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Featured Student Life Vocabulary

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?

 

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!

 

Career English Featured Student Life

CISL Career English Student Emanuela Experiences the Biomedical Research Industry

January 29, 2018

Career English Course San Diego California

People often say that the American business model and work environment is different than in other countries . . . but exactly how is it different? With CISL’s Career English program, students have the opportunity to experience the U.S. work environment by spending time at an American host company. Italian student Emanuela recently completed the CISL Career English program and shared her experience with us. We are pleased to see the many ways in which she improved her English through written and spoken tasks!

CISL Career English Student Emanuela Experiences the BioMedical Research Industry

Emanuela had two interviews: one at Constance Ardila, and one at BioMed IRB. Emanuela recalls that she was “positively astounded by Grace’s [the Career English Coordinator] fast ability to find work placements and interviews.”

Before the interviews, Emanuela worked with the Career English Coordinator to prepare. Was she ready? According to Emanuela, the interview experience was “absolutely positive. I felt prepared and the interviewer . . . made me feel comfortable and asked me different questions.”

As Emanuela mentions, there was a need for her to prepare: “For sure, I can say that the way the Career English Coordinator, Grace Turner, helped me to prepare my interviews was really useful; in fact, there is a wide difference between the American and the Italian way to conduct interviews. In addition, Grace also guided me to produce my Cover Letter and my resume.”

After the interviews, Emanuela chose BioMed IRB. “This was a smart choice, because this non-profit company is well-known and its name on a resume is well-seen.” What did she do during her time there? Emanuela details her experiences at the company.

Career English Course San Diego California

“During my experience at BioMed IRB, I had the opportunity to work in a wide variety of tasks:

  • reviewing some old email and check[ing] with the BioMed’s database if there was any missing document;
  • send[ing] email to some customers and call[ing] some of them;
  • reviewing the drafts of the old meetings and verifying that what is written on them corresponds to the invoices on the BioMed’s database with the same date;
  • translation from English to Italian of some official document[s] of FDA;
  • research related with Marco Polo and the spread of the plague in the 13th century;
  • every Thursday I have attended the BioMed’s meetings by computer; this is definitely my favorite part of the work”

Emanuela also completed the company’s CITI program, where she says she learned the following:

  • “writing a mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA);
  • scanning and modifying some document by putting an online stamp of acknowledge and uploading them on their online database;
  • understanding, through an online course, the issue of “patentability” regarding ideas and technologies
  • writing an essay in English and Italian about the scientific method”

Overall, Emanuela says that she really enjoyed her responsibilities. “The two tasks I have enjoyed are: attending the meeting and the CITI program. In fact, attending a meeting by computer is not only interest[ing] because of the topic they vote on, but it’s also a really good practice to improve my listening skills. Furthermore, completing successfully the CITI program and obtaining the official certification are clearly worthy for the resume; also, the issues I studied for it were all strictly related with my major and useful for my future.”

Career English Course San Diego California

Emanuela continues, “In conclusion, my experience was absolutely positive: the work environment is small, but friendly; my supervisor, Fred Fox, has showed good attitude and interest in teaching me every day something new. Everything I have done on my volunteer work was related with biomedical issues.”

Would she recommend the CISL Career English Program?

“I would completely recommend the CISL Career English program to potential students because it is a good experience.” The outcomes, Emanuela says, include “ being more confident on a work environment, especially for someone who has never worked before” and “meeting and being confident with an American work environment.” Overall, Emanuela sees that the CE Program “is absolutely good for the resume, especially for European.”

We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your experience with CISL’s Career English program, Emanuela! We wish you all the best in your career in Italy and look forward to seeing how you use your English in the future!

CISL’s Career English program is a combination of English classes and time at an American host company. For more information on CISL’s Career English course, contact CISL.

Featured Lessons Student Life

Why Your English Isn’t Improving

November 20, 2017

Why Your English Isn't Improving

Do you study and study English but feel like your language skills are not improving? Perhaps you are making some of these very common mistakes.

Why Your English Isn’t Improving

You aren’t getting enough practice speaking

Speaking skills can be some of the most difficult to improve, mainly because it requires many hours of speaking practice to see real improvement. Are you interacting with native English speakers in real-life environments?

Why Your English Isn't Improving

You aren’t making it a part of your daily routine

Change your phone’s language to English. Follow English speaking accounts on Instagram. Always watch movies or TV shows with English subtitles. In short, make sure that English surrounds you!

Why Your English Isn't Improving

You aren’t thinking in English

A common (and understandable) mistake that many English learners make is trying to translate exact sentences and phrases into their native language (or vise versa). Once you realize that English will never directly translate to your native language, you will begin thinking in English. This will greatly help you improve your skills.

Why Your English Isn't Improving

You’re too nervous

It is also common to be nervous to speak English, but this feeling will only hurt your progress! Remind yourself that language learning is a process and that it is OK to make mistakes. Be sure to surround yourself with people who support your language learning and provide you with constructive criticism.

Why Your English Isn't Improving

You aren’t fixing fossilized errors

“Fossilized errors” are mistakes that we make again and again. Is there an English tense that you struggle with? Or a sound that’s difficult to pronounce? Perhaps you have a difficult time with certain irregular verbs? Or maybe phrasal verbs make your head spin? Identify your weaknesses and then work hard to fix them. Speaking without worrying about these mistakes will allow you to communicate confidently!

Converse International School of Languages has provided quality English language instruction to international students in San Francisco and San Diego since 1973. To learn more about our intensive programs and our small classes (no more than 8 students per class; 4 students in our premier programs) contact CISL.

 

Featured Student Life

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

November 13, 2017

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

Moving to the U.S. to study English is an exciting opportunity. For many, it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Make the most of your time in the U.S. and avoid these 5 common mistakes international students make. After 45 years of providing English instruction, we at CISL continue to see these mistakes made again and again!

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

Speaking their native language

It’s very easy to speak your native language, especially if there is some in your residence hall or at your school who speaks your language. Remind yourself DAILY why you are here: to learn English! This means speaking English to everyone, not just people who do not speak your native language. Remember: every conversation you have is a chance to improve your speaking skills.

Not going on activities

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

At CISL, we provide organized activities nearly every day of the week. These activities are an excellent way to see more of San Diego and San Francisco; they are also a wonderful way to meet other students from the school and interact with the CISL staff. Activities often provide access to museums, parks, and events at a discounted rate. Check with the Front Desk and see what’s planned for this month, and don’t miss out on the fun!

Missing local events

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

Sometimes, students are so overwhelmed with moving to a new city that they forget to really enjoy it. Don’t just learn the public transportation systems and where to buy groceries: learn about the fun things happening in your new neighborhood! Check out the Instagram pages of local neighborhoods, search online for local events, and visit local cafes and look for flyers. Immerse yourself into your new environment and you will soon feel like an important part of your new community.

Not disconnecting

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

With today’s technology, we are always connected: WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are just some of the many ways we stay in touch with friends and family! But don’t forget that you sometimes need to disconnect from the digital world in order to truly enjoy the world around you. It would be a shame to look back on your time in California and remember being on your phone instead of remembering being in a place.

Not exploring the new city

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

Your new city will have many new neighborhoods to explore: see them all! Don’t get stuck staying in your new community; remember to explore everything the city has to offer. With public transportation and ride services such as Uber and Lyft, you are connected to all parts of your new place. Explore!