Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Newsletter November 2017

Editorial - Thanksgiving By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

When you get to live in another country, you have the opportunity to learn about language and culture. One part of a country’s culture is holidays. So, what holidays in America are really “American?” I mean, which holidays are rooted in American history and helped shape the character and values of the USA. One of the most truly “American” holidays is Thanksgiving. This holiday was born out of a historical context which all American children learn about in elementary school. Of course, history can always be interpreted from different angles and by different groups of people. Today, Thanksgiving is all about family, food, and for many, football! Those are the three “F”s of Thanksgiving. Each family has their own little traditions, but all of them will gather together on the fourth Thursday in November to eat a meal and to spend time together. Many Americans return to their hometowns for Thanksgiving. It’s a great time to reflect on the good things we have in life and to have an attitude of gratitude. If you’re in America for Thanksgiving, we hope that you will be able to feel the spirit of the holiday. Language Systems Lifestyle.

Language Systems Life Style (OC) Halloween By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

October in America is a really fun month because we get to celebrate Halloween! At the different Language Systems campuses, our students also get a chance to celebrate Halloween and have some fun. Of course the main ingredient in Halloween fun is costumes! Without dressing up in costumes, there is no Halloween, and wearing a costume is not just for kids. Many adults in America go to great lengths to put together a really cool, scary, or funny costume. Each year Language Systems hold a contest for the best teacher and best student costume. It is really amazing to see how creative some people can get when it comes to putting together a costume. Jack-o-lanterns are also an essential part of celebrating Halloween. At the Language Systems campus in Orange County, each year the teachers help the students learn how to carve a pumpkin and turn it into a jack-o-lantern. Halloween really is a fun time to be a student in America.

Discover LA (OC) Beach Life By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

If you are studying English in Southern California, you need to enjoy the California beach life. But if you take a trip to any beach, you will notice that American people have a huge problem with littering, or throwing trash on the ground. I live in Huntington Beach, and there are trash cans everywhere to help encourage people to throw their trash in the trash can. Even though there are trash cans everywhere, many people who visit the beach continue to throw trash on the sand, in the parking lot, and all over the place. As someone who calls Huntington Beach home, this makes me pretty disgusted. If you want to discover a cool way to help keep California clean, you can join the Surfrider Foundation as a volunteer and you can participate in one of their many “beach cleanup” activities. You can visit their website at

Free in LA (OC) By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

  • Veteran’s Day in America 
    November 11, 2017 is Veteran’s Day in America. It’s a day where we respect and honor members of the military who have served our country. Every year for Veteran’s day, Huntington Beach holds a free car show. During this event, vendors sell delicious street food and there are free concerts on a stage that is set up right on the beach. At this car show, you can see up-close hundreds of classic, collector cars, customs, motorcycles and more. The whole event is free to the public. One part of Southern California culture is definitely classic and custom cars. You should check out this cool event. Before the car show there is a ceremony to honor the veterans of America. This is a time when international students can experience a meaningful aspect of American history and lifestyle.

Student Article 

Halloween By Jimmy (Level 7)

 Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday in America. I love it! I really like going to the Halloween costume stores with my friends. When we go there, we try on a lot of different costumes and we take pictures. Some of the pictures are so funny! On Halloween, everyone tried to look really scary or really funny. Everyone wants to wear a special costume. I also like to knock on doors and say, “trick-or-treat.” This is a very cool tradition to me and I can do it only in America. In my country we do not have this kind of holiday or culture. I love Halloween.

Worst Black Friday Ever By Emma (Level 7)
 iPad Pro! I had been waiting so long to finally get one for myself. I had been waiting for Black Friday, and finally the day had arrived. I was so excited! The doors were to open in an hour, and at last I would have an iPad Pro in my hand. I waited in line overnight so that I could get into the store first. I was cold and hungry, and I really wanted to sit in a warm café drinking hot coffee and eating a fresh bagel with sweet cream cheese. But this would have to wait until after I accomplished my mission – getting my iPad Pro! Finally, the manager came to the doors to open for business. As soon as the doors opened, everyone from the line rushed into the store like a bunch of wild animals. I also tried to run into the store. Once inside, I tried to find the iPads. I was like a lion hunting a zebra. I kept looking around, but there were so many people I couldn’t see anything. I tried to focus, but the store was just too crowded. I waited all that time, but never found my iPad. It was the worst Black Friday ever!

Language Systems Faces Interview with Staff (OC) Interview conducted by Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

Meet Christy
Q: So how long have you been working for LSI and what is your main role/job?
AI’ve been working at LSI for about 6 months. My position is “student advisor.”

Q: What do you like most about your job at LSI?
AI like the environment and my co-workers. I like being around students who care about their futures and who are pursuing their dreams.

Q: What is the most difficult thing about your job?
ASometimes there is a lot of paperwork to do.

Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I’m originally from Thailand. I came to the United States when I was just 6 years old.

Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I love cooking. I like watching cooking videos on Youtube and the cooking channel. I like cooking any kind of food.

Q: What is your favorite holiday in America? Why?
A: My favorite holiday is definitely Christmas. During the Christmas season everyone seems happier. I also like shopping and going to the different sales at Christmas time. The weather around that time is nice too because it is not hot.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Newsletter October 2017

Editorial - What is Halloween? By Josh, Assistant Program Coordinator at DTLA

What is Halloween? Though it is one of the most popular holidays in the US, the origins of Halloween go back to ancient Ireland. Every year, Celtic people held an annual festival called Samhain on October 31st, which celebrated the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. Because the crops that gave them food died in the winter, the holiday became associated with death. Celts would build fires and make sacrifices, hoping to survive the winter. They even wore costumes, usually made of animal heads and skins.

In the United States in 2017, Halloween has kept the costumes and death, but gotten rid of the fires and animal heads. Americans dress up in all sorts of creative costumes, and they aren't always scary. Often, people compete in costume contests to see whose is the funniest, scariest, or most beautiful. Children dress up in costumes to go Trick-or-treating. This is a tradition where kids walk around their neighborhood ringing doorbells and saying, "Trick-or-treat!" Families pass out candy to the kids, giving extra to those with the best costumes. Every Halloween, Americans spend more than $2 billion on candy!

Halloween is also a celebration of fall. Many traditions are centered around the food of the season, like making jack-o'-lanterns. Every fall, Americans visit a pumpkin patch (or sometimes even their grocery store) to pick out pumpkins. Then, they carve scary faces into the pumpkin, put a candle inside, and set it by their front door for Trick-or-treaters to see.
On October 31st, join the celebration by making a cool costume, carving a jack-o'-lantern,  watching a scary movie with your friends and eating lots of candy! Happy Halloween!

Language Systems Life Style Futsal Tournament By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

This year’s Futsal tournament was quite competitive and filled with drama from beginning to end.  There were some dominant teams that showed they were there to display their abilities and add points to their lead.  Students from every campus were enthusiastic and supportive of their teams and made every effort to keep their spirit alive.  And although not everyone can win, we all won a good time and the opportunity to meet our fellow students from other campuses and use the English abilities students came to learn.  Torrance and OC battled it out in the end with Torrance coming out victorious.  After the tournament, everyone was ready to take down a couple of slices of pizza and refreshments, while taking advantage of the photo booth opportunities.  We’re sure students had a great time and made some great memories with their friends.  We look forward to next year’s Futsal tournament and hope it will be just as fun as this year.

Discover LA Knott’s Scary Farm By Paul, Assistant Program Coordinator at DTLA

Southern California is known for its abundance of amusement parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios, Six Flags, and so on. But one of the most under-appreciated one is called Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park. It has a nice blend of scary roller coasters and more relaxing rides for those who are scared of such things. In addition, it’s a theme park with characters from “Peanuts”, a famous American cartoon. You might not know who the Peanuts are, but there’s a good chance you know Snoopy! He’s one of them. It’s a fun place.
And… if you’re very brave… as soon as the sun goes down in October (the month of Halloween), Knott’s BERRY Farm turns into… Knott’s SCARY Farm!
Knott’s Scary Farm is the same location, except it has a horror theme. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. In fact, people under the age of thirteen are encouraged NOT to go. It can be terrifying. All around the park are haunted houses and mazes, but even walking between the attractions can be chilling. Hundreds of extra workers are hired to dress up in nightmarish costumes and their sole purpose is to try to scare the park visitors at any given moment. It is relatively easy for the “monsters” to accomplish this because after dark, the majority of the park is filled with fog and visibility is low. Someone could jump out at you at any moment, even when you’re not expecting it. Something might be waiting for you around any corner. They might even have a chainsaw. No place is safe. And then, when you reach your destination, such as one of the haunted houses, you might be scared not just because of the monsters in there, but also because it might have a theme that preys on your fears and phobias. Are you scared of clowns? Axe-murderers? Creepy dolls? Vampires? If not, you might permanently be that way after exiting the haunted house.
If this sounds interesting to you, check out for more information. Tickets start at $40. Personally, I think this place is far more thrilling than the Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” equivalent, because it involves less waiting in line and it’s much scarier in general. But if you don’t like scary things, Knott’s Scary Farm is not for you. In any case, have a happy Halloween!

Free in LA (DTLA) West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval By Josh - Assistant Program Coordinator 

If you're in LA in October, you can't miss the biggest Halloween party in the US! The night of October 31st, head to Santa Monica Blvd for the Halloween Carnaval, a gigantic celebration of costumes, food trucks, and fun!

The City of West Hollywood, which usually has a population of 35,000 people, becomes California’s seventh-largest city during the Carnaval, when approximately 500,000 people participate in the festival on Halloween night. The West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval is the Los Angeles area’s second largest annual event, second to the Tournament of Roses New Year’s Day Parade. To give you an idea of how big the event is, the Los Angeles Coliseum Holds 120,000 people, only about a quarter of the people that attend the Carnaval each year.

People celebrate in the streets of Santa Monica Blvd. to enjoy the wild costumes and rowdy crowds. The Carnaval has live bands and DJs performing on six stages, a costume contest and the crowning of the honorary “Queen of the Carnaval” (past winners include Queen Latifah and Lisa Vanderpump). The bars along Santa Monica Blvd. host patio parties with amazing drink specials.

The 2015 West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, featuring the star of the film—legendary actor Tim Curry—as the Honorary Mayor of West Hollywood! The show has a long history in West Hollywood: its stage predecessor had its American premiere at the Roxy Theatre, and the film has become a beloved article of camp culture.
Boy George, the lead singer of Culture Club and a worldwide LGBT icon, performed on the main stage of the Carnaval.

The 2017 performers will be announced soon, and you can find updates online at

City officials encourage participants to carpool, use Uber or Lyft, or take public transportation. The city also operates a free, bright-yellow shuttle called the PickUp.
The street party is from 6-11PM, but the party will continue late into the night at the bars around West Hollywood.
Remember, NO BACKPACKS OR LARGE BAGS are allowed at the festival. If you need to bring some items, put them in a clear plastic bag.

Language Systems Faces Interview with Vivian Interview conducted by Ligia, Program Coordinator at DTLA

Vivian is a really popular teacher at the LA campus. Let's learn a little more about her!

1. What are your favorite things about Los Angeles?
The beaches. I love swimming and boogie boarding. I grew up in Venice Beach, so that was where I went as a child. Now, I usually go to Santa Monica Beach. I also love the diversity of people and food. I can eat so many different types of food from Korean to Mexican to Thai.

2. What are your goals for the future?
To become confident and proficient in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese and maybe learn other languages like Portuguese and Korean! To continue to find opportunities to travel domestically and internationally. And to eat as many delicious foods as possible!

3. What part of your job do you like the most?
I love learning about my students and their cultures and countries. I love seeing them improve and become more confident in their English ability. I also like it when the whole class breaks into laughter or when the class goes so fast because everyone is so immersed in the lesson or having fun.

4. How do you think students can get the most out of their experience at LSI?
Participate in class as much as possible! Answer and ask questions. Don't waste this amazing opportunity to improve your English by being on your cell phone or computer or chatting with friends in your native language. In your free time try and speak English as much as possible because with time you will get better! Also explore Los Angeles, ask your teachers for recommendations.

Student Article “A SCARY STORY” 

By Kristina Yeleshenko
This scary story happened ten years ago in Kazakhstan…

One woman bought a house. She was single and was going to live by herself. The first night after she went to bed, she heard a crying baby downstairs. Even though the woman was scared, she decided to go downstairs to check what was happening, but nothing was there. Then, she went to bed again.

The next night, it happened again, but this time she heard not only a crying baby but also the sound of a slamming door.

It kept happening for ten days in a row. On the eleventh day, the woman called her friend and asked him to come because she was frightened. On the same day he came, he noticed that the door was open. When he came in the woman was lying on the floor. She was dead. On the wall was written in blood, “No one dares bother me.”

Since that time, ten years have passed and no one knows the details of the woman’s death.

The End

By J. Sujinda
I was sleeping in my bedroom while my sister was taking a shower. I heard someone knock on the door of the bathroom, so I shouted and asked my sister what happened, but she didn’t answer me.

Then I went to the living room where my friends were and asked them if somebody knocked on my door. They asked me if I argued with my sister. I was shocked because there was nobody knocking on my door.

However, after my sister finished taking a shower, she asked me if I had knocked on the door of the bathroom, and then I was shocked again!

At that time, we didn’t know who knocked on the door because the sound of the knock was very loud. It happened outside our room. After realizing there was nobody in our room and nobody that knocked on the door, my sister shouted, “Diving 4! I don’t allow you to live in our room for free!”

The End

By Chinnawat Indrawasu
First of all, I have to say that I actually don’t believe in supernatural things such as ghosts or spirits since my father always tells me that there is no stuff like that in the world. However, something very weird happened to me five years ago and I still cannot figure out what it was until today.

This strange situation happened when I was working at my former company. It was the last Friday before a long vacation. Songkran’s festival would start the week after. At that time, it was my first week working for that company and everything was so hectic because I still couldn’t handle all the tasks.

I kept working until everyone in the building left. I looked at the clock and it was 8:00pm. It was cold and dark since every light in the office was turned off. Suddenly, while I was focusing on the computer screen, something happened with the automatic door handles. It sounded like someone was trying to get into the room.

The door was locked inside, so the person from the outside couldn’t get in the room without the key. I immediately ran to the door because someone might have forgotten their stuff, but I found nobody outside the door. I opened the door to find out if there was somebody. I didn’t see anything. It was very weird since it took only two seconds from my desk to the door and it was very difficult if someone tried to tease me because the hallway was very dark. As a result, I went back to my desk to turn off my PC and left the office as fast as I could.

After a long vacation, I told the story to one of my colleagues. The anxiety was shown on his face. He told me the story about the death of one lady who worked in the marketing section a few years before. He said that she had been a teaser who had liked to tease everyone all the time.

The End

Monday, September 11, 2017

Newsletter September 2017

Language Systems Newsletter

Editorial - Summer always ends with good memories By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SBLA

Does summer really end when you live in Southern California? With such great weather, SoCal residents can enjoy the beach nearly year-round since it doesn’t get extremely cold. However, September does bring the official end to summer as well as many other things. The academic school year in America begins either in the last part of August or early September. So children and students tend to dislike this time of year because their long summer breaks are over and it’s time to hit the books! (Parents tend to enjoy this time of year!) In the US, families prepare for the return to school by going “Back-to-school shopping” towards the end of summer and buy new clothes, shoes, back packs, and school supplies. It’s a pretty hectic, but exciting time! How do students in your country prepare for the return to school?

The end of summer also brings LSI’s Annual Futsal Tournament! This year, it will be held on September 15th at the LA Galaxy Soccer Center in Torrance.  What is futsal, you ask? It’s just like soccer but played indoors on a hard floor and not grass. It’s a very exciting sport, so if you love soccer, you’re sure to enjoy futsal! Check with your campus to see when futsal practice begins!

Language Systems Life Style (SBLA) 30th Anniversary Party By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SBLA

Anniversaries are very special. It’s a time to look back on the years and be grateful for the journey that brought you to where you are today. In 2017, Language Systems is celebrating 30 years of making a difference in the lives of its students! To commemorate this remarkable milestone, LSI hosted an anniversary party at the beautiful Luminarias Restaurant in Los Angeles on August 18, 2017.

The venue was perfect for this special occasion. Luminarias sits on top of a hill overlooking the San Gabriel Valley. Spectacular views throughout the restaurant showcased the beauty of Los Angeles at night, creating an atmosphere that was just right for celebrating. The party was decorated in a black and gold theme with cute centerpieces on each table and balloons. Guests enjoyed appetizers, beverages, and live music during cocktail hour. The photo booth was busy all night, too! Everyone enjoyed taking pictures with the fun props. Every guest in attendance received a raffle ticket for a chance to win a gift card and one lucky attendee actually won the grand prize, which was a trip to Las Vegas!!

This party was also a like an LSI reunion!  Among the partygoers were current and former teachers, staff, and students. It was so wonderful to reconnect with the friendly faces from the last 30 years. There was a lot of catching up and picture taking, too! There was a very special speech from Maria, the owner and founder of LSI. She told a lovely story about the early days of LSI and how grateful she has been for everyone who has been part of LSI’s 30-year journey. Employees with more than 10 years at LSI were also honored with special recognition.
The rest of the evening was filled with lots of music and dancing. It was a wonderful night shared with friends, classmates, and coworkers. We are all lucky to be part of LSI’s 30-year history.

Discover LA (SBLA) Vincent Thomas Bridge By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SBLA

If you ever find yourself going from Long Beach to San Pedro, or vice versa, you’ve likely traveled on the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Completed in 1963, the Vincent Thomas Bridge connects the city of Long Beach to San Pedro, Wilmington, and other surrounding areas. Before the bridge, port workers and travelers had to ride on ferries to take them across the 1,000-foot channel. The bridge is named for State Assemblyman Vincent Thomas, who served San Pedro for over 38 years. Here are some interesting facts about the bridge:

  1. It is the 4th longest suspension bridge in California, after the Golden Gate Bridge, Carquinez Bridge, and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
  2. The bridge was designed by the Bridge Department of the California Division of Highways, now known as Caltrans, which owns and maintains the bridge.
  3. It spans 2.2 miles of Los Angeles County Route CA-47.
  4.  It was constructed with 92,000 tons of Portland cement, 13,000 tons of lightweight concrete, 14,100 tons of steel and 1,270 tons of suspension cable. 
  5. Travelers used to have to pay a 25-cent toll when the bridge opened in 1963. Assemblyman Thomas paid the first toll on opening day. The toll increased to 50 cents in 1983, and in 2000, the Bridge was considered “paid for” and the toll was removed.

Free in LA (SBLA) By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SBLA

  • Chalk Art Festival

    Join us in transforming the Redondo Beach Pier into a concrete canvas! This annual all-ages family event is FREE and open to the public. PRIZES awarded!
    15th Annual Chalk Art Festival on The Pier
    Presented by Redondo Pier Association
    Saturday, September 9, 2017
    12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    Redondo Beach Pier
    100 Fisherman’s Wharf
    Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Student Article 30 Year’s Anniversary By Mai Hanamura (TOEFL)
On August 18, 2017, the LSI 30th anniversary party was held at Luminarias.  Many students, teachers and staff gathered from all LSI schools and celebrated its 30th anniversary! The place was so beautiful and we enjoyed many good foods and drinks while talking to amazing LSI friends. After the DJ arrived, everyone started dancing on the floor together! We are all good friends! It was so much fun! We had a really good time there.
In 30 years, we met many students who had a great dream and their dreams came true in the US. We are so happy to be able to study with you.  And we also had amazing staff members who contributed to our school. They were awarded at this party! Congratulations!
What we have is not only the 30th anniversary celebration but also wonderful memories and a good bond with everyone through 30 years.  We are so glad to meet you everyone and we do continue to help and support your dream. We hope your life in the LSI is filled with much happiness so we can flourish. Thank you for 30 years!

Language Systems Faces Interview with Karla Solórzano Interview conducted by Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SBLA

I have been with Language Systems for just over 10 years, first as a teacher and now as Program Coordinator of the South Bay campus. During those years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting countless students. One of my former students is an amazing woman from Venezuela who arrived in my Level 6 Listening and Speaking class in 2008. She is now the Marketing Supervisor for Language Systems. We’re celebrating 30 years of LSI and so I sat down with Karla recently to ask her a few questions about her experience:

1. How did you first learn about LSI?
Online, I was trying to find an affordable school and I found it! :)

2. What was your impression of LSI as a student? And how has that impression changed over the years?
To be honest, I came with no expectations. And in my country, the well-known English Schools are very expensive compared to LSI so I was a little nervous. However, that all changed when I started my classes; the quality was great, and the welcoming environment was amazing. I started in level 5 (I think?) and finished the ESL program and then the TOEFL program and took the test. I would not have been able to do it without my teachers. Now, working here I realize how hard everyone works, and how many people are involved to offer the best classes and experience to the students.

3. What is something about LSI that you think is important for people to know?
I think some people might feel like I did when I first came; the affordable tuition can be a little deceiving and they might think the quality is not good. I want everyone to know that we have great teachers and high-quality programs. Trust me, I learned English here! :)
I also want people around the world to know that everyone is welcome here!

4. What are some of your best LSI memories?
The best memory is having the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, try their foods, learn their culture and also share mine. That's something I would never forget. I still have contact with many of my former classmates.  :)
As a Marketing manager, being able to work with some of my teachers when I was a student is priceless, and also being able still to learn about different cultures is amazing. I love that I get to be part of the students’ experience here at LSI and Los Angeles.

5. What do you wish for LSI in the next 30 years?
I hope in the next 30, 40, 50+ years, LSI keeps changing the lives of many more students!

It’s clear that Karla is a super star! Her work ethic as a student impressed me back in 2008, and it continues to impress me now! You’ve probably seen her at one of our fantastic all-campus events; she’s the one who is organizing and coordinating everything and everyone! Be sure to say “hello” to Karla at our Futsal Tournament on September 15th!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Newsletter August 2017

Language Systems Newsletter

Editorial - International Friendship Day By Carlos Takashima, PC at NELA

We have many special days to celebrate, but one we often take for granted is International Friendship Day.  What does it mean?  Well, It’s supposed to be a day when people from all over the world hold events or activities to promote solidarity and mutual respect for all human beings.  Sounds complicated, but how much have you learned from any new friends you may have made in Language Systems?  How many new customs, words, or ideas have you discovered that maybe helped you understand more about the world, and maybe even yourself?

Not all organizations hold events for such occasions, so my recommendation is to spend time with someone not from your culture, or maybe try something new, or meet someone new, from another culture.  The best way to learn and understand about the world is to see what we learn about ourselves when we are exposed to new people and things.  All of our schools are rich in diversity and we can always learn from one another.  You’re not only an English student, but you’re also an ambassador to your country and culture.  Don’t ever forget how much you can influence someone else’s view of the world, including your own.  Besides, it’s not every day that you get to meet people from other cultures or study with them.  Take advantage of the wonderful opportunity that you have in your hands; Who knows, maybe you can change the world a bit with a simple conversation.

Language Systems Life Style (NELA) The LSI Beach Party – A Perfect Day! By Michelle Buell, Academic Director at LSI

Friday, July 21st, was a balmy day with blue skies and warm water at Huntington Beach – a perfect day for LSI’s annual beach party.  There were about 300 students, staff, and teachers coming from all four campuses, and it looked like everyone was ready to soak up some sun and have a good time! The volleyball teams all arrived a little early to practice on the courts before the main event, the Annual LSI Beach Volleyball Tournament. All the teams were strong, so when the games started, it was exciting to watch. The Orange County Surfers and South Bay Sharks were both undefeated in the volleyball tournament after 2 games, so they met for the championship.  It was extremely close, with the lead moving back and forth between the two teams. Finally, in one of the closest games in recent tournaments, the South Bay Sharks scored the winning point, defeating OC to win the trophy!

After a lunch of delicious sandwich wraps and chips, it was time for the water games. Since the weather was so hot, the water warm, and the skies cloudless, it felt good to jump in the ocean and get wet.
Everyone joined in for the tug-of-war competition, with Downtown LA winning and taking home another plaque to hang in their lobby.  There was no shortage of volunteers for the other games, which included racing into the water to grab a pole and filling up buckets with leaky containers full of ocean water.  A lot of the Orange Country students tried bodyboarding for the first time.  Soon it was time to wrap up the competition with the final game of the day, the disgusting food contest.  Four brave students from each school raced to eat up such ingredients as bitter melon and dried durian. Although it was close, Northeast LA finished first and won the prize! Throughout the day, students got together to make new friends from other campuses and enjoy the perfect California sun. It was a perfect day!   

Discover LA (NELA) Museums in Pasadena: First Free Friday By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

Wondering what to do on the weekend, but don’t want to spend too much?  Try taking your friends, your date, or even yourself out to free afternoon at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.  Every first Friday, the PMCA is free between the hours of 12 – 5 pm.  From now until August 6th, 2017, they will be displaying painting from the “Golden Twenties,” works by Gustave Baumann, and other displays.   It’s not something you get every day and these free events are less common during the summer, because most museums know students are on vacation.
Los Angeles offers a number of museums to visit, but don’t be afraid to try something because it’s a little far from you.  Remember that you may have a limited time in the city.  It could cost you much more to come back and see these displays in the future.  Enjoy them with your classmates or new American friends while you enjoy the city.  Keep your eye out for other events in the Northeast Los Angeles or other vicinities in the city.  There’s always something to discover.

Free in LA (NELA) By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

    Date(s): 08/04/2017
    Day(s): Friday
    Time(s): 7pm - 9pm
    Address: 1000 Park Ave, South Pasadena, 91030
    Phone: 310-217-7596
    Cost: Free
  • PMCA 1234: FIRST FREE FRIDAYMuseums in Pasadena
    Date(s): 08/04/2017
    Day(s): Friday
    Time(s): 12-5PM
    Address: 490 E. Union St. Pasadena, CA 91101
    Phone: 6265683665 Cost: Free
    Date(s): 08/12/2017
    Time(s): 12pm- 8pm
    Address: 109 E. Union Street, Pasadena CA 91103
    Phone: 626.356.9725
    Cost: FREE
  • CIRQUE DI SARRAY Performance in Pasadena
    Date(s): 08/15/2017
    Day(s): Tuesday
    Time(s): 6pm to 7pm
    Address: 85 E. Holly St. Pasadena, CA 91103
    Phone: 626-831-0520
    Cost: Free
  • OPENING DAY Museums in Pasadena
    Date(s): 08/20/2017
    Time(s): 12:00pm - 5:00pm
    Address: 490 E Union St, Pasadena, CA 91101
    Cost: Free with admission, Free for PMCA members. Children 12 and under are always free!

Student Article 

Beach Party By Yohan Prayoga (Level 6)

It was a beautiful, bright, and sunny day. The LSI Beach Party was the most interesting event I have been to in LA. First, there were many people from other schools, so I could meet new people who live all over Los Angeles. Next, I participated in the volleyball tournament and tug of war. Even though we lost, I thought it fun because we could work together as a team. Finally, they provided good food. Instead of pizza, they had sandwiches, which were very tasty and healthier. Overall, it was really interesting and I enjoyed the LSI Beach Party.

Language Systems Faces Interview with Staff (NELA) Interview conducted by Carlos Takashima at Pasadena Campus

Meet Ariel Tiet
Q: How long have you been working at Language Systems?
A: I’ve been working in NELA for three months.

Q: What do you like about Language Systems?
AThe people I work with.

Q: What is something new you have learned at Language Systems?
AI’ve learned how to talk with people better.  It’s difficult to understand students sometimes, so I’ve learned how to understand what they’re trying to say or what they want me to interpret.

Q: How many languages do you speak?
A: I speak two languages, English and Cantonese/Mandarin.

Q: What is your hobby? Do you ever invite students to participate with you?
A: I like watching movies and hiking.

Q: Who is your hero/role model? Why?
A: My dad because he went through many struggles to provide for the life that my family and I enjoy now.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Newsletter July 2017

Language Systems Newsletter

Editorial - Food in America By Michelle Buell, Academic Director at Language Systems International

What is “American” food? It seems like an easy question, but it’s actually a little harder to answer. The United States is made up of people from all over the world, and they have brought special dishes and food from their own countries. As people have settled all over the United States, these special dishes have become a part of American culture, so now everyone can enjoy a delicious variety of dishes wherever they are.

There are also different types of dishes and food for each of the four seasons. The 4th of July, or Independence Day, best demonstrates popular food for the summer season. Barbecues and easy side dishes seem to be popular with everyone during the summer months. At a typical barbecue, you will find hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken. Side dishes include potato salad (cold), potato chips (all flavors and types), and corn on the cob.  Taco trucks have become a mainstay for special events in and around Los Angeles. For example, outdoor movies and other festive events will be accompanied by food trucks, especially taco trucks, which seem to have started the current food truck craze. In fact, during the summer months, there are food-truck events held weekly in each city, with food from all over the world, including sushi and crêpes, as well as shawarma and falafel sandwiches.

So the next time you would like to try “American” food, don’t just go to a fast food restaurant. There are many options to explore in Southern California, especially in the summertime. Try out a food truck night or a family restaurant in your neighborhood. Accept the invitation to your friend’s barbecue. Attend potluck parties where you bring food from your country and share it with others with special dishes from their countries. Food and fun bring people together for unforgettable experiences and lasting friendships.

Language Systems Life Style (OC) Curry Hut Restaurant By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

Just minutes from Language Systems Orange County, we have an authentic Indian restaurant called Curry Hut.  It is located in Fullerton, and is in walking distance of both Fullerton College and Cal State Fullerton.  This means the restaurant caters to students, so the food is cheap.  The food is also really delicious and fresh.  Recently, one of our teachers in OC, who is Indian-American, took some students to the Curry Hut to introduce them to Indian food.  All the students loved the food.  It is run by an Indian family, and they have tried to make the restaurant like a fast-food restaurant while keeping the food authentic, fresh, and affordable.  You can get a 2-item combo for about $6-7, which comes with two curries, rice, and freshly-made naan (Indian bread).  But the portions are so generous, it could feed 2 people.  If you are ever near Fullerton, you should check it out.

Discover LA (OC) Independence Day in America By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

If you or someone you know is planning to visit Orange County, California for the 4th of July, then you really should visit Huntington Beach on America’s Independence Day.  I will warn you first about 3 things:  the crowd, parking, and the weather.  There will be hundreds of thousands of people.  Finding a parking spot will be crazy!  And most likely, the weather will be hot and sunny.  If you can put up with these three things, you will be able to see one of the biggest and best 4th of July parades in America.  It takes place on Main Street in Huntington Beach every July 4th.  It is very special!  Then at night time you will be able to see an amazing fireworks show right on the beach.  They light off the fireworks from the pier, which by the way is also the longest cement pier in the USA.   The parade is in the morning, and the fireworks are at night.  During the day, you can enjoy the beach or the amazing shopping and food trucks at the pier plaza and along Main Street.  If you don’t end up melting in the sun, you will have an amazing experience.

Free in LA (OC) The 41st annual Ocean Festival By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

  • July 16 – 17: San Clemente – The 41st annual Ocean Festival, billed as “the greatest show on surf,” features scores of activities, including a sand sculpting contest, live music, kids’ fishing derby and kids’ body surfing lessons.
  • July 14: Irvine – Bring the family to see the acclaimed 2016 Disney animated hit “Moana.”  Mason Regional Park. 18712 University Dr. Irvine.
  • July 14: Mission Viejo – The Big Band with Shep Shepherd swings into Saddleback College’s Upper Campus Quad. 7:30 p.m. Free parking. Reserved seating and food truck cuisine available for purchase. 28000 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo.
  • July 15. La Palma – Stone Soul brings ’60s and Motown classics to Concerts at Central Park, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 7821 Walker St. 6:30-8 p.m.
  • July 15: Mission Viejo – Shakespeare by the Sea performs “Macbeth” at the Upper Campus Quad of Saddleback College. 28000 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo. Free parking. Reserved seating and food truck items available for purchase.
  • July 15: Cypress – West Coast Pops Orchestra plays a Concert on the Green at the Civic Center. 6 p.m. with kids’ crafts offered at 5:30 p.m. 5275 Orange Ave.
  • July 16: Mission Viejo – Shakespeare by the Sea stages “Taming of the Shrew.” 7:30 p.m. Upper Campus Quad. 28000 Marguerite Pkwy, Mission Viejo. Free parking. Reserved seating and food trucks available for purchase.

Student Articles 

My Favorite Food By Lin (Level 6)

My favorite food in my country (China) is handmade noodles with eggs and tomatoes.  When I was a kid, my grandmother used to make these noodles for my birthday.  She started by making the noodles by hand.  This took a lot of effort and skill. Then she would fry the fresh eggs and tomatoes together.  When she fried the eggs and tomatoes, she would add a little bit of sugar to bring out the flavors.  She would then boil the noodles just perfectly.  The final step was to add the boiled noodles to the fried eggs and tomatoes.  I will never be able to forget the taste and the smell of those noodles. I love those noodles so much!

Food in California By Shunki (Level 6)

In California you can find food from all over the world! I’m Japanese, so of course I love Japanese food.  It’s a little expensive here, but I can still enjoy good Japanese food right here in California.  I have tried many other kinds of food in California, like Mexican food, Korean BBQ, and of course, American food. Actually, I have to make a confession.  I like junk food.  This is why eating American fast food makes me happy.  But I know that eating a lot of junk food or American fast food is going to make me gain weight, and this is something I worry about.  However, it is so good that I cannot stop eating this kind of food.  What should I do?  Anyways, I’m glad to be studying English in Southern California because I can enjoy food from all over the world.

Language Systems Faces Interview with Staff (OC) Interview conducted by Marketing Department at Language Systems International

Meet Graziele Crizol, our student advisor at the LSI Orange County Campus
Q: How long have you been with the LSI family?
Grazi: I worked at Sweet Home California for 1 year and I'm now working three months at Language Systems, and I'm really enjoying this experience!

Q: What do you like most about Los Angeles?
Grazi: I chose Los Angeles because I love the weather here and the beaches, the parks, the variety of food and things to buy! I love physical activity and this region has many activities and places for sports such as surfing, ice skating, skiing, running, etc. Another thing I love here are the Latin places to dance, and American sports bars; it's a lot of fun!

Q: What are your goals for the future?
Grazi: At this moment, I want to learn the maximum with this opportunity to work in the marketing of the school. Who knows, in the future I may open my own business, improve my English and learn Spanish.

Q: What do you think is the major advantage in studying at Language Systems International?
Grazi: The greatest advantage of studying at LSI is to learn English well.  I is the opportunity to connect with other cultures, make new friends, exchange experiences, and have the school's support in difficult moments.  I also think it is very important that the school provides us with constant activities.  From these activities, I can learn naturally by practicing English in a fun and relaxing way! That helps us to have fun, to learn and not to miss the family so much. Here at LSI, we are a family and the school makes me feel very loved and supported.

Q: What part of your job do you like the most?
Grazi: The opportunity to work in the school brought me new knowledge and I found a sector, marketing, where I fell in love! I want to learn a lot and be able to work with the school with many students. This work makes me very happy because I have the opportunity to help people realize the dream of coming to study here in the USA. I also love my current work team as my family. Being part of the LSI team is my biggest challenge and the most wonderful experience I have ever had! I really wore the t-shirt and I'm very proud to be here.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Newsletter June 2017


By Michelle Buell, Academic Director

        Summer is a special season in Southern California. It is when many of our stereotypes about California seem to come true.  The beaches, surfing, outdoor concerts, food trucks, amusement parks, and festivals are all a part of the Southern California culture, and summer is the best time to experience it. As a child growing up in Seattle, I would look forward to summer breaks when I could come down to California to visit Disneyland or just hang out at the beach. Summer in California is fun, and there is no place else I’d rather be! 
Summer 2017 is really a special time for Language Systems because it marks our 30 year anniversary! In July of 1987, Language Systems opened its first school in Pasadena, California.  Over the next decade, Language Systems would open three more schools, with the South Bay campus being the last one to be opened in 1998. That was when I joined LSI as a TOEFL teacher. Since then, I’ve been blessed to meet so many interesting students from all over the world. They all came to California to study English, learn about American culture, and pursue their dreams. 
As we approach our 30th anniversary, I think about my Brazilian friend Luciana, who was an advanced student in 1999 and is now the manager at our Orange County campus! We love to reminisce about the teachers she had and the friends she made from LSI.  So many of our students have gone on to do wonderful and fulfilling things in their lives. It is satisfying to think that Language Systems played a small part in helping them achieve their dreams. In this newsletter, we have a couple highlights of students who sent us their memories of LSI over the years. I wish we could print all the messages we received because every single student who reached out to us feels like a part of our family. So enjoy the Summer season with everything California has to offer, and join us in celebrating our 30th anniversary!!

Student Memories 

By Majda

          I was a student at LSI for about two years, from 2002- 2004.  I had an amazing time with amazing teachers and students too! I have a lot of memories with you guys that make it hard to pick one! However, I can share one of them with you. It was when we had a play to present in front of other groups (students). I never had so much fun in my life like I had on that day.  We laughed, we learned and we gained more self-confidence (in my opinion). 
I really loved all the teachers and one of my favorites was Megan.  She was just too nice and always smiling.  Her teaching was never boring.  She was always dynamic, energetic and most of all very encouraging. She used to say "if anybody makes fun of your accent, you just smile at them and ask if they know other languages besides English!”  Very smart, right?  Her phrase is embedded in my head forever😊  
I really do appreciate all of you guys at LSI, for your support and for working so hard to teach foreigners like myself to learn a new language and how to embrace a new culture.
Now I’ve been working as a Medical Assistant at Kaiser Permanente for 10 years.
My English is much better, but I am still always learning.
Thank you again for everything.
Thank you for remembering me, Mrs. Julia Roberts!   I still believe that you look like an actress Majda from Algeria😉

Happy 30th Anniversary, LSI!
By Kellen

          My name's Kellen and I'm from Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2010, I was working in a bank when, out of the blue, I decided to take a chance and move to LA. I've lived in LA and studied at LSI for 3 years. I started to level 5 since I had studied English for a few years in Brazil before moving. After finishing the regular course, I took business and TOEFL classes as well. I don't think I can name the best front desk member or teacher since all of them were always very kind, patient and thoughtful with everybody as far as I know; however, Natalia, the Ukrainian girl at the front desk, and Matthew Flowers, the TOEFL teacher, are the two people who I'd say have made the difference for me. 
I've always had the dream of being a teacher, so when I decided to come back to Brazil I knew that I would become one and so I did. To do that, I got the LSI diploma, the TOEFL certificate and I also took the CELTA course.  I came back to Brazil in 2013 and I've been teaching English at two different schools in São Paulo, aside from the private classes, since then. I love teaching!

Language Systems Life Style 

Soccer Tournament 2017
By Hugh Alexander Kingston, Project Solutions Manager

          The soccer tournament was held at the beautiful Glendale Sports Complex. They day was beautiful but brought a punishing heat that tested all players’ and spectators’ dedication to their team.  Students flocked to the fields full of enthusiasm and excitement to cheer for their school.  And this year brought some exciting matches and interesting results.The battle between OC and DTLA ended in a nail-biting spectacle of penalty kicks.  While the Torrance Sharks struck first blood versus the Alhambra Dragons.  Needless to say, the atmosphere was energetic and full of cheers.  No matter how many times these tournaments take place, the drama doesn’t end.  At the end of the tournament, the DTLA Angels proved their worthiness to be crowned champions over the Torrance Sharks. However, at the end of the day, the tournament is about fun and building friendships. Language Systems loves bringing people together to cherish diversity, culture, and friendship in an atmosphere that is welcoming to all. Let’s hope the upcoming Volleyball Tournament is as exciting as this year’s goal mania Soccer Tournament.  

Discover LA

By Hugh Alexander Kingston, Project Solutions Manager

          Southern California is typically known for its sunny beaches, endless miles of nonstop shopping, and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.  But did you also know that Los Angeles is famous for being a major center for space exploration?  The city of Angels has had a long and proud history of encouraging and contributing to the field of exploring space.  From being able to see the real Space Shuttle, Endeavor, to mapping out the stars from Griffith Observatory, there is no lack of space in LA (wink…wink…).  This is even truer by the fact that Los Angelinos can easily visit and tour an actual NASA facility at just about any time of the year.  The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or most commonly referred to as “JPL,” in Pasadena, is renowned for being the branch of NASA that is mainly responsible for developing and managing the United States’ deep space program.   Some of these missions include launching America’s first satellite, sending a spacecraft beyond the edge of our solar system, and most recently, all of the Mars exploration missions.
Officially named as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1944, JPL had been funded by the U.S. Army and was responsible for developing military rockets throughout the Cold War years.  Fueled by the “space race” against the then-Soviet Union, JPL was responsible for successfully creating America’s first satellite, Explorer 1.  It officially became one of the first centers for NASA in 1958.
JPL is open to the public throughout most of the year and offers FREE guided tours of most of its major facilities in Pasadena, CA.  These tours can be conducted for large educational groups of 20+ and/or for private individuals.  However, advance reservations via its website ( are required and include free parking to the public.  All tours include a multimedia presentation on JPL entitled “Journey to the Planets and Beyond” that provide an overview of JPL’s accomplishments.  The guided tour also includes visits to the Karman Visitor Center (which houses mockups of their robotic rovers and satellites), the Spaceflight Operations Facility (main control room), and the Spacecraft Assembly Facility (where all spacecraft are built).  Discover LA by taking advantage of this FREE opportunity to experience NASA firsthand!

Free in LA 

Lummis Day Festival
Date: Friday, June 2, 2017 - Sunday, June 4, 2017
Location:  TBA (multiple locations)
Price:  FREE

Celebrate the arts, history and ethnic diversity of Northeast Los Angeles at this annual music, dance and art festival. The three-day fest honors Charles Lummis, the journalist and activist who founded the Southwest Museum, built his own house (the Lummis Home) by hand and worked toward a more multicultural LA. The event takes place across four locations—Occidental College, Southwest Museum, Avenue 50 & York Boulevard and Sycamore Grove Park—with free shuttle service between each location, as well as by Metro stops

Smorgasburg LA
Date: Sunday, May 28, 2017 - Sunday, December 23, 2018
Location:  ROW DTLA, Downtown, 777 S Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90021 
Price:  FREE


Indulge your inner foodie and shopaholic at this weekly food-focused market. The Brooklyn export has landed in the Arts District and become a hotbed of fantastic food and retail vendors, with some that are testing out their dishes before launching a full-blown brick-and-mortar in the city. Bonus: there is plentiful (and free, for two hours!) parking in the nearby parking garage.

Jazz at LACMA
Date: Until Friday, November 3, 2017
Location:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Miracle Mile
Price:  FREE
One of L.A.'s best free live music offerings, Jazz at LACMA has featured such legends as Wayne Shorter, John Clayton, Kenny Burrell, Les McCann, Billy Childs, Arturo Sandoval, Cannonball-Coltrane Project and Ernie Watts. Celebrating over twenty years at the museum, the program continues to be one of the museum’s most recognizable (and beloved) programs. It's a celebration of L.A.’s finest jazz musicians, and more than 42,000 visitors attend the program annually from April through November, making it a true L.A. rite of passage.

Sci-Fi at Union Station
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017
Location:  Union Station, Downtown
Price:  FREE


Watch three sci-fi classics from three separate eras—Blade Runner, Them!, Here—in Union Station's historic ticketing hall (with the exception of Them!, which screens on the north patio) at this free screening series. Brief remarks from a special guest will precede each screening.

Language Systems Faces 

Interview with Luciana Lovera, Manager at Orange County 

          Luciana Lovera is from Porto Alegre, Brazil. She enrolled as a student at LSI – SBLA in November 1999 and two years later started working at the front desk in SBLA.  In July 2004, Luciana moved to the Downtown LA campus as an Assistant Manager, and in 2008 she became the Manager at the OC campus. Luciana loves to travel and speaks several languages including Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Italian. 

What is your favorite thing about working at LSI?
My favorite thing is getting to know people from different countries and learning more about their cultures. My best friends today have all been students at LSI. I like to build friendships that will last forever!

What would the students be surprised to find out about you?
I’m a very adventurous person. I like to travel by myself. When you travel alone, you are open to knowing more people. 

Do you have any advice to students who are struggling to improve their English?
I struggled a lot with English in the past. I lived in London in 1996, and it was difficult for me to improve my language skills because I put a lot of pressure on myself to improve quickly. Here is my advice to students: First, do not give up. Second, don’t put too much stress on yourself. Third, don’t try to be perfect. It’s OK to make mistakes. Don’t think too much about what you want to say. Just talk and don’t be shy!

What is your most memorable experience at LSI (as student and manager)?
As a student, I remember experiences with my classmates and building friendships in and out of the classroom.  I especially liked hanging out with my friends after class and having barbecues together.
As a manager, I’ve had many opportunities to grow professionally and to learn every day to build people skills, especially between the management and staff.  We have a great team and are very close, like a family. 

Student Articles

How I found a Hobby in L.A.
By R.K.
        When I decided to come to Los Angeles, my plan was to study and work. Since I couldn’t get my work visa, I had to look for something else to do to make some money and fill the hours when I’m not studying. I looked for something that I could do at home and would make me feel happy, like some kind of art.
I got my Master’s Degree in Set Design and my final project was a set for a theater all made with pieces based on origami, the art of paper-folding that is from Japan and China. Origami is an old passion of mine, and I learned a lot in my research, so I decided to develop some origami works for decoration.
I started making a wall piece for my own apartment. When it was ready, I took pictures and sent them to my friends. Ever since I’ve had two orders that I’ve been working on. I hope to get more projects ordered in the future so I can make an origami business for homes and party decorations.

What Kind of Best Friend Do You Have?
By C. S.
        People naturally need to communicate as the expression “Humans are social animals” says. So, that’s why we need other people. Generally, we are raised to communicate with others so we can make relationships. In fact, having a friend is the best relationship in the world—everybody has friends, both male and female ones. But having male and female friends is different because they each have their own personalities. 
Women having female friends is normal because they have the same interests, styles, and sometimes the same ideas. Women can talk with each other easily just because they are other women. Even though they are complicated in the eyes of a man, women can understand each other just by eye contact.
On the other hand, having male friends is a much different feeling. Men are uncomplicated, but they are difficult to access, maybe because they have a difference of interests. Compared to women, they are hard to understand, but the good thing about having a male friend is they are easy-going and always free, so women can easily confide in them.
In the end, both of them are great. A friendship is a relationship that will never end and you will never regret having one.