Come and Join Coffee and Conversation!

What did you do on Wednesday at 3 pm? I’ll try to answer you: maybe you went back home or stayed talk with your old friends. And how many times did you stop to meet someone new? In my opinion rarely, but don’t worry about this. EC London has a diversified Social Programme… At this time you have Coffee and Conversation. There you can meet someone new. You only have one hour but this is a good reason to start a new friendship. In our last meeting we took pictures and heard some interesting opinions. We hope we can see you on the next meeting. This is an opportunity to travel around the world without cost. “I hade a such good time. Some students are very friendly.” Said Orvanda. “They know how important is this meeting?” Said Emiliano. Judite Silva  

The Power of Branding

I can’t remember the last time I ate at McDonald’s in London. I am sure that whenever it was I would have scuttled in and out with my scarf over my head for fear of anyone I knew seeing me there. Healthy eating is all the rage these days – sushi, superfoods, smoothies, organic rice cakes. Hardly anybody I know would admit to enjoying the odd Big Mac. In fact, I would go so far as to admit that my friends and I are out-and-out fast food snobs.   So nobody was more surprised than me, after two weeks of living in south China, at my reaction on first seeing those golden arches on the red background. I marched straight in, ordered “yi ge hanbao” with fries and a coke and then devoured the lot in about twenty seconds flat. Not my finest moment. It was only after I guiltily screwed up my Big Mac wrapper that I realised I hadn’t actually seen the word “McDonald’s” written anywhere. The brand recognition was so strong that I had not questioned where I was for a second.   After that I began to notice the power of branding all around me. In the supermarket the only way I can tell if I’m buying toothpaste or face cream is thanks to the familiar blue squiggle of Colgate. Activia’s green and white packaged yoghurts soon found their way into my shopping basket and we are washing our clothes in Ariel powder for no other reason than I recognised the colours and logos. If you had asked me a month ago what colour a tub of Knorr chicken stock was I don’t think I would have had any idea but now those green and yellow pots with the red and white writing jump right off … Read more

Coffee and Conversation with Kerry

Friday 4th September By Kerry Today, Terence from France joined me for Coffee and Conversation.  This is a free activity at EC London where students can practice their English with a teacher in a natural way. We had a very lively discussion ranging from his reasons for coming to London to computer science. We began by speaking about cultural differences and how things perceived to be rude in one country can be entirely normal in another, such as pushing people into a tube carriage to make more room (apparently this is normal practice in Japan)! We also discussed whether striking in France was still effective after it being used as a strategy for change for such a long time. The conclusion was that if a strike was organised in the right way, it could definitely help to change the status quo. Terence’s interest in information technology led us to talk about people’s preference for downloading music for free rather than buying it, and companies that provide free access to music, such as Spotify. We discussed the media, and advertising in particular, which we agreed is excessive in both of our countries, especially on the television. Terence spoke very fluently and had an excellent level of English, so any corrections I made were for minor errors. We clarified the differences between work experience and internship and Terence learnt the phrase ‘to strike for the sake of striking’. We also looked at the uses of which, that and who. Finally, we cleared up small prepositional mistakes in phrases including listen to the radio and most people. Overall, I very much enjoyed our conversation and learnt quite a lot myself!

Coffee and conversation with Katie

By Mayerly Marquez, Intermediate 1pm Last Thursday there were three of us (two students from Japan and myself from Venezuela) and we talked about ourselves and our countries and culture and the differences we had noticed between England and its culture and our countries.  For example, here people are more polite than in my country and stop to let people cross on zebra crossings. We also spoke about things that were happening in the News, for example that Michael Jackson’s death could have been homicide. If you would like to join us for Coffee and Conversation (it’s FREE for EC students), come and sign up outside the Study Room. Hope to see you soon to practise your speaking skills and meet new people from all over the world!