Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hi folks!

It's been a while since we posted on this blog. Remember that all of our blog posts have been moved to our official website. The website has been upgraded recently too. Why not check out a few pages here:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Aim for English is a high-quality language training centre in South Jakarta (kursus bahasa inggris jakarta) offering private English classes for individuals, group training programmes for companies and organisations and customised Bahasa Indonesia courses for Expats.

We're different because we create fully tailored courses for each of our students or clients, and only hire the very best native and non-native speaker teachers. Teachers have experience, the right qualifications, and the right personality to ensure that lessons are always interactive, interesting and communication.

So, you'll learn a new language faster at Aim.

Go to Aim's website to find outr more on all of our English and bahasa Indonesia classes, and to get in touch via YM, email or phone. Or just drop in to seer us in Manggarai.

See you soon at Aim!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Things can only get better!

Is unbridled optimism, in business and in politics, a good thing? Or is it a recipe for ultimate failure?

Remember Tony Blair? When he was campaigning for his party in the 1997 UK elections, his campaign theme tune was a pop song called “Things can only get better”

For a while the newly elected Prime Minister Blair made the song look prophetic. Then the Blair government started to make mistakes, the world changed, and eventually his party lost power. 

Barak Obama was elected four years ago on a wave of “Yes we can!” optimism. Then circumstances, recession and political realities got in the way, and his administration ran into difficulty in achieving their goals, both domestically and on the world stage. His re-election against the odds will most likely not improve his chances of real achievement, and certainly he has had to tone-down the “yes we can” optimism of 2008.

The truth is that things can get better, and they can also get worse. Sometimes people or politicians can tip the balance one way or another, but often the force of circumstances can’t be resisted.

It seems to me that any politician who says, in effect, “Vote for me and I’ll make your dreams come true” simply has to be heard with a healthy dose of scepticism. He or she must surely know the limits on what they can do, and the power of external events. But one of the problems of democracy is that getting elected, and running a nation-state well, are really two different kinds of task, and need completely different skills. The truth about politicians is that they are usually much better at getting elected than at actually making dreams come true.

It’s different running a business. Of course you need the leadership skills to get a group of people working together, the technical skills to be effective in a particular industry, the communication skills to deal effectively with customers and shareholders, and so on, and on! But you don’t have to get elected!

No-one ever said that running a business was easy. In fact it isn’t, and the demands on business leaders are immense. But one advantage they have over political leaders is that they can be honest when they don’t know something. If they don’t know what their industry’s economic position is going to be in a year’s time, they can say so. If they see a recession coming they can make plans to cope with it, and explain why. If they are facing strong competition they can analyse it, work out a competitive strategy, and implement their plans without having to tell half truths (at best!) to an electorate in order to hang on to power.

Perhaps their most important advantage over politicians is that they never have to pretend that “things can only get better”. In fact the kind of optimistic thinking that the song title embodies would be positively dangerous for the leader of any business. I am not suggesting that businessmen have to be pessimistic all the time; they would find it hard to inspire their staff if they were always downbeat. What I am advocating is “rational optimism”.

It’s the kind of attitude that says; “It’s tough out there, and getting tougher. Competition is getting stronger, and our market positions are under pressure. So if we are going to stay profitable, we are going to have to change, and this is what I think we have to do.”

So what do rational optimists say about the world economy today? Actually they say that it’s tough, competition is getting stronger, and we are going to have to change the way we do things!

And what is the key area of change that all companies need to focus on? It’s in their people. Their productivity has to grow, so that their cost of operations falls. Their skills have to change as technology changes. Their sales forces have to get into new markets with new products. All of this means that investing and re-investing in skills has to be as important in business planning as investing in new equipment and technology.

That’s where we can help. Kursus Inggris Jakarta We have invested in the best available technology, and in our teachers’ skills, so that our clients can invest with confidence in their people’s language skills. Give us a call to find out how we can help you. 

hi everyone.

it's been a while since we posted on this blog - most of our new content goes straight to the website. However we've seen that lots of people are still coming to this blog. Thanks guys!

There's a lot of new things happenning at Aim. New teachers, a building refurbishment, lots of new materials and teaching resources, and special events. Have a look at kursus Inggris Jakarta for more info!

If you're representing a company, then our business English training pages might be of interest

And now Aim is a proud partner of Navitas, one of the world's biggest an best education providers. For more info about all of the short courses, degree programmes and English courses all over the world, just click here: Navitas Jakarta

See you soon at Aim

Thursday, July 7, 2011

new place to stay

so we've been browsing around the internet for new developments in jakarta, and we found this interesting site for a budget hostel in Jakarta, which is due to open in August/September 2011. They looking for some help developing the hostel, in return for a free bed for the night. Seems like a pretty good deal to me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Hi all,

Aim for English's blog is now an integral part of the website. You'll find all the latest news, articles, thoughts and ideas from Aim at:

The Aim Blog (in English)

The Aim Blog (in Indonesian)

And don't forget to sign up at The Aim for English Forum to get good free advice about the English language, or for a place to just chat and practice your English

see you all soon at Aim for English!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Climate Change

No- not another article about Global Warming! Instead, I’m thinking about one of the great joys of world travel, and that’s the way that the climate changes, as you move from country to country.

Now, I’m English. No people in the world talk about the weather as much as the English. That’s because we have so very much of it. In fact, look at the word I used. Other countries, regions, people talk about “climate”. England has “weather”. “Climate” implies an unchanging, or slowly changing set of conditions. “Weather” implies rapid change, unpredictability.

One reason why Britain, especially England, pioneered short-haul package holidays back in the 1950s was a serious need for sun and warmth for a few uninterrupted days every year. We loved, and still do love to head off to Spain, France, Turkey, or indeed anywhere with “climate”. Anywhere we can guarantee a week or so of uninterrupted warmth and sunshine.

Unfortunately, so great is the demand for holidays in the sun that we British tend to flood en masse to seaside holiday resorts where we spend all our time among other Brits, eating (mostly) British food, and getting (often) badly burned by the sun to which we are (largely) unaccustomed!

The reason why Britain seems to have such an obsession with the sun is easy to see when you look at a map of the world. First, we’re perched out on the western edge of Europe, exposed to the gales of the North Atlantic Ocean. Secondly, look how far north we are. London is in the deep south of England, and sits just above the 51o line of latitude. That’s a lot further north than Hokkaido, Japan’s northern main island, where they get monstrous snowfalls. It’s north of everywhere in the USA. The only reason why Britain doesn’t freeze in winter is that Atlantic currents bring warm water up from the Gulf of Mexico, and the westerly winds blow the warm air over us!

Small wonder, then, that one of the great joys of travel for a Brit is getting off a plane and feeling the heat and humidity of somewhere that enjoys “climate”. The baking dry heat of Egypt, or the moist heat of Indonesia. The exquisite blending of heat, blue sky and blue sea of Greece or Turkey.

We seldom think about what it feels like to make the journey in reverse. What does someone from Asia, for example, think when he or she gets off the plane in London, Amsterdam or Berlin, in winter? The combination of very short days, long nights, cold wind, rain? It must be a real shock to someone whose only real experience of cold is when the shopping mall has the air conditioning turned up too high!

I realise that I have brought day length into the discussion. At a latitude of 51o north we in the UK get 16-17 hours of daylight in mid-summer, and it never really gets very dark.  Winter is different. In December we have daylight from around 9.00am to 4.00pm.

What kind of climate, or weather, to plan for is part of the joy of travel, or maybe is one of the problems of travel, depending on your point of view. Coming from, say, Indonesia to northern Europe I guess the problems would arise mostly in the European winters, where average temperatures drop so much below what Indonesians are used to. Actually the average temperatures even in summer (June, July and August) very rarely indeed get up anywhere near Indonesian levels. And it can always rain. And the rain is cold!

For an Indonesian going to work or study abroad the weather (or climate) has to be one of the things you need to plan for. You’ll need to learn to put lots of layers of clothing on, on the colder days in northern latitudes, maybe also a hat and gloves. You will definitely need heavier shoes than you are used to, and a waterproof/windproof coat for winter. My problem coming to Indonesia is which tee shirts and lightweight trousers to pack!

Whether you are going to northern Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand to stay for a while or just to visit, it’s essential that you think about the climate area you’re visiting, and the general weather over the period of your visit. Get yourself prepared for the changing seasons, the changing temperatures, the different lengths of day and night that you’ll experience.

And if you are fortunate enough to live in Jakarta, don’t forget that there’s a team of people at AIM, in Manggarai who can help you get ready for the weather where you’re going, at the same time as they help you with your English.

belajar bahasa inggris

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How to survive problems at work

Not all work problems are “survivable”; there is, for example, not much you can do if your employer decides that a whole division or speciality has to go, and you are part of it! No matter how good you were, you’re going to lose your job like everyone else. Your only option is to get the best deal you can, and immediately start out searching for your next opportunity.

But there are some issues that might get you fired, or might not. It’s really how you respond to the situation that counts. And your response may count for you, or against you.

Let’s start with mistakes.

Everybody makes mistakes from time to time. Some are serious, some not, and some get found out, while others don’t. The first, most basic, rule is:

1.Don’t ever assume that you won’t get found out!

If you have made a mistake, tell your direct boss. Paradoxically, the bigger the mistake, the more important it is to tell your boss. The essential thing is that your boss finds out from you, and no one else. It’s not essential to go trotting into your boss’s office with trivial things, of course. Just the issues that would cause your boss to get a hard time himself or herself.

The second rule is:

2.Don’t make the same mistake twice.

Learn from your mistakes. It’s even better if you can learn from the mistakes that others make. That involves having an open relationship with your work colleagues so that you all profit from hearing each other discussing the things that you could have done better. That’s not always an easy relationship to create, but it’s worth trying. Either way, write down the thing you want to learn. Put it in your daily diary or “to do” list.

There is one more rule. It’s this:

3.Listen to criticism.

If your boss or anyone else, including colleagues, customers or your subordinates takes the trouble to criticise something you’ve done, thank them! Feedback is always valuable, and the negative stuff is priceless. Write it down. Learn from it. If you think later that you’ve cracked the problem, find out if that’s true. Go back to the person who criticised you and check if they’ve noticed an improvement. If they haven’t, keep trying. Be positive about negative feedback.

Moving on from mistakes, which are decisions you make where you really should have known not to do what you did, there are situations where you are entirely out of your depth. You really don’t know what to do, maybe through lack of experience, or lack of training. This is where you have to call for help. If there is genuinely no time to do that, and you have to react quickly, make your decision then immediately take the time to find out if you did the right thing. As with serious mistakes, it’s much better for your boss to hear it from you rather than from an irate customer, or an article in a newspaper!

One final category of problems which can be career threatening is to do with culture. Some companies have strong corporate cultures that demand certain kinds of behaviour. Perhaps you are expected to “demonstrate your commitment” by working very long hours, or “show your management potential” by treating your subordinates callously. If you find yourself in a corporate culture that really does not suit you, you can either try to change your basic values, or take steps to get out. In the long run you’ll be much better off in a culture that you find compatible. In the short run maybe you have to compromise your values to keep an income rolling in.

A complication in the “culture” category comes from issues of language or national identity. Do you work for a company whose working language is English, but your mother tongue was not? Or is your boss an expatriate from another culture? These are situations almost guaranteed to cause confusion and stress. Different national cultures are likely to emphasise different aspect of problem solving. For example, I have worked for Dutch and German and British companies. My belief is that faced with a similar business issue:

A British boss would want you to solve a problem, then go to him/her and tell them what the problem was, and what you did.
A Dutch boss would want you to consult lots of people in the organisation, and do what the majority advised, then tell him/her what you had done.
A German boss would want you to get lots of advice, then present a summary of the advice to him/her, for them to decide.

All this “culture” stuff, compounded by language and the meanings of different words and phrases can be very confusing. If you are fortunate enough to live in Jakarta and you need personal advice on corporate culture and Jakarta English training, the Aim team is there to help you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Culture Shock (And how to survive it!)

belajar bahasa inggris

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Getting a Good Job (Part 2)

You’ve done it right so far. You have researched the opportunity, produced an excellent CV (or resumé), written a great covering letter, and it has all worked. They want you to come for an interview! Now read on.

The interview is your opportunity to do two equally important things. First, and most obviously, it’s your chance to move the company from an initial interest in you to a real desire to employ you. But secondly it is also your opportunity to assess whether you really want the job. It’s important to remember that the job may not be right for you. If you are out of work and desperate to resume your career it may be very difficult to make a dispassionate assessment, but you should try. Taking a job that isn’t right for you will eventually lead to failure, and you’ll be back where you started having wasted precious time and collected a hard-to-explain negative entry on your CV.

A job interview is a two-way selling process. You naturally want to sell yourself, but the company wants to sell itself. Please keep both these processes in mind throughout the preparations you make for the interview.

Your most important preparation should be a thorough re-examination of your research, and a careful assessment of what your strengths and weaknesses are as a possible holder of the job in question. You should be as realistic as you can, although there may very well be aspects of the job that don’t become clear before the interview, and your assessment will be incomplete.

Your strengths and weaknesses are very important, for two reasons. First, you will naturally want to bring your strengths out at interview, and it’s more likely that you will do so if you have thought about them in advance. But your weaknesses are also important. You use them to assess whether you really want the job. If the job turns out to lean heavily on your weaker areas rather than your strengths, you might find that you don’t enjoy it, and don’t do well at it.

At the interview itself it is unlikely that you will be asked directly about your strengths. The interviewer(s) will assume that you have pointed these out in your CV. However they may well ask you about your weaknesses. It is important that you answer this question honestly, fluently, and without completely ruining your chances of a job offer!

How to achieve these perhaps contradictory aims? Choose your weaknesses carefully! Don’t be negative about yourself. For example, if you don’t have experience of doing the job on offer, say something like;

“This job would be a step up for me. It’s a step I want to take, and I’m ready for it, but you need to be clear that I have not yet done precisely this job”.

Did you notice the key word “yet”?

With your display of honesty and confidence you are partway to converting a weakness (no experience of this job, at this level) into a strength (ambition, confidence, personal development potential).

Unfortunately all interviews are different, and the range of advice that could be given in an article like this is literally infinite. I’ll therefore make only one more observation. In the very specific circumstance that you are about to be interviewed in a language that is not your mother tongue, be aware of a whole range of additional pitfalls that await you.

Language is tricky, and there are very few people indeed who can be interviewed in a foreign language without making errors. You are going to make linguistic mistakes. Wrong words, poor structures, wrong register, cultural mistakes and more all lie in wait for the unwary interviewee. You must practice your interview with a native speaker, not once but several times, before you do it for real. The more important the potential job is for you, the more important is the practice.

If you are fortunate enough to live in Jakarta there is a friendly group of language professionals who can help you with the interview, and much more. Get in touch with AIM- belajar they can’t guarantee your success; in the end that’s up to you. But they can reduce the odds against you!