EC Oxford

England vs. Austria – who celebrates Christmas better?!

Our Christmas tree – decorated by students at our Christmas party in our Oxford English Centre.   Christmas is a magical time for everyone. It’s all about love, joy, happiness and spending time with people you care about. But as there are cultural differences between every country there are also different kinds of Christmas celebrations. Here at our Oxford English Centre is a melting pot of cultures and we can find out a lot about how Christmas is celebrated all over the world. Even though Austria is not far away from England, I realised a lot of things that are done differently here in Oxford. Firstly, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas when everyone here in England starts wearing their colourful and often surprisingly creative Christmas jumpers. I personally like this tradition a lot! We even had a Christmas Jumper competition at EC Oxford! Santa Claus is coming to town, but not to my town. In Austria we have the so called “Christkind”, who is an angel that brings all the kids their presents and puts up the tree. So you see, we’re also rocking around the Christmas tree but whilst people in Britain admire the beautifully decorated tree throughout the whole of December, everybody in Austria has to wait until the 24th. But when we finally hear the Christkind ringing its bell on Christmas Eve and we can see the Christmas tree for the first time- that’s what I call Christmas magic! All the fairy lights, the presents and the glittering tree make children’s eyes sparkle! Moreover, I was surprised to discover the tradition of “Christmas Crackers”. They consist of a wrapped and decorated cardboard that people pull and inside there is a paper hat, a bad joke and a little (and often disappointing) toy. The Christmas … Read more

EC Oxford Intern

Welcome to our new Student Services Intern, Niclas!

We Welcome our new Student Services Intern Niclas from Germany at our Oxford English Centre.   Q: What did you do before you came to EC Oxford? Currently I’m studying in Germany. This offers me the chance to work at EC Oxford to gain a lot of exciting experiences in a foreign country. Q: What is your role here in EC Oxford? I am a Student Services Intern. Q: What have you enjoyed about working at EC Oxford so far? I really like working at EC Oxford because there are so many people from other countries so that I can get in touch with them and their cultures. It’s an amazing experience for me. In addition, the working and learning atmosphere is so positive and energetic. Q: What do you like about Oxford as a city? Oxford is a very nice city, and everyone should have visited the city. It’s a city with a lot of history and myths. Furthermore, there are so many people from other countries and you can become acquainted with their cultures. Q: What’s your hometown? Can you describe it to us? I’m living in Muenster, it’s a nice town in the north west of Germany and it is close to the Netherlands. A lot of students are living in Muenster. Because the city is very flat you can go almost everywhere by bike. So almost everyone has a bike and you can see a lot of cyclists on the roads. Q: Our school is all about helping people who are learning English. How did you learn it? I learned English at school for many years. We did a lot of exercises, but I didn’t practice my English in a working atmosphere. As an intern at EC Oxford I get the chance to do it. Q: What … Read more

Candice Gregory, Centre Manager at EC Oxford English Centre

Candice reflects the many successes in 2018 for our school

December is upon us! For many this is a very exciting time with good food, sparkling fairy lights, wonderfully decorated trees and precious time spent with family and friends. It is also a time to recap on the last 11 months to reflect on the year’s successes. It has been a great year at EC Oxford and for the many students who chose to learn English in Oxford with us! We passed an important inspection in November (see November’s blog for more information). Additionally, we have seen an increase in student numbers as well as an increase in student satisfaction. How do we know this? From the online surveys students complete for us as well as the short interviews we conduct with you all. We have listened and tried where possible to implement many of our students’ wonderful ideas. It makes such a difference hearing from you as you are ones experiencing our school and only you know what you want that experience to be. Some of the great things we have implemented for students this year are • The introduction of formal welcome events each Monday for new arrivals (thank you to our students for that suggestion!) • Student Ambassadors partly leading the Monday’s Welcome Events • Students voting for the social theme of the week (thank you to Adam, our teacher, for that idea) • More varied activities in the social programme • Students leading social trips to restaurants or the cinema • ‘What’s on in Oxford’ sessions led by Malachy • EC Online sessions with Malachy helping students find their way around our online platform • The introduction of weekly ‘Homework Club’ with Lorna • Regular AY support group meetings with Rob • Rob’s ‘What’s in the Blog?’ monthly quiz • More regular blogging by staff and students … Read more

EC Oxford visits the Oxford Union

As part of the social program we had a great opportunity to visit the very famous Oxford Union twice.   Chin Lee, PPE Undergraduate at Oxford University, invited us to his workshop last Thursday. We found the renowned Union just off Cornmarket Street, it appeared to be slightly hidden, but once inside it was bigger than we previously thought. We were very warmly welcomed and let into a meeting room where everybody could make themselves comfortable. As we were quite an international group Chin opened the workshop by asking everybody to tell the others their name and where they come from. After that we got straight into the theory and basics of debating and how things work at the Oxford Union. We learned a lot about the culture of debating, Chins own experiences, as well as the so called “PEEL”-method. The PEEL-method helps everyone who debates- from beginner to advanced- to make strong arguments: P– Point: Point out your opinion. E– Explain: Explain the reasons why you think your argument is valid. E– Example: Present your listeners a clear example of your theory, in order to make them see your point more clearly. L– Link: Link your arguments to topic related questions or statements that have been made before. After collecting thoughts and ideas about different topics we started giving opinions to practice our speaking skills. We had a lot of fun! The next week Jason from the Oxford Union gave us a great tour around the building. We had the chance to exclusively visit the rooms of the Union and get an idea of the history of the place. After that, he showed us around Oxford and gave us some interesting facts about the most important places in the city centre such as the Sheldonian Theatre, the Bridge of … Read more