This is a letter we received from a French student named Julien who studied at Intrax in Chicago. He wrote the entire thing in English to explain how his time at Intrax was.
Here's the first little bit, and find the complete letter in the link below.
I have had many positive experiences at Intrax Chicago during my three first months here. The first advantage of this school is the location. In fact, it is in the center of Chicago. There are restaurants, super markets, and famous eating places to explore every day. Also, it is very convenient to go to Intrax because there are many buses and trains downtown which travel day and night. On the train, I can talk with many Chicagoans. These people are the nicest I have ever seen. Except for the occasional homeless person, which every large city has, I enjoy interactive with fellow commuters during my 45-minute trip to school every day.
Since I arrived at Intrax, the staff, even the Director, has been accessible to me. If I have questions or problems, I know they can help me. Unfortunately, if I want to change classes because the level is not adequate, it is very difficult, because most of the classes are full. So, I regret that I didn't prepare before the first test, because I found that the level 4 was very easy. Now, I'm in the level 5, and I am in a hurry to level up again. I am extremely satisfied about the training at Intrax. It is interactive and stimulating for students, unlike my French experience where I learned English without speaking. Here, we cannot have more than twelve students per class. Every time, teachers... READ THE COMPLETE LETTER
Amerika’ya geldiginiz zaman ingilizcenizi nasil gelistirirsiniz. Bi sorunun cevabi cok kolay. Mumkun oldugunca insanlarla ingilizce konusarak, ingilizce gazete okuyarak ve ingilizce kitap okuyarak. Mesela ben turkiye de cok fazla kitap okumayi sevmezdim ta ki amerikaya gelene kadar. Geldigimden beri 6 tane kitap okudum ve halen de kitap okuyorum. Insanlarla konusurken kesinlikle utanmadan ve sikilmadan ingilizce konusmak. Ben insanlarla konusurken karsi taraf benim yanlislarimi duzeltiyorlardi ve ben bunun yararini cok gordum. Cunku bi daha ki cumlemde ayni hatayi yapmiyordum. Amerikaya geldiginizde kesinlikle kendi dilinizi konusmuyacaksiniz cunku ingilizce ogrenemezsiniz ve ingilizceniz gelismez.
When you come to U.S how to improve your English, this question’s answer is so easy. You should talk English with people, you should read English newspaper and you should read books. For example; When I was in Turkey I don’t like to read books however I read 6 books in U.S and still I am reading book. Important thing is when you talk with someone please don’t be shy. Because when you shy you can’t do anything and your English isn’t improving. Another example; When I talked with people, always they correct my sentences it’s really helpful for me because next time I didn’t do same mistake. I think other important thing is when you come to U.S people shouldn’t speak their own language, if they speak own language their English can’t improve.
- Tolga Erciyes, Intrax Student
By Tolga Erciyes
My name is Tolga Erciyes. I’m a student ambassador in Intrax. I have been in U.S for 2 years. In this time I had some experience when I live in U.S also I want to share my experience with people. Because if new students come to U.S and they don’t do mistakes. When the new students come to San Francisco they can see the differences between Turkey and U.S. One time I went to restaurant with my brother. We ordered food and soda after 30 min, my soda finished waitress came and she asked me do you want more I said to her thanks but in a few minutes she came with soda. I didn’t understand why she brings the soda to me because I said thanks. My brother told me if you don’t want to something say “NO THANKS” than I learned No Thanks means I don’t want more.
My advice for the new students “DON”T FORGET TO SAY NO THANKS”.
By Alessandro Gal
It’s a chilly and misty morning at the end of April. I wake up in my bed in Noe Valley; my friends’ house is located on the hill that overlooks The Castro and The Mission districts. With my coffee, from the balcony, I look at the waking-up city. Today it will be my first day of school in San Francisco! I take my backpack; it’s brand new exactly like my beginning American adventure. The school name is Intrax and I only know that it’s by Union Square at 551, Sutter Street.
I leave home and I start to walk. The street is so steep that offers me another amazing view over the City. In my mind I have all the directions my friends gave me. Nevertheless the excitement is so strong and San Francisco seems so big that I barely remember something. In my head there is a puzzle of public transportation names and numbers: bus 24, Muni, Powell station… Today, there will be the placement test and I can’t be late! I can’t go wrong!
I arrive at 26th and Castro and, as they told me, there is an electricity pole with a yellow strip on it. Well, this should be the bus stop. She arrives; she is slightly sleepy and simply beautiful. She’s drinking from a thermos-style metal cup; I see the steam, I guess is coffee. So far I haven’t spoken English, but now I have to! I can’t be late! I can’t go wrong!
I approach her and with my macaroni accent I say:”Hello, soRRy for boDering you, buT I need some Elp… Is this the twenty-FouRR bus stop?”. She smiles and very gently she confirms it to me. Then she asks me where I am going and I tell her. I get on the bus and I take a sit near the back door. The bus is full but not crowded. We go through a neighborhood full of those rainbow flags that in Italy are used by the peace supporters. It’s a good sight. The bus stops again and suddenly someone touches my shoulder:”You have to get off the bus here!” she says. I can’t believe it! We just knew each other and she is already taking care of me! Wow!!! We go down to Castro station. Here there are much more people, it’s definitely crowded! The train arrives and we get on, but we are almost three meters from each other, we can’t speak together anymore. A couple of minutes and we arrive at Powell Station! Through eye contact she confirms me that this is the right stop. I wink at her, I got it! After that, I walk through Powell Street thinking about this chance encounter. I have been very lucky; kind people are rare in the world!
The truth is that at that time, I didn’t know how much nice and polite the San Franciscans are! That person was just the first of a long amazing series!
From the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Newsletter:
This advisory is for Japanese and other foreign nationals from the Pacific stranded in the United States due to the earthquakes and tsunami devastation in the Pacific. If you have exceeded or are about to exceed your authorized stay in the U.S. you may be permitted up to an additional 30 days to depart.
Visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):
- If you are at an airport, contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office at the airport.
- All others, please visit your local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office.
Visitors traveling under a nonimmigrant visa:
- Visit the local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office.
- Bring your passport, evidence that you are stranded (such as an itinerary for the cancelled flight), and your I-94 departure record.
For additional immigration relief options, please visit the Special Situation Page.
From Intrax Headquarters, San Francisco, CA USA.
"We have been in touch with our Intrax/Ayusa office in Japan, and everyone is OK. All staff have either returned to their homes, or are in a safe place. We are keeping in close touch with the office to assist them in every way possible, and will post updates as we know more.
We now focus on the support of our Japanese participants and students here in the United States, to assist them in contacting their families in Japan. All program leaders are working directly with their staff and the Japan office to provide support and assistance to our participants, students and families.
All U.S. and Germany Ayusa/Intrax participants who are in Japan are accounted for and safe.
In addition, everyone is California and the rest of the U.S. is OK. The tsunami waves have not done any major damage to the U.S."
If you are an English or Professional Skills student at one of our U.S. centers and need help contacting your family in areas affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami, please contact your center staff for assistance:
Intrax San Francisco: +1 415 835 9766
Intrax San Diego: +1 619 702 6300
Intrax Chicago: +1 312 236 3208
If you are a Work Travel or Internship participant and need help contacting your family in areas affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami, please contact our headquarters for assistance:
Intrax Headquarters: +1 415 434 5643
By Tom Tolka
As a language teacher, one can provide a bridge between cultures and languages. Before I was a teacher, I was a language student, taking in the particular sense of humor, the sense of life, the everyday flavors and sights, the peculiar, and the unique of each culture whose language I studied. Now, I can attempt to show the American versions of those to my students. Many are wary to seek it out, so I act as a guide, in the city as well as in the language. I like it when I hear them speak correctly, after making mistakes, and when I read about their transformative experiences in San Francisco. Observing a culture and thinking its thoughts can be comical, shocking, then illuminating, and, with reflection, instructive. A person who looks long and hard at the values of another culture will see his own in a different light, at least temporarily. I hope they experience the very best of America and that they love it, but not too much, because reverse culture shock can be the prelude to a lifelong obsession with culture, language, and travel.
By Diana Wlaschitz Lopes.
My experience with learning English has been a long and exciting journey, which I can divide in two parts: my studies in my country, Brazil, and my studies abroad.
First, it started when I was at the middle school, but at this time I didn’t give the right importance to the language, I think I just treated English as other subjects at school that I need memorize just to past in the exams. This way to study during the middle school was completely opposite to my second experience, studying abroad.
So after I finished school, when I was at the beginning of my university I started to feel that I need the English language more than I ever thought; at this time English was important for me because of my career, Marketing, which depends and works a lot with English. I also started to comprehend that English would be essential to internships and to find a good job. Because all of this, I started an English course, where I learned more about grammar and vocabulary. It was a good started for me, but as the class used to be big, the teacher never could give us too much attention and we never could speak to much in classes. As a result of all these problems, my studies in Brazil weren’t enough for me to speak well.
The second part of my journey, and more exciting, started when I realized that the best way to learn a language should be staying in contact with it, and be in a country were English were the first language. So, I went to Oxford. This trip was very hard for me, was difficult to communicate and because of this I stayed more of the time with Brazilians, speaking in Portuguese, just because was easier. My second trip to study was to Vancouver. But at this time I tried to not speak my own language too much. I met a lot of Brazilian friends again, but also a German friend who was always making us speak English. Here I could feel that finally my English started to improve.
Finally, I come to my third study trip, where I am right now in San Diego, California, having TOEFL classes at Intrax. The TOEFL exam is important for me because of the post-graduation that I will do next year will be taught in English. This is my first week here in Intrax and I am feeling that all I had already studied and also all the experience that I had , even the bad ones, are now helping me a lot and I expect that this series of different studies experiences will help me to have a very good English in a close future. And most important of all, I believe when you have a propos to study something, like I have now because my post-graduation, you stay more inclined to do this hard and with a passion.
By Dicle Kaptan
Choosing Intrax to study English was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. After 10 years of hard work (7 days a week and more than 13 hours a day), I found myself in the U.S. I needed a break from working hard, so I decided to go to the U.S. and study English.
I remember my first day at the school. Everything is still very clear in my mind, even though I didn’t know English!
Student Advisor: “Follow me please”…
I didn’t know what she was saying, so I just did what the other students did!
Academic Supervisor: “You have a lunch break at 1:00 P.M. and you should be at the student lounge at 2 P.M. for your oral exam!”
I knew what lunch meant and of course I knew the numbers, so I just thought that she’d talked about lunch time. I was ACCIDENTLY right again!
Center Director: “The elevator is a little bit slow, so I suggest you use the stairs.”
Something was slow, but I had no idea what it was!
I can tell you right now what they said, but at that time I just went where they directed me. I know that sounds scary, but it really wasn’t. However I should acknowledge that I was confused and lost like a plastic bag blowing in the wind! There were some people talking to me and I didn’t have anything to say. I was just looking at them and pretending that I understood what they were saying! It was a hard and confusing day for me. (The next day, I figured out that it was just the first day of being confused!)
At the end of the third month I moved up to Intermediate level. I had lots of friends even though I was very quiet! I was learning many things every single day. It was pretty hard and a little boring at the beginning – go home after the class, do homework and try to memorize vocabulary words. That was my daily schedule for 4 months. After a while I realized that it was impossible to memorize every vocabulary without practicing my speaking skills.
4 months later, I was still quiet because of being afraid of making mistakes.
And then one day, everything changed. They asked me if I wanted to work as a student ambassador for the Academics Office. I needed to take care of the new students — take their pictures and create their student I.D. cards— and assist the Academic Supervisor as needed. It was a great chance for me to practice my English and I accepted the offer.
I worked for the Academic Supervisor for one and a half years and then started working for the Center Director. I also had a chance to do a career building program at Intrax called the Career Preperation Activity - it was a completely different and extraordinary experience for me.
I can say without any hesitation that I had the most peaceful, joyful and unforgettable time at Intrax Chicago.
I’m thankful to know every staff at Intrax (including San Francisco, San Diego and Headquarters).
Intrax is one of the best language schools in the U.S. with the quality of their educational system and materials, and also with friendly, experienced teachers, and of course with the wonderful staff.
Thanks to everyone at Intrax. I’ll miss you so much.
By Alexandre Alcantara
This was the first time that I left my country to travel abroad, i can say for sure that this trip will be on my memory for ever, i made great friends, improved my english and had the opportunity to grow more than i expected, i also had funny stories, I remember the first day when I arrived I met my one month host family and it was Sunday, well i had to buy a new laptop for me and i had heard that laptops here were cheaper than in Brazil, then i asked my host mother, I need to buy a notebook for me, and she answered me, we will go to a place where you can find notebooks for 1 dollar, then my eyes became big and I said, ONE DOLLAR?? really? I could not believe just one dollar, I tough she may have a friend who has used computers or maybe stolen ones and but I said, OK, lets go there, when I went to my room something just lighten in my head and I realized that she could be talking about notebooks to write not notebooks computer ones, then I told her, what I really need is a laptop, and then she, ohhhh a laptop, this is gonna be a little more expensive and we laughed a lot, it was really funny, I had certainly learned a lot here and met people who will stay in my heart for the rest of my life, I would do everything again. I am leaving now on October 28, but this city will stay in my heart forever.
By Hasan Gulkun
“All the world is your country: to do good is your religion.”
Many people have a dream. At least they desire to dream and have a passion for changing the meaning of their life. Taking control of lifetime gives one the sense of freedom. That`s why I`ve come to San Diego. Freedom has many meanings for me, such as communicating with people and explaining myself without fear.
I would like to be bilingual. Since my childhood, I want the feeling of recognizing everyone all over the world. When I take the first step to talk them, I would share my ideas with them like they do. Sharing is the way of reaching knowledge. Because of that, at the university, I have studied lots of different language-families, such as, Latin, Arabic and Altay. All of them have a unique taste for me. English has always been an exotic taste for me and I want to get the recipe. Because when I use it, I know that at least, someone understands some words what I am saying.
Communication is important. I have friends from different countries, such as the UK, India, Korea, and Brazil. Sometimes, I have the problem to understand and show the correct reactions to their speech. Idioms, phrases and other sayings are all different from my language. Different feeling contains come from their history or culture. And we all use the same language, English. We share our feelings through English without the fear of being wrong.
The whole world has different languages which are spoken, such as, French, Italian, Turkish, Chinese, Arabic and Russian. Every language keeps a secret inside of it. I studied engineering and always used to be thirsty for information. After I improve my foreign language skill, I`ve started to read research from all over the world, such as, a research from the UK or another research from the US. They keep me fresh with developing technologies. Otherwise, I would start to repeat myself with old-style information. New researches and technologies are the way to get a good job. And now, English is the exact language of research. All science-world uses it to express their theories to add one more-plus to developing life. With my English, now, I work as an engineer at an Energy-Plant construction where all documents are in English.
In conclusion, I believe that, one day; all humanity will speak the same language. It will take hundreds or thousands years, maybe. Until that time comes, now I am at INTRAX, San Diego, to make all of my dreams come alive. Thus, I know that today, English is getting to be our second mother-tongue.