person standing

Welcome to Iris, our new intern

Here is my Q&A for my new position as intern! Q: What did you do before you came to EC Oxford? I study in Maastricht in the Netherlands. I am now in my third year to become a translator. Q: What is your role here in EC Oxford? I am an intern for Student Services. Q: What have you enjoyed about working at EC Oxford so far? So far, I like working here. Everyone is very nice and makes me feel welcome. Q: What do you like about Oxford as a city? Oxford is a beautiful city. It is busy and big, but it still has quiet parts where you can calm down. Q: What’s your hometown? Can you describe it to us? Before I came here, I lived in Maastricht. It is a relatively big city (it is in the run to host the Song festival next year). Oxford reminds me a lot of Maastricht, because they both have the same old beautiful buildings. Q: Our school is all about helping people who are learning English, but have you learned any other languages? How did you learn them? I know a few languages. Dutch is my mother tongue. I also know English, Spanish, German and a bit of French. I learned English by listening to the radio and watching tv. In the Netherlands tv-shows are subtitled which makes learning English very easy. English is also a mandatory class at every school. I also took German and French classes at school. I learned Spanish from school, since I want to be a translator in Spanish and English. Q: What do you like doing in your free time? I my free time I like to read. I mostly read fantasy and science fiction books. I also enjoy hiking and embroidery. Q: … Read more

Macbeth at the Oxford Castle – a review

Macbeth  A hush falls over the crowd, the lights drop, and we can hear a piercing shout. Suddenly, a blood-covered man rushes out from the catacombs of the castle, panting and sweating profusely. He is fresh from battle, ranting about the victory that was just had. A victory, it seems, that was largely due to the courage of his brave Scottish general, Macbeth. And what a beautiful setting for this, the third play that I’ve seen in the grounds of Oxford Castle. The sun is on the edge of the horizon, casting a beautiful array of shadows on and around the set, making this incredibly dramatic play even more so. Anyone who knows anything about Shakespeare will know that Macbeth, otherwise known as The Scottish Play, is a story filled with suspense, horror, intrigue and, most potently, vengeance. In this story, the protagonist – the namesake of this play – receives a prophecy from a trio of ghastly witches that he will one day become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by the machinations of his diabolical and manipulative wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. Upon doing so, however, he is immediately wracked with guilt and paranoia. Macbeth’s world quickly unravels and, well, to avoid giving any spoilers, I encourage you to watch one of the many plays put on by a myriad of companies – or, better still, to read the play itself. Shakespeare is one of the most widely-known writers not only because of his original stories, but also because of his use, creativity and total invention of language. Indeed, a huge amount of idioms – many of which I teach in my classes every day – were created by Shakespeare himself! Here’s a list of a few … Read more

This week at EC Oxford – The city of Dreaming Spires

This week at EC Oxford, we celebrate all things Oxford! The City of Dreaming Spires is a source of inspiration for many people: famous authors and actors have found their voice in this city; architects have shaped the city’s skyline; artists have captured Oxford’s beauty in their paintings… As usual, we will start the week with an amazing Welcome Event. We want all our students to feel at home, so this event will do just that! They have the opportunity to meet other people, teachers included, and learn about our amazing social programme. Homework Club Our traditional Homework Club happens on Monday and Tuesday with Lorna and Malachy respectively. They will not only help you with your homework but also with any other question you may have about English: vocabulary that came up in your lessons, that little bit of grammar you don’t quite understand, or you can just have a conversation with them! Oxford Clinics This week, we are having two clinics about the city of Dreaming Spires with Lucy and Malachy on Wednesday and Thursday. Make sure you attend one of these clinics, as they will give you an insight into who the people of Oxford really are. Go Punting To top it off, we knew we needed an “Oxford” activity, and what is more Oxonian than punting? I’m sure you have noticed the long, narrow boats that roam around the river. Very similar to the famous Venetian gondolas, a punt needs its pole. The whole situation looks a little bit scary; after all, one of the punters is standing on the edge! But worry not, punting is 100% safe. Until someone falls in, that is! If you want to make sure you will not fall into the river, make sure you watch a couple of videos that … Read more

poster exhibition museum

Last Supper in Pompeii: the Summer Exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum

25th July 2019 – 19th January 2020 Price: £12.25, £6 for students with students IDs On Friday afternoon I went to the Ashmolean Museum to have a look at the current exhibition – Last Supper in Pompeii. I always loved the veil of secrecy about this well-known city. Here is a short review of what I have seen!   The exhibition   The Roman love affair with food and drink is explored in a major exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, opening on Thursday. Titled Last Supper in Pompeii, the show includes about 400 objects loaned by Naples and Pompeii, many of which have never left Italy before.     Everyone knows that Italy is obsessed with food, particularly exceptional food. Neapolitans live to eat, not the other way around, and the enjoyment of good food and drink is practically a religion. The same was true of its predecessor just down the coast – the well-known city of Pompeii. This spectacular Roman town was surrounded by orchards, farms, rich fishing grounds, olive groves and, most importantly, vineyards. A real culinary paradise.   The city of Pompeii     Its inhabitants and visitors, from across the Roman empire, feasted at grand banquets and humble taverns, in cool gardens beside gently trickling fountains – lavishly ornate dining rooms decorated with detailed frescoes and mosaics of the very highest quality. Of course, all that came to an end one dark day in AD 79, when Vesuvius, the volcano in whose shadow the city lay, blew its top. The city was buried in layers of pulverized pumice and hot ash which came in waves as the superheated volcanic cloud towered into the sky. People were killed instantly in pyroclastic surges, which reached temperatures of 300 °C. With little time to escape, they died … Read more

two women holding books in a park

Our best 15 books to read this summer

    With this scorching weather, there’s nothing better than popping into EC Oxford to enjoy the privilege of our air conditioner. No more t-shirt sticking to your back in the comfort of our fresh breeze. After your lessons, why not take a leap to the library and choose a great book before facing the heat of the Gloucester Green Square cobblestones again. Here is a selection of books that we have – pick one!     Beginners: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe: In 1659, Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked on a small island off the coast of South America. After fifteen years alone, he suddenly learns that there is another person on the island. But will this man be a friend – or an enemy? Aliens: is anybody out there? by Genevieve Kocienda: Are humans alone in the universe, or is intelligent life out there somewhere? Find out how people throughout the years have explored this age-old question. Little Woman by Louise M. Alcott: 1861 – Massachusetts, North America. There is a civil war. This is the story of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. The March girls live with their mother in a small town. Their father is away. He is with the Union Army.     Elementary: L.A. Winners by Philip Prowse: Follow the adventures of the best detective in Los Angeles! The Canterville Ghost and other stories by Oscar Wilde: Sir Simon de Canterville is a ghost. He has lived in his house for hundreds of years. His job is to terrify the people who stay there. Then Mr Otis, an American, buys the house. And the ghost is angry – he cannot frighten the Otis family. Oliver Twist by Sorrel Pitts: Oliver escapes the workhouse and goes to London. What happens when the … Read more

Too hot? Hit the cinemas, The Lion King is out!

Hello everybody, This weather is killing me! It’s extremely hot and humid here in Oxford and to avoid the heat, I decided to go to the cinema. Let me tell you about the amazing film I watched: the live motion version of a Disney classic, The Lion King. As you may know, this isn’t the first Lion King film to be made. Disney didn’t disappoint and was true to the 1994 classic. If you know the animated film, you will be happy to see the same images, the same story and, most importantly, the same songs! This live motion film is filled with stars: from the Grammy Award winner Beyoncé to the BAFTA winner Chiwetel Ejiofor, the star-studded film has been praised for being inclusive, with most of its cast being from African descent. The stars The main characters, Simba and Nala, are voiced by Donald Glover and Beyoncé respectively. Both of them have the chance to show off their singing skills throughout the film, but we do get the chance to hear Beyoncé much more than any other star. Scar’s voice is that of Ejiofor, a British actor most known for his role of Solomon Northup in 12 years a slave, role for which he won a very deserving Academy Award. We can’t forget two of the most beloved characters of the story: Timon and Pumbaa. The funny pair, voiced by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, lived up to my expectations and offered a great scene linked to a previous Disney film. Wanna know which one? I’m afraid I won’t spoil this great moment for you! The most emotional character is probably Mufasa. This might be the reason why the original voice, the great James Earl Jones, was chosen to reprise the role. Jones’ voice is also behind the … Read more

This week at EC Oxford – Pronunciation Week

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend and a chance to rest a little bit because this week at EC Oxford looks busy! One more time, I’d like to tell you about this week’s EC Oxford Social Programme. Are you ready? This week is Pronunciation Week and we would like you to speak up more than ever. This week’s Clinics As usual, on Monday and Tuesday afternoon, we have Lorna and Malachy running the Homework Club. Remember, this is not only a place for you to do your homework! You can ask these wonderful teachers any questions you may have about English: something you have trouble understanding, new vocabulary you need for your lessons, or simply just have a conversation with them! To make sure people understand you when you use your English, EC Oxford has organised two Clinics on Pronunciation; the first one, on Wednesday, will be run by Kate. Alice will be the teacher running the Thursday session. Make sure you write down your name on the posters at reception! Café Chat On top of these excellent clinics, on Wednesday Adam is going to a café with all students who want to join him. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a nice drink with other students, have a lovely conversation and experience the best part of British life: socialising over a drink. Farewell Event We can’t forget our exciting Farewell Event on Friday! This will be your chance to say goodbye to your friends, take that one important photo and make sure you have exchanged Instagram handles (don’t forget to tag EC Oxford!). But most importantly, this is your chance to win the most wanted prize of all times: The Raffle Prize! Remember you can leave goodbye messages for all your friends who are … Read more

This week at EC Oxford

Did you miss the Welcome Event on Monday? Don’t worry! This is what is happening this week at EC Oxford   This week at EC Oxford starts with Lorna and Malachy. They will offer their help to everyone who needs a little extra: Homework Club will run every Monday and Tuesday from 3pm to 4pm. Our lovely teachers will help you with your homework, but they will also answer any questions you may have. This is a great opportunity to get some extra practice, too!   Sports week As you know, at EC Oxford we choose a new topic for each week. This week, we will start with two Sports Clinics run by Alex, our sport-lover teacher. Alex loves football, especially women’s, and is very proud of how the English national team performed during the World Cup.   These two sports clinics will happen on Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th at 3 o’clock. Remember to sign up! On Wednesday 17th, our Student Ambassador, Tariq, will make sure everybody gets some action! He will be taking our students to University Parks to play some sports. This will happen at 6pm, so everybody will have a chance to participate. Farewell Event As usual, we will finish our week by saying goodbye to some of our students. We will gather in the Students’ Lounge at 12.45pm to show how much we will miss them! If you want to show some love, you can write a little message at reception and they will receive it with their certificate. Part of this Farewell Event is the announcement of the Student of the Week: teachers nominate their best student and together they choose who deserves the title. They make this decision by looking at the student’s participation in class, their homework, how much they work… If … Read more

Enough sign made out of plastic waste

Oxford’s secret island

Last Saturday I decided to visit an area of Oxford that I don’t normally do, Osney Island. It says so in its name, but not many people realise this is in fact an island. Located on the west of Oxford, Osney is surrounded by the River Thames. One of its landmarks is its abbey, which is nearly 900 years old! Unfortunately, the building is no longer in use, but you can hear its ancient bell right in the city centre: Christ Church’s bell was originally Osney Abbey’s. I went to Osney Island because Low Carbon West Oxford, together with Osney Hydro, had organised a free art trail around the river. The aim was to give local people the opportunity to learn about ecology, but also to show them what the river Thames has to offer. There were so many different things to visit that I didn’t know where to start! I decided to find some window displays around the island, and Osney didn’t disappoint. I found many examples of river and water-related displays, but these were my two favourite ones: The first one displays a family of ducks using the river as its home. I’m sure you have had the chance to see many duck families waddling around the rivers and canals if you study English in Oxford. The second window shows some dragonflies flying over the river. Even though they are difficult to be seen, it’s not impossible! I also went to the West Oxford Community Centre, where they had an “Enough” sign created by LCWO. This sign represents all the plastic thrown into the river and how it destroys the ecosystem. As a bonus, there was a fair! They had ping pong tables, a few animal shows, some dancing competitions and several stalls where you could purchase different … Read more