EC English Language School in Oxford is just a 10 minute walk from Christchurch College, here looking very Hogwartsy indeed!!

Harry Potter in Oxford – where did the magic happen when the books were brought to the big screen?

Here at EC English Language School in Oxford, we’re proud to have a Social Programme that has a different theme every week to make each week feel special to our students. In 2018, we’ve started to include a new week in our Social Programme: Harry Potter Week, which was warmly received and will be returning in the near future. But where are the main sites for the Potter fan to visit in Oxford? Well, firstly, there’s the Hall in Christchurch College, which was the inspiration for the Great Hall where Harry eats the lavish banquets which feature in most of the films. Not a bad dining hall, either for Harry or the undergraduate students who dine there each night! You can buy your ticket to enter the college from the gate on Christchurch Meadows or from the website before you visit. The Bodleian Library is another Oxford institution well worth a visit in its own right but also has particular interest for Potter enthusiasts.   Four films used the library for locations for the Infirmary and the Duke Humfrey’s library is instantly recognisable as the forbidden section of Hogwarts library. Instead of visiting in the dead of night with a lantern and an invisibility cloak, it’s highly advisable to join the 30 minute tour, which is the only (rule-abiding) way to visit this area of the library. This isn’t to mention the New College Tree or the props inspired by the Museum of Natural History, but hopefully if you were spellbound by J.K. Rowling’s wizardry on the page, you’ll know where to start looking in Oxford to see where this magic was conjured up on screen.

EC Oxford English Centre has a fruit and veg market stall right outside every Wednesday

Fun, food and an outdoor market twice a week – all on EC Oxford’s doorstep on Gloucester Green

Students at EC Oxford English Centre comment on how great it is to be in a city centre school. But there’s already so much to enjoy if you don’t even get out of Gloucester Green- the square where EC Oxford is located! You don’t have to step far outside EC Oxford’s front door to get a taste of Oxford’s quirky character. Just a stone’s throw from us is Thirsty Meeples, a boardgame café where you can enjoy beverages and treats alongside mammoth boardgame sessions. Just a few feet away is Combibos, a family-run coffee house, the perfect antidote to the feeling that you can travel across the globe but still end up in the same coffee shop! If it’s food you’re looking for, we also have Buongiorno Buonasera, serving up delicious Italian dishes at affordable prices day in day out. And if you’re more keen on a restaurant experience, there’s the similarly affordable Gino’s Spaghetti House, just to the right of Combibos as you walk out of school. The generous portions are so tasty you’ll still eat the whole plate, and it’s another Oxford-based family-run business to boot. Another draw that’s right outside the school is the market which runs every Wednesday and Thursday, serving up a whole host of cuisines for students to enjoy from Chinese dim sum to Spanish paella, from Texan BBQ Chicken to moreish doughnuts and a whole host of things in between! This is a traditional open-air market and it’s great to see Gloucester Green transformed two days a week into a bustling, lively centre of activity. Right in front of school on Wednesdays, there’s a traditional greengrocer’s selling great value fruit and veg. So if you need a Vitamin C boost after one too many lunches consisting solely of the incredible Singapore noodles from … Read more

Giulia, Student Services Intern at EC Oxford English Centre

‘How you can make the most of your time studying at EC Oxford’

Our Student Services Intern Giulia has experienced exactly what it’s like to be a language student in the UK for a short period. Here, Giulia shares her tips on how to make the most of your experience here at EC Oxford English Centre! I have been studying English since I was about 9 years old and I have been loving it ever since, so when I got the chance to attend a course at a language school in the UK nearly three years ago I could not have been happier! I had always looked forward to living such an experience and I was not disappointed. My course lasted for about two months and I tried my best to make the most out of the time I had. I am very happy to have the opportunity to share some (hopefully useful) tips with current and potential students. I will highlight two main aspects which I consider deeply interrelated: social life and English learning. One of the things I enjoyed the most was getting to know people who come from all over the world and discovering British culture together. Making friends does not only play an important part in your personal development but it is also a great way to practice your language skills! Do not miss out on any chance to meet other students and explore the city and surrounding areas together! Joining the Social Programme activities offered by the school, for example, is a fantastic opportunity to interact with others, teachers included, while visiting a beautiful college, playing a fun game or having a nice cup of hot chocolate. The Homework Club offered by EC Oxford perfectly combines the social and educational aspects I mentioned above, which leads to my additional tips on learning English. I would strongly recommend that … Read more

Kylie, Student Services Coordinator at EC Oxford English Centre

Let’s get to know more about our Student Services Coordinator Kylie on the day that marks her one-year anniversary at EC Oxford English Centre!

Let’s get to know more about our Student Services Coordinator Kylie, who has been part of the EC Oxford English Centre for a year!  I am writing this blog on my one-year anniversary of working for EC Oxford and what a year it has been! They say time flies when you’re having fun and this year has absolutely flown by. Before coming to EC, I was very familiar with language schools. I had taught for several years in Thailand, Vietnam and Oxford, but moving into the student services and accommodation side of things was a brand-new venture for me. I remember thinking, how on earth am I going to remember how to use this complicated database and do all of these tasks? At times it felt overwhelming, there were challenges, as with any new job, but I overcame them and in the process learnt an awful lot and gained a brand-new skill set. We succeeded through an incredibly busy summer and a rigorous British Council inspection. What I love about my job now is being lucky enough to meet and work with such interesting students from all over the world. I thought I might miss having that interaction in the classroom but in fact I still get to build a rapport with our student body and be helpful in a different way. I understand that accommodation and areas outside of the classroom are also a very big part of the student experience and it’s important to get it right, to ensure that the students are comfortable so that they can focus their energies on their studies. I hope that the students here feel they can approach me to talk about anything; be it their accommodation, living in Oxford or just for a good chit chat. We received our British Council results in … Read more

Doris, a student at EC Oxford English Centre

Raffle – prizes to be won every week!

Who wouldn’t want to have the opportunity to win a prize? But what’s the weekly raffle all about here at EC Oxford English Centre? And what even is a ‘raffle’? Well, here at EC Oxford students have the opportunity to win a prize every week. How does it work? Students want to learn and do their best in class. We all know that. But when a student does something special, they receive a ticket with a number from their teacher. It could be a particularly good piece of homework, or winning a game reviewing vocabulary, or challenging themselves to do something outside of their comfort zone. Whatever it is, the teacher has decided this student should have an opportunity to win the prize, so they receive this raffle ticket – and keep it safe! A student can get more than one ticket during the week and each one has a different number and is a different colour. On Friday, identical tickets with the corresponding numbers and colours are put into a hat. A student or teacher is chosen to choose a ticket at random and shout out which number it is – ‘Green 162!’ Everyone then frantically checks their   tickets to see if they’ve won and the winner comes up to collect their prize and a certificate. This process is a ‘raffle’. What’s the prize? It’s often linked to our Social Programme in some way. So for example, last week was Chocolate Week, so the prize was a box of Belgian Chocolates. Yum. We’ve had a great response to this since we started it last year and who knows, next time, the raffle winner could be you!

Miyo, new Student Services Intern at EC English Language School in Oxford.

It’s a pleasure to welcome Miyo to our EC Oxford team as our new Student Services Intern!

We are really happy to welcome our new Student Services Intern to our team here at EC English Language School in Oxford. Read more to get to know Miyo better! Where are you from? What is it like? I am from Japan and my hometown is Kobe which is close to Osaka and located on the southern side of the main island in Japan. Kobe is not a big city, but you can find many fashionable shops and enjoy the mountains and beaches.  Also, it is famous for Kobe Beef which is expensive but delicious. Please visit my wonderful hometown! How did you learn English? Have you got any tips for our students? I studied English for several years when I was a secondary student in Japan. However, I could not get the opportunities to use English in real life. I realized that practising English in our life was quite important when I came to the U.K. in 2016.  After that, I tried joining a lot of international groups and volunteer work. At the same time, I focused on increasing my vocabulary and imitating native speakers by listening to podcasts and watching English movies. As anyone knows, it takes time to acquire English, but I believe if you keep studying every day, you will be able to improve your English skill! What is your role here? I am a Student Services Intern and my important role is to make student’s experience in EC Oxford fantastic and valuable. I am so glad to join this school as part of the friendly EC Oxford team. Why did you choose to come to EC? I am eager to support students who are passionate about studying English. When I went to language schools like EC Oxford, I got a lot of help from the school … Read more

Rob, our ADOS at EC Oxford English Centre

EC Oxford – A home away from home

Rob, our Assistant Director of Studies, gives a flavour of the kinds of ideas our long-term students are coming up with to make the most of their time with us here at EC Oxford English Centre. I’ve had the great privilege in the last few years to get to know our students who come from such a wide range of backgrounds. One thing I’ve particularly enjoyed has been the opportunity to see our long-term students develop in their English ability in their time with us. In 2018, we’ve started running our AY Support Group Meeting every two weeks. AY means ‘Academic Year’ and our AY students are those who are studying with us for 6 months of more. Our AY students have made lots of really helpful suggestions which we’ve already taken on board. Last Tuesday, however, I thought it’d be a good idea to find out how we can help them more when they particularly miss home. The students came up with some great ideas. For example, they agreed it would be great if students from the same country could join together to present to the rest of the student body the particular festivals which happen in their home country. We have already experienced this in the amazing event which our Omani students arranged to celebrate Omani National Day last year and share its significance with the rest of the school. I’m really excited to see what is the next festival we’ll be able to find our more about from the students in our school community. I’m also looking forward to implementing more of our students ideas and making EC Oxford a real home away from home while they’re studying here with us.

Sarah, one of teachers at EC English Language School in Oxford

Getting to Know Sarah

Find out more about Sarah, one of our teachers here at EC English Language School in Oxford – from what she loves about this city to the most exciting activity she’s ever done! Q: What did you do before you came to EC Oxford? Before I came back to the UK, I was living and teaching in Wellington, New Zealand. Q: What do you enjoy about working at EC Oxford? I think EC is a lovely, supportive place to work and my favourite part is helping my students progress and watching them learn and develop. It’s such a privilege to spend my week with people from different countries and cultures -I feel like I’m always learning too! Q: What do you like about Oxford as a city? I love how beautiful the city is – even in the rain! I never get tired of wandering around the old streets. I also love the city’s historic museums and it’s history of amazing fantasy authors who wrote some of my favourite books here. Q: What’s your hometown? Can you describe it to us? I’m originally from a beautiful, seaside town in South West Wales. It’s famous in Wales for amazing beaches, great pubs and historic buildings. Q: Your job is all about helping people like us who are learning English, but have you learned any other languages? How did you learn them? I have! I spent 2 years living and working in the South of Spain, where I learned how to speak Spanish. I learned through conversation classes and lots of self-study. Learning another language is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve also learned a little Japanese from when I lived in Tokyo for a short time.   Q: What do you like doing in your free time? In my free time, … Read more

Two students from the EC Oxford English Centre tell us something about the local cafe Combibos.

Combibos coffee on Gloucester Green – why go anywhere else?

Only 30 seconds walk from our front door at EC Oxford English Centre is the perfect place for a takeaway coffee – using your 10% student discount of course! Here, our two students Carlos and Sarah tell us more about Combibos coffee – and why it’s unique to Oxford – after conducting an interview with the manager at Combibos, Sue Hanss. Don´t you think that having a high quality coffee or tea for less, while supporting a local business sounds amazing? Do you know what is even better? At Combibos coffee this is possible. Combibos coffee is a family run business that was established in Gloucester Green. Sometimes spontaneous ideas can turn into a life’s project. This is what happened to the Hanss family in 2007. Sue Hanss did not have to think twice when she noticed the shop was for sale. Having worked in a clothing shop previously she already possessed a solid knowledge of customer service. The friendly and warm atmosphere that she and her family developed helped them to establish a loyal customer base from day one. Every young and thriving business needs a bit of luck. In this case, the family was very lucky to be approached by a representative of a local bakery who offered to provide them with cakes and other baked goods. Continuing their lucky streak, they soon got in contact with Union Hand Roasted who not only provided them with coffee but also educated them in the right use of their product. Furthermore, they started to collaborate with Tea People, another family run business which invests 50% of its profits into the educational development within impoverished areas of Darjeeling. The coffee shop relies on long term staff which includes 6 full-time and 4 part-time employees. They serve products for which the focus … Read more

Students from different classes discussing about many different topics during the "Merging Classes" initiative at the EC Oxford English Centre

Merging Classes – ‘improve your speaking and at the same time meet new people’!

In 2018, we have started a new initiative at EC Oxford English Centre, which has got off to a fantastic start. Every month two classes combine to create a change in dynamic in our classes. Here we find out more about what happened on Thursday 22nd February when Upper Intermediate and Advanced classes came together to debate! Both the Upper Intermediate and Advanced classes were taught debating vocabulary, including how to express shades of opinion. They joined with the other class in the usually off limits area that is the Teacher’s Room. Each group was comprised of around two students from each class. The students rolled the dice to find out if they needed to argue for or against a particular topic. Every ten minutes, the group had to change what they were debating by turning over a new card, as well as changing groups after a set period of time. The students used lots of great language and enjoyed working with people from different classes. The students found it really challenging to assume a point of view that was not their own, finding that this stretched them in terms of the language they needed to use but also in terms of generating ideas. A great success, the teachers are already planning what might be in store for the next time we bring our students together in this way in four weeks’ time!