Table Tennis Tournament at LSI London Hampstead

April 14th, 2014

The Winners with their Trophy

Deep inside the depths of our school in London Hampstead, it’s possible to discern the faint tap tap tapping of a table tennis ball in constant motion. This year’s table tennis tournament has proved to be highly popular and hotly contested by both the LSI staff and students. For weeks before the tournament started competitors found themselves vying for time slots to hone their skills. Due to the high numbers of entrant (twenty-four in total!) it was decided to make it a doubles tournament. Spread over an entire week, disappointed contestants were knocked out in first rounds, quarter finals and semi-finals. Nicely representing different sections of the LSI population, students Yusuke Yamauchi and Kota Kimura, both from Japan, faced teachers James Butcher and Michael Sisley in the finals. With fellow LSI students and staff watching in support, the contestants battled for points over two closely fought matches with the teachers finally emerging victorious. Lifting the trophy (a box of chocolates) both James and Michael claimed the moment as the highlight of their table tennis careers to date! Watch the match highlights  below.

Quirky facts about San Diego

April 11th, 2014

Did you know the following interesting facts about San Diego?

San Diego is the birthplace of California. The first European exploration of the West Coast was by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese navigator sailing for Spain, who landed in San Diego on September 28, 1542.
San Diego has the largest wooden structure in the US. When it opened in 1888 the Hotel Del Coronado was the largest resort hotel in the world. Ten different US presidents have stayed here and it was the location of the film classic “Some like it hot” starring Marilyn Monroe.
San Diego imports 80 to 90% of its water. Around 168 million gallons of water are imported every day and if placed into gallon bottles they would encircle the earth more than one and a quarter times.
San Diego is home to the world’s oldest working ship. The Star of India was built in 1863 and  has completed 21 circumnavigations from her home port of San Diego.
San Diego’s cultural life .The Old Globe and the La Jolla Playhouse of San Diego have sent more shows to Broadway than any other U.S. city.

We’re happy to receive any more fun trivia. Please send any titbits you have to . Why not come and join us in San Diego – we look forward to welcoming you to LSI San Diego!

A beach lover’s paradise – advice from LSI San Diego

April 11th, 2014

San Diego is well-known for its many beaches, each one with its own personality. Depending on what you want to do, find the beach right for you. Here are our suggestions:

Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach: The Southern-most beach near the border, IB is quiet and most famous for its annual Sandcastle Competition.  A chance to walk on the wooden pier makes the trip worthwhile.
Ocean Beach: A favorite among the hippie and Harley crowd, OB has easy-going surf, fishing off the long pier, and plenty of dog-friendly spots. The unofficial motto of OB is: “Keep Ocean Beach Weird” Hodad’s welcome!
Coronado: A wide, golden sand beach great for family fun and slow strolls by the Hotel Del Coronado.  Voted “America’s Best Beach” in 2012.
Pacific Beach: Another popular tourist beach for the college-age crowd. Garnet Avenue comes alive at night with bars and clubs while Law Street is a local spot for surfing and chilling with friends during the day.

Coronado beach

La Jolla beach

La Jolla: The La Jolla Cove provides a perfect chance for amateur snorkeling and La Jolla Shores remains a terrific destination for swimming, kayaking, and other activities. Meet a seal up close!  Definitely the beach you are most likely to spot a Lamborghini.
Torrey Pines State Park: Away from the crowds, you can experience nature by itself at Torrey Pines. Try hiking a trail or searching the beach for shells.
Mission Beach: San Diego icon complete with roller coaster and boardwalk.  A favorite among teenagers, MB is a great locale for people-watching, sunbathing and playing volleyball. The boardwalk links to Mission Bay and is popular among rollerbladers, skaters, joggers and others.
Solana Beach: A short train ride away, SB gives a glimpse at a cozy surf town with simple spots and steady surf.

Mission Beach

In addition to these, you may get curious and want to find smaller, lesser known beaches such as Garbage Beach, Windansea, Sunset Cliffs or Del Mar.


Learning to communicate in a new language ? It’s not all about words!

April 11th, 2014

LSI San Diego Academic Director Blake Winter discusses the hugely understated importance of body language and gesture in language learning.

Hand gestures aid verbal communication

Hand gestures aid verbal communication

“It has been said that language captures the melodies, rhythms and tones of the people speaking it, that each way of communicating around the world embodies the culture it comes from. And yet, when one travels or is hesitant to fully attempt conversation in a new language, there is a second method of communication that proves equally useful: gesture. Body language, too, goes a long way at showing how a culture interprets the world.

Perhaps you are looking for a bite to eat, a restroom to use, a map to hold or simply trying to find the entrance to a cathedral. In these cases, body language can get your point across without a word being said. At times the same gesture is used differently in two or more cultures, often leading to some interesting confusion. Everyone has an anecdote about trying to use a certain gesture in a foreign land and getting an unexpected result.

When learning a new language, adopting the local gestures and body language as part of that language can be a significant way to reinforce learning new vocabulary, sentence structure and pronunciation. For example, if you see an old friend and remark “Hey buddy, long time, no see!” with your hands at your sides, you are not projecting the idea you are welcoming a conversation. On the other hand, if you have your arms wide and splash a big smile over your face, you are clearly showing that you would like to catch up with this old friend and exchange news.

Matching body movement and language can be categorized as kinaesthetic learning, which utilizes muscle memory and established neural pathways in unison. Think of the easiest way to explain a body movement verb: simply do it. Shrug, wink, clap, cough, sneer, grimace, pout, sigh, yawn—no written definition replaces the directness of action.

If you’re still not convinced gesture is key to language acquisition, compare a phone conversation with a person-to-person encounter. Which is more difficult and why?

When you are picking up new phrases and refining your speaking skills, linking these words to a corresponding gesture is an effective and proven shortcut to help you remember faster and easier.”

Facial expressions and body language help to express meaning

Facial expressions and body language help to express meaning


New Multiple-Entry Visas available for Canada

March 28th, 2014

Every year more than 35 million people travel to Canada. Recent changes in the visa regulations have now made it easier for travellers who require visas to apply for multiple-entry visas ( list of countries which require a visa ). For those travellers who have their applications accepted, the new multiple-entry visas will allow the holders to come and go from Canada for six months at a time up to a period of 10 years. LSI Toronto and LSI Vancouver have welcomed these changes as it will make it easier for some of their students who wish to break their studies with periods of travel outside Canada.

The reasons for the change are explained by Chris Alexander, Canada’s minister for Citizenship and Immigration.“As part of our plan to grow the Canadian economy and create jobs, our government is committed to attracting more visitors and business people to our country. By making the multiple-entry visa the standard visitor visa, we are evolving to meet the needs of international travellers who are looking for flexible, fast and convenient options to come to Canada. ”

Opera Performance at London Hampstead

March 28th, 2014

LSI London Hampstead experienced a rare treat last week when Ukrainian student Milana Sarukhanya performed Opera and Modern Classics to an enraptured audience. Despite being a busy lunchtime, the hall and stairways were packed with students, teachers and staff as hush descended as school director Sally Muse introduced Milana. Incredibly at only 18, Milana is already a consummate performer singing an aria from the Italian opera Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini, a Russian romance and finishing with the George Gershwin classic Summertime (click here to listen to the full audio recording or see below a short video extract ). It’s difficult to believe with her talent and confidence that Milana is not already treading the boards of more prestigious stages than LSI so we had to find out more about her plans for the future and where she got her love of Opera .

Milana grew up in the Crimea in Ukraine and whilst none of her family were musicians,  her mother had always dreamed of becoming an actress and so when Milana started to show interest in singing and opera at the incredibly young age of 5, her mother was eager to nurture her fledging talent. From the age of 8 years old Milana received singing lessons and finally at 15 years old she began the rigorous training to become an opera singer.

“My mother was the one who has really supported and inspired me to achieve my ambition to become a professional opera singer. I owe so much to her. For me London was the best place to come to pursue this dream. England and Germany are universally acknowledged as the best places to study opera right now to be trained in the best techniques. Also there are many more job opportunities here than at home.”

It seems that Milana is now close to achieving her dream as she has been offered a place at the prestigious Royal Academy in London to study Opera and has applied for the “Raffy Manoukian” scholarship to help fund her course. As a non-native English speaker Milana is also required to demonstrate her English language level and so she is currently studying on the IELTS course at London Hampstead.

“I have enjoyed my time here at LSI. The teachers are great and I have made lots of friends. It was so nice that so many students and staff came to watch me perform. I really appreciated it guys!”

All of us at LSI wish Milana all best with her future studies and career. We’re sure we’ll see her name up in lights sometime soon!

Changes in LSI Marketing – Goodbye Mariló and welcome Carmelo

March 28th, 2014

It is with sadness that LSI says goodbye to Mariló Sanchez from our Marketing team. Mariló, who hails from sunny Andalucía, first started working for LSI back in September 2008 in the reception at LSI London Central. London Central is perhaps the busiest of all the LSI schools so it was a very hard training ground indeed but one that Mariló passed with flying colours and was invited to join the marketing team in 2011. Initially she worked and travelled in Europe and Russia where her amazing linguistic skills (she speaks French, Spanish, Italian and English fluently) were regularly called upon. More recently Mariló has also worked for LSI in Brazil.

“I have loved my time at LSI. I have met so many great people from all around the world, both clients and colleagues, and have had the chance to travel to some amazing places. I enjoyed visiting all the LSI schools, with the exception of Auckland, and meeting so many colleagues who have now become firm friends and who I will definitely keep in touch with.”

Marilo (centre in red) with colleagues at LSI London Central

Marilo (centre in red) with colleagues at LSI London Central

Mariló now takes on a new challenge with Brookfields, an international relocation company, where her excellent interpersonal skills will be put to good use. Stepping into her shoes in Marketing is fellow Andalucian, Carmelo Gonzalez, who has been working as part of our administration team for the last year. Carmelo has already had the opportunity to get some amazing on the job training shadowing Mariló on her final 3 week marketing trip to Brazil.

“It was hard work but great fun and I felt I learnt a lot from Mariló . I’m really looking forward to my new role.”

Funny and charming, Carmelo is sure to flourish in our Marketing Team.

Marketing colleague Andras Zareczky takes his hat off to his new team member, Carmelo

Marketing colleague Andras Zareczky takes his hat off to his new team member, Carmelo

LSI Berkeley gets a new school director

March 18th, 2014

As LSI London Hampstead says a fond farewell to our wonderful ‘yankee’ director Greg Wickline, the doors are thrown open to a warm welcome at LSI Berkeley as Greg steps into the director’s shoes there in March. Greg has been with LSI since 2003 starting off as a teacher working in both our London schools.


Greg says farewell to friends at Hampstead


Greg with the team in LSI Berkeley

“My first ever class at LSI was teaching advanced English to a group of language teachers. It was a tough start so I was amazed when LSI asked me back!”So impressed was the school director that Greg was promoted to assistant school director in 2006 and finally took over the helm at Hampstead in January 2010. “I have loved my time at Hampstead and have met some wonderful people. I’m going to miss all my colleagues at Hampstead a lot but I am happy to be moving back to the US where I’ll be closer to my family.”

What will Greg miss most about the UK (apart from all his many friends)? “Cricket and Arsenal football club!” It seems some English cultural pursuits will always have a place in his heart.

Now a new chapter is just beginning for Greg in Berkeley. “I am loving being here already. The staff here are so friendly and welcoming and are really helping me to settle into the job. It’s great to be able to walk around in T-shirts and soak up the sun – there wasn’t much opportunity to do that in the UK!”

From everyone at LSI London Hampstead we wish you well at LSI Berkeley. We miss you!

Getting around Brighton with the VisitBrighton App

March 18th, 2014

If you are planning to travel to Brighton either as a tourist or as a student, the VisitBrighton App (available for both iPhone and Android phones) will ensure you can make the most of your time in the city. This essential mobile guide includes:

  • Hundreds of business listings – each with images, description, opening hours, prices, contact details, location and directions – covering places to eat & drink, accommodation, shops, attractions, venues and things to do
  • Filters for type of cuisine, accommodation, shop and city area
  • ‘Live’ event listings so you know what’s on during your visit
  • Mini-guides to the ‘City Villages’ of Brighton & Hove
  • Links to themed walking tour podcasts
  • ‘Essentials’ information including travel, Post Offices, hospitals etc
  • Pre-set themed Itineraries

Download the app from itunes

Fun Trivia about Brighton

March 17th, 2014

Did you know the following interesting facts about Brighton?  

BrightonFacts1 Sea Life Aquarium

Brighton’s Sea Life Centre is the world’s oldest operating aquarium. It has the country’s longest underwater viewing tunnel.

BrightonFacts2 Volk’s railway

The Volk’s railway is the world’s oldest electric railway line. It connects Brighton Pier to the Marina.

BrightonFacts3 Brighton Marina

The Brighton Marina is the largest in Europe with over 1500 berths for yachts and boats.

BrightonFacts4 Duke of York’s Cinema

The Duke of York’s Cinema is the oldest operating cinema in the UK. It shows foreign and independent movies.

BrightonFacts5 Brighton Café Culture

There are over 400 restaurants in Brighton, and more cafés per square mile than anywhere in Britain.

We’re happy to receive any more fun trivia. Please send any titbits you have to . Why not come and join us in Brighton – we look forward to welcoming you to LSI Brighton!