London Meridian College

Agent in the spotlight: Russia!

Today we spoke to Natalia from Inter-Air Group in Russia who  have been working with us since 2009. They were recently visited by one of the main channels on Russian TV to talk about what they do.

How long has your agency been established?

19 years. We were founded in 1996.

 How does an agency pick which schools they work with?

Quality, location, accreditations, student’s feedback, prices, terms and conditions.

 What should students keep in mind when choosing where to study?

Quality, location, accreditations, prices.

 How can your agency assist students with the visa application?

We have our own visa department which helps students in all steps with their visa application.

What are the most common rules for refusals and what should students do to be well prepared?

Money issues. So we  are always checking correct amounts necessary for visa application.

How can studying English benefit students in your county? 

Good career opportunities.

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Agent in the spotlight, today: Algeria

Today we spoke with Salim from the agency Bureau d’affaire. They have an office in Algiers and London and assist students from Algeria with all aspects of studying in the UK. We have several agents in Algeria so feel free to contact us!

  • How long has your agency been established?

Our agency was established in 2010, in London UK and has been serving the public faithfully since then. We opened the Algerian branch in 2013.

  • How does an agency pick which schools they work with?

Our agency currently worked exclusively with language schools in the UK but since our agreement with LMC we refer student who are willing to study English to LMC. Our aim is to offer our clients reliable service in connecting them with quality institutions to best further their language skills.

  • What should students keep in mind when choosing where to study?

The most important aspect of any language school is the quality of their program. Our clients also care for the price, the location, the duration of the program, and any perks that will help them to best improve their understanding of the language of choice.

  • How can your agency assist students with the visa application?

Our agency prides itself in providing a thorough service. We are up to date on all immigration laws, work within the system and uphold the law, and keep our clients apprised of any changes and updated on all requirements. We help them with the visa application, explain anything that is unclear and do our best to make our service comprehensive for their convenience.

  • What are the most common grounds for refusal and what should students do to be well prepared?

The most common grounds of refusal are based on the maintenance factor such as not having a reliable sponsor and not having strong ties to Algeria. The interested client should ensure enough funds in their account or a reliable and acceptable sponsor. They should also be able to show very strong ties to Algeria, which would indicate that they will return after the program of study is finished.

  • How can studying English benefit students in Algeria?

Our clients are interested in learning or improving their English in order to better their chances of getting good jobs here in Algeria. Most companies appreciate fluency in English in addition to the French and Arabic that is common here. Further, most international companies based in here use or require English for communication and in transactions. Therefore, to acquire a good job or to be selected for business opportunities, it is best if one can understand and easily communicate in English.

  • Any other tips or recommendations to future students?

To maximize the chances of getting your visa application accepted, its best for the client to opt for six months or more of studying abroad, be able to show strong ties to Algeria, and to have a strong sponsor or sufficient funds in their account to be able to support themselves as well as pay for the program of study.

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EFL Agents: Brazil

This week we will be speaking to some of our agents and try and give you an insight on how an agency works and what are the advantages of enrolling through an agency.

First up is Intercambio Cristao who have been working with LMC since 2010, we work with several agents in Brazil so students who would prefer to register via an agent can always contact us to find the nearest agent to them.

Here is what Karoline from the agency had to say!

How long has your agency been established?

We were established in 2008.

How does an agency pick which schools they work with?

Through our students, partners’ recommendation, and search. 

What should students keep in mind when choosing where to study?

Know a new culture and language, their goals, and the price.

How can your agency assist students with the visa application?

Brazilians only need visa if they will stay more than 6 months. When is necessary, we can help.

What are the most common rules for refusals and what should students do to be well prepared?

We never had a denied visa. Because our student usually stay less than 6 months.

How can studying English benefit students in your county?

The English is a very important tool at Brazilian market, so an international experience will provide a good luggage for future jobs.

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Stay tuned! Tomorrow we will be talking to one of our agents in Algeria!

IELTS… How to prepare for the exam!

LMC runs an all year round IELTS preparation course and in addition we also run IELTS workshops.

We asked our IELTS teacher some useful questions to help you decide what is right for you and to help you prepare for your exam.

1) How is IELTS different from General English?

IELTS is an exam to verify the level of English language competence of a learner ( ie speakers of English as a second language)  and only valid for two years, which means that students will need to re-sit this again. The reasons for doing such an exam are usually:

a) Gain access to a university course of study
b) Requirement for work/business visas either in the UK or other English speaking countries, like Australia, Canada, USA, etc.
c) Specific Requirement by a Company or Organisation for employment.

So in essence, IELTS is just an exam, the course design would therefore focus on passing this exam and maximising achievement. It does not develop general language skills like every day communicative skills needed to live and work in an English speaking environment.  It focuses on specific skills for an exam in 4 disciplines of reading, writing, speaking and listening.  Much of what is tested in this exam is not required in real life skills. Generally, IELTS is an obstacle which needs to be overcome to further ones career or prospects.

2) What is the difference between General and Academic IELTS and which one does LMC prepare for?

LMC at present offers seven-week -intensive IELTS course which prepares students for the Academic IELTS exam.  This differs from the General IELTS exam in two main ways:

a) The Academic paper for writing task 1 focuses on academic writing skills for:

i) interpreting statistical data in the form of graphs, tables,  pie charts, bar charts, etc.
ii) describing a process such as a natural rain cycle  or a manufacturing process.
iii)  describing how something works, like a central heating  system
iv)  describing  objects such as the development of the car
v)  describing maps

NOTE: for each genre of writing above, students are required to learn the language features and skills in terms of grammar and lexis for each kind of task as well as the appropriate style and register.

General IELTS writing does not have any of the writing tasks mentioned in ‘a’ above. Instead, students are required to write a formal or informal letter on general topics, which is far easier and less time consuming to prepare for.

The second main difference is the reading in that in the general exams the lexical level is slightly less challenging than that of the academic reading.  The range and type of reading question are more or less the same.

3) How are the workshops different from the regular IELTS course?

The workshop provides a sample look at the kind of questions that will come up and how best to tackles these and maximise your marks for each of the four disciplines. Because it is not a full time intense course on a daily basis, its focus is on problems areas and exam type questions with practical advice on approach and language features necessary to complete tasks under the time constraint of exams. The workshops are designed to quickly get to the root problems of students about exam questions and aspects that pose/cause difficulties.

The intense course will allows students to have a more in-depth look at the above points on a wider scale with more examples. The academic writing for example,  will have more time and focus on developing formal grammar and lexical knowledge with a focus on more production , with feedback on students writing.

4)What difficulties do students usually have when taking the exam?

For reading its usually time constraint. Students often need guidance on how to tackle different kinds of questions and the approach that is required for each. Teaching them the sub-skills in  reading and how best to locate the information in the reading text is fundamental.  Students need clear guidance on this.

Problems in writing can vary on student’s language level. But generally, a lack of formal grammatical structures and formal lexis as well how to organise writing in a clear and coherent fashion, with good variation of link devices are usually key aspects. This can also be accompanied by weaknesses in basic grammar like articles, prepositions, link devices, syntax, spelling, punctuation, etc.  Brainstorming ideas for task two writing is also a major concern for most. Students need clear guidance on how to come up with ideas and substance for their writing, without which, the task cannot be adequately completed. For some task 2 questions students are just devoid of ideas.

5) How long in advance would you recommend preparing for the exam?

Ideally after completion of the intense 7-week course, students should allow 2 weeks for practice of exam questions under time conditions, and to work on areas of weaknesses. By this stage students will have all the academic knowledge that is required for each exam discipline and will have a much better idea of their strengths and weaknesses.

6) Who will benefit from the workshops most?

Students who are unable to attend the intense course will clearly benefit as it will greatly supplement their preparation they should be doing outside the classroom.  Students who have already done IELTS course or exam who may need quick pointers on certain areas will find this even more rewarding as it offers a perfect opportunity for reassessment of things that they do know and areas that they are still not sure about. A lot of individual questions and concerns are addressed in workshop classes, which seems to be a typical theme at LMC. Furthermore, it provides a perfect opportunity to ask direct questions, which in itself is rewarding.  A lot of this information cannot always be found in text books.

Any other exam preparation tips?

Students should do plenty of exam practice outside the classroom.

Students should not walk into an IELTS exam not knowing how to tackle a writing task. Being properly prepared means students should know what phrases and words and grammar structures they are going to use for certain kind of writing tasks. Students who usually do well in exams learn techniques and language phrases and chunks to make life easier.

Students should focus on their individual weaknesses in writing and reading as well as their strengths.  Having a clear idea of how to approach an exam task comes through observing model examples in writing and making use of formal words and phrases and grammar structures.  For reading, its going through different kinds of questions and task approach that is needed for each one

To see the schedule of our workshops click here to read more about our course or register for a FREE TRIAL LESSON click here

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Where to find Italian companies and products in the UK…

THE ITALIAN COMMUNITY: THE DIRECTORY THAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR

The Italian Community is the free directory where to look for professional, business, shopping, entertainment, restaurants and Italian products in the UK.

They provide the opportunity for costumers to find Italian suppliers and for businesses to be found by customers. In an effective business market place.

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The Italian Community provides visibility to all Italian business in London and the UK. In particular, the new, small and medium ventures. For free. There are many advantages for businesses to be part of the directory for Italians in the UK, here are some:

  • FREE BASIC LISTING The inclusion in the directory is completely free. No credit card required. Our listings allow to create and self-manage your own business page: you can decide all content to insert and change them whenever you want.
  • MORE VISIBILITY, MORE CUSTOMERS Our team is made of experts in the field of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and Web Ads. Our platform is constantly striving to improve and consolidate a significant presence on the web.
  • HITS YOUR TARGET Nowadays it is important to focus the message and the type of promotion to the right target audience to optimize energy, resources and money.
  • WEB & CREATIVE SERVICES We are always keen on searching for tools to help you increase visibility and customers. We offer advertising spaces in our channels and professional creative , marketing and web services (website, logo, brand identity, etc.). theitaliancommunity.co.uk info@theitaliancommunity.co.uk We are also present in Germany, France and USA.

Visit to the Old Bailey…

Yesterday some of our students visited the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court in London. We are very pleased to report that all of them managed to leave successfully. This is what they had to say about their visit: 

On the 2nd July 2015 we visited the Central Criminal Court, known as the Old Bailey, next to St Pau’s Cathedral in London.

We met at LMC in the morning, where we left our mobile phones and laptops as these are not allowed in the Court room.

The Old Bailey deals with major Criminal cases within Greater London, and in exceptional cases, from other parts of England and Wales. Trials are open to the public from 10am, albeit subject to stringent security procedures.

We were offered a choice between attempted murder and rape. We unanimously chose to attend the rape trial.

It was announced that we had to remain in the court room for at least 30minutes, keeping silent throughout.

There was a judge wearing a white wig and black gown, a barrister, who was Counsel for the Prosecution, and a barrister for the Defendant. They were also wearing wigs and gowns. Besides them there was a jury of 12 lay people, and, to our surprise, the Defendant was present too.

We had the opportunity to listen to the closing speeches of the barristers and the judge’s summing up. Fortunately the speeches were clear and understandable for us.

We held a discussion about the trial on the following day in class. We pretended to be the jury, and we reached a unanimous verdict of Not Guilty!

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Get to know our teachers! Introducing David!

David

How long have you been an EFL teacher?
Full-time for just over four and a half years, part-time for twenty-two years prior to that.

Why did you choose to teach EFL?
Because I really love teaching and facilitating English-language acquisition on the part of my students. I get a real thrill from witnessing their improvements in all areas of the language and knowing that I have played a part (however great or small) in that. Meeting people from all around the world and establishing a good working relationship with them and, indeed, friendships are a great source of joy and happiness for me.

What is your favourite level to teach or favourite course
I enjoy teaching any level, but I would have to say that my favourite is level 8, Proficiency. As far as ESP is concerned, I really enjoy teaching Legal English.

How do you prepare for a lesson?
By reading through and thinking seriously about the material I intend to use; how can I make the lesson as interesting as possible and, most importantly , what outcomes do I hope for and expect to achieve? I always try to anticipate what I think will prove difficult for my students and how I am going to help them assimilate and understand the subject matter.

Which one do you think is more important: Grammar, vocabulary, speaking, writing?
All are of paramount importance and are interconnected. Grammar is my favourite area,and this provides the basis for everything, but being able to put this into practical use, building vocabulary, practising reading, listening and speaking are all vital components of a well-rounded approach to language acquisition.

What is your favourite book?
Impossible to answer. With over 8,500 books in my library, I read widely in the following areas: history, music, chess, philosophy, astronomy, literature and language, politics, the classical world, etc. But I’ll choose two: ‘The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of English’, by David Crystal, and ‘The Data Book of Astronomy’, by Patrick Moore.

What is your favourite place in London?
Another difficult question, but apart from London Meridian College (!), quite possibly The British Museum, The National Gallery, The Natural History Museum, Greenwich or Hampton Court.

Any other message for our current or future students?
Enjoy your time in London,work hard, take every opportunity to develop and improve your English,but remember that learning a new language should, above all, be fun! It will open so many avenues for you and allow you to meet and make friends with so many interesting people from all around the world.

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