Acadia English Blog

Hike up Ragged Mountain

Writing about your experiences in a full immersion English course is a great way to help yourself remember the vocabulary you’ve learned. It also encourages you to start thinking in English, rather than translating words that are new for you into your native language.

Last week, Daniela, human resources director for a software company in Bonn, Germany, and English immersion course student at Acadia Center for the second time, wrote an essay about her hike up Ragged Mountain, a favorite spot for local hikers here in Maine. Her guide was renowned artist and illustrator Anthony (Chip) Bacon Venti. After going over the essay carefully with her teacher, Daniela revised it and now you can read the result:

An Easter Sunday Hike

On Easter Sunday I went on a hike with Tomm’s friend Chip whom I have met before. He knew that I had the day off from classes and offered to show me parts of his home state. I really appreciated his offer and he picked me up on Easter Sunday at 11 am. First we drove to Lincolnville and he showed me the beautiful view from Point Lookout which was formerly  a private property. Now there is a kind of upscale restaurant inside. You can even sit on the deck if the weather is warm and sunny enough and enjoy the scenery.

Chip told me the name of some islands and mountains we could see and pointed to an island where celebrities like Kirstie Alley and John Travolta own a vacation home. Further away we could identify some offshore wind turbines which must be huge if they can be seen from that distance.

We took some pictures and than we drove to a parking lot at Route 17 which is at the beginning of the Georges Highland Path. We took our knapsacks from the backseat of his car and started the hike.

The trail was marked by blue markers on trees and rocks and sometimes it was difficult to identify exactly where the path might be. But Chip always found another marker and then we went on. The first part of the trail was not very steep but after about one hour it became a steep climb. Surprisingly we were overtaken by a couple who were running up the hill! We  kept up our pace and the last 20 minutes the path led over rocks until we reached the summit. On the top of the mountain stands a huge tower which apparently receives or sends data. We rested at the foot of the tower for a while and enjoyed our picnic. Chip did some sketches of the panorama and explained the landmarks to me. Then we went back downhill the same way we had gone up.

The whole hike took about 4 hours and was a really unique experience. Later he gave me a ride home to Acadia Center. I have to admit that I was really tired after that but I am glad I had the opportunity to see what I have seen.

 

Learn TOEFL Vocabulary Fast

To learn the most common English vocabulary words tested on the TOEFL, check out these online flashcards created by Acadia Center. Read and listen to the words and their definitions, and test your knowledge by studying the flashcards, taking the word quiz, and playing word games online. Each set of flashcards presents a new group of ten common TOEFL vocabulary words along with simple, easy-to-learn definitions.

After you’ve mastered the first two flashcard sets, try the most common TOEFL vocabulary set number 3 and most common TOEFL vocabulary set number 4. These first four sets feature some of the most useful verbs to learn in English, whether you’re looking to improve your score on the TOEFL or just trying to expand your knowledge of English vocabulary.

Take Advantage of Alumni Discount at Acadia Center

Do you have only two or three weeks to spare for an English immersion course in the USA? No problem – come to Maine and study at Acadia Center for the time you have available, even if it’s only two or three weeks. Then do what many of our students have done: book another course six months or a year later – take advantage of the 5% alumni discount – and save!

In the early part of 2011 several alumni have already booked second – and in some cases third – courses at Acadia Center, including a professor of ethics and theology from Brazil, an international trade agent from France, and a human resources executive from Germany.

The beauty and peacefulness of our small New England town make it an ideal place in any season for you to take time off from your busy worklife and focus on improving your English quickly, efficiently, and very enjoyably!

A New England Winter

Whether you want to try skiing, snowhoeing, or just drinking hot chocolate in a cozy cafe, Maine is a great place to experience an old-fashioned New England winter.

Winter is also a great time of year to immerse yourself in English while improving your English speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.

Register now for an English immersion course at Acadia Center and discover winter in Maine.

Online English Lessons: Virtual Class in Your Home or Office

If coming to Maine, USA, for an intensive English immersion course at Acadia Center does not fit into your schedule right now, how about signing up for online lessons in conversational or written English? An Acadia Center teacher will call you at your home or office and, in half-hour or hour lessons and using a screen-sharing tool as a virtual blackboard, guide you towards fulfilling your English learning goals. Hope to talk with you soon!

Friends/Couple English Course Discount

Camden, Maine – the home of Acadia Center for English Immersion – is a beautiful and relaxing vacation destination. With its tree-lined streets, classic New England wooden houses, picturesque harbor, and friendly people, our town is an ideal retreat for couples or friends who would like to share their vacation time while improving their English skills in a full immersion environment.

Take advantage of big savings – a friends/couple discount of 5% off the complete course package price – when you register for an English immersion course with your spouse or friend, and enjoy a learning vacation together!

Fall Foliage in Camden

Acadia Center English immersion course students enjoying a hiking excursion in Maine during the peak of fall foliage.The month of October brings out a spectacular display of red, orange, yellow, and russet on the leaves of trees and bushes in Maine, and Camden – the home of the Acadia Center for English Immersion – is a prime destination for leaf peepers in search of the most beautiful fall foliage.

In fact, this month Camden was named one of the top 25 fall foliage towns in New England (number 6 to be exact) by Yankee Magazine. In the slideshow on the Yankee Magazine website, you can see a view of Camden – the village, the harbor, and the ocean beyond – from the peak of Mt. Battie, a popular hiking destination for Acadia Center students.

Fall is a great time to immerse yourself in English while enjoying the natural beauty of Maine in autumn!



Camden and Acadia Center Featured in El Pais

El Pais journalist and Acadia Center student Ana Arasanz takes the helm during a day sail on the schooner Olad in Camden, Maine.Ana Arasanz, a Madrid-based travel writer and editor for the web version of the leading Spanish newspaper El Pais, has posted a lively article based on her experiences during her two-week English immersion course at Acadia Center this summer.  Titled (translated into English) From Maine’s Lobster Festival: A Tour of the Rugged Coast of Maine from Camden and Rockland to Acadia National Park, Ana’s travel article features her own photos taken during her excursions in Camden and Midcoast Maine and on Monhegan and Mt. Desert Island.

Ana’s favorite places in Camden include Laite Beach, a small stretch of sand near the downtown with a spectacular view of Camden harbor and the Camden hills beyond, and Mt. Battie, from where you can see many islands in Penobscot Bay.

Acadia Center excursion - sailing in Penobscot Bay on the schooner Olad with captain Aaron Lincoln.Sailing and kayaking were among her favorite activities here, and the article provides many links to more information about things to do in Camden, such as sailing on the schooner Olad with captain Aaron Lincoln, whom Ana describes as an entertaining guy (un tipo divertido) and born storyteller.  

Impressed by what she describes as the varied and cosmopolitan cultural offerings in Camden, Ana recommends the concerts, theater performances, readings, and other events at the Camden Public Library, the Camden Opera House, Acadia Center students Daniela and Ana enjoying a seafood dinner at Port Clyde Seafood Co. in Camden.and the Owl and Turtle Bookshop.

Her lodging recommendations include the Captain Swift Inn, the Camden Harbour Inn, and the Inns at Blackberry Common, and her dining recommendations include Port Clyde Seafood Co., Paolina’s Way, and the Waterfront.  

Want to Expand Your English Vocabulary? Read.

The best way to learn new words in English is to read something challenging. Read articles in an online magazine like Slate, or choose a book that interests you – probably non-fiction unless your English level is very advanced.

Acadia Center English immersion course student reading Julie & Julia by Julie Powell in the Acadia Center garden on a summer afternoon.Avoid getting frustrated by the difficulty of the reading by following these steps:
1) First try to understand the general meaning of each paragraph and each sentence before trying to decipher the meanings of individual words.
2) Be selective about which words to examine more closely. Skip words that seem obscure, archaic, or unusually technical. (Of course, you have to go partly on intuition with this.)
3) Look up unfamiliar words in a dictionary. Read the definitions (usually there is more than one) and try to identify which meaning is correct in this context. Read the examples of how the word is used in a sentence. If you decide that it’s a particularly interesting or useful word (relying partly on intuition again), copy down not only the word but also the context – the phrase or the sentence that shows how the word is used with other words.
4) Don’t be surprised if it takes you half an hour to read only a few pages. That’s OK. It’s not a race. Getting more familiar with new words requires reading at a pace leisurely enough to allow for comfortable, relaxed, careful consideration of each new word and its environment.

Ivone, a current student at Acadia Center, is a talented chef, so not suprisingly she recommends Julie Powell‘s book Julie & Julia, which inspired the popular movie with Meryl Streep as the endearingly eccentric cookbook writer Julia Child.

Do you have a book in English to recommend? Tell us the title and author by leaving a comment on this post. And tell us briefly why you like the book!