1. Enjoy truly delicious meals
Ah Italian cuisine! It has become famous around the world. Many of its special delicacies such as ice cream rarely tastes better than when they are bought from shops on Italian streets. Besides that, Florence has specialties to offer than you won’t want to miss.
The famous almond cookies Cantuccini are one of them, first baked in the area around Florence. The traditional dishes of the Tuscan Cuisine, such as the Bistecca alla Fiorentina or La Ribollita are also big hits! It is customary to begin a meal with an Antipasto (starter), then proceed to the Primo and Secondo Piatto (first and second servings), and to finish your culinary experience with a Dolce (sweet dessert) or an Espresso.
And of course one must not forget the wine! Tuscany has a multitude of local wine growers: the well known Chianti originally stems from Florence as well. Let the Tuscan food take you on an adventure of taste to match the beauty of Florence itself.
You’re in luck if you travel to Malta this year! Due to its nomination as the Cultural Capital of 2018, Valletta is preparing a truly extensive program of activities that will run for the entire year. This is an event that you’ll want to experience for yourself!
Nowadays, the European Union elects two cities to hold the title of Cultural Capital for the year, but this was not always the case. Until 2004, the Union actually only elected one city to be the Cultural Capital in the entirety of Europe. In 2018, the Maltese Capital of Valletta and the Dutch city of Leeuwarden share this title. These two cities will be taking over this title from last year’s nominated cultural capitals of Aarhus in Denmark and Paphos in Cyprus. The nomination of cities as Cultural Capitals is meant to spread a greater understanding of the similarities and the diversity of the cultural heritage found in places all around Europe.
Valletta is offering a Cultural Program in 2018 that is set up for this very occasion. In this festive program you’ll find anything from celebrations, concerts, performances art galleries and many more events. We have summarized the most interesting events of the year below. Taking a look through the official program for a more detailed overview of all available activities is definitely worth it.
You can never get enough of H2o? Neither can Bournemouth! There are water activities of all kinds and for all tastes, regardless of whether you enjoy immersing yourself completely in the sea or staying entirely dry while surrounding yourself with beautifully clear blue water. From surfing and jet skis to snorkeling and diving, you name it, Bournemouth has it. These are of course only a few of the water sports that you can take part in whilst staying in Bournemouth. Many more splashing adventures await you when you get there!
If you are not a fan of swim suits, waves and sand beneath your feet, fear not, because you can still enjoy the fascinating sights that a trip underwater could give you without needing to plunge yourself into water or sand. The large Oceanarium is the perfect place for doing just that. During your visit you can discover the lives of countless sea creatures you’ll want to adore and admire within the shimmering water above and all around you.
2. Get blown away by exquisite scenery
If you love art and architecture, it goes without saying that you need to visit Florence. During their lifetime, the rich and famous avant-garde entrepreneur family 'Medici' were patrons of numerous artists, thereby causing Florence to be the birth place of the Italian renaissance. You will still get this very feeling when traversing through the astoundingly picturesque streets of Florence today. In terms of visual art, Michelangelo’s David is only one of the world famous pieces to be found in the city. The Uffizi, one of the most famous art museums in the world and the wonderful Boboli garden are full of treasures that await you.
The program began with the opening week which took place in the week of the 14th to the 12th of 2018. On the 20th of January the official opening ceremony took place in the three most important locations, which are the St. George’s Square, the St. John’s Square and the Castille Square. The cultural program began with music, dances and performances which were performed by many different groups, one of them being the Catalonian theatre group ‘Fura dels Baus’.
Bournemouth might seem like all water and beach, but nature and greenery lovers will not be disappointed. The town’s luxurious gardens remind of exotic plantations and parks with abundant plant life all around. Be surprised by each new corner and turn of the town in which you will stumble upon more and more beautiful green spots to relax and admiring your surroundings in. The English Gardens of Bournemouth are also the perfect location for people who want to capture this gorgeous scenery with their cameras.
If you are interested in seeing nature from an even wilder side, you simply must venture into the New Forest in which you will find not only vast amounts of untouched natural grounds, but also wild horses, free roaming cows and other animals that inhabit the forest. These grounds are rich with wonderful sights behind each bush and tree. Many people who are local to the UK never cease marveling at this large and beautiful piece of land, which is why we recommend that you give it a visit at least once.
3. Discover the origins of the Italian language
If you want to get to know the Italian language, Florence is the right place to do so! The Italian language of today is based on a dialect spoken regionally in Florence in earlier centuries.
The development of modern Italian language was mostly influenced by the authors Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca and Giovanni Boccaccio. All three are commonly referred to as the three crowns (tre corone) of the Italian language, because they used a certain form of the spoken dialect known as the Florentine dialect. Dante’s highly praised ‘Divine Comedy’ (originally ‘Divina Comedia’) was written in a version of this very dialect.
The linguistic unification of Florence with the rest of Italy happened a lot later than the national unification in 1861, however the stepping stones for the contemporary Italian language have been set by the three authors named above. Alessandro Manzoni’s novel ‘The Betrothed’ (originally ‘I Promessi Sposi’) is often seen as the final influence for the shaping of the Florentine dialect as the main way of speaking Italian.
The carnival festivities will continue in February. These festivities take place in the week of the 9th until the 13th of February 2018 in Valletta. There will be several parades with colorful parade floats and decorated vehicles. If you love street-based carnival festivities, you should not miss these parades! Incidentally, carnival is celebrated very extensively on the Maltese islands, which means that you do not have to stay in Valletta if you want to participate in all kinds of celebrations. You may also want to pay Nadur and Gozo a visit where you will be able to join the exciting activities as well.
4. Experience fashion and style in Florence
Are you interested in fashion? One more reason to visit Florence. Milan is well known as a city of Italian fashion, but Florence is on its heels. For instance, the world famous brand Gucci was founded in Florence in 1921 and the company’s headquarters are still located there today. In addition, the men's fashion fair Pitti Immagine Uomo takes place in Florence twice a year.
The main attraction of the Green festival that goes on for three days, is the Carpet made of flowers ‘Infjorata’. This carpet is made of 80 thousand potted flowers and is spread out across the St. Georges Square in Valletta. Additionally, you will be able to get the rare opportunity to view the historic treasures of the city, such as the arch bishop’s 4-hundred-year old palace gardens and the gardens of the Saint Katharina cloister. The Green Festival will last from the 4th until the 6th of May 2018.
5. Dive into the settings of popular productions
You have probably realized it by now: Florence is brimming with history. This very fact has also made it the setting and key location for so many novels, movies and even video games. We’d still be here tomorrow if we named all of the works that were inspired by the world famous Italian city!
Here are a couple of examples to get you in the mood. Florence was chosen as the set location for the new film adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel Inferno. It is the book many are talking about at the moment and what better way to really relate to the intriguing story than to experience where it takes place for yourself first hand.
One part of the vastly popular Assassin’s Creed video game series takes place in Florence, enabling you to see an interpretation of what Florence looked like in the past while playing the game. If you have enjoyed the game, visiting Florence in person is bound to be an exciting adventure that allows you to physically walk through the streets that you may have seen in the game before. If you wish to follow the path of so many creative thinkers and visionaries, then Florence is the place to go in order to get the full feeling and experience of what they must have seen and thought about when they chose Florence to be the setting of their work. Let Florence inspire you and you could even be the next one to come up with a story that touches and moves the masses.
The scenery in Bournemouth can be described as magical to behold. People usually associate magic and fantasy with some of the most famous works of literature in the world, one of them being The Lord of the Rings series of novels. J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of said series, is often considered the father of modern fantasy and fictional creatures common in today’s fantasy works. Something that is not so commonly known about him is that he lived in Bournemouth before he died. Even though Bournemouth is filled with many exciting activities, it once was and still very much is a place that you can very comfortably relax in, which is why Tolkien chose to move to this marvelous town in his later years.
Very much in contrast to the famous author, Andy Summers also lived in Bournemouth. As people know, his life was a lot less quiet, but he too is not necessarily associated with Bournemouth, the way he should. Bournemouth often expressed pride for being the town that Andy Summers grew up in when he was younger. His many awards in the music industry have made him a famous figure around the world and Bournemouth showcases landmarks and locations in which he was active during his time there.
Between the 28th May and the 2nd of June 2018 Valletta transforms into a fashion metropolis. During the fashion week you will see a large gathering of catwalk models, stylists, make-up artists, photographers, bloggers and fashionistas. The fascinating fashion week ends with the Chamilia fashion awards, at which the greatest talents of the country are awarded for their works of the previous year. If you are interested in fashion, the end of May is the perfect time period for traveling to Valletta. You can get an impression of what it will be like in this video from 2017:
Want to enrich your travel experience? Take a look at out our language school in Florence.
Day times are best spent by taking part in the countless activities that Bournemouth has to offer. Try out the entire palette of possibilities by visiting the arcade, the all year ice skating rink and the bouldering, climbing and zip lining companies. These and many more indoor and outdoor activities are available for almost all ages, depending on each company’s specifications.
At night, the clubs and bars open their doors to you and all of your friends, whether they be locals you met during your time there or people you are travelling with. The people in Bournemouth are very friendly and you will not have a hard time getting into conversation with them if you want to get to know the town’s locals. Dance together with old and new friends and have drinks whilst talking about your journey and stories about your experiences in the beautiful city of Bournemouth that you’ll never forget.
On the 7th of June 2018, Valletta’s Grand Harbour will be the location of artistic performances on the water. There will be performances of water games that were especially planned for this occasion as well as boats race planned by the local communities who will be participating on their self-made boats. A swimmers race will also be held on this occasion. For the finale of the evening there will be fireworks and lightshows.
Valletta’s Film Festival will be organized by the Film Grain Foundation and is Malta’s biggest Film event! There will be more than 40 Full length movies and 25 short movies that were filmed in different places in Valletta. This year the film festival will be divided into various theme and subject categories. Some examples of these are documentaries, ‘teens only’ and short movies. The category ‘without borders’ will also be returning to this year’s film festival, which focuses on different regions of the world. In this film festival the region that will be focused on the most is East Asia. In order to turn the film festival into a lively and all-around community friendly event, there will also be masters courses, conferences and debates about various topics on offer.
Malta’s international arts festival unites the most diverse art forms such as theatre, dance and music over a span of two weeks. Whilst there are of course local artists, performers from all around the world also come to present their arts at this festival. Some of the places they come from are Holland, Croatia, Spain and South Africa. The events will partly take place outdoors and partly in the open air in front of the historic scenery of the Fort S. Elmo. The festival will last from the 29th of June until the 14th of July 2018. If you want to get a taste of what it will be like you can check out this summary of the festival highlights from 2017:
The Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival will be taking place in August. The focus of the festival is not only on the Literature of Maltese authors, but also on the work of authors from the entire Mediterranean and beyond. During the festival there will be readings, music, poetry slams, movies and many more events. The dates of this festival are the 23rd to the 25th of August 2018.
The Malta Jazz Festival is organized by Festivals Malta under the instruction of the Arts Council Malta, which collaborates with the judiciary and culture ministry, the local administration and the Valletta foundation 2018. This festival goes on for 3 days and will show its audiences international performers. There will be a lot of exciting events, like on-stage-collaborations, instrumental masters courses and workshops among others.
In line with the European Night of Explorers, Malta’s science and cultural festival returns to Valletta with an unforgettable, free afternoon full of family activities on the 28th of September 2018.
On the 6th of October it will be that time again: Notte Bianca, the so called white night, illuminates the streets of Valletta. In this night all restaurants, museums and churches are open for visitors until very late at night. On top, small street performers will be celebrating in the streets of Valletta and there will be numerous food stands.
Malta’s book festival has over 30 thousand visitors per year and thereby counts as one of the most important festivals of the Mediterranean islands. In 1979, the festival was originally called Malta Book Fair, but its name was then changed to Malta Book Festival in 2013. This festival, which takes place in November, attracts lovers of literature from all over Malta and the rest of the world. The program activities are book presentations, lyric and literature readings, meetings with authors, conferences and seminars. Literature lovers will get the chance to interact with authors and various publishers.
The official ‘Closing Spectacle’ will take place on the 15th of December at the St. George’s Square in Valletta. There will be a lot of music and dancing at this event as well.
We hope that our list of Malta’s cultural activities in 2018 has helped you and that you now know which attractions and events you most want to see. Valletta will only be Europe’s Cultural Capital once and we strongly recommend that you take part in the festivities for this very special occasion while they last.
Next Year’s European Cultural Capitals have already been decided. In 2019 the chosen cities are Matera in Italy and Plowdiw in Bulgaria.
Merry Christmas from our Sprachcaffe Team!
The Sprachcaffe Team wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Can you guess which languages we used in the video?
Joyeux Noël de la part de Sprachcaffe!
Votre équipe Sprachcaffe vous souhaite un joyeux Noël et une bonne année !
Saurez-vous deviner quelles langues sont parlées dans la vidéo ?
Frohe Weihnachten vom Sprachcaffe Team!
Das Sprachcaffe Team wünscht Ihnen frohe Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! Können Sie erraten, welche Sprache welche ist?
Buon Natale dal team Sprachcaffe!
Il Team Sprachcaffe ti augura un Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo! Riesci a indovinare quali lingue abbiamo usato nel video?
Wesołych Świąt życzy Sprachcaffe!
Zespół Sprachcaffe życzy Wesołych Świąt i szczęśliwego Nowego Roku! Czy potrafisz rozpoznać, w jakich językach mówimy na świątecznym filmie?"
Feliz Natal da nossa equipe Sprachcaffe!
A equipe Sprachcaffe deseja a você um Feliz Natal e um próspero Ano Novo! Você sabe quais línguas foram faladas no vídeo?
¡Feliz Navidad del equipo de Sprachcaffe!
¡El Equipo Sprachcaffe les desea una feliz Navidad y un feliz año nuevo! ¿Puedes adivinar en qué idiomas felicitamos la Navidad en el video?
Warner Bros. Studio Tour
At Warner Bros. Studios you get to experience the real sets used for the eight Harry Potter movies. As Harry Potter fans know, the books were still being written by J.K. Rowling after the films had started being produced, so the production crew saved a lot of the iconic sets, props and costumes created for the movies in case they were going to need them again later on in the series. Thankfully for us, Warner Bros. Studio decided to keep the props and costumes after the movies had all been filmed and decided to offer studio tours, allowing Harry Potter enthusiasts to revisit Hogwarts and experience the magic of filmmaking.
a rip-off / to get ripped off
A rip-off is something that is very overpriced, for example a fake Rolex watch being sold at the price of a real one despite being of inferior quality. If someone bought the fake Rolex, only later to realise that it was fake, they could say, “Oh no, I got ripped off!”.
This is another way to say “I should…”
E.g. “I better go buy food before the shop closes”.
can't make it
This phrase simply means “can’t attend”.
E.g. “ I can’t make it to the football match. I’ve already made other plans”.
cheesy / corny
This is used to describe things that are overused, unoriginal and obviously sentimental, especially certain films, music and chat-up lines.
chill / chill out
While “chill” can be used similarly to “hang out”, but not necessarily requiring company, “chill”, “chill out” and “calm down” can also mean to relax after feeling upset, angry or excited. They are often used in the imperative, when someone thinks someone is overreacting.
coulda / shoulda / woulda
Short for “could have” / “should have” / “would have”.
couldn't care less
You can probably work out the meaning of this one. If you really don’t care about a topic and someone asks your opinion, this is the right phrase for you.
doesn't matter / don't mind / don't care
These phrases can be used when you have been asked for your preference between different options, but you really have no preference. They are short for, “I don’t mind”, “I don’t care” and “It doesn’t matter”.
E.g. “Do you want to watch an action movie or a romantic movie?” Response: “Don’t mind”.
Don't worry about it /No worries / No problem
These are informal ways to say “You’re welcome”.
Down to earth
This is a phrase used to describe people who are practical, realistic and not arrogant or overly dramatic.
dude / man
These are informal ways to refer to your friend, especially if male
Short for "don't know".
easy-going / laid back
Two phrases used to describe people who are relaxed and tolerant.
This is an informal phrase used to express that something you have been told is acceptable or understandable.
E.g. “I’m sorry I can’t come to your party, I have a really important exam the next day.” Response: “Oh that’s such a shame! But fair enough.”
to be free
While being free means being able to do what you want or that an item costs nothing, it is also often used to mean having time to do something.
E.g. “Hi dude, are you free tomorrow? Want to play football?”
I get it
This simply means “I understand”.
Go ahead / Go for it
This is an informal phrase used when giving someone permission to do something.
gonna / wanna / gotta
Short for “going to” / “want to” / “got to”.
This is short for "I've got you" and is an informal way to say “I understand".
Although “grab” often means “hold”, people often use it informally to mean “get”.
E.g. “Hey man, want to grab a coffee?”. This person is asking their friend if they want to go out to get a coffee together.
Hey / Hi / Hiya / Yo / What's up? / 'Sup / How's it going? / How you doing?
English speakers rarely say “hello”, and it’s far more common to hear them use one of these greetings in informal situations. The question greetings normally function more as greetings than questions, but it is just as acceptable to answer the question as to simply greet the person in response:
E.g. 1: “How’s it going?”. Response: “Hey. What’s up?”
E.g. 2: “How’s it going?”. Response: “Good thanks. You?”
This phrase simply means “wait”.
to hang out
This means to spend time enjoying yourself with other people in your spare time. E.g. “Mum, I’m going to hang out with my friends today”.
This question often confuses non-native speakers when they are first asked it, but it is simply another way of asking “why?“. Keep it in mind though, as English speakers use it very often.
Although afraid normally means the same as “scared”, it is often also used to mean “I’m sorry but…”.
E.g. “I’m afraid the tickets are already sold out for the show today. You will have to try again tomorrow”.
It's up to you
When you are with someone else and you or they have a decision to make, and you want to express that they can make the decision, just say “It’s up to you”.
E.g. “Shall we order Chinese or Indian food tonight?” Response: “It’s up to you”.
Long time, no see
This is what you say to someone when you see them for the first time after having not seen them for a long time (i.e. at least a few weeks)
Make yourself at home
A phrase used when welcoming people into your home and trying to make them feel comfortable.
may as well / might as well
These phrases are used to agree to do something reluctantly when no better option seems available or when the something is seen as an inevitability.
E.g. 1: “I know he’s not our best friend, but there’s nothing else going on tonight. Shall we just go to his party?” Response: “Yeah, might as well”.
E.g. 2: “As it’s raining, shall we just clean the house now so we don’t have to do it when the weather is nice?” Response: “Yeah, might as well”.
This means “my mistake”.
not my thing
Used to express that something is not what you like or are interested in.
This is also an exclamation of surprise, but is common among all English speakers.
Speak of the devil!
When people are talking about someone else, and the person who is being talked about arrives, one of those talking can say “speak of the devil” to express that the person who just arrived was just the subject of their conversation.
Take care / Take it easy
These are both friendly and informal ways to say “good bye”.
To be up for...
Very common phrase when organising plans in your spare time. Being up for something simply means wanting to do something. E.g. “Hi James, are you up for playing football today”. Response: “Yeah, I’m up for that”.
What are you up to?
This phrase simply means “What are you doing?”, and is mainly used in informal situations.
E.g. “What are you up to later? Do you want to go to the cinema?”
What do you do?
This is short for “What do you do for a living?”, which simply means “What is your job?”. This is a very important one to remember, as native English speakers often ask this question the first time they meet somebody.
Whatever has a few different meanings:
- It can be used in the same way as “any” or “no matter what”. E.g. “I’m going to go to the park whatever the weather”
- You’re probably more likely to hear it used as a response to express that you don’t fully believe what someone has just told you. E.g. “I promise, it wasn’t me who broke your CD”. Response: “Whatever”.
Whatshisface / Whatsherface
These are very useful terms for when you want to mention someone but you can’t remember their name. If it’s a male, simply use “whatshisface” in place of his name, and if it’s a female use “whatsherface”.
"Yeah" instead of "Yes"
This one is very important. Although yes is the word most people are taught in their English lessons, outside a few formal situations it is almost always more appropriate to say “yeah” as “yes” makes you sound more irritable. Therefore, “yes” is mostly used when someone feels impatient, sad, angry, argumentative or generally in a bad mood.
Google’s Augmented Reality Tech
We’ve all heard of and used Google Translate, right? However, this tool is not only used to translate texts, but also images. A few months ago, an extended version of Google Translate was launched that’s able to translate 27 languages into simple sentences. It’s a great advantage for anyone visiting exotic countries with different languages and alphabets. There’s no need to have mobile data and you’ll be able to learn new vocabulary at the same time, while in a completely new country. Google’s Augmented Reality Tech is here to stay.
1. Personal and professional development
The first reason to take a language trip is obviously to learn a new language.
Languages can help you in every situation of your life: If you are looking for a job, you can impress with your conversational skills, you can read international research papers while at Uni, you’ll be able to understand the restaurant’s menu on your holidays abroad and you’ll be perfectly prepared to work with international colleagues. The more languages you speak – the easier it becomes for you to live your life. Moreover, a new research has also shown that learning a language is a great training for your brain. Only good thing are coming your way!
King’s Cross & Platform 9 ¾
The most memorable London location of all may well be platform 9¾ in King’s Cross station. While there are only train tracks between platforms 9 and 10, fans can find the sign to platform 9¾ on the wall at the back of the main concourse, where the back half of a trolley protrudes from the wall. What most fans don’t know is that J.K. Rowling actually confused King’s Cross station with another station, because in reality there is no wall between platforms 9 and 10. For the movies, the wall between platforms 4 and 5 has been used. A small Harry Potter Shop has been set up close to the original filming location, selling Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Beans.
2. A pleasant way to learn
Motivation is very important while learning. At school, a lot of students tend to see classes more as a burden than fun, they might sometimes struggle to learn a new language and fail to see language learning as a chance.
A language trip on the other hand offers a great atmosphere for learning. Because it combines lessons with holidays, there will be time for you to relax! Having fun makes learning easier.
Reptile House at London Zoo
You all remember when Harry had his first encounter with a snake in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, don’t you? Well London Zoo certainly remembers the scene, because it was filmed in their very own Reptile House. Although Harry is seen speaking to a Burmese python, the enclosure used in the scene is actually home to a black mamba. There is now a plaque next to the snake enclosure commemorating the event. The Reptile House was built in 1926 and was considered one of the most sophisticated buildings of its type at the time. Whether you’re a Harry Potter freak or not, London Zoo is a great place to visit, with an incredible 752 animal species (as of 2011).
Here are some everyday expressions that are used so abundantly in the USA, it's hard to believe they haven't caught on across the pond:
The American meaning to spend time doing unimportant things instead of what you should be doing, or to take excessive time getting ready to go somewhere.
E.g. “Stop dillydallying, we need to be at the airport in half an hour”.
Don't mention it
An informal American phrase meaning “You’re welcome”.
to be down
While being down can mean to be sad, in America it is often also used in the same way as “to be up for something”. E.g. “You down to go to the party tonight?” Response: “Yeah I’m down”.
An American term for “stuff”. Note: the “K”s are silent.
Knock it off / Quit it
Informal American phrases meaning “Stop it”, used when telling someone to stop doing something, especially if it is something that annoys you. Note: the “K” is silent.
American word used to describe:
- people who are dishonest/unreliable;
- things, especially places, that are potentially dangerous;
- things that are of low quality.
American term meaning “very tired”.
Instant Translation from The Pilot
In our highly connected world, language barriers will soon be a thing of the past thanks to Waverly Labs’ new technology. The Pilot, as they have named their futuristic earpiece, currently only translates between English, French, Spanish and Italian instantaneously, but the company wants to add a further 15 languages before 2018. We have already seen incredible technological advancements getting smaller and smaller in the famous smart watch, but nothing that’s come before compares to the capabilities of the Pilot.
3. See more of the world
A language trip is a great way to explore a bit of the world. You can travel to big metropoles like London, New York and Toronto or discover the island of Malta, relax on Malaga’s beaches or wander in the south of France. And if you really want to get out of your comfort zone and discover something completely different, you can also travel to exciting new places like Havana, Cuba to learn Spanish or visit Peking and learn Chinese.
Harry Potter in the Theatre
When in London, you better remember to check if there’s a chance to catch a performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eight part of the saga, live in the Palace Theatre. The story begins nineteen years after the events of the previous book. It follows a 37 year old Harry Potter, now a Ministry of Magic employee, and his youngest son Albus Severus Potter, who is about to begin his schooling at Hogwarts. The audience gets a glimpse of what happened to our beloved characters and also introduces some exciting new ones. You should buy your tickets as early as possible though since they quickly sell out. Should you decide to go and see the play, you should keep in mind that it’s a two-part stage play, which takes place on two consecutive days.
4. Make new friends from all around the globe
Travelling abroad and communicating with locals or other students like you also means that you’ll meet all sorts of new people from all around the world. You’ll find that making friends in your class is indeed very easy: all of you are new and don’t really master the language so you’ll help each other out and bond through a similar learning experience. And despite of the short amount of time students spend together, they often keep in touch and visit each other long after their language trip!
House of MinaLima
At 26 Greek Street, Soho, the two designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima present a beautiful exhibition of the graphic art by MinaLima from the Harry Potter films. You’ll see lots of “Have you seen this wizard?” posters from Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban as well as Hogwarts Express Tickets, the Marauder's Map and Harry Potter’s very own Hogwarts letter! A little shop on the ground floor gives you the opportunity to buy small souvenirs from the Harry Potter universe for friends and family. On special days there is even the opportunity to meet the two designers themselves and ask them questions. You can find the exact dates on the MinaLima Website or on their Facebook page.
And some frequently used British words that you definitely won't hear in the States:
This is short for “a cup of tea”.
This British greeting is another way to say “Hello”. It comes from the question, “Are you alright?”, but is not normally intended as a question unless part of the longer versions, “You alright?”, or, “Are you alright?”
And Bob's your uncle!
This phrase might sound strange, but it is used often in the UK. The meaning is very similar to the French “et voilà!”, meaning “and there you have it!”. It is mostly used after giving explanations or instructions that are relatively simple. E.g. “To get to Big Ben, just keep walking along the river, turn right, cross the bridge and Bob’s your uncle – you’re there!”
I can't be bothered
A British phrase to express that you do not have the motivation to do something.
This is the most common thing to say when clinking glasses of alcohol in the entire English-speaking world. However, “Cheers” is also a very common way of saying “Thanks” in the UK.
Crikey / Blimey !
These are both very British words that you definitely won’t hear in the USA. They are different exclamations of surprise, shock or amazement, like “Oh my God!” and ”Wow!”.
A British word used to describe:
- people who are dishonest/unreliable;
- things, especially places, that are potentially dangerous;
- things that are of low quality.
to faff (around / about)
A British phrase meaning to spend time doing unimportant things instead of what you should be doing, or to take excessive time getting ready to go somewhere.
E.g. “Stop faffing around, we need to be at the airport in half an hour”.
Another British word for “disappointed”, but “gutted” can also be used as a response when someone tells of something unlucky or disappointing that happened to them or someone else.
British term meaning “very tired”. Be careful, the “k” is silent.
A British word with the same meaning as “dude” and “man”.
A more informal way to say “thanks” in the UK.
Although the meaning seems obvious, “not bad” is often used in the UK to mean “good”, and is seen as quite a positive opinion of something. However, in the USA, “not bad” is considered slightly negative, as its translation in many other countries would be.
not bothered / not fussed
Two British phrases that mean the same as “Don’t mind”, “Don’t care” and “Doesn’t matter”.
not my cup of tea
Used in the UK to express that something is not what you like or are interested in.
A common British slang term meaning “crazy”. It is used to refer to people’s mental states but, like crazy, can also be used to describe things that are extremely impressive, incredible, risky, or tragic. Therefore, it can be used in both positive and negative contexts.
Positive example: “Did you see that amazing goal Messi scored the other day?” Response: “Yeah! That was nuts!”
under the weather
A British expression meaning “sick” or “ill”.
Thanks for your attention! If you know any other expressions or typical English words that you want to share with us, visit our Sprachcaffe Facebook Site and comment under the post for this article! See you later!
One of the most recent creations in online marketing is the chat bot, artificial intelligent robots designed to communicate with users and find the information faster than any real person could. Duolingo is starting a big project using the same technology and the results are impressive to say the least. It’s one of the most downloaded apps in Google (check out some other great language-learning apps here). Duolingo uses a predictive text to correct your responses within the app, depending on what you write or say in the conversation. For now, there are three different bots to interact with: Chef Roberto and his restaurant, Renée the taxi driver and Ada the police officer.
5. Get to know a new culture
Travelling abroad will inevitably make you discover not only a new language but another culture as well. Your respect and tolerance will improve through a better understanding for other people’s lifestyle and life choices. While living abroad, you’ll interact with the locals and learn about their culture, but in class, you will be also surrounded by lots of different cultures from the different classmates.
Harry Potter Tours
There are also less famous locations from the Harry Potter films to be found in the ancient heart of London. The curved entrance to the Leaky Cauldron can be found at 42 Bull’s Head Passage, and just around the corner is the splendid Leadenhall Market, where Diagon Alley was filmed. The charming building was built in the Victorian era. Discover all these places by booking a guided Harry Potter Tour.
Conversations with Siri and Cortana
Perhaps this is not an invention for learning languages, since it wasn’t made with language learning in mind, however it’s on this list because of the way we use the available tech rather than the invention itself. Many smartphone users argue about who’s the best personal assistant: Siri or Cortana? So, why not try to maintain a conversation with both of them? Change their language and ask for information on anything you’re curious about, places, history etc., and you’ll realize each conversation takes on a life of its own.
6. Find yourself
A language trip is a very personal experience. As found out in our language sustainability study, people usually travel alone on a language trip. Meaning that you’ll be completely isolated from your usual surroundings and will experience, a new language, new people and a new culture. Leaving your comfort zone and everything you know helps you discover yourself and often brings the language learners to question their own self and world view. How much of your character is actually you and how much has been influenced by the society you grew up in? Spending some time abroad through a language trip can offer you a broader view of world.
7. Become more confident/independent
Trying to communicate in a foreign language will be challenging, but it will be a good training for you to step up your game and become more and more confident with daily task like grocery shopping or buying stamps at the post. These experiences will make you more independent on your travel.
Talk to your Personal Robotic Assistant
Maybe having a conversation wasn’t the main function envisioned by robot engineers, but many robots have been developed over recent years that we can interact with. If in the near future you have a humanoid robot at home, you’ll most likely be able to practise foreign languages with it, whether English, Japanese Portuguese or something else. You’ll be able to practice while doing everyday activities like eating breakfast and cooking dinner. Nowadays, this tech is only available for a small percentage of the population, but it’s never too early to think about the future. It would be a fantastic way to learn new vocabulary, grammar and entire languages.
8. Learn to appreciate your own language
One does not often reflect much about their own language, but translating, learning vocabulary and grammar will get you automatically comparing it with the new one you are learning. You notice how nicely resourceful your own mother tongue is: each language has untranslatable words that express something very particular.The German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said „Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen.“ (Those who don’t know other languages, don’t know their own.“)
At the end of your language course you will get a certificate which will declare the language level you have achieved according to European standards. This will be a written official proof of the skills you have learnt. It will be very valuable and useful to you when sending your resume around for job applications.
10. New skills
While going on a language trip, you’ll also be able to participate in many different activities like water sports in South France or Spain, cooking classes in Malaga or Rabat, various other skills and or daytrips. Maybe while doing so you might actually discover a new hobby! If not we can at least guarantee you that you will have fun!
So, that’s it! Those are the current weirdest and most futuristic inventions for learning languages’, but we’ll keep updating the article as soon as new inventions come to our attention. But don’t forget learning languages is also about the experience, and nothing could replace the feeling of travelling around the world, immersing yourself in a new destination and meeting and socialising with locals.
Learning a new language nowadays is much easier than it was before. First, there was the Internet; and then everything that comes with it: computers, phones, tablets, etc. The possibilities to learn a new language are endless! Having a positive attitude will take you far.
“Learning a new language is too expensive”
The good thing with those mobile Apps is that they are FREE. A simple download on your phone and off you go! You have access to everything you need to learn the language you want!
“I don’t have time to learn a new language”
There are different ways to “find time” in your everyday life: you take the tram or underground in the morning and in the evening? You always have to wait at the doctor’s? You are queuing for your administrative papers? Your partner is late for your date at the restaurant? Mobile Apps give you the opportunity to practice your language EVERYWHERE and EVERYTIME you want it.
We collected for you 5 Apps to learn languages online. Each one of them offers something special so that you will find the App that is made for you! You can download them all online for free.
Check them out now !
Pronunciation is particularly important when learning a new language. This is especially true for Italian, as the correct or incorrect pronunciation of certain words (e.g., "gnocchi") quickly reveals what your language level is. So, how can you improve your pronunciation? The best way is to listen. Be it Italian radio or television, listening will teach you a lot. Some useful links are listed below:
TuneIn Radio: This great website allows you to listen to radio stations from all around the world. Tune in to different stations until your find one that's not too hard to follow.
BBC Italian: A variety of free exercises for beginner and advanced learners.
Podclub: On this website you can listen in to Italian podcasts. The written dialogue is written next to each video so you can read along if the conversation is too fast for you to keep up with.
Eurocultura arranges internships with different companies in the city of Vicenza, Italy, for approximately 250 interns each year. Applicants are matched with companies based on their professional skills and expectations. As well as internships, Eurocultura organises accommodation, cultural programmes and an Italian Language and Culture course for participants, making this the perfect opportunity for anyone looking to improve their Italian skills while working in Italy.
Duolingo is a fun app. You have several different lessons, all corresponding to different levels. Each lesson brings you new words and ask you to write, listen to words, or select correct answers. Pictures are also included when introduced to a new word.
Every success make you win ingots with which you can "buy" options like timing an exercise or being given a quiz to test your level.
Italy Made Easy: Manu is Itlaian and his passion is helping others learn and understand his mother tongue. On his channel he's created a playlist called "From Zero to Italian" for beginners, as well as the series "Italian Accelerator" for advanced learners. His videos also include travel tips for Italy and vlog posts about everyday life. All videos have subtitles.
Sprachcaffe can help you organise a work/internship/volunteer placement abroad, beginning with an in-country language course to get your language to the right level before your work begins.
Work in media, childcare, IT, arts & culture, event management, NGOs, marketing, social work, sports & leisure, tourism, environment, animal welfare or a Sprachcaffe school.
Language course: min. 8 weeks
Destinations: USA, Canada, UK, Europe
Download Duolingo on your phone:
Awaken the cowboy within you and discover authentic ranch life in the USA or Canada. You’ll stay with an extremely welcoming farming family, ensuring your English or French improves tremendously, whether you’re on a horse ranch, cattle ranch, alpaca farm, orchard or any other type of ranch.
Language course: min. 8 weeks
Destinations: USA, Canada
For the really adventurous, you could even dedicate yourself to panda conservation in China! Everybody loves pandas, and this is your chance to get up close and become an expert in one of the most endangered and lovable animals on Earth. And all while becoming fluent in Chinese!
Language course: min. 8 weeks
Memrise, as its name reveals it, is an app helping you memorise words and sentences. You will work quite a lot on repetitions, either by choosing the right answer or by writing. At the end of each session, you will get a list showing you which words you learnt quite well and which one were more difficult for you according to your answers and also to you rapidity! You don't want to lose time with Memrise...
Every Sunday and Thursday, Lucrezia uploads a new video to her channel Learn Italian with Lucrezia. She puts the smaller details of the Italian language under the microscope and explains the differences between similar words. So this is for you if you have trouble deciding when to use "bello" and when to use "buono". As with Italy Made Easy, Lucrezia's videos are divided into different playlists. In addition to the playlist for beginners, you will also find a playlist of Vlogs and stories of everyday Italian life. Lucrezia won us over easily with her friendly nature.
Summer Camp Counsellor
Summer Camps, which are prevalent in the USA, Canada and France, are supervised programmes for children or teenagers, which usually focus on specialised activities and skills. For example, there are camps for performing arts, music, outdoor activities and sports, children with special needs and many more. Being a summer camp counsellor involves leading activities you’ve highlighted in your application and supervising campers as they move between activities. If you’re energetic and love having fun, you’ll enjoy being a summer camp counsellor as your time will be filled with lively and rewarding experiences.
Download Memrise on your phone:
Like a summer camp counsellor, but even better. As a Sprachcaffe Teamer, you get to be a group leader, local guide, best friend, big brother/sister and guardian all at once. What’s more, you’ll be surrounded by people who are also there to improve their skills in the local language, so you’ll get constant practice, whether its English in England or Malta, French in France or German in Germany. Teamers receive €140 per week, and this goes up to €165 for experienced Teamers. On top of that, your travel to and from the destination, your accommodation and your food will all be paid for by Sprachcaffe. You can choose to work for anywhere between 3 weeks and 3 months, any time between March and November each year.
Improving your language skills is fun when you have someone interesting to chat with! 2 million Tandem partners worldwide help each other reach their language goals. They use instant messaging, voice clips, pictures and video chats to communicate, while enjoying smart messaging features like in-app translation and correction. For extra help, there are certified tutors on hand for some more intensive one-to-one lessons.
ItalianPod101 is a Youtube channel that complements the website of the same name. The channel is run by a group of different people who upload videos with widely varying themes. Many of the videos also relate directly to everyday life, so there are not only classic learning videos, but also videos on subjects like "the most used Italian break-up lines" and the "top 10 phrases that you must learn in order to fascinate native speakers"..
Chalet Host in the Alps
Just as in winter, people also flock to the mountains in summer to go mountain biking, hiking, climbing and much more. If you love entertaining, working as a chalet host for a couple of months could be the perfect experience for you. All you need to do is keep the chalet clean, be welcoming and sociable and in some cases cook. The rest of the time you get to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature, while perfecting your French, German or Italian, depending on which part of the Alps you are in.
Download Tandem on your phone:
If you simply can’t wait until winter to get back onto the ski slopes, then there is another option. New Zealand and Australia also have great winter sports resorts, fantastic for both ski and snowboard enthusiasts... and since they are in the southern hemisphere, their winter is at the same time as our summer. So why not spend the ski season on the other side of the world, sharing your passion for skiing or snowboarding, hitting the slopes every day and taking your English skills to new heights along the way?
This app is a word game app. It could be described as a kind of dictionary: a word is given as a flash card and you need to find the correct definition. You also have the possibility to hear words and repeat them out loud. The app is supposed to be designed for words lovers who enjoy such games as Scrabble, Crosswords or even Hangman. It is mainly thought to enlarge your vocabulary.
These two youtubers hold their Italian lessons entirely in Italian, so they're videos aren't suitable for beginners. But for those who can already understand Italian, these channels are perfect for improving your pronunciation and grammar.
Sgrammaticando was originally conceived as a Youtube channel for Italians who wanted to learn more about the grammar of their own language. When more and more non Italians started visiting the channel, Youtuber Fiorella began adapting her videos to an international audience.
Water Sports Instructor
If you’re more of a beach bum than a snow rat, and you’re particularly well-versed in a specific water sport, whether it be sailing, windsurfing, surfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding or something else, you could land yourself a summer job as an instructor at a seaside holiday resort. The Mediterranean coastlines of Spain, France, Italy and several other countries offer tons of holiday resorts and water sports courses, with great conditions for sailing and waterskiing. For surfing it’s better to head to the Atlantic coastlines of the UK, France and Portugal, or venture further afield to Morocco, the USA or one of the many other surfing hotspots the world has to offer.
Download PowerVocab on your phone:
While people volunteer all over the world, the regions of Central and South America, Africa and South Asia have a particularly large number of volunteering opportunities, often requiring minimal previous experience. Combine service, adventure and education while improving your language skills, particularly if the language you’re learning is Spanish, French or English.
From Mexico all the way down to Chile’s southern tip, the vast majority of countries have Spanish as their main language. The most popular countries among volunteers include Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.
For anyone looking to improve their French while volunteering abroad, Africa is the place to be. French is an official language in many African countries and spoken by a large proportion of the population in Madagascar, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo, Senegal, Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros.
Africa also hosts a great many English-speaking volunteers in countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya. Two popular non-African volunteering destinations where English is spoken are Jamaica and India.
Needless to say, most of these destinations also have other local languages that date back long before European languages became so widespread. If you give the local indigenous language a shot, you’re sure to impress the locals. Widely spoken languages include Hindi and Punjabi (India), Yoruba and Igbo (Nigeria), Hausa (Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Togo) and Swahili (Kenya), among many more.
Here are a few of the most respected volunteering organisations:
With Rocket Languages, you will be able to practice the language. The exercices make you repeat and record yourself and you have access to several audio lessons. You can even download them directly on your phone to work later if you want.
Note that with Rocket Languages, only full members have access to a complete module, which means you will have to pay to listen to everything.
Oneworlditaliano. Veronica is an Italian teacher who has also been uploading videos to help those learning Italian since 2008.
Embark on an international internships, gap year experience, volunteer trip or high school/group volunteering programme in Costa Rica, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Peru, Tanzania or Thailand. Internships are available in the areas of global health, social work, and economic development.
GVI arranges volunteer and internship trips in Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America in countries like Mexico, Fiji, South Africa, Seychelles, and Thailand. Internships vary in length from 6 to 24 weeks and are arranged on a case-by-case basis.
This organisation describes itself as the “Intercultural Center of Latin America” and facilitates volunteer and internship placements in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Perú. Maximo Nivel partners with local hospitals, schools, and other community organisations where interns work for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Tailor-made international internships, volunteer projects, and study abroad opportunities in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, and Shanghai. You can focus on a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, human rights, social work, and much more, depending on your interests and background.
Projects Abroad operates placements in over twenty-five countries in all kinds of specialties, from medicine and healthcare to journalism to advocacy and human rights. Internship timelines vary and can start on any date, depending on the availability of the program, but typically last from four to twelve weeks.
Download Rocket Languages on your phone:
WWOOF offers a very different volunteering experience, with opportunities all over the world, and not just in developing countries. As a volunteer (or WWOOFer as they are known) you live alongside and receive meals from your host and, in return, you help with daily tasks and get to experience life as a farmer.
Opportunities are incredibly diverse, from working on husky farms in Finland, to picking fruit in Australia. With opportunities in every continent except Antarctica, you won‘t have trouble finding an opportunity to improve whatever language you want to work on.
Using mobile Apps as tools
Note that those mobile apps will help you learn a basic language and useful vocabulary, but do not expect to become completely fluent in the language you are learning. Learning a new language is, above all, learning how to communicate with people. Using mobile apps to learn a language will help you get into the language, discover its pronunciation and grammar, but there are limits to such tools.
Never forget that a language is supposed to be spoken, or at least help you talk to other people to have a conversation. Do not fall too much into the online world but instead explore the world or at least use the languages you know all the time in your "real life"! Listen to music in the langue you like, watch movies in O.V, find native partners to talk to, go abroad and travel to a place where the language is spoken, and so on.
But as a start, go and discover those magical tools !
Mobile apps are a new method of language acquisition. They enable you to learn languages from anywhere: be it on the train to work, in the doctor's waiting room or at home on the sofa. Here are a few incredibly practical apps:
On the free app, Duolingo, you can learn Italian through quick games and lessons. The app reminds you to continue learning daily. The app gives equal attention to training your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.
Memrise: This app was created by experts in the field of brain research and guarantees that you will not forget any new words learnt through the app. See for yourself how quickly you can learn new vocabulary with this app!
If you are willing to spend a little bit of money, you should check out Babbel. It is similar to Duoingo and Memrise, but you just have to pay a small amount.
A similar concept to WWOOF, but also offering opportunities to help out at non-organic farms, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers' hostels and even sailing boats. You could end up helping a family decorate their new home in Paris, working at the reception of a lively backpackers’ hostel in Argentina or building an eco-lodge in the rainforest of Nicaragua.
Blogs offer an exciting and often funny alternative to regular newspaper articles. Here are 4 blogs that are sure to help you reach the next level in your Italian learning journey:
How do the months of the year sound in Italian and what about numbers? You'll find answers to that and much more on The Italian Experiment.
Ilearnitalian.net: This blog includes loads of exercises for you to take part in. It is arranged into 3 categories: "Blog"; "Grammar Lessons"; and "Songs". The "Songs" section provides a long list of Italian songs, handpicked to help those learning the language.
On the blog, Italianoautomatico, Alberto lists tips for learnign Italian. His treasure trove of pointers includes book and video recommendations, as well as his own podcast.
Italianeveryday: This Tumblr account aims to teach people a new Italian word every day.
Look up new vocab in dictionaries
Read books in Italian
Children's books are particularly suited to beginners of and language, as the text is almost always written in a simpe form. On The Italian Experiment you can read fairy tales in Italian, such as "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Three Litte Pigs".
For a few more book suggestions for learners of different abilites, take a look at this list of Enjoyable Books for Practicing Italian.
How good is your Italian? Find out by taking our Italian test.
Do you have any other websites, blogs, YouTube channels or podcasts to suggest that we missed? If yes, please write to us on Facebook or Twitter so we can make our list even better.
The Italians are known not only for the zeal of their spoken language, but also for their animated gesticulation, which expresses so much more than you might think! If you want to know what these hand gestures mean, check out the very informative video below. Enjoy!
Click on each word for details!
Everyone has a different style of learning, so we've compiled a very diverse list of resources for you to take advantage of. Try out the different websites, blogs, podcasts, videos and much more. Whether you learn best by seeing, hearing, reading, writing or doing, you'll find enough activities in this list to keep you entertained and to stoke your interest in the French langauge.
Listen to French
Listening to podcasts, radio, songs and poetry recordings is a great way of getting accustomed to the rhythm, pronunciation and intonation of spoken French:
Podcast Français Facile: A website with a wide range of activities to improve your French, including recordings of everyday conversations and poetry.
The French Podcast: Podcast recordings for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners with a focus on natural sounding situations.
News in Slow French: Does what it says on the tin. Current news topics presented at a slower pace than normal, with separate sections for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners.
TuneIn Radio: This is a great app which enables you to listen to radio stations from all around the world.
French Songs to Help You Learn French Faster: Polyglot and blogger Benny Lewis lists what he believes to be the best French language songs for learning French
French Poem Readings: Recordings of classic French poems, with the written version and translation underneath and additional information on the backgrounds of the poems and the poets.
oh là là !
Contrary to how people use it in countries other than France, this phrase is generally used when something wrong or very exciting has happened. It's basically an expression of shock or extreme happiness. The sexual innuendo often associated with "oh là là" is not common in France.
This is the common phrase used by everyone to say "nice to meet you" in French.
Who hasn't heard the French word "voilà"? By itself, "voilà" can mean "exactly" or "here it is". It really depends on the context! You can also say "voilà" to introduce someone: "Voilà Jean, mon meilleur ami".
You know the feeling when looking for a simple word that just doesn't come to mind when you need it? Well, when this happens to French people, they replace the word they are looking for with "truc" or "machin": "où est le truc de ta soeur?" - "where is your sister's thing?". You could also use these words to refer to someone, but this would be very disrespectful and indicates that you do not like the person.
If you spend some time in France, you have to get used to this one! Instead of "oui" (yes), it's not uncommon for French people to say "ouais" (pronounced "wey"). However, children are often taught by their parents not to say it!
This is a simple phrase to express surprise about what someone has just told you. It could be translated as "oh, really?".
This is also a very common word in French. Apart from its literal translation "at last", you can find it in different expressions like "enfin bon" (anyway), "enfin tu vois" (well, you see).
à tout à l'heure / à toute' !
Although "à plus tard !" would be the literal meaning of "see you later", you might want to learn the other common phrase "à tout à l'heure !". And if you want to sound even more French, try the shorter version "à toute' ! "
Take advantage of Apps
There are also a lot of apps out there dedicated to helping you reach a high level of language proficiency step by step. Here are our two favorites:
Duolingo: Duolingo is extremely popular because it's so effective! This free app improves your language skills every day with games, questions and complete lessons, through which you'll strengthen your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.
Memrise: Memrise is another free app. Developed with the expertise of memory scientists, memrise ensures that every new word sticks in your mind and is never forgotten. You'll be amazed how quickly you pick up new vocab with this incredible app!
You're guaranteed to come across these French expressions in France:
N'importe quoi !
With this phrase, you want to tell the person you are speaking to that he/she is talking nonsense. Commonly used as "Tu racontes n'importe quoi !" - "You are talking nonsense!", or simply as an interjection.
Literally "let it fall". French people use it to tell somebody to give up or to simply say "nevermind".
"Bref" would be the translation of "anyway". Generally used to cut the conversation of a particular topic short and point out you do not want to talk about that topic anymore.
Comme d'habitude / Comme d'hab'
Literally "as usual". However, note the common use "Comme d'hab' " very often heard spoken by French people!
Although "okay" is also quite common in French, you will more often hear people say "d'accord". Note the longer version "je suis d'accord" to say "I agree".
C'est clair !
This French expression is used to approve of somebody's saying.
Literally "in a square way"... French people say it either to agree with something, like "totally" or "definitely" or as an adverb to say "very". In this case, if you really like something you would say "c'est carrément bien!"
Blogs & Websites
Comme une française - Géraldine's tremendous knowledge of the French and English languages means anyone who finds her blog will find it hard to leave!
Français Immersion - Thomas' blog and French classes are perfect for beginner and intermediate learners looking for clearly structured and fun grammatical lessons taught 100% in French.
French Crazy - This blog not only has great tips for improving your French, but also a number of guides to help you orientate yourself with different aspects of everyday life and culture in France.
Love Learning Languages - Articles and French language videos to help you learn French in a simple way.
Talk in French - Fun and easy lessons on French language and culture.
I Learn French - Tons of interesting and useful content to keep you fascinated in the French language and culture. Regular features include 'Wordsmith Wednesday' and 'French Food Fight Friday'.
Oui, c’est ça - Eclectic posts on culture, vocabulary, songs, news and grammar for French learners of all levels
French Today - A broad array of posts covering everything to do with the French language and life in France.
Speak French Fluently - As the title suggests, this blog is not only about being good at French, but learning to speak fluently. Great tips andunique content.
French Together - Fun and funny posts to keep you entertained while focussing on essential lessons in the French language.
Nathalie FLE - A great blog for learning French. But be careful, everything is in French so you'll only benefit from this if you have at least lower intermediate level French.
Réseaux FLE Éducation Langues - Another blog written in French. This one suggests entertaining ways to improve your French.
Merci for your attention! If you know other expressions or typical French words that you want to share with us, visit our Sprachcaffe Facebook Site and comment under the post for this article! Au revoir et à bientôt!
Learn French on YouTube
Another way to improve your level is by using useful YouTube channels. There are hundreds of people you can follow but we are especially impressed by these five great vloggers. They find fun ways to help you learn French. Pretty good, right?
Read Online Magazines and Newspapers
A classic way to learn a language due to the high quality of journalists’ writing. Reading news written in a formal and sophisticated register is a very good way of improving your level, learning some new idioms and discovering some amazing vocabulary. Usual topics like society and sports are simpler than politics, but it generally depends on your level.
Le journal des enfants: French weekly newspaper aimed at French-speaking children aged 8-14, so the content is perfect for beginner and lower intermediate French learners.
1jour1actu: Great news website which publishes one news story every work day. Uses basic French, so perfect for beginner and lower intermediate learners.
Le Monde: One of the most respected newspapers in the world, Le Monde is essential reading to get in-depth analysis of current events in French.
Libération: French daily newspaper founded by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
L'Équipe: French daily newspaper dedicated to sports, especially football, rugby, motorsport and cycling.
Free Online French Courses
BBC French: Lots of different free exercises to get stuck into for beginners and intermediate learners.
Duolingo: An app which is used by people all over the world to learn many languages. The app is designed to regularly test you on the new vocabulary and grammar you learn, while you decide how quickly you want to progress.
The French Experiment: A comprehensive website to help you master the basics of the French language, with audio recordings on each lesson page, ensuring you know how to pronounce as well as write all that you learn.
Alison: Alison is a website with dozens of free courses in many different fields. There are multiple French courses to choose from, depending on your goal and your current level.
French in Action: An online French course created by Yale University that takes you through the essential French lessons while telling the story of an American students and frenchwoman's adventures in France. (Only available in USA and Canada)
Get Your Head Around French Grammar
These websites place much of their focus on French grammar, and making it as easy to understand as possible through creative exercises and explanations.
Digital Dialects: Great site with fun exercises to help the grammar rules stick in your head.
Tex's French Grammar: Legendary French grammar website used by French teachers around the world because of the creative characters whose stories contribute to the lessons.
The French Tutorial: Entire French course with a strong focus on grammar.
YouLearnFrench: Youtube channel dedicated to teaching French grammar
Bonjour de France: Lots of different grammar exercises for all French learners, from beginners to advanced French speakers.
french.about.com: Website with so much information on the French language. There is not only a great grammar section, but much more too!
Read French Books
Here are two lists of books which are perfect for learning and improving your French. Reading literature is one of the most effective ways of improving language skills as you become immersed in stories that you want to read to the end and discover the language at its most thrilling.
5 easy-to-read French books (beginner & lower intermediate learners)
10 Unbelievably Good Books for French Learners (intermediate & advanced learners)
Look words up in Dictionaries
Converse with a Tandem Partner
Last but not least, the value of meeting up regularly with a native French speaker cannot be overemphasized. This is the reason we learn a new language, to be able to communicate with more people and have a more complete understanding of different parts of the world and their cultures. There is no better way to improve in a language than conversing in that language. In most cities, you can find potential tandem partners by searching ‘language tandem + the name of the city you want to meet up in’ in Facebook and joining a group dedicated to helping people find tandem partners.
German Language Courses
If you need a language course in Germany, here is a selection of courses for adults and teenagers, in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Oberwesel.
German Courses for Adults
German Courses for Teenagers
Premium Online German Courses
Learn German from anywhere in the world with a German tutor!
Free Online German Courses
France - Carnaval de Nice
Although there is also a Carnaval de Paris, Nice is the French city most known for its carnival. This is due not only to the parade having a view of the sea, but also because carnival in Nice has a lot of tradition: The earliest record of the festival can be found in a travel report by Count Charles d'Anjou from the year 1294. Carnival in Nice is marvellously flowery. Flower battles take place on several days and during the procession 16 flower-strewn floats go by, from which flowers are thrown down to the crowd. There are also numerous costumes worn by the parade’s participants to reflect the flora and fauna of the Mediterranean. The carnival in Nice ends on 25th February with the traditional burning of the carnival king at Place Masséna and fireworks to top it off.
Golden Bay is one of Malta’s longest sandy beaches. This heavenly bay provides the perfect movie set. This was obvious to director Wolfgang Petersen, who filmed a few scenes for the blockbuster Troy there. Of course, the actual remnants of the city of Troy are in Turkey and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is why shooting the film mainly took place in Malta and Mexico. The scene with the ship at the beginning of the film was shot in Malta, as were the scenes showing the inside of Troy. The beach at Mellieħa Bay and the small town of Mellieħa were also filming locations. Part of the beach at Mellieħa Bay can be seen when Odysseus (Sean Bean) appeals to the hero Achilles (Brad Pitt) for support in battle against the Trojans.
Youtube has many fantastic, free videos for learning German. The channels below are of particularly high quality, with well-organised playlists and good structure for learning grammar rules and vocabulary. Wanted Adventure and DontTrustTheRabbit are especially fun, focussing on funny differences between English and German as well as more informal German that you definitely won't learn in school. But don't take our word for it, take a look for yourself and you'll see there's far more to discover about the German language!
Italy - Carnevale di Venezia
The Venetian carnival is one of the largest and most famous in Europe. As there’s something going on at every street corner, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of things at Venice Carnival. A look at the programme will ensure you don’t miss the most important attractions. There is something for everyone: on February 26, Corri, a masked run organised by the Venicemarathon Club, takes place in Maschera. Not to be missed is the Volo dell'Angelo, the escape of a disguised woman from the bell tower of San Marco to the main stage. To conclude the festivities, a large flag with the emblem of Venice, the winged lion, is raised above the bell tower. Many of the events do not take place on the Venice’s streets: the Grand Opening is celebrated in the Arsenale, the former shipyard of the city, and dinner parties are organised in the Galeria delle Meraviglie (Gallery of Miracles).
German Language Movies
Movies Dubbed into German
Movies from Hollywood and other places, dubbed into German.
German TV Stations Online Streaming
What better way to improve your German speaking, pronunciation and listening skills than watching German television? Watching formal and colloquial German is a great way to learn.
|ARD Mediathek||Watch ARD programmes live or on-demand|
|Das Erste Mediathek||Watch Das Erste programmes live or on-demand|
|ZDF Mediathek||Watch ZDF programmes lives or on-demand|
|ORF TVThek||Largest Austrian broadcaster, live or on-demand.|
|DW (Deutsche Welle)||Watch the different DW channels live or on-demand|
|Euronews||Watch the German edition of the European news channel live|
|3sat||Artsy / cultural TV channel - watch live or on-demand|
|HR||ARD channel for Hessen|
|MDR||ARD channel for Central Germany|
|rbb||ARD channel for Berlin / Brandenburg - watch live or on-demand|
|WDR||ARD channel for Western Germany - watch live or on-demand|
|BR||ARD channel for Bavaria - watch live or on-demand|
|NDR||ARD channel for Northern Germany - watch live or on-demand|
|ARTE||ARTE - watch live or on-demand. Nice artsy and original documentaries and films|
|Tagesschau24||24/7 News channel. Great way to learn German!|
If you need to download subtitles for a German movie, or want to watch a movie in another language with German subtitles, look no further than this list.
|Open Subtitles||Large selection in many languages|
|Subscene||Large selection in many languages|
|Subtitles.de||German website with a somewhat smaller selection of subtitles|
Spain - Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Carnival is celebrated everywhere on the island of Tenerife, but the largest celebration is in Santa Cruz. The traditional procession takes place there every year on Shrove Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras). This year's carnival experience is under the theme "Caribbean". In 1987, a concert during the Santa Cruz Carnival by the singer Celia Cruz even made it into the Guinness Book of Records for the largest gathering of people in an outdoor plaza. More than 200,000 people attended the concert. The festivities end with "The funeral of the sardine", representing the end of the carnival and the beginning of the fasting season. Traditionally, a large, decorated fish figurine (usually made of cardboard or fabric) is lit and driven burning out to sea. This is accompanied by tongue-in-cheek mourning process consisting of lamenting widows and funeral guests. But no reason to mope around: the funeral procession is followed by musicians and dance groups who put everyone in a good mood.
Gladiator and much more
Gladiator, released in 2000, was not only shot in Rome, as some may expect. Large parts of ancient Rome were shot at Fort Ricasoli in Malta. The producers even had a replica of the Roman Colosseum built in Malta, about a third of the size of the original structure.
I could go on listing films that were shot in Malta, the most recent of which is probably the Assassin’s Creed film, released in 2016. However, the list would be too long. If you want to discover more you can join a Malta Film Tour and find out which districts have served as movie sets.
Listening to German while working or doing other activities is a great, free way to learn German. I have included a list of German stations, and a further list that is split by the German speaking countries so that you can learn the specific regional dialect or accent you are most interested in.
German Language Radio Stations
Learn German with Spotify
It gives tips on how to browse and discover German artists with Wikipedia, Youtube and Spotify. Also shows how to use the lyrics feature of Spotify, tips for finding German courses on Spotify and searching for German audiobooks. You can also find German comedians on Spotify.
German Language General Podcasts
- German podcasts subreddit
- Deutschlandfunk - Live radio, podcasts and on-demand audio. Three sections: Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandradio Kultur, DRadio Wissen
- Deutsche Welle Podcasts - Variety of topics, via iTunes
- WRINT - Large variety of topics
- Tagesschau Audio - a daily look at the news
- SWR2 Wissen - Radio Features about a specific topic (often science)
- Bayern 2 Wissen - Features either a specific scientific topic or the scientific news of the day
- BR2 - Die Frage - Takes a specific issues and discusses it in depth
- Radio Eins - Sanft & Sorgfältig - Satirist and TV host Jan Böhmermann and singer-songwriter Olli Schulz talk about anything and everything
- Not safe for work - Hosts Holger Klein and Tim Pritlove, the co-founder of the Chaos Computer Club talk about politics, society, technology and everything that was important for them in recent weeks (discontinued)
- Chaos Radio Express - Tim Pritlove and changing experts talk about interesting topics in the areas of technology, culture or society
- Omega Tau - Podcasts about all sorts of high-tech topics
- Game One Plauschangriff - The guys from Germany's most succesful Gaming TV show GameOne, better known as the Rocketbeans (24 hour Twitch channel) talk about gaming, movies and the whole nerd universe
- Celluleute - Four friends and movie nerds talk about new releases and their all-time favorite movies
- Stevinho Talks - Gamer and teacher Steve Krömer (Stevinho) talks about his life, gaming, football, movies and gives helpful advice to his community
- Radio Tatort - Radio version of the popular German TV crime series
- Stay Forever - Podcast in which two former video game journalists talk about video game classics
- Vorleser - Free audiobooks in German, mostly classics
German Language Learners Podcasts
- German GrammarPod - German GrammarPod explains the world of German grammar. Its aim is to be accessible to all levels of learner and to give you tips to help you achieve maximum effect for minimum effort. Via iTunes.
- Slow German - As the title suggests, these podcasts are in slow German. Features a transcript as well for each episode. Faster recordings are behind a paywall.
- Germanlingq - Podcasts for language learners. Transcripts can only be viewed when logged in (free).
Spain - Carnaval de Cádiz
Another well-known carnival is Carneval de Cádiz. In Cádiz a particularly large focus is placed on the "Tipos", the costumes, as well as the music. Even before the start of the carnival, the whole of Andalusia follows the Falla Theatre, a competition in which about 100 music groups compete over the course of about 20 days, in order to be allowed to participate in the carnival in the categories of choirs, comparsas, chirigotas and quartets. In each category, however, only four groups may perform. The competition is broadcast on local TV channels Canal Sur TV and Canal Sur Radio. Anticipation for the carnival is so great that even small streetfood festivals begin before the actual festival, for example the "Pestiñada", where delicious honey pancakes are served.
Game of Thrones
Lastly, we would be foolish to ignore the fact that it is not only films that are seduced by Malta’s allure. Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogos’ wedding scene in the beloved Game of Thrones series was filmed on the Maltese island of Gozo in front of the famous Azure Window. The renowned natural arch sadly broke apart during a storm in March 2017. More filming locations for the fantasy series can be found in Malta though, such as Verdala Palace, residence of the merchant Illyrio in the series, who establishes the alliance between the Targaryen brother and sister and the Dothraki in the first season.
German pronunciation is often tricky for beginners. Here are some guides to some tricky sounds in German, and some exercises to improve your pronunciation.
After detective Starling in the film Hannibal receives a handwritten note from Hannibal Lecter, which emits a strange fragrance, she discovers from a perfume expert that the ingredients for the skin cream from which the smell comes can only be bought from a few shops in the world, and eventually travels to Florence. We see the setting of Florence in the 2001 film as Dr. Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) walks across Ponte Vecchio. Since Lecter is also portrayed as a music and art lover despite his feral urges, even the Uffizi Gallery features in the film.
GERMAN DICTIONARIES AND CHEAT SHEETS FOR LEARNING GERMAN
|Cheat sheet created by redditors||Common word roots and the different cases, broken down by corresponding endings, personal pronouns, and prepositions.|
|Grammar cheat sheet||Pronouns, articles, prepositions, conjugations, auxiliary verbs, adjective declension, gender.|
|Gender indicator cheat sheet||Helpful hints on which gender to use.|
|Gender Hints||Great, clear picture to help with genders, by object types, e.g. rivers, metals|
Online German Dictionaries and Tools
- Very high quality dictionary, with conjugation lists and phrases- LEO English to German
- Also a very high quality dictionary, available o switch between German/English, and German/Many other languagesDict.cc
- Very nice dictionary with audio and word lists, from TU Chemitz
- German to Chinese dictionary, and vice versa - Handedict
- Babel online Wörterbuch
- German verb conjugation tool
- A different way to learn German - Sayings, phrases and word games
- DerDieDas Game- an ingenious, fun way to learn der, die, das for a variety of German words.
Brazil - Rio de Janeiro Carnival
Especially well-known for its carnival is the Brazilian capital Rio de Janeiro, which celebrates the world's largest carnival. The festival is opened with the coronation of the carnival king, Momo, by the mayor. The highlight of the festivities is the Samba Parade. There are also numerous street festivals with music and dancing, as well as carnival balls. The Gay Gala and the Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace are particularly well-known. From Saturday to Tuesday, numerous open-air dances take place throughout the city. The largest and most organised takes place in Cinelândia Square. During the Samba Parade several Samba schools compete against each other to enter the Grupo Especial. Each school chooses an annual motto, after which the festoons and the costumes are finetuned.
Brazil - Salvador Carnival
You undoubtedly aware that carnival was celebrated in Rio de Janeiro, but did you know that it is also properly celebrated in Salvador da Bahia? During the carnival the strong African influence of the inhabitants becomes clear: It is a celebration that celebrates the joy of life. As Rio is particularly known for the Samba schools, the carnival in Salvador thus prides itself on being the biggest street carnival that keenly includes the public.
Carnival wouldn’t be carnival in Salvador without the Trios Elétricos, box-car-like vehicles equipped with high-power sound systems and stages on their roofs which play music for the crowds of people. The actual carnival lasts only 6 days, but pre-festivals like in Cádiz extent the festivities to a total of 12 days.
The film adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel, Inferno, was also produced in close cooperation with the city of Florence, through which Robert Langdon scurries to prevent the outbreak of an epidemic. As the symbologist gets his clues from works of art, the film also gives you a taste of the magnificent art that awaits you in Florence.
APPS AND SOFTWARE RESOURCES FOR LEARNING GERMAN
What is Spaced Repetition Software (SRS)?
Spaced repetition software can help you to learn German more quickly and effectively. This software will make it much more likely that you will remember the material that you learn in your language courses and from books and other sources.
It works by using 'flashcards' to highlight the material you struggle with the most, and bringing the material to the top of the 'deck', allowing you to revise it until you remember the material.
SRS Applications - to Download and Online
- Anki is a superb, free SRS application suitable for making custom language lists. Pre-made lists also avilable. You can download it for all major operating systems.
- Quizlet is an online SRS application with pre-made and custom lists. Here are a large group of German list.
- Memrise online flashcards and mnemonics for various languages using SRS.
SRS Flashcard - Pre-Made German Decks
- Huge list of German flashcards for Anki
- Memrise list of German courses
- Here is the Deutsch für Euch Memrise list (accompanies the Youtube Deutsch für Euch video series above.)
How to Setup Anki to Learn German
Setting up Anki, using movie subtitles as memory guides. This is a great video for using pictures instead of just text to memorise new words in your SRS application.
Apps for Learning German
We created an article especially for learning languages! Top 5 Mobile Apps to learn German.
BLOGS & NEWS SITES FOR LEARNING GERMAN
Here are some websites and blogs with great articles and tips for learning German.
- Smarter German
- Jabbalab German - some great charts, videos and examples for common topics where German learners struggle.
- Transparent Language German - some nice posts to improve your vocabulary, such as English words that are actually German.
- Angelika's German - experienced German teacher with simple, direct posts.
- Learning German in Munich - a view of learning German in the popular city in Bavaria with some good resources.
- Learn German with Nicole - learn about German culture and the language.
- German Island - Lots of nice resources for a German learning class.
- German with Andrew - Talks about successful learning methods.
- About German Forum - this forum covers many German topics, from tutoring, to fun, to German news, and much more.
- Easy Deutsch - nice sections with video and text explaining grammar and vocabulary.
German Language Newspapers
Bolivien - Carnaval de Oruro
The Carnival of Oruro in Bolivia lasts 10 days and the main attraction of the spectacle is the procession or "Entrada". Since the city of Oruro was built in a holy place of the Uru, an indigenous people from Bolivia, they return every year to perform sacred rituals there. Although the Spanish settlers forbade the rituals in the 17th century, they were still practised, albeit disguised as Christian rituals, which explains why there are numerous elements of the religions of the indigenous peoples in Oruro carnival. For this reason, the festivities of Oruro were included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage" by UNESCO in 2001. In 2008 the carnival was also listed on the “Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".
What a Man
Most German films are shot in Berlin, however Frankfurt has also become a popular filming location in recent years. The most well-known German film with a Hessian backdrop is probably Matthias Schweighöfer’s What a Man, released in 2011. The story follows 30-year-old Frankfurt elementary school teacher Alex Nowak as he tries, after a failed relationship, to discover what makes a man a man. The scene at the beginning of the film, as Schweighöfer cycles through Frankfurt, is particularly memorable. He can be seen whizzing through recognizable parts of the city, including cycling over the Eisernen Steg, a bridge offering a fantastic view of the Frankfurt skyline. Palmengarten, Opernplatz in front of the Alte Oper (old opera house), Frankfurt Eissporthalle, Schillerschule in Sachsenhausen and the then King-Kamehameha-Suite (now the Kameha Suite) in the banking district also serve as settings in the film. Quite appropriately for the images on screen, singer Philipp Poisel recorded the ballad Eiserner Steg for the film. Other films shot in the Hessian metropolis include German comedies Schlussmacher and Männerhort.
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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Any self-respecting Harry Potter fan knows that several scenes throughout the film series are set in Britain’s capital city. The most memorable London location of all may well be platform 9¾ in King’s Cross Station. While there are only train tracks between platforms 9 and 10, fans can find the sign to platform 9¾ on the wall at the back of the main concourse, where the back half of a trolley protrudes from the wall. Another well-known scene from the Philosopher’s Stone is Harry’s first ever encounter with a snake, a Burmese python, which takes place in London Zoo. There is now a plaque next to the snake enclosure commemorating the event.
There are, however, less famous locations from the first Harry Potter film to be found in the ancient heart of London. The curved entrance to the Leaky Cauldron can be found at 42 Bull’s Head Passage, although you’ll be disappointed if you enter expecting a pint of exploding lemonade – it’s only an optician’s. Just around the corner is the splendid Leadenhall Market, where Diagon Alley was filmed. The charming building was built in the Victorian era.
Québec - Carnaval de Québec
Unlike in most other cities, the Canadian carnival is held at the end of January and beginning of February. One of the first things and outside visitor will notice is that this time of year is still extremely cold in Canada. The ambassador of the carnival is a snowman named Bonhomme Carnaval and is a big part of the festivities is the ice sculpture festival. Do you like building sculptures out of ice? No problem: Teams from all over the world can compete against each other to sculpt the most beautiful frosty sculpture. Québec also has Carnival Queens: here they are called Duchesse and there are exactly 7 of them, one for each duchy of Québec. The one who sells the most candles during the carnival is then be crowned Carnival Queen. This is just one of the many traditions that make the Carnaval de Québec worth a visit.
A Clockwork Orange
Directed in 1971, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was one of the most controversial films of the 20th century, resulting in it being withdrawn from circulation until 2000. Now considered one of the best films ever produced, it is set in a dystopian London, with many of the film’s bleak and cold locations reflecting this. All scenes were shot in or near London.
One memorable scene, in which the main character, Alex (Malcolm McDowell), visits a record shop, was filmed in the Chelsea Drugstore. An extremely modern shopping center at the time, the Chelsea Drugstore was also mentioned in The Rolling Stones’ song, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Unfortunately, the building is now host to an unremarkable McDonald’s (or MaccyD’s as the locals call it).
New Orleans - Mardi Gras
Carnival heartland in the USA is New Orleans. This may surprise you, but if you take a look at the history of the city it is not at all surprising. New Orleans was founded around 1718 by French settlers, who brought the tradition of the carnival from Catholic Europe. For this reason, Shrove Tuesday is still called "Mardi Gras" (French for Fat Tuesday). The events are particularly uproarious in the French Quarter, another souvenir from the time of the French settlers.
The founder of the city, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, is said to have discovered the area around New Orleans on a Shrove Tuesday. You can find out more about that on the official website for the New Orleans carnival. Groups like the "Mardi Gras Indians" also add Native American and African customs and jazz music to the mix between the balls and parades. The festival is also a celebration of cultural diversity. The official colours of the carnival, green, gold and purple, symbolise hope, power and justice.
Unlike the colorful record shop, most of the film is set against a cold, grey backdrop. It wasn’t hard for Kubrick to find ideal locations with all the Brutalist architecture being built at the time. For ‘Municipal Flatblock 18a’ in which Alex lives, Kubrick chose to film at the then new Thamesmead Estate, a vast development near Woolwich in South East London.
One of the most unforgettable scenes involves Alex and his gang of “droogs” attacking an innocent homeless man they find drunk in a dingy pedestrian underpass. This was filmed in the labyrinth of underpasses beneath York Road Roundabout at the southern end of Wandsworth Bridge.
The tramp gets revenge later on though, in a scene filmed by Albert Bridge, one of London’s grandest bridges and certainly one of the film’s most traditional locations.
Considered by many to be the best film set in New York, Taxi Driver perfectly captured the murky underworld of New York in the 1970s. Robert De Niro plays main character, Travis Bickle, a young Vietnam veteran working the night shift in his yellow cab. Bickle’s lack of human interaction and sleep, and his observance of the seedy reality of night-time New York, combine until his disgust drives him to do something about the crime and corruption around him.
Much of the movie shows Bickle navigating his way through the Greenwich Village and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods of New York, although director Martin Scorsese mostly avoided widely recognizable locations. One discernible location, however, is Columbus Circle, where Bickle nearly goes through with his plan to shoot a politician. The ugliest scenes, including when Bickle shoots a pimp (Harvey Keitel) in a doorway, were shot on East 13th Street, now a much cleaner district than in the 70s. Aside from specific locations, the constant flicker of neon lights masterfully visualizes the insomnia of the city that never sleeps.
Namibia - Windhoek Karneval
Cologne Carnival in Namibia? Yes, you read correctly. In this country in the South West of Africa, carnival is celebrated particularly among German Namibians. "Windhoek Karneval" (WiKa), is the largest carnival in Namibia. The whole thing is organised by the Windhoek Sports Club, which was founded in 1951 by German emigrants. While the festivities in Canada start before most other cities, Namibia’s carnivals start later. They begin at the end of March and go on until the middle of April. The reason for this is that in February it is still much too hot for any outdoor events. As is usual in Germany, there is a prince’s ball, a parade, a meeting, a magnificent session, a masked ball and much more. This year's theme is "Spin the world as you like it".
Amélie (2001) is one of the most adored films set in the French capital. Most of the famous Parisian landmarks can be spotted at least once in the film, along with countless other lesser known quaint locales.
The revered Notre Dame Cathedral features early on in the film, when Amélie’s (Audrey Tautou) mother is killed by a tourist falling from its tower.
However, most of the film is set in the inner-city district of Montmartre, which resembles a picturesque French village despite its proximity to the city center. The opening scene of the film shows a bluebottle fly buzzing through the quaint, cobbled rue Saint Vincent and rue des Saules, just behind the beautiful Sacré-Cœur Basilica, which is situated at the top of Montmartre, the hill from which the surrounding district gets its name. It is on the steps leading up to the Sacré-Cœur that Amélie later lays down a path of blue arrows to discover who the man is who has been leaving his photo all over the ticket hall in Gare de l’Est. The entrance to Amélie’s apartment is at 55 rue des Trois Freres and the grocery store where she shops is Au Marche de la Butte on the same road. Nearby is the scenic Metro station, Lamarck-Coulaincourt, where Amélie describes the delectable food being sold at the rue Lamarck market to a blind man. The location most Amélie fans want to see is undoubtedly the delightful art deco café where she works, Café des Deux Moulins, which is actually a real café and can be found at 15 rue Lepic. Their crème brulée is even named after the film.
Away from the village-like Montmartre, Amélie looks for ‘Bretodeau’ in a phone booth where rue Mouffetard meets rue Clovis in the Latin Quarter. And it’s while crossing the wooden Pont des Arts by the magnificent Louvre that Amélie is overcome with a feeling of love and an urge to help mankind.
If you've now caught travel fever, then check out our language schools in the above cities and immediately set off on a tour of filming locations. Maybe you'll discover more that we overlooked.
Here's what we found...
PORTUGAL: Bolo de laranja
Prepping time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
CAKE Ingredients for 6 to 8 people:
150 g flour
1 sachet of baking powder
80 g of sugar
100 g of melted butter
juice of 2 oranges
juice of 2 oranges
2 spoons of sugar
Preheat oven to 160 ° C.
Melt the butter and mix together with the zest of the oranges. Separate the yolks from the egg whites and put the whites aside. In a big bowl, whip the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture whitens. Add the sifted flour, baking powder, melted butter / zest mixture and orange juice.
Whisk the egg whites together until they become foamy and steady and pour them gently into your bowl.
Pour your mixture into a baking form which you have already buttered and floured. Place in the oven and leave for 30 to 40 min depending on the type of oven you have.
Shortly before taking your cake out of the oven, prepare the syrup by boiling the juice of 2 oranges and the sugar in a saucepan.
Once your cake is baked, take it out of the form immediately, lay it on a plate and pour the syrup over it.
Allow to cool before serving. You can sprinkle it with icing sugar for even better presentation.
Read an original recipe in Portuguese here.
There are typically four stages you go through when moving abroad. Of course, everyone’s experience is different and you won’t necessarily encounter these stages with the same intensity and for the same duration as we describe them here. However, this article offers all future travelers a heads up on what to expect.
Prepping time: 45 minutes – 12 hours resting time
Cooking time: 8 minutes
Makes about 30 Stars
3 egg whites
250 g powdered sugar
2 drops of lemon juice
140 g ground hazelnuts
140 g ground almonds
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of kirsch liquor
Place the egg whites in a large bowl. Whip them using an electric mixer with 2 drops of lemon juice until they become foamy and steady in the bowl. Gradually add the powdered sugar to the whites and continue whisking until the mixture is stiff and forms a nice meringue. Keep about 100g powdered sugar to the side for glazing.
Add the hazelnuts, almonds, cinnamon and kirsch liquor to the rest of your meringue.
Mix until the dough becomes smooth and slightly sticky.
Put the dough on a flat surface and roll it out to about 1 cm thick. Make the stars with star-shaped cookie cutters. Make a ball with the dough that is left, flatten to 1cm thick and repeat until no more dough remains.
Using a cooking brush, cover the top of each star with the glazing you kept from earlier. Place them on a baking tray with a piece of baking parchment. Let them set for 12 hours at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 160 °C and bake for approximately 8 minutes. The glazing must stray white and not become colored.
Allow to cool fully before storing in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
Read an original recipe in German here.
The "honeymoon" stage is the first of the four: everything is new and you are more than eager to discover the country and culture surrounding you. You’ve never been to this country before and you only know about it from travel blogs, National Geographic photos or TV series.
SWEDEN: Lussekatter or Saffron buns [VEGAN]
Prepping time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 8-10 minutes
SAFFRON BUNS full recipe:
5 dl oat milk (or other plant milk)
1 dl agave syrup
1.5 dl rapeseed oil
1 g saffron
50 g fresh yeast
11 dl wheat flour
flour for kneading
rapeseed oil for brushing
Heat the oat milk slowly and stir in the agave syrup, rapeseed oil and saffron.
Remove from heat when it’s warm but not too hot to touch (37°c).
Crumble the fresh yeast in a bowl and pour in the milk mix. Stir until smooth.
Add the flour a little at a time. Let sit for 40 minutes, preferably somewhere warm.
Knead the dough with more flour until not sticky and workable.
Form into cute shapes and pop in the raisins.
Let sit for 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 225°C.
Brush the buns with a little bit of rapeseed oil.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes until slightly browned.
Read the recipe in Swedish here.
You are completely amazed by the simplest things, just because it’s your first time seeing them in reality
FRANCE: Marrons Glacés
Prepping time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
For the MARRONS:
750g sweet chestnuts (skin on)
500g granulated sugar
A splash of lemon juice
1 vanilla pod
For the GLAZE:
450g granulated sugar
With a sharp knife, make a couple of nicks across the pointed end of each chestnut.
Place all the chestnuts in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile put 500g granulated sugar in a pan with 250ml water. Heat slowly, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, then add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil.
Remove the chestnuts from the heat. Have a bowl of warm water ready with a splash of lemon juice in it. It is important to remove only one chestnut at a time from the pan of hot water: peel back the thick leathery skins and the thin, papery inner skin of each nut, to reveal the golden kernel inside. Drop each peeled chestnut into the bowl of acidulated water. When the chestnuts are all shelled, drain and dry them thoroughly.
Drop the chestnuts into the hot sugar syrup. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 25-30 minutes or until tender (the time will depend on the size of the chestnuts).
Meanwhile, prepare the final glaze by putting the 450g sugar and 150ml water in a small pan. Heat slowly, stirring, to dissolve the sugar, then boil for 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the chestnuts from their cooking syrup and place them on a wire cooling rack. Add the chestnutty cooking syrup to the glaze syrup and bring back to the boil. Then remove from the heat.
Put a small bowl over a pan of simmering water. Pour a little of the glazing syrup into the bowl, so it stays hot. Have a second small bowl ready with freshly boiled water in it. Using a skewer, take a chestnut. Dunk it first in the hot water, then swizzle it in the hot sugar syrup in the bowl. Place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat with all the chestnuts, topping up the bowl of syrup with more syrup from the pan if you need to. Leave the chestnuts to dry in a warm airing cupboard or in an oven on a very, very low heat (around 50°C) for 10 to 12 hours. Then wrap each chestnut in a twist of greaseproof paper.
Read the recipe in French here.
Prepping time: 3-4 hours
Cooking time: 30 minutes
5 tablespoons warm water (45 °C)
2 (7g) sachets dried active baking yeast
500g plain flour
125ml warm milk
125g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
325g mixed glacé fruits
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cream
To make sponge, warm a small bowl by rinsing it with hot water. Pour in warm water and sprinkle 1 sachet yeast on it. Let stand until yeast has dissolved. Stir in 60g of the flour, cover with cling film, and let stand 30 minutes, or until doubled. Sprinkle remaining yeast over warm milk. Let stand until dissolved. Beat together sugar, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in milk-yeast mixture. Add sponge and stir until well incorporated.
Combine butter and remaining flour until crumbly. Slowly pour in egg mixture and beat on high speed 3 to 4 minutes, until dough is elastic looking and long strands form. Beat in fruit and zests. Turn dough into oiled bowl, cover with cling film, and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 2 to 3 hours.
Fold down moulds to form a 7cm cuff. Brush inside and out with melted butter. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times to deflate. Divide dough into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and drop into prepared moulds. Place bags on a baking tray about 10cm apart and cover loosely with cling film. Let rise in a warm place until doubled again, about 2 hours.
Heat oven to 200 C / Gas 6. Cut an X in top of each loaf with oiled scissors. Combine egg yolk with cream. Brush tops of loaves lightly with egg wash.
Place baking tray in bottom 1/3 of oven. After 10 minutes, lower heat to 190 C / Gas 5. Bake for 30 more minutes; if tops get too brown, cover with foil. Loaves are done when a wooden skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
Read the recipe in Italian here.
You listen to locals talking on the street and already imagine yourself being part of the community
After all this wonder subsides, the "culture shock" strikes. Your destination has its share of enchantment but you slowly start to notice the cultural differences between there and your own country. You will need to adapt to all of this and it can be scary. The language barrier seems hard to overcome and you are far away from home.
You sometimes don’t understand anything you are told, which is frustrating
There are a lot of things you miss - your family and friends but also tea and cheddar cheese
But don’t stress! It is very normal to be a little unsettled. Everything will get better soon! It's called the "adjustment stage": you gradually start to feel more at ease and get to know your surroundings, the culture and the local people better. Your ability to understand and make yourself understood improves day by day!
You managed to order a pizza on the phone with extra cheese and olives but no onions and when it arrived it was exactly what you had meant to order
You invited your neighbors for tea and they said yes
No one corrects your mistakes anymore and people often congratulate you on your languages skills - so much that it becomes a bit embarrassing!
You have successfully integrated and become part of the community! Congratulations!
As I said, finding your feet in a new country is an experience filled with emotions but everyone who has experienced it will tell you that it's totally worth it! And if one day you need to go back to your home country, you will certainly feel a little heartache....
Don't you know this funny feeling: You understand the concept of a foreign word but cannot find any word in your own language that translate the exact idea? If you do, welcome to the language-learner world! There are actually hundreds and thousands of those words around the planet. Find below our personal collection of funny words that are almost impossible to translate in any other language - untranslatable words - but that everyone would like to use every day!
ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSES
English Courses for Adults
Premium Online English Courses
Learn English online with a private teacher!
Free English lessons online
Take London for example; it is a wonderful multicultural city and it would be a shame not to make the most of it! Whether you’re going there for just a few days or for an indefinite period of time, why not spice up your days and get social?
To help you find what suits you best, we have made a list of the 10 best Meetups in London
If you are the kind of person who only refers to Google Translate whenever you need to translate something, you might want to take a closer look at this article. Sprachcaffe members form an international team and use translation tools everyday, mostly online. We thought it might be worth it to share our knowledge with language learners around the world!
Expatriation is, indeed, the main motivation for many people to learn foreign languages. Spanish, English, French and German are spoken in many different countries and those who master them are equipped with an indispensable prerequisite for smooth integration into the communities where they are spoken and an international professional career. That’s why those who know a foreign language often make the exciting decision to live and work abroad.
When learning a language, it’s important to look for information everywhere: audio files, texts, music to name a few examples. The best way is to select different and valued sources of different types and carry on the process you started at school but in a more structured way, like a pro student. Here we go:
"Guten Morgen" is not so much used by German people. A simple "Morgen!" is more than enough to say hello to someone in the morning.
Mingle with like-minded people
English TV channels - Online Streaming
|BBC||National TV Service with 9 different channels.|
|ITV||"The largest commercial television channel in the UK"|
|Channel 4||Innovative and alternative content.|
|Sky||Movies and TV series online.|
American TV channels - Online Streaming
|NBC||The largest network in the US: news, sport, TV series...|
|CBS||The most watched network in the US: news, sport, TV series...|
|ABC||Original programming, sports, news|
|FOX||Owned by 21st Century Fox, programming sport, prime times and politcal talks on Sundays.|
Note: most of the American channels are not available if you do not live in the US.
Australian TV Channels
|Australian Plus Television||International TV service with a special "Learn English" section.|
SUBTITLES IN ENGLISH
YOUTUBE CHANNELS – Language & Cultures
"I love bab.la online dictionary! It’s not only translating the words or phrases but it also shows them in context sentences. As the founders of the project say, “knowing the exact translation often doesn't really help. You really need to "live" the language to come up with the right word.” And that’s the point! What’s even more special about it? The context sentences are real and up-to-date. The dictionary browses the content of the indexed websites and chooses the sentences which are used in real notes or articles. It’s my favourite!"
Preparation - the key to success
Hundreds of thousands of people leave their native countries every year to live and work somewhere else in the world. It’s an adventure you undertake on your own, with your partner or with your family, and which starts long before the plane takes off. Sometimes it takes people years to obtain their visa and have everything else prepared before leaving. Getting ready is, in fact, the key to success if you want to live abroad.
To start with, it’s worth getting information from relevant institutional organizations, embassies or consulates. Traveling to the country for a few weeks beforehand is also extremely helpful to be sure you are making the right decision. You could also read specialized books or find interesting blogs by and interviews with expats: this will help you learn more about the advantages and challenges of living abroad. Forums for expats are also very useful for asking questions and sharing with people already living where you want to go.
Some websites, set up by seasoned expats, are dedicated to helping other expats by sharing the knowledge they have accumulated through years of experience living abroad. Among these is Expat.com, which provides its members with a large range of free services to help them prepare thoroughly for expatriation. As a true participative platform, Expat.com is a living community thanks to its 1.6 million members who share advice and help each other.
Listen to Podcasts
These podcasts are a great way of getting accustomed to the rhythm, tempo and intonation of Spanish speech:
Julia en la Onda: This podcast focuses on current news and also interesting debate topics.
Mexicano Slang: For those interested in Mexican Spanish and especially its more colloquial side, check out this podcast dedicated to teaching and breaking down Mexican slang.
"When looking for a German translation of a word or phrase, my first port of call is always dict.cc. The best thing about dict.cc is that it provides a full list of translations in order of how frequently they are used. This is really useful for deciding which word fits best to the specific context in which you want to use it. I have found that dict.cc has more phrases than any other translation website I've used. There is also a free app which works offline and which, for a very small price, allows you to add words to a personal vocabulary list and test your knowledge on this vocab with the vocab trainer."
Take advantage of Apps
There are also a lot of apps out there dedicated to helping you reach a high level of language proficiency step by step. Here are our two favorites:
Duolingo: Duolingo is extremely popular because it's so effective! This free app improves your language skills every day with games, questions and complete lessons, through which you'll strengthen your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.
Memrise: Memrise is another free app. Developed with the expertise of memory scientists, memrise ensures that every new word sticks in your mind and is never forgotten. You'll be amazed how quickly you pick up new vocab with this incredible app!
Es freut mich!
This is what you are supposed to say when meeting someone for the first time in Germany. It is the equivalent of “nice to meet you!”.
A wonderful way to practice a language and to socialise. This group not only organises a weekly language exchange but also some social, cultural and sporting events. Members are aged between 18 and 40 and practice more than 30 languages. Beware, your jaw might feel a little sore after a full evening of chatting in two or three different languages!
Once abroad: create your own network!
Every single expat will agree: living abroad is an adventure. A personal adventure that allows you to learn more about yourself than ever before. A human adventure where sharing and discovering becomes part of your everyday life.
Once abroad, and after the exciting first weeks, expats are faced with the task of finding their feet in their new community. One of the most common problems expats face is loneliness. Creating and developing your own network of friends will be just as important as finding a place to sleep and a job. To help with this, Expat.com is again at hand offering its members several tools to ease the process of meeting people and finding your place in your new country, with job offers, accommodation suggestions, ads, event listings and more.
Being an expat is a lifestyle choice. To make the best out of this wonderful experience, it is important to move forward with the right people by your side. Friends, family and other expats are essential to the success of your adventure. To be happy, surround yourself with nice people!
Alles klar is used to show the person you are talking to that you understood perfectly what she said. You hear it sometimes at the end of a conversation: alles klar, tschüß! - “all right, bye!”. German people also uses it as a question to check if everything is all right: alles klar?
Photography can be tricky. It feels very easy to just push the button and take a picture. But finding originality and technique isn't such an easy task at all. This Meetup group is where you can learn about photography, or teach it, if you feel like it. This group offers several workshops on different types of photography: still-life, outdoor photography, portrait and much more.
"As I'm learning German at the moment, I wanted to use a specific dictionary and I have to say I am very pleased with Leo Wörterbuch! You generally get quite a long list of results, allowing you to choose the right translation for your word. Leo even gives you examples of common phrases used with the word you were looking for. Also try the mobile app, it's worth it!"
BBC Spanish: Loads of great resources to facilitate your Spanish learning.
Using genau in a conversation will make you sound like a native in German! This short word is very common and easy to use in a sentence. This word means “that’s right”, “exactly”, “you are right”… Try listening to German people; you will hear it all the time!
London is a great city, but costs can easily add up if one is not careful. This meetup offers fun (and most importantly free) ways to keep yourself entertained. From free live music and running bootcamps to Paper Mache Monster Mash and Stand-Up Comedy lessons tasters, you'll never complain about your lack of money again!
Songs Lyrics Games
- LyricsTraining: Listen and find out the lyrics of your favorite songs!
- Lyrics Gasps: While listeneing, fill in the lyrics of a song and check out your score at the end!
Audio books in English
"Linguee is an excellent tool for quick translations of more complex words. It’s my go-to website for translations - be it for single words or groups of words. The strength of this tool is that it shows every word in its context and enables to pick the exact translation in the meaning it was intended. It used to exist only for a few languages but the team seems to have been working hard on adding other languages. Hats off to them!"
Learn Spanish on YouTube
Another way to improve your level is by using useful YouTube channels. There are hundreds of people you can follow but we are especially impressed by these five great vloggers. They find fun ways to help you learn Spanish. Pretty good, right?
Gott sei Dank!
Literally "Thank God". Like in English quite a lot of German phrases are influenced by religion. You will also hear Meine Güte or Oh mein Gott.
For all of you film lovers out there, this Meetup group is perfect. Each month, members vote on a film, meet up for a screening and go for a drink to discuss it afterwards. And you don’t need to know all about Orson Welles or La Nouvelle Vague to feel comfortable in this group, it is all about discovering new genres and sharing opinions on some of the greatest (and sometimes not so well-known) films.
DICTIONARIES, NEWSPAPERS & MAGAZINES
Don't hesitate to check out the online newspapers' Facebook or Twitter pages, they are generally full of great materials (videos, texts, etc)!
- BBC News (UK)
- The Times (UK)
- The Guardian (UK)
- The Sunday Times (UK)
- The New York Times (US)
- The Washington Post (US)
- National Post (CA)
- The Globe and Mail (CA)
- The Australian (AU)
- The Advertiser - Adelaide (AU)
- The Age - Melbourne (AU)
- IOL - Pretoria News (SA)
- Mail&Guardian (SA)
“For each word you are looking for, the dictionary proposes different meanings and also shows different contexts of use. Just choose the translation you prefer and at the same time glance at the different uses of the word. Additionally the dictionary Pons offers a tool to translate texts which is very useful and fast. Personally I like it very much! As it is also available for IOS and Android I really recommend it to you! “
And here's a brilliant song expressing frustration at discovering words can have different meanings depending on which part of the Spanish-speaking world you're in. However, instead of putting you off Spanish, this is sure to only amplify your fondness of the language and motivate you to get a stronger grasp on its regional variations: Oh, how hard it is to speak Spanish!
"I turn to ProZ.com when a regular online dictionary fails to offer a solution to a translation problem. ProZ isn´t exactly a dictionary, it is the biggest virtual community of translators. Besides allowing registered users to broadcast their professional services, everyone can take part in the forums or make use of the terminology databases, you don´t need to register or be a professional translator! In the forums you will most certainly find the right translation for what you are looking for and you can rest assured it has been validated by professional translators. It is particularly useful to translate official documents, where no risks can be taken!"
You may have learnt in class that “happy birthday” in German is: Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag… Literally “Heartful wishes on your birthday”. If you feel like you can’t actually say that, don’t worry! Oftentimes German people greet friends or family with a simple Alles Gute! which means “all the best”. Much easier, right?
Themes and activities are very important when selecting a Meetup group. But they’ll never be as important as the people taking part! You'll find many age related groups on Meetup, and you should probably have one on your own list.
This group's age range might be narrow but its activities on the other hand are not: pub quizzes, nights out, museums, paintballs, picnics, secret theatre... Its members are really easy-going and open-minded, and if you are still a Twentysomething (or feel like one), go ahead, they will welcome you with open arms.
ENGLISH GRAMMAR & VOCABULARY
- Grammar Girl - Quick and Dirty Tips: Work on grammar rules with fun!
- Opdome: Learn English vocabulary with pictures! Choose a set a words and start learning!
- LearnEnglish: English Grammar and vocabulary help from the British Council
- ToLearnEnglish.com: Everything you need to practice the language (lessons, exercices, games,)
If watching videos is your thing, this is a fantastic opportunity to get to know the Spanish media, with debate programs, soap operas, quiz shows, TV series and much more. In Spain there are more than 20 public channels with a lot on offer. We recommend:
RTVE: public channel. On its platform you will find four more channels, each with a different focus: cartoons, sports, politics and music.
Mitele: the leading TV channel in Spain can be found here and it is called Telecinco. This is a Mediaset online platform where you can find lots of talk-shows, reality shows and more. You can watch channels such as Cuatro, FDF, Boing, Energy and Divinity.
Atresplayer: the second private TV group in Spain, known for its TV shows and political debates. You will enjoy channels like Antena 3, laSexta, and other minor channels such as Atreseries, Neox, Nova and Mega.
Paramount Channel: cinema channel. Lately, it has also started broadcasting some TV series.
13tv: traditional channel with informative programs and political debates.
Disney Channel: channel for kids with a lot of cartoons.
Zack, zack, would be the English “chop, chop!”! It gives you the idea of a quick move to go on with something else. Zack, zack, so let’s move to the next one quickly!
You've got to pump it up
APPS AND SOFTWARE RESOURCES FOR LEARNING ENGLISH
"English is not my mother tongue but I use it 90% of the time: for work but also in my everyday life. When I have to use a dictionary I will usually turn to WordReference. I favour it above others because it lists all of the nuances of the word I look for. It features English translations from and to about 20 languages and has a very active forum where some native speakers proofread your translation and will answer any of your questions. So if I somehow don’t find a satisfying answer from the basic list, I will always find it there."
"However, when I am looking to understand slang words or acronyms, I will search on Urban Dictionary. For each word (mostly English ones but not only), there is a list of meanings, nuances and examples suggested by users. It is a good tool if you are currently watching Californication or trying to put a bit of swag into your vocabulary."
A classic way to learn a language due to the high quality of journalists’ writing. Reading news written in a formal and sophisticated register is a very good way of improving your level, learning some new idioms and discovering some amazing vocabulary. Usual topics like society and sports are simpler than politics, but it generally depends on your level. The most important Spanish (from Spain) newspapers (on paper or online) are:
El País: national and political breaking news.
El Mundo: topical news and society.
Públlco: social newspaper focusing on third sector and people,
eldiario.es: politics and the economy are the main topics.
ABC: traditional, one-hundred year old paper.
El Español: split from El Mundo a few months ago. It focuses on long, in-depth articles on interesting stories.
La razón: economy, enterprises and politics are the main topics.
When you want to say ach Quatsch , it’s like saying “don’t be silly” or “that’s nonsense!”.
You love (or would love) to exercise but hate the testosterony feel of the gym? Well, no need to stock up on protein-shakes to join this group. It is all about getting a bit of fresh air and energising in the most healthy and positive way. Afterwards, the group enjoys a nice and well-deserved breakfast together. Getting fitter while making friends is probably a good plan for next weekend.
Have you ever thought about pairing Yoga with Raves? Well, this very unique and rather quirky Yoga Meetup in London brings together activities like Social Yoga Tuesday's, Yoga Raves and even helps you boost your love life (if necessary) with original events like Yoga Dating.
Urban Yoga communities are growing faster than ever, why not join in?
BLOGS & WEBSITES FOR LEARNING ENGLISH
- VOA - Learning English: News, audio broadcasts, videos, grammar...this website is in American English and is dedicated to all English learners willing to read or listen to the language regularly!
- Lang-8: Write in English and someone will correct your mistakes for free! Their moto is "Let our community of native speakers support your language learning".
- FluentU- English Language and Culture Blog: Read more about English learning thanks to those articles and find good tips to follow!
- BBC Learning English: A whole website offering you different activities all related to English learning. Choose your level and work on different units.
- Go Speak English: Enter the community of English learners, make friends, share content in English and communicate!
- Speak like a Star!: A blog dedicated to the English Language. Interesting facts about the language, pronunciation tips, choice of words...in short a blog "to help you speak clearly, correctly and confidently".
- EnglishClub.com: Grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, reading, listening...choose the field you would like to practice!
Stimmt is to agree with someone. It is often used when the person you are talking to convinced you about something or tells you about something you did not think about. It is like “oh yes it’s true” or “you are right”.
SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS TO LEARN ENGLISH
Bonus: What can happen if you get the wrong translation?
Last year the translation company ELAN made this funny advertisement video comparing 2 English translations of a Japanese recipe. The first one was translated by their own online translator and the second one by Google Translate. So what can happen with a wrong translation? Check it out yourself:
Read Specialized Magazines
Another source we suggest for finding interesting articles is specialized magazines. Listed below are a few magazines created by organisations in which experienced teachers write about particular elements of the Spanish language. You will also find awesome interviews, analysis and tips about how to prepare for a DELE exam. These magazines are highly recommended guides to Spanish language education and the people behind it.
Revista redELE – Electronic magazine written by the Government and supporting the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language.
RutaELE – Non-profit magazine, without advertising and with no public or private financial support. You will find synonyms, antonyms, and verbs, as well as publishing rules.
SinoELE - Focusing on Chinese students of Spanish, this magazine tries to establish parameters on the teaching and cultural differences between both societies. There are also online resources and materials for classes.
Boletín ProfELE - Webinars, workshops and a lot of articles with useful information about teaching and learning Spanish and why so many people love the Spanish language.
Cuadernos Cervantes - Dedicated to teachers, students and curious people. You will find a list of content for grammar and methodology questions.
e-Aesla - Scientific magazine published by Instituto Cervantes’ website with the best research carried out by AESLA (Spanish Society for Applied Linguistics).
Encuentro - Its purpose is to make grammar easier to understand.
If it’s true there is in German the formal phrase Guten Appetit; it could be useful as well to know this other version when wishing someone to enjoy his meal. You can even find a literal translation of the English sentence: Lass es euch schmecken!
These people called themselves 'Outdooraholics' and that is for one reason only. In this group, you'll have the chance to participate in flawlessly organised trips to get away from the traffic jams and packed streets of the city. It goes from a nice daytrip in the outskirts of London through to a 2-week hiking holiday.
Learn with Spanish Bloggers
There are some people who have a special affinity with the Spanish language. They love sharing their knowledge with the rest of the world and have therefore created a great community around their blogs.
'Aprende español en México' is the work of Andrea Chávez. She talks about colloquial Spanish, typical Mexican food, recipes, grammar mistakes…everything gets a mention on this wonderful space. If you want to learn more about the Spanish spoken in North America, this is the place.
One of the most popular blogs on the internet is 'Justifica tu respuesta'. You will find inspiration from the experience of a professor who talks about pedagogy, study methods and recommends books and other material for your daily training.
For kids and teenagers, 'La educateca' has videos, audio recordings and interviews where you can find informative content.
'Gigas de tiza' is a blog with a lot of specializations. Online resources to help you learn Spanish with recipes, social network and more. An extensive source to help you improve and delve deeper into the language.
This would be the equivalent or the English “take care”. This is the perfect thing to say when leaving someone and say goodbye.
A bit of culture please...!
However, always keep in mind that online translation has its limits and need to be taken very carefully. In case you have any doubts about a translation, always ask a native person to help you out!
Look words up in Dictionaries
Although using dictionaries to learn seems quite old fashioned, it is always a good option for some unknown words. We recommend these two:
SpanishDict: not just a free translator... the website also offers free video courses, flashcards, and other helpful resources.
RAE: Official Spanish Royal Academy of Languages Dictionary.
Reverso: Words’ definitions and quite good for polysemous words.
WordReference: Online translation dictionary which also features publicly accessible forums allowing registered users to ask questions about vocabulary and grammar.
Tschüss would be the general word to use every time you want to say goodbye, whether you know the person or not. Of course you also have the famous auf Wiedersehen but let’s say that if you are not sure about its pronunciation, just go for a Tschüss…!
Always wondered where Jack the Ripper committed his crimes or where Shakespeare’s inspiration came from? Well, no one is more enthusiastic about discovering the heart of London than these guys! Discovery walks, museums and art galleries, opera, plays, daytrips or even a simple coffee meetup are on the list of their monthly activities.
Many of us have dreamed of knowing all about wine and exotic foods (and boastfully talk about it at fancy parties). However, it may be a difficult thing to achieve, given that there are hundreds of things to discover in the culinary arts and one usually don't know where to begin. Activities in this group not only include food and drink tasting, but also glass painting, winery visits and many more.
ONLINE GAMES FOR LEARNING ENGLISH
Games to learn English for Children
- LearnEnglish Kids, by The British Council: A whole range of games focusing on listening, watching, writing, reading and speaking.
- Enjoy your English!
- Poisson Rouge
Games to learn English for everyone
- LearnEnglish, by the British Council: Different games using English vocabulary and grammar
- ELG, English Learning Games: hangman, memory, math, crosswords...and even more!
- Vocabulary.com.il: Free vocabulary learning games
- Games to learn English: Around 30 short games playing with English vocabulary, verbs and grammar.
Find useful tips on Twitter
If you just want small tips every once in a while, you can follow some users on Twitter and receive their updates on your timeline. Quite easy and perfect for orthographic corrections, uncommon words and new material.
We do hope this list of resources to learn English will help you in your learning process! If you happen to know or use other resources that we might have forgotten, please contact us and we will add them to the list!
Converse with a Tandem Partner
Last but not least, the value of meeting up regularly with a native Spanish speaker cannot be overemphasized. This is the reason we learn a new language, to be able to communicate with more people and have a more complete understanding of different parts of the world and their cultures. There is no better way to improve in a language than conversing in that language. In most cities, you can find potential tandem partners by searching ‘language tandem + the name of the city you want to meet up in’ in Facebook and joining a group dedicated to helping people find tandem partners.
Bonus: German language and…food!
Discover funny phrases in German that have a special flavour…!
Es ist mir Wurst
Literally: This is me sausage
Meaning: I don’t care
Ich freue mich wie ein Schnitzel
Literally: I am as glad as a Schnitzel
Meaning: I am very happy
Literally: Soft white cheese
Meaning: Like "Quatsch", it’s nonsense
Alles in Butter?
Literally: Everything in butter?
Meaning: Everything okay?
Abwarten und Tee trinken
Literally: Wait and drink tea
Meaning: Being patient
You are now all set up to go! However, you’re probably thinking 'can I turn up alone?’, the answer is YES, you can. It is even better as you really get to experience the concept. Find many, many more meetups in London here.
If you have any other words or phrases you would like to share with us, go to our Sprachcaffe Facebook page and post them as a comment under this article’s post! Tschüss und bis bald !
They say French is the language of love. However, why not express your love in multiple languages to add a little flair?
Whether you met your partner in your homeland or while travelling abroad, whether your both speak the same language or not, what could be more romantic than expressing your love in another language? With our list, you will be not short of a romantic vocabulary this Valentine's Day.
Work, Study, Play – A First-Hand Look into Travelling Abroad
Main Working Abroad Options
- Internships and Learnerships – If you have completed your studies you can apply to do an internship at an international organisation. Not only will this help you gain valuable experience but it will also allow you the opportunity to discover the world. Something to note – not all internships offer payment so finance is a point to be discussed.
- Bridging-the-gap work experience – This option is ideal for school-leavers who want to experience the world before they settle down to study. Agencies specialise in these job placements which usually include work as waitron staff, office temping, promotional work, au pairing, hospitality and housekeeping. Work abroad agencies assist individuals with the entire process. From choosing a specific destination to outlining the criteria of work possibilities – agencies help with every aspect of the trip. Most agencies offer accommodation as well as job interviews or job placements. A number of the agencies specialise in specific jobs with au-pairing being a favourite amongst school-leavers. Au-pair agencies in particular set up various job interviews between families and applicants prior to their arrival and only finalise applications once a job placement has been finalised.
- Volunteer Working Holidays – Developing countries and underdeveloped countries are always looking for English speaking individuals who are eager to offer English conversational and grammar classes for both children and adults. All that is required from you is a good standard of English and the ability to speak to groups ranging from 2 students to 25 students. Agencies dealing with volunteers usually use distance recruiting with most applications being handled on line and through live Skype interviews. Once the application is considered successful the agency will place the volunteers within their certain field in a destination of their choosing.
- Cruise Liner Careers – Individuals who want to travel the world, meet new people and enjoy a wonderful working environment often look into working abroad on vacation cruise liners. Most cruise organisations hire recruitment agencies to handle the recruiting for front line staff; these jobs usually include hosting, hospitality, kitchen work and basic management. Hairdressers, beauty therapists and even personal fitness trainers are also in demand but training and experience are essential in order to fill these positions. Entertainers are also required but undergo strict recruiting procedures; applicants are required to submit a written portfolio, an audio-visual audition disc and will need to attend an interview/audition if they reach the second level of the application procedure. Before the application can be finalised they will need to undergo a full medical assessment, acquire a police clearance certificate and will usually have a strict training regime in place before they dock off for the first time. It is advisable for individuals interested in these positions to contact the cruise liner directly in order to find out the ideal agency to choose or if the organisation accepts direct applications. First impressions are of the utmost importance.
Conditions for Working Abroad
In order to be accepted into various work-abroad options there are conditions that need to be met:
- Valid passport
- Some agencies only accept applicants between the ages of 18 and 35.
- Visa requirements must be met prior to departure; these differ from country to country.
- If applying for specific mid-level positions a detailed résumé with an experience record will be required.
- Internships & Learnerships will request academic records from all applicants. Relevant qualifications are required for certain positions.
- Agencies require payment in full prior to departure with up to 50% required to secure your slot in the project.
- Police clearance certificates are required. It is imperative that criminal records be declared prior to any arrangements being made; it is within the agency’s rights to deny access to any individuals.
- Successful applicants are required to prove that sufficient funds are available for the duration of their stay in their destination; this is usually a requirement for visa applications as well.
- Applicants are required to undergo a full medical assessment prior to their application being approved.
More Information on Visa & Passport Requirements – Every country has different immigration regulations depending on your nationality. The United Kingdom is quite strict with regard to their visa requirements. Euro (EU) Passport holders do not require visiting or working visas when entering the UK. The UK has a number of working visas that are relative to the particular field, level and experience. These visas are divided into groups known as tiers, if you are required to obtain a visa for the UK you will need to select the tier visa that you will need, agencies will be able to assist you with all of the necessary information.
Tourists visiting some European countries will be required to obtain a Schengen Visa. The Schengen visa includes 25 European countries and is essential in order to be granted access into countries like France, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Finland and many more. US citizens are granted access for a period no longer than 90 days; any stays that exceed the stipulated 90 day period will however require a long-stay visa which will permit employment for the duration of their visa.
What you can expect from a work-abroad agency:
- Information on the destination, visa requirements, health requirements and advice on how to adjust to working abroad. While agencies do provide necessary information it is up to you to obtain the visa and all relevant travel documentation from the relevant embassies or agencies.
- Accommodation, some agencies offer accommodation of anything up to 2 nights to 3 months. These usually take the form of flat-sharing or hostels.
- Some agencies do obtain start-up jobs on your behalf while others may just set up interviews with employment agencies and prospective employers. It is your responsibility to provide a detailed overview of your qualifications and experience and find out what is expected of you in each role.
- Bank accounts and Tax numbers. Most work-abroad agencies set up a local bank account on your behalf as well as a national tax number. This bank account is entirely your own and is merely opened on your behalf.
Number 1 - Plan Ahead
Yes, spur of the moment vacations are quite exciting but do you know what beats the adrenalin of a last minute rush? Knowing where you are going, when you are going and what you plan on doing whilst there! Not only does planning ahead alleviate a lot of the stress of travelling but it also almost always ensures cheaper options from flights to accommodation! You are more than likely going to find specials coming out around the 6 week mark so keep a lookout for the best deals with weeks to spare.
Number 2 - Browse for the best airfare option
Your national airline might feel like the best bet but be sure to look at a variety of airlines. For example compare your national airlines rates with that of your destination’s local airline, you might be surprised at the deal you can get. Also keep an eye open for up and coming airlines, these airlines are trying to attract repeat clients and will often offer great deals and excellent customer service. Don’t reject layovers without taking a closer look at the times and destination, who knows you might enjoy a break from the aircraft for a few hours to explore an exotic airport or even the surrounding city – visas permitting, of course.
Number 3 - Plan your days’ adventures
Your plans don’t have to be set in stone but by having an idea of the places you’d like to go and the things you would like to do you will have the opportunity to research admission fees beforehand. Also make sure you check for discount days, a lot of attractions offer special rates for students or even 2 for 1 deals. Some places even have a specific happy hour special where visitors can save up to 50% on tickets. Keep an eye out for these deals and make sure you have your Identity Document and specific cards proving that you qualify for those discounts.
Number 4 - Experience life as a local
Tourist hotspots are always buzzing but not only are the prices almost doubled but the crowds can become a bit overwhelming, especially if you are travelling during a peak period. Save yourself the stress and the extra money by enjoying your destination as a local. Balance your touristy time with a more laidback exploration of your surroundings; you will more than likely see the truly hidden gems of your destination while saving a lot of money and enjoying your vacation in a truly unique way.
Some will say: "What’s the point of going to Oktoberfest without drinking a good pint of beer?". Others will tell you that this festival is above all a popular and friendly gathering, aiming at celebrating Bavarian traditions with joy and good spirit! Still not sure if this is worth going? Go ahead and try to enjoy Oktoberfest no matter what, otherwise, you might end up missing on the most famous event of Germany! Check out below how you can, in your own way, enjoy these weeks of Bavarian festivities…
With a little bit of research you will find out that there are many more cultural habits to get used to than just adapting to using chopsticks in China, or burping to express satisfaction after a meal in Arabic countries!
Celebrating Oktoberfest differently!
Wear the traditional outfit
If there’s one thing you absolutely have to do during Oktoberfest, it’s wearing the traditional Bavarian outfit, which you will see everywhere in the streets of Munich. You might have already seen these: short and leather suspenders for men – the Lederhose – and the amazingly low-necked dress worn by women – the Dirndl. They are a must-have for this event. Early birds will have the best deals, as they are out of stock pretty quickly, and cost less during low season! You can also wear accessories like hats, jewellery, shoes…all Bavarian-inspired, of course! So hurry up and get dressed for Oktoberfest!
Discover German Gastronomy
German love beer indeed but they also love eating. Oktoberfest is one more excuse to discover the typical cuisine of South Germany. On the menu is generally some chicken, roasted pork, sausages, Spätzle, Knödel (potato balls), some cabbage… and of course some pretzels! Please note that the actual German spelling is Brezel. You will not find more traditional food as during Oktoberfest, so do no forget to eat when you get there!
Learn some traditional German songs
Prepare yourself, Oktoberfest is also about singing your heart out on some of the best ‘hits’ of the German but most of all Bavarian popular songs. Be sure to learn the lyrics beforehand if you want to give your body and soul to this traditional activity. The atmosphere is very lively and there is no need to sing right to join in. These songs are also very popular during Carnival time in February, they are very festive and very well known by anyone, even the youngest ones!
If you already have a bit of German knowledge, you will quickly realise that people there speak… with a particular accent! Here are a few words from the Bavarian dialect:
Grüß Gott / Servus : Good day / Hello
Pfiaddi : Goodbye
Bía : beer
Minga : Munich
Daitschland : Germany
Visit Munich, the Capital of Bavaria
Munich - München in German – is a go-to when travelling in Germany during Oktoberfest. This is THE place for the festivities. With its 1.5 million inhabitants, Munich is not only the third biggest city of the country but also the capital of Bavaria. There, you will find the old city with its magnificent architecture including the Rathaus on Marienplatz, have a walk around the Englischen Garten, one of the biggest innercity garden in the world, and visit the Frauenkirsche or the Deutsches Museum if you have time! Otherwise, you can always pay us a visit in our new language school in Munich and learn a bit of German for the occasion!
See the biggest fair in the world
The gigantic empty land where the Oktoberfest is hosted – commonly called the Wiesn – transforms into a huge fairground, which is supposed to be the biggest in the world: it has around 200 rides and 6 million visitors every year. Among the most popular rides are the Riesenrad (Ferris wheel), the Hexenschaukel (a ride based on optical illusion) and also slides… some of them dating from the 19th century!
Party for two whole weeks
Oktoberfest is primarily a popular fest. And fest means party! Many music sets and concerts are organised during the two weeks of the event and you will also be able to attend the opening parade of Oktoberfest and dance (or sing) along with the crowd! The city of Munich also changes and every bar and restaurant opens its doors to welcome groups of friends or families. You will find that there is a genuine festive mood among the people of Bavaria!
Making the most of Oktoberfest also means getting the opportunity to explore Bavaria. This 'Land' is the biggest in Germany and provides its visitors with amazing landscapes made from mountains and beautiful nature. The image you might have already in mind when thinking of Bavaria isn’t a myth. South Germany is a place everyone finds charming and mesmerising! So if you are going to Oktoberfest with the Bavarians, do not miss on their wonderful region and explore the wonderful countryside around Munich! You will not regret paying a visit to Germany...
1. Use Flight Comparison Sites
There are many flight comparison websites out there. Here are some of the best:
Often you will find the best prices by using these sites to scan through many different airline fares.
Google Flights is a fantastic, flexible way to search for flights. It shows you the best features of a city destination (such as concerts, nightlife, shopping, etc), it gives you ideas if you are not sure where to go, you can set parameters such as your date range, price range and so on.
Often, this should be your first stop when travel planning.
Matrix Airfare Search is for more advanced users. ITA Software, the company originally behind Maxrix Airfare Search, is the 'secret sauce' behind Google flights after being bought by Google, think of it as a more advanced way to search.
Kayak is a wonderfully intuitive way to search for flights. You get graphs of price over time, choice of airlines, which you can tick on or off, you can pick your preferred airline alliance (e.g. OneWorld or Star Alliance). Highly recommended.
Sky Scanner is another popular website, if you need another option.
Not all universities offer exchange student options but there are other ways to experience studying abroad without a whole lot of hassle.
ISEP has been sending students abroad since 1979 and is one of the study abroad programs that make it possible for students to study at universities across the United States. Organisations like the ISEP help students register to further their studies further afield. These organisations assist with the course registrations as well as offer advice on how to get started on the planning process. Most study abroad programs do include students’ residential accommodation, meals and course advisers that help make the process as simple as possible.
- A Semester Abroad – Students who aren’t ready to commit to studying abroad permanently are encouraged to try a semester abroad first. These semesters are conducted at one of the organisation’s campuses while the students live in their chosen destination. This is the most popular form of student exchange and assists students in continuing their studies while enjoying a new destination – as well as a new academic university environment. Students are granted admission into a foreign university for 3 – 6 months (an average tertiary academic term) where they will continue earning credits for their major qualification. Agencies that handle exchange programs assist with the registration process, accommodation and other basic information about the destination. In order to apply students will have interviews conducted, their grades will be reviewed and some universities will request entrance examinations to be taken prior to the application being finalised successfully.
- Semester Break Abroad – These programs are designed to be held during academic vacations and are ideal for students who want to use their vacation time to further their academic pursuits, obtain extra-curricular credits or learn a new skill. These courses can either contribute to the student’s main qualification or it can be an additional course of interest taken abroad. Also known as Summer/Fall Programs these semester vacation programs include accommodation, registration assistance and course advisers.
- Complete your Studies Abroad – Students can decide to attend or transfer to the ideal university for their qualification and profession. Students who decide to complete their entire qualification abroad can contact the university directly for information on accommodation, course registration and any other course related enquiries. This option is available for students who want to complete their entire qualification in a university abroad or can request an institutional transfer after the course has commenced. This option is entirely at the university’s discretion and will have to handled directly through the relevant educational industries (i.e. home university, destination university).
Study Abroad and Exchange Student Organisations usually offer the following:
- Information on the available program options, course information and university contact personnel.
- Assistance with course registration with your destination university. If you are using an external agency to assist you with your studies abroad it is usually up to you to inform your home university of your plans, arrange for credit transfers and confirm the accreditation of your specific course-related classes.
- Accommodation and full/half board. These accommodation options are usually school residences, flat shares or university residences.
- Course Advisers to offer assistance and advice.
- Social activities and a variety of cultural excursions to enhance the experience.
- Students are required to have completed their secondary education with university exemption. Academic records will be requested.
- A valid passport
- Students are required to have met the institution’s entrance requirements which will differ from university to university. This may be in the form of an entrance examination, detailed application or interview.
- Police clearance certificates may be required before admission is granted into a specific educational institution.
Visa requirements differ depending on your intended destination as well as your nationality. While agencies do advise you on the process required as well as any other travel regulations, it is up to the student to acquire the necessary visa and travel documents. Students intending on studying at a foreign learning institute will require a valid passport to travel as well as a student visa and permission to study from the relevant authorities, this is however dependent on the destination. In order to find out whether or not you need a student visa in order to complete your studies it is advisable that you consult the immigration authorities of your intended destination or consult an immigration/travel agency.
Health Requirements & Regulations
Some destinations require tourists to receive vaccinations prior to their arrival. For instance, students intending to study in some regions of South Africa and other African countries are encouraged to take anti malaria pills or other malaria prophylaxis. It is essential that tourists and students who intend travelling to remote destinations consult their medical practitioners beforehand as well as find out the health requirements of their destination.
Number 5 - Prepare and pack your own meals
Who doesn’t love a picnic? Find yourself a local supermarket and stock up on the snacks that you enjoy, these will cost a fraction of the price that you will pay at tourist kiosks. Bear in mind that dining out for every meal time will cost a lot more and can be quite tiring so keep easy to prepare meals at hand, most hotels have a microwave either in the room or on their premises so getting these meals warm and ready to eat won’t be a hardship. Just bear in mind that attractions like amusement parks might not allow food to be brought in so keep in mind your plans for the day before packing a 5 course gourmet picnic basket.
Number 6 - Opt for public transport instead of taxis
While taxis are more convenient they are also a lot more expensive. Find out about the public transport in the area, most tourist destinations do have easily accessible public transportation which is inexpensive and authentic. If you do find yourself lost in a strange city then you can rest assured that a taxi service will be available to come to your rescue.
Also check out if the city you're in has a special card to travel everywhere by bus, tram or with the underground, something like a group card if you are several persons or a day-card to use during 24 hours. It is oftentimes much cheaper than buying a one-way ticket.
And finally if you have to go further and can't afford paying for the train, try also car-sharing, it's the best way to travel really cheap and to meet people!
Number 7 - Compare credit fees to foreign exchange
Some banks offer excellent swipe rates where as some banks might double or even triple their bank fees when swiping your card abroad. The key to deciding on the way to spend is knowledge, contact your bank and find out the rates they offer and then compare it to the cash fees involved with foreign exchange. Browse for the best time to buy your foreign currency and also be aware of the additional costs incurred by using a travel agency as opposed to your bank.
✓ In a country like GERMANY, you will see people knocking on their table rather than clapping to applaud at the end of a master class or a really good meeting. In Beer-land clapping is reserved for theater and concerts! And talking about beer, if you want to respect German customs, don’t forget to clink glasses and say Prost! every single time you start a new beverage. And make eye contact to your fellow toasters, otherwise it is said that you will suffer bad sex relations for the next 7 years! Germans are quite organized people but there are times when the reality really doesn’t match the expectation. Join a queue in a German supermarket and see what happens when a new checkout opens. They rush to the new queue! If you are not fast enough maybe you can spend more time than expected waiting in line
✓ Have you never noticed how people introduce themselves in SPAIN? Spaniards are well-known for being loud and friendly. If you happen to visit Spain, don’t be surprised if a girl kisses you twice - once on one cheek and once on the other cheek- to introduce herself. It’s the Spanish way of saying “Hello!”
✓ Do you like cheese? If so, when you stay with a French host family make sure to spare some space in your stomach for the dessert. In FRANCE people tend to enjoy a cheese tasting plate accompanied by a good red wine after meals. Oh! And remember: if you are drinking a red wine and want to change to white wine, please don’t pour it in the same glass without cleaning it beforehand, if you don’t want to be the laughingstock of the party.
✓ Italians are very superstitious and for them, nuns and ambulances are associated with death. So if you plan to spend your holidays in ITALY and you bump into one of them, don’t hesitate and bless yourself with the sign of the Cross… Just in case!
✓ Now a little further afield, in RUSSIA you will discover that you receive a light stamp if you accidentally step on someone’s foot. Why? The first thought that will come to your mind is that it’s due to revenge. Far from this, Russians do that to avoid future conflict with this person.
In India is usually to see two men walking holding hands. This doesn’t mean that they are in a romantic relationship. This is just a sign of friendship. On the other hand, you will never see a couple expressing their love in public in India.
From backpacking to organised group trips and solo explorations, as a tourist the opportunities for adventure are endless! Whether you want to discover Europe as a cultural explorer or you want to enjoy a backpacking trip across the states of the USA, there are a million and one ways for you to discover the world and gain valuable life experiences along the way.
Types of Holidays Abroad
- Backpacking – Plan a globetrotting, city skipping tour where you will meet like-minded adventurers and enjoy experiences that will embed themselves in your memory for the rest of your life. Enjoy the excitement of discovering a variety of different cities, living in true backpacking style and making the most of the authentic hostel accommodation experience.
- Group Tours – From Gap Year Tours of Europe to Contiki Tours in the Mediterranean – there are variety of group tours especially designed to suit every tourist. Organised tours are perfect for individuals who want to enjoy every element of a destination while meeting new people and experiencing a unique worldly culture. Organised tours allow tourists to enjoy the famous attractions of a destination as well as a few of the lesser known hidden gems of a region.
- Solo Explorers – Travelling does not have to be experienced in a crowd in order to enjoy the wonders of the world at large. Solo explorers have the freedom to choose and plan their own itineraries as well as alter their plans as it suits them. While some hotels do offer prices on a “per person sharing” rate there are accommodation options that focus on individuals travelling alone. Travelling alone also makes booking airline tickets easier as travellers can opt for stand by fares and make the most of last minute cancellations.
- Language Trips Abroad – Have you ever wanted to learn a foreign language but never got around to signing up for the local classes? Combining a language course with a vacation abroad is the perfect way to broaden your horizons while acquiring a worthwhile skill. Organisations such as Sprachcaffe Languages Plus specialises in destination language courses affording you the opportunity to learn the language from the classroom to the streets of your surrounding cities. These language trips are available to students (16 years and older) as well as to adults and corporate professionals. Most language courses are held over several weeks with students/tourists having the freedom to decide upon the ideal course duration to suit their needs. 6 weeks is the most favoured course length with some courses lasting up to 3 months.
- Cruise Liners – From trips to nowhere to luxury 6 month cruises around the world and everything in between – cruises are a luxurious and exciting way to experience the world. With meals, entertainment and accommodation all taken care of from the moment you board a luxury cruise liner your holiday begins from the moment you arrive. Whether you are using the cruise ship as a means to get you from point A to point B or you plan to enjoy your vacation aboard these magnificent vessels there is a cruise option that will suit your needs perfectly! Most cruise ships have everything from swimming pools to day spas and fully equipped gyms making it a well-rounded holiday experience, make the most of the balcony views and meet new people. Cruise packages do not include flights or transfers to the departure dock, alcoholic beverages on board or some activities (i.e. gambling) while all meals are catered for as well as entertainment making it a perfect choice for families, couples, students and solo travellers. Most packages do include shopping opportunities and stop-offs so be sure to have your foreign exchange ready or simply do an exchange on board. From 3 day excursions to 6 month splurges a vacation aboard a cruise liner is undeniably an unforgettable way to experience the world.
Group Tours and Travel Packages Includes:
- Flights * inclusive in some packages
- Accommodation * an average of 3 star accommodation options including bed and breakfasts, hotels and chalets. **Luxury options are available and offer 4 star, 5 star and 5 star + accommodation options.**
- Breakfast and dinner, drinks not included
- Queue skipping tourist attractions
- Cultural and adventure excursions *some entrance fees are not included in the package deals
- Tours and transport
- Travel Insurance, some organisations do include travel insurance in the package while all tour organisers do insist on it.
Language Trip Abroad Packages includes:
- Accredited language courses conducted by professional language teachers.
- Course materials
- 2-3 meals daily
- Some group activities and excursions
- Airport transfers
** Flights and transport fees not included in the package**
***Visa letters will be charged for but may be essential for a successful visa application***
- Valid passport
- Travel Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Proof of sufficient funds (visa requirement)
2. Check out the Budget Translatlantic Airliners
These days, budget airliners doesn't always equal bad food and worse service! You may get basic service, but you can often pay for comforts, such as jumping to the front of the queue with priority boarding to avoid the rush or an emergency row for extra legroom. You also can take comfort in theknowledge the money you save on flights can be spent in shopping at your destination!
Sometimes, budget airlines do not show up in the flight comparison websites mentioned above. Other times, they only fly from less popular airportswhich may not be on your radar. So if you are willing to travel to an outofthewayairport, you can get great deals!
Number 8 - Get a local SIM/phone card
International roaming is expensive! Everyone knows that mobile phones are an essential part of daily living but enabling your phone for international roaming can set you back a huge chunk of cash. Buy a local SIM/phone card and let people know about your temporary number, this will keep you in contact with the people you need to be in contact with, without costing you a fortune! And no, you won't have to wait until you have Wi-Fi to finally send the last selfie you have just done...!
Number 9 - Shop where the locals shop
As mentioned above tourist shops can be a whole lot more expensive than the local chain store supermarket so make sure you stock up on your supplies at a local supermarket rather than the tourist kiosk just outside of your hotel. From groceries to toiletries and even gifts you will be able to find a bargain at the shop instead of breaking the budget.
Number 10 - Opt for budget hotels
If you are not planning on spending a lot of time in your hotel then there is really no need to splurge on 5 star accommodations. 3 or 4 star hotels or bed and breakfasts are great for budgets and still offer you a comfortable and relaxing place to call home for the duration of your stay. Keep an eye on your hotel’s destination, while you definitely don’t want to stay in the slums of the city you don’t necessarily need to be in the heart of the hustle and bustle of tourist central.
TOP TIP : Keep an eye on your spending!
Writing down a daily spending allowance and recording everything you have spent will help you keep track of your money while giving you the opportunity to curb your spending or enjoying a little bit of luxury on your next outing.
Travelling does not have to be a huge expense, let these tips leave you with a little bit more in your pocket while not skimping on the things that really matter – making memories in a new and exciting destination! So what are you waiting for? Start planning the trip of a lifetime today!
✓ In some ASIAN COUNTRIES such as China, Korea or Japan, a sign of approval and appreciation of someone’s cooking is to slurp the soup loudly - what is considered rude in most western countries. However, in JAPAN don’t blow your nose loudly! It is considered very rude. So if you need to clean your nose while you are in the Land of the Rising Sun, do it in privately or turn your back to your companions before doing it. And remember, do it quietly if you want to avoid offending anyone.
✓ If you are looking for a job in IRELAND, the UK or the US, remember not to add personal data in you CV (date of birth, sex, marital status or even a profile picture!). Equal opportunity legislation in these countries requires employers to recruit based on merit alone, and emitting these data enables organisations to choose candidates fairly!
These are some amazing cultural facts driven by external factors such as religion, idiosyncrasy or even geography, which determine the way people behave. Because…to sum up: we are all human beings, but our lifestyles are exceptionally diverse!
If you are looking at exploring the world at large why not take a closer look at what Sprachcaffe has to offer! From language courses to working holidays – your dream adventure might be closer than you think! There are an overwhelming number of opportunities out there waiting to be discovered so what are you waiting for?
Boston to Dublin for $199, including a stopover in Reykjavík? Yes, that price is correct. Wow Air are certainly shaking up the transatlantic flights. If you don't mind the stopover, this is a great way to save money on flights.
A top-rated European low-cost carrier. Norwegian Air Shuttle offers incredibly cheap flights to Scandinavia and London from all over the United States, such as Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland, and Orlando.
A great low-cost airline, that offers direct flights between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. Roundtrip rates start around $590 from New York City to Charles de Gaulle Airport.
3. Get Price Alerts for Flights
How about snagging an ultra low priced offer? Don't fancy the thought of constantly checking flight comparison websites? Read on...
If you know your approximate travel dates and have a budget, you can setup email alerts for your chosen parameters. This means you get an email alert as soon as your dates and budget matches an offer.
4. More Tips
Clear your browser cache. There is conflicting information online about whether this works. However, some airlines have been known to increase their prices in the past based on multiple searches (indicating higher level of interest in a particular flight.) It doesn't hurt to clear your cache for this reason.
Switch currencies! Use dollars, Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, euros, pounds and more to save. Sometimes, you will save money simply by booking in a different currency! Even factoring in exchange rate differences and fees on your credit card for currency exchange, this can save you money. Especially worth checking on more expensive flights.
Travel within Europe cheaply with the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet. This is a great way to save, even if sometimes you go to airports far from your destination.
So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have further ideas, please tweet @Sprachcaffe with the hashtag: #FlightHacks
Annemarie in Sprachcaffe Málaga
✓ Nationality: German
✓ Age: 17 years old
✓ Destination: Málaga, Spain
✓ Dates: 02.08.2015 - 09.08.2015
✓ Language travel for Young People
Annemarie loves languages: Although I also like mathematics in school, I am fascinated by languages but for different reasons. Speaking other languages not only helps you to get to know other cultures, countries and traditions, but even helps you to get to know yourself. That was my point of departure, so I decided in October 2014 to make a language trip to Barcelona. There, I came upon Sprachcaffe and after my trip with them and it became suddenly clear: I somehow had to convince my parents to let me travel with Sprachcaffe once again. The trip to Barcelona was my first travel on my own, but everything worked well and I didn’t feel lost. On the contrary: I met so many interesting people!
Annemarie decided to travel back with Sprachcaffe and discover our school in Málaga. She had a warm welcome from her host mother: She greeted me with kisses on the cheeks (left and right!) and offered me plenty of drinks and delicious food and so it went on the whole week, I really felt comfortable. Her apartment was 2-minute away for the school and not far from the beach!
"The lessons in Málaga were totally different from the Spanish lessons in my school."
After the compulsory placement test, Annemarie was placed in the B2.2 group and really enjoyed her classes: A week full of funny moments began, we learned Spanish but also danced and sang during class! Maria, my teacher was really great. When I told her about the Sprachcaffe video contest, she even helped me with it! The lessons in Málaga were totally different from the Spanish lessons in my school. Although I have a very young teacher in Germany who designs the lessons really well, learning abroad has some benefits: switch to your own language is not possible and this way you learn the most. Even the atmosphere is much better, everyone came here to learn and is particularly motivated. What I also noticed is that everyone really appreciated the others’ progress, everyone is willing to help each other. As for homework, we met each other at one’s host family on the terrace and worked on it together. Discussing with my host mother also improved my speaking and understanding abilities.
"We always had so much fun and were able to improve our language skills together."
Annemarie is still in contact with many of her classmates; they even sent each other Christmas presents: I met so many people from different countries – Germany, Norway, Holland, Turkey, Poland, England and much more. We spend so much time together, drinking the daily cocktail in the bar „La Tortuga“, playing volleyball on the beach, at the salsa lesson, visiting the museums of Málaga, shopping in the city or going on a trip to Tarifa for surf – we always had so much fun and were able to improve our language skills together. The secretary and the other teachers of the school were so nice that I am just going to organise a holiday in Málaga with my friends of my school in Germany to see everyone again and to say thank you for this great summer!
Annemarie made a really nice video illustrating her trip and won a 2-week course with Sprachcaffe: I was waiting for the results while in the gym and when I found out I was one of the winners, I was incredibly happy and didn’t know what to do with all this joy. I told it directly to my trainer and other good friends. I also wrote to my parents and all the people I met in Málaga. I still had a grin on my face the next day.
What's next for Annemarie?
Annemarie will go to Sprachcaffe Malta in April 2016 to learn English this time. We hope to get some news from her very soon!
Viktoria in Sprachcaffe Frankfurt
✓ Nationality: Finnish (and half-Polish)
✓ Age: 22 years old
✓ Destination: Frankfurt, Germany
✓ Dates: 26.06.2015 - 19.07.2015
✓ Language travel for Adults
Viktoria is currently studying Russian language at the University of Tampere in Finland together with Czech language, Finnish and Pedagogic as minor subjects: I love to meet people from different countries and to speak and at the same time learn languages with them, travelling to other countries is always an extraordinary experience! I am in permanent contact with Erasmus students in my city and enjoy the international atmosphere by meeting different kinds of cultures. That is the reason why I decided to come to Frankfurt am Main as an au pair and improve my German skills.
"The best thing was that the common language outside of our classes was also German."
Viktoria decided to come to Frankfurt as an au pair and improved her German skills: this summer was really nice! I enjoyed my everyday life there and the best thing was that the common language outside of our classes was also German so I could practice the language even better. Sometimes, we were meeting with my classmates after the lessons and tried to speak German as much as possible without switching to English.
"these courses in Frankfurt [...] have also inspired me a lot concerning my future plans of becoming a teacher."
Viktoria said that with the three-week German course her skills improved much more than she expected: I have studied many languages but I noticed that the best way for me to learn them is talking to people while also living in the same country the language is spoken in. My second teacher, Paolo, was teaching that way. We were speaking a lot during classes and it was very helpful! Actually, my dream is to become a teacher for foreigners like him in multicultural firm like Sprachcaffe. So these courses in Frankfurt am Main with such a nice group atmosphere and great teachers have also inspired me a lot concerning my future plans of becoming a teacher.
After her course, Viktoria visited other cities in Germany such as Köln, Stuttgart, Passau and Berlin: I was also travelling to the Czech Republic and Poland that summer since they are closer to Germany than they are to Finland from where I always need to take a plane to visit Central European countries.
In her video, Viktoria wanted to show a part of her “Sprachcaffe life” with views of beautiful Frankfurt am Main and her classmates: I was really happy to hear that I was one of the winners and immediately started to see what would be the best opportunity for me.
What's next for Viktoria?
She is willing to go further into learning German: I do not want to start a new language anymore because I think that it would be better to improve a language that I already know instead of learning just the very basics of another language. So I am planning to continue my German language studies in summer but this time in Sprachcaffe Munich. Bavaria, here I come!
Oliver in Sprachcaffe Toronto
✓ Nationality: Czech
✓ Age: 16 years old
✓ Destination: Toronto, Canada
✓ Dates: 18.07.2015 - 01.08.2015
✓ Language travel for Young People
Oliver is from Brno in Czech Republic. He is currently studying IT and in his free time, he plays music and DJ.
"Learning languages was always fun for me"
It was the first time that Oliver went on a language trip of this kind and he chose our school in Toronto: Even though the trip to Canada was going to be long and I was little bit worried about the people I would meet, the whole trip was just amazing! And everybody was super-friendly! Learning languages was always fun for me. I started learning English as my first language (even before I learnt Czech), because I used to live in England.
Oliver also works as videographer so the video contest was the perfect opportunity for him to make a great video: I was shooting during my entire stay, without knowing about the contest. When I found out I had plenty of materials. And I knew I had a lot of support from my friends. With that and the quality of my video, I confess that I believed I would get one of the winning spots. And I did! I was really happy about that!
What's next for Oliver?
Entering the contest, Oliver knew that if he won, he would probably go back to Sprachcaffe Toronto, as he loved his stay with us. So we will see him very soon!
Margot in Sprachcaffe Malta
✓ Nationality: French
✓ Age: 16 years old
✓ Destination: St Julian's, Malta
✓ Dates: 28.06.2015 - 18.07.2015
✓ Language travel for Young People
Margot is 16 years old and lives in Alsace, France. She loves travelling, going to the beach, spending time with her friends, and singing.
Margot went to Sprachcaffe Malta with her good friend Laura and she told us that the trip left a mark on both of them: We met amazing people who later became our friends. Even though we spoke different languages, learning English made it easier and we had no problem sharing interests and talking about our cultural differences.
"After my language trip, I feel that I have definitely improved!"
Margot and her friend attended one of our intensive courses: we were practicing English all the time, during class but also with everyone we met. I feel that we do not practice speaking as much in the regular class in high school. After my language trip, I feel that I have definitely improved!
The island was also an environment they really enjoyed: even though, we had class for half of the day, we really enjoyed the holiday atmosphere of the island. The sea, the sun, beautiful beaches, beach volley games and friends makes everything better for a perfect holiday!
Margot created her video with the help of her friend, she added pictures and videos of the best moments from her holidays: we must have watched this video at least thirty times, as it reminds us of our trip and all these wonderful memories.
What's next for Margot?
Both Margot and Laura want to go back for a language trip with us, but are still hesitating between going back to Sprachcaffe Malta and visiting one of our many destinations.
When you're in a foreign country
and don't speak the language
When you suddenly find out about what you really ordered
(because you had no idea and it sounded like “Beef”)
When you think you're really good in a language
and hear native speaker talking
Compliments from your teacher
When you're repeating grammar
When you're trying to keep up with the conversation
When you did a good job in class
When you're trying to understand complicated grammar
When you make a really basic mistake
"F*** this, I'm learning to play chess instead!"????
When you're trying to explain why you're
learning a really difficult language
When you're fluent in a foreign language but
the natives talk really s l o w and LOUD
When you start dreaming in another language
Realising how much you're able to say
When you are not paying attention,
and suddenly the teacher asks you to read a whole text aloud.
When a native speaker asks you for the way
When you are trying to get everything right on a vocabulary test
When your friend still doesn’t know the conjugation
and you correct them
Did you know? - 7 historical facts about Oktoberfest
- The first Oktoberfest took place in October 17th 1810.
- At the root of Oktoberfest is actually a wedding. Indeed in 1810, in Munich, Louis the 1st of Bavaria wedded Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Thus, huge festivities were organised, making it a tradition to celebrate the anniversary of this royal marriage.
- The land where is celebrated Oktoberfest was originally named Theresienwiese – literally "the meadow of Therese" – from the name of the Bavarian princess. Nowadays, the place is more commonly called the Wiesn.
- In 1872, organisers decided to push forward the date of Oktoberfest to mid-September in order to enjoy the last weeks of summer. Therefore, they decided to extend the festivities to the 1st weekend of October.
- In the 1920s, during Oktoberfest, visitors were only served Munich-brewed beer. No other beer could be commercialised. Every tent on the Wiesn belonged to a brewery from Munich (Augustiner, Löwenbrau, Paulaner...).
- It was only in the 1950s that Munich Mayor started to traditionally open the first beer of Oktoberfest, on the first Saturday of the fest, at exactly noon.
- Since 2010, the 200th year anniversary of Oktoberfest, a southern section of the Wiesn offers differents attrations illustratring the history of the popular fest. The place is called Oide Wiesn and it is 3-euro entry.
So go ahead and take part in the wonderful festivities of Oktoberfest ! The official programme is here: Oktoberfest programme 2015.
Dates of the event: from September 19th to October 4th.
And for the bravest ears, here is an extract of Bavarian music!