Preparing for the CAE at Kings Los Angeles
Lara Youssef shares her experience of preparing for the Cambridge English: Advanced exam with us in Hollywood.
Hi Lara. How long have you been at Kings and what course are you taking?
I’ve been studying at Kings for 11 weeks and I am in the Cambridge Advanced class.
What do you enjoy most about the lessons, and how many people are in your class?
What I enjoy most about my lessons is the fact that I learn new things everyday. My teacher Jan motivates us to do our best and never gives up when we don’t understand something. In fact, Jan believes in us and I strongly think that this is what made my experience at Kings so special. The Cambridge class can be kind of stressful as you have a specific goal at the end (the exam), however, our teacher always supports us no matter how many doubts we have.
We are five students in the Cambridge class which is, in my opinion, a really good thing. I live in Switzerland and since high school I’ve always been used to full classes of at least 30 students. For this reason, the Cambridge class gave me the opportunity to express my own opinion and thoughts about many subjects, and by the same time practice and improve my speaking skills. As less people are in the class, we also got the opportunity to get to know a lot of things about each other.
Why did you decide to take this course? Do you have specific plans which require English skills?
As we all know, English is a very important language which is used worldwide. Before I came to Los Angeles I spent 6 weeks in Hawaii in a general English class. For this reason I thought that it would be interesting to try the Cambridge afterwards as it represents a challenge for me. I know that this certificate is recognized in many universities and jobs, however the main reason I decided to do it is because I love traveling and meeting new people. I knew that studying English at a high level like Cambridge would give me the opportunity to improve my skills considerably and at the same time help me to communicate with English speakers.
What made you choose Kings over another language school?
I took a year off and thought about traveling in different places in the US while studying English. To be honest I went to my agency in Switzerland and told them that I wanted to find a school in Los Angeles, so they showed me different schools (Santa Monica, Hollywood,…). As Kings was located in the centre with a lot of facilities I thought it would be the best choice. And here I am!
Are you enjoying your experience so far, and what have been the highlights?
Even though I’m only 20 years old, I have had the chance to travel a lot in many places of the world. However my trip to the US was the first time that I was away from home for such a long period of time. So far, this experience is the best of my life. Indeed, I met amazing people from all over the world who are going to stay my friends even when I leave Los Angeles.
I had many highlights during this trip, but if I had to choose some of them I would say the moments that I spent with my roommates cooking, laughing, discovering differences about our cultures, etc. One of the best moment of this trip was also when I got the chance to surf in Malibu. Surf is my passion, so being able to surf here was one the biggest gifts I could’ve asked for.
Had you been in LA before? What do you like most about LA/Hollywood?
I came to LA three years ago to see my cousin who’s living here. However it was for a short week so I didn’t have the opportunity to see many things. As this time I came for three months, I really got the chance to see many amazing places in Los Angeles. This city has almost everything you can imagine about art, museums, sports, restaurants, cafes, hikes,…
Where are you staying? Would you recommend it?
I was staying at Cassil (shared room). The way the building is designed gives you the opportunity to be always surrounded by people (while cooking, doing homework,..), which is great! I never feel bored or alone. Even though we had some issues (like the fire), the Cassil crew had always everything under control, which reassures us as residents in Cassil. Special thank you to Ross who always do his best to find solutions and help us in all kinds of situations no matter what time it is. I would totally recommend Cassil for future students. I met my roommate here in Los Angeles, and we planned a trip to Hawaii together next month, so I strongly believe that this type of accommodation suits me perfectly!
Have you done any activities or excursions here, and if so, what has been the highlights?
I love hiking, so when I saw that on my first week the activity was a hike to Runyon Canyon, I was the happiest. I also hiked two times the Hollywood sign, which was amazing! Santa Monica and Venice beach are also places that I really like. I participated two times in beach volleyball in Santa Monica and both were amazing.
What do you think of the facilities at Kings LA?
Kings LA is located in a great area which is close to everything. In fact, I can choose to do grocery shopping in many different places and all of them are in walking distance. Moreover, places like restaurants, bars, theatre or the gym are really close, which is convenient, especially since most of us don’t have cars.