Monday, 19 March 2012

How do people celebrate St. Patrick's day?

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on 17th March as it is believed that the patron saint of Ireland died on that day in the year 461 AD. It is basically a worldwide celebration of Irish culture and history, particularly at places with a lot of Irish immigrants. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland and Christians usually attend a mass to honour St. Patrick who converted many pagans to Christianity.   

The actual color of St. Patrick is blue. Green became associated with St. Patrick's Day during the 19th century. Green was worn by people to encourage their crops to grow.

In Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, people traditionally wear a small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets or caps.
The shamrock, the three-leafed clover is the symbol of Ireland and St. Patrick's day, the saint used it as a metaphor for the Christian Trinity.

Just like the Princess of Cambridge 

The phrase, "Drowning The Shamrock" is from the custom of floating the shamrock on the top of whiskey before drinking it. The Irish believe that if you keep the custom, then you will have a prosperous year.

Women and girls wear green ribbons in their hair. 

Many people dye their hair green or wear green wigs for the special day.

34 million Americans have Irish ancestry, according to the 2003 US Census. That’s almost nine times the population of Ireland, which has 4.1 million people so it is not surprising that St. Patrick's day is also widely celebrated around the USA. 

Even in McDonalds

Many bars in the United States, and abroad, serve green beer. 

In Chicago, on St. Patrick's Day, the rivers are dyed green.

In Seattle, there is a ceremony where a green stripe is painted down the roads.

And have you ever seen Google on 17th March?

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Job interview

If you want to prepare for an English job interview, there are many good course books with separate units for this topic.

Total English Pre-Intermediate Unit 9

Total English Intermediate Unit 9

Language Leader Intermediate Unit 2

You can find vocabulary, listening and reading tasks related to the world of work.

If you have a job interview coming, the first thing you can do is to find typical job interview questions and perhaps sample answers on the internet.
Some typical interview questions:
What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What do you know about our company?

What attracted you to this organisation?

Why did you leave your last job?

Why do you think you are the ideal candidate for this position?

Don't forget to check some killer questions too, these are more difficult questions asked by the interviewer to find out how you would think and react in a given situation.

Killer question examples:
Can you tell me something you've never told anyone before?

What reading material would I find on your coffee table?

Draw me a pie chart showing how you spend an 8-hour day.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years' time?

Who was the person who has most influenced you so far?

How do you handle criticism?

In case you don't feel like preparing for the interview individually, you can enrol in a job interview training in one of the language schools so you can practise dialogues with a professional teacher.

Our language school also organizes these kind of courses: Job interview training

Furthermore, if you are an entrant and this is going to be your first job interview, it is also worth reading some DOs and DON'Ts so that you know how to behave.

- Greet the receptionist or the assistant properly, this is how you make the first impression

- Make sure you know exactly where the location of the interview is
- Dress smartly
- Arrive 10 minutes earlier
- Do research about the company where you are going for the interview, if it has an English website too, you should start with that
- Shake hands firmly

- Make good eye contact with the interviewer

- Don't chew a gum
- Don't sit down until invited to
- Don't tell jokes during the interview
- Don't smoke even if the interviewer offers you a cigarette
- Don't use slang words
- Don't ever lie or exaggarate

You can download some materials from our website which help you prepare for an English job interview:

Job interview training materials download

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A little about Marketing

The role of marketing is to identify and meet the customer needs efficiently.

If a company wants to launch a new product on the market, they should do market research and on the basis of that start an advertising campaign.

Ways of advertising:

Billboards - a large outdoor advertising structure

Product placement - the appearance of a product (brand) in a television program or film as a form of paid advertisement

Product endorsement - a famous person promotes a product or service

What is the marketing mix, also called the 4 Ps?
 The combination of factors that influence sales

What is the marketing communication mix?
It is how the company would like to influence the customers.

Have you heard about the AIDA model?
These are the steps that a prospective customer goes through before deciding to buy a product.

on the Internet

Product Lifecycle
Different advertising techniques should be used in the different stages of a product's life.

Nowadays guerilla marketing is very popular. What is it actually?
Unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources.

For example:

If you want to learn more about Marketing or read about any other business topics, download materials from our website:

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Costa Concordia disaster

At least 16 people died in the unfortunate incident of a luxurious cruise ship in Italy on Friday, 13th January 2012. The news has been full of stories about the captain, the circumstances of the accident, the rescue operation and the survivors. It can be a good topic for English lessons because everybody heard something about it. 
I also discussed it with my students and I prepared some tasks for them.

After clarifying the basic vocabulary related to the topic, we listened to a text describing the events:
 Costa Concordia disaster mp3

You can see the script here: Listening script in PDF

Topic related vocabulary: 
nouns: lifeboat, manslaughter, house arrest, cruise, crew, passenger, evacuation, island, fuel, hull
verbs: to tilt, to hit, to blame, to rescue, to survive, to flee

We also analyzed some illustrations:

The route of the ship after the collision

The Island of Giglio and the ship at the bottom of the picture taken from a sattelite

Italian people wear T-shirts with a quote from the coast guard talking to the captain: "Get back on board! Damn it!"

The previous routes