Stay in School or Stay Out and Study

There has been many  questions to foreigners who wishes to study in Cebu to either stay in a school or rent a house and hire a private tutor. For me, both has its own advantages and disadvantages. Also, timing must also be considered as well. If you are fresh student in Cebu, I do suggest to enroll in real English academy. Why? It is simply because the school can help you a lot.

Studying in a school helps you in many ways. First, your processes of papers such as SSP (Student Study Permit). Second, schools have organized structure for learning. They have Placement Test which assess your English Proficiency. This is important because you need to know which point of learning you are going to start working on. If you do this on your own without proper test, you might not fully sort out what you need to study and what you do not need to study. It could be a waste of time on your part. Third, safety and convenience. If you study in a school, you are safe because the administrator has surely look into that already. Unlike renting your own, you need to personally check how safe the place is. School and dormitories have security guards and other peace and order personnel. If,you also get sick, the school also has their own contact of doctors. Unlike when you stay alone, you need to go to hospital and ask for recommendation. In addition to all of this, studying in an English school can give you instant peer support. You automatically will have classmates, room mates and teachers. Your interaction with them is essential to keep you going. Social relationships does encourage you to study more. You can join group classes, school tours and other activities. All of these are absent if you decide to rent a house and student alone. 😦

These are just some disadvantages I see.  On my next post, to be neutral, I would also post the disadvantages of staying out. This way you could judge on your own which you prefer.


Thanks for reading,

Miss D


Study Tip: Have a Pocket Size Vocabulary Notebook

When you learn a new language, in one class alone, you will learn a lot of new words. Sometimes, it is common for students to feel overloaded.


Memorizing 5o words a day I say is pretty useless. In my teaching carrier, I have seen students mostly Korean) that has very long lists of words they try to re-write and re-write in the hope that they would naturally memorize the long lists. As a teacher, I say. It is only a waste of time. Because spend all night trying to memorize the whole fifty words all night, the next day, they end up being absent in my class. 😦 Some students who are very good in memorixing can actually memorize the word and their meaning but they fail when they can’t use the word on their own. My language teacher once said “Even if you know a certain word, but still you do not know how to use, it is the same as not knowing it. It’s actually useless.” So I agree with him. Knowing a word does not stop in understanding but also in using it.


During your stay in Cebu, you will tantamount of words here and there but do expect yourself to understand and memorize everything right away. It will only frustrate you. Even I am not that good in remembering right away. So insteadm have a vocabulary notebook. I suggest a pocket sized is ideal so you can bring it anywhere with you.  So when you learn a new word or expression while buying something at the mall, take a note of it right away. Bring this everywhere you go — malls, restaurants and etc. Promise yourself to write a few words a day. There should be a limit. Do not write all the new words that you know. You won’t have time for all of it. So let’s say, you write 3 to 5 words a day. Write these words and get their meanings. (Do not go more than 5. It might be too much and you will be tired. ) Review these words at night and try to use it the way it is used from where you learned it, but create your own sentence.


Five words a day may seem to little, a bit to less and you might worry your level is dragging. But do not panic. The key thing here is consistency not speed. Just be consistent in writing 3 to 5 words a day and after few weeks you will learn more and more, after a few years you will know more than hundred words without so much effort. So be consistent in making this simple homework.

I have seen students with long impractical list to memorize but after few days, they soon give up everything. Too much of something is bad enough. Just imagine yourself like a baby learning to walk — they start by crawling till they can run.


Thanks for reading,

Miss D




How to Say to No Friends’ Pressure When Studying Abroad

Staying abroad can be so much fun. You have the ultimate freedom of your own life. No parents. No guardian but yourself. Studying in Cebu can surely be more exciting for many reasons. For one, Cebu is inexpensive when it comes to enjoying – dining out and drinking out at night. Other outdoor activities too are so much cheaper – diving, going to the beach, island hoping and sightseeing. These fun activities can be very exciting but at times these can be a major distraction!

Staying in Cebu to study English you need friends to cope with loneliness being away from your family and boredom being away from your close friends. You certainly need new friends especially if you are going to stay for more than two months. No man is an island as they say.

The issue now here is to draw the line between friendship and your priorities in learning English. For the past ten years in the ESL business in Cebu, I have heard many reasons and excuses of why many of my students fail to do the take home task I asked them to. Almost 90 percent of their reasons are peer pressure. (Most of my students are Koreans).  These are the common excuses:

“My roommate wanted me to go with them last night. It was his farewell party so I decided to go. I got drunk.”

“My batch mate has a problem. We talked about it for until past midnight.”

“My friend wants to eat something special so we had to go out last night.”

In conclusion, friends can really impose a strong pressure especially while you are studying here abroad. So I just you should learn how to balance between friendship and yourself.  If you say no to your new foreign friends in Cebu, you might be really lonely and if you say yes to them all the time, you might end up stagnant in your English level.

Here  are some of the nicest excuse to refuse your friends when you have pressing academic matters to do:

“My teacher expects me to finish my homework tomorrow.”

“I have pair-work homework. If I do not do my task, my partner would suffer. It would be really unfair.”

“The whole class is counting on my report tomorrow so I have to give so much effort to it. I am afraid I can’t go out with you because I have big responsibility.”

“I need to finish something up. The teacher gave me this last chance. I have to do it tonight.”

In this conflicting situation, it is important be reminded of your GOAL. First things first. It might be hard depending on your own home culture but the best learning studying abroad is to stand on your own.


Thanks for reading,

Miss D

Study Tip: Make a Schedule and Stick to It

One of the most important factors in learning English is time you put into it. How much time you put into learning English or any new language would greatly affect your skills. Although it is not safe to say that the time you spent would correlate your English level, but spending proper time with learning English allows you to have a sense of control and focus. One writer I had talked to reminded me that in learning English “effort comes first, results later”.  This is what students should bear in mind to avoid frustrations.

Make a Schedule and Stick to it

Aside from regular class schedule, it would really help a lot if you make a study time. So, on your first day of class, create a schedule right away. Make a schedule that is REALISTIC and ACHIEVABLE. One of the most common mistakes of students learning English for a short period of time is to make a schedule that is almost impossible to achieve. I saw one of my previous student’s schedule as follows:

6:00 – 7: 00 Morning Class

7:00 – 8:00 Review

8:00 – 5:00 Regular Class with breaks

6:00-9:00 Night Class

9:00- 11:00 – Homework

11:12:00 – Self Study

NOTE: DO not overkill yourself!

Yes, we can all conclude that he is a very diligent and hardworking student but what about learning? You see, there is big difference between studying long hours and actually learning. And as human beings, do not forget that when your body is weak, it affects your reception to new inputs. Good health means good learning as well.

So upon making an achievable schedule, the next step is to stick to it. Studying abroad also means making new friends and sometimes these new friends you meet can either help you or distract you. I have seen a very strong peer pressure between friends especially among Korean students studying English in the Philippines. One friend wants to go out while you want to stay inside the dormitory and study. There is a tension here but all I can suggest is to know your PRIORITY.


Thanks for reading,

Miss D