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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!


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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… 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!

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Career English Success Story: Katrin from Austria learns all about event planning!

May 17, 2016

What do Austria, mustaches, and marketing have in common? Everything (if you’re CISL Career English student Katrin!).

Katrin recently completed her Career English course with CISL. After taking classes at Converse to improve her English, Katrin worked with Gaslamp Event Management (GEM) in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. Katrin shared her positive experience with the CISL Blog.

For Katrin, the company was a perfect fit and the next logical step after university. She says, “I graduated this year in a commercial school in Austria and my main focus was management and business. So the company GEM was perfect for me because I was able to make a lot of experience and see how it works in the reality.”

With GEM, Katrin was able to work major events in SD. “The first event where I got an insight in the everyday life of an event manager was the San Diego Zombie Crawl on October 31 in Gaslamp. The second big event was the East Village MOvember Bash on November 21 which was planned by Club VIP.”

IMG_40394617302362 (1)

Work was fun, crazy, entertaining, and a great opportunity to see the inner workings of an event management company! “When I started the people worked on the preparations for the famous event ‘San Diego Zombie Crawl’ and ‘Monster Bash’. So for me it was the best chance to discover how the circle of an event is running.”

Katrin’s tasks were varied, giving her a lot of insight into the company and allowing her to develop skills in many areas of event planning. Katrin says, “There are so many things you have to think about! In this case I had the following tasks:

  • to inform myself about the background of the event and how it works
  • take care of the people who come into the office to pick up the tickets
  • to prepare a guest list/ list with vouchers
  • try to find out how the app for checking the people in works
  • establish collages of all the venues
  • promote the event on the pages of the venues
  • advertisement on different pages
  • update the ticketing website
  • watch the number of sold tickets
  • control the vouchers
  • take care of the VIP guest, making the packages for them
  • control the received payments”


As you can see, many of Katrin’s responsibilities involved speaking English a lot! She remembers, “October 31 I was responsible for the Check-In at Club AD. I had to scan the different kinds of tickets and to explain the guests details about event.” What a perfect way to meet native English speakers and interact with them!


In addition to improving her language skills, Katrin’s experience helped her to realize that this is the industry for her. “I had a lot of fun and the experience confirmed my purpose to work in this sector, definitely. I like to work in a team and to have contact with people.” We are happy to hear that this opportunity solidified her desire to work in marketing and event management!


Katrin’s next big event was for the MOvember Bash in the trendy Downtown neighborhood of East Village. Katrin explains, “The MOvember Bash is an event to change the face of men’s health. It is to benefit prostate cancer research and to erect a landmark sign in East Village. In this case I worked on the event from the beginning on, and so my main task were:

  • to search for pictures for the website
  • to look for the best pictures of the venues which participate
  • to think about the layout of the flyer (color, design, picture)
  • to collect ideas from different pages and events from last years – brainstorming
  • fix all the dates and times with the venues (the opening and closing times)
  • to learn how the program works for providing a website
  • to create the website and link all the venues and sponsores
  • to update and correct all the mistakes on the website
  • to look throw all the other pages which promote us and search for mistakes (times, dates, venues)
  • to fish for different possibilities for selling tickets
  • information sheet how the ticket sauce app works
  • to scrabble for newspaper, magazines and radio stations which can promote us
  • to go to East Village and distribute the flyers, cards and all the MOvember staff
  • at the day of the event I check in the people
  • to post the best of pictures on Instagram and Facebook”

Wow! Katrin says it “was such a great event and it is also for a good cause.” We totally agree!


When the last event was over, Katrin spent the last three weeks of her job doing work in the office. Her tasks included aiding with the owner’s modelling company, Downtown Dolls, creating collages for venues, creating new folders of the models, updating Excel sheets for past and future, shopping online for the office, updating social media, and writing the marketing reports for all events of the previous year. Sounds like very little time was spent doing the typical “intern” activity: getting coffee for the boss! 🙂

Katrin agrees that the experience was incredibly beneficial to her career and English skills. She says, “I learned how to start planning an event and which tasks are the most important. Not only [were] the work and the experience I earned fantastic, also the working climate was wonderful because we were a lot of young people from all over the world with different backgrounds, languages and religions. So summing up I can say it was a great working experience, a wonderful time and an amazing chance to improve my English!”

We are so happy and proud of you, Katrin! Best of luck in Austria!

To learn more about CISL’s Career English Course, click here.


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“Don’t Call it Frisco”: Words to Avoid if You’re a Real California English Speaker

May 15, 2016

On the CISL Blog, we love sharing California slang and ways to sound like a local. In addition to words you should use, there are some that you shouldn’t! It’s not a crime to use these words, but they are typically used by people who are from other parts of the U.S. If you’ve heard them, you’ve probably heard them from a non-local.

Slang Words to Avoid in California

Shortening words is classically Californian, but there are a few words that (as an unspoken rule) are never abbreviated.



If you’re from California, then California is California . . . not Cali!

Instead say: California, the Best Coast (a play on the words “West Coast”) or The Golden State

Image from Shutterstock.

Image from Shutterstock.


Nope. Never. Don’t do it.

Instead say: San Francisco, SF, City by the Bay, the Golden City

Heart Beach Love Girl Sunset California


Yes, “Northern California” is long . . . but NorCal is wrong.

Instead say: “Up north” (if you’re south), Northern California

California Hollywood Palm Tree


The same goes for SoCal. Shorter? Yes. Correct? Not to a local!

Instead say: “Down south” (if you’re north), Southern California

California Santa Monica Beach Pier

“The sea”

If you live close to a sea, then all water becomes “the sea.” In California, however, the water is “the ocean.” (Don’t worry: Californians have this problem when they travel too: the Mediterranean is often accidentally referred to as “the ocean” by Californians!)

Instead say: The water, the ocean, or the Pacific



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Career English student success: Antonio’s experience with an SD real estate company!

April 17, 2016

Are you interested in gaining work experience in English? With CISL’s Career English Program, students first attend classes to gain the English skills they need in the business environment. During this time, students work closely with the Career English Coordinator to find a company that meets their interests and career goals. After interviewing (in English!) students begin their time with an American company. It’s an exciting way to practice your English skills!

CISL student Antonio Blanco (from Spain) recently worked with Casas Advisors, a real estate company located in San Diego. Let’s hear about his experience!


Overall, Antonio had a wonderful time with his company.

“I have to say it was a really good experience. I was in a real estate company named Casas Advisors and, during my stay, I had to do different tasks as accounting work, making calls or visiting several houses. At the beginning the most difficult task for me was making calls. It seems really easy but it was so hard for me to understand people on the other side of the wire because you can ‘t see their faces when they are speaking. Anyway, after some calls, it was easier and I could to improve my listening a lot. “

In addition to improving his English skills, Antonio says he also gained valuable work experience.

“The task I liked more was ‘accounting work’ because, for the first time, I did something related what I studied…I wanted a company where I could develop my skills in Finance and Accounting, because I got a degree in ‘Business Administration’ and I liked the idea about putting in practice all I learnt.

I learnt as well a few things about how to deal with the clients. It is really important to know your clients and to know what they want. Sometimes they don’t even know what they want so it’s your turn to show them the best option for them. This kind of business could seem easy, to sell houses for people in need, but there is much more behind that. I am sure I can use in the future all the advice they have given me and I am very grateful for it.”

Antonio says he was also fortunate to forge meaningful relationships with his colleagues.

I was very lucky with my co-workers, they were always willing to help me in everything I needed and, as I said, they gave me valuable advises about how to run a business. It was very interesting to see all operational since someone wants a house until they definitely purchase it. I had the opportunity to visit some houses before they were sold so I can figure out how is the process until you show the perfect house to your clients.”

Would he do it all again? According to Antonio, “I can say I chose the best option for me, the co-workers helped a lot in all my tasks and I improved my accounting skills as [well as] my English. I would recommend this type of program to everyone who wanted to improve their English in a different way because it is really worth it.”

We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time with Casas Advisors, Antonio!

Would you like to work with an American company and perfect your English skills? Click here to learn about CISL’s Career English Program.