Thursday 26 February 2015

March Vocabulary Calendar - Work Words

Download and print our monthly calendar - pin it up,  learn all the phrases and by the end of the year you will have an even bigger vocabulary range!
For March our theme is... Work!  If you are looking for a job here are some of the phrases you might need.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Twenty Five Years On - Fahad Almalik

We recently got a lovely surprise, with an old friend returning to us to study after…25 years!
Fahad Almalik studied here in Portsmouth back in 1989 when things were very different.  So we asked him if he would tell us a little about that time,  and what brought him back here. 

 Lea and Fahad 2015
“My name is Fahad Almalik, and I am from Saudi Arabia.  I work in the Central Bank in the Saudi Arabia Monetary Agency (SAMA).  I work in the currency department, and I am responsible for the issue of currency, which means I supervise the printing and minting of the project, which is outsourced.  I have worked there for 23 years.  Before that I was the Marketing Officer for four years at the Savola Co (The Saudi Vegetable Oil and Ghee Co).

Lea, Fahad, Peter, Allan 1989
When I worked at Savola, they used to send some employees to England to study English.  In 1989 I came here for six months.  When I first arrived, I was at level one.
I actually came with a friend because in the beginning I couldn’t speak at all and he used to translate for me, but by the time I left I spoke very good English.

Recently the Central Bank asked me to get some training. My biggest difficulties in English are meetings, presentations, negotiations and business letters, and because I had such a good experience at LSI (back in 1989) I started looking to see if I could find my old school.  Of course none of the old phone numbers or contacts still worked, but eventually I found LSI again, and I told them I was here 25 years ago, that I knew Peter (Gray) and Allan (Gray) and my teacher was Lea.  They said ‘Yes this is the same school’, but they didn’t tell me whether any of these people were still there, so I was very happy to see Lea, who is now the Vice Principal.

Lea, Fahad, Sara, Marilyn, Sarah, Peter, Julie 1989
I chose to come at this time because it is the school holidays in Saudi at the moment. I have one month in total, so I will come back again later for another two weeks.

Fahad and Lea top right and lads from Omani Navy 1989
I think I was one of the first students to come here the last time. There were four classes and seven teachers.  The school then was a converted house down by the seafront.  Now there are seven floors, about 60 teachers and over 250 students.  The facilities are so different today, with all the IT equipment and smart boards and technology.  I was very surprised by all the changes.  Also there are such a lot of teachers now.  Twenty five years ago we used to do our own social activities, we used to all sit together and decide, a little like a family, but now everything is organised.  All you need to do is take care of your education.”

LSI Student lounge, Whitwell Road, 1989 
Thank you Fahad for talking to us, and for bringing these photos back to show us.  It has been so lovely to see you again, and we really look forward to the next time you come back.

Friday 20 February 2015

Hannah and Adam are having a baby!

Our first 'Working at LSI Couple' are having a baby!

Adam (Assistant Building Manager and IT Support) and Hannah (Teacher, Marketing etc)

Lovely Hannah is leaving us today, for the very best of reasons; to have a baby.  Hannah has been with us for what seems like forever, as an amazing teacher, a marketing lady, a welfare officer, party planner and has even made a few cups of tea in her time.  Hannah is always smiling and game for anything.  If you would like to see her in action, watch our 'Happy' video, which certainly wouldn't have been the same without her, and her interviewing Raquel and also her brilliant Quick Tip.  Her students will miss her, the teachers will miss her, all of us will miss her!
At least we still have her on film until she feels ready to come back to us.

Good Luck Hannah and Adam 

Thursday 19 February 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today marks Chinese New Year, the longest and most important holiday in the Chinese calendar. The festival, known as Seollal in South Korea and Tet in Vietnam, is traditionally a time to be with family, and is celebrated by roughly a sixth of the world! The evening before Chinese New year’s Day is an opportunity for Chinese families to spend time together for an annual reunion dinner. For our students at LSI, being apart from their family at this time of year can be a bit difficult! We asked a few of our Chinese students how they will celebrate the New Year, when they are living nearly 5000 miles away from home.

Hui told us she will be cooking up a Chinese feast for her English host family, serving up traditional dishes such as dumplings, soup and duck leg. She wanted to show her English host family exactly how she would celebrate Chinese New Year if she was back home in Wuhan, China. Another student, Fisher from Beijing, said her family would light fireworks and firecrackers to welcome New Year in with a bang! Although neither student can be with their families, continuing their traditions whilst in Portsmouth is a fantastic way to share their culture and customs with their English host families.

According to Chinese astrology, each year is associated with a particular animal sign and 2015 is the year of the goat.  However, you may also see it referred to as the “Year of the Sheep”. The confusion stems from the Chinese character “yang”, which translates in colloquial Chinese as either goat or sheep! Those born in the year of the goat are supposedly peace-loving and kind, and their lucky flowers are carnations and primroses.

We’d like to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year, wherever and however you are celebrating it. From everyone at LSI, we hope your year is filled with good fortune, happiness and health, and hopefully lots of studying!

Friday 13 February 2015

Valentine's Day - What is it?

What is Valentine’s Day?

Every year on February 14th, flowers, cards and chocolate are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of the famous St. Valentine. But who was St. Valentine and where does Valentine’s Day come from?

It is believed that Valentine’s Day originated from Lupercalia, the pagan fertility festival which marked the beginning of spring. It was celebrated between the 13th and 15th of February. The rise of Christianity in Europe saw many pagan festivals being renamed for early Christian martyrs, and Lupercalia was no exception.  The Catholic Church wanted to turn Lupercalia into a Christian festival, so Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day.

The true identity of Saint Valentine is unclear, but the most popular belief is that he was a Roman priest in the third century AD. The Roman Emperor Claudius II banned marriage, as he believed that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and children. Valentine felt that this new law was unjust, and continued to marry young lovers in secret, all in the name of love. When Emperor Claudius II found out, he threw Valentine into jail, and sentenced him to death. When imprisoned, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. On February 14th, on the day of his execution, he allegedly sent her one final love letter, signed “from your Valentine”.

It wasn’t until much later that Valentine’s Day became definitively associated with love. Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and by the 1700’s, exchanging cards and gift-giving on Valentine's Day had become a common tradition in England. In British culture, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving cards, flowers or chocolate to your loved one. They are most commonly sent anonymously, so even if you aren’t feeling brave, you can still send someone a card or gift to show them how much you love them! February’s vocabulary calendar is full of romantic phrases that you may find useful! (click here)  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  

Thursday 5 February 2015

Glittering Prize for G! Boutique - Again!

We have written before about the G! Boutique; a 14 bed-roomed boutique hotel that was opened just over 2 years ago by LSI’s previous marketing director Allan Gray and is run by his family.  
The hotel is a luxurious boutique hotel, right in the heart of Southsea in Festing Road.  Since it opened it has been getting a lot of attention; from winning awards to being featured on television and ... they have done it again. 

This is the second time they have won this prestigious award:
Simply the Guest by
What makes this award particularly special is that it is voted for by guests.
The award announcement was live streamed on the website from the Savoy in London and was hosted by TV personality Alex Brooker. 

On the website, Guests can vote for accommodation in various categories which include customer service, cleanliness, room quality and friendliness among other things. And with over 2 million real reviews left on the site - winning an award really is an accolade!   G! Boutique achieved the highest score with 99 per cent of their guests saying they would recommend the hotel to a friend and 98 per cent saying they would stay there again. Clear proof that it really is THE place to stay in Portsmouth, and definitely the hotel we first recommend visitors to stay at when they come to Portsmouth!

Eli Gray celebrating winning the award in style
Picture from

To find more details on the G! Boutique hotel: