Tag Archives: vacation

Adventures in Asia

By Ida Ibhari

 

When I first got the notification that I had been accepted for an internship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the summer, I was of course excited – but also a little apprehensive. Though my roots are in Iran, I had never traveled to East Asia, or Southeast Asia, before. Nor did I know much about the culture, or language, or even the food.

Several of my family members who had been on trips to Kuala Lumpur tried to tell me what to expect.

“We were walking on the road and it was so hot, and sunny,” my aunt explained. “Then, all of a sudden, buckets, really, buckets of rain started pouring down.”

So I made sure to pack an umbrella – an item that I never even had a need to own, living in drought-ridden Southern California. What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was the humidity. Living in California, I was used to heat, but I was also used to cooler, breezier night temperatures. I always heeded my mom’s advice, and always, always, brought a jacket for later on. So I was shocked when, upon getting to the international arrivals terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I walked outside at around 2 a.m. to be promptly greeted by sauna-like conditions. What?

The weather and I had constant battles. For some reason, I kept thinking that this could only be temporary, that perhaps this was a passing tropical storm, or some kind of lingering after-effect from a hurricane. I checked the weather everyday – fruitless, given that it didn’t really fluctuate much. And I kept bringing my jacket.

My landlord warned me that I needed to turn off the air conditioning when not at home. I resisted – getting home involved a sometimes cramped metro ride, followed by a mile-long walk home. I quickly learned that the laws of physics were very different in KL and walking a mile there somehow was a lot longer distance than a mile in Los Angeles. So, I wanted a cold, icy room every day.

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Road Trippin’ Down the PCH

By Greg Lennon

After studying at USC for over a year and a half, I have exhausted almost all of Los Angeles’ tourist attractions.  I’ve hiked the Hollywood Sign, journeyed to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and been to Santa Monica Beach countless times.  This spring, after buying a new car, I thought I would take my new ride on an inaugural road trip.  The long weekend at the start of the semester was the perfect time.  So I rounded up a few friends, rolled down the top on my brand new (to me) Ford Mustang, and headed up the Pacific Coast Highway for the weekend.

greg - pch4The Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, is one of California’s most storied routes, offering some of the most beautiful views the state has to offer.  The highway runs along the California coast from its southernmost tip in Orange County, all the way to Mendocino County in Northern California.  Along the way, drivers can stop for gorgeous views of the California coastline, as well as various famed attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, The Monterrey Bay Aquarium, and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

My friends and I started up the PCH late in the day on a Friday afternoon, so we were able to see the classic Malibu sunset as we sped up the highway.  Stopping in Malibu for dinner, we sampled an apparently world famous pizza parlor, then returned to the highway for what would be a long drive.  A couple hours later we arrived in Santa Barbara to fill up on gas and grab a snack.  Santa Barbara is known for its nightlife in the college town neighborhood of Isla Vista, as well as its storied downtown, where we stopped to rest.  After a quick fill up, we returned to the highway en route to our final destination of Big Sur.  As night fell on the PCH, the road grew extremely foggy, making the turns of the twisting highway that much more perilous.  Around midnight, we arrived at our campsite at Big Sur, directly adjacent to a small river, and surrounded on all sides by redwood forest.

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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