Saturday, 12 April 2014

Morning Class

My morning class in room 9 of the West Building at HELC. Standing on the left: Fusako from Niigata in Japan and Yukari from Osaka - next is Dagmar, sitting, from the Czech Republic - then Denise from Switzerland and Katerina from the Czech Republic - sitting, is Pierre from Dijon in France and behind him is Esmeralda from Madrid in Spain. Katerina, Denise and Pierre are travelling home today so we wish them a safe journey.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Cherry Blossom Time in Japan

About two months have passed since I came back to Japan and I still have great memories of my study experience. Now, Japan is spring season. Today I saw some cherry blossom. It was beautiful. So I would like you to see some pictures. I would like to go back to England.
Miyu from Japan

Thank you Miyu for sending the pictures of the cherry blossom in Japan, it is beautiful. I particularly love the 'Disney castle' block of flats on the left in the picture above. 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Simone Schuft - Champion Power Boat Racer

Simone is studying at HELC and during a lesson she revealed that her passion in life is power boat racing and that she is rather good at it too. She won silver medal in last year's World Championships!!! Here she talks about her sport...

Studying English in England excites me and I have more than only one reason. England is the country of native English speakers and England is a boat racer's country: Powerboat Racing. A powerboat racer drives his race boat as fast as possible on a race course - always in competition with others - in order to see the chequered flag at the end of the race in the first position.   

There are different classes depending on the engine size. A Formula 1 boat reaches 240 km/h and a Formula 2 boat reaches 210 km/h. Compared with car driving: 210 km/h on the water feels like 400 km/h on the road. Therefore the pilots need enormous training to keep full control over their craft - even when the water is very rough, the wind remarkably strong and the temperature higher than 45 degrees in the racer's cockpit.  

My name is Simone, I'm from Germany and I have been a powerboat racer for many years. I started in national beginners classes first and made my career through different national and international classes and series afterwards, up to the Formula 2 International World Championship. 

But being a powerboat racer in Germany is a bit like being a camel rider in England - it's quite unusual, at least when compared with England. England is proud of having many traditional boat clubs and having a long boat racing history. The biggest and most traditional clubs here are Stewartby, Oulton Broad and Lowestoft. I have raced in Plymouth and Cowes during recent years. 
The racing season in England starts on the 1st of May. Then of course, I will already be back in Europe and have a race of my own - the traditional Rouen 24-hour race in France which is part of the Formula 2 Endurance World Championships 2014 which I will race this year. 

But maybe I will come back to England in autumn for the re-activation of another historical race, the Formula 2 competition in London docks. See ya there!  Simone from Germany.
CU soon - A bientôt - Hasta la vista - Vi ses snart - gia sas

Friday, 4 April 2014

Wednesday Afternoon in Rye

Bohus from Slovakia, Martina from the Czech Republic and Sergei from Russia standing in the passageway by the old Mermaid Inn in the historic town of Rye.

In the Rye Heritage Centre we listened to a talk about the history of Rye while looking at a huge and impressive model of the town.

Sergei, Martina and Bohus standing in front of the Landgate at the entrance to Rye town. The gate was built about 500 years ago and is still standing!

One of the attractive old 'cobbled' streets of Rye.
Cobbles are the stones that make up the road.

HELC wins Japan Best School Awards 2014

Ryugaku is an agency which sends students from Japan all over the world to language schools such as HELC to study English. And on their return to Japan, they ask their students to provide feedback on their experience at those schools. Well, from a sample of 500 reports Ryugaku have awarded our school in Hastings the number one spot in the world! How cool is that!!! Hastings has beaten California, Oxford, Cambridge, Brisbane, Vancouver and Hawaii as a place to come and study English. 

Arigato gozaimas to all our ex-students from Japan who gave their feedback to Ryugaku and helped us win these awards. - Best Lessons - Best Environment - Overall No. 1.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Hastings Again

This is the second time that I (have been) in Hastings. I had been there a year ago for two weeks but it was impossible to improve my English a lot in that small period of time, so I decided to go again for three weeks. Both years were completely different but they were perfect.
This year I was surprised when I realised that most of the students of HELC were Japanese and women. As most of them know, it was very difficult for me to remember all their Japanese names, but at the end, I almost got them!
Standing: Aiko - Mihye - Shoko - Aya - Andre - Erika - Honoka - Ondre - Veronica - Steffen - Esmeralda
Sitting: Marga - Sakura - Yuuki - Marta
(From) the first day, I spent most of the time with Sakura and Marta. Marta and me wanted to do things every day and we (wanted) Sakura (to come) with us (she became a little bit Spanish, haha). I’m sure she’ll never forget our long walks around Hastings! With them and other students, I visited places such as Canterbury, Battle and Eastbourne. If I had to choose one day in England, I would (choose) the day that we went to Eastbourne. It was a sunny and lovely day and we had a lot of fun!
I would like to thank my teachers, Ian and Steven, for their help. They had to bear us for three weeks, so I think they are having a rest now. Now I’m in Menorca again, I had to come back to my real life, but I’ll always remember all of these experiences I lived in Hastings!
Marga - Menorca, Spain

A Trip to Eastbourne

Two weeks ago, Marta, Marga, and I (Sakura) went to Eastbourne. Before we went, I had been worried about the excursion because they really liked walking, but it was needless. We used a replacement coach to go to Bexhill station and then changed onto the train to Eastbourne station. It was because there was no train from Hastings station, but I wasn’t able to understand the reason. The train system in England is crazy!

Sakura - Marga - Marta

After arriving at Eastbourne station, we wanted to go to the Seven Sisters, but we didn’t know anything about it, except that it was the name of a cliff and we had to take a bus to go there. Luckily, Marta found the bus to Seven Sisters and we got on the bus. Finally, we were able to go to the Seven Sisters. It took half an hour to go to the beach, but I thought the road there was easier than that of Hastings as it was a flat road. The sight from the beach was wonderful! The weather was perfect, there were no clouds in the sky. I was surprised there were no obstacles to my field of vision, because I am usually surrounded by mountains or skyscrapers in Tokyo. The sky was bigger than that in Japan. We really enjoyed the Seven Sisters.

 Terrible things happened when we went back to Hastings. After arriving at Bexhill station, there was a coach connected with the train which we had taken. However, it was full of passengers and we weren’t able to get on. We had to wait for the next coach for half an hour! Moreover, the bus staff were very unkind, and although the next coach arrived in front of us, we weren’t able to get on because the driver and the bus staff were smoking. How ridiculous it was! Apart from the return journey, it was a very nice Sunday. It was worthy of my last weekend in Hastings.
Sakura - Japan

Friday, 14 March 2014

An Afternoon at Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle surrounded by its moat of water

Honoka and Mihye - a man-at-arms from the castle - Shoko and Aya

Honoka, Shoko, Aya and Mihye in front of the castle gatehouse

Afternoon tea

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Wednesday Afternoon Trip to Rye

It was a sunny afternoon so it was perfect for a trip to the historic and picturesque town of Rye which is 20 minutes from Hastings by train. Here we are standing outside the Mermaid Inn in Mermaid Street.

This is the street outside the entrance to the old church which stands in the centre of Rye at the top of the hill.

Standing outside Lamb House which was the home of a famous author and was also the site of a terrible murder 200 years ago. The local butcher killed the Mayor's brother-in-law by mistake thinking that it was the town Mayor.

After so much sightseeing, we needed a cup of tea so we went to the tea rooms and ordered a cream tea. On the left is Erika from Japan; then Andre from Germany; Ondre from the Czech Republic; Veronika from Germany and Steffen also from Germany.

Erika tries eating her first scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

Outside the tea rooms and then off to the station to go back to Hastings.

A Weekend in Amsterdam

Last weekend, Honoka and Yuuki from Japan, went on a trip to Amsterdam by coach. They left on the Friday night and returned on Sunday evening. Here are some pictures of them in a shop which sells traditional Dutch clogs (wooden shoes) which the Dutch call 'Klompen'.



Shoko's Birthday

Today is Shoko's 23rd birthday. So everyone at HELC wishes her many happy returns of the day including her classmates (from the left) Aiko, Aya, Honoka and Jeong Ki. Shoko, who is from the island of Okinawa in Japan, is on the right. Happy Birthday Shoko!!!

Monday, 3 March 2014

A Morning in the Museum

Left to right: Sakura from Japan; Margarita from Menorca; 
Marta from Spain and Yuuki from Japan. 

Last Friday morning we paid a visit to Hastings Museum and Art Gallery where we saw a number of interesting exhibits from the very first television to Japanese samurai armour to American Indian clothes and weapons to Punch & Judy puppets (in the cabinet above) and to a collection of dinosaur bones. 

Friday, 14 February 2014

Kahori's Last Day

Today is Kahori's last day at HELC, she is returning to Japan tomorrow. 

In the photo from left to right standing are: Cassandra, who is from Germany but is now living in Spain; Aiko from Japan; Esmeralda from Spain; Mihye from South Korea; Sergej originally from Khazakstan but living in Germany and in the front row all from Japan - Hidemi, Kahori, Mai and Asako.

Friday, 7 February 2014

A Trip to Carr Taylor Vineyards

On Friday afternoon, the sun was shining!!! So, we decided to head out into the English countryside in search of English wines. Cassandra, who is German but lives and works on the Spanish island of Fuerta Ventura in the Canary Islands, is interested in wines and winemaking so we drove off to look for an English winery. The first one we went to was an organic winery called Sedlescombe Vineyard but it was closed (it is February!) but luckily the second was open.
On the way to Carr Taylor vineyards we passed Bodiam Castle. The small river had flooded all the fields around and even the castle car park was full of water.

We drove across country to the village of Heathfield to Carr-Taylor Vineyards which is famous for its sparkling wines. We went into the winery shop and did some wine tasting. We tasted two sparkling wines, one white and one rosé; one still white wine and several fruit wines plus one which is made from honey which we call 'mead'. After the tasting, we bought some wines to take home with us as presents. One sparkling rosé, two ginger wine and one mead.

In the wine shop, from left to right: Mrs Carr-Taylor - Miyu from Japan 
- June from Spain - Shoko from Japan - Cassandra from Germany

Visit the Carr-Taylor website:

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Morning Coffee

On a trip to Rye one cold, wet and windy morning, Kahori from Japan (left) and Mihye from Korea (right) popped into the Olde Apothecary tea rooms in the High Street for morning coffee and a slice of coffee and walnut cake. Very sweet but it was really delicious!!!