Teacher Gifford on San Francisco History

  Everyone knows that Teacher Gifford is Mr. San Francisco.  He knows about everything ranging from the best hike trails to Student Housing in San Francisco.  Just ask him anything about this amazing city and he will give you a great answer!     San Francisco is a city that is constantly redefining itself, which has been a continuous theme since the city’s birth. So being aware of the city then and now becomes crucial for even the most basic understanding of what the city of San Francisco is– and how it has gotten here. In 1846 it was still called Yerba Buena, its name from the Spanish period, when the population doubled with the arrival of a boatload of 240 settlers. It was still a village of 469 inhabitants in 1847 when the American alcalde (mayor) Lt. Barlett changed the name to San Francisco, making the name consistent with the Mission and Presidio named in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi by the first Spanish to arrive in 1776. The discovery of gold on January 24, 1848 at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma transformed everything (Coloma is 130 miles/200 km from San Francisco). The village of San Francisco transformed into an “instant city” as 49ers chased the Gold Rush, using its deep-water port as the main entry point to the gold country. By January 1869 the population reached 35,000 and continued to climb, as San Francisco became the not only the sole major city on the U.S. west coast, but grew into one of the richest cities in the world. But true to its tradition of transforming and reinventing itself, it also burned down to the ground six times in the first eighteen months after the discovery of gold. San Francisco has gone through several cycles of devastation and rebirth. … Read more

Center Director Ryan on his first 18 months at the EC English School in San Francisco

  As another year reaches its final days, many of us start looking back at the year that has passed all the events that took place. During the summer the Center Director at the EC English school in San Francisco was asked to share some thoughts on his first 18 months on the job.  Here is what he had to say:   On December 31, 2014, I accepted the offer to become the next Center Director for EC San Francisco.  Leaving Los Angeles, and returning to the San Francisco Bay Area, was truly like having a dream come true.  Family and friends are here, I went to nearby UC Berkeley, turned 21 here, and my wife was pregnant with our first son.  For me, this is home, and I love sharing this place with international students. Coming to EC San Francisco was exciting because of the amazing facility and great location.  I also loved the team—extraordinary people with wonderful hearts.  I was not the only new part of EC in 2015, last year brought many changes to the company as its North American operations started to mature.  EC San Francisco was turning five years old, and we worked hard on raising academic standards, restructuring teams and operations, and trying to come together as a new team to really deliver great service to our students.  It was a busy year for me as I learned how EC worked and also provided an outsider perspective on making operations better for staff and students.  I also love student interaction and enjoyed establishing bbq and sports activities with students on a regular basis.  It was a turnaround year for our center from a student satisfaction perspective and 2015 laid the groundwork for some of the bigger accomplishments in 2016. With 2016, we saw the integration … Read more