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Category : Blog

Denise – Argentinian student questions feedback

deniseDenise, 18, Argentina

Denise is one of our long term Argentinian students! We decided to ask her some questions about her opinion on the school, here are her answers:

How did you hear about Southbourne School of English?

“I went to Southbourne School of English 5 years ago, when I was 13. Now, 5 years later I’ve decided to come back as I love the school!”

Why are you studying English?

“I’m studying English in preparation for my FCE and also because I love the language, it is international and useful for jobs in Argentina and elsewhere.”

Why do you like the school?

“I love the school because it is like a big family, everyone is so friendly and we all know each other by our first names.”

How long are you studying for?

“I’m studying for a whole year! I’ve been studying for 4 months now, it is going so quickly.”

What are your host family like?

“I’m actually staying with the same host family from 5 years ago, because of this I have felt so comfortable living in England from when I arrived.”

Seyda – Turkish student questions feedback

Seyda Seyda, 24, Trabzon


Seyda is one of the Turkish students currently studying at Southbourne School of English, we decided to ask her a few questions about her opinion on the school. Here are her answers:

How did you hear about Southbourne School of English?

“I heard about Southbourne School of English from my friend (Melvüde) who came to the school in 2015. She recommended it to me because she had studied there before, in fact, so had her sister, she said it was a great school!”

mevlude Melvüde at the school in 2015!

Why are you studying English?

“I’m studying an IELTS English course in preparation for my exam in June. I need the IELTS certificate for my masters in Maths & Statistics and my future career.”

Why do you like the school?

“I love this school because everyone is so friendly and because it is fairly small it means that everyone knows everyone, this means we all have a very personal relationship.”

How long are you studying for?

“I’m studying for 6 months altogether, until August.”

What are your host family like?

“My host family are amazing and were so welcoming from the first day. My host mother is like my real mother now, and her daughters are now the sisters I never had. We often play in the garden for hours, we all get along so well.”


10 Tip Top Troubling Tongue Twisters

Tongue Twisters are a fun way of practicing your pronunciation and experimenting with different words. These ten tip top troubling tongue twisters are sure to mix up your mouth!

1. Seventy-seven benevolent elephants.

2. She had shoulder surgery.

3. She sees cheese.

4. One smart fellow, he felt smart. Two smart fellows, they felt smart.

Three smart fellows, they felt smart. Four smart fellows, they felt smart.

Five smart fellows, they felt smart. Six smart fellows, they felt smart.

5. Fresh fried fish,

Fish fresh fried,

Fried fish fresh,

Fish fried fresh.

6. She sells seashells by the seashore.

The seashells she sells are seashells she is sure.

7. Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry, Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry…

8. No nose knows like a gnome’s nose knows

9. Each Easter Eddie eats eighty Easter eggs.

10. A proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot.

The Use of Hyperbole

Hyperbole /hʌɪˈpəːbəli/ – over exaggerating a statement to emphasise the meaning and purpose of it.

Examples of hyperbole:

“I’ve told you a thousand times.” – this person most likely hasn’t told them one thousand times, but it is used to give a sense of urgency due to the receiver not doing what they’ve asked in the past.

“My feet are killing me.” – it is quite unlikely that this person’s feet are killing them, but it is used to emphasise the feeling of discomfort they have in their feet.

my feet are killing me hyperbole

“I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse. – used to show others that this person is feeling very hungry – not to be taken literally.

so hungry I could eat a horse hyperbole

“He was the coldest person in the world.” – a superlative used to emphasise how cold this person is.

The use of hyperbole appears in every day chat, as well as in adverts, comedy and entertainment industries. Its main purpose is to outline the emotion felt in a statement – exaggerating it to make it clear to the reader or listener.

Hyperbole has also been used in literature for many centuries, for example, heroic dramas where the emphasis is on power and magnificence, often use the hyperbole to boost the epic nature of the genre.

Adverts often contain hyperbole in an attempt to persuade the customer that the product/service is something that they need.

Hyperbole is the best thing ever (see what I did there?).

10 Words to Describe the Christmas period!

Christmas is on its way, so here are some wintry words you could use to describe the Christmas period:

Merry – very happy and cheerful.

Snowy – covered with snow.

Festive – relating to a festival, especially Christmas.

Candlelit – lit by a candle or candles.

Mistletoe – a Christmas plant that inspires people to kiss each other.

Holiday – an extended period of leisure and recreation.

Spiritual – relating to religion or religious belief.

Seasonal – relating to or characteristic of a particular season of the year.

Present – a gift.

Celebration – the action of celebrating an important day or event.

German News Article about Southbourne School by Udo Hoepker

The following is a German News Article that has been translated into English; this article was written from information given by Udo Hoepker and his stay here at Southbourne School of English.

You’re never too old to learn English                                                                                            12th October 2016

 Udo Hoepker started to learn the world language as a pensioner. Of course directly on site.

It is no longer classed extraordinary to to travel abroad and learn a foreign language. Students can acquire this experience as Au pairs and somewhat insignificantly older people get attracted by social volunteering programmes overseas during a gap year. But who gets the itch to do this in their mid fifties? Well, Letmathe has one resident who felt exactly this desire.

“This book is the reason why I am learning English”, Udo Hoepker starts and points on the book “My Lively Lady” written by the English author Sir Alec Rose. Then, in the 90s, he received this book after a house clearance. Printed on the book cover is a sailing boat, the lively lady. A coincidence? After all, Hoepker is an experienced sailor himself.

One day the curiosity became prevalent

“This is why I have always been interested in the content of the book, but I never understood a single word written in it.” For many years the book should stay on the shelf in Hoepker’s home in Droeschede. Until 2007, when it had become impossible for the former car salesman to ignore the ambition to learn English. Hoepker had just turned 63 and retired, when he bought himself a dictionary. “Things went quite well with the help of this dictionary. I could manage approximately one page per evening.”

At the institute of education he joined a learning group for seniors, which still exists to this day. Udo Hoepker was getting on well and made progress. “But then I thought to myself that it would be much more beneficial if only I could practice in real life circumstances.” In 2014 he came across an English language school for adults, the family run Southbourne School of English, situated in the city of Bournemouth on the South Coast of England. Only a few days ago the now 72-year-old has returned from his 6th two week trip. “To begin with we all had to sit an exam to evaluate our level before we were allocated to the most suitable class.” Hoepker has been classed “Elementary”. Before he could move up to this level, he had to pass two stages, the beginner and the starter. Looking at it from a sporty point of view, he plays in the 5th of 7 leagues. “Organised almost a bit in  military order”, he admits about the way the school is run. “You are only allowed to speak English. Otherwise you risk a date with the principal. Or if you are not in the class room after the second bell, you have to wait outside for the whole lesson.”

Together with him, a lot of (mostly younger) students from all over the world work on the improvement of their English knowledge. Hoepker got to know Arabs, Asians, South- and Northamericans, the classes are kept small. At the end of every day, teachers hand out the homework. Hoepker struggled to begin with, but soon gets a hint: A group of students does their homework together after school – in a quiet corner of a pub. Eventually, they are done for the day.

Hoepker favours the life in a host family

After finishing the homework, Udo Hoepker returns – exemplary – to his host family. “It is an opportunity which you should perceive”, he explains. Students could easily book a room in a hotel, as lots of married couples do, but this is not for him. “Guess what they do when they get back to their hotel room?”, Hoepker asks. “Exactly, they speak German.” He has not made any bad experience on the island so far, with that one exception. During his first trip to the UK he found himself in a slighlty uncomfortable situation when British Airways “mislaid” his luggage into an airplane which was heading to New York. Friends in his home village Droeschede reacted somewhat irritated when they first heard about his language courses abroad and asked, if it did not feel like a holiday, what he was doing in England. Hoepker replied: “No, it is much better than holidays.”


WAZ Udo Hoepker Oct 2016

12 Commonly Used British Colloquialisms

Here are some great examples of commonly used British colloquialisms/slang that are used all over England:

Chuffed – Proud
“He was chuffed to win the race.”

Fortnight – 2 weeks
“I will see you in a fortnight.”

Tad – a little bit
“She was just a tad smaller than her friend.”

Chap – Male or friend
“He is a nice chap.”

Ace – Cool
“That trick was ace!”

Mate – friend
“They were best mates since they were young.”

Barmy – crazy
“He’s absolutely barmy!”

Lost the plot – to become irrational/act ridiculously
“He has completely lost the plot.

Cheers – Thank you
“That was great, cheers!”

Skive – when someone doesn’t turn up for work by pretending to be ill
“He tried to skive work, but the manager caught him.”

Rubbish – refuse/waste, or when something is of low quality
Refuse/waste: “Throw the rubbish out.”
Low quality: “That football match was rubbish!”

Chin wag – to have a chat/talk with someone
“So we met up and had a good chin wag.”

Why do we celebrate Halloween in the UK?

Halloween or Hallowe’en is celebrated across the world on the night of 31st October.

Halloween is thought to have originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. It was believed by the Celts that on the night of the 31st October, ghosts of their dead would visit the mortal world and large bonfires were lit in each village to ward off these evil spirits and ghosts.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III made November 1st a time to honour all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.

Since then Halloween has moved internationally and is celebrated by many different cultures – primarily America, first adopted by the American Indians who would host “play parties”, public events held to celebrate the harvest, neighbours would share stories of the dead, fortunes, as well as dance and sing.

As time has progressed, Halloween has evolved into a celebration filled with child-friendly activities and has taken on a more fun/entertaining form – allowing children and adults to dress up in extravagant outfits then go trick-or-treating or partying!

Don’t forget, we have our own Halloween Party on 31st October available to all students enrolled at this time!

Halloween Party

Body Language and What It Means in Other Countries

Non-verbal communication and body language is an important part of every language’s means of communicating with one another – these include hand gestures, eye contact, arm movements and the like. However, the distinct contrast is the way in which these gestures are interpreted across different cultures/languages.

For example, one gesture that may be seen as commonplace and perfectly acceptable in one language may be seen as disrespectful in another.come here please

“Come here” finger gesture – this gesture is commonly used in the USA and the UK to call someone over, however in some parts of Asia this is seen as very offensive and rude, as if beckoning a dog over.

Eye contact/gaze – in Western culture, eye contact is seen as you being attentive, considerate and respectful. However, in many cultures such as Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American and Hispanic, eye contact is seen as impolite and rude – also, lack of eye contact does not mean that the other person is not paying attention.

Affective vs. Neutral – ‘Affective’ countries are those where emotions are often displayed freely and strongly e.g. laughing, smiling, crying. ‘Neutral’ countries are those where emotions are often controlled and subdued.

Examples of attentive countries are Italy, France and USA and examples of neutral countries/countries that least accept emotional reactions are Norway, UK and Switzerland.

Expressive countries often show their feelings and emotions to receive a direct emotional response such as “I feel this too”. Whereas in neutral countries when someone gives a neutral opinion, an indirect response is anticipated, “I agree”.

okNodding – In Western Culture, nodding is a way of saying ‘yes’ or ‘I agree’ when communicating with someone. However this may not be the case in the Middle East where the direction of the nod determines the message, where nodding your head down means ‘I agree’, but nodding your head up is a sign of disagreement.

‘OK’ finger signal – this finger signal which is made by forming a circle with the thumb and index finger is known in Western Culture as a way of saying ‘OK’, however in some countries this refers to money, and it is also very offensive in other countries.


Differences between American English and British English

Overall, the differences between American and British English are quite subtle and the majority of the language is the same however there are slight differences to be aware of and this blog outlines just a few:

Vocabulary – One of the most noticeable differences between American and British English is the vocabulary.

For example, in British English we say ‘trousers’, whereas in American English they are commonly referred to as ‘pants’. Similarly, where we say a block of ‘flats’, in American English, these are ‘apartments’ or ‘apartment buildings’.

There any many more examples of how vocabulary is slightly different, usually both British English and American English speakers can understand these words from the context of the sentence they appear in.


Collective nouns – In British English, a lot of collective nouns can be followed by a singular or plural verb depending on whether they are seen as a unit or as a group of individuals. Whereas in American English they are always followed by a singular verb, so for example:

British English – “The team are playing well.” and “Which team are losing?”

American English –  “The team is playing well.” and “Which team is losing?”


Use of delexical verbs ‘have’ and ‘take’ – delexical verbs are common verbs that when used with particular nouns have very little meanings of their own. However, where British English speakers use the delexical verb ‘have’, American English speakers use ‘take’.

British English – “I’d like to have a bath.” and “I want to have a nap.”

American English – “I’d like to take a bath.” and “I want to take a nap.”


Use of auxiliaries and modals

In British English, the auxiliary verb ‘shall’ appears quite frequently, and is often used to express the future:

“I shall go home now.”

Whereas in American English, this is very unusual and seen as very formal, instead they would say:

“I will go home now.”

Also, where in American English they would say:

“You do not need to come today.”

In British English, we would drop the helping verb ‘do’ and contract not:

“You needn’t come today.”


Past Tense verbs

The past tense of ‘learn’ in British English can be either ‘learned’ or ‘learnt’, this is rule applies to many other words such as ‘burnt’ and ‘burned’, ‘dreamt’ and ‘dreamed’.

 Whereas in American English they only use the -ed ending.


The spelling of some words vary depending on whether it is British or American English – for example:

British English – “colour”, “flavour” and “honour”

American English – “color”, “flavor” and “honor”.



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