It’s no secret that many are job-hunting at the moment. As a result of the ongoing pandemic situation, competition for roles is more cut-throat than ever and everyone is looking for a way to stand out. Thankfully, with the prospect of more lockdowns on the horizon, there is also more time to focus on learning new skills to add to your CV. Read on for one thing you can do to make sure it’s your application that gets picked next time!
It’s important to understand that when you’re job-hunting, your CV should be based around your competencies, so you should be trying to prioritise anything that will set you apart from other candidates. Having English as a second language is becoming increasingly important; as the language of international business, you are an attractive prospect to an employer if you speak it. Over 1 billion people who speak English are non-native speakers. In joining them, you will boost your chances of a successful career, while enjoying other benefits, such as better problem solving abilities and increased memory function.
To employers, learning English shows you have dedicated time and commitment to the goal of becoming a better communicator in your line of work. It’s a reflection of your strengths as a person more generally; someone who has put the effort into learning a new language is more likely to be enthusiastic and hardworking when it comes to projects in the workplace.
Because so many people already speak some level of English in the world of business, it is advisable to become as fluent as you can. A lot of employers already expect you to be able to communicate somewhat in spoken English, but showing that you can also write in the language with good spelling and grammar is another plus. It will help when it comes to giving speeches and presentations. Being able to use your English outside of the work context, i.e. knowing how to hold general, friendly conversations, will also come in handy when it comes to networking. Sometimes career success and promotions come down to putting yourself out there and making as many connections as possible. If you speak someone’s language, it will be so much easier to connect with them and hopefully secure that opportunity!
So, what can you do about this? At ABC Cambridge, we are now offering English for Work programmes, brand new for 2021. The best thing about these courses is that, unlike commonplace ‘Business English’ programmes, they are specific courses to help you learn English that suits your own line of work. That way, we’re not charging you to learn things that won’t be useful. Instead, we’re maximising your time and budget to give you something to help you further the career you want. And better still, we even offer a course on job-hunting!
Our ‘English for job-hunting course’ consists of six units that cover things like CV preparation, cover letter writing, and how to answer interview questions. We will show you examples of real CVs and cover letters to help you understand exactly what employers are looking for and how to write your own. The tutor will also help you with some cultural aspects of job-seeking in a foreign language, such as how to excel at telephone interviews and how to negotiate your contract when you are offered the role.
Aside from job-hunting, we are offering courses to prepare you for work in food, the tourism and aviation industries, various medical professions, and engineering, to name just a few. Make sure to check our webpage for the full range of courses available.
Many people have found the past year has forced them to reflect on their lives and careers, sometimes leading to a change of path entirely. If you also feel that you’re interested in changing track, be sure to consider one of our courses, to give you the edge when you apply for that first position. You’ll also learn some of the vital components of the field you’re interested in, giving you a head-start. Making a career change can also sometimes mean the bigger change of moving country. With an English language qualification, you will have more options open to you than ever, making you eligible for career moves you never thought were possible! If you’ve always dreamed of living in a certain place, or travelling around the world for business then now’s your chance to make it happen. You may also be able to secure a higher-paid role in another country with your new language skills.
At ABC Cambridge, you will benefit from being taught by native speakers in exclusively one-to-one classes. If you can join us face-to-face, you will have the opportunity to meet and socialise with our other students at break times, and you can take the course intensively in just two weeks if you’re short on time. You can also complete the course remotely through ABC LIVE, our online school. Online classes give even more flexibility, meaning you can fit the lessons around your other commitments such as work and childcare. Online or in-person, our team is small and friendly, and our staff are always happy to help, so get in touch today and find out how we can help you advance your career.
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
With the term drawing to a close, it’s almost time for our students to say goodbye as they leave us for their Christmas break. While some of our students return to their home countries for the holidays and some stay in England, they all share the desire to remember as much of the English that they have learned this term in class as possible. If you want to succeed at learning a language, it is important to continue practising it and making time for it in your daily life. With this in mind, my final blog of the year is going to give you 8 great ways to keep all the English you’ve learned this term firmly in your brain!
1. Write Christmas cards
The perfect activity to get you in the Christmassy mood, writing Christmas greeting cards to your loved ones can also help you keep up the progress you’ve made in class, if you write them in English! Try writing different messages inside the cards so that you’re getting as many English phrases as possible into your memory. Common phrases found in Christmas cards are ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Happy Christmas’, ‘Seasons Greetings’, and ‘Happy New Year!’, or you could make up some of your own.
2. Write jokes for Christmas crackers
As I mentioned in my last blog, Christmas crackers are imperative to a British Christmas day. Usually, people buy them pre-filled from the shop, but you can actually buy your own cracker-making-kits and make some yourself. You could choose to make everybody at your dining table a special cracker with a gift inside that they would like to receive, but best of all, you could try writing some of the infamously unfunny jokes that you usually get inside a Christmas cracker. Popular cracker jokes include Q: why was the turkey in the pop group?, A: because he was the only one with drumsticks and Q: What’s a dog’s favourite carol? A: bark, the herald angels sing’ Try coming up with some totally original Christmas cracker jokes to make your friends and family roll their eyes at you!
3. Watch a Christmas movie in English
Who doesn’t love snuggling up in December and putting on a Christmas movie? Luckily, most blockbuster Christmas movies are already in the English language, but why don’t you test yourself – turn off the subtitles and see how much you can understand. After you watch the movie, try to have a conversation about it, in English of course! My top recommendations for Christmas films are Love Actually, The Grinch, Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Polar Express.
4. Make Christmas tree decorations with English sayings on them
Decorating the Christmas tree is a fun activity for everyone, young and old, and what better way to fill an empty hour this Christmas than to make your own decorations from scratch? This is a perfect activity for little hands, with a bit of adult supervision!
You will need:
Felt tip pens
To make these easy-peasy Christmas tree ornaments, choose cookie cutter shapes that you’d like to use to decorate your tree. Then, use the cutters as stencils and mark their outlines onto the cardboard with a pencil. Cut the shapes out with the scissors and then use the felt tips, glue and glitter to decorate! To work your brain at the same time, try writing English holiday greetings like those mentioned above onto the ornaments. Every time you look at the tree, you will be reminded of the new phrases you have learnt.
5. Read A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens is one of the most famous English novelists of all time, and luckily for you, he wrote a novel all about Christmas! A Christmas Carol is used by EFL teachers across the globe at this time of year, as it introduces a famous British literary figure with an accessible story, and one that fills its readers with Christmas spirit. It may be a challenge, but try reading at least some of the novel if you can, keeping a dictionary next to you to help you with any unfamiliar words. It has been proven repeatedly that reading books is one of the best ways to learn a language, as it reinforces words that you already know, helps you learn new ones and also situates words in their appropriate context.
Like with the Christmas movies, lots of Christmas songs are originally sung in English and that makes it very easy to find some Christmas music to sing along to. If you wanted to do something traditionally British, you could try carol singing. Especially popular on Christmas Eve, British people often sing carols such as ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ and ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. Learning a couple of carols like these would be an innovative way of learning some English, and learning new words to a tune has been proven to make them stick around in your brain for longer.
7. Letter to Santa
One for a child this time! If you wanted to embrace the tradition of Christmas stockings that I outlined in my last blog, children in Britain tend to write a letter to Father Christmas earlier in the month, promising that they’ve been well-behaved and asking him for a few presents they would like. If you’re wanting to keep up your little ones’ English, helping them write a letter about Christmas presents is a good way to find out what they’re hoping to receive and teach them some new vocabulary all at the same time.
8. Board Games
My last suggestion is always a family favourite around the holidays: board games. Specifically Scrabble. I recommend challenging your family to play Scrabble with you in English. This will help not only with learning and solidifying vocabulary but with spellings as well, as you can double-check your words in the Scrabble dictionary. A top tip is to nominate yourself as the scorer, and concentrate on ingraining the English names of numbers into your mind as you go, since numbers are notoriously hard to get to grips with in a foreign language. Playing a game like Scrabble can be so much fun, you won’t even realise you’re learning!
Let us know in the comments if you’re planning on trying any of these top tips to keep up your English over the winter break, and we look forward to seeing you next term. From all of us at ABC Languages, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
It’s November, and Cambridge is becoming colder and wintrier by the day, so I thought this would be a good time to write about some traditions that British people get up to at this time of year. And yes, quite a few of them do involve Christmas, but not all. I know that the holiday season might look a little different this year, but I’ve tried to stick to things that should still be possible in the current climate, just maybe with a little adaptation. Why don’t you try some of them yourself?
1. Bonfire Night – 5th November
First up is Bonfire Night. Also known as Guy Fawkes, it is the next major event on the British calendar after Halloween. Every year on 5th November, we ‘remember remember the 5th of November', the historic date that Guy Fawkes’ planned assassination of King James I at the Houses of Parliament failed due to an anonymous tip off. Guy Fawkes’ arrest was celebrated with bonfires, and this is a tradition that has carried on until the present day, hence the name ‘Bonfire Night.’ These days, Bonfire Night usually involves a firework display as well, with the best in Cambridge being held on Midsummer Common every year. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, the fireworks are cancelled this November, but I recommend making a small bonfire of your own if you have a garden, and toasting some marshmallows. You could even put on your own fireworks display – some people do their own every year!
2. Christmas Lights – 15th November
By November, people are well and truly thinking about Christmas: Christmas food, Christmas shopping, and to get you in the festive spirit, Christmas lights! The ‘Christmas Light Switch On’ is an event that takes place all around the country, usually mid-way through November, where towns’ Christmas lights are turned on and everyone stares in awe at the luminous creations. If you have a chance, a walk through Cambridge on a winter evening to appreciate the glowing lights is thoroughly recommended, but if you can’t be here with us this year, why not see if there are Christmas lights to look at where you live, or even better, put some up outside the house! In Britain, there are sometimes competitions for the house with the best Christmas light display, and people go all out to win!
4. Christmas Stockings – 24th December
A tradition from long, long ago, Christmas stockings began when children would place one of their everyday socks at the end of their bed for ‘Saint Nicholas Day.’ For years now, however, the tradition in Britain has been to place a festive-themed ‘stocking’ either at the end of the bed or by the fireplace on Christmas Eve, and wait for Father Christmas to come down the chimney and fill it up with gifts. You have to be good all year though, or he won’t come!
5. Christmas Crackers – 25th December
Typically on the table with Christmas Lunch, crackers are essentially a decorated cardboard tube that you use to play tug-of-war with the person next to you. When pulled, they make a ‘snap’, leaving one person with the longer end of the cracker which tends to contain a paper hat, a joke and a small gift. It is definitely British tradition to read out the jokes from inside the crackers and laugh at how bad they are!
6. Christmas Day Walk – 25th December
After Christmas Lunch, many Britons like to go for a family walk to burn off all the turkey! A lot of British families would say that their Christmas Day would be incomplete without it! It’s a bonus if it’s a white Christmas, as the children can build a snowman or have a snowball fight.
7. The Queen’s Christmas Message – 25th December
Every year on Christmas Day, usually after people have eaten their Christmas Lunch, the Queen makes a televised speech to the nation. She usually reflects on the year that has passed, and gives her good wishes for the one ahead. In a time like the present, the Queen’s Christmas message of 2020 should be an interesting watch, as she will no doubt speak about the worldwide battle with Covid-19.
8. Boxing Day Sales – 26th December
For lots of people in Britain – Boxing Day means one word: SALES! Swarms of Britons get up early the day after Christmas and rush to their nearest shopping centre to snap up deals on clothes, electronics and more. It’s not a tradition everyone is fond of, and some people prefer to look back to the origins of the name, which came from the rich boxing up gifts for the poor and giving their servants a day off. In light of this, some British people choose to spend time around Christmas volunteering by serving festive food to the homeless.
9. Big Ben on New Year’s Eve – 31st December
At midnight on New Year’s Eve in London, Big Ben, or ‘the Elizabeth Tower’ as it’s formally known, will ‘bong’ to ring in the New Year. It chimes 12 times before falling silent again. While the fireworks show that usually accompanies it may not be possible this year, Big Ben will always chime for New Year. This is always streamed live on television, so you can watch along if you want to.
10. Burns Night – 25th January
A Scottish tradition, Burns Night celebrates the life of poet Robert Burns, and involves Scottish food and music. Bagpipes, the traditional Scottish musical instrument, are usually played. The meal is always Haggis, which is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s heart, liver and lungs. I’d say go in with an open mind, but if it really doesn’t sound appealing, there are usually vegetarian and vegan Haggis offerings, or you can fill up on ‘neeps and tatties’ – suede or turnip and potatoes. Try buying or making your own Haggis this year and having a Burns Night with your friends!
I hope these British Winter Traditions have given you some ideas, wherever you are in the world this year, and that they’ve provided some normalcy and escapism at this time. Where are you from? Let us know in the comments and tell us about a winter tradition of your own!
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
At ABC Cambridge, we are big on preparation. We’re all about preparing you for using English in the future, whether that future is about studying, business, day to day life, travel, family life or more. Whatever you want your future with English to be, we can help you get there. So it should come as no surprise that we’re so prepared for you, you can start English lessons with us any week of term. Preparation is also important at the moment regarding Covid-19, but, as you can read in our blog ‘Re-opening our doors in times of coronavirus’, we are well-equipped to run a Covid safe school. Check that one out if you want more information about all things Covid, but for now, read on for 6 reasons to choose ABC Languages for your English learning needs. Prepare to be inspired.
1. Location location location
Do you want a taste of what it’s like to study in a world-leading university city? Look no further. The University of Cambridge is regularly top of world league tables and what better way to experience it than to study and stay in the midst of it? Plus, your performance in class might improve just by living in one of the best educational destinations worldwide! At ABC Cambridge we are right at the heart of all of this. Based in the historic Cambridge Union Society, our office door is seconds from the famous Debating Chamber, where prominent figures from all different areas of public life give lectures throughout the year, and you can walk through the same hallowed halls! Nestled between the most renowned of Cambridge colleges – St John’s and Jesus, we are also just steps away from Cambridge’s main shopping district, where many of our students like to shop for souvenirs. Walk in the opposite direction and you’ll see the glorious River Cam, usually bustling with punts, and a perfect place to stop for a drink in the sunshine. As you can tell, we are at the epicentre of everything going on in Cambridge. If you want some more detailed ideas of things to do in your free time, check out my other blog posts, where you will find advice about summer activities, museums, hidden gems and more.
2. In safe hands
ABC Cambridge was established in 1986, which means we have been offering English classes for well over 30 years. In that time, we have grown numerous students from just starting out with their English to a high level of fluency, as well as preparing them and arranging for them to sit English-language exams. Our teaching team have tried and tested experience of what works, and our small class sizes mean that your 'teacher time' is double what you’d find in a typical language school. At the core of our values is a high level of care for the individual, meaning that what you get is tailored to you. We also offer all-inclusive packages of lessons and homestay accommodation, meaning that when you book a course with us, you can sit back and relax knowing that everything is taken care of.
3. Summer holidays
We are a small-medium-size school and, while we aren’t necessarily quiet, we mainly teach adults for most of the year. However, in the summer our walls fill up with laughter and chatter as we open our doors to children aged 5 and up for our International Summer School. The summer school is open to adults as well – check out our parent and child courses for more information. Unlike our year-round school, where standard courses are weekday mornings, most students at our summer school opt to add afternoon activities to their programme. It’s my job to design the activities for both children, teens and adults, and it’s the best part of my role! Last year there were visits to inflatable water parks, Clip ‘n Climb, the University colleges, the zoo and more! As well as these exciting excursions, our younger students made their own pizzas, watched a magic show and tried out cool science experiments right here at ABC Cambridge. As the Student Experience Manager, what stands out for me about our summer school when you compare it to those offered elsewhere, is the continued focus on education all through the day. Activities like science displays and art projects mean that your children are learning in the afternoon as well as the morning and, due to our broad nationality mix, they're all speaking in English too! Speaking of activities, all new for summer 2021 will be our ‘Wizardry Weeks’, which you may find out more about in a future blog!..
4. We are family
While it’s true that summer is when we cater to high numbers of children and their parents, we do offer family courses at all times of year. ABC Cambridge is a family-run business, and the importance of family is at the heart of what we do. That’s why if you book a family course with us, your lessons will be taught as a family, as your teacher guides you through exploring English, not only within the classroom walls, but out and about in Cambridge, meaning that little people don’t get bored! Working with your children on shared projects creates a new way to bond with them, and you will love watching them learn! As with so much of what we do, a family course will never be solely reliant on a course book, but will be specifically tailored to the level, needs and interests of your family group. You can look at the family courses page of our website to find out more.
5. Tailored to your needs
You may have seen my last blog on ‘All things Group Study Holidays’, but if you haven’t, one of our key areas of business is organising package language holidays for groups. These can be school groups, larger family groups, groups of colleagues and more. The trips are completely customisable – from duration of stay, to hours of English classes, to afternoon activities, and accommodation provisions. The classes will also be tailored depending on the group’s learning targets, so if they are a school group taking an exam in English language, we might take a look at the exam material. If they are a group of colleagues needing to give some presentations in English, we’d be specifically focussing on developing the skills and language required. This flexibility is also applicable to our 1-2-1 classes options, which is our most rigorous and intensive choice for making fast progress with your English. The 1-2-1 classes are perfect if you don’t have time to take one of our group classes as, with the full attention of the teacher, you are likely to move through the syllabus faster. You don’t have to dwell on areas of confidence, and can spend more time on correcting any weaknesses.
6. Flexibility is important to us
Now, more than ever, flexibility is important. While we would love for everyone to be able to have the full Cambridge experience, but we understand that that isn’t possible for everyone right now. Our online classes mean that you can learn with us from wherever you are in the world, at the time that suits you. We also offer optional exam preparation if you’re learning English with that goal in mind. For more information on online learning, check out the online page on our website.
Let us know what you thought of this blog and if it’s made you want to choose ABC Cambridge for your English learning experience, and follow our socials for more! We look forward to seeing you, in our classrooms or on our screens soon!
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
In March 2020, due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, we closed our doors and began to deliver our teaching online. This has been an unusual few months for the ABC Languages team, and while orchestrating online learning has been a new and exciting challenge for us, we are thrilled to announce that on 7th September, ABC Languages has received its ‘We’re Good to Go’ certification from VisitEngland, and will officially be reopening for face-to-face teaching. Something that we have really missed doing over the past few months has been our Group Study Holidays. Online teaching definitely has its place in a modern world, but when you come to ABC Languages as part of a group, the teaching only makes up part of the immersive experience. It’s all about living and studying in a university city! Read on to find out exactly what we can offer you in terms of group language travel, and why we’re the best in Cambridge.
We’re all about bringing people together, and that’s why our English language holidays are so popular with school groups, business groups, groups of friends, and families. Whoever you are, whatever you want to get out of your language study trip, we can welcome you for quality teaching plus lots more in the heart of Cambridge. We understand that there is still some uncertainty surrounding Coronavirus, and we want you to know that in light of this, our already flexible group offers are now even more adaptable to your specific needs. As well as this, our ‘We’re Good to Go’ certification means that we are complying with government and industry guidelines surrounding Covid-19. Every single step of your visit to us has been carefully considered with regards to social distancing and cleanliness, so that you’re as safe as possible during your stay.
As flexibility is even more of a priority now than it already was, we have designed an all-new short-stay package. We know that a week or longer-term group trip is not always doable, and with this in mind we are offering a 3, 4 or 5 night stay. Our short-stays will be a breeze for you from start to finish, with our close proximity to London and the London airports, and the option for midweek arrivals and departures. Our central location in Cambridge also means that no matter how short the stay, you will find time to immerse yourself in British culture, and get a taste of student life in a world-famous university city.
We are unique in offering such short stays, but this is not where the differences between ABC Languages and other language schools end. We are firmly against selling you components of your trip that you don’t need. When you book a group visit to ABC Languages, you will be assigned a member of our team who will be on hand to help you build your own programme, exactly to your specifications. That way, you only pay for what you would like. For example, on one of our Standard programmes, the package will include English lessons, course materials, 4 nights homestay accommodation in Cambridge, half board and packed lunch. You can choose to upgrade this for your group to Standard+, which includes afternoon activities that will enhance learning both of the English language and about Cambridge itself. We understand that some groups are looking for a more academic experience than others, and with this in mind there is also the option to select our Semi-intensive or Intensive course, both of which include more lessons than Standard.
Of course, if you’re looking to book for a week’s group visit or longer, that’s great too! Our team will be available to assist you in booking the perfect holiday for your group. A longer stay means more time to take advantage of the selection of optional extras that we can arrange for you, including half and full-day excursions. As well as more traditional activities in central Cambridge such as open-top bus tours and punting on the Cam, we can organise climbing, cinema trips and Cathedral tours, as well as whole-day trips to London, Stonehenge, Thorpe Park and many, many more. We will be sure to run through all of the options when we book you in.
As well as flexibility about the duration of your stay, and what you’d like to add to your package, we aim to deliver flexibility on our course content. Your Group Study Holiday needs to be specific to the interests and needs of your group, and that’s why, as well as our General English courses, your group can take courses in a specialised topic that suits you. We can arrange courses in English language exam preparation, the World of Work, Hospitality and Tourism, Accounting and Finance and lots more. We understand that your experience with us needs to be as unique as you!
Last but not least, there’s our Discounted Package offer to mention! Between 23 October 2020 and 31 January 2021, we can offer a 20 lessons of English tuition package. As well as lessons, it includes 6 nights half board accommodation in Cambridge, return airport transfers and 1 free leader per 10 students. This is all for the price of £330 per student for a group of 10-14, with a reduced fee for larger groups. Once again, if you want to add optional extras such as extra nights in homestay, extra lessons or activities and excursions please do let us know.
I hope this blog has intrigued you with all of the amazing possibilities we have to offer you for Group Study Holidays in Cambridge. If you want to learn more about our Group Packages, check the page on our website, or contact us for more info. We can’t wait to open the door to you again!
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
A summer of language travel in the UK will be an enriching experience, both in and out of the classroom if you put some thought into what you would like to do in your free time. When booking your language school experience, consider if you have the time to spare to tour the UK a bit either before or after, and if not, consider planning what you are going to do at the weekends. In this blog, I’ve put together some options for UK summer activities that will suit all budgets and time frames that take in all the different aspects that the UK has to offer you, whether that’s just in Cambridge, or beyond.
This blog should help you to think about things you could do to make your UK summer the best summer ever, but as always, let us know if there’s any other advice we can help you with. We’d love to know your favourite thing about summers in Britain.
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
Cambridge has historically been an academic hub, due for the most part to the prestigious university at its heart. One way this academia is visible here is through the many different museums that we have here. In this month’s blog, I’ll be taking you through my top 5 museums in Cambridge, and why they’re great for a day out.
1. The Fitzwilliam Museum
Affectionately known as ‘The Fitz’ to all who live here, The Fitzwilliam is probably Cambridge’s most well-known museum. They house a world-renowned collection of over half a million works of art, paintings and historical artefacts. Its collection includes Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman objects right through to the modern art of the present day. It also houses Asian art, medieval illuminated manuscripts and pottery, porcelain and medieval coins. The museum is known internationally for its high standards, in terms of its collections and exhibitions, its research, its curation and its fine-art conservation work. If what’s inside the building doesn’t tempt you, the building is a stunning neo-classical design by George Basevi. With its grand pillars, and the 4 stone lions that are positioned at the museum’s steps, it entices people inside to learn about its history. The Fitzwilliam Museum is free to visit.
2. Museum of Zoology
One of the most popular museums for tourists who come to Cambridge, the University’s Museum of Zoology houses one of the most impressive collections of animal kingdom specimens in Britain. The museum welcomes 75,000 visitors every year, and for good reason – their collections are some of the best and biggest in the world, often used for academic study. An especially exciting fact about this museum is that it includes specimens discovered by world-famous scientists including Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. No two visits to the museum are likely to be the same – changing exhibitions mean that you can learn something new every time you go. Most striking to many visitors is the ‘Whale Hall’, the entranceway to the museum that holds the 21-metre-long Fin Whale skeleton. Great for exciting children about science and nature, but a special experience for enthusiasts of all ages, the museum is a must the next time you’re in Cambridge! It’s free to visit.
3. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Also known as the ‘MAA’, this intriguing museum sits just across the street from the Museum of Zoology. This makes them a great duo of museums to visit on the same day, or if you only have a short time in Cambridge. Contrastingly to the Museum of Zoology, which is all about the history of the animal kingdom, the MAA’s collections are all based around almost 2 million years of human history that span all 6 inhabited continents. They want to make it known though, that this is no museum only about the past – it is through the collections that we can learn more about contemporary life all over the world today. The museum collaborates with indigenous communities to improve its collection and the information that they share with the public. Some of the must-see artefacts in the museum include its oldest object – a 1.8-million-year-old stone tool from Olduvai Gorge, as well as a towering Totem Pole from Moresby Island in British Columbia. The MAA is also free to enter.
4. The Museum of Cambridge
The history of Cambridge itself extends beyond that of the university, and this is where the Museum of Cambridge comes in. Known as The Cambridge and County Folk Museum for over 70 years, the museum is housed in a 17th Century former coaching inn. Their collections focus on everyday life in Cambridge and Cambridgeshire spanning over 300 years. The museum describes itself as a ‘social history hub’ that contains 20,000 objects from vacuum cleaners to folklore objects. Young children will enjoy the ‘playroom’ at the very top of the building, full of both modern and antique toys. An adult pass to the museum is £6, concession passes are £4 and children aged 12 and under go free when accompanied by an adult.
5. Centre for Computing History
Newer on the scene is the Centre for Computing History, a few minutes’ drive out of the town centre. More than just a museum, they host exhibitions, workshops and other activities and events. Even just a normal visit is super interactive and fun for children and adults alike. It’s impossible to imagine a world where we don’t have computers or the internet, and the centre takes you right back to the very start and looks at how we got here. The collection is over 24,000 items which include vintage computers, memorabilia, mobile phones, games consoles and calculators. There’s even the option to play on retro computer games! The entry fee is £9 for adults and £6 for children aged 5 to 16. Children under 5 enter free. There is also the option of a family ticket for £26 for up to 2 adults and 2 children.
With the UK getting ready to welcome visitors again very soon, we hope that you will join us in Cambridge and take the opportunity to check out some of these fantastic museums in your free time. Let us know in the comments which of the museums you’ve already been to and what you thought, and also, leave a comment if there are any museums you think we should have included on our list.
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
On 23 March, the UK Government made the announcement that all schools must close to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. In response to this, we closed our doors and made the move to online learning while we waited for updates from the government. This has been and is a time of uncertainty, and as such we do not yet know when we will be able to reopen fully. We can, however, assure our students and their families that as soon as it is safe to do so, we will be ready to greet you here in Cambridge. In view of this, in today’s blog I want to set out what we’ve put into place to ensure your safety and peace of mind when we open our Cambridge headquarters, and also what we have available for you to book in the meantime.
In the Covid-19 era, it is important for schools and businesses to devise plans of action for reopening and risk assess these arrangements. With this in mind, we have devised a 10-point operational plan that will be kept in place while the threat of coronavirus is sufficiently high. This plan has been considered not only in accordance with UK Government guidelines but also our internal risk assessments. Whether we implement all or some of these will be dependent on the level of risk at the time. You can find more detailed information about this plan on our website, and information about the procedure, social distancing and the use of protective equipment can also be found on signage in all classrooms when you return to our school. As well as devising our Covid-19 procedures, we have trained our staff extensively to ensure that they are prepared to return to face-to-face work.
To take you through our operational plan in a bit more detail, it can be separated into 4 subsections: school organisation, capacity adjustment, hygiene and disinfection and extensive training. We have overhauled our usual arrangements for each of these areas to prepare for work in the current circumstances. In terms of the organisation of our school, we have thought through each and every step of our students’ visits to us and considered how we can maintain social distancing. All staff and students should therefore keep a distance of 2 metres between them and others at all times. Our reception, classrooms and public spaces have all been adapted and rearranged to allow for this – you can expect furniture to be more spaced out than usual. We will also be minimising the number of high-touch items, such as shared coursebooks, that are used in class. Most importantly, we will be operating ‘social-bubbling’, a system in which staff and students are placed into small ‘bubbles’ who may socialise with one another while maintaining social distancing. These bubbles will be kept for the duration of student stays and they are to be maintained in accommodation, excursions, group activities and transfers.
When thinking about adjusting our capacity, we have decided to reduce maximum class sizes to allow for social distancing. Students will be seated in their bubbles which allows them to maintain interaction with one another in the classroom. Group size adjustment will continue out of the classroom as we reduce the number of students on excursions. To help us manage these adjustments, we will be operating a ‘zig-zag’ timetable which includes staggered breaks, to reduce congestion in our public spaces and to allow distancing even in the WC’s. Thinking about activities specifically, we have altered the timetables to include excursions that don’t require close contact.
Hygiene and disinfection are extremely important so that our students and staff can continue to stay safe in school. We have made sanitiser stations available in our lobby and in all rooms. All lunches are made externally in a safe setting and will be individually bagged. Our building will also be robustly cleaned in its entirety on a daily basis. Not only this, but any classroom surfaces and other high-touch points will be sanitised at changeover times. We will also carry out cleaning of our WC’s before and after breaks.
I have already touched on our extensive training procedure, but to expand: our staff are aware of the symptoms of Covid-19, as well as how to act if someone becomes unwell in school. All students will also undergo training in the form of an induction when they come to the school. Our staff and students should therefore all be on the same page when it comes to steps to ensure everyone remains safe in our school.
Now that I’ve outlined what we’re going to be doing when our Cambridge school reopens, I want to let you know what you can do right now. ABC LIVE, our online school, is open for business right now, and you can start any week. If you want to learn more about ABC LIVE, you can read my blog where I cover exactly what we can offer you. Although we have had to cancel our Summer School this year for face-to–face teaching, our online summer school will be up and running between 15 June and 14 August. There is more information on our website about this. If you want to book in-person learning for 2020, we are offering both adult group classes and private family courses from 7 September, but keep an eye on the website in case we are able to resume these earlier than planned. We will also be resuming the running of our Group Study Holidays for groups of 10 or more students from 7 September, and you can learn more about these on our website too.
I hope that this blog has offered some clarity and reassurance as to how we will be operating when it’s safe to resume our face-to-face courses. As well as our exciting online school, the ABC Languages team are working behind the scenes to ensure that our 2020/21 in-person learning opportunities are the best they can be. If you have any questions about learning online with us or booking for our upcoming courses, please get in touch.
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
Hi everybody, I hope all of our friends around the world are staying safe. In this month’s blog, for a bit of escapism, I’m going to talk about some of the spots in Cambridge that are lesser-known to tourists, but which are great to visit. You might call these places ‘hidden gems’. Hopefully you can come to Cambridge and find them for yourself soon!
I hope this post has made you optimistic about joining us in Cambridge in the future, and given you some suggestions of out of the ordinary things to do here. Until then, stay home, stay safe!
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
With the Covid-19 pandemic unfolding fast around the world, affecting 200 countries, nearly 80% of all students are out of school and staying at home. As a reaction to this, many schools are turning to online teaching to ensure that students continue to be educated as normally as possible at this time. Like all other schools in England, ABC Languages Cambridge has been forced to temporarily close to face-to-face teaching, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. As a result of this, we too will be launching our distance learning platform this month. ABC LIVE will be up and running on 20th April, and you can find information about this exciting development here. In this month’s blog, I’m going to outline some of the benefits of learning a language online, as well as an overview of what ABC LIVE can offer you.
It’s important to look at the positives in a situation like this and, while taking on studies from a distance is definitely different to in-classroom learning, there are benefits to be found. Here are some of the positives of moving to online learning:
Thanks to the introduction of ABC LIVE, it is now possible to enjoy all of these benefits of online study!
ABC Languages has been offering student-focussed learning in Cambridge for over 30 years. Now, you can join in with us no matter where you are. The well-qualified, highly experienced teachers from our real school in Cambridge will make your distance learning experience as comparable to our classroom teaching as possible, as you practise your English with other students from around the world.
As well as creating your own study plan and feeding back to you on your assignments your teacher will constantly check on your progress in class and offer you assistance with self-study. Just like in our Cambridge school where you can take your class materials home, you can access your course content at all times on ABC LIVE, and also chat to other students about the course or just to socialise in our virtual Student Common Room.
As we aim to keep our online offering as close to our real school as possible, we are continuing to be extremely flexible with the different course options, so that we can suit all budgets and needs. We offer three types of ABC LIVE course plan: Standard, Standard Plus and Premium. All of our open group course options course options can be taken for 4, 8 or 12 weeks and include:
If you upgrade to our Standard Plus course your course will also include:
If you upgrade to our Premium course your course will include all of the above, plus 2 ABC LIVE - Tailored private online lessons every week. You can choose the topic from a wide range of options designed to meet your needs, whether they be academic, business or even special interest related. For example, you could focus on exam preparation, business English, English for leisure interests or English for specific professions like marketing or finance. We have teachers with real-life experience who can help with all of these and more.
If you'd like to add ABC LIVE - Tailored private lessons to your course but you don’t want to take the Premium course, these can be enrolled on individually or added to either the Standard or the Standard Plus package. If you want to take an exam, you can add our ‘Exam Booster’ to your Standard or Standard Plus package, which will give you access to past exam papers, practice tests, worksheets, exam-based exercises and more, as well as individual feedback and coaching.
If these courses sound like something you would be interested in, but you’d like to learn more about the classes and what exactly they’d be like, you can opt for an ABC LIVE - Taster. This is completely free of charge and includes 1 live interactive class, a level test and a one-to-one consultation with one of our teachers to assess your needs and goals. If you want to request a free taster of ABC LIVE, just click here to register.
For full information about ABC LIVE click here. We hope to have you join us online soon, and remember to stay safe!
Allegra Goodwin, Student Experience Manager
Welcome to our school community. We greatly appreciate the trust and loyalty our students, colleagues and partners place in us. Recognising the ongoing and increased uncertainty that coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing around the world, our highest priority is the health and well-being of all those in our school community.
We continue to closely watch the situation with COVID-19 and are doing everything we can to make sure everyone in our school community remains safe whilst also ensuring continuity of business.
In an effort to maintain some normality, it'll be 'business as usual' on our blog and social media channels so do check-in on us for a moment of escapism.
In the meantime, stay home, stay safe!