Dienstag, 16. April 2013

The best city in the world (after Berlin): San Francisco - ILSC Review

Last September, I decided to go on a special vacation in the coming year. I asked my boss if I could have 8 weeks off and she said “yes”. I had always wanted to go to San Francisco. So that’s what I did. And it was the best decision I ever made. San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to.
I not only took my own holiday but my “educational holiday” too. Therefore, I had no school choice. ILSC is the only school in San Francisco, my agent told me, which can or is willing to handle the paperwork for the German “educational holiday”. That’s definitely a plus for the school.
But to be honest – I expected something different. I already finished my studies in 2008 and have worked for more than 4 years. I wanted to improve my English in general but I also wanted to learn more Business-English. Not Business-English in general but my particular Business-English about beneficiaries, the 7. Framework Program for Research and Technological Development, budget law, stuff like that. But they didn’t offer me these topics, so that’s why I was a little bit frustrated at the beginning. But now I see they can’t teach me that because it’s too specific. I guess no one else needs this stuff.

What I didn’t know before was, that they put different levels in one class. So for example my first class “Academic Preparation” ranges from I4-A2. The school is too small to have one class for each level. If I had known this before I would have gone to ILSC Vancouver, which is larger than ILSC San Francisco. The other thing is that they don’t teach tenses in the high level but everything else like gerund, passive structure, subjunctive, conditionals. They say, that you already know the tenses if you are in such a high level. But that’s not true. For example, I never know when I should use which tense. So for me it would be more necessary to learn tenses than gerunds. And if you stay here longer than one session you will learn the same stuff again and again. I think it’s boring. It’s okay to hear it once or even twice but that’s it. But now I’m here and I think I made the best of it.
The last paragraph was more negative than I thought it would be. So here are the advantages of the school:
  1. The Location – ILSC is situated right in the center of San Francisco. It’s really easy to visit famous sights like Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, Bay Bridge or Lombard Street, after school.
  2. The Lab – they have a little lab with computers and headsets you can use during or after school.
  3. The teachers/staff - all the teachers/staff are really nice and helpful. They have always an open ear for you.
I wasn’t sure if I could improve my English during the last 5 weeks so I asked my host mother. And she said I speak more fluently now. And last night was the first night I dreamed in English. So overall the trip was worth it even if it was not what I expected: I improved my general English, I found a really lovely and kind host family and I explored one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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