Thursday, February 1, 2018

Newsletter February 2018

Editorial - New Year’s Resolutions By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SBLA

New Year's Eve is always a time for new beginnings. Many people make promises to themselves to improve certain aspects of their lives. Here are the ten most common New Year’s Resolutions in the United States.
1. Get Fit! – The end of the year is full of holidays with lots of yummy foods to eat. Most of us enjoy as much of it as we can (because it’s only once a year, right?!) However, once January rolls around, we’re feeling a little soft around the middle. The new year is a great time to resolve to get into shape. In January, fitness clubs offer deals and promotions to those who want to keep their promises.
2. Take a class, learn something new – Learn a new language? Improve your cooking skills? Find a new hobby? The world is full of exciting facts and activities!
3. Adopt Healthier Eating Habits – As mentioned in #1, we tend to indulge in lots of fatty, yummy, delicious foods over the holidays. Do you want to eat healthier, fresher foods? Now’s a good time to try and change.
4. Volunteer – Lots of people and organizations need a little help. Find local organizations to help kids, the homeless, animals, anything that sparks something in your heart.
5.Fix Your Finances – Do you have a retirement plan? How does your savings account look? Read a book, take a seminar, but do something to try and improve your money situation.
6. More Quality Time with Family – If you’re not too close with your family, resolve to spend more time with those friends who make you happy.  Make time in your busy schedule to see the ones you love.
7. Stop Smoking – This one of the most challenging resolutions, but also one of the more beneficial ones. Do your best! Only an estimated 15% of people who try to quit manage to stay cigarette-free six months later.
8. More Vacations and Trips -  The world is yours to discover! Take that trip you’ve always wanted to. Don’t wait till it’s too late!
9. Stress Less – Stress has been linked to some dangerous health problems. Less stress can make you healthier and happier.
10. Reduce Alcohol Consumption – Have you ever had a hangover? Not so nice! The best way to avoid those is to drink less alcohol. If you enjoy a cocktail now and then, practice moderation. Your health will thank you.

Language Systems Life Style Valentine’s Day in America By Josh Block, DTLA Assistant Program Coordinator

The origins of Valentine’s Day are mysterious. Scholars and historians have argued for years about when the holiday was created; we are not even sure who St. Valentine is! In the United States today, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. Couples give gifts, flowers, chocolates, and cards to their partners, and often spend the night out at a romantic restaurant.  Lovers young and old plan dates at many of the beautiful locations around Los Angeles, like Huntington Gardens and Barnsdall Art Park. In school, children decorate heart-shaped cards with Valentine’s Day messages and leave them in boxes for each other. No matter who you are or who you love, Valentine’s Day is a celebration for all!. 

Discover LA By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SBLA

Olvera Street is known as the first official street in Los Angeles. It is now a Mexican Marketplace that recreates a romantic “Old Los Angeles.” There you’ll find a narrow, tree-lined, market with old brick structures, painted stalls, street vendors, cafes, restaurants and gift shops.  Olvera Street was created in 1930 “to preserve and present the customs and trades of early California."  Many of the merchants on Olvera Street today are descended from the original vendors.

 Visitors from around the world stroll around the marketplace smelling the ever-present taquitos and tacos at the outdoor cafes, listening to the strolling mariachi music, and watching Aztecs and Mexican folkloric dancers. The many vendors offer handcrafted items such as pottery, belts, wallets, purses, leather and Mexican folk art.

Olvera Street celebrates holidays such as Los Tres Reyes,  Blessing of the Animals, Los Angeles City Birthday, Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day, Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Las Posadas with lots of music and special offerings.  Olvera Street continues to be a major tourist stop attracting as many as two million visitors per year. It’s a must-see in Los Angeles!

Free in LA By Josh Block, DTLA Assistant Program Coordinator

  • Broken Hearts Circus – February 11th, 1pm
    Feeling down about Valentine’s Day? You’re not alone! Join the festival for the broken-hearted in the Arts District and forget your troubles. The circus will include live music, face painting, magic, and a photobooth. The event is free at Angel City Brewery, but you must be 21+ to join the fun.
  • Valentine’s Day Tango Party – February 14th, 7:30pm
    Looking to spend a romantic evening with your special someone this Valentine’s Day? Come to downtown LA and dance the night away! The evening will begin with a free tango lesson, followed by social dancing (called milonga) and finally, a professional tango performance! Love is in the air, and the beautiful Union Station is the perfect place to celebrate the holiday. The doors open at 7pm, bring your dancing shoes! More information is available on the Union Station Los Angeles Facebook page.
  • Lunar New Year Festival – February 17th, 1pm
    Join over 100,000 Angelenos for a cultural celebration! Head to the Chinatown Central Plaza in downtown LA for food, ping pong, traditional music, and even kung fu! The highlight of the festival will be the in the 119th annual Golden Dragon Parade.  Parking will be difficult, so take Metro to the Chinatown station on the Gold Line to beat traffic.

Language Systems Faces
Interview with Assistant Program Coordinator Henry (SBLA) Interview conducted by Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SBLA

Meet Henry, the Assistant Program Coordinator in Torrance
How long have you worked at Language Systems?
AI started at the Alhambra LSI in October 2012 and moved to Torrance LSI in April 2013 I became an Assistant PC in July 2014

Q: How long have you been teaching English in general?
AI taught English in Japan for the JET (Japanese Exchange Teaching Program) from 1992 to 1995 and then with AEON from 1996 to 2010

Q: What is your favorite thing about being evening PC?
AMy co-workers are very positive and we all support each other well. The teachers work hard with not only teaching English to the students but also American culture. The students here in Torrance are very friendly and outgoing. What’s not to enjoy working here?

Q: What is something about you that would be surprising to people who don’t know you well?
A: My wife is Japanese, and my two sons were born there. One is in high school and the other is in college. Their English has really improved since coming here but they are still enrolled in an ESL class to improve their English. 
 On a personal level I have recently gotten interested in bicycling. I have an old mountain bike that I ride all over L.A. I have ridden about 3,500 miles this year so far and I’m hoping to get passed the 10,000-mile mark. If you ever want to go for a ride please let me know.

Student Article 1 Three Things People Need to Know About Christmas

By Triana Level 6

 The most important thing is family. During the Christmas season, it is inevitable that you are going to be with your family, so try to have fun and don't get stressed. The second thing is the food. Everyone likes to eat but in Christmas, people are used to cooking and eating a lot so be ready to gain weight but appreciate that you have that food. The last thing is the kindness. For some people, this is the most lonely and sad time so do something considerate for others that you receive no credit or benefit from. In conclusion, Christmas is a season everyone should enjoy.

Student Article 2 Christmas Time

By Chris Level 6

      It is the most special time of the year for everybody. Young people, teenagers and even elder people usually enjoy this holiday. Why? The reasons are clear; because of the magic that we feel, the colors of the environment, and also the happiness that people share with each other. All these things are noticeable during the holiday season.
      Firstly, you can see children and young people living Christmas time as a unique moment in their lives. They look surprised receiving and opening gifts they asked for with sincere enthusiasm, playing with them for hours or even days without taking care of the time. For teenagers it is also a good time because they can proudly show off new clothes and gifts to their friends in the New Year. Elder people see this time differently because they don’t really care as much about the gifts as the young do, but joining with family and having a good time together is something that they appreciate and will never forget.
      Secondly, families meet to happily decorate their houses inside and out by placing colorful and fun stuff all around. They enjoy these activities together. It is also gratifying to visit different cities or to go out and walk around looking at all the decorations in the streets. You realize that there are countless kinds of ambiance you can find.
      Finally, you can feel the happiness of this magical environment in which everybody is more active than usual and has a fever to buy things that they don’t even need. They may find nice stuff for the house and will buy it even if it is pricy. It has become kind of necessary to spend money on cool things at Christmas. It might be a waste of money, but the reason is that everybody has family, friends, and     people to give gifts to, and this is a particular time when people see each other more often, meet for lunch or dinner, and just have big celebrations for fun.
      I would like to encourage everybody to enjoy this time because it only happens once a year. You have the chance to spend more time with your family and friends or at least talk with them, and you could make somebody happy with your gift.                 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Newsletter December 2017

Editorial - Christmas and Holiday Season By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

I don’t know about you, but the Holiday Season is one of my favorite times of the year.  Many people think it’s just a commercial holiday to make people shop.  But whatever your perspective, religion, or personal beliefs are, it’s important to remember it always involves family and kindness.  Shopping is a personal choice.  Family is the core group of your personal happiness.  The beautiful thing about family is that it can be anyone.  Being family automatically involves kindness.  Kindness to your closest family members, your friends, your colleagues, and the 7-Eleven guy; you get to choose who, where, and when you spread that love.  That’s what I love about the holidays.  You have a chance to put all your differences aside once a year to just enjoy each others’ company and love.

This last year has been difficult for many people.  Life can take unexpected turns sometimes.  No matter how tough things get, you have a choice on how you want to react.  The holidays are a difficult time for many people, but they don’t have to be.  If you have no family here, invite that cool friend from class over, be kind to your neighbors, or ask that cute person out to a coffee or lunch; you never know if they’re feeling the same way as you.  And if you’re already happy and feeling lucky, organize a small potluck party for people who may not be as lucky as you and watch how much they’ll enjoy themselves.  Sometimes people just need someone to talk to and to not feel so alone in this world.  The best way to spread kindness is through friendship, consideration, and a little heart.  My way of spreading kindness is just trying to make someone smile sometimes.  You wouldn’t believe how far that can go.  Happy Holidays to everyone.  Much love to all of you from a simple office worker.

Language Systems Life Style (NELA) Thanksgiving Celebration By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

Pasadena had lovely weather during this year’s Thanksgiving potluck celebration.  We were very fortunate and decided to have our potluck outdoors.  Our morning students brought an entire assortment of lovely food.  For some students, it was the first time trying turkey, so it was a bit exciting and scary at the same time.   Some of them were impressed with the size and portions of food and sent photographs for their families to see.

Our afternoon classes brought a completely different style of food.   It was great to try different styles of food throughout the day.  One of our students brought a guitar and had a group of people singing.  There was a group of girls counting calories, and then there was the mother thinking of her own parents back in her home country.   Evening students decided to talk about what they were grateful for this year and brought lots of desserts; maybe evening students need more sugar to stay awake.  Anyway, it was lovely listening to everyone share their feelings of gratitude for something in life.
That’s what thanksgiving is about.  It was great to share a meal with students of different ages, countries, and religions all together in one place.  It helped us realize that we are all human and we can learn to understand each other, no matter how different we are.  I guess that’s a good reason to be thankful for this year. 

Discover LA (NELA) By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

One of the coolest things I got to do due to the four day schedule was organize Friday activities for students. Because I live in the west side of Los Angeles, I never really took the time to visit North East Los Angeles. I must say that there’s much more to do than people think. There are people from many backgrounds, many cultural events, a lot of history, and unexpected places that would blow your mind. If you like nature, you can go to Eaton Canyon, Monrovia Canyon, or even the many gardens available to the public. The beautiful part is that most of this stuff is free.

If you like art and music, you will enjoy the Pasadena play house, all the galleries and museums, and the free concerts at Levitt Pavilion. They have tons of outdoor movies, community events, and family activities. My mind has really been opened to a variety of great things.

The Arboretum is so close that the peacocks will walk onto our campus sometimes. The Rose Bowl is minutes away if you want to watch a sporting event, a concert, try a 5k, or go to the flea market. There’s richness in culture and history. You can get some of the best Chinese food in one of the oldest parts of Los Angeles. It’s a great deal and one that students from abroad should take advantage of and discover.

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

  • Rose Parade - January 1, 2018
  • Pasadena Tree Lighting Ceremonies - November 17 to December 03, 2017
    Deck the Halls with Holiday Cheer
    Pasadena Tree Lighting Ceremonies are free events that deck the halls of Pasadena with holiday cheer. Enjoy festive holiday music and holiday-themed family fun starting with The Paseo Colorado as they kick off the holiday season November 17, 2017. Then join Mayor Terry Tornek at Pasadena City Hall as the Mayor lights the City’s Official Holiday Tree on December 1, 2017. Continue the holiday cheer at The Langham Huntington Pasadena as they light their own beautiful tree on December 2, 2017.Centennial Square
Language Systems Faces Interview with Teacher MR. JEFF ZEDOUTI (NELA) Interview conducted by Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

AI’m originally from North Africa, precisely from Morocco, and “Amazigh” by heritage.

AI have visited several countries and spent almost sixteen years in Asia.  First, I lived in Thailand, and then moved to China.

ABesides my native tongue, I can speak French fluently and moderately Spanish.

A: I had a chance to visit and explore other states before settling in California. And indeed, each state has its own charm, pros and cons. However, California remains a welcoming state to many new immigrants, offering various opportunities in terms of good living standards as well as affordable costs of living. The climate is its own prestige, which attracts many people from all colors of life. Los Angeles was, and always will remain a legend city that has a stunning history, and there is a lot to learn about this very busy city which still keeps growing and prospering.

A: For all these years that I have been operating in the education field as an ESL instructor, I have learned that in order to become a successful educator one should deeply believe in the profession’s ethical values as the main foundation and building blocks of a genuine teacher. I am indeed very grateful to be part of the world’s education mission, pouring and sharing the best off my knowledge, energy, and capacity with students from different backgrounds and parts of the globe. I am very thankful to be given the opportunity to work at Language Systems International School which allows me to further my ESL knowledge and learn new teaching methodologies, as well as broaden my educational horizons. I strongly believe that knowledge is power. And being a teacher, one should constantly keep learning because curiosity has no cure.

Student Article 

By Bond (Level 5)

Hello Guys!  My name is Bond.  I’ve been studying English at LSI for several months and I’ve been in L.A. for four months.  This Christmas holiday is going to be a special one for me because it’s going to be my first Christmas celebration in the US.  My plan is to go around sightseeing by bus and watch the light decorations on the street.  Then, I’m going to spend a day in Hollywood and enjoy the decorated Christmas trees and simply walk around the streets looking at the decorations on buildings and other trees around Hollywood.  I hope to enjoy the unique atmosphere and the feelings of joy and happiness that arise in every living thing there.

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 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 Articles 

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.