Thursday 23 May 2024

Where Are You Now?


Edited for clarity.

My name is Emma F., an 18-year-old student from Italy. I am now in my last year of high school in Piacenza and preparing my applications for university in Milan. I have always been fascinated by the English language and am very passionate about travelling as a way to discovering new places, cultures and traditions. 

My first experience with Hi-London dates back to when I was almost ten years old. I joined the KIDS group and started my adventure. I immediately fell in love with the program because Hi-London was not an ordinary summer school. Indeed, instead of sitting in a classroom, I found myself wandering around the city of London, visiting museums, art exhibitions and natural sites, while improving my English and connecting with other international students. I quickly realized that the more I learned the easier it was to build relationships with the other children coming from the other side of the world! 

I continued my journey and, after a couple of years, I was ready for the TEEN group that allowed me to improve my reading comprehension and writing skills. I made amazing friends whom I am still in touch with, and I found kind and professional teachers who played a major role in my learning experience. 

I was so fond of the Hi-London “family” that, when I was 17, I created the opportunity to become a teaching assistant for two weeks. This job experience helped me to develop my communication and team-building skills along with organizational and time management capabilities. Senior teachers made me feel part of the team and guided me in my role in the best way possible. I found out how hard and demanding it was to work with young students but also how enriching it was to deal with them every day. 

This long-lasting connection with Hi-London made a difference in my school performance in Italy and definitely shaped the person that I am today, even influencing my choices for the future. It is not a coincidence that my university selection is now oriented towards an “International Relations” degree where I hope I will carry on with my international path. 

Saturday 27 January 2024

A Feast Fit for a King

Hi. I'm Vincent, and today, I worked a lot in the kitchen.  It's Feast Day.  So, I worked hard to feed a lot of people.  I made stew.  It had meat, vegetables and potatoes in it.  It's too hard working for the King because he is so demanding.  I think they liked the stew because they ate very fast.  The cauldron was hot.  So, I burned my arm, and now, I'm tired.  I also made fish with rosemary and corn.  That was my day.  I'm going to bed now.  Bye!

Hi.  My name is Antonia, and I'm the chef for the King.  Today, I needed to cook a big dinner for 200 people.  We cooked beef, potatoes, vegetables and bread.  To drink, we had wine.

Hi.  I am Jonas, and I cook for everyone in the palace.  It is always really busy because I have to cook for 600 people and then I sleep.  The King doesn't pay a lot.

Hi.  My name is Lucas.  I am the royal chef.  Today, I cooked a stew for the King.  My stew had potatoes, pork, carrots, rosemary and onions.  My stew is the best stew in the whole kingdom!

First, helpers have to plan what they need to cook.  Before they cook, they have to think which food the King loves.  For example, when we went to see the kitchen, we saw that the King has a food and drink list.  The list is about the food and drinks the King loves.  I think it's going to be a very nice feast.

Monday 27 November 2023

A Day in the Life of a Street Performer

This autumn, our students explored some of London’s best places for watching street performers. We were entertained by singing puppets, musicians, dancers, and magicians to name a few. The students then thought about what it would be like to be a street performer, and what they would like to try. Below are some written pieces from the students on ‘A Day in the Life of a Street Performer’. 

‘The Day of a Busker’ 

Yesterday was a nice day. I started at 9am in Hyde Park. It was a sunny day. There weren’t any people around at 9am, but after 10am, more and more people came to the park. People listened to my music and gave me a lot of money. At 2pm, I had a break. During the break, I ate a burger and drank a glass of water. Then at 3pm, I began to make more music. At 5pm when I finished work, I saw that I had made a lot of money. It was a great day because I made people happy with my music. I like my job. 

‘The Life of a Dancer’ 

Hello, I am a dancer. I usually start dancing at 10am. I perform in London around Southbank. From the beginning, people have always loved me. I started dancing on the street when I was a child. Other dancers impressed me a lot when I was young.  The day I started dancing, I knew it was for me. I think I’m lucky because I’m one of the most famous dancers on the street. Some of the other dancers have had to leave because they don’t make as much money as me. 

‘Street Dancing’ 

I am a street dancer. It’s my full-time job, and I start every day at 9.30am. The first thing I do is to find a good spot to perform. That can be difficult to find as I need a lot of space as a dancer. Once I have found my spot, I choose which style of dance to perform. Today, I chose breakdancing. Today, another dancer wanted my spot; so, we did a dance battle. The winner won the spot. Today was a good day because I won, and I made £120. I am happy to be a street dancer. 

‘Life as a Mime Artist’ 

I am a mime artist, and today is my 4th year doing this job. I like doing this job because I can amuse the people around me. It’s difficult to do this; so, I think this is why people like me. I am the only one around the Southbank area doing this. Many people watch me and give me money. This makes me happy and gives me the energy that I need to wake up and do this job every day. Today, I wrote on a piece of wood that it is my 4th year doing this job. People saw this and gave me more money. I invited a little girl to perform with me for 5 minutes because it was her birthday. This made her very happy. 

Friday 6 January 2023

British vs. American English

Have you ever wondered why there are differences between British and American English? Have you ever looked up the word "colour" or "flavour" and noticed two different ways to spell the same word (e.g. "colour/color", "flavour/flavor")?  A famous poet and playwright Bernard Shaw once said “England and America are two countries separated by the same language”.

How Did These Differences Come About?

The English language was first introduced to America by British settlers in the 17th century, and it has evolved since then.  A key player who nudged American English away from British English was Noah Webster.  In the 18th century, he decided to create the now well-known Webster dictionary and worked on developing a new version of English for America.  He wanted American English to be more independent from British English and to spell words more as he believed they sound. Britain kept its spelling of words which was anchored in other languages such as French and German.

Differences between British English and American English
  • Words spelt with an "our" in British English and just with an "or" in American English:

  • Words that end with an "ise" in British English and with an "ize" in American English:

  • As well as differences in spelling, there are different words used in British and American English for the same thing. Here are some of the most common word differences:

            British English            American English

            Football                        Soccer
            Petrol                            Gas
            Rubbish                        Garbage
            Crisps                            Potato Chips
            Holiday                         Vacation
            Film                               Movie
            Chips                             French Fries

These are just a few examples of the many differences between British and American English  that you may come across. Next time you watch an English film or perhaps speak with a native English speaker, you may start to notice these differences and understand a little more about why these differences exist.

Students Learning British English in Our London Classroom 
Students Learning British English in Our London Classroom

Students Learning American English in Our New York Classroom

Friday 2 September 2022

A Funny Day in Chinatown

We are walking as a human chain, like a creature we sing and laugh. As we exit the Tube station and walk along the great avenue to one side of Leicester Square, street performers, musicians, and people from all over the world creating the rich tapestry around us, and I think to myself as I do most days at Hi-London, how lucky we are to experience this great city in such a fun and creative way.

We turn to the right and walk down an alley, and the sounds and smells of Chinatown envelope us. We continue to sing and walk and talk. We stop in front of the bakery with its windows full of exotic shapes and colours. Chinese lanterns blow in the sky above our heads. I point to things that are interesting, and the children gaze with mouths wide open and grins.

We enter the bakery, and its warmth and sweet smells welcome us. The Chinese lady smiles,  and I suggest bean cakes and various things as the children choose something. Then we are outside with a collection of moon cakes and buns, and we chat as we munch on our treats.

Then one child is pulling on my arm. “Misha! Misha! My tooth!”, and sure enough there is a small gap with blood, and her tiny tooth hanging by a thread of skin and red stains on the thing she is eating. “Oh wow!” I say, and Vania comes to the rescue. “Bite down on this tissue”, she instructs softly but firmly. The child obeys and closes her mouth holding her teeth together. 

A few moments later, the tooth comes out and we wrap it in a clean tissue. “Save it for the tooth fairy”, I whisper. “It is extra special when you lose a tooth in Chinatown!”. A few moments later, we pack up our things and make our way back to the Tube station, one tooth less but so much gained on another grand day at Hi-London!

Friday 3 June 2022

007 Saves the Day: A Short Screenplay

Scene One: James Bond and his Chief

007 talks on the phone with his chief.

JB: Hi chief, what’s going on?

Chief: It is urgent. You must stop Dr. No. 

JB: Why? What’s happening?

Chief: He is very dangerous. He is going to destroy the world with a nuclear bomb. You must catch him so that we can put him in jail.

JB: Right away sir.

Scene Two: Introducing Dr. No

Dr. No is in a room with his great machine. He caresses it rather dramatically with love and admiration.

Dr. No: Ah … my beautiful machine! Soon you will help me to destroy the world! Then I will be King of The Universe!

Scene Three: 007 Arrives at Crab Key

James Bond jumps down from his helicopter dressed in black clothing. It is night. He has arrived on the island called Crab Key, the home of Dr. No. He calls his chief and speaks quietly into his phone so as not to be heard.

JB: Hello sir. I have just arrived at Crab Key.

Chief: Good. Keep me informed.

Scene Four: The Bedroom of Dr. No

James Bond sneaks quietly into the bedroom of Dr. No. No is sleeping on his back with his gloved arm resting on a special device to keep it elevated. He snores loudly. His bodyguard stands at the door and doesn’t notice JB as he comes into the room.

James Bond goes to strangle Dr. No. Dr. No awakes suddenly and starts to scream and struggle. His bodyguard jumps onto James Bond, and a fight ensues. James Bond manages to knock out the bodyguard and then he runs after Dr. No who has escaped from the room.

Scene Five: The Chase

James Bond runs after Dr. No. They run through the vast gardens of Dr. No’s estate. Finally, James Bond manages to shoot Dr. No with his special gun. The bullet makes Dr. No fall unconscious immediately.

Scene Six: The Reward

James Bond talks to his chief on the phone.

Chief: Good work 007. We have managed to put Dr. No behind bars.

JB: It is my pleasure sir. 

Chief: You have saved the world once again. For this I will reward you with 100 000 pounds. 

JB: Thank you sir. I am just relieved that I can be of service to the world once again!

Thursday 2 December 2021

A Painting that Came to Life

 This summer, two of our students wrote a play and performed it in Holland Park . Since we teach our students not to be afraid of making mistakes, we present to you their story before corrections are made. Making mistakes is cool!  It’s an important part of the learning process.  Please sit back, relax and enjoy!  

Hi you!  We are Bianca (13) and Adele (12). We would first like to introduce you to the main characters of our story. 


Josephine is a 19-year-old girl. She is from France, has red curly hair, green eyes, freckles and is tall. She’s a rebel but also wise, independent, brave and shy. She loves the library and wants to read another romance. 


Tom is a 14-year-old English boy from Scotland.  He has brown hair and green eyes. He is very brave and curious, but Tim is very scared of spiders. He is independent and extraverted and enterprising. 

How Josephine and Tom Met

Tom, who didn't like reading, went to the library for pickup and previously requested school books.  While Josephine was in the middle of the bookshelf, she bumped into Tom. He is looking for a book for school. They start to talk and turn in the library together. 

Tom: “May I ask you why you have come to the library?”

Josephine: “Oh I am here cause I want to read another romance. I love them!"

Tom: “Do you see all those trees and that very dark one?”

Josephine: “Let’s go to that painting. It looks beautiful."

They stop in front of a strange painting. Tim looked at the wall and suddenly the painting takes life. From here starts an incredible adventure.

Josephine’s and Tim’s Adventure

Josephine: “Wow! Can you enter the painting?”

Tom: “Yes, but how can we come out?”

Josephine: “Do you have any idea of where we have to go?”

Both are screaming  “THERE ARE 20 SNAKES!”  Both are scared.

Tom: “I can throw them in my bag.”

Nothing happened. It doesn't work.

Tom: “Let's climb the rock.” 

Both are climbing on the rock.

Josephine: “Yeah, the snakes are leaving, and that's strange!”

Tom: “It’s not just a spider, it’s a giant spider! Let's go down, take a stick and hit the spider!” 

They see a man.

Tom: “Let's ask him to help us.”

Josephine asked the man: “Can you help us to leave this world?”

The man: “For leaving this world you have to  restart the game.”

Tom: “But, what does it mean?”

Josephine: “Let's climb in the tree.”

Reaching the top of the tree, Josephine and Tim found their way out of the painting.

When they were back in the library, Josephine asked Tim: “Do you want to go to the bar for a coffee?

The End