Thursday, May 11, 2017

Newsletter May 2017


Memorial Day
By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SB

           Americans celebrate Memorial Day every year on the last Monday in the month of May. This year, Memorial Day will be observed on Monday, May 29th. These days, Memorial Day is considered to be the unofficial start of summer and is typically celebrated throughout the county with barbeques, beach outings, picnics, and outdoor events.
When Memorial Day was first introduced in 1868, after the American Civil war, it was called Decoration Day. On this day, the graves of Union soldiers were decorated with flowers. As time went on, the day evolved into Memorial Day, with the war dead from all American conflicts being honored and remembered.
This Memorial Day, as you are enjoying your day off from school or work, let’s take a moment to think about those who have died. Try and find a Memorial Day event that commemorates the service and sacrifice of more than 1.8 million men and women who have given their lives for America since 1775.

Language Systems Life Style 

Dodger Baseball with SBLA
By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SB

          Baseball season is upon us, and so we thought it’d be a great idea to plan a school trip to see the Los Angeles Dodgers! PC Sylvia and Teacher Thaddeus organized a group of 20 people. The Dodgers were playing the Philadelphia Phillies and star pitcher Kenta Maeda was pitching! Our Japanese students were excited to see their beloved “Maeken” pitch in Los Angeles! We boarded the Dodger Stadium Express shuttles in Gardena and rode along with other Dodger fans to the stadium. The weather was perfect for an evening game.
Teacher Thaddeus is a huge Dodger fan and he was very helpful in explaining the rules, stats, and trivia to students who didn’t know much about the game or team. The game began with the Phillies in the lead, but soon the Dodgers overtook them in the fifth inning and won the game 5 to 3! We enjoyed Dodger Dogs, peanuts, and other ballpark snacks. It was too windy for their usual Friday night fireworks, but I think we were all a little relieved because we were ready to go home by the end of the game.
We had a great time together at the Dodger game!

Discover LA(SBLA)

Torrance Art Museum
By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SB

          The Torrance Art Museum is located within walking distance from the South Bay campus. It’s not a big museum, but is well known for showcasing contemporary and sometimes local artists. Some call the TAM Torrance’s best kept secret! If you’re an artist, an art lover, a student, or just a human who is spending some time in Torrance, make your way over the TAM and check out its current exhibit!
The museum’s mission is to “encourage all people to develop and increase their understanding and appreciation for modern and contemporary artwork via a variety of exhibitions offered in its two gallery spaces, as well as educational programs, artist talks, lectures, and symposia.
Through its emphasis on contemporary artistic expression in Southern California and globally, the Torrance Art Museum brings together visual artists and community members; fosters personal and civic well being by inspiring understanding and appreciation of the visual arts; promotes meaningful experiences in the arts to strengthen creative and critical thinking skills; and builds bridges between the visual arts and other disciplines in the humanities and sciences.”

Free in LA (SBLA)

By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SB

Every Friday night between April 8 and October 28, the lot in front of Ruby’s Diner in Redondo Beach becomes a giant car show, showcasing muscle cars and modern rides. Stop by Ruby’s Diner before or after you check out the cars for a delicious burger or milkshake. Enjoy this retro “California cruisin'” event each week throughout the summer!

Language Systems Faces 

Interview with Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator in South Bay 

Sylvia is the Program Coordinator at the South Bay campus of Language Systems. This year, Sylvia is celebrating her 10th anniversary with LSI! Read on to find out more about her!.
Q: What is your favorite thing about working at LSI?
A: Working with international students has always been the best part of being a teacher and now as PC. Our students come from many different countries, so it’s a wonderful way to learn about these places. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my job at LSI.

Q: What is your favorite subject to teach?
A: Pronunciation in the CMAR class is really fun! I think pronunciation is something that many students forget about and it’s often the one thing that can take their English to the next level if they worked on it. Grammar is also interesting because it is the “nuts and bolts” of English, and without it, you just have words!

Q: What would the students be surprised to find out about you?
A: Students might be surprised to learn that I have run in and completed 4 full marathons in the last several years. I think this surprises people because I’m not very athletic or competitive or outdoorsy. My first 3 marathons were the Los Angeles marathons in 2009, 2010, and 2013. My most recent marathon was in Long Beach in 2016. I plan on doing at least a half marathon before 2017 is over!

Q: Do you have any advice for students who are struggling to improve their English?
A: It’s important to remember the reason you started studying English in the first place. If you want a better job, think about how your life would be if you got that great job and keep that image in your mind. If you’re studying English to move on to college or university in the US, imagine yourself on graduation day accepting your diploma. It might be difficult to stay motivated, but it’ll all be worth it once you achieve your goals!

Student Articles
Our morning TOEFL class practiced their writing skills with a very special topic:
Mother's Day
Independent Essay: Some people feel that Mother's Day is an important holiday for everyone to honor someone important to him or her. Others feel that people should honor their mother every day, and that the holiday makes people think that mothers only need to be recognized once a year. Which opinion do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

By Estelle
          Mother's day is celebrated all over the world for a good reason; to say "I love you" to a person really important to you. Mother's day is an important day for me for several reasons. It's a good occasion to remind your mom how much you love her, to do something special, and also to spend your entire day with her. 
This day is really special, it's a day that you are not afraid to say to your mom how much you love her and how much you are thankful about what she did for you. I remember when I was young, I used to make her  breakfast on the morning and to wake her up with a nice and cute little card that I built by myself with all the most beautiful words that I could know at that time. I continue this traditiontoday, and I still send her a card to say to her "thank you mom for being the best mom in the world, I love you so much".  
Next, this day is also a good way to do something for your mom and to reverse the role. Your mom is always here for you every day, so during this day of May you can be the one for her and make her an incredible gift that she will enjoy. Giving some flowers or a shiny tiny necklace that you bought is always a nice gift for the person who gave birth to you and a good way to make her day special.
Finally, I like to dedicate my entire day to my mom, to spend as much time as possible with her. Your mom needs attention, but she mostly needs your presence during this day. I used to take my mom to a gigantic, natural park next to the house and have a picnic there. We spend our day to relax, to talk, and to laugh. We try to make this day unforgettable and special. 
To conclude, mother's day is really important for those three main reasons. Even if you can enjoy your mom every day, you can't enjoy your mom as intensely as during this day. This day is her special day and nobody else's. 

By Haeyoung
          Every year, we meet Mother's Day in May. Some people feel happy with that day while others do not. I think Mother's Day is an important holiday to honor mothers because mothers deserve to have a special day for them once a year; it is difficult to recognize mothers and how important they are in daily lives, and people may build a strong relationship with their own mothers by honoring Mother's Day.
First, mothers give birth to their children by suffering from extreme pains and take care of the kids. With a great deal of dedication and sacrifices, the kids grow up and end up to be adults, who are  independent from their mothers. Thus, to honor mothers for their efforts, Mother's Day is vital for everyone.
Next, when being familiar with the dedication of mothers, it is not easy to recognize them as being valuable ones without whom we would not be able to be born and to thank them when we grow up. Therefore, it is necessary to honor mothers at Mother's Day at least once a year.
Finally, people may establish stronger relationships with their own mothers by remembering them as an honorable one on Mother's Day.
In conclusion, it is very essential to honor mothers on Mother's Day once a year, because they are worthy to be celebrated by their own families for their sacrifices and great efforts toward the families.

By William
          I think Mother's Day is one of the most important holidays and of course one’s mother has to be honored every day. She takes care of her kids every day, not just once a year,protects her kids when they are small, and gives motivation and suggestions when kids grow up and become adults. 
First, a mother takes care of her kids every day and lifelong. I am sure that is very, very difficult. It is like you have a job for your whole live, without holidays, weekends and vacations. A mother is responsible for her kids and every mother wants to raise her kids for a good life. Mothers give us our first education on how to read and write and it is very important for beginning education.
Second, as in nature, in a lion pridefor example, the mother always protects her cub  from dangers and in human life it is no less dangerous, so a mother is always ready for every situation.
A mother almost never relaxes; she relaxes only when kids relax instead of her or when kids are not far and she can see them, as did my mother. I was a very energetic kid so I was always under control of my mother, because I could have broken a vase or a window or even a TV.

Third, when kids grow up, a mother still remains a mother and keeps taking care of her kids but in another way. A mother always gives very good suggestions and helps with difficult situations with very good decisions.
In conclusion, I want say that a mother gives her whole life for her kids and I would say that her kids are her life. Mothers have to be honored every single day because mothers are given to us only once in a lifetime.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Taking a “Learning Vacation”

“What is a learning vacation?” I asked Mika, one of my best students during my time as an ESL teacher in Tokyo. In my mind, a vacation was doing absolutely nothing and just “vegging out” by the pool on a beautiful sunny day. Whoever said anything about “learning” while on vacation? Mika patiently explained to me that for one month a year, she could go to another country, learn a language, experience the local culture, and have fun sightseeing! It was a “win-win” for her. She worked in marketing, so brushing up on her English skills helped her professionally, and learning about another culture helped her relax, make new friends, and have an enjoyable vacation. This gave me something to think about, and once I returned to the U.S., I began to see why Mika was such a successful, well-rounded person.

Learning can be fun. In fact, having fun while studying can enhance and accelerate the learning process. This is especially true when learning a language. When a student is having fun in an English class, he/she forgets to be nervous or shy and starts to participate fully in the class without inhibitions.  When I started teaching at Language Systems in South Bay, I noticed that there were many special programs that catered to students coming for a short “learning vacation.” These programs were centered around certain themes like survival English for beginners or conversation English for intermediate and advanced students. Even academic programs like test preparation classes could help students make the most out of their short time in the United States.

Recently, requests for “learning vacations” have increased, and the last few months at Language Systems, where I currently work, have been really exciting and productive. In anticipation of our students coming for learning vacations this summer, we have been designing special business programs with hands-on activities that will enhance our students’ learning experience. For our survival English and conversation classes, we have added some impressive field trips and outings that will get students moving, learning about American culture, and making new friends in English!

Here are three reasons to make your next vacation a learning one: 
1. There are plenty of programs at Language Systems to choose from, depending on your interests and skills. You can choose the one that is right for you!
2. There are amazing sites to visit and things to do in Southern California. When we plan our field trips, it’s easy to find places that are both educational and fun.
3. Each program, even short-term programs, end with a certificate of completion or attendance so that when returning to your country, you can show your employer your dedication in building your professional skills.
Of course, there are many more reasons to learn while you are on vacation! When I see LSI students on a whale-watching trip in Long Beach, cheering on the Dodgers or Angels at a baseball game, or getting some hands-on time at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, I think of Mika and wonder what new adventure she is on right now. Are you ready to start your learning vacation?
Know more about LSI Summer Program

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Newsletter April 2017


Earth Day
By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

           Earth Day; what is it?  Why do we even consider it?  Here are my thoughts.  Most people like the sound of the word Earth Day because it brings up images of environmentally friendly processes or actions by citizens and special groups.  You see videos of people picking up trash, saving whales, finding ways of saving water, etc.  You read articles about a new scientific discovery that will change or save our world without us having to do anything.  There’s a lot of information out there, but here’s the questions; what do you really know about Earth Day, the environment, and climate change?  Have you ever really sat down and focused on what all of those things mean?  Does it bore you?  Does it scare you?  Do you care?
This Earth Day, I propose a different task.  Rather than going out and picking up some trash or recycling your water bottle, I challenge you to find several environmental challenges you can research about and pick one that interests you.  There’s not one problem bigger than the other.  Our entire environment is connected and not all of the issues get the same coverage.  Maybe you could find something that really interests you and you could be the next head person of a group that advocates for a problem that’s disregarded or ignored all together.  I challenge you to sit down for an hour or two and understand what the environment is, how it affects you, and what climate change really means.  I don’t want to give you my opinion or force you to see my perspective.  This year, it’s all about Environmental and Climate literacy.  You have to start somewhere, and education is the first step.  Peace.

Language Systems Life Style 

Why Should I Study at NELA?
By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

          I understand that students come to study English in Los Angeles because of the accessibility of things and all the attractions it has to offer. I understand that there’s a misconception about some areas being more entertaining or fun than others. It’s important to find a place you’re happy when you’re so far away from home and want to get the most out of your time in the United States; That’s why I advocate that you give NELA a try. I know some people think there may be nothing to do out here, but they would be wrong. There’s more to this part of the city than you can even think about, and we offer a couple of perks that you may not be aware about.
For one, we live in one of the most historical areas of the city and some of the most up and coming neighborhoods.  We will be moving to Pasadena soon, and the name itself springs of cool things to look out for. The San Gabriel valley has several neighborhoods that offer more cultural diversity and changing demographics than other parts of the city. There are good music and food scenes out here, and you may find that you’re paying less in rent as well.
Next, our school has some of the most experienced, talented, and knowledgeable teachers.  All our schools do, but many of our teachers have roots in the surrounding area and bring a wealth of information to our students. The size of our school gives you quick and direct access to teachers, services, and the program coordinator. The size of our school provides a great teacher to student ratio; more attention per student. The PC does counseling for students thinking of college prep programs and has good knowledge of the community service system and how to transfer to major universities. Don’t forget, we’re getting a brand new campus with quads for socializing, lounge rooms, and accessible services in the area. Most importantly, most of our students always come back and say they always felt like we were a small community that made them feel more at home.  
Lastly, if you took the brave step of living this far away from home, why not live in a place you may not know much about where you could find way more things than you even imagined? Disneyland, Universal Studios, the beach, and all that other good stuff is always a drive away anyway. Trust me, I live on the west side and I’m not always in Santa Monica, Venice, UCLA, Beverly Hills, and all that stuff.  I probably go as often as someone living on the other side of town.  So why not NELA? Why not give us a shot? You may be surprised to find out that you’ll love it here.   

Discover LA(NELA)

Cityrace Secrets of Old Pasadena
By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

A white horse...a green castle...and a Man in Black!
          In CityRace Urban Adventure Hunts, teams of 2 to 4 players solve fun & challenging clues leading them on a 3-hour hunt through one of L.A.'s many diverse neighborhoods. Teams will crack codes, solve challenging puzzles, uncover little-known facts and more... all while racing against other teams to be first to the finish with the most correct answers!

Explore secluded walkways, charming plazas and bustling shopping areas as you solve tricky clues leading you through the heart of Pasadena's beautifully preserved original downtown. The rustic brick fa├žades and quaint alleyways of this renowned landmark historic district are the perfect setting for this exciting CityRace hunt. Discover the hidden secrets and historic treasures of one of the region's most famous neighborhoods!

Recreation in Pasadena
Date(s): 04/08/2017
Day(s): Saturday
Time(s): 10:00am-1:00pm
Address: 150 N Raymond Ave Pasadena CA 91101 
Cost: $40.00

Yowie at Egg Bowl

          Come have an EGG-CELLENT time at our spring festival and egg hunt inside the Rose Bowl Stadium! Enjoy fun for the whole family with games and activities such as face painting, live entertainment, balloon animals, food, pictures with the Bunny, and much more! This will be Pasadena’s largest egg hunt! Children will hip-hop their way onto the Rose Bowl field through more than 60,000 eggs in search of the ever so lucky GOLDEN EGG!

Recreation in Pasadena
Date(s): 04/15/2017
Day(s): Saturday
Time(s): 11:00am-3:00pm
Address: 1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena, CA 91103

Free in LA (NELA)

Second Saturday Spotlight Talk
By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

        Spotlight Talks take place the second Saturday of every month at 2:00pm. A PMCA docent leads an engaging and insightful 20–minute discussion about a work of art currently on view in our Main Gallery exhibition, The Golden Twenties: Portraits and Figure Paintings by Joseph Kleitsch.

Note: Spotlight Talks meet near the exhibition title wall.

Presented as part of our PMCA 1234 monthly programming.
Free for PMCA members. Free with admission. Children 12 and under are always free!

Museums in Pasadena
Date(s): 04/08/2017
Day(s): Saturday
Time(s): 2PM
Address: 490 E. Union St.Pasadena, CA 91101 
Phone: 6265683665

Cost: Free with Admission

Celebrate National Library Week APRIL 9-15

        Crowell Public Library is celebrating National Library Week with a plethora of activities for all ages. What can be more transforming than clothing? Adults coming to Crowell Library on Tuesday evening, April 11 at will learn about the history of costume, when librarian Alex Kosztowny from FIDM presents, Fashion: From Concept to Consumer and Beyond in the Library’s Barth Community Room at 7:00 p.m. Adults will also have an opportunity to transform a book by entering the Crowell Library BookArt contest, which actually begins April 4, giving entrants ample time to let their creativity run wild. Patrons of all ages will have fun in the Library’s photo booth, taking selfies and sharing them on Instagram. The photo booth will offer a giant passport and library card prop as well as a view from a “reference desk.” For the young and young at heart, there will be a magic show from Illusions by Allen on Saturday, April 8th at 2:00 p.m. Allen Oshiro won First Place at the “Magic Corner Battle of the Magicians.” All week long, if kids are caught reading a book in the library, they can earn surprise prize tickets, and they can also participate in a “Libraries Transform” Scavenger Hunt.

Books in San Gabriel Valley
Date(s): 04/09/2017 to 04/15/2017
Day(s): Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Time(s): all day
Address: 1890 Huntington Drive, San Marino, CA 91108 
Phone: 626-300-0777
Cost: Free

Language Systems Faces 

Interview with LSI Front Desk Staff (NELA)
By Interview conducted by Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

Meet Paul Won. 
Q: How long have you worked for Language Systems?
A: Four and a half months.

Q: What do you like about working at NELA?
A: I can talk to students and try to help them.

Q: What is the most fun thing you’ve done at NELA?
A: Hanging out with students. I used to be a student at NELA, so It’s nice that I can still spend time with some of my old classmates. The most fun thing I’ve done here is going kayaking with other students.

Q: How many languages can you speak? Which ones? Do you want to learn any other languages? Which ones?
A: I speak English and Mandarin. I would like to learn Indonesian.

Q: What is your dream and what do you want to learn working at Language Systems?
A: My dream is to get a good career where I can have the option of working hard when I want to and taking time off when I want to.

Q: Who is the craziest person at NELA?
A: Carlos the PC because he’s always training. He trains early in the mornings, during his time off, during his vacation; he’s always training.

Program Coordinator Article

Why California is the best place to live
By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

          The US is a large country.  We’re made of fifty states represented by stars on our flag.  However, when it comes to choosing a state to live in, why should California be considered as a good place?  We’ll let a Californian explain to you why.  California has more than enough reasons for you to want to live here.  Let’s go over some of the most important ones.
We’re the riches state in the country.  If we were to separate as an independent “Bear” republic, we would be the 5th or 6th largest economy alone.  That means there’s a lot of stuff going on and we’re rich on resources and people skills.  For example, California has the Silicon Valley, Hollywood, The largest (and most productive) agricultural force, production of some of the best wine in the world, it’s one of the most biodiverse states, it has the biggest, tallest, and oldest trees in the world, it has a wealth of microclimates, and the list goes on and on.
Here’s the most important thing.  California draws some of the most talented people from all over the world, which means that all the bright and talented minds come together in one place.  Along with our cultural diversity, some of the most tolerant and open minded people, and the amount of entrepreneurship that happens here, why wouldn’t you want to move to California.  I’ve only covered the surface though.  It’s important to remember that California gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself because you’ll be going through the same thing with people from all over the world.  Empathy, tolerance, and friendship; that’s why you choose California.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Newsletter March 2017

Language Systems Newsletter


Sports and intro to Basketball Tournament
By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

          What do you think is the most popular sport around the world?  Which sport is played by more people around the world?  The answer is probably soccer.  In Spanish, and in most languages,soccer is called “football.” Now if that’s not confusing enough, the most popular sport in America is actually football, and by that we mean American football where the players hardly ever use their feet to kick the ball.  Still confused?  Well, the second most popular sport in America is basketball.  I think everyone knows what basketball is.  In China it’s becoming more and more popular, probably due to the amazing career and life story of Yao Ming.  Basketball is also very popular in Europe.  If you look at America’s NBA league, there are many players from Europe, and some of them are very famous, like Vlade Divac (born in Serbia).  Every year students from Language Systems - Orange County make a couple of trips up to Los Angeles to see the Clippers or Lakers play.  Language Systems also has its own basketball tournament every March.  At this tournament all four school compete against each other for a trophy.  It’s a lot of fun.  This year it falls on Friday, March 10.  We hope to see you there!

Language Systems Life Style 

Valentine’s Day Party
By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

          Valentine’s Day is celebrated differently all over the world.  American kids grow up in school learning certain traditions like writing Valentine’s Day messages to their classmates and sharing candy and chocolate with their friends.  At Language Systems, we have students from all over the world, and when they are here on Valentine’s Day, it is an opportunity for them to participate in American customs.  At some Language Systems campuses, students are given material to write messages to their teachers and classmates.  At all campuses there is always enough candy and chocolate to go around.  One campus, downtown Los Angeles (DTLA), there is even a chocolate fountain into which students can dip things like strawberries and pretzels.  At the Orange County campus, students play the dating game, where they get to practice asking and answering silly questions like, “If we were feeling sick, what would you bring me to make me feel better?” The winners of this dating game were awarded free movie tickets.  Valentine’s Day at Language Systems is always a lot of fun! 

Discover LA(OC)

The Observatory
By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

          If you enjoy going to concerts, you should check out the Observatory in Orange County.  This is a venue that is well-known among locals, and if you like getting up-close and intimate with the bands on stage, you really need to give this place a try.  There are actually two “rooms” for concerts: the Observatory, and the Constellation room.   Both places are super intimate, and you can basically just walk up to the stage; you’re that close!  There is a wide range of bands and singers too.  Last year students from our Language Systems Orange County campus attended a Simpkin Project concert (reggae music) there because one of our teachers is a member of the band.  It was really cool.  Ticket prices depend on who you go to see.  Well-known bands charge more than the lesser-known artists.  If you love live music, go to their website and take a look at all the options for enjoying a concert in Orange County.

Free in LA (OC)

Cherry Blossom Festival
By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

        If you find yourself in Orange County in March, you should visit the Cherry Blossom Festival in Huntington Beach, CA.  Cherry blossoms are famous in Japan, where they are called “Sakura,” and Huntington Beach is fortunate to have a sister city in Japan, Anjo (Aichi Prefecture).  This city in Japan donated dozens of cherry trees to the city of Huntington Beach, and every March there is a festival to celebrate the blossoming of the cherry trees.  At this festival, you can enjoy Japanese food, music, and art.  It is free to attend the festival, and it is located in Huntington Beach’s central park.  It is a great place to have a picnic with friends as they do traditionally in Japan.  This custom is called “ohanami.”  It is a very special time of the year.

Language Systems Faces 

Interview with teachers (OC)
By Interview conducted by Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

Meet teacher Shane. 
Q: How long have you been working at Language Systems and what do you mostly teach?
A:I’ve been working at Language Systems – Orange County for over 10 years now. I mostly teach grammar in the mornings, and then in the afternoon I teach the conversation program.

Q: Do you like teaching grammar? If so, why?
A: Yeah, I like teaching grammar. I want to help students avoid making mistakes. I don’t want my students to be misunderstood when they speak English with Americans.

Q: Some students think grammar is boring, how do you make your classes interesting, or is it “interested?”
A: Or course the correct word is “interesting.” I try to relate the grammar we are studying to their real life. I try to make it practical and show them how they can use grammar in everyday life. I also like to tell stories and joke around with my students. It helps keep the class fun for them.

Q: What aspects of English grammar do a lot of students have trouble with?
A: Well, they have a hard time using articles like “a/an” and “the.” Personal pronouns are also hard for them. They mix up “he/she” and “his/her.” Even though I teach grammar, I still try to help them improve their pronunciation because English pronunciation is pretty difficult too.

Q: When you are not at work, say on Saturday night hanging out with your family or friends, do you think about English grammar?
A: No, not at all… not at all! Actually, when I’m off work I talk like a caveman. My students would have to cover their ears too, because I tend to use a four-letter word every now and then.

Student Articles

Student Article 1 
By Tony

I am a student at Language Systems - Orange County, and this year I went to an NBA basketball game for the first time in my life.  I was very excited.  We had to drive to Los Angeles, and the program coordinator Ty had me and three other students in his car.  Traffic was bad.  It took us more than one hour from Orange County to Los Angeles.  Parking was easy, and there were many fans of the Clippers basketball team.  When we entered the Staples Center, we got free hats.  That was very cool! The Staples Center is very nice, and the game was exciting.  The Clippers won the game.  We saw players slam dunk and make many 3-point shots.  We also saw the cheerleaders do special dances and routines.  It was a good experience for me.  I could feel American culture.  I think a lot of American people are crazy about basketball. 

Student Article 2 
By Richard

I think the greatest basketball player in America is Lebron James.  He plays on the Cleveland Cavaliers.  He is big and strong, and it is sometimes impossible to stop him.  He can shoot, he can slam dunk, and he can even play well on defense.  Usually big players like him cannot play defense.  He is famous in America.  He is from Ohio, and played for Cleveland before.  But then he joined the Miami Heat.  Many people in Cleveland were angry when he left them.  In Miami Lebron James won his first NBA championship.  Now he is back in Cleveland, his “hometown.”  Now the people love him again.  When he came back to Cleveland, he promised that he would win a championship for that city.  Last year he kept his promise, and the Cavaliers won the NBA championship.  I think he is the best player in American basketball.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Newsletter Febuary 2017


What is Valentine’s Day?
By Iain McConnell, APC at DTLA

          According to legend, there was a Roman priest named Valentine who performed marriage ceremonies while Rome was at war. This action was forbidden by law, but Valentine continued to marry couples. Supposedly, when the Roman ruler discovered this, Valentine was killed. Whether this legend is true or not is unclear. However, in the year 496, the Pope declared St. Valentine’s Day a national holiday. 

          In the 1850’s, an American greeting card maker began mass producing and marketing Valentine’s Day cards, effectively bringing the celebration to the United States. Over time, other companies began to realize the value of marketing Valentine’s Day to men and women. Now many candy makers, flower sellers and restaurants report that couples spend more money on this day than many other holidays. People buy lots of these kinds of gifts for their Valentines. Yes, Valentine’s Day can be an expensive day for the average person. But it doesn’t have to be…

What is Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day on a Budget
By Iain McConnell, APC at DTLA

          Have you got that special someone but no money to make him/her feel special? Well, don’t worry. I have some ideas for you! 

          First, explain to your Valentine that you want this day to be the best and most romantic Valentine’s Day ever. For that reason, you decided NOT to reserve a table at an OVERCROWDED restaurant because that’s too ordinary and not special. This will save you money and make you look good. 

          Next, research a few simple meals online. and are two websites that offer lots of recipes. Once you find the perfect recipe, simply follow the directions and cook the meal – and don’t forget dessert! Of course you’ll need to decorate your dinner table. Candles are a must. You can buy candles cheaply at any store – perhaps the most cheaply at the Dollar Store or Ross. 

          After you’ve finished dinner and dessert you’ll want to suggest a movie. If you have the money to go to the cinema ($16-$20 per ticket!), you could suggest La La Land, a romantic musical. But if you’re looking to save money, you could tell your Valentine that it’s a cold February evening and you want your Valentine to stay warm and safe INSIDE with you! Here are a few streaming movie suggestions: (classic) Annie Hall, The Apartment; (old) Groundhog Day, There’s Something About Mary, Amelie, Shakespeare in Love; (more recent) Man Up, Silver Linings Playbook, The Lobster. 

          After the movie, you’re on your own. Have a great Valentine’s Day!

*Check answers on the last page.

Language Systems Life Style 

How to get your drivers License

As an international student you can get your driver’s license here in the U.S.! If you are interested in driving in Los Angeles, below we have included information to help you get a driver’s license. 

  • Visit your local CA DMV office. There are many offices in and around Los Angeles. Consult to find the office nearest you. I recommend making an appointment once you locate the nearest office. Often the DMV is very crowded and you could wait a very long time to speak to a worker. 
  • Complete a Driver License or Identification Card Application (Form DL 44). You will find this form only at the DMV office – not online. 
  • Provide proof of your identity. You will need a valid (current) form of identification (a document that has your date of birth and photo, like a passport), a document that proves you are in the country legally, and document (like a utility bill) that proves you are a residing in Los Angeles. 
  • Pay the $33 driver's license fee. 
  • Pass the written test. You will need to make an appointment for this. 
  • Pass the road test. You will first need to pass the written exam before you schedule the road test. 
For more information about obtaining a California driver’s license, visit or call 1-800-777-0133.

By Ligia Andersen, Program Coordinator at DTLA
Two great American presidents were born in February. For that reason, we celebrate Presidents' Day on the third Monday in February. Let's learn a little more about these two former presidents: 

George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. He was born on February 22, 1732. He grew up on a farm in Virginia. His father died when he was 11 years old. He joined the army to fight against England for freedom because America was a colony of England. The colonists won the war and formed a new country called America. After the war, he was elected as the first president of this country. He was president for eight years. He went back to Virginia before he got sick and died on Dec 14, 1799. He was 67 years old. We can see his face on the one dollar bill and quarter coins today. 

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. He was poor and he loved reading books. He became a lawyer, and he fought for the poor and sick people. He fought against slavery, and he gave a speech called “The Gettysburg Address”. 

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States and on April 12, 1861 the Civil War started. Abe was a great president for America, leading the country through its most difficult time. He remained president until he was assassinated on April 14, 1865 while attending a play. Abraham Lincoln’s love for humanity is still in our hearts. Today you can see him on the five dollar bill and the penny.

Free in DTLA

The year of the Rooster
By Ligia Andersen, Program Coordinator at DTLA

LA has many interesting events going on in February! A few of them are FREE! Here is one of them: The 118th Golden Dragon Parade and Chinese New Year Festival in Downtown Chinatown! This traditional celebration will take place on Saturday, February 4th, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. You will be able to enjoy the parade as well as some traditional music, kung fu demos, great food, storytelling, face painting and much more! 


Check out this website for more information:

Language Systems Faces 

Interview with staff Vinicius
By Interview conducted by Iain McConnell, APC at DTLA

Meet the new Assistant Manager at the LSI Downtown campus: Vinicius Martins. 
Iain interviewed him and in between answering phones, questions, and helping students, this is how their talk went…
Q: How long have you been with the LSI family?
A:I worked at the LSI South Bay campus for about two years, and I have just started working at the LA campus.
Q: What do you like most about Los Angeles?
A: When I first arrived I was really into skateboarding. When I was young, I almost went pro, but I hurt myself. Most of my favorite skateboarders are from LA. I have been able to meet many of them. In terms of skateboarding, in the 1980’s-90’s, everything started here. Of course I like many other things about LA like the weather and beaches, but skateboarding is my favorite thing!
Q: What are your goals for the future?
A: Hopefully I will become the LSI downtown manager in a few months and after that I want to be successful in my job as a manager and build a career at LSI.
Q: What do you think makes a successful manager at a language school?
A: Well, first I would say a successful manager needs to be comfortable with people from a variety of cultures, and he or she must also make those people feel comfortable with him or her. Also, a successful manager must be prepared for many difficult situations. Finally, a successful manager must work hard and provide a good example for his or her employees.
Q: What part of this new job are you most looking forward to?
A: I can’t wait to interact with all the new students here at the downtown campus and help them get the most out of their experience in Los Angeles and, specifically, at our school. I’m also really looking forward to making new friendships and great working relationships with all the staff and teachers.
Well, Vinnie, on behalf of the Downtown campus, welcome aboard. We’re happy to have you!

Student Article 1 

Touring Los Angeles
By Anna from El Salvador

L.A. is one the most visited cities in the U.S. Many travelers from different countries come every day. There are so many places and things to do in L.A. For example, one of the most visited places is Griffith Park. It has an amazing view of the downtown and surrounding areas. Also, there is the Observatory. It is a place to learn a little more about Astronomy and related sciences. Another popular tourist spot is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is a boulevard that has stars with the names of many actresses, actors, directors, singers, writers, and other famous people. People walk around and look for their favorite figure. Others take pictures with the stars or with the imitators of famous personalities like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and Marilyn Monroe, to cite a few examples. 

Those are just a few of the most fun and interesting places and things to do in L.A., one of the most visited cities in the U.S.

Student Article 2 

Valentine’s Day
By Palm from Thailand

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you have any plans for this year? In my country (Thailand), we celebrate Valentine’s Day too, but the activities that we do depend on the people who we want to celebrate with. On this day, we can express our love to our companion through flowers, gifts, chocolates, cards, or just say something nice to them. Some people who have their Valentine usually plan to have dinner or spend their time and make something special for their lover. It’s a good thing to do. We can see a lot of decorations that are symbols of love, like flowers and hearts, on this day. Many restaurants have a special promotion or food, allowing couples to enjoy some quality time together. 

To conclude, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate your love. It’s not only for couples, but for everyone. If you have anyone you love, this is a chance to express your love to them! Written by Palm from Thailand



2. Flowers
5. Chocolate
6. Love
7. LSI
8. Cupid


1. Date
3. Reservation
4. Romantic