How to Practice English During Summer Vacation

By Zsuzsa Londe, Ph.D. 

Students ask this question at the end of our spring semester classes.  It is a good idea to plan to do something every day to maintain or improve your English skills. If you did not have the option to take an ALI class this summer, here are a couple of suggestions that are interesting in content and will improve your oral skills.

1. NPR (National Public Radio) is a nationwide radio station with about 900 stations in the United States.  Go to www.npr.org or to www.kcrw.com, the websites of the national and the local (LA) radio stations respectively, and listen to the broadcasts, find in-depth reporting on the latest events, and read the transcripts of the reports.  While you are getting the most up-to-date information from around the world, you are also “updating” your English. Continue reading How to Practice English During Summer Vacation

“And 1, 2, 3, and 4. Any questions?”

By Leanne Park

There were a couple murmurs, but no one raised their voice.  It was a warm August night, way too warm for the 50 or so of us to be learning a hip hop dance on the third floor of a parking structure and yet, there we were.  With sweat dripping down everyone’s faces, everyone seemed focused on learning the audition piece, but no one seemed particularly frustrated.  Everyone except for me, that is.

Brows furrowed and lips pursed in irritation, I probably did not look approachable by any means.  I had danced all throughout high school, even performing at pep rallies in front of hundreds of students, but, at the time of this audition, I hadn’t danced for two years and it was hitting me pretty hard that my skills had turned rusty. Even though it was the first of three audition days for USC’s competitive dance team, Chaotic 3, and we had two more days to practice the dance before the actual audition,  my heart sank as unflagging doubt seized and took over my initial hopes of making the team.

I contemplated not going through with the final audition.  I discussed it with multiple people, complaining about how hard the piece was, and voicing my doubts.  However, something told me not to give up that easily.  I was a transfer student who fought for my admission to USC and I was determined to make the most of my two years as a Trojan.  In my head, I imagined myself being on a USC dance team and I knew that I would hate myself forever if I didn’t at least try.  So for the next two days, I practiced the dance feverishly, watched the video of the choreographer a million times, and performed it in front of any and every mirror that I came upon.  I wanted to impress the team more than ever. Continue reading “And 1, 2, 3, and 4. Any questions?”

Why I am Best Friends with A Ninety-Year Old

By: Jackie Kim

Ever since I was young, I’ve had a great relationship with people who were older than me. I’ve always loved visiting my grandparents’ home, something that plenty of my peers despised. I’ll certainly never forget the time when my grandma whispered in my ear that I was her favorite grandchild and the feeling of guilty satisfaction and pride that welled in my heart. Later, when I moved to America in middle school, I was on texting basis with the majority of my teachers in each of the schools I attended.

During high school, I discovered my love for the nursing home. I found talking to and interacting with the residents naturally easy and comfortable, and it wasn’t long before I started traveling to the home twice a week to provide company to the senior citizens. Whenever I walked into the toasty nursing home, the residents’ faces melted into crooked smiles. I loved how they called me “Jackie Wacky” and “Honey,” how I always had to assure Audrey that I’ll always love, how Carol snuck me the centerpiece after I told her I loved flowers, and how Ken always asked for a kiss before I left.

Continue reading Why I am Best Friends with A Ninety-Year Old

Academic and Professional English Language Instruction