It has been a long time in the making, but a brand new film for The Learning English Video Project will be available soon! Encounters in the UK was a film project that we started work on way back in September 2008. Since then, we have released films from Morocco, Romania, USA, Spain, China and Brazil, and we have kept the Cambridge film for last!
Encounters in the UK will be released in November 2010 and is about the role that homestay has to play in learning English. I finished shooting the film in February this year and have been working on it with the EnglishClub team ever since.
I am very pleased with the final edit and hope that you enjoy the final addition to the series. I hope to include more posts and information both before and after the film’s release – including fresh reports on each of the seven locations we used for the project. I would like to thank everybody who has been involved in the Cambridge film and look forward to reading your feedback.
Snow!! Not something one tends to see particularly often in England, but as I walked into the centre of Cambridge this morning I was pelted with it from all fronts. I took a few final shots of Cambridge today before heading to my final homestay host in order to conduct the last interviews of the trip.
I must say that I am exceptionally pleased with the footage I have acquired here so far; I have met an array of hosts and students that have allowed me to ask all sorts of weird and wonderful questions for the purposes of The Learning English Video Project. Today’s interviewees however, were exceptional. Even though the student had really only been in the house for one day, she allowed me to interview her about her experiences and expectations for a good twenty minutes! I found out some fascinating facts about homestay in Cambridge and would personally like to thank today’s interviewees for their participation.
It has been a great experience in Cambridge and I am sure that it will make for a thoroughly interesting episode to this seven-part series.
Another successful day was had in Cambridge as I captured two excellent interviews with the directors of Homestay Consultancy. The interviews will be integral in providing an insight into the homestay process, not only from the point of view students and hosts, but also from an administrative perspective. I hope that the interviews I acquired will help any of you looking to do a homestay in England in the future!
I conducted both of these interviews in a small residential area outside of Cambridge known as Bar Hill. The streets there have the most peculiar names such as Acorn Avenue, Fox Hollow and Hollytrees. After conducting the interviews I headed back towards the city centre to get some shots of people punting on the River Cam. The sun was shining once again and I got some great shots of the city. I also took some snaps of local street signs and posters. I thought this would be interesting for you as it might provide a glimpse into the sort of English you ‘see’ around town centres in the UK :)
Street English 01
Street English 02
Street English 03
Punting on the River Cam
It is strange to think that I have only been here for five days and yet I already seem to know the city well. Cambridge is a rather compact place and everything almost seems to be in walking distance; having said that through I will go to Bar Hill tomorrow, a small addition to the city located about seven miles from the centre.
Today provided another series of fruitful interviews that I had a great time filming. I recorded both the experiences of a student who had completed two homestays in the past and come to Cambridge to continue her tertiary education and a young Italian student who has been studying English in Cambridge since January. I also interviewed the host mother of the latter; a jolly Spanish lady who provided some very interesting insights as to what homestay was like from her perspective.
I have another two full days left in Cambridge before I return to Poland. I can only hope that the sun will continue to shine as brilliantly as it did today.
I am pleased to say that the sunshine came out today and enabled for an extensive day of filming in and around Cambridge. It has been a wonderful experience, filming in different countries all over the world for The Learning English Video Project, and now I have the chance to share a piece of England with you, the audience. Being an Englishman, I am pleased to be able to share with you some of the scenery from this well known English city and I hope you are pleased with the shots I acquired in Cambridge today. Today was also an excellent opportunity to get some footage of the participants using their English outside of the classroom.
I still have a few more days left here in Cambridge, over the course of which I have several more interviews planned and enough time to explore homestay even further.
I have included a few stills from today’s filming below.
The interesting thing about homestay is that the experience always seems to vary from house to house. Today was unique in that the family I interviewed had three houses and anything up to ten students at one time. I was informed by the host father, who is from England, that their houses were always busy with students and that is a factor they thoroughly enjoy. The host mother, who came to England from Thailand via Italy, told us that homestay was a great way for their children to learn about new cultures as students pass through. We also managed to speak to three Italian students about their experience although they had only been in the country for a few days. I must say, it was rather intense from a filming perspective.
We will be focussing tomorrow on getting some more footage of students using their English in different situations; I would like to be able to show you how easy/difficult it is for people who do not speak English as a first language to use cash machines, do some grocery shopping, ask for directions etc.
It was raining all day and night yesterday, typical English weather some might say, but tomorrow’s forecast looks a lot more promising!
Another exciting day of interviews in Cambridge has helped in providing a real insight into the homestay concept from the perspective of host parents.
I interviewed two English hosts today about their experiences over the course of the last few years in an attempt to answer some of your questions and queries. The interviews proved to be most insightful in that I found out how homestay works with different families in England, as well as discovering how students make the most of their time in the UK in terms of language development.
I have also been joined by Michaela, a student from The Czech Republic who is interested in both ESL and film production. She has been assisting me in acquiring additional shots of Cambridge while at the same time providing her own insights into what it is like living in this city as a foreign student. Michaela will join me tomorrow when we will continue to find out more about homestay in Cambridge.
Michaela is assisting with the film production in Cambridge
Cambridge City Centre – After climbing the narrowest of staircases we took some scenic shots from a tower near the market square.
It has been quite an experience since landing in England yesterday. I have had a day and half to make preparations for the next week as The Learning English Video Project continues in Cambridge. As you will have seen from previous posts, our objective here is to find out about homestay and to provide you with an insight as to what homestay is like in Cambridge and how it might benefit English language students. I am pleased to say that I am working with Bell International College, one of the biggest schools of its kind, and Homestay Consultancy in interviewing hosts, educators and students about their homestay experiences.
Today I met with two Bell homestay students, one from Venezuala and one from Belgium. They both had some very interesting things to say about homestay, making for a great start to the project here in Cambridge.
Keep checking the blog for more updates as I hope to write every day and to start including some pictures of Cambridge very soon! In the meantime, please see a couple of pictures from today’s escapades below.
An interview at Bell International College
Boats on the river
I will be in Cambridge, England as of tomorrow! My flight leaves early tomorrow morning and I will begin production on the final film in The Learning English Video Project series as soon as my plane touches down. I will be working with Bell International College as well as several homestay hosts and students through Cambridge’s very own Homestay Consultancy.
I will continue to update my blog regularly (with pictures!) so that you can see what I am up to, and I will also make sure that I find out the answers to the questions and queries you left on my previous post. Please keep the comments coming!
Those of you who have followed The Learning English Video project from the beginning stages, may remember that we started filming in Cambridge during September 2008. Due to the fact that this will be the final film in the series (China and Brazil will be available very soon!) we have decided to go back to England and do something extra in Cambridge.
The theme of this particular film will be homestay, where students live with a host for a short time in order to make the most of their language learning experience. Before I travel to Cambridge, I would like to find out if you have had an experience with homestay in the past! If not, perhaps you know somebody else who has? If so, please provide a short description of your experience in a comment below.
If you have not had such an experience before, but think it might be an interesting idea, I would also like to hear from you!
- What do you think could be the benefits of homestay and why do you think it is so popular?
- If you could do a homestay anywhere in the world to improve your English, where would you go and why?
Are there any questions you would like me to ask homestay students in Cambridge?
I will be updating this blog regularly and look forward to reading your comments soon!
Conversations in Spain
The latest film in The Learning English Video Project series is set to be released later this month! ‘Conversations in Spain’ is a 17-minute documentary style film that explores English learning techniques and methods in Madrid and Granada, two very different cities in Spain.
The finished production will be available to watch for free on EnglishClub.com both with and without subtitles. Versions will also be available for direct download and will be accompanied by free teaching materials, also provided by EnglishClub.com. ‘Conversations in Spain’ is due to be released towards the end of November so keep checking this website for more details.
I began working on the film with my assistant director Joel Carr back in September 2008, when we shot most of the footage. This particular chapter of the project has a very unique feel in that it has been constructed to suit learners who may have problems with listening in particular. As the title suggests, the film focuses on three central conversations that detail various questions and answers about learning English on the European continent. I have been working with Josef Essberger, founder of EnglishClub.com, and Matt Errey, producer of ESL board-game ‘Word Up’, in crafting a film that offers learners the chance to absorb entire conversations with a learner of English, a teacher of English and the director of a language school.
Each of the films from The Learning English Project has its own style and design. ‘Conversations in Spain’ is an attempt at allowing learners to gain an insight into conversational flow that they might not have otherwise had access to. The conversations have been very carefully selected in that they not only provide a chance for learners to practice their listening, but they may also offer new ideas, tips and information about learning English in different parts of the world. As always, the film is stitched together with footage from the location settings, which are very beautiful places indeed. ‘Conversations in Spain’ also features music by electronic composer Tom Carr, who also wrote pieces for ‘Stories from Morocco’ and ‘Lessons from Romania’.
The Learning English Video Project is proving to be popular all over the world, with ‘Stories from Morocco’, ‘Lessons from Romania’ and ‘Tales from America’ accumulating over 30,000 online views and an average of one hundred downloads a day since the films were released earlier this year. Throughout August and September 2009, Joel and I worked on two more films for the series; one in China and one in Brazil. I am currently editing the Chinese chapter that was filmed in both Shanghai and Xiamen. This film looks at how English is being used for a specific purpose on the Asian continent. I also hope to have more information on this film later on in the month. To see regular blog updates from the film production, simply click on the ‘China’ link on the ‘Director’s Blog’ section of the site.
I would personally like to thank everybody who regularly contributes to EnglishClub.com for all your support and advice throughout the project and I hope that you will continue to express your interest with what we have in store for you over the next few months.
Daniel Emmerson (Director – The Learning English Video Project)
So the Cambridge section of our Learning English Documentary adventure is over…and what an adventure it was! Not only did we manage to meet some fantastic English language enthusiasts from all over the world, but we captured some thoroughly interesting footage and made a lot of new friends on the way.
Daniel and Joel – The men behind the camera
This was our first trip to Cambridge and we are both extremely pleased with how this section of the project developed. With the help of our trusty assistants Marcus and Anthony, we were able to navigate the city without any major problems and meet all of our guests on time and on location.
Anthony and Marcus – Our trusty Cambridge assistants
Marcus and Anthony were only able to assist us on the Cambridge leg of our trip; this is rather unfortunate as their help in England’s college capital proved (more…)
Greetings! We have two more days in Cambridge before moving on to New York and my oh my, what a productive week it has proven to be so far!
Our first appointment on day two was with the Cambridge International Club, who were most helpful in providing us with heaps of information about (more…)
Yesterday was the first day of production on The Learning English Video Project!
Cambridge is a beautiful English university town with lush green countryside and beautiful college architecture. I arrived here yesterday after a two and a half hour bus journey from London, which is far too long. The bus broke down on the way to the city and I spent forty minutes in a midst of noise and traffic waiting to get started with the film project.
Thankfully, my trusty film crew were ready to start when I finally arrived and we met with Yuan Zhang, the publicity officer for the University of Cambridge International Students Union to discuss their involvement in the project. Our travels then took us to MichaelHouse, a Church/Cafe in the heart of the city that arranges an annual programme for German monks who are looking to improve their English and work in Cambridge for twelve months. Plenty of the MichaelHouse team are eager to get involved in the project and we look forward to spending the day with them today!For more information on MichaelHouse, please visit: http://www.michaelhouse.org.uk/
I will try and keep the blog updated everyday to let you know how the project is developing! A series of photographs and perhaps even some footage of the trip will be available to look at from Wednesday, September 10th!
We will be in Cambridge for the next six days when we leave for London on September 8th.
- From the 11th – 18th September we will be in NEW YORK, U.S.A
- 23rd September – 1st October – MADRID, Spain
- 13th – 20th October – CASABLANCA, Morocco
- 26th October – 2nd November – MINSK, Belarus
If you are an ESL student interested in the project, or even if you are from one of the cities we are visiting and wish to meet with us on our journey, please feel free to contact us – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Its got to be fun!