Monthly Archives: May 2014

Introducing the International Students’ Survival Guide

So you’ve decided to study abroad? Congratulations!

You must be very excited about what’s ahead of you. Possibly a tiny bit scared, too? And confused about where to start and what to look out for in preparation for your adventure? That’s definitely how I felt when I started preparing for my year abroad at the University of Leicester in the UK.

If you’ve got about a million questions about how to prepare for your studies abroad and what to do when you’re actually there you’ve come to the right place.

Why? The first downloads are now available on the new International Students’ Survival Guide website – for free! These downloads are chapters from a new book with the same name.

Sign up to receive regular chapters from the International Students’ Survival Guide


What’s this? This Guide is dedicated to help international students from all over the world who are studying, or preparing to study, in the UK, the US or Australia. It has been written by four authors who, between them, have over 60 years’ experience working with international university students in the US, UK and in Australia.

How do I access it? All you need to do is sign up with your e-mail address. You’ll then be sent to a website giving you access to the International Students’ Survival Guide. At the same time you’ll receive an email with the link. We’ll then also email you whenever there’s a new chapter download available.

Sign up to receive regular chapters from the International Students’ Survival Guide

How much does it cost? That’s the best thing about it – it’s all available completely free of charge.

The first couple of chapters are available already, so sign up and start reading straight away!

Happy reading and all the best,
Collins ELT Team

Academic Skills Series wins ELTon award

The Academic Skills Series has won the award for Innovation in Learner Resources at the British Council ELTons 2014!

Find out more about the award-winning Academic Skills Series 


Everyone here at Collins is absolutely delighted about the wonderful news. The ELTons trophy looks just fabulous on the shelves in the Collins offices, doesn’t it?

ELT Publishing Director Catherine Whitaker and Publishing Manager Celia Wigley accepted the award trophy at the British Council ceremony on Thursday, 23 May 2014. They thanked the eight fabulous authors and the wonderfully dedicated Collins ELT team. You can watch the award ceremony online (the acceptance speech is at 1 hour 25 minutes).

The ELTons judges say: “even native speakers could benefit from the kind of structured, systematic thinking taught in this entry.”

Publishing Director Catherine Whitaker says: “Collins Academic Skills Series recognises that EFL students who have achieved their dream of studying at an English-speaking university still need support to ensure they achieve academic success. I’m particularly pleased that this series has won the award because it demonstrates two qualities that we try to bring to all our publishing: student focus and authenticity. The ELTons judges’ comment recognises that we think hard about how a student who might be studying on their own will be able to use the materials. We ensure our materials are authentic in a variety of ways – in Lectures we used recordings of real lectures, in Group Work real interviews with students and lecturers on their experience of doing group work and in  ‘Research’ authentic reading texts and essays in different academic subjects.”

Read Publishing Director Catherine Whitaker’s blog entry announcing the award nomination

Full list of winners at ELTons 2014

Who am I? A bio-mini-quiz to inspire your students

Are you looking for original ways to get your students to read? Here are 8 ‘Who am I?’ questions revealing interesting life-facts about some of the Amazing People featured in the 8 brand-new Amazing People ELT Readers we’ve just published. Can you guess who the people are?

Below you can also find links to videos of each of these Amazing People talking about their lives and achievements. There are also links to download classroom ideas, lesson plans and worksheets from our ELT Readers Teacher Zone, as well as more information about the books the people are featured in.

The answer key is provided at the bottom of this post.


Read the ‘who am I’ questions 1-8. Can you match them with the Amazing People A-H and their images a-h?

Who am I? questions:

1) I wrote the very first computer program – and you might be surprised to hear that I was a woman. My father was Lord Byron, the famous poet, but he died when I was only 8 years old. Who am I?

2) I was born in Salzburg, Austria. People said I was a ‘child genius’ because I began playing and composing music when I was very young. My older sister Nannerl was a very talented musician, too. I’m most famous for my operas, The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute. Do you know who I am?

3) I was an American trumpet-player and singer, and I came to discover ‘a wonderful world’. I grew up in a poor area of New Orleans, where life was tough for young African-American boys. Do you know who I am?

4) I became sick with meningitis at 19 months, before I even learned to speak. I still went on to become a famous teacher. I started an organisation to teach people about blindness in 1915. Who am I?

5) Do you know Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn? Then you probably know my name, too. But the name you know me by is not the name my parents gave me – that’s Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Who am I?

6) I opened my first salon in New York City when I was 25 years old and went on to create what became one of the most famous cosmetics brands in the world. I was also the first woman to appear on the front cover of the Time magazine. My parents gave me the name Florence Nightingale Graham. What’s the name I am known to the world by?

7) A very famous prize for cultural and scientific advances is named after me. I was a chemist and businessman and my greatest invention was dynamite. Who am I?

8) I was a powerful Roman leader, and I lived much earlier than any of the other people in this quiz. From a young age I wanted to be a leader and a hero. I fought hard to gain control of many territories for Rome. My father was called Gaius and my first name is Gaius, too, but I am known by the name of… do you know?


Amazing People A-H:

A) I am Helen Keller. My story is featured in Amazing Women (Level 1).
Helen Keller video / Download Helen Keller classroom and student activities

B) I am Elizabeth Arden. My story is in Amazing Entrepreneurs and Business People (Level 1).  Elizabeth Arden video / Download Elizabeth Arden classroom and student activities 

C) I am Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You can read my story in Amazing Composers (Level 2). Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart video / Download Mozart classroom and student activities 

D) My name is Ada Lovelace and you can read my story in Amazing Mathematicians (Level 2). Ada Lovelace videoDownload Ada Lovelace classroom and student activities 

E) I’m Louis Armstrong, and you can read my story in Amazing Performers (Level 3).
Louis Armstrong videoDownload Louis Armstrong classroom and student activities 

F) My name is Alfred Nobel and my story is in Amazing Philanthropists (Level 3).
Alfred Nobel videoDownload Alfred Nobel classroom and student activities 

G) I am Julius Caesar. You can read my story in Amazing Leaders (Level 4).
Julius Caesar videoDownload Julius Caesar classroom and student activities 

H) I am Mark Twain and I’m one of the writers in Amazing Writers (Level 4).
Mark Twain videoDownload Mark Twain classroom and student activities 


Images a-h:


Can’t see the image properly? Click on it to display full screen.


Answer Key:

1) D) h)
2) C) a)
3) E) g)
4) A) b)
5) H) f)
6) B) d)
7) F) c)
8) G) e)


Amazing-Women-Level-1--PB Amazing-Entrepreneurs-amp-Business-Peo-PB1 mathematicians_level2 Amazing-Composers-Level-2--PBAmazing-Performers-Level-3--PB Amazing-Philanthropists-Level-3--PB leaders_level4 Amazing-Writers-Level-4--PB

Click on the images to find out more about each Amazing People ELT Reader. The Amazing People ELT Readers have been created in association with The Amazing People Club.


Coming soon – International Students’ Survival Guide

The International Students’ Survival Guide will soon be available in free downloadable chapters released each month. Watch this blog for more details soon.

Find out how to:

  • Prepare before you leave your home country
  • Deal with culture shock on arrival
  • Make friends and get involved in student life
  • Adjust to new ways of teaching and learning
  • Stay safe and well and deal with difficulties
  • Prepare for your return home


Suitable for all international students with specific information on Australia, the UK, and the US. Language is graded to CEF level B2+ / Upper Intermediate with COBUILD definitions of the most difficult words.