Student Spotlight – Mojgan Yassini

Mojgan Yassini lived in Iran until she was 10 years old, upon which she moved to France. She has studied at ELC Los Angeles for over 16 weeks in our Intensive 24 Course. Mojgan is a General Doctor who has visited California since she was 18 years old. Her overall goal is to improve her English and be able to live between the United States and France. 

Mojgan has a great memory, which has truly helped her flourish as a student and make wonderful progress! She enjoys being outdoors and loves the sunny, clear weather in Los Angeles. She has been playing tennis since she was 10 years old and it is still one of her hobbies. Three of her favorite places to visit in Los Angeles are the Getty Museum, Universal Studios, and Beverly Hills. 

One of the things Mojgan misses most about France is the food and good wine – although she believes the U.S. has good wine as well! She has not tried any French food while she was here as she wanted to focus on other culinary options. Mojgan was surprised to find out that most people use and need a car to get around Los Angeles, especially compared to France. Something that surprised Mojgan about the United States is the frequent use of slang and idioms; she has been working hard and practicing them, but they can be quite difficult to master!

Mojgan’s favorite class at ELC is American Culture with our phenomenal teacher, Max. Her favorite memories are in his class, learning about American Culture, history, and politics. Mojgan advises anyone who wants to learn English to come directly to the U.S. to study as they will learn much quicker. After Mojgan has finished her studying at ELC, she plans to go back to work.

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Student Spotlight – Tulio Castillo

Tulio Castillo is from Guatemala and has been studying for 6 weeks in our IELTS Preparation Course. He is well known for his sense of humor in class. Tulio has a special talent in math and problem solving. Tulio chose to study in Boston because of its diversity. After ELC, he would like to continue working as an entrepreneur and apply for an MBA in Boston.

Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place(S): 

I’m from a small town in Guatemala, Central America. I lived there all my life until I had to study at the university. Then, I moved to Mexico. My hometown is rural. We still have farmlands with many animals. The majority of the people say  “good morning” if they see you in the street even if they don’t know you. Five minutes from the center of the town, we have pyramids of a former Mayan city.

What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies? 

I used to hangout with my friend and also I enjoyed driving my car while listening to music. I like to work out and I enjoy a good run. 

What is your special talent? 

Well, I think I have a special talent for numerical things. For example, I enjoy doing math and applying problems. 

What is your profession? What do you like about it? 

I’m a business developer and entrepreneur. The thing that I enjoy the most is that I do what I like and also earn money while doing it. My profession has helped me to create opportunities for other people. 

Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Pets? Do they live close to you? 

I have one older brother and one younger sister. I’m single. And the family has three dogs. My brother lives in Madrid, Spain with his wife and my sister is living in Mallorca, Spain. 

Why did you choose to study English in Boston ? Did you consider other options? 

I chose Boston because I have been here three times and I liked it. And, also  I’m planning to do my master’s degree in Boston. I also like the diversity here. Washington DC was the second option. 

What are all the ways that Boston is different than your city/town? 

Boston is so different from my hometown town in many ways. First, we only have two seasons, summer and winter. But, our winter is not as extreme as Boston’s winter. Another important difference is that in my hometown everything is so close. For example, you only need to drive for a few minutes to visit a restaurant.

What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Boston ]? Did you experience any culture shock? 

I visit the US at least once per year, so I didn’t have a cultural shock. But, what most surprised me was that dinner is the biggest meal of the day and in my case I usually don’t have dinner. 

What do you miss most about your country? 

Definitely the weather, we have mild weather. 

I also miss some traditional food. In Guatemala, we eat hand made tortillas every day. 

What are your top three favorite places in Boston ? 

My favorite places are Boston Common, Harvard Square, and Seaport. 

Where have you found the best food from your country in Boston ? 

I don’t know, I have not been in a Guatemalan restaurant in Boston. I think you could have good Latin food in Cambridge, near Harvard Square. 

Favorite moment in class at ELC: 

Quizzes. I like to test my knowledge. 

What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English

Make some non-English speaking friends so you are forced to speak English. Also, try to pay attention to native speakers to improve your pronunciation. 

What are your plans after ELC? 

My plans are to return to Guatemala, continue working, and apply to do an MBA in the US or UK this September.

Nine Idioms About Love

love, idioms, valentines day, learn english

Idioms exist in every language. These words and phrases are not meant to be taken literally and instead take on a figurative meaning. We use idioms in everyday conversation both casually and professionally. 

Idioms can be used to express a variety of feelings and thoughts, including those about love. Use the image below to see some examples of the following idioms about love:

  1. Get Dumped
    1. When someone ends a romantic relationship 
  2. Tie the Knot
    1. To get married
  3. Love to Pieces
    1. To love someone very much
  4. Blind Date
    1. A date between two people who have not met yet
  5. Double Date
    1. A date in which two couples participate
  6. Fall for Someone
    1. To start to love someone
  7. Find Mr. Right
    1. To find the perfect or most suitable man to be in a relationship with or marry
  8. Pop the Question
    1. To ask someone to get married
  9. Go Dutch
    1. To share the cost of something equally

Let’s see how these idioms are used in everyday conversation. Please read the following dialogue between two friends, Susan and Jane:

Susan: How is Richard?

Jane: Richard is great! I’m so happy I was able to find Mr. Right

Susan: Wow! It seems like you really fell for him

Jane: It’s more than that! I love him to pieces! Now I’m just waiting for him to pop the question!

Susan: Do you know where you want to tie the knot

Jane: I think I would like to get married on a beach. We first met at a beach on our blind date, remember? 

Now, let’s practice by filling in the blanks with one of the idioms we’ve just learned:

  1. After seeing that the price of each movie ticket was $8.00, Jim and Bonnie decided to go __________.
  2. Jim and Karen wanted to go on a ______________ date with Ted and Nancy for Valentine’s Day.
  3. Anthony was worried that he would get _________________ after his girlfriend got mad at him.
  4. I’ve been dating Maria for more than 5 years now. I think I should pop _______________________. 
  5. When we tie _______________________, we will invite all of our friends and family!

Academic Lesson – Future Progressive

The main function of the future progressive (also called the future continuous) is to show a continuing (long) action getting interrupted by a short future action. 

NOTE:

  1. When forming the future progressive in English, the independent clause uses will + be + -ing verb and the dependent clause takes the simple present. Even though the verb in the dependent clause has a simple present structure, both clauses have a future meaning. Remember that the dependent clause can come before or after the independent clause. When it comes before the independent clause, a comma is needed. 
    1. We will be playing soccer when the storm hits.
    2. When the storm hits, we will be playing soccer. 
  2. Some verbs are common as short actions, and knowing them will help you identify if a sentence needs the future progressive. These verbs include call, ring, arrive, come, land, hit, and go out
    1. They will be studying when the bell rings.
    2. She will be sleeping when his plane lands tonight. 
  3. The short action in a future progressive sentence can be expressed simply by a time reference instead of a full clause. If a time reference comes before the independent clause, the comma is optional because time references are very short.
    1. Mr. Ferguson will be collecting the tests at 3:00 PM.
    2. They will still be arguing at noon tomorrow.
    3. At Christmastime many people will be shopping for gifts.
    4. At 11:00 PM tonight, I will still be playing the guitar.
  4. Will is often contracted to ‘ll in speaking and informal writing.
    1. You’ll be doing the dishes when I get home from work. 
    2. When I get home from work, you’ll be doing the dishes. 
  5. It is possible to use be going to + be + -ing verb to form the future progressive. Because it is such a long verb tense, will + be + -ing verb is more common. Note that though we can use the present progressive to indicate a simple future tense, we can never use it with the future progressive. 

INCORRECT: She is being studying when I call her.

CORRECT: She is going to be studying when I call her. 

CORRECT: She will be studying when I call her. (the most common form) 

Give it a try by forming the future progressives of the word in brackets: 

  1. The sun           (shine)            when the kids wake up tomorrow morning.
  2. His band          (perform)       at the club tonight.
  3. They        (eat)          dinner at 8:00 PM, so don’t call then. 

Student Spotlight – Elina Iakovleva

Elina Iakovleva is from Russia and studied in our Junior Program for 3 weeks prior to entering our Adult Program for 36 weeks in our Intensive 30 course. Elina loves sports and feels inspired after playing tennis. She plans on continuing her studies in business after leaving ELC.   

Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place(s).

I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. I live in the neighborhood of Moscow, close to the water and near the park. My parents chose this area because it’s very peaceful and quiet neighborhood. 

What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?

I adore my time in the gym or on the tennis court. I feel inspired after playing sports. 

What is your special talent?

In my opinion, talent doesn’t help people because they get what they want too easily. Effort and labor are appreciated. 

What is your profession? What do you like about it?

I am only 18 and don’t have a job yet,but in the near future I want to work in business. 

Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Pets? Do they live close to you?

I have two younger sisters. One is 10-years-old and the other is 3-years-old. It’s a big age gap, but we get along. I’m allergic to almost all animals, but I have a German Shepherd and four cats in my country. 

Why did you choose to study English in Boston? Did you consider other options?

It’s my second time in Boston. Last summer, I was a student in ELC’s Summer Junior Program – Boston,so I am familiar with the city. I really like this mix of nature and architecture. 

What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Boston? Did you experience any culture shock?

I don’t think so, but our mentality is different from Americans. So, I’m trying to get used to American culture to better understand people’s ways of thinking. 

What do you miss most about your country?

I miss my family and friends for sure. I guess food. Before, I thought food in my country and the USA were the same,but I was wrong. In the United States, they have more sweets and not so many vegetables!

What are your top three favorite places in Boston? 

My favorite place is Fenway. I live near the park and there are also a soccer and basketball court and a running track. In general, I like quiet places, especially where I live now. It’s pretty close to restaurants, grocery stores and the Fenway Park. I live a 5-7 minute walk from the center. Compared to Moscow, it usually takes me less time to get to the city center. I can choose which area I want to hangout based on my mood.

Where have you found the best food from your country in Boston?

I haven’t tried to look for Russian food in Boston. 

Favorite moment in class at ELC:

Honestly, I can’t single out anything specific because I have enjoyed all of my classes. Although, we’ve proven ourselves well in teamwork with carving and decorating pumpkins on Halloween; that day we were even more friendly!

Favorite activity at ELC:

Halloween isn’t particularly celebrated in my country, so I enjoyed this day at ELC.

What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?

Feel free to speak even if you make mistakes. If you let fear stop you from speaking it will be difficult to move forward. 

What are your plans after ELC?

I took a gap year to sort out my life . It’s better to choose my major thoroughly than to be overwhelmed, so after ELC I’m going to university.  

Student Spotlight – Abdullah Yaseen Alyami

student life, boston, cambridge, kayak, adventure, experience, study abroad

Abdullah is from Saudi Arabia and has been studying for 29 weeks in our Intensive 24 course. As a long term ELC student, Abdullah has participated in many activities around Boston and is known as a student who is fully engaged in social life at ELC. He hopes to continue his studies here in the United States to make his family proud.

Where were you born and raised? 

I was born and raised in Najran, Saudi Arabia.

What do you do for fun? And hobbies?

I like to go to the gym, I also enjoy the view in Boston. I enjoy everything in life.

I don’t have a specific hobby. 

What is your special talent?

I love sports and I am really good at playing video games. 

What is your profession? What do you like about it?

I am still a student studying English and I hope to have a great future.

I would like to get a great job, be a good father to my kids, and a great husband to my wife.

Tell us about your family, do you have kids? siblings? Do they live close to you?

I have three sisters and one brother. I am very close to them and in the last 5 years I moved away because of school. I am here to make them proud. I am here because of them.

Why did you choose to study English in Boston?

Actually, I chose ELC Boston because it is a good school and it is located in an amazing spot.

I studied in a different school and I was looking for a new challenge and ELC is great for that. I love change! 

What do you miss most about your country?

Of course, I miss my family and my mother’s cooking.

What are the top three favorite places in Boston?

My favorite places in Boston are Boston Common, the Charles River, and Winthrop.

In my country it’s very rare to see view like these. 

Where have you found the best food from your country in Boston?

There are actually many Arabic restaurants in Boston, most of them are at downtown crossing.

Especially Falafel King on Washington street. 

Favorite moment in class at ELC?

I always have a good time at ELC! Meeting new people from different countries and learning different cultures. 

Favorite Activity at ELC:

I really enjoyed rock climbing activities and bowling with friends.

Also, Six Flags! It was my first time going to Six Flags, but I had so much fun! It was great!

What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?

First of all, ELC will be a good choice to study English. Don’t be shy, enjoy every moment, and learn from your mistakes. Do your part because if you don’t attend classes and don’t study, you will not really learn anything.

What are your plans after ELC?

I plan to take my IELTS exam so that I can study safety management at Indiana State University

What are all the ways that Boston is different than your city/town?

It is different in every way! The weather is very different and Boston is very developed compared to my country. The tall buildings and the public transportation are also quite different.

What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Boston? Did you experience any culture shock?

Not really, because I was prepared. I had friends and family who studied here before, so I knew what it was like. 

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Student Spotlight – David Mandola

David is from Peru, and has been studying for 5 weeks in our IELTS Test Preparation Course.  At ELC, he is well-known and is fully engaged in social life. David loves travelling and hopes to continue to improve his English while pursuing his dream of being a lawyer.   

Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place

I was born in Lima, Peru. Growing up, I loved playing soccer even though I was not very good at it. I also loved spending time with my family. It was one of the things I enjoyed doing. My family means a lot to me. 

What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?

My hobbies are video games, playing soccer; watch documentaries and I love traveling by car to far places in my country.

What is your special talent?

I consider myself a reliable, loyal person and a great listener. Wherever I am, people tend to share their struggles or stories with me, without me asking.  I love playing the guitar. When I am done here at ELC I want to take some lessons. In general, I love music. 

What is your profession? What do you like to do?

I am a lawyer. I became a lawyer because I don’t like injustices. When I was younger, I knew I didn’t like the injustice that was going on in my country. I wanted to be a judge, but I changed my mind through time. I travel a lot for my job and meet new people.  I believe that is one of the things I like about my job.

Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Pets? Do they live close to you?

I am married, but my wife and I don’t have any kids or pets. I have three siblings and I am the second child. It feels great to be one of the oldest I have to set an example for my siblings, and every day I try my best to set a great example for them. My siblings and I are very close. We try our best to visit our parents as often as we can.

Why did you choose to study English in Boston?

I was looking for one of the best cities to study and Boston is one of the most academic and historic cities in the United States. I thought of going to Toronto or New York, but in the end, I chose Boston because people speak English more often than any other part of the United States.

What are all the ways Boston is different from town/City?

Boston is very different from Peru in many ways. The public transportation is very accessible and it’s easy to get from one place to another. I really enjoy the weather because of the different seasons. In my city, there is really not any changes in the seasons that much. I love seafood, especially lobster. In Peru, we don’t have any lobsters.

What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Boston? Did you experience any culture shock?

I was amazed by the excessive amount of coffee people here drink in a day. In Peru, we have coffee, but we don’t drink it as often as here. I was surprised that the people in Boston are very kind, like the people in my country. 

What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?

Be patient with yourself because it’s a process, be constant, and never give up. English is a beautiful language and a powerful tool.   

What are your plans after ELC

I plan to continue my studies in an English country and continue my law studies.  

Student Spotlight – Michael Wigger

Michael Wigger is 21 years old and from Switzerland. He has been studying at ELC Santa Barbara for 18 weeks. While he started in our General English Courses, he added some Private Lessons to help him learn English more quickly. Thanks to the intensiveness of his courses, Michael was able to take a leap and enroll in the rigorous Cambridge Exam course! While he has studied very hard for the exam, he has made sure to leave time for some volleyball at the beach.

Is this your first time in the US?

No, it is my second time. I have been to the United States five years ago on a family holiday to the East Coast. We visited New York, Bar Harbor, and Boston!

What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Santa Barbara? Did you experience culture shock?

There are a few things that I was surprised to learn about the US and Santa Barbara. They are:

  • The prohibition of smoking in public spaces
  • The motivation at work is not very high
  • The history of discrimination against black people in certain states until recently
  • Spanish influence in building styles and festivals

I think I had a small amount of culture shock, but I’ll probably have more reverse culture shock when I get back home

What do you miss about your country?

  • Fresh water from the tap
  • ”Real” cheese and chocolate
  • More comfortable bed
  • Crusty bread from a bakery

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy beach volleyball, relaxing at the beach, and playing tennis at Oak Park. I visited Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas. I even went skydiving, enjoyed time with friends in State Street bars, and in the funk zone.

What are your hobbies?

Tennis, playing trumpet, and spending time with friends.

Do you have any tips for people who want to learn English?

Watch movies in English with English subtitles. Read English book, too.

What is your favorite place in Santa Barbara?

The beach with the beach volleyball courts and tower of the courthouse for the view.

What are your favorite moments in class at ELC?

Q & A in Mike’s class because it gave me the possibility to ask anything. Simulation of speaking (in order to know what to face at the final exam). As well, I enjoyed thinking and talking about our own business ideas in communication class.

What are your plans after ELC?

I am going to visit a friend near Atlanta for a week, start to study at a university in Switzerland, and continue to work part-time.