, a ball, and a friend for this popular beach pastime!

Explore the tide pools

TidePools.PointLoma.LaJolla.Beach

Both La Jolla and Point Loma have beautiful tide pools for you to explore. Check them out and see what marine life you can find! Our article on End of Summer Activities for Students provides you all the information you need.

 

Beach activities in the water . . .

Bodysurf

Body.Surf.Beach.Water.Wave.Summer

Would you like to bodysurf? All you need is your body, and a wave! As we all know, California’s beaches have plenty of waves for you to catch!

Boogie board

Boogie.Board.Wave.Surf.Water.Beach

A boogie board is a small board that is used to catch waves. Instead of standing up, as in surfing, riders hold onto the board and ride the waves on their stomach. Super fun!

Surf

Surf.Surfer.Surfing.Water.Wave.Ocean

This beach activity is classically Californian, and incredibly popular among Southern Californians. Before you take a surfing lesson, pick up some “surfer speak” by reading our article on Surfing Slang.

Kayak

Kayaking

Many beaches in San Diego have small companies that rent kayaks (and give kayaking tours)! Check out the calmer waters of Mission Bay, or take a guided classes in the open waters of La Jolla and explore the caves, which are only accessible by water.

Kitesurf

Kitesurf.Fun.Beach.Windsurf.Ocean.Summer

The ocean beaches provide the perfect place for kitesurfing, and several companies in San Diego provide lessons and rentals. Coronado’s waters have become very popular for this extreme sport, so if you’re too intimated to try it, you can at least watch from the safety of the beach!

Stand Up Paddleboard

Paddleboard.Paddel.Beach.Water

Stand Up Paddleboard, often called SUP, is another fairly new water sport. Try it with a friend or, if you’re crazy, try it while doing yoga! SUP Yoga is all the rage.

Snorkel

Snorkel.Beach.Surf.Sun.Summer.Ocean.Sand.Waves

Explore beneath the water’s edge and see the beautiful plants and marine life of the Pacific Ocean. Bring a disposable underwater camera and take some selfies with schools of fish!

 

 

Photos licensed from Shutterstock.