Author Archives: BROWNS English Language School

Cambridge Students Farewell – Gold Coast Campus 2015

cambridge-featured

cambridge-featured
At the end of our FCE and CAE courses, our Cambridge teachers take the students to the waterfront park across the street from the Gold Coast campus in order to have some fun and release a few nerves before the big exam. Heather and Gayle slipped on aprons, sported hats and prepared the barbecue while everyone else kicked a ball around and served the soft drinks while doing a bit of speaking part two practice in the sun!

Save Money and Time with BROWNS New Payment Method

NexPay

NexPay

Telegraphic Transfer or Wire Transfer is the most popular method used by overseas students paying for their studies in Australia.

It is a type of International Bank Transfer where you transfer money from your local bank to an Australian account. You can do this easily if your bank trades in Australian dollars. If it doesn’t, you will need to contact a different bank or financial institution. Be aware that in some cases your payment might need to pass through a different currency first (US dollar for example) before it is converted into Australian dollars. This process might increase dramatically what you are paying for your course in your local currency; but unfortunately, in some countries there are no other options.

In addition to the high cost, clearing the transaction made by Telegraphic Transfer can be slow. After you make the transaction, an Australian bank needs a few days (usually between 2-4 business days) to confirm your payment. This can delay your enrolment as we need to confirm the payment before continuing the process.

But we have great news for you! At BROWNS, we don’t stop trying to make your life easier.

We have partnered with NexPay, an international student payment system that offers savings on currency and transfer fees. They offer much better rates than banks, you can pay in your home currency, and you can track your payment online. Doesn’t it sound like a great option? We believe it is.

All you need to do is create a NexPay account here. Then you need to enter some personal information and the total amount of your invoice in Australian dollars. It will give you the amount you need to pay in your home currency, the exchange rate, and the details for the payment. You have a day to transfer the quoted amount from your bank account to the NexPay account. You can do this via online banking or go personally into your bank.

After receiving your payment, NexPay will deposit your funds (in Australian dollars) into our Australian Bank account with your personal details so we know from whom the payment came.

Click here for tutorials on how to pay using NexPay.

You can also check your savings using Nexpay on this calculator.

BROWNS EAP Excursion to Think Education Brisbane

Think

Think

On Tuesday the 6th of October 2015, the EAP 5 class from BROWNS English School visited the campus of Think Education in Brisbane. BROWNS and THINK Education have a pathway agreement in which students can study at BROWNS and then continue their study at THINK Education.

The purpose of this excursion was two-fold; the first was to become familiar with alternative teaching and education methodologies that can be found at higher institutions, the second was to meet, interact and survey students in a domestic educational setting.

Upon entering the campus we made our way to the main floor and were immediately greeted by the Director Warren Walmsley, who proceeded to give us an informative and entertaining tour of the complex, followed subsequently by a short presentation on the company itself and then a Q&A session. The students from our EAP class were inquisitive, engaged and very active in their participation during the trip.

Overall it was a very positive experience, offering beneficial outcomes for all parties involved. We, as a class, certainly appreciated the friendly and helpful environment as well as the possibility of conducting surveys on some of the accommodating students at the college. Here is what the students thought:

“I like Think Education campus because it has amazing site and modern style design inside the building.” (Mohammed Al-Rubaye – Iraq)

“Think Education seems to be a special place to learn and improve students’ skills. The campus provides a comfortable atmosphere to get in touch with modern trades and style, offering high-tech equipment, collaborative spaces and open classrooms, as well as other building facilities, such as a café and breakout zones.” (Iris P. Souza – Brazil)

“Think Education has an very nice studying environment for students such as amazing coffee shop and great digital facilities. And it also gives students a freer learning environment for independent studying.” (Chenguang Lou – China)

“The building of the Think campus is quite impressive, open spaces and classrooms around a bright area in the middle of a three level building.” (Jonas Kiener – Switzerland)

“It was an astonishing experience have the possibility to interact with many different local students who were so helpful and open, making us feel confident. Enriching experience.” (Matteo Villanova – Italy)

The Language Plateau and How to Get Over It

language-plateau-main

language-plateau-main

Many language learners share the common experience of reaching a point in their studies where they cease feeling that they are improving. At lower levels, as key words and grammatical concepts are incorporated, improvement is noticeably apparent and learners frequently feel a sense of achievement. However, at higher levels, when the basics have been mastered, the same feelings of satisfaction are not as clear in spite of the amount of new information one has taken in. Commonly referred to by many as ‘hitting a plateau’, this is a leading cause of people giving up on their language studies. There are many ways to approach or overcome this plateau, one of which is to shift your focus to vocabulary (How to expand your vocabulary).

Why do so many learners cease feeling like they are becoming more proficient at higher levels? The graph shows the relationship between the number of words a learner knows and what percentage of any given article that they should be able to understand with those words (text coverage). The most dramatic rise in coverage occurs from 0 to 2000 words, by which time students can understand 80% of a text. Beyond 2000, the rate of improvement starts to level out and only increases slightly with each thousand lexical items acquired. Even at 6000 words, coverage still does not reached 90%. In my personal experience, there was definitely a point in my studies where I knew enough vocabulary to express even complex ideas using basic vocabulary and going beyond that seemed fruitless.

plateau-chart

As a language teacher, when the occasional student becomes frustrated with their progress, simply pointing out the above facts may be enough to comfort them. Others may be looking for something new to replicate some of the feelings they had when they first started learning a language and it is at this stage that they may need to re-invent how they approach their lexical studies.

As you utilize acquired language in your day-to-day business, you will encounter new situations where you perhaps do not have ‘the right set of vocabulary’. To illustrate this point, imagine your car breaks down and you have got along just fine without knowing any words related to parts of a vehicle. Suddenly, there is a gap in your knowledge that needs filling. These gaps can be likened to ‘potholes’ in your otherwise stable plateau. Instead of relying on those basic words to get by, use this ‘pothole’ to expand your vocabulary bank thematically; what words will you need? What words might you hear? Are there any regional differences? There are many other uncommon situations (going to the doctor/dentist, fines/infringements, etc.) in which we may not have the necessary words and this necessity begets learning, often with a much higher retention rate.

In conclusion, there is more than one way to skin a cat and the effort you put into studying vocabulary can make the difference in breaking free from your language plateau. Encountering ‘potholes’ in your lexical resource should be viewed as a learning opportunity to having a more complete linguistic knowledge.

“I Got 7.0 in the IELTS Test” – Matt from Italy

Matt-ielts-testimonial-feature
Matt-ielts-testimonial

Hi everyone, my name is Matt and I am from Italy! Well, I really enjoyed the “IELTS preparation class” at BROWNS. It was really helpful and enjoyable because I got the IELTS score higher than I needed, 1 point more! I am so happy that I got listening 7.5, reading 7, writing 6.5 and speaking 6. Overall 7. It’s just all about test tricks, which were taught by my teacher in a perfect way.
We also practise what we have learned on our Friday mock test every week, during the test, we just follow the teacher’s instruction and manage your time, then you will be fine. So I have to say thank you BROWNS, you helped me to achieve my main goal in my life in Australia, to conquer the IELTS!

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