Friday, 8 December 2017

Looking back at the social programme

As the year winds down, and students and teachers all start to leave for the holidays, we thought it would be nice to have another look at some of the great pictures from a few of the social events through the years.

We have had a fantastic year, and can't wait for 2018!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Patron Saints of the British Isles

Many countries around the world where Christianity is the predominant religion have a patron saint and the United Kingdom is no exception. However in the UK’s case, there is not one but four patron saints, one each for England (St. George), Scotland (St. Andrew), Wales (St. David) and Northern Ireland (St. Patrick) which it shares with the Republic of Ireland.

These saints have their own ‘Saint’s Day’ when they are commemorated:

St. David 1 March

St. Patrick 17 March

St. George 23 April

St. Andrew 30 November

St. George’s Day is not celebrated as much as the other three saints’ days. In recent years certain prominent figures have tried to encourage people to celebrate this day, which is not a public holiday. Many pubs are decorated with English flags and will promote the English dishes on their menus, and it is possible to see Morris Dancing and Punch and Judy shows in some places. Some organisations such as the Scout movement will also celebrate this day.

St. Andrew’s Day is now a public holiday in Scotland. If the day falls on the weekend then the following Monday is a day off. On this day various aspects of Scottish culture are celebrated with traditional music, dancing and food and drink.

On St. David’s Day, parades take place throughout Wales, celebrating Welsh culture and heritage. People can be seen wearing daffodils and even leeks, as well as traditional dress. Dishes such as lamb, Welsh rarebit and cawl (soup) are eaten on this day.

St. Patrick’s Day is not just celebrated in Ireland but also by large numbers of people around the world who have Irish ancestry. Many people can be seen wearing green coloured clothes as well as shamrocks. Numerous parades are held, with notable ones in Dublin, New York, Chicago and Birmingham. In recent years there has been an emphasis placed on giving more prominence to the Irish language. Naturally, large quantities of Guinness are drunk on this day!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

English For PAs And Secretaries: Top Tips, Recommended Courses and Material

PAs And Secretaries: Studying English In Portsmouth (Hampshire)

You have succeeded in getting the job as PA to the boss of a large company. You used your best English and you beat many other candidates. Now you have to do the job! What language will you need? How can you ensure that your English is actually good enough?

This article will discuss the essential language needed, how to survive and how you can improve your English skills.

What skills does a PA need?’ Google gives this answer:
"Duties, Responsibilities, & Functions. A personal assistant helps with time and daily management, scheduling of meetings, correspondence, and note-taking. The role of a personal assistant can be varied, such as answering phone calls, taking notes, scheduling meetings, emailing, texts etc."

We can see that a PA’s position is to ensure the smooth running of the office and to take care of the manager’s diary. So if we break this down, the main skills are:

  • Answering the telephone, writing emails and letters and making arrangements
In an English context this mainly translates into telephone English, email and written English and general business English.

To increase your general business English, in the context of your job will require work on your part. What is the company you will work for? Which department will you be in? What will be the subject area? Try and break it down into manageable areas.

For example, if your new job is in an electronics firm, and your job is in the training department, you will need to know which products they work on, which will be easy enough to find out, and then the language surrounding ‘training’ which you can find by searching on the internet. This is probably the easiest area of language to organise. Generally, company websites have all the main language used by their company in their ‘about’ section. If not all, it will give a good indication of where you may have gaps in your knowledge.

Using the telephone in English is very challenging for many foreign students. Speaking on the telephone is a particular skill, particularly important for many professionals, and made more difficult because of having no facial gestures to guide you. When we speak face to face, we use a lot more than just the words spoken to understand the message. It has been said that only 7% of communication is actual words, and the rest of the message is body language, gestures, facial signs, head nods etc. However true the statistics are, it is certainly true that understanding the other person on the telephone is a great deal more difficult than speaking face to face.

So, how can you improve your performance on the telephone? The following are a few tips that we give our students when they come on our business English courses here in LSI Portsmouth, and can really make a difference.

  • Listen to the Radio. It doesn’t really matter which station you listen to, and you don’t really need to concentrate, it just needs to be playing in the background, so subconsciously your ears ‘tune in’ to the ‘melody’ of the language. You will find after a month or two you can follow spoken English at a much faster pace.
  • Prepare. Think about the conversation you are going to have. Try and predict the questions you might be asked and then have the answers ready. Think about the language and vocabulary you might need.
  • Pinterest – Yes really. Type ‘Telephone English’ in the search bar and you will find lots and lots of suggestions with ‘set phrases’ you can use on the telephone.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat, once, twice, three times, as many times as necessary. If you cannot understand the phrase they are saying, ask them to use other words. Tell them you don’t understand. The aim is to understand, not to pretend you understand.
  • Finally, ensure you use a lot of ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ when you are speaking to native English speakers, then even if your English is not perfect, they will know that you are trying to be polite.

Email writing – the principles are very similar.

  • Read! Read as much as you can. The more you read the more your brain will recognise the order of the words. Read emails from native speakers, underline phrases that you keep seeing and make a note of them.
  • Keep your emails short, the shorter they are the fewer mistakes you are likely to make.
  • Pinterest – again it is a fantastic resource for set phrases, and it’s free, type in the search bar: ‘Email English’.
  • Again use a lot of ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ if you are writing to a native speaker, and they will know you are trying to be polite even if you are making mistakes in your grammar.

Of course, another very effective way to improve your professional English is to ask if you can be sent on a Business English course, one where they teach English for PAs and secretaries and the communication skills that are required. Here at LSI Portsmouth we run a variety of professional courses, and one specifically for PAs and Secretaries, where they improve their English for telephoning, email writing, general business English as well as meeting skills and presentation skills. Many companies see this as an investment in their professionals, they know that the skill of speaking English is invaluable in today’s workplace, and it is not easy to learn corporate English in a general English classroom. However, often a company will want to invest in employees who have already proven their worth with a few years loyal service under their belt. Therefore, if the opportunity is not available at the start of your job, putting the suggestions above into practice should certainly help you manage your position.

Friday, 17 November 2017

British Culture: The NHS and What it Means to British People

Why We Love The NHS

If you ask any group of British people which institution they are most proud of, most would probably say the NHS, the abbreviation for the National Health Service.

Founded in 1948, the NHS was one of the world’s first health services which was founded on a national basis, bringing together all medical practitioners and services in one organisation. Before it was set up if people wanted to see a doctor or have an operation in a hospital, they had to pay for it. One of the three founding principles of the NHS has always been that it is free at the point of delivery. Quite simply this means that if you have ‘Ordinary Resident Status’ in the UK, whenever you go to see a doctor, if you need to stay in hospital, have an operation or use many other, though not all, related services, you won’t need to pay for anything.

Quite a few people, however, also take out private medical insurance or if they work for certain companies they may be given it as part of their remuneration package. This allows people to access private medical services. Increasing numbers of people, if they can afford these services, have turned to private medicine as waiting times to access NHS services can be quite long, whether it is to see a GP (General Practitioner) or to have an operation.

In recent years there has been a lot of financial pressure on the NHS, particularly in A & E (Accident and Emergency), when it comes to investing in new equipment, employing more doctors and nurses and spending on the latest treatments and medicines. Nevertheless, most patients who use the NHS are happy with their experience of using it.

The NHS is publicly funded, mainly through general taxation, though some money comes from National Insurance (Social Security) contributions and some comes from foreign visitors who pay fees for certain services.

Prescriptions, which you get from a doctor, and which allow you to get medicine which is not ‘over the counter’, result in a charge for many people. A number of groups of people, however, get their prescriptions for free, for example if you are under 16 or over 60, are pregnant or if you are receiving certain state benefits.

Though the NHS faces many challenges now and in the future, most British people, of whatever political persuasion, are likely to continue to be very supportive of the organisation, for what it provides and what it has achieved.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Improve Your English and Cultural Knowledge - Rooftop Interview with Gino

How to Improve Your IELTS Score and Have Fun, ask Gino.

Ask any teacher and they will tell you that each and every student is special in their own way.  Each one in the class makes their presence felt somehow.  Some, make a particularly big impact.  One of these 'big impact' students is Gino Petronio. 

Gino first came to LSI Portsmouth in May, and integrated instantly with Portsmouth and any activity he could.  Everyone in the school knows Gino, he is always smiling and always ready to talk.  

Gino comes from Ascoli Piceno, about 200 kms from Rome in Italy.  He was working in his family's business before coming here, but his plan is to follow a PhD in International Relations at the University of Portsmouth next year.  To be able to join the PhD programme he needed to acquire a score of 6 overall on his IELTS, which with a lot of IELTS exam preparation and dedication Gino managed.

In the video below, Gino explains why he likes Portsmouth, LSI Portsmouth and studying here. He also wanted to mention a few particular people who he feels particularly helped him. We have loved having him stay with us, and want to wish him the absolute best for his future, he richly deserves it.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

LSI PORTSMOUTH Cements Old and Forges New Relationships in Russia

Our Vice Principal Lea Brophy and our Senior Marketing Executive Emma Hoyle have just returned from an intensive but very successful trip to Russia, where they were able to create many new partnerships for LSI Portsmouth. There was also time to enjoy the very warm hospitality that Russians do so well :-)

During the trip, Lea and Emma met with the Free Economics Society (FES) of Russia – with Margarita Ratnikova and Ekaterina Philippenkova in Moscow as well as St Petersburg region Executive Director Aleksandr Zolotarev. This included Lea giving a TV interview discussing such varied topics as technology in language training and the future of cryptocurrencies. Lea was honoured to be asked to become a committee member, joining such illustrious recent members as James Galbraith (the renowned economist, currently Professor at the University of Texas at Austin) and Peter Nolan (expert on Chinese economic relations and fellow of Cambridge University). LSI Portsmouth will offer other members their support and expertise in the area on English language training and professional development.

LSI have had a successful cooperation with the Institute of Economics and Finance of MIIT, the prestigious Russian University of Transport for many years, working with both students on General and Academic English courses and with lecturers on Professional Development programmes. Lea and Emma gave a presentation to staff and students – pictured here with students and with Lev Rybakov 
(Deputy Director in charge of International Affairs) and Yana Podoplelova (Principal Lecturer and International Officer).

Lea and Emma also met with valued partners at the Financial University in Moscow and RANEPA (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration).

We were also honoured to meet with the Union of Scientific and Engineering Associations, pictured here with Lea and Emma. L-R Olga Boksha (USEA), Ekaterina Philippenkova (FES Moscow Region), Sergey Drukarenko (Vice-President of USEA), Emma, Lea, Kirill Korovitsin (USEA), Andrey Yaminsky (Bauman Moscow State Technical University).

The Vice-President of the FES, Ekaterina Philippenkova, was our gracious host for much of the trip, facilitating meetings and introducing us to some wonderful new partners. Ekaterina also put her language experience at LSI to good use by translating in many meetings – we were very impressed and very proud :-)
picture below shows Ekaterina on the right, with key staff in the International Department at the St Petersburg University of Management and Economics, where Lea was invited to open a new faculty building.

The trip finished in the wonderful city of Tambov, where the State University were wonderful hosts to our team, who had the opportunity to meet both the Rector Vladimir Stromov (pictured below) and the Dean of the Faculty of Philology and Journalism Sergei Khudiakov and their enthusiastic team.

Of course, it wasn’t all just work! We had some wonderful evenings with some LSI friends. Below left shows Lea and Emma wearing yak coats going into an ice bar to enjoy vodka at -15° - with LSI’s very great old friend Dmitry who was their gracious host for the unforgettable evening.

Another special memory was a visit to a museum in St Petersburg featuring art from revolution and Soviet-era posters with our dear friend Ekaterina.  With the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, it was fascinating to look at such dramatic events in history and the amazing art the period produced.

Thank you to everyone we met for their warm welcome and we look forward to seeing you all in Portsmouth soon :-)

Thursday, 26 October 2017

We are LSI Portsmouth English Club

We have revamped our group on Facebook to become an English club.

Here at LSI Portsmouth we love the English language. Our aim is to give our students the best experience they can have while they are here, give them the best tools possible to continue with their English and give them the best social experience while staying with us.

So we thought we would roll all of this into one online place:

We know that students often have questions to ask that they just can't in class or don't have time to. So we thought the best answer would be to have a little collegiate group where they can help each other. This will be a place where students can come and ask their questions about English; tenses, vocabulary, question forms, prepositions, in fact, anything that confuses them.

We realise that sometimes it just isn't possible for the teacher to answer every single student's question, or maybe the question comes up over the weekend. So we are hoping that this becomes a community area for students to ask and help each other.

Sometimes a teacher may answer a question, but essentially this is for the students, old, existing or future ;-)

Here is the link

Friday, 20 October 2017

How To Choose Your Ideal Location To Study English In England?

When trying to decide where you want to study English in the UK, we understand it can be a little overwhelming. With so many cities to visit and so many schools to choose from, how do you decide? Here’s our little guide to help you with your decision…

Big or Small City?

You may realise by now that there are many English courses in the South of England. One question you may want to ask yourself is whether you want to stay in a big or small city. Of course, London is the largest city in the South of England, which also means it is very busy. If you like the atmosphere of a capital city, then maybe London will suit you. However, many students prefer to have all the amenities of a large city but prefer a place that is a lot less busy and crowded.
Portsmouth is a great city in this regard. There is everything you could possibly need, such as great nightlife, shopping, history and culture and great local transport links. However, the streets are less crowded, and most things are within walking distant. Students often feel very involved with the community and quickly adapt to the lifestyle of the city. It’s also not too small, so you will never get bored, for this reason, a lot of students choose to learn English in Portsmouth.

Countryside or Coast?

When searching for English courses in the South of England, ask yourself this question. Do you want to be by the sea, or would you prefer to be in the English Countryside? Portsmouth is a city on the coast, so you can always be close to the wonderful British seaside. However, Portsmouth is located within Hampshire County, renowned for its beautiful countryside. A few stops on a train and you can visit a traditional English village, or take a long walk along a river.

Traditional or Modern?

Another thing to consider when looking for an English course in the South of England is whether you want your location to be traditional or modern. Portsmouth is a very modern city, with a huge student population and a great, lively atmosphere, it is a great place to learn English. Gunwharf Quays is a modern leisure and retail complex, home to the impressive Spinnaker Tower, The Marina, and loads of modern bars and restaurants. However, Portsmouth is also famous for its rich naval history. Portsmouth city has the Historic Dockyards, lots of museums and ‘Old Portsmouth’, the traditional, old part of town. Whether it’s traditional or modern you’re looking for, Portsmouth has the best of both worlds.

We hope this guide has helped! If you have any more questions about Portsmouth, or about English courses in the South of England, please feel free to email us at [email protected]

Friday, 13 October 2017

British Culture - 9 Things that Make Britain Different to the Rest of the World.

Continuing our series on British Culture: 

A Few Little Differences

A few little differences

In an increasingly global world it can be difficult to see the differences between countries, but if you look closely you can always find them. Here’s a few you might come across in the UK.

  • Driving on the left! Perhaps because we are an island the Brits have never seen the need to go over to driving on the right. However, we are not alone. 76 other countries and territories also drive on this side of the road, including several in Europe (Ireland, Cyprus and Malta).
  • Talking about driving, when on the road you should remember that all distances are measured in miles and not kilometres. There are about 1.6 kilometres to the mile. Very few countries still use this form of measurement though the United States still does.
  • Like in most of the rest of the world, when you stop at a petrol station you will buy your petrol in litres. Naturally, some Brits still insist on using the old measurement when calculating liquids, which is the gallon. There are about 4.5 litres to the gallon. 
  • By law, all shops must calculate weight in kilos and grams. However, a lot of Brits still like to use the old Imperial forms such as stones, pounds and ounces. There are 12 ounces in a pound, 14 pounds in a stone. Easy to understand, isn’t it? OK, to understand it more clearly there are about 2.2 pounds in a kilo.
  • Generally, height is calculated in centimetres. Nevertheless, lots of people like to use the Imperial forms of feet and inches! There are 12 inches in a foot. What does this mean?? Well there are 30 centimetres in a foot. Clear??
  • When you are in a pub, do not say when ordering drinks ‘I’d like a beer, please’. The bartender might start laughing! Instead use the correct size of glass as well as the name of the beer you would like. So, for example, you might say ‘I’d like a pint of Carlsberg, please’. If you wanted a smaller size you could say ‘I’d like half a pint of Carlsberg, please’. One pint is about 0.56 litres. Still clear??
  • Opening times tend to be shorter in the UK. Most shops open at 9.00am and close at between 5.30 – 6.00pm, though most supermarkets stay open for longer as do many shops in London and other large cities. Unlike in a lot of countries many shops are also open on a Sunday. Pub opening times tend to be 11.00am to 11.00pm, though in recent years a lot of pubs stay open until midnight or even later, especially in the big cities.
  • Remember that British electricity sockets take a three prong plug compared to the two prong variety used in many other countries. You will need to buy an adaptor if you want to use your electrical equipment here.
  • Though more modern bathrooms are different, many wash-basins and baths still come with separate taps for hot and cold water. Do not worry, they are really easy to use!

Friday, 6 October 2017

Hello Sophie - Good Bye Elly

Little mini quiz game at the end of this blog

We are so sad to be saying Goodbye to Elly this week, and Hello to Sophie.
Back in 2015, Sophie joined us working in Admissions and then for a short time as Reception Officer. She is therefore already quite familiar with the ways of the school. The oddest thing is that she sounds just like Elly on the phone ;-)

Sophie has come to us from a stint of travelling and working in London and while she has big shoes to fill, we know she will and we want to say a huge 'welcome' to her.

We are really genuinely sad to be saying goodbye to our lovely Elly. Elly has been with us since 2010, first as a teacher and then as Reception Manager. For anyone who doesn't know Elly, she may be little but she is a massive powerhouse of energy, efficiency, sage advice and attention to detail, and just an all-round joy to know.

She has given all of us pause for thought as she is leaving to go to Australia and is starting up a new business! Proofreading (on the road). Initially, she is heading to Perth, but the plan is to get a van and to drive off into the sunset - proofreading on the way.

This is her new website

We couldn't see Elly leave without a good send-off:

Bye Bye (sob sob) Elly - Hello and huge welcome Sophie.

A little PS
Elly featured quite heavily in our 'We are Happy LSI Portsmouth video - have a watch and see how many times you can see her ;-)

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

LSI Social Programme - A Day In London - We Do Have Fun!

A Day In London with the Students

We know that the best way to improve someone's English is for them to have fun and lots of practice.  This is why we arrange such a wide variety of fun things for the students to do.  By visiting different parts of the south of England, our students get to practise their English, learn about our culture, make new friends and generally have a good time.

Our Social Programme organisers really know how to throw a party!  The students always have such a great time.  We thought we would make a little video to give an idea of some of the things that happen on a day out with the students.  In this video we are visiting one of the most iconic places in the south of England - London.  See just how many landmarks and 'quintessentially' British things you can see. 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Thank You for Thanking Us

We love hearing from our students when they leave.  This is a little message that was sent to us via Instagram from Patty. She stayed with us from August to September following a joint General English and Business English course.  Her teachers loved her (as they do all their students) and it looks like the feeling was mutual.
Below is what was posted on Instagram.

teachers and students posing

Dear @LSIPortsmouthteachers:

T-H-A-N-K-S. I've enjoyed every minute with you, every difficult question (sorry, Adam!), every discussion (sorry, Jenni!), every Cadbury bar (sorry, Jeremy!), every discovery about the origin of the English language (wow, Peter!), every comment and suggestion on my Instagram project (thank you Neil) and thanks thanks THANKS to all of you (+ Ceri, Dave, Ted, Stuart, Leon...) for this incredible experience!!!
This school is very lucky because counts with you: passionate people, who for me are more than teachers, for me are 'MAESTROS' (*Spanish alert). You're masters, guides, authentic communicators with a big talent to empathize. I don't know what I'm going to live in US the next 3 weeks, but you have left the level quite high ;-)
Please, never change the way you enjoy and share with us this extremely generous work
🙌🏼 Hugs,

neils..Thank you, Patty. It's been a pleasure to work with you. Enjoy those beaches!
patty..@neils I'll do it!! 💪😊Thanks again!!!!!
d.w..Great post Patty! Absolutely agree 👍🏻
mari..Make your words mines! They are the best! PS: loved Jeremy giving a round in its chair hahaha... Already missing everything!
ferr..So true ! 👍
lsiportsmouth @patty thank you for that!! I have put a copy on Peter's desk (lovely photo) and a copy on the teacher's notice board. Really appreciate your words!! xxx
patty..@lsiportsmouth ohhh great! I hope they like it! There are more pics on my post (to the right) from Jeremy, Adam, Neil... hugs from San Francisco!! 🤗
catt..Oh I love that photo of Peter! So nice

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Hello and Goodbye - Sad to say goodbye to our leavers, happy to say hello to our newbies

Being in a language school means we get to say hello and goodbye to a lot of people, not just students but teachers and staff too.
Some of our lovely teachers have left recently to go to new opportunities or return home and a couple are going in the next week or so. Last week we said goodbye to our very helpful and always smiling Alex the Intern from Germany. goodbye also to the lovely Kate who has gone off to study for her Ph.D. at Cardiff, and tomorrow a sad good bye to the adorable Matt who is going back to Spain, and then next week the gorgeous Eoin is going off to study an MA at Sussex University - sob sob from all of us, we will really miss them, they have been part of the fabric of the school.

And so to the good news, we have three lovely new members of staff that we want to welcome to the school; Louise and Rhiannon who are both teachers and Sissi who is our newest intern, massive welcome to them - we know they will be very happy - cos they will be working with us ;-)

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Our New Social Programme Organiser Has Arrived.

We are delighted to welcome the lovely teacher Catherine Barker to her new position as LSI Portsmouth's Social Programme Organiser.  She has taken over from Belle who has changed positions in the company.  LSI Portsmouth has a fantastic social programme for our students, visiting many different places on the south coast, and as you can see in the photos below, the students certainly have fun!
We know that Catherine will do a fantastic job, as we can already see the evidence in the photos, and wish her all the very best.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

British Culture - British Humour - That Very Strange Thing!

Continuing our series on British Culture: 

British Humour

Humour is important in every country and the UK is no exception. However, to truly understand a country’s humour and how and why it is used is not easy. In Britain humour is an important part of life and can be found in just about every situation, no matter how difficult that situation might be. So, what is British humour and how can we best understand it?

British humour comes in many different forms. It is often very sarcastic, ironic or self-deprecating (making fun of oneself); at other times it is slapstick (being clumsy / talking about embarrassing events); sometimes it can be dark; it can even be quite vicious. Most people in Britain expect to hear and use humour on a regular basis and hope that others will understand them when they say something funny. British humour is often very subtle. Perhaps one of the best pieces of advice to understanding British humour is to remember that sometimes the speaker does not want you to take what they have just said literally. So, if someone says to you ‘I really like your new jeans’, try to listen for their tone of voice and not just the words they’ve used. It may be that they really like your jeans or perhaps they do not like your jeans at all!

The British will often use humour as a defence mechanism. If they have done something wrong, forgotten or lost something, or cannot think what to say, they will often make a joke about the situation. The listener may or may not join in, but would be expected to understand why the joke was made.

Humour is frequently found in the work place. The British will often use humour to diffuse a tense situation and to limit confrontation, especially in a meeting or a negotiation, or when giving problematic information during a presentation. Some non-native listeners may feel that the person who is speaking is not taking the situation seriously enough. In fact the opposite is true. Employees like to make jokes about their boss, often right in front of them. As long as the joke is not too harsh, the boss should except it. Even in a place like A&E (Accident and Emergency) in a hospital lots of humour is used to lighten the mood.

Try not to react badly if you are the recipient of the joke. Laugh at it and make a joke back. The first speaker will expect it. Even if the joke is not aimed at you, remember to join in the laughter. What is important to note is that if someone has made a joke at your expense, it means that they like you!

Of all areas of humour there is one that is perhaps most associated with the British, the understatement. So, if it is pouring with rain a British person might say ‘I suppose the weather could be a bit better’. Or if there is a hundred people in a queue someone could say ‘Well, there’s hardly anyone in this queue’. Now that really is fun

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

We are Looking for an Intern

Fantastic Opportunity! We are looking for new interns.  This is a great opportunity to improve your English language and get experience working in a busy International School.

There are two options:

1. Half day of English lessons at LSI for free (either mornings or afternoons, depending on work needs) + Half day internship work experience at LSI
2. Full-time internship work experience at LSI + £50 weekly allowance

Please see the above for more details and get in touch with us if you would like more information.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Learning Is Fun!

Sometimes our students send us photos - that are just a joy to look at. Raphaela Sonderer recently sent these lovely pictures of Jon D's students having great fun, we thought we'd share them.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

How To Be Successful in Your Pre-Sessional Course

Elly, Majed, Csili, Anna Rita.                             Kosar and Antonio
Here at LSI Portsmouth, one of the most intensive courses we run is our Pre-sessional courses, which prepare students for their university courses.  It is not for the faint hearted, it takes dedication, perseverance and a lot of work.  The students AND the teachers work incredibly hard, putting in so very many hours of preparation, study and course work. 

Last week was Graduation week at the University of Portsmouth and we were so proud to welcome back two very special students who had attended their graduation just around the corner at the university.  We thought it would be nice to interview them, so the lovely girls in reception, who get to know all the students spoke to them and got some fantastic pictures. They both gave some really good advice for prospective university students.

Regular readers of our blog will remember Majed, who did a rooftop interview video for us.

So, this is his second interview, and we couldn’t be more proud to speak to him today.

What is your name?
Majed Alshehri
Where are you from?
When were you with us Majed?
September 2014 – July 2015
What courses did you do?
A bit of everything!  GE, IELTS, Cambridge and PSE
What did you go on to do at the university?
Advanced Manufacturing Technology MSc at UoP (And he got a Distinction!!!)
Majed, why did you choose to come to the UK to study?
I was able to go anywhere, but I decided either the UK or the US. In the end, I felt I would have better academic opportunities if I came to the UK
Ok, Majed, what made you choose LSI Portsmouth?
Because LSI is the best!
;-) Thank you very much. So now, Majed what does the future hold for you?
I’m going back to work, I was just promoted because I now have this Masters. (Congratulations Majed)  Later on, I think I may do a PhD, and if so, I would really like to do it at the University of Portsmouth.
If you had one bit of advice you could give anyone who was coming to study English in the UK, what would it be?
It’s really important that you focus on your studies.  It’s only a couple of years and then you can do what you want.  I have seen quite a few people who have wasted their time, not doing the work, maybe because they weren’t paying for themselves, it’s a real shame and such a wasted opportunity.

Majed visited one of our current Pre-sessional classes while he was here, to share his experience and to give the students some encouragement.  To see how much they appreciated it, have a look at their faces!

What is your name?
Kosar Akram
Where are you from?
When were you at LSI Portsmouth?
What course did you do?
The Pre-sessional course.
What did you go on to do?
Civil Engineering BEng Hons – (and she got a First!)
Congratulations Kosar. So tell us why did you choose to come to the UK?
Because of the culture.  I love the accent!  I felt that there were a lot of opportunities here.  It is also close to a lot of other places, which gave even more opportunities.
What made you choose to come to LSI Portsmouth?
I did a lot of research before coming here.  I saw really positive reviews from other students. From the photos I saw it looked like a very multicultural place, and I could imagine myself in one of those photos. Before I came I had a lot of contact with the school, through emails and phone calls and I was very impressed with how helpful and friendly everyone was.
So, Kosar, what does the future hold for you now?
Ah so much; My first aim was to get a graduate job, and I did it, I got a job with the UK’s largest construction company! (Congratulations again). I also want to work in women’s rights.  I would love to become one of the inspiring personalities in the world and encourage women to follow their dreams.
I would really like to write a book about my life and experiences and of living through two wars. I would like to work with Kurdish people in the UK, we have a lot of challenges.
If there was one bit of advice you would give anyone coming to study English in the UK?
The absolute most important thing is to INTEGRATE!  You MUST make friends with everyone, no matter who they are or where they’re from.  It’s not just about going to classes.  I believe it is honestly one of the best things I have done since I have been here.
(The lady who interviewed Kosar said the following: “I cried multiple times while talking to her – thank god it wasn’t on film.  I am so incredibly proud of her.  When you think about everything that she has overcome and how hard she has worked to get to where she is, it really makes you feel like you need a kick up the backside and get out and do something with your life.  Truly inspiring.)

Kosar gave the speech at her graduation ceremony watch from around 1:11:00.

Majed and Kosar, thank you so much for coming back to see us and for talking to us today. We are so grateful and so happy that you got what you deserved, you both worked so hard, and showed what can be achieved when you really want something.  Please keep in touch

Thank you Elly and Csili for doing the interviews and photos.


For anyone thinking of following a Pre-sessional course - here is a brief list of what they study:

• The language and study skills that are needed for a BA/BSc, MA/MSc or PhD taught in English
• The expectations and culture of British universities
• How to become a successful independent learner
• How to adapt to living and studying in the UK Course Content:
• Research skills
• Academic writing including grammar, vocabulary, referencing and avoiding plagiarism
• Academic reading
• Listening and note-taking
• Speaking, for example in seminars and tutorials
• Presentations
• Critical thinking
• Time management
• Independent study skills
• Basic IT

For more information about the courses have a look at this link:

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Why Learning English Online May Not Be For You

Pros And Cons Of Learning English Online

Why Learning English Online May Not Be For You

Before you try and answer the question of how to learn English online, it might be useful to start with the question of why learn English online, in fact, why are you learning English at all?
By double-checking your motivation and objectives, you should be able to ensure that you learn English in the best way for you. Learning English online is often seen as a cheaper solution than learning in a local English school, or learning English in England, but it has to work, it has to be an effective use of your time.

How to learn English online: Check your motivation

The question about motivation is important, because the cheaper or simpler the solution, the more motivation you’re going to need to reach the same outcomes. Learning English online can be free of charge, or cost just a few pounds or dollars, but at that price there will be very little to keep you inspired, and you will need to be the driving force behind your learning. So one answer to this question of how to learn English online is “with support”. That could be the support of other students, or it could mean finding an online English tutor. Once you have a small team around you, you’ll be more likely to complete the exercises you’ve set yourself, practise new language you’ve learned or revise for the next session. That gentle external pressure to complete work and move on is one of the biggest secrets of how to learn English online.

How to learn English online: Set objectives

If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s very difficult to know when you’ve arrived. If you need English for your studies or for work, you might be able to identify a specific level of English you need. English exams are a great way to find test and confirm your level to yourself and other people, and it gives you a formal qualification too. Tests like IELTS or Cambridge exams such as Key (KET), Preliminary (PET), First (FCE), Advanced (CAE) and Proficiency (CPE) are very comprehensive ways of testing your English which lead to an internationally recognised level which universities and employers can all use to understand your level of English.
If you’re wondering how to learn English online for an exam such as these, that might be difficult, unless you find an online course which definitely covers all the different aspects of the exam, including speaking and listening. This is when sometime it is better to use face-to-face classes.
By setting objectives, you can also measure your progress. By being aware of your level and how you are moving towards your objective, you’ll be able to see how effective learning English online is for you.

Be certain of the quality

Also, be careful of the quality of online English materials – it’s very important that you don’t learn incorrect English, because it will be quite difficult to unlearn it later. We have had situations here at our school in Hampshire (UK) where students come to us who have spent many, many years teaching themselves English online, and then absolutely insist a particular phrase or sentence in English is correct when in fact no one would ever say it in real life or understand them!

Don’t blame yourself if it doesn’t work out

Even if you’re using a great online English course, with no errors or mistakes, it may still be hard work teaching yourself. The reason learning English online is so cheap is that there is very little or no teacher time, and the same materials are being used for everyone, regardless of what you want to learn, or need and regardless of your learning style, your motivations, you character, your interests, your life and your experiences of learning English in the past.
In short, an online course is not adapted to you. You’ll possibly go through most of it without feeling a deep connection to it, you won’t feel it’s about you, and you’ll still have to do a lot of work once your skills have improved to adapt what you’ve learned to be able to talk about you and your life, and have the kinds of conversations you’d like to have.
If you find it doesn’t work out, that you’re not learning, and you’ve not progressed, then it’s easy to blame yourself – to say “I didn’t try hard enough”, “I wasn’t motivated enough”. That is unfair, because it is very hard to stay motivated when you’re learning something that isn’t about you. Only a tiny proportion of the population can be totally self-motivated in these conditions. Eventually, most people will give up. If they are really keen to learn English, that’s the time when something like a local English class in a group with a teacher, or best of the best, attending an English school in the UK will help the most.

The Pros and Cons of learning English online

Here’s a summary of our pros and cons of learning English online:
PROS (the positive things about learning English online)
It usually will cost less money to learn English online
+ Learning online can fit around your availabilities
+ There is no need to book time off work to study online
+ Online English courses can give you access to more vocabulary and things to read than you would ever need.
+ Learning English online is flexible, and you can do as much or as little as you need to
+ You can combine online English with face-to-face learning as a really great way to consolidate what you learn with a teacher (we think this is the best way of learning online!)

CONS (the negatives about learning English online)

- It can take a long time to build your knowledge through online learning
- You have to be extremely motivated to learn online over a long period
- The quality of cheap online courses may be low, and the English you learn may actually be incorrect
- Learning English online is not the best way to practise speaking and listening with real people
- Sometimes the technology gets in the way of learning, and the experience is not organic like real life
- Online English courses can give you a false sense of security – they don’t always prepare you for the randomness of real life
- Online courses are generic, and do not focus on you, your learning styles, your strengths and weaknesses, your objectives or your likes and interests
- If it doesn’t work out learning online, there is a risk that you’ll blame yourself and become disengaged with learning English (for the wrong reasons)

- You generally get what you pay for, but some big brands charge much too much money for their online programmes, and it might be cheaper in the end to just learn English in England!