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2015 Year in Review: English 2.0 Podcast

2015 Year in Review

Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to say “Thank You” for a great 2015 and I hope that everyone has an even more brilliant 2016!

I am very happy to report that 2015 was a very good year for the English 2.0 Podcast as we were able to reach some important goals! I use the word “we” because I couldn’t have done it without your help. First, we reached #1 in iTunes for our category in several countries! Also, the English 2.0 Podcast was discovered in many new countries this year.

In this blog post, I’m going to go over the specific number of downloads we achieved in 2015. Also, I’m going to share which countries were new to the podcast and in which countries we reached #1. Finally, I will list the Top 5 episodes from last year and outline my plans for the upcoming year: 2016!

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2014 Year in Review: English 2.0 Podcast

happy-new-year

Natanael Ginting/Shutterstock

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to say “Thank You” for a wonderful 2014 and I hope that everyone has an even more fantastic 2015!

2014 saw a few changes at ALsensei.com and on the English 2.0 Podcast and I’m happy to report that we have seen some numbers increase. However, on the other side of the coin, I wasn’t able to reach some of the goals I had set out to achieve.

In this blog post, I’m going to take a look at some of the numbers that helped the English 2.0 Podcast take a step forward in 2014 and I will reveal my plans for the upcoming year: 2015!

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3 Things I Learned after meeting an Ambassador

Meeting the Ambassador of Kosovo

Kosovo Ambassador to Japan, Ahmet Shala and me.

Last weekend, I had the fortunate opportunity to attend a small gathering where I met the Ambassador to Japan from the country of Kosovo, Ahmet Shala. He was a tall, and very nice man who really wanted to share the beauty of his country and I learned a lot from that meeting. I’d like to share 3 of those things in this post.
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Would You like to Win $100 at Amazon?

Hello everyone!

thumbsupIf you would like a chance to win $100 in vouchers (coupons) at the Amazon website, all you have to do is take this survey from Kaplan International Colleges.

The survey is about English accents and pronunciation. It will only take a few minutes and once completed, you will be automatically entered in a drawing for the vouchers!

Take me to the survey!

Good luck!

Sharing Experiences Through iPhone Photography

An Israeli student named Ido Simyoni recently taught a class on how to share life experiences through smartphone photography. He flew to the Kaplan English school in Sydney to share his tips and secrets for taking photos and sharing them on the popular social networking service, Instagram.

ido-kaplanIdo is known as an Instagram celebrity (username: @ido8all) and has over a hundred thousand followers. His expertise in photography is known across the internet mainly due to his social media movement called, “Stop the Terror” which collected over 11,000 pictures from all over the world.

He was attending Kaplan’s English school in New York when he was discovered there sharing his experiences on Instagram and using the #KaplanExperience hashtag to identify his photos.

His classes on iphoneography were so popular, he was invited to teach classes at other English schools in the US, the UK, and Australia.

One student in his class said, “Ido has an amazing eye for the finer details in life. His class encourages you to capture reality in a different light and share your experience with the world.”

After teaching the class in Sydney, he went to Melbourne and then to Auckland, New Zealand to share his love of photography.

Ido said, ”As I see it, Kaplan students are having an amazing experience when studying abroad. Getting to know people from across the globe in great locations is the best formula to tell a story and share it with others. Instagram is the best photo app to do that. I think they are lucky to get this opportunity and to be honest; I fell in love with Australia.”

Do you use Instagram?
What kind of photos do you like to take or share?

Is 80 Years Old Too Old to Start Learning English?

At what age do you think it is too old to start learning a new language? Well, Samuel Malheiros from Vitoria, Brazil doesn’t think that there is any limit at all!

80-year-old-english-kaplanMalheiros is an 80 year-old lawyer who decided to fly all the way from Brazil to the UK to study English at the Kaplan English course in Oxford.

As president of Vitoria’s Alliance Francaise, he already speaks a number of languages including French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. However, one day he realized that it was time for him to speak the most widely understood language in the world, English.

He says, “I always had an interest in analytical philosophy, which is very appreciated in Anglo-Saxon countries and I wanted to have the ability to be part of that as well.”

What did his family think about this decision? Well, they were quite surprised but very supportive of his desire to go abroad to learn English, even at the age of 80.

He had studied English before here and there but never had the chance to take it seriously where he had the opportunity to practice speaking continuously.

He added, “During my studying and while participating in the school’s social activities, I’ve made friends at Kaplan from all over the world. Being in the same school with students of different nationalities means we have to speak English with each other all the time. It’s challenging and I enjoy it.”

In fact, Malheiros is so serious about his English goal this time that he has extended his time at Kaplan Oxford school for a few more weeks.

“My journey will not end here. When I finish studying I plan to continue traveling around the world and keep on speaking and learning English,” he said.

Five English Scholarships Awarded

How would you like to win an opportunity to learn English with Kaplan? Well, five people from Spain have just been awarded this opportunity.

Beca-ME-kaplanKaplan International Colleges held a contest where students were to write an essay entitled, “The Experience of a Lifetime.” The content of the essays would be a description of how the student would live out their dreams and follow their ambitions if they were given the chance to study abroad.

Over 1,000 hopeful students entered this competition for the Béca-ME scholarships and five lucky winners were chosen. Their essays impressed the judges as well as fans on Facebook, who were able to read the aspirational essays there.

Guadalupe Sánchez Martínez, Rubén Rodriguez Montero, Ana Abad de Larriva, Sofía Villafañe Escudero and Patricia Cid Jimenez were all selected and will get the chance to study English abroad.

Four of the five students wrote about overcoming hardships. One student in particular wrote a moving story about how the growing unemployment and lack of opportunities in the economy.

Another student wrote about surviving a near-death experience. She has since vowed to make the most of every opportunity.

And another one of the five winners wrote an emotional essay while mentioning Stephen Hawking, who promoted the good parts of traveling and experiencing different cultures.

Head of Spain for Kaplan International, Raquel Martinez said, “Following the official announcement from the Ministry of Education not to grant any scholarships this year, there was quite a lot of disappointment expressed on the internet.

“At Kaplan International we wanted to bring back the excitement and motivation that those scholarships had given to students year after year. It has been a very emotional experience for all of us reading the essays full of dreams and aspirations. Students have fantastic values in Spain.”

Have you ever won a scholarship?
If you won an English scholarship from Kaplan, in which country would you learn English?

Win a Free English Course!

How would you like to win an English course?

How would you like to be a judge for a photograph competition?

Well, you can do both now! Kaplan English language school is holding a worldwide contest called the Kaplan Talent Awards to find the best student photographer. The judges can be anyone and one lucky person will be selected to win an English course!

kaplan-talent-awardsFirst, you need to be a fan of Kaplan’s Facebook page. Then you will vote on a series of photographs that have been submitted by students. Over 1,000 photographs were submitted over the past month but now only 30 remain for the final vote.

The student whose photograph is selected as the winner along with one lucky judge will both win a two-week English course at any Kaplan college in the world. This could be in a very attractive location such as London, New York, Sydney, or Singapore, just to name a few.

This is Kaplan’s largest competition of this kind and Social Media Manager, Robert Pickstone explains why they are doing it.

“For a long time now, we’ve been impressed and inspired by the talent displayed by our students. Their photography skills are fantastic. We wanted to recognize and reward our students, whilst also involving our Facebook fans, which has led to the birth of The Kaplan Talent Awards!

“Everyone stands a chance of winning the experience of a lifetime, and we’re excited to be offering this opportunity. Good luck and we hope you like the photos!”
To enter the drawing for a free two-week English course, visit http://www.facebook.com/kic. Find the Kaplan Talent Awards Facebook App. You have until May 13th 2013 to BE THE JUDGE. Good luck!

Have you ever won a drawing before?
If you win, what city would you like to attend the course in?

How to Teach English

What do you think is the best way to learn English? What materials or media would help you the most? What if you could ask over 500 English teachers what they recommend for their students?

howtoteach_kaplan_infographicWell, with Kaplan’s How to Teach English Infographic, you can see the results of a survey answering these questions!

According to the survey, 86% of ESL teachers use music during their lessons to help students understand English better. The most common musicians used in English classes are The Beatles with 40% of teachers stating they have used their songs such as “Hey Jude” and “A Hard Day’s Night.”

Paul McCartney’s only son, James McCartney said, “What a great way to learn any language–by learning through music. Music is a universal language that can bridge the traditional language barrier, and the music of The Beatles has always been a bridge of love and communication. I think this is great.”

Even though other popular artists like Michael Jackson and Bob Marley were named in the survey, The Beatles are still the most popular to learn English by a large margin. Michael Jackson came in at 6% while Bob Marley was used by 5%. Elvis and the new band One Direction came in 4th and 5th place with 4% and 3%.

Other topics covered in the survey are:
-English-speaking celebrities
-Movies
-Newspapers
-TV Shows
-Radio
-Comics
-Computer Games

See the full infographic here.

What musicians do YOU think are helpful to learn English?
What tools do you recommend to help others?

Olympic Champion Inspired to Learn English

Ilya Ilin, from Kazakhstan, recently broke two world records and won the gold medal in weightlifting at the 2012 Olympics in London. After falling in love with the city during the summer Games, he has decided to return and learn English with the Kaplan English course in London.
ilya-ilin-kaplan

After achieving his Olympic goals last year, Ilya decided that his next challenge would be to learn to speak English. Being the only Olympic weightlifter to retain their champion title from the Beijing Games of 2008, he hopes to return to London to achieve English success.

He knows that it will be a challenging task but he is very enthusiastic about getting started. The Kazakhstani national hero will start with a general English course that will last 10 weeks and will focus on the main four areas of language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Ilya said, “When you travel so much in the world, English is something you must know. It can open new doors for friendships and professional connections. I’m very happy to come back to London and get the chance to improve my English.”

Ilya was recognized as one of the best Asian athletes in the world by the Olympic Council of Asia mainly due to his achievements at the London Olympic Games.

Do you like the Olympic Games?
If so, which events or sports are your favorite?