Kazuki, Academic Year Student at EC Oxford, 2017

Academic Year Student Testimonial – Kazuki

It is with a heavy heart we as the staff at EC Oxford say goodbye to Kazuki. Kazuki has been an Academic Year student at EC Oxford – Academic Year being our long-term course for students here for six months or more. Read his inspirational blogpost below about how he went from being a nervous new student to enjoying the role of our Student Ambassador! I’ve spent a long time in Oxford, for almost six months on an Academic Year course, so I had many great experiences that are unforgettable for me. The most fun thing I’ve done in Oxford is going to pub with my mates. It also gives good opportunities to have a chat in English. Well, I just love a drink. Basically, I spent every weekend with my friends going somewhere, cooking something or studying English. Above all, the most impressive thing was going to watch premier league which is one of the greatest football league in the world. It was indescribable – if you are staying in UK, you should go. Though the ticket is a bit expensive, it is worth visiting. However, after a wonderful weekend, Monday always comes, sadly, and just on Monday, I, as a student ambassador, have to arrive school a bit earlier than other days to welcome new students. But it is really exciting because I can make new friends every Monday! It is a great start of week, isn’t it? And making new relationship among students is also my task so I try to communicate with many students, but it’s quite difficult because especially new students tend to be shy, like I was on my first day, so it is also important to make them smile. Anyway, this experience is not available for all students so I really appreciate EC … Read more

Students who study in Oxford describe their hometown

‘My hometown’ by our students who study in Oxford but come from all over the world

What unites everyone at EC Oxford is that all our students have chosen to study in Oxford, the student city. But it’s always important to remember not just where we are, but where we’re from! Because of this, Rob asked the Beginner class studying General English at the moment give us a snapshot of their hometown. We all know that even if we study in Oxford, our hometown is where we have our roots. Bupyeong Bupyeong is a small city but many people come to buy their clothes there because it has a lot of underground stores. The underground stores have various nice clothes so I can buy my clothes easily. It has four seasons. The summer is very hot and the winter is cold these days. And then the traffic jams are bad because it’s near Seoul which is the capital of South Korea. Sanliurfa Sanliurfa is a medium-sized city. It is in the south of Turkey. The atmosphere is boring but historical areas are a little enjoyable. The weather is very hot. It is the hottest city in Turkey. It is an agricultural city. Jeddah My hometown is a big, beautiful city. The weather in Jeddah is so hot. It is an industrial city. The town centre is old and the city centre is new. Jeddah has a lot of beaches and it has two airports. There is no cinema and there are no buses in Jeddah. Busan Busan is the second largest city in South Korea and a famous city because it has a lot of beaches so the seafood is famous! The weather in Busan is warmer than other cities. It rarely snows in the winter. There is a big bridge so many people come here to see the bridge. In October every year we have a … Read more

Ina, an EC Oxford English student, at Blenheim Palace

Review of a famous English country house by Ina, an EC Oxford English student

There are many places for an EC Oxford English student to visit when based in Oxford: the White Horse, Bicester village and countless of other attractions to tempt a student out of the city of Oxford itself. Here, Ina, an EC Oxford English student, talks about her fantastic day trip to the beautiful Blenheim Palace and a typical English village called Bourton on the Water. Bourton on the Water is located in the Cotswolds, a beautiful area of natural beauty and chocolate-box views.   I visited Blenheim Palace and Bourton last Sunday. It was the best experience I have ever had. The Palace is very beautiful. The tour was very interesting, because they had different videos with explanations in each room. They also had some posters about the “Victorian Kitchen” which were quite interesting for me, because I wrote a term paper about “Victorian Kitchen” and my Bachelor Thesis about the Victorian Parlour. This way I could learn more about the Victorian period. An exhibition was also offered to the tourists. After I did the tour I had the possibility to visit the exhibition. This was fantastic! Afterwards, I could relax and have some tea. The view to the garden was amazing and I enjoyed it a lot. Bourton on the Water was the next place we have visited. It is typical English and very beautiful. I walked in the center, went to the shops and took lots of photos. It was recommended to us to have the cream tea in one of the cafes. So, I had one, of course. All in all, I liked the trip a lot and it was a great experience for me. I will visit Blenheim Palace next time again.

Studying English outside the classroom

Studying English outside the classroom – Manuel reviews the Bodleian Treasures exhibition

Manuel, a newly arrived EC Oxford student studying General English, reviews his class visit to the Bodleian Treasures exhibition in the Weston Library, part of Oxford University’s Bodleian Library in the heart of Oxford, explaining why studying English in this way is a breath of fresh air. In this day and age, people believe that the only way of studying English is sitting in a classroom listening to your teachers and writing down every word they say. However, I feel that we can learn by doing a wide variety of different things, as we did on the 17th August. We went to the Weston Library to see an exhibition based on pairs of objects that are related somehow. As a new student in EC Oxford, I found that kind of activity during class very interesting and an innovative way to try to approach the students and make you learn through experiences. Perhaps it would be easier and more enjoyable if we learn by practice outside the classroom, due to the fact that you will be able to use your English with other people and you have to understand by yourself what is shown in the exhibitions. This exhibition, in particular, had some complex vocabulary. Moreover, we could improve our English and enrich our knowledge at the same time thanks to that. I was really fascinated by all the ancient objects there, all the history behind them and the message they send us. The exhibition has many marvelous things for every kind of person. You just have to let yourself go in order to enjoy the amazing stories those pairs of objects tell you. I was completely moved in particular by two ancient manuscripts which have a set of moral codes and some guides to make people live in harmony and in an environment of respect for … Read more

Candice, our Centre Manager, talks about what she does outside of her role helping students who are learning English at EC

Students Interview Candice, our Centre Manager, on learning English and life outside EC

Rob’s IELTS Class came up with eleven questions to ask Candice, our Centre Manager, in the following interview where Candice shares her thoughts on everything from learning English to which films she has seen hundreds of times.   Q: What is your motivation for working in the school? A: I have been working in language schools now since 1986 in Poland, South Korea and mainly Germany. I feel extremely comfortable in an international environment and think that I would now find it incredibly difficult working with only British people! I came back to the UK in 2012 after 17 years living abroad and EC contacted me to see if I would like to help them start up a brand new school in Oxford. I joined and believe they are a very good company to work for. They care very much about the experiences the students have in their schools as well as the engagement of their staff. Q: What did you do before you came to EC? A: I lived in Munich for 9 years working first as a teacher of Business English and in 2006 I was promoted to Director of Studies for a company that specialises in teaching Business English. I had the fantastic opportunity to travel to Singapore, Qatar, Bangkok, Shanghai and Hong Kong teaching English for Specific Business Skills like presentations, negotiations and telephoning. Q: What are your hobbies and interests? A: I love reading when I have the time, Go-Karting, Salsa (although I haven’t done this for a long time), walking and I have a cat and 2 guinea pigs who require a lot of my care and attention. I also love drawing portraits of people or cats. I love animals very much and have been vegetarian for 26 years. I sometimes think I would like … Read more

Snap from EC in Cambodia trip

My trip to Cambodia – Our teacher Agnieszka reflects on the EC in Cambodia trip

‘EC in Cambodia’ isn’t the first thing that springs to mind if you were asked ‘Where is EC?’! Our global community has language schools across the English speaking world but since early 2017 EC English has been working with the charity United World Schools to build a school in a small, remote village in Cambodia, called Ban Houy. The school is now up and running for the 165 children in the village of Ban Houy and in February 2017, Agnieszka joined an EC in Cambodia trip to the school and here she shares her reflections on her experience. When I think about my trip to Cambodia, it is like looking back through a kaleidoscope. The variety of emotions, colours and activities I went through was overwhelming. I feel I got a true taste of this beautiful yet heart-breaking country. I remember how we were driving on the bumpy roads and had a chance to see lush green landscape that quickly changed into arid brown soil. I remember how astonished we were to see entire families perched on scooters (sometimes up to 5 people on one moped!). Also, how scared we were speeding in tuk-tuk taxis in rush hour traffic, holding on to avoid falling off. A great pleasure of mine was wandering around Stung Treng, watching the Cambodians relaxing by a river, eating Balut (fertilized duck eggs) and drinking a local dark ale – Black Panther. None of us was brave enough to try Balut! I remember, in Ban Houy, men swinging in hammocks under the huts that were raised on stilts, women washing clothes in a river, children bobbing and splashing in the water. There was also, of course, spectacular Angkor Wat. The punishment of pre-dawn alarm clock was very much rewarded later with the incredible sight of the sun rising. A bit … Read more

Pascal, General English course student at EC Oxford

General English course student Pascal – ‘’This stay was one of the best decisions ever’’

Pascal, from Switzerland writes about his EC experience. Read what he has to say about his General English course at EC Oxford English Language Centre! My time in Oxford has almost come to an end. I have been staying in Oxford for five months. Actually I booked only three months but I decided to stay two months extra because I had made good progress and was having a really good time in this school. When I arrived in Oxford I started in the Elementary (A2) class, studying the General English course. Now five months later I could improve my level to Intermediate (B1+). EC is for me a really good school. Rob, Candice, Kylie and also all EC teachers always did a well-organised job. I think the most important thing in an English Language School is to improve your English with the help of the teachers, and this is in EC completely true. Every one of the EC staff knows their responsibility and they always give their best to help the students. The Centre Manager Candice, the Assistant Director of Studies Rob and Kylie, the Student Services Coordinator, are also always there for the students and give a heart-warming welcome to everyone who has a question or only wants to speak to one of them. The lessons in EC are really nice and are always well-organised. My teachers Lorna, Agnieszka, Adam and Mariam are the best teachers I have ever met and they did everything they could so that I could improve my English. They also recommended a lot of things to do in my free time, outside of my General English course in class. Oxford is not really a big city but it’s really beautiful. It has a lot of parks and also a lot of free time activities. … Read more

EC Oxford English School intern Verena

EC Oxford English School welcomes Verena as our new intern!

EC Oxford English School welcomes Verena to join us as our new intern. Read on to find out more about her studies, why she’s here and what she likes to do in her spare time. Welcome Verena to EC Oxford! My name is Verena and I am a student in Germany at the Saarland University with German Studies as my major and English/American Studies as my minor. With this combination, you can choose an optional subject as well and I decided to learn Spanish. At Saarland University, it is common to do an Internship or to study abroad. For the English major, it’s 6 months; with the minor, it’s 3. So that’s why I am here now to do my 3-month Internship at EC Oxford English School. I learned about EC on the Facebook website of my English department where the coordinator posts regularly about new jobs, internships or study programs. My first week here at EC was very exciting – I learned a lot about the process here and I met super nice people. When I have some time off, I really like to be creative. In Germany, I paint, work in my garden, play the guitar and sing or do crafts. I love to dance, especially Salsa and Kizomba, I am a movie junky and I love to hang out with my friends. I consider myself as a very social and fun person, who is a good listener and easy to talk to. When it comes to my future, I would love to work in the language research field or be a forensic linguist.

EC Oxford English School student Samir speaks out

Is modern art really art? – EC Oxford English School Student Samir speaks out

EC Oxford English School student Samir discusses the question of whether modern art deserves to be called ‘art’ at all in an entertaining and wide-ranging opinion piece. Throughout this century, the definition of art has changed a lot. Artists create completely new works of art. In my opinion modern art is too abstract and I can’t get the point of it. I’m violently opposed to the new style. I believe that the new kind of art can’t evoke as many emotions as the older style. To begin with, there’s a painting created by Vincent van Gogh called “The Starry Night”. It’s blindingly obvious to me what the piece of art expresses. As soon as you have a glance at the picture, you realise what meaning it has. It’s clear that it shows a view of an idealized village before sunrise. But comparing this piece of real art to modern pieces is utterly impossible! Let’s talk about the installation called “My Bed” by Tracey Emin. She put her bed, which she had spent a week in overcome with grief after breaking up with her boyfriend, in an exhibition. Guess what happened next. It became a huge sensation. But I don’t know what all the fuss is about. A dirty mattress, a few empty cigarette butts and contraceptive pills might be something interesting for other people, but it definitely leaves me cold. In contrast, many people are really into modern art. They point to the lessons modern art might be able to teach humanity. For instance, in Candy Chang’s “Before I die” project, people get space for reflection and contemplation and they might realise that they’re not alone and can share something with the wider society. To sum up, there are some pieces in modern art which are very interesting. However, while modern art … Read more

EC Oxford IELTS class Aug 2017

How’s English different to my mother tongue?

Nine of our students reflect on how their first language contrasts with English and how this affects their English learning in their course at EC Oxford English Centre. Arabic As you know, learning English as an Arabic speaker is one of the most difficult languages to learn because there are huge differences starting from the script and going through all aspects of English and Arabic. For instance, while we write from right to left, English people write in the opposite direction. Turkish I’m going to talk about the biggest difference between Turkish and English. From my point of view, the biggest difference is tenses. Turkish sentences are built with adding affixes. For instance, English grammar has many ways to talk about time periods. There are four forms of the verb in English (do, did, done, doing) but in Turkish there are lots of suffixes to express tense. Chinese Belonging to two different language families, English and Chinese have many significant differences which makes learning English a serious challenge, such as learning grammar. English uses a different tense system which makes it clear which is the first activity in a sequence. Another major difference is that Chinese writing uses a character system, rather than an alphabet. Spanish In Spanish, when you try to learn English, you think it might be easy because we have similar words and the same alphabet, but with time you start to know that it’s not as easy as you thought it would be. For examples, some vocabulary looks exactly the same but has a very different meaning and pronunciation. So, for example, when you try to tell a story you use Spanish words using an English accent and you don’t know that you are wrong and nobody understands you! It’s embarrassing, so you have to prepare … Read more