Speaking a Language on Vacation – Just Let Me Practice!

The dark truth is this: your vacation is probably not the best way to get language practice. Usually. If you travel alone to rural areas of South America, you will probably get the opportunity to speak a lot. If you go with friends to Spain, you’ll be speaking English with your group and most locals you meet will speak English with you as well. What … Continue reading Speaking a Language on Vacation – Just Let Me Practice!

What’s Wrong With “Nice”?

Do you find yourself using the same adjectives over and over again? Even when I’m speaking English, I find myself describing experiences as “good”, “nice”, “really good” or “okay” and feeling like a stuck record. Is it a problem for language learners? I can feel like a bit of an idiot if I describe everything in Spanish as “bueno” or “interesante”, but how much does … Continue reading What’s Wrong With “Nice”?

Thinking of Living Abroad? 4 Books to Read

Here’s two modern classics and two contemporary books from people who found temporary homes in Europe. Each book gives a flavour of the local language, illuminates the culture and history, and lets you imagine how it would be if you started over in a new land… George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London This was one of my favourite books as a teenager … Continue reading Thinking of Living Abroad? 4 Books to Read

Those Embarrassing Language Learning Moments

“Estoy embarazada” means “I am pregnant” in Spanish, and is example numero uno of embarrassing language mistakes. But language learning awkwardness is not just limited to these slip-ups. Simply exposing yourself to conversations with native speakers is a (small) social risk. The best time to learn is obviously when you’re a kid, not just because it’s easier, but because your mistakes cause you no embarrassment … Continue reading Those Embarrassing Language Learning Moments

Europe vs. Europa

I am pro-Europe, and although I understand some concerns about immigration – regarding types of jobs, integration, the impact on areas with a struggling economy – my (idealistic) impulse is that we should stay together. I know that Britain is not putting up an iron curtain, a Berlin wall or Trump’s barrier (material tbd), and I know countries like Switzerland can step outside the EU … Continue reading Europe vs. Europa