Wednesday 29 March 2017

Sorry I'm British - How to be Polite When you are in England

British Culture - Politeness

Two people try to go through a door at the same time. One says to the other “After you”. The other says “No, after you”. The first person says “No, really after you”. And so it goes on. In another scene two people are in a restaurant and one wishes to use the salt but it is out of reach. They say to their companion “Excuse me, but could you pass me the salt? … Thank you so much”. A few minutes later the second person will say exactly the same thing! Why? The reasons why the British are, on the whole, considered to be polite are probably lost in history. Whatever the reasons for it, being polite is an important part of British culture. 

Working out how to be polite and the subtleties of it are not easy, but watching how it is done is important if you wish to adapt to British culture. While nearly all languages have words for ‘thank you’ and ‘please’, changes in how languages are used, partly as a result of social media, mean that these words are not as commonly used as before. In British culture, particularly in certain situations such as going into a shop, a cafĂ©, a pub, buying a ticket etc., it is seen as impolite to forget to use these expressions. Forgetting to say ‘please’ when ordering will probably result in the waiters/waitresses taking a lot longer to serve you!

Even signs and other public notices and announcements in this country can be polite. For example, you might hear in the London Underground ‘Please mind the gap’ or while walking you might see a sign which says ‘Please pick up after your dog’.

Quite often the British will go to great lengths to avoid saying the word ‘No’. Instead they might say ‘I’d prefer not to’ or ‘Not really’ or slightly misleadingly ‘I’m fine, thanks’! What can be more of an issue is when you ask a British person the question ‘How are you?’ and not wanting to be too enthusiastic with their answer the British person will reply ‘Not bad’ or ‘Quite good’, while as many other nationalities might have said ‘Very well’ or ‘Fine, thanks’.

Though not strictly speaking an example of politeness, how the British deal with silence in a public setting can be related to it. So for example, if you are having a meal with British people and there is a pause in the conversation, the British feel that it would be rude for the silence to go on for too long so they will start asking you as many questions as possible, even if they have already been asked before!

But perhaps the best example of politeness is when one person treads on the foot of another person by accident. The second person apologises for having their foot trodden upon! Now that really is being polite!

Friday 24 March 2017

We Wish You Luck As We Wave You Goodbye

We are really sad to say goodbye to two of our stalwart teachers who have been teaching offsite for years now.  Two of the nicest people you could ever meet and both fantastic teachers.  Rich (left) is off to pastures new in Italy with his family, to live a life with a bit more sun and Tom (right) is off to the East (not quite sure if it's the Far or Middle ;-) - again for more sun.

They will leave a huge gap that will be very difficult to fill. Tom will be leaving two gaps as he is the drummer in the LSI band 'The Uncountables' (which includes Will Munro, Lewis Richards and Alan Daysh).
So ... big hugs to you both, we shed a virtual tear at your leaving.  In the spirit of the military, we have quoted a really old song at the end for you. Thank you for such fantastic work!

Rich and Tom
Cliff (course manager) Rich and Tom

Till we meet again lads!

As the words from Gracie Fields song go:

Wish Me Luck (as you wave me goodbye) (1939)
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye 
Cheerio, here I go, on my way
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye
Not a tear, but a cheer, make it gay
Give me a smile I can keep all the while 
In my heart while I'm away
'Till we meet once again you and I 
Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye

Rich and Tom

Wednesday 22 March 2017

An Almost Fullproof Way To Successfully Study English In The UK

How to Study English In The UK

If you really want to improve your English level, one of the best things you can do is study English in the UK where you can be surrounded by the language all the time. As well as being lots of fun, studying English in England offers the opportunity to make progress with your language quickly and to push yourself to the next stage in your language learning. However, if you decide to invest in this sort of course, it is important to make sure that you get the most out of it. So here are some tips to help you make your course is as rewarding as possible:

1. Try to stay with a host family. Most English schools offer a variety of accommodation and at first you may think that staying in a hotel or your own flat will be more comfortable. But host families are definitely the best way to make sure you continue to learn and improve your English after school as well as at school. They also offer you a chance to get to know British culture and find out how British families live. If the school is accredited by the British Council, they also have to make sure that their host families meet certain standards so you can be confident that the family will make you feel comfortable and welcome. It can often feel like a real home from home.

2. Find out about the social activities organised by your school and take part in as many as possible. They offer a great way to get to know other international students and offer a relaxing environment to chat with people. As well as short activities after school, some schools also organise trips to other cities around the UK. This means you can see other towns and cities and get to know the country a bit better. English schools in the south of England, for example, often offer trips to London, Brighton, Bath, Bournemouth, Oxford, Portsmouth and Salisbury.

3. Make the most of the English media. In your own country it may be difficult or expensive to get English newspapers, magazine and TV Channels. When studying in the UK though, you have easy access to all of these things. Find a magazine about your interests, buy a daily newspaper every few days, watch a bit of English TV, go to the cinema, listen to some English radio. All of these things can help you to make further progress with your language.

4. If you are staying for more than a few weeks, think about joining a local sports club. It means you can keep up your fitness level and also means you can meet English people with similar interests to you. English courses in Hampshire, for example, can often organise golf, football, horse-riding, sailing and walking – all popular activities in this area.

So if you decide to study English in the UK, make sure you remember these tips in order to make your experience as useful and enjoyable as possible!

Thursday 16 March 2017

Victorious 2017 - THE Music Festival in Portsmouth.

Improve your English and have a blast at THE music festival in Portsmouth  

What could be better than fabulous music, being by the seaside and the added opportunity to improve your English?  If you are planning on booking a course in the summer, and you like the bands on this poster (or even the ones on the poster below for the Friday), then maybe plan to book your English course for August!  The links to the website to buy your tickets are at the end of this blog.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Why You'll Love Learning English in Portsmouth

Why You'll Love Learning English in Portsmouth

Recently we made a little video in which our students explained why they liked LSI Portsmouth.  In this new video our wonderful students give their honest opinions on what they think about the city itself, talking about the seafront, the people and the size. Definitely worth watching!! 

It’s never easy trying to decide where to study your English, which city to stay in. Do you want a lively city with lots of shopping? Are you looking for a place with exciting nightlife? Do you prefer the countryside or do you want to be on the coast by the sea?  We know we are biased, but we have to say the South of England is probably the best option. 

There are benefits to all the above options.  London has a lot to offer, with museums, world-renowned shopping and exciting nightlife. But of course, a big anonymous city isn’t for everyone. 

The students in our video above all chose to come to Portsmouth and listening to the reasons why it is clear that a smaller city was more to their liking.  When you are studying there is already a lot to concentrate on. 

If you have decided to stay for a few months to study your English, then it is great to have things to keep you occupied at the weekend, it isn’t ALL about studying English.  That’s one of the great things about Portsmouth, it is so central to so many things. Because we are in Hampshire, and we are on the coast we have access to so many things to do and see. If you decide to learn English in Hampshire, there are many benefits. From Portsmouth we are about an hour away from London by train, about the same from Bath, Brighton and Winchester, which are all really interesting to visit for different reasons.  Our social programme organises trips to all these places and many more at the weekend.

One of the advantages of staying in Portsmouth, which quite a few of the students above mentioned is that Portsmouth city is not huge, it’s a very manageably sized city. It’s easy to get your bearings and understand where everything is quite quickly. Obviously, we have some streets where all the houses look the same, and it can get a little confusing at first, but you soon learn how to tell the difference ;-)  

Being by the sea really gives the city a sense of freedom.  Looking out over the Solent gives a real sense of complete liberty, breathing in the sea air, knowing you are right on the edge of the country.  Whether the weather is good or bad there is always something to see. On a sunny day, so many people go for a stroll or even a paddle (the brave ones swim). When it’s grey and misty, people wrap up and still go for a walk.  It is really lovely to look over to the Isle of Wight and know that it is just 10 minutes by hovercraft to visit such a beautiful place.

So, if you want to study English in a great environment, be able to visit so many of the historic and beautiful places that Hampshire and the surrounds have to offer, be close to the sea, Portsmouth could well be the best choice.

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Golf the Game of Kings - The Game That Brings People Together

When Three Generations Play Together - The Game of Kings

With thanks to Phil Thorne for the photos
Golf is one of those games you either love or hate. It is one of those games that either fills you with excitement or sends you to sleep.  Here at LSI Portsmouth, we seem to have quite a few of the first camp; those who really love the game. The wonderful thing about golf, whatever your other feelings about it, is that it seems to bring the generations together.  There are not that many past times where you can find over 40 years of age between the youngest and oldest, with people who are still meeting each other as equals.
In the pictures above you can see Terry Thorne our lovely buildings manager, Alan Daysh one of our fab teachers and the delightful Melinda Vontobel who works with us as an Intern at the moment, they all went out for a day of golf very recently.

Melinda, as the youngest, came to LSI Portsmouth as an English student in October and is now working with us as an intern. As it is a little unusual to find such a young person who plays golf (and so well) we asked her to write a few words.  This is what she has to say:

‘I started playing golf when I was 9 years old. My parents played Golf before me and because of my sister, I finally started to play golf as well. My handicap is 0.4 and my best score up to now was 7 under par on a golf course in Switzerland. I did a sports apprenticeship which allowed me to practise next to my school every afternoon. I played every weekend, national as well as international tournaments. Unfortunately, I had to reduce the amount of time I was able to play due to my studies. Now I am an intern at LSI until the beginning of June. It is very nice to go out on the golf course with Terry and Alan from LSI Portsmouth and play.’

There are differing accounts as to the origins of the game, however, most seem to agree that modern golf was documented in a 1457 act of the Scottish Parliament, where King James II of Scotland prohibited the playing of ‘gowf’ as it was a distraction from the military practice of archery. A little more interesting is that after Mary Queen of Scots’ husband was murdered in 1567, George Buchanan wrote that she had been playing ‘sports that were clearly unsuitable to women’ – we’re not sure Melinda would agree ;-)

At LSI Portsmouth, we understand that in the world of business communication, in the corporate world, golf has a very important place. We know that for professionals, the golf course is where relationships are built, where deals are made and ideas are discussed.  We also know that English has a very important role in this, which is why we offer our students the opportunity to combine playing golf with improving their communication skills in English. What better way to have fun and combine practicing your professional English than on the golf course?  In Portsmouth, we are very lucky because we are very well placed for playing golf. As we are located on England’s beautiful South Coast, we are surrounded by some of the United Kingdom’s most renowned golf courses. 

Whether on the Solent coast or around the South Downs, the scenery is fabulous. Of course, we can’t guarantee the weather, but we can guarantee fun and you can be sure of a totally English speaking environment along with the perfect opportunity to combine the game you love, golf, with practising your Business or Social English.

So, if you are looking to improve your professional English, learn corporate English, network with other professionals from around the world, or just upgrade your everyday English and play golf, LSI Portsmouth has exactly the combination for you.

In addition to this, stay with an English host family, and you can have the complete immersive experience, combining a business English course, good company, a game of golf, fun and improving skills necessary for the workplace.
Click here to see brochure
For more details of a combined Professional English course with golf, see the brochure above or click here