Monday, December 28, 2009

Connect English Presents: The Best Photos of 2009

2009 has been a great year at Connect English. We have had so much fun with the people that we have met from around the world. So many of our students have achieved their goals and been accepted to real American colleges and universities this year. We are excited to help even more students in 2010!

Here are some of our favorite photos of our favorite people and events in 2009:

(The album is also on the Connect English Facebook fan page.)

Kelley and Ing were the winners of the "Who Wants to be a Nerd?" game show at the Connect English grand opening party. Those glasses were their prize.

Students, friends and family members meet each other in the "Find Someone Who..." activity. Everyone learned some interesting things about the others at the party.

A group of students from one of our TOEFL preparation classes works on some vocabulary in context activities together.

We celebrate with the Urbina family as Nazari is accepted to Texas A & M University. Impressive!

Nazari is now a competitor on the Texas A & M University tennis team. She is traveling around the United States to play in tournaments and she is getting a world-class education.

We made a few trips to the Balboa Park museums. Andrea and Landryse were pretty nervous about the flight simulator.

This video showed them inside of the flight simulator. Do they look nice and calm?

Frisbee golf at Balboa Park was an interesting experience.

Javier and Adam are competitors. They spent the whole day trying to out-do each other.

Pierre worked hard and got his graduation certificate, and he's planning on coming back in 2010 for even more TOEFL training at Connect English.

TOEFL students plan out introduction paragraphs for their independent writing tasks.

Dermot Rodgers joined the Connect English team in 2009. He made it a great summer.

Javier graduates and gets ready to go to Musicians Institute in Los Angeles.

Sally and Wahine were the champions of the Connect English Flags of the World trivia competition.

These guys were excited to get onto the trolley and go to their surf lessons on Mission Beach.

The Padres play at Petco park on a sunny afternoon. Someone looks excited!

Looks like this picture should be the Connect English post card for the summer.

Tally-Ho glides gracefully over the waves and sand of Mission Beach.

The Spanish students made some new friends while they were here, including this little guy who they saved from a pet snake.

Maybe THIS picture should be the Connect English postcard for the summer.

The Surfing Spaniards graduated from their summer program with honors in July of 2009.

After the Spanish students' graduation, we barbecued in Mission Bay Park. Man, those guys were hungry!

Go shares his sushi with Adam before the evening classes get started.

Some of the students from our evening classes gather around for Cristina's agua de sabor. This stuff was strangely delicious, especially on a hot day in San Diego.

Mati has probably used the Connect English Academic Support Center more than anyone. She is determined to pass the TOEFL.

Landryse gets a photo next to one of her favorite cars.

Here's another one of their favorite exotic cars that they saw at the museum.

Andrea does excellent work helping the students and teachers of Connect English. We appreciate all of your effort, Andrea!

Another meal with some students. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. A lot of delicious fun.

Namwhan, Brittany, Mati and Adam work on TOEFL independent writing in the computer lab. It isn't the most exciting activity in the world, but it is very important for passing the TOEFL.

Mati keeps working to improve her TOEFL independent writing skills.

Another San Diego summer sunset in front of Connect English in Mission Valley.

Do you want to be in the Connect English Best Pictures of 2010 photo album? You can get fantastic English classes in San Diego from the most energetic language school in San Diego and have a great time while you learn a lot. Check out our website for more information on TOEFL courses and Intensive English courses that will help you succeed in English.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The International Food of Connect English --- Simply Delicious!

A lot of fun and exciting things happen when you spend your time at a language school in San Diego. Students have so much world experience to share. Teachers are always coming up with fresh ideas for their lessons and for their students. Events and activities are going on every week. There's always something new to think about!

The thing that everyone loves the most, though, is the food. When students from around the world come together and talk about life, good food frequently comes next. Recently, we've had crêpes and quiche from France, rigatoni and insalata Caprese from Italy, brigadeiro from Brazil, and good ol' fashioned barbecue from the USA.

This week we had another chance to try amazing food: delicious mole con pollo from Mexico. Wow, it was tasty. Mole con pollo is a chocolate-like (yes, chocolate) sauce that has ground chiles, chicken, spices, raisins, plantains, bread and nuts mixed in. It can be spread on rice or bread, or eaten with chips. It's spicy hot, and it's surprisingly scrumptious!

We thank our students from around the world for sharing the food of your culture with your classmates, teachers and friends at Connect English! What's next on the menu?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lots of Learning at the Connect English Academic Support Center

The students of Connect English have goals. We all work hard to make sure that those goals become plans, and that those plans then become real-life achievements. This is why Connect English has established the Academic Support Center.

Every Friday, the staff and teachers of Connect English are here to help present and past students use the resources of the school to prepare for the TOEFL, work on projects from their language classes, or even get help with assignments from their classes at Grossmont College or San Diego State University.

What other language school in San Diego works so hard to help students to achieve their goals? Even after Connect English students have been accepted to college or university, you'll regularly find the teachers of Connect English helping them in the Academic Support Center as they work on assignments, essays and projects for their college courses.

Mati uses the Academic Support Center to get extra help with her TOEFL Independent Writing responses on Friday afternoons.

The Connect English Academic Support Center is here for you when you need to get the job done right. Succeeding in college and preparing for the TOEFL in San Diego just got a little bit easier! Check out our website, E-mail us, or visit the school in Mission Valley to learn more about realizing your goals and dreams through Connect English.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Halloween in San Diego: 10 Recommendations for International Students


San Diego is the best Halloween city in the United States. The perfect October weather allows everyone to celebrate both indoors and outdoors while our friends in Northern California and on the East Coast are already starting to freeze.

I've been teaching for years in San Diego, living in San Diego even longer, and celebrating Halloween even longer than that. Over this time I've learned some valuable lessons about how to make sure that your Halloween is safe and mega-fun. Here's a list of those lessons that you can use this Halloween:

1. Wear a costume. Really.

Dressing up in a funny costume may seem embarrassing at first, but I have surveyed hundreds of students in my time as a teacher. Students who wear costumes have a lot of fun and they tell all their friends back home about all of the Halloween good times they experienced. Students who don't wear costumes frequently regret it after Halloween is over. Believe me. Costumes don't have to cost a lot of money and don't have to be complicated. There are a lot of options that are not embarrassing at all, but are still a lot of fun. For example, a baseball player could be a great costume that's not embarrassing, not complicated, not expensive, and totally comfortable. Here's a good little list of costume shops and Halloween stores in San Diego.

2. Decide early which events you'd like to visit.

Don't wait until Halloween weekend to make your plan. There are many, many events happening around town. One of my biggest regrets of Halloweens past is having to argue with my friends on Halloween night about which event will be better. It's much smarter to decide a few days before the weekend. Here are a few famous events that are happening around San Diego this Halloween:

Through October - The Haunted Trail, The Haunted Hotel & The Scream Zone

Oct. 30th - 80s Heat: The Nightmare Before Halloween (Solana Beach)

Oct. 30th - 4th & B's Heaven & Hell bash with DJ Benny Benassi (Downtown)

Oct. 31st - Monster Bash (Downtown)

Oct. 31st - Halloween @ The Prado (Balboa Park)

Oct. 31st - Bar West Vampire Ball (Pacific Beach)

3. House parties are good, but sanctioned events are safer and are still a lot of fun.

Organized events around town have security staff and are properly planned so that they can accommodate large numbers of people. If you go to a house party, be prepared for long bathroom lines and the possibility of the police arriving and telling everyone to leave. Most organized events are pretty centrally located, too. This means that they're easy to reach by public transit, and taxis are easier to find afterward.

4. Organize your transportation plans early.

Make sure you have a designated driver or a bus/trolley/taxi plan. Do not drink and drive (ever!). There are so many people walking around town, and so many police. Don't take your chances. It's too easy to hurt yourself, your friends, or even strangers if you decide to drink and drive. There are plenty of safe ways to get around on Halloween if you plan just a little bit.

5. Keep a few taxi service telephone numbers in your phone.

Taxi companies are very busy over Halloween weekend. Frequently it will take more than an hour to arrange for a pick-up. If you have three or four numbers saved in your phone, you'll be able to get home easily.

Here are some taxi company phone numbers that you can program into your phone now:

Orange Cab - (619) 223-5555
USA Cab - (619) 231-1144
Yellow Cab - (619) 444-4444
San Diego Cab - (619) 226-8294

6. Don't wear costumes with masks.

Do you like to eat? Do you like to drink? Do you like to talk? Do you like to see? Do you like to breathe? Imagine how difficult all of these things are when you have a mask covering your face. It's especially sad when the mask really completes the costume, but the person has to keep the mask pulled up over the top of their head most of the time so that they can breathe. You may find some excellent-looking masks at the Halloween store, but believe'll regret choosing them.

7. Don't choose a costume that has big fake props.

Most people spend their Halloween walking, dancing, giving high-fives and sometimes holding beverages. All of these things are a lot harder to do when you have to carry around a fake knife, a rubber chicken, a fruit basket, or some big, heavy part of your costume. Here is one good example of a costume that is not very smart. And can you imagine walking around with all this stuff all night? Forget it.

8. Wear costumes with wigs, makeup, funny hats, pockets, etc. instead.

All of these things make your Halloween much more fun and manageable than if you wear a bad costume with a mask or fake weapons and toys that you have to carry around all weekend (#s 6 and 7 above). A purse or a backpack is always a great idea for you or one of your friends to have as well. This way you can keep your wallet, your ID, your credit or debit cards, your camera and your cell phone secure. Can you imagine trying to carry all of those things around while wearing this tiny costume? Be prepared for event security guards to search your purse or backpack, though.

9. Bring a camera, of course!

You are definitely going to want to take pictures of the events you'll attend, the costumes you'll see, the people you'll meet, and the hilarious things you and your friends will do. Want to see some pictures of regular people having tons of fun on Halloween? Check out this public album on the Facebook fan page for Halloween.

10. Carve pumpkins!

If you have the chance to carve pumpkins, do it! You'll have a lot of fun. Pumpkins can be bought at your local Vons, Ralphs or Albertsons any time in the month of October. Connect English will have a pumpkin carving event/contest later this month, so keep your eyes open. You will never forget it!

Do you have more advice for San Diego international students this Halloween? Please write a comment below. With your recommendations, we can make sure that even more people have as much fun on Halloween as I have had in my life. Wow, I'm getting excited!

Pass this information along to your friends. It's the goal of Connect English for all international students to have a fun, memorable and safe Halloween in San Diego.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall events at Connect English. Want to participate?

Are you looking for opportunities to meet new people and have fun in San Diego? Sign up for Connect English events. Here's a list of some of the events coming up this fall. Let us know which ones you would like to participate in.

Tuesday, October 6th at 7:30pm: Root Beer Floats at Connect English

The weather will be nice and hot in San Diego for a long time, so bring your friends and meet the Connect English staff and students for a few of these famously refreshing American treats. It's not beer, it's root beer (no alcohol)! This mix of ice cream and soda is so delicious.

Saturday, October 17th at 9:00am: Kayaking on Mission Bay

The Mission Bay Sports Center will provide the kayaks. Our students provide the energy to have fun on the water. Spend the day paddling around Mission Bay, San Diego's premier water recreation area. We'll also stop to enjoy a picnic on Ski Beach. Don't worry- you'll stay dry all day!

Thursday, October 29th at noon: The Connect English Halloween Party!!!!!

Wear your costume and enjoy the best celebration of the year right here at Connect English. There will be food, team games, contests, prizes and a lot more. Get dressed up and bring your friends to be on your team. You can win big!

Want some advice on how to have a fun, exciting and safe Halloween in San Diego? Check out our Halloween blog post (coming soon!). These recommendations from Connect English will help you enjoy this great American event.

Tuesday, November 9th at 10:00am: Balboa Park Museums

Spend the morning learning new vocabulary and incredible facts at the Museum of San Diego history, the Museum of Photographic Arts, or the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center (or all three). After the museums, we'll take a walk around Balboa Park, one of San Diego's most beautiful recreation and relaxation areas.

Thursday, November 19th at 10:00am: Learn American Football

The Connect English American-football fanatic, Nick Sacco, teaches all of the students about the best sport in the world, American football. He'll help you understand what is happening on TV by introducing and describing the players, the strategies and the configuration of the game itself. This is your chance to learn about what all of your American friends have been talking about for the past few months. Are you ready for some football?!?!

Wednesday, December 2nd at 8:00pm: Chinese Dinner at Szechuan Mandarin
(on Mission Gorge Rd., right by Connect English)

Hang out for some conversation with your friends from Connect English and eat some of the highest-rated Chinese food in town. The place doesn't cost much at all, but the meals are huge and delicious. We have tried it a few times and loved it!

Sound like fun? We would love to have you along. Students and friends of Connect English are all welcome to participate. Please contact Connect English if you'd like more information or you would like to get involved in the fun!