Friday, 27 March 2020

Hi-London for Adults

Earlier this month, we had some young adults join our new course called London Foodies.  As you probably guessed, all the activities and lessons were food-related, with culture, history and language squeezed in for good measure!
The course kicked off with a trip to Hampton Court Palace to visit the Tudor kitchens, which provided copious amounts of food for the court of Henry VIII.  We then visited Kew Gardens to find out about their sustainable food project to battle the effects of climate change.  We finally rounded it all off with a wander around the famous Borough Market, a paradise for food-lovers!
Like our programmes for children and teens, our adult programme immerses the students in the English language, history and culture, giving them plenty of opportunities to interact with native English speakers and actually use the language on the go.  This flexible environment means the students feel less pressure to “get it right” than when they’re in the classroom. The young adults on the London Foodies course all agreed that they preferred learning in this way with the teacher always being on hand to correct mistakes or answer questions.  They didn’t have to face the embarrassment of having their mistakes and answers corrected in front of everyone!
Being surrounded by native speakers is the best way to pick up the little quirks of a  language that you just don’t come across in a classroom. One of the students said what she enjoyed most about the course was being able to immediately ask the teacher to explain a “strange” word or phrase she had heard on the street. For example, we heard a lady tell her child to “Put a sock in it!”  This means “stop talking” or “cover your mouth”. This kind of immediate linguistic and contextual feedback is something that’s almost impossible to get while studying at home or in the classroom.
Most students find that the biggest challenges in English are spelling, pronunciation and intonation because we don’t say the words exactly as they are written. There are also many exceptions to the rules.  For example, the “ch” in “school” is pronounced differently from the “ch” in “choose”.  Also, different syllables are stressed in words like “clothes” and “cloth”, and although they look similar, they mean completely different things.
We believe that the most efficient and effective way to learn the above points is to encounter them in context and be active in your learning.  We were pleased to discover that like the children and teens, adults too respond to our approach of immersion and on-site correction and reinforcement.  English.  Live It.  Learn It.” seems to work across the age spectrum!

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Moon Stories

By three young writers during the summer of 2019

From the Moon to the Stars
Hi, I’m Chris, and I was a citizen of the moon. The moon was a great place to live. Every night, there was a beautiful view of the universe, and the cities were so comfortable. I lived there with my family: My husband Jack, my son Joel and my daughter Allie.

We were a happy family. On the moon every family was happy, everyone was happy. There was such a magical power on the moon. But one day, things started to change. The army of Mars invaded the moon. It was 21 October when I woke up, and I felt that something was strange. I didn’t know what, but I was worried. 
I got dressed. I had breakfast, and then I went to work. It was my job to clean the gardens on the moon. As I went outside, I noticed that strangely the sky was very black, there wasn’t any light and I couldn’t see the sun. Then, the army of Mars invaded us! There was a war for many days, and in the end the Martians won and stole the lunar gravity. Life on the moon without gravity became impossible. 
The period of the war was terrible. Lots of people died, and going outside became dangerous. Many moon people thought this would be the end of our moon as we knew it, and so it was. Little by little, people started to fly away due to the absence of gravity. In the end, the moon became uninhabited. The moon people were blown away and died. And to remember this fact, the Great Sky made a star from every citizen of the moon. Now I am a star too. I will live in the sky forever with my friends, and we will watch over and protect the moon for the rest of our lives. 

Travels with the Moon
A long time ago, the moon had her own sky. It was purple, green and blue, and it was bright and full of stars. It looked beautiful, and it was the best place in the whole universe because there wasn’t a lot of wind and the temperature was perfect. But the moon felt alone and sad, and every day, she wanted to find out what was hidden behind her sky. So, she decided to create a strong and powerful wind, and she blew away the atmosphere and the gravity. When she looked at the universe behind her sky, she was speechless and fascinated; there were many more stars and planets, and the space was full of twinkling lights, suns and clouds.
The moon was excited and joyful, and then she realised that she yearned to find a new friend. Standing still was useless; so, she started to travel about the universe, and she certainly met many interesting fellows! But what the moon was searching for was a place to settle down near a friend where she could stay forever. One day she entered into our solar system, and the first planet that she met was Neptune. He was a very lazy planet, and since the sun was really far from him, he was always sleeping during the long nights. When the moon arrived with her light, she woke up Neptune who happened to be having a good dream, and that made him really angry. He didn’t want the moon close to him; so, she had to go away. 
The second planet that she got to know was Saturn who was really busy. He had big rings, and on each one of them, there were rocks chatting and having fun. The moon wondered how it would be to stay there, but sadly there was no more space for her; so, she had to go away and leave that amazing planet. 
She was getting closer to the sun when she decided to stop on the big red sphere that was Mars. Now everybody knew that Mars was the most grumpy and solitary planet!  Nonetheless, the moon started to tell her story to Mars, but Mars was getting really annoyed and angry. Suddenly, he screamed and shouted, and he scared the moon so much that she ran away. 
At that point the moon became demoralised. She thought that no one would ever like her, and she started to cry! But not far away from her, there was Earth, and Earth was really beautiful with her seas and countries, and she was also so kind and sympathetic.  She asked the moon what was wrong - why she was so sad? So, they started to talk, and they realized that they had many stories and experiences waiting to be told to someone who would listen. They spent three days and three nights sharing their adventures and their thoughts, and they were having a really great time together! Also, the citizens of Earth enjoyed the presence of the moon that could replace the Sun during the night. And so it was that the Moon offered to stay with the Earth forever, and she decided to change herself every night so our planet would never grow bored or tired of her.

We are Aliens!
Many years ago, the people of the moon lived in peace. But after some time, their resources were finished on their planet, and they became very hungry and didn’t know what they could eat. Arcus, the king of the moon citizens, was very angry because he was very hungry. He couldn’t eat because nobody had anything to eat. He was so hungry that he started to eat his planet! And then, the other moon citizens started to copy him!
Now let me tell you, the moon citizens were strange aliens because they were very small, and there were many of them. They had long necks, they could fly, and they were green and very intelligent. They decided to eat the moon with their own mouths, using knives and forks. But they didn’t know it was poisonous! So, in the end, they had to leave their planet and move to a new planet. 
The name of the new planet was Earth. On this planet, there were lots of strange animals: Lions, tigers, ponies, horses, birds, and elephants.  There were also many plant species. The moon citizens decided to change their appearance. Nowadays, they can’t fly, and they haven’t got long necks any more. Now they are yellow, black, and white, and they are taller. They have changed their names. The new name is humans. On the new planet, they still have quite a lot of resources. But they need to be careful! And so, yes, we are the aliens!  

Monday, 12 August 2019

Hi-London Mystery Series

The Egyptian Crime (Alicja)

One day at the British museum, the staff was changing the exhibition in the Egyptian Room. They started to move the things around in the room, and they realised that something was very wrong. Why was the coffin of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun so extremely heavy? They decided to open the coffin and check. The truth was horrible. There, lying in the coffin were three bodies of young workers, all dressed in orange.

The staff called the police immediately. When the police came, they checked the scene of the crime and found a note that was written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the Inspector already knew whom he should call to investigate this situation! Sherlock and Watson were called immediately!

Sherlock deciphered the note as saying “Good morning Mr. Holmes. It looks like you
need to find me. 87.663.” Sherlock was shocked but also thrilled. He returned
to 221b Baker Street and started brainstorming. What was the meaning of
these numbers? Was it a phone number? Was it a postal code? How could he
find this person?” He went into a deep trance for two hours and then he knew!
In London’s Chinatown, the dishes were numbered this way.

He took a taxi and went straight to Chinatown. He checked every single
restaurant and only in one of them did the numbers on the plates match.
When he ordered the food, the waiter said; “It did not take you long to find me,
Mr. Holmes. Follow me and I will show you something!”

Sherlock followed the waiter into the kitchen, and he saw something terrible.
The whole kitchen was full of dead bodies all in orange clothes and without
sleeves. “I wanted you to witness this, and you came here by yourself. What an
irony! Well I think orange suits you!” The waiter almost screamed with
terrible wild delight.

“You thought you could fool me! The great Sherlock Holmes!” Sherlock
answered. It turned out that he had a hidden camera in his hat, and the police
were following him the whole time.  In an instant, the waiter-criminal was
handcuffed! And that was the end of the Egyptian Crime! 

A Mystery in a London School (Ary)

It was a normal day, and in a London school, the students were studying in
their classroom all morning. Then they went to lunch. After lunch, the students returned to their classroom, and they saw a horrible thing! Semir was dead! The police were called immediately. When the police arrived on the scene of the crime, they found footprints on the ground.  They tried to
follow them, but it was very difficult. Finally, Sherlock Holmes, one of the most important detectives, was summoned.

Sherlock decided to interrogate every teacher and every student. Then he
went to the basement, and he found fingerprints! Apparently, none of the
students had seen the murder because all of the students were in the

After one hour, four students came to Sherlock. These students
were: Lady Alicia, Ben, John and Mary. They were all tall and thin. They had
long black hair, and they wore black sunglasses. Lady Alicia stood up to speak, and she told Sherlock what she knew. They had heard the shot, and although they had been at the scene of the crime, they hadn’t seen the criminal.  Lady Alicia had a lot of important things to tell Sherlock anyhow.

Afterwards, Sherlock went to Semir’s house, and he spoke with the parents of
the victim. After that, he spoke to the maths teacher. The maths teacher was a
bad man. He was very short and fat. The victim, Semir, had been very
intelligent, and perhaps the maths teacher was jealous.  Sherlock could see
that he wasn’t always friendly with the students.

After about fifteen minutes, the police called Sherlock, and they told Sherlock that the footprints on the floor in the classroom were the footprints of the headmaster.  Sherlock couldn’t understand it because the victim had died in the morning when the headmaster apparently hadn’t been at school yet.

The next morning, Sherlock went to the headmaster, but he wasn’t at school
yet! Sherlock called the police, and they told him that they should find the
headmaster fast because he could be a very big danger to other people. And then,
with sudden clarity, Sherlock understood the story!

The headmaster had had a secret relationship with the victim’s mother, and the victim Semir had found out the secret. Semir had gone to the wife of the headmaster, and he had told her
of the affair! So, the headmaster arrived early at school that fateful morning,
and he told Semir that because he had found out the secret, he had to die! The
headmaster took Semir to the basement, and he shot him! Afterwards, the
headmaster went to the classroom to make it look like suicide.

But Sherlock was too clever! Once again, he had solved the case! And that was the end of
the Murder in a London School.

Death in the Underground (Irene)

It was a normal day in London, and everything was the same as any other day.  When in the Underground, which went all the way to Notting Hill, a woman heard a strange noise. It was a shot! In fact, when she got out of the train, she saw a person who was dead! The blood was all over the place! The woman started to scream, and the other people in the Underground came to see  the dead body too.

The lady called the police immediately, and as she spoke, she was crying because it was so terrible. The woman told the police everything, and soon they arrived on the scene of the crime. The police interrogated everyone, but no one had heard a shot and no one had seen anything suspicious. By that point, they had discovered the name of the victim, Mrs. John.

Because this was a special case, the police decided to call Sherlock and Watson.  Sherlock arrived promptly and started to speak with all the people who had seen the body, but even for him, this case was very complicated from the beginning. Sherlock and Watson spoke with the police, and they asked questions like “What time did the shooting happened?”.  The police said that the crime happened around 1 a.m. when there were hardly any people
around because it was so late.

Sherlock and Watson started to investigate the scene of crime when they immediately found a strand of hair! They put it in a very small bottle, and they went to their house on Baker Street.  They went straight to bed because it had been a long day.

When they woke up at 8a.m., they started looking for the person who killed
Mrs. John in the Underground. They looked at the strand of hair with great
attention, and after a few days they finally discovered to whom it belonged!
The person’s name was Mr. Bell; so, they started to ask everybody if they
knew Mr. Bell, but no one knew him.  Finally, a very short man said that
he knew him.  He said that Mr. Bell was about 50-years-old and that he had a
moustache. Thanks to this information, Sherlock and Watson soon found Mr.
Bell’s house. Unfortunately, he wasn’t at home; so, the two investigators had to
wait for him behind a tree for two whole days!

When Mr. Bell arrived, they immediately caught him and took him to prison!  Of course, he didn’t know that Sherlock and Watson were waiting for him behind the tree! Before he was put behind bars, they wanted to know why he had killed Mrs. John. So, Mr. Bell told them everything.

Some days before the murder Mr.Bell and Mrs. John had entered a challenge, and the loser had to give the other 1 million pounds! Bell was the loser, and he had to give the money to
Mrs. John. But of course, he didn’t want to, and on that terrible night, Mr. Bell
had killed her instead!

After hearing this story, Sherlock said, “It seems that you aren’t a very good killer, because a good killer wouldn’t leave a strand of hair on the floor!” And then Sherlock and Watson went back to Baker Street, maybe to make themselves a cup of tea!

That is the end of the story of the Murder in the Underground!

Monday, 15 April 2019

My Madrid, My London

Lisa, who was with us last week, has lived in Madrid and now lives in Grasse.  Here is her comparison of Madrid and London.

Madrid and London are very similar.  They are both capitals of countries, and the two cities have very big airports.  The shopping is also very good in both Madrid and London, and a lot of people visit the two cities for business and tourism.  Furthermore, Madrid and London both have a lot of green areas and museums.

The two cities are also very different.  London is bigger than Madrid.  As well as more people, there are more metros/Tube lines in London.  The people in London are also more diverse.  When I walk through the streets of London, I hear Spanish, English, French, Chinese etc.  When I walk through the streets of Madrid, I hear mostly Spanish, English and French.  Also in London, the people start and end their days earlier.  In Madrid, the day normally starts at 9am.  At 11am, they usually have coffee and eat their lunches at 3pm or 4pm.  They have dinner at 9pm or 10pm and go to bed at 11pm or midnight.  How people live in these cities is very different.

Our Superheroes!

There is something about superheroes that always excites the imagination of our students.  Below are some of their superhero stories.

Friday, 9 November 2018

My Journey in London

Hello.  I’m 15, and I did a one-week course with Hi-London to improve my English and my writing. I also visited a lot of places in London, which I really enjoyed because I love London culturally speaking - it’s such an interesting city.

We visited a lot of museums, and I watched an amazing show about Charles Darwin ( It was so interesting!

I learned a lot about English history, which is important to me because, in my school, we only learn about French history.

I also spoke a lot in English with the teacher who was really nice. I feel that I diversified my vocabulary and also improved my English in other ways.

I also had homework writing essays.  I think it’s important for our future to know how to write essays - like for university.

I met really nice kids, and it was a good experience for me to work with kids.  It might be something that’ll interest me in the future.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Keeping up with a Family Tradition
By Misha

I had the pleasure to speak with two Italian families this summer, both of whom have been returning to Hi-London for 5 years and counting. Family traditions form the foundation of Italian culture, and it seems Hi-London has become a tradition for these two families.

Of course, we have families coming from many countries around the world, year after year. This year, I taught students from Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Brazil, Argentina, China, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, and many more.  Especially during the summer, well over half of our students were returning for the second, third, fourth or more time. That made for a very rich, international mix! And some would describe us as a family. Such deep relationships were built, with the group moving as one happy organism – together – by the end of the week.

I asked Bruna, the Italian grandmother of two boys and one girl, what had brought her family to return to Hi-London for so many years. She said that she and her grandchildren so appreciated this setting of international exchange. At an impressionable age, children from all over the world are brought together to study English, but invariably they learn so much more. They are introduced to other cultures, and so they quickly grow to accept diversity. They learn to seek it, respect it, and be inspired by it.

I talked to Lara, the mother of Emma, who has been a part of Hi-London since she was 9 years old. Emma is now 13 and started the Teen Programme last year.  She plans to be with us for another 4 years (!) Lara loves many aspects of our school. In the first year, she said she noticed Emma’s progress right away, and she has come to rely on our reports (given to the students who are with us for two weeks or more to track Emma’s growth over the years.

Our teachers give individual attention to each student, and if a student can stay for longer, there is great benefit. It allows us to monitor individual abilities in greater depth and to deliver the tuition and homework aligned to individual need. Also, we are better able to give suggestions at the end of the chosen term so that the student can continue to develop through the year until they return the following season.

There are other unique aspects that keep our families coming back to Hi-London, such as the variety of excursions and language immersion opportunities. Each week, the children and teens travel out into London to explore this great city through the lens of a theme base. We know how to engage our students with the exhibits and material in over 80 venues, museums, and sites across the city. And students sure do love to travel on London’s transport system, whether it be the Tube, bus, boat or train!

Underlying everything is the pulse of new friendships and the family-like vibrations that are built, encouraged and fostered. Of course, the young students have to communicate in English to build these new ties with others. This is such a beautiful motivator to witness! Even though the students may sometimes share a native tongue, more often than not, most of the group will be from different countries. So, this becomes a very different context from an English class back home.

And, at the end of it all, we send photos from each fun-filled week so that the parents and students have a visual diary. For sure, Hi-London becomes like family, like home, and for many – a lasting tradition.