Nicknames for Santa + the Origin of the Word “Nickname”
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Nicknames for Santa + the Origin of the Word “Nickname”

The holiday season means delicious foods, celebrations, decorations, and the appearance of a strange man in a red suit who flies through the air with eight reindeer. Christmas is indeed a strange holiday! To celebrate, we are taking a look at this iconic figure, Santa Claus, and his many nicknames. The name “Santa Claus” is...

San Diego’s Comic-Con + Onomatopoeia
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San Diego’s Comic-Con + Onomatopoeia

If you’re a San Diegan, you know that July means more than just summer and beaches: it’s the month of ComicCon! What is ComicCon? This convention, held at the Downtown San Diego Convention Center, is the largest and most exciting convention of the year. Celebrities and fans come from all over the world to celebrate...

Phrasal verbs through comedy: Bill Engvall’s “Here’s Your Sign”
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Phrasal verbs through comedy: Bill Engvall’s “Here’s Your Sign”

Phrasal verbs are perhaps the least favorite thing for English students to study . . . but phrasal verbs can be fun if you learn them while watching comedy! Today we are looking at a short clip from Bill Engvall’s comedy routine “Here’s Your Sign.” In this clip, he uses several phrasal verbs. Before we...

“Thank You for Being a Friend” Lyrics and Vocabulary
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“Thank You for Being a Friend” Lyrics and Vocabulary

“By the way, I’m wearing the smile that you gave me.” -Unknown  It is important to be thankful, especially for those of us who are lucky enough to study abroad, make lifelong friends from other countries, and have the experience of a lifetime in California. As a reminder, we are looking at a classic American...

The Hollywood Sign + TOEFL Reading Section 1 Practice
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The Hollywood Sign + TOEFL Reading Section 1 Practice

In a previous article, we looked at the types of questions that students can encounter in the TOEFL Reading Section 1. Today we are applying this information to a practice test on an article about the history of one of the most famous California icons: The Hollywood Sign. This practice test contains all of the...

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Great movies about California (and awesome theaters in SD and SF!)

The sprawling vineyards, the beautiful beaches, the excitement of Los Angeles, the sophistication of San Francisco, the laid-back surfer culture of San Diego . . . it is no wonder that Hollywood uses California so often in its movies. There are thousands of movies set in California, but here is a list of ten movies...

International student activity: the Golden Gate Ferry and a day in Sausalito
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International student activity: the Golden Gate Ferry and a day in Sausalito

Need an idea for a day trip while you are studying English in San Francisco? We have you covered. Taking the ferry from San Francisco and spending the day in Sausalito is the perfect day trip! The Golden Gate Ferry is San Francisco’s water transportation system. The ferry takes travelers from the city to Larkspur...

Suggested CISL student activity: SF’s The Fillmore
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Suggested CISL student activity: SF’s The Fillmore

There is never a shortage of activities for CISL San Francisco students. Between Giants or A’s baseball games, museums, festivals, or simply exploring different neighborhoods, our students keep themselves quite busy! With all the local events, it is tough to choose a short list of suggested activities for visitors, but seeing a show at The...