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Newsletter June 2017

By Michelle Buell, Academic Director
        Summer is a special season in Southern California. It is when many of our stereotypes about California seem to come true.  The beaches, surfing, outdoor concerts, food trucks, amusement parks, and festivals are all a part of the Southern California culture, and summer is the best time to experience it. As a child growing up in Seattle, I would look forward to summer breaks when I could come down to California to visit Disneyland or just hang out at the beach. Summer in California is fun, and there is no place else I’d rather be! 
Summer 2017 is really a special time for Language Systems because it marks our 30 year anniversary! In July of 1987, Language Systems opened its first school in Pasadena, California.  Over the next decade, Language Systems would open three more schools, with the South Bay campus being the last one to be opened in 1998. That was when I joined LSI as a TOEFL teacher. Since then, I’ve been blessed to meet so many interesting students from all over the world. They all came to California to study English, learn about American culture, and pursue their dreams. 
As we approach our 30th anniversary, I think about my Brazilian friend Luciana, who was an advanced student in 1999 and is now the manager at our Orange County campus! We love to reminisce about the teachers she had and the friends she made from LSI.  So many of our students have gone on to do wonderful and fulfilling things in their lives. It is satisfying to think that Language Systems played a small part in helping them achieve their dreams. In this newsletter, we have a couple highlights of students who sent us their memories of LSI over the years. I wish we could print all the messages we received because every single student who reached out to us feels like a part of our family. So enjoy the Summer season with everything California has to offer, and join us in celebrating our 30th anniversary!!

Student Memories 

By Majda

          I was a student at LSI for about two years, from 2002- 2004.  I had an amazing time with amazing teachers and students too! I have a lot of memories with you guys that make it hard to pick one! However, I can share one of them with you. It was when we had a play to present in front of other groups (students). I never had so much fun in my life like I had on that day.  We laughed, we learned and we gained more self-confidence (in my opinion). 
I really loved all the teachers and one of my favorites was Megan.  She was just too nice and always smiling.  Her teaching was never boring.  She was always dynamic, energetic and most of all very encouraging. She used to say “if anybody makes fun of your accent, you just smile at them and ask if they know other languages besides English!”  Very smart, right?  Her phrase is embedded in my head forever?  
I really do appreciate all of you guys at LSI, for your support and for working so hard to teach foreigners like myself to learn a new language and how to embrace a new culture.
Now I’ve been working as a Medical Assistant at Kaiser Permanente for 10 years.
My English is much better, but I am still always learning.
Thank you again for everything.
Thank you for remembering me, Mrs. Julia Roberts!   I still believe that you look like an actress Majda from Algeria?
Happy 30th Anniversary, LSI!
By Kellen

          My name’s Kellen and I’m from Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2010, I was working in a bank when, out of the blue, I decided to take a chance and move to LA. I’ve lived in LA and studied at LSI for 3 years. I started to level 5 since I had studied English for a few years in Brazil before moving. After finishing the regular course, I took business and TOEFL classes as well. I don’t think I can name the best front desk member or teacher since all of them were always very kind, patient and thoughtful with everybody as far as I know; however, Natalia, the Ukrainian girl at the front desk, and Matthew Flowers, the TOEFL teacher, are the two people who I’d say have made the difference for me. 
I’ve always had the dream of being a teacher, so when I decided to come back to Brazil I knew that I would become one and so I did. To do that, I got the LSI diploma, the TOEFL certificate and I also took the CELTA course.  I came back to Brazil in 2013 and I’ve been teaching English at two different schools in São Paulo, aside from the private classes, since then. I love teaching!

Language Systems Life Style 

Soccer Tournament 2017
By Hugh Alexander Kingston, Project Solutions Manager

          The soccer tournament was held at the beautiful Glendale Sports Complex. They day was beautiful but brought a punishing heat that tested all players’ and spectators’ dedication to their team.  Students flocked to the fields full of enthusiasm and excitement to cheer for their school.  And this year brought some exciting matches and interesting results.The battle between OC and DTLA ended in a nail-biting spectacle of penalty kicks.  While the Torrance Sharks struck first blood versus the Alhambra Dragons.  Needless to say, the atmosphere was energetic and full of cheers.  No matter how many times these tournaments take place, the drama doesn’t end.  At the end of the tournament, the DTLA Angels proved their worthiness to be crowned champions over the Torrance Sharks. However, at the end of the day, the tournament is about fun and building friendships. Language Systems loves bringing people together to cherish diversity, culture, and friendship in an atmosphere that is welcoming to all. Let’s hope the upcoming Volleyball Tournament is as exciting as this year’s goal mania Soccer Tournament.  


Discover LA
By Hugh Alexander Kingston, Project Solutions Manager

          Southern California is typically known for its sunny beaches, endless miles of nonstop shopping, and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.  But did you also know that Los Angeles is famous for being a major center for space exploration?  The city of Angels has had a long and proud history of encouraging and contributing to the field of exploring space.  From being able to see the real Space Shuttle, Endeavor, to mapping out the stars from Griffith Observatory, there is no lack of space in LA (wink…wink…).  This is even truer by the fact that Los Angelinos can easily visit and tour an actual NASA facility at just about any time of the year.  The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or most commonly referred to as “JPL,” in Pasadena, is renowned for being the branch of NASA that is mainly responsible for developing and managing the United States’ deep space program.   Some of these missions include launching America’s first satellite, sending a spacecraft beyond the edge of our solar system, and most recently, all of the Mars exploration missions.
Officially named as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1944, JPL had been funded by the U.S. Army and was responsible for developing military rockets throughout the Cold War years.  Fueled by the “space race” against the then-Soviet Union, JPL was responsible for successfully creating America’s first satellite, Explorer 1.  It officially became one of the first centers for NASA in 1958.
JPL is open to the public throughout most of the year and offers FREE guided tours of most of its major facilities in Pasadena, CA.  These tours can be conducted for large educational groups of 20+ and/or for private individuals.  However, advance reservations via its website ( are required and include free parking to the public.  All tours include a multimedia presentation on JPL entitled “Journey to the Planets and Beyond” that provide an overview of JPL’s accomplishments.  The guided tour also includes visits to the Karman Visitor Center (which houses mockups of their robotic rovers and satellites), the Spaceflight Operations Facility (main control room), and the Spacecraft Assembly Facility (where all spacecraft are built).  Discover LA by taking advantage of this FREE opportunity to experience NASA firsthand!

Free in LA 
Lummis Day Festival
Date: Friday, June 2, 2017 – Sunday, June 4, 2017
Location:  TBA (multiple locations)
Price:  FREE

Celebrate the arts, history and ethnic diversity of Northeast Los Angeles at this annual music, dance and art festival. The three-day fest honors Charles Lummis, the journalist and activist who founded the Southwest Museum, built his own house (the Lummis Home) by hand and worked toward a more multicultural LA. The event takes place across four locations—Occidental College, Southwest Museum, Avenue 50 & York Boulevard and Sycamore Grove Park—with free shuttle service between each location, as well as by Metro stops

Smorgasburg LA
Date: Sunday, May 28, 2017 – Sunday, December 23, 2018
Location:  ROW DTLA, Downtown, 777 S Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90021 
Price:  FREE


Indulge your inner foodie and shopaholic at this weekly food-focused market. The Brooklyn export has landed in the Arts District and become a hotbed of fantastic food and retail vendors, with some that are testing out their dishes before launching a full-blown brick-and-mortar in the city. Bonus: there is plentiful (and free, for two hours!) parking in the nearby parking garage.

Jazz at LACMA
Date: Until Friday, November 3, 2017
Location:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Miracle Mile
Price:  FREE
One of L.A.’s best free live music offerings, Jazz at LACMA has featured such legends as Wayne Shorter, John Clayton, Kenny Burrell, Les McCann, Billy Childs, Arturo Sandoval, Cannonball-Coltrane Project and Ernie Watts. Celebrating over twenty years at the museum, the program continues to be one of the museum’s most recognizable (and beloved) programs. It’s a celebration of L.A.’s finest jazz musicians, and more than 42,000 visitors attend the program annually from April through November, making it a true L.A. rite of passage.

Sci-Fi at Union Station
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017
Location:  Union Station, Downtown
Price:  FREE


Watch three sci-fi classics from three separate eras—Blade Runner, Them!, Here—in Union Station’s historic ticketing hall (with the exception of Them!, which screens on the north patio) at this free screening series. Brief remarks from a special guest will precede each screening.

Language Systems Faces 
Interview with Luciana Lovera, Manager at Orange County 
          Luciana Lovera is from Porto Alegre, Brazil. She enrolled as a student at LSI – SBLA in November 1999 and two years later started working at the front desk in SBLA.  In July 2004, Luciana moved to the Downtown LA campus as an Assistant Manager, and in 2008 she became the Manager at the OC campus. Luciana loves to travel and speaks several languages including Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Italian. 

What is your favorite thing about working at LSI?
My favorite thing is getting to know people from different countries and learning more about their cultures. My best friends today have all been students at LSI. I like to build friendships that will last forever!

What would the students be surprised to find out about you?
I’m a very adventurous person. I like to travel by myself. When you travel alone, you are open to knowing more people. 

Do you have any advice to students who are struggling to improve their English?
I struggled a lot with English in the past. I lived in London in 1996, and it was difficult for me to improve my language skills because I put a lot of pressure on myself to improve quickly. Here is my advice to students: First, do not give up. Second, don’t put too much stress on yourself. Third, don’t try to be perfect. It’s OK to make mistakes. Don’t think too much about what you want to say. Just talk and don’t be shy!

What is your most memorable experience at LSI (as student and manager)?
As a student, I remember experiences with my classmates and building friendships in and out of the classroom.  I especially liked hanging out with my friends after class and having barbecues together.
As a manager, I’ve had many opportunities to grow professionally and to learn every day to build people skills, especially between the management and staff.  We have a great team and are very close, like a family. 
Student Articles


How I found a Hobby in L.A.
By R.K.
        When I decided to come to Los Angeles, my plan was to study and work. Since I couldn’t get my work visa, I had to look for something else to do to make some money and fill the hours when I’m not studying. I looked for something that I could do at home and would make me feel happy, like some kind of art.
I got my Master’s Degree in Set Design and my final project was a set for a theater all made with pieces based on origami, the art of paper-folding that is from Japan and China. Origami is an old passion of mine, and I learned a lot in my research, so I decided to develop some origami works for decoration.
I started making a wall piece for my own apartment. When it was ready, I took pictures and sent them to my friends. Ever since I’ve had two orders that I’ve been working on. I hope to get more projects ordered in the future so I can make an origami business for homes and party decorations.

What Kind of Best Friend Do You Have?
By C. S.
        People naturally need to communicate as the expression “Humans are social animals” says. So, that’s why we need other people. Generally, we are raised to communicate with others so we can make relationships. In fact, having a friend is the best relationship in the world—everybody has friends, both male and female ones. But having male and female friends is different because they each have their own personalities. 
Women having female friends is normal because they have the same interests, styles, and sometimes the same ideas. Women can talk with each other easily just because they are other women. Even though they are complicated in the eyes of a man, women can understand each other just by eye contact.
On the other hand, having male friends is a much different feeling. Men are uncomplicated, but they are difficult to access, maybe because they have a difference of interests. Compared to women, they are hard to understand, but the good thing about having a male friend is they are easy-going and always free, so women can easily confide in them.
In the end, both of them are great. A friendship is a relationship that will never end and you will never regret having one.

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