Public University Suspends Prof. for Advising Foreign Student to Learn English – Dr. Rich Swier

In a bothersome case of political correctness gone amok, a professor at a highly ranked public university in the United States has been suspended for suggesting a foreign student “learn English.”

The egregious incident occurred this month at the University of Kansas (UK), a taxpayer-funded institution with an enrollment of 28,500 that ranks among the nation’s top public universities. Situated in the northeast Kansas town of Lawrence, the school is the state’s flagship university and a premier research institution.

The “offending” professor, Gary Minden, teaches electrical engineering and computer science in the highly regarded school of engineering. Minden, an acclaimed academic, is a UK alum who received undergraduate and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at the school.

In the 1990s he served as information technology program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a Pentagon agency with a $3 billion budget dedicated to developing technologies for the military. “DARPA goes to great lengths to identify, recruit and support excellent program managers—extraordinary individuals who are at the top of their fields and are hungry for the opportunity to push the limits of their disciplines,” according to the agency’s website. “These leaders, who are at the very heart of DARPA’s history of success, come from academia, industry and government agencies for limited stints, generally three to five years.”

During a recent class, Minden told a foreign student who was using an online translation system on a cell phone that the student should “learn English,” according to a local newspaper report. The unidentified student evidently was not bothered over the suggestion, but others in the class were offended and an “hourlong discussion” ensued in the engineering class which focuses on embedded systems.

During the discussion things apparently got heated and many students in the class became very upset. The professor told the local newspaper that he’s “frustrated” over the incident but refused to comment further for obvious reasons. In the article a university spokeswoman said “a number of students have raised concerns about events that occurred in their engineering class. In response to these concerns, the university has assigned a different instructor to teach the course while the matter is reviewed.”

This is hardly an isolated case of political correctness at taxpayer-funded schools in the United States. Public elementary, middle and high schools as well as colleges have taken an extreme leftist turn on several issues over the years and Judicial Watch has reported or taken legal action in several of the cases.

This includes exposing a Mexican separatist school that pushes Marxism and Anti-Americanism in Los Angeles, pervasive corruption in Chicago public schools and an after school Satan club in Washington State that received speedy tax-exempt approval from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Judicial Watch is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the Berkeley Unified School District in California to obtain the records of a middle school teacher who is a national organizer for a radical leftist group.

The teacher, Yvette Felarca, works at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and is a prominent figure in By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), an organized militant group founded by the Marxist Revolutionary Workers League that uses raucous militant tactics to protest conservative speaking engagements. Felarca has been charged with several crimes, including felony assault, for inciting a riot in Sacramento.

A few years ago, Judicial Watch wrote about professors at a 54,000-student public university in south Florida that demanded the school protect illegal aliens by creating a “sanctuary campus.” The professors compared immigration enforcement to “fugitive slave laws.”

At the time students at colleges around the nation requested their undocumented classmates be protected, but the Florida professors blazed the trail as the first faculty members of an American taxpayer-funded establishment to officially call for campus-wide sanctuary in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s presidential election.

EDITORS NOTE: This column is republished with permission.

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How to Learn Spanish in Argentina

My study abroad experience in Argentina

I began learning Spanish over a month ago and figured it was now a good time to reflect on learning the language. As background, I grew up in the U.S. and studied Spanish until 8th grade. I then switched to studying Chinese for high school and university, living in China for a cumulative year during that time.

Having studied another language intensively in the past I knew that learning a language is more an art than science. It is not as binary as learning other subjects, like finance or math. I understood that everyone progresses at different paces. Progress is not only based on effort put in but also on what people’s mother tongues are and what other languages they know, along with their natural ability to pick up foreign languages.

So with this in mind here are some of my observations of learning Spanish!

Spanish Verb Conjugation

To me, and every other classmate I have had, verb conjugation is unanimously the most difficult part of learning Spanish. While the concept of verb conjugation is the same as in English, the particulars are much more complicated in Spanish.

Similar to English, Spanish has infinitives (infinitivos) as well as conjugated forms of the verbs. For example, to talk. In English, there are 2 conjugated forms in present tense: I/you/we/they talk, she/he/it talks. In Spanish, the infinitivo is hablar, and there are conjugated forms for each of the pronouns: yo hablo, vos hablás, ella/él habla, nosostro hablamos, ellos hablan. It only gets more complicated with past and future forms, as well as the multitude of irregular verbs (i.e. ir – to go, ser – to be, tener – to have, etc.).

Also read: Ways to put your Spanish to the test

Verb conjugation is key to learning Spanish and represents one of the most laborious parts of mastering the language. As a result, it is both extremely important and incredibly difficult!

The Speed Native Speakers Speak

I always thought that Chinese would be the most difficult language to understand through listening given its four tones but Spanish in Buenos Aires has been equally difficult. Porteños (natives of Buenos Aires) speak really fast and fluidly, sometimes mumbling a bit, almost to a point of pride. Thus, when you leave the classroom after listening to a teacher speaks clear Spanish and enter the real world, it can be a bit disheartening how little you understand. Now that I have lived here over a month I am improving at picking up on keywords throughout a conversation but still have a difficult time repeating a full sentence word for word. It is a long-term process and I think listening and speaking is always the most difficult part of learning a language!

The Difficulty of Studying Outside a Formal Classroom

Another obstacle I have faced that I had not previously thought of is the difficulty of studying outside of a formal classroom. Throughout my studies in university I always had the driving force of grades to provoke studying. I had to do homework, study for quizzes and tests, etc. for the sake of getting a good grade which I would in turn use to get a good job, etc. etc.

Studying Spanish now is solely a personal motivation. While I very much want to speak Spanish well and communicate in day-to-day life fluidly, I often find myself blowing off studying irregular past tense verbs in favor of going out to a parrilla (steak restaurant) with friends. Similar to when I was in formal school, procrastination is the enemy so it takes a lot of determination and self-will to study in free time!

Learning the Spanish Language When You Are Older

I know it seems a bit ironic for a 39-year-old to say that learning a language when you’re older is much more difficult and stressful than when younger, but it is! I have studied at Vamos for 5 weeks now and feel my Spanish has improved greatly. If I were at this level after studying Chinese for 5 weeks while in university I would have been ecstatic! But alas, I still find myself stressed out that I am not making enough progress. I either keep forgetting an irregular verb, I’m not studying enough grammar out of class, or when I enter the real world I have a tough time understanding locals speaking Spanish.

Also read: How to better understand local Spanish in Argentina

I think a large part of this is that as we grow older we don’t learn new things as often, like when we were at school. I have grown used to being good at the sports I participate in in my free time and my job because I have practiced for them my whole life. But learning a new language is eye opening – you have to have patience and realize it is a long, complicated process.

While all of the above comes off a bit discouraging, there have been many positives to learning Spanish in Buenos Aires too!

Group Classes with Students in a Similar Position

While I previously listed a lot of my struggles with learning Spanish, one of my favorite parts thus far has been studying in a group class setting. While Vamos offers both group and private classes, I have personally preferred group for a few reasons. First, there is an energy that a group class offers that helps tremendously while learning a new language. While some days you are more tired, less interested, etc., having a group of peers also learning the language helps push you on days you may not be so energized for. A group class also provides a group of peers who are facing the same difficulties as the language as you. I often find certain aspects of class more difficult than the other, and having another classmate who feels the same is reassuring and provides confidence that you are not alone in the struggle of learning Spanish. Finally, learning in a group is fun! You practice conversational Spanish with each other, telling stories of your weekend in Spanish or your favorite vacation. You not only learn the language but also get to know a lot about each other and make friends in the process!

Learning the Language in a Native Country

Another benefit of studying at Vamos has been learning the language in a native country! I have noticed, while I had studied both Spanish and Chinese in the U.S., you learn the language exponentially faster while studying it in a native country. Everything from day-to-day tasks you must perform in the language to picking up vocabulary passively through trivial tasks, it is definitely a much faster process when learning a language in a country which speaks it.

Also read: Process of how to learn a new language

In conclusion, Spanish is not necessary an easy language to learn and while the process can be tough, you are not alone in your struggles! The past few weeks have been extremely challenging but also very rewarding and has provided a fantastic experience thus far!


If you would like to know more about our Spanish Immersion Programs in Buenos Aires Argentina Spanish School in Buenos Aires visit us in Av. Cnel. Díaz 1736, C1425DQQ CABA, Argentina or enter our website www.vamospanish.com info@vamospanish.com

The post How to Learn Spanish in Argentina appeared first on Vamos Spanish Academy School in Buenos Aires.

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Blind Teen Who Can’t Speak English Belts Out Whitney Houston Classic Exactly Like The Legendary Singer!

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Blind Teen Who Can’t Speak English Belts Out Whitney Houston Classic Exactly Like The Legendary Singer!

Blind Teen Belts Out Whitney Houston Classic Exactly Like The Legendary Singer!

Most times, when you hear a singer trying to cover a legendary song, you cringe not knowing what it will sound like or if they will do it any justice. More so, when the huge song being covered belongs to a legendary singer like Whitney Houston, its almost a sure bet that it will hardly compare to the original song. But one blind teen was recorded singing the hit song ‘I Will Always Love You’, and it is safe to say, the teen gives the late Whitney Houston a run for her money!

In the video clip, Elsie, from the Philippines, who has now gone viral thanks to her incredible talent, passionately sings the classic acapella style, and beautifully hits all the high notes while maintaining the rhythm of the song just as we know it.

Elsie who has now gone viral thanks to her incredible talent, passionately sings the classic acapella style
Elsie who has now gone viral thanks to her incredible talent, passionately sings the classic acapella style

Elsie lives in a small fishing village in the Philippines. What amazed people the most about this talented girl was the fact that she does not speak any English and only learns songs through repetition after listening to them since she cannot read the lyrics because she is blind and has never been to school.

The video that was shared on Facebook already has more than 21 million views. Darrell Burnett, who shared the video, captioned it, “This is Elsie again with another song. She is blind since birth, cannot speak English but she memorized these songs and sings like an angel”

“She has never been to school, never learned English. She listens to songs and learns the song. She has one of the most Amazing voices I have ever heard. She lives in a small fishing village in the Philippines.” He added.

One person said, “She is so beautiful and so is her voice – she made me cry, it’s that beautiful.”

Another said, “She needs a music company to hear her. Her voice is absolutely amazing.”

This content was originally published here.

10 Ways How Actively Watching Movies Helps You Learn Spanish – Viva Language Services

According to a survey conducted by IPSOS in 2012, 25% of jobs in 26 countries required interaction with people from other countries. For example, being a dissertation writer for international students at uk-dissertation.com or being a translator for an English diplomat coming to Madrid for the first time, requires having sound knowledge of Spanish.

Learning a new language like Spanish is very important. However, finding time to learn a language for the first time, or building on the knowledge, is not always easy. It doesn’t matter whether you are a professor, an English editor at topeduservices.com or a wannabe Spanish speaker, learning the language efficiently, requires finding an interesting way to do it.

An easy and entertaining way of learning Spanish is by watching some Spanish movies. You should apply the following simple tips to make it really effective.

1. Evaluate your level of Spanish

You should select the movies that best suit your interest, but above all, your knowledge of Spanish. It is advisable that beginners go for movies with animations since they are interesting and easy to understand. If you are bored with animations, select a genre that entertains you, as long as it is a short film that does not involve deep historical and cultural knowledge.

2. Choose movies you’ve seen before

Knowing the plot in advance will allow you to focus on the language, instead of trying to follow the story. Make sure that your choice film appeals to you. This will help you to focus on the language while watching the film. Better still, if you’ve not seen the movie before, you may go online and read the movie review so you can have a grasp of the plot of the movie. However, you have to ensure the review is detailed and of high quality like essayshark review.

3. Use subtitles

Use subtitles to focus on the audio and associate what you hear with what you read until you get to a point where you feel confident enough to remove them. If you are a beginner, set the subtitles in your native language and when you reach a higher level, activate the Spanish subtitles to capture the general idea of what you hear and read. Keep in mind that; following each word will only confuse you because the characters will speak quickly and in a clearly colloquial language.

4. Focus on movies from a particular country

To avoid confusion about the lexicon and word pronunciation, choose movies from a single country, and more importantly, those made by native speakers, as pointed out by rushmyessay reviews. Spanish language is officially spoken in 20 countries around the world. And like English, it has variants according to the different geographical areas. Therefore, you may find it difficult to learn when you mix Spanish movies from different countries. For example, it won’t be helpful to mix Mexican films and native Spanish films. They have Mexican Spanish and Castilian Spanish respectively.

5. Watch the film in its original version

It’s important to watch the film in its original version. It does not work to watch it dubbed in English and with Spanish subtitles. If you don’t understand Spanish sufficiently, as earlier mentioned, it is advisable that you choose a movie that you have already seen in English. This way, you will know the arguments and you will have to make less effort to understand what the characters are saying.

6. Be guided by the context

In the event that your level of Spanish is still at the basics, you may lose threads of certain conversations because of words or expressions unknown to you. Do not worry; in this case, the important thing is to identify the keywords and use of the language, relate them to the situations and interpret them in the context of the argument. This will help you to improve your understanding, logical thinking and study knowledge.

7. Repeat short phrases and sentences

Generally, these phrases refer to everyday expressions with simple formulas. For example, “Eso es genial”, meaning “that’s awesome”, “No lo sé,” meaning “I don’t know”. Personally, this strategy proved really important in my basic understanding of the Spanish language in the popular Spanish drama from 1999, “All About My Mother”. I mastered some common words and sentences such as “mujer”, meaning “women” and La Agrado’s favorite line, “Me gusta despedirme de las personas que amo”, translating to “I like to say goodbye to the people I love”.

8. Get a bilingual dictionary

Develop the habit of having a bilingual dictionary by your side whenever you’re watching Spanish movies. With this, you can quickly check some difficult words. You can also go a step further by using resources like Bestassignmentservices.co.uk to improve your understanding. Bilingual dictionaries will help you to see the meaning of words that arouse your interest.

9. Take notes and enrich your vocabulary

Whenever you decide to watch a movie or series in Spanish, have a notebook or your mobile device at hand to write down words or expressions that you do not understand. Try to read them frequently and repeat them on speaker so they do not escape from your memory. If you write new words on paper, it is proven that your mind will retain them better.

10. Watch in segments

Watch the movies in fragments of 30 minutes. And every time you finish a part, relax with a drink or any activity you like. Keeping your whole attention to the movie for too long will frustrate the experience and mental performance.

Applying for a job, enrolling for a course, travelling independently, searching, receiving or disseminating information online, are some of the reasons why it is worth learning Spanish. The first few attempts are likely to yield little results. So, do not get discouraged and keep a positive attitude. You can’t learn any language in a day. Take your time and enjoy the learning process by watching Spanish movies that will entertain and teach you.

Author Bio

Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger. She is interested in education technologies and is always ready to support informative speaking. Follow her on Twitter.

This content was originally published here.

The Best Countries to Study English (Lit) Abroad | Go Overseas

Many people choose to study abroad to learn a new language or as part of an international relations or business degree. As an English major, you you may not consider studying abroad an option — after all, you already speak the language you’re studying, and you likely live in a country with a rich English language heritage. But take it from someone who was an English major and studied abroad during undergrad — doing so is a great idea, not only personally but as a way of furthering your studies.

Neighboring New Zealand provides another example of the meeting of British culture and indigenous people, through language. New Zealand experienced very different patterns of colonial migration to Australia, plus the indigenous people, the Maori, are totally unrelated to Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. New Zealand authors like Witi Ihimaera and Patricia Grace show what it’s like to live as a Maori in New Zealand.

This difference is also reflected in New Zealand English. In New Zealand, you’ll also learn how strongly the local Maori language has influenced contemporary New Zealand English — you’ll need it if studying there, as the locals’ everyday language is peppered with Maori words like kia ora, whanau, kai, and much more.

New Zealand is a thinly populated country, and there are only a handful of universities across the two main islands. Studying in Auckland and Wellington provides a biggish-city experiences, whereas the smaller city of Dunedin is a fun place to study because of its large student population. In all of these places you can take courses in New Zealand literature and poetry.

While Australia and New Zealand are a bit too far for a quick weekend trip (the closest cities, Auckland and Sydney, are a three-hour flight apart), many students who study in one country like to spend some time traveling in the other. It may be the only time you’re down in this corner of the world, at least for a while, so it makes sense to make the most of it while you can.

The islands of the Caribbean use English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Caribbean Hindustani, and European Creoles, so there are a range of study abroad opportunities possible in the region.

The Anglophone Caribbean is a multi-cultural place, with people of African and South Asian origin. This lends a distinct cadence to the language, and the nations’ colonial history provides a fascinating setting and themes for literature by writers such as Jean Rhys, V. S. Naipaul, and Wilson Harris.

This content was originally published here.

Her Japanese is great so I don’t need to speak English

(Okinawa, Japan) Last Sunday on Sep 10th, Two Lotus-ers (Lotus QA Staff) took a flight to Okinawa, Japan, starting the collaboration program between Lotus Quality Assurance with Japan based testing company, part of F.R.O.M Okinawa sponsored program to promote IT Development in Okinawa prefecture.

Joining this time from Lotus QA are QUYNH Hoang and GIANG Nguyen. They have been chosen to represent Lotus QA joining the program due to their previous experiences in various projects with Japan based clients.

Giang (on the left) and Quynh (on the right)

QUYNH Hoang has built her strong Japanese language foundation after years of living and working in Japan through various jobs. That even surprised the F.R.O.M Okinawa officers when they welcomed at the airport. “Her Japanese is great so I don’t need to speak English”, said the F.R.O.M Okinawa officer.

For GIANG Nguyen, a new comer in Lotus QA family, although she has years working with Japan based clients in her career, it was the first time she has flown abroad, and fortunately it was Japan. At the end, she has got a chance to practice her Japanese with Japanese face-to-face.

The training program started the next day. It will be covering testing & QA processes applying in Japan; experiences of Japan companies in keeping “Made in Japan” quality standards. These would be very helpful for a fairly young Vietnam based QA service company like Lotus QA.

Joining the Okinawa program is the first step that Lotus QA wanted to do, in its progress to build a strong foundation and be ready for a fruitful future of collaboration with Japan companies.

The post Her Japanese is great so I don’t need to speak English appeared first on Lotus QA – Best Quality Assurance Outsourcing Company.

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Fun games to learn English

Games are great options to make learning lighter and more enjoyable. Most games have apps and become more interactive. In day-to-day running, it’s possible to play in the bus, waiting for the friends and in the free time. And of course, it’s also worth gathering friends to play, exchange information and ask questions. Let’s break up some fun games for you to learn English, check it out!

SCRABBLE

Scrabble is a board game for students to test their general vocabulary skills. Scrabble encourages learning new words as participants try to find ways to combine all their letters to form other words.

TRIVIA

Game of questions and answers, that exists in the board version or also online (click here). It is nice to test general knowledge, or specific themes, such as movies, music, geography, etc.

SCATTEGORIES 

Scattegories challenges students to think of words in a particular category, making it the ideal game to review and practice specific groups of vocabulary words. It can also be found in mobile apps.

STOP

This game is about picking up a letter from the alphabet and writing down on a piece of paper everything that you remember about things that begin with this letter in different categories. Now just change the categories from the table to English, “fruit”, “animals”, “cities” and so on. It’s fun, very fast and dynamic, and you’ll have to think in English quickly, which will make your vocabulary sharper.

KAHOOT!

It is a platform with multiple choice questions used by teachers in the classroom, but you can also download the application to play with friends. See more here.

So, did you like the idea of learning English by playing? Choose yours and call friends!

Do you want to learn English online with native speakers? Check our online platform and go for it! 

The post Fun games to learn English appeared first on SEDA College.

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Learn Spanish while travelling around Ecuador

Ecuador is an amazing country that is becoming more and more popular with international visitors. With super friendly people, amazingly diverse wildlife and scenery, and a compact size that’s great for travellers with time constraints, it’s no wonder that tourism is starting to boom in Ecuador.

But there’s another great reason to visit Ecuador. It’s also a great place to learn some Spanish before tackling the rest of Central and/or South America. The Ecuadorian accent is one of the most neutral in Latin America, making Ecuador an ideal place to learn Spanish without those little confusing differences in pronunciation that you’ll find in countries such as Chile or Argentina.

Immerse yourself in a Spanish-speaking environment.

If you learn Spanish in Ecuador, you’ll get to immerse yourself in the language. After all, it will be all around you every day. While it’s daunting at first, after hearing Spanish being spoken day-in and day-out, you’ll gradually start to pick up words here and there. You’ll begin to understand the gist of what is being said, simply because of the context in which it is being used.

In addition to that, you’ll also be visually immersed in the language. Whether it’s street signs, billboard advertisements, or flyers handed to you in the street, there’ll be no shortage of Spanish for you to read and absorb.

Immerse yourself in a Spanish-speaking environment such as Montañita

Immerse yourself in the culture of Ecuador

Language and culture are usually intimately tied together and that’s no exception with Spanish in Ecuador. For example, did you know that Spanish has dedicated verbs for eating breakfast, lunch and dinner?!

A great way to learn Spanish is to travel to different regions and see how the Spanish language is used in different contexts. You might even notice how accents change in big cities versus the countryside. You might also learn some slang that’s common in one area but not another.

Ideally, you’d want to find somewhere to study at each point along the way, with teachers to guide you along the way. Sounds tricky right?

The Travelling Classroom experience is run by Montañita Spanish School

The Travelling Classroom program

Well, it turns out that in Ecuador at least, there’s an easy way of doing this, that is offered by Montañita Spanish School. They call it their Travelling Classroom program.

Montañita Spanish School is headquartered in Montañita, a popular coastal town in Ecuador. They have been voted one of the top five Spanish schools in the world! They’re also the only licensed Spanish school in Montañita.

Recently, Montañita Spanish School invited us to try out part of their Travelling Classroom program. This program lets you study Spanish with qualified teachers in different parts of Ecuador. The program is managed by the school. Along the way, they organise a range of interesting cultural and adventure activities. Those activities give you an insight into the Ecuadorian way of life and are also lots of fun.

Learn Spanish with the Travelling Classroom Program

The school has structured a program that lets you learn Spanish in several different cities and towns in Ecuador. There’s Quito, Ecuador’s capital, Cuenca, a popular city for expats, Manta, next door to the “the poor man’s Galapagos”, Montañita (of course!) and finally the Ecuadorian Amazon.

While in Ecuador, we tried out half of the Travelling Classroom circuit. We spent a week in the Ecuadorian Amazon, followed by a week of the Travelling Classroom program in Montañita. We also spent an extra week doing their traditional Spanish program in Montañita.

Swinging at the top of the Teleferico (cable car) in Quito

How does the Travelling Classroom program work?

The travelling classroom is a circuit that usually starts in Quito and finishes in Montañita. However, depending on your travel requirements, there is quite a bit of flexibility. For example, we met people who began their classroom experience in Montañita rather than Quito.

The travelling classroom experience is a four to twelve-week program. However, most people we met were doing a four-week program with a week in each location.

You may have noticed that there are five locations listed above. That’s because you have the option of either studying in Cuenca or the Amazon as part of the classroom, but not both. Lots of students choose to visit the Amazon (read more about our time there) but Cuenca is also a great city to visit. We didn’t study in Cuenca but we did spend a week there exploring the city and we loved it (see our detailed guide to Cuenca).

What do you do other than learn Spanish?

Studying Spanish is a key component of the Travelling Classroom program but you’ll get up to a lot more as well. The program aims to showcase Ecuador’s amazing wildlife and natural wonders, while also exploring the country’s history and culture.

So, in each destination, Montañita Spanish School organises a range of activities. For example, in Quito, you can take the cable car up the surrounding mountainside. You’ll get amazing views out over the city and can brave the swing at the end of the world! In Manta you’ll visit Isla de la Plata, otherwise known as the “the poor man’s Galapagos”. Plus, much more.

To see some of the activities you’ll get up to, read about our time in the Amazon at Gaia Eco-Lodge as part of the Travelling Classroom. We had a blast.

Group classes in Montañita

How are your days structured during the Travelling Classroom?

Generally, you’ll learn Spanish in the morning and have the afternoon for the organised activities or some downtime if you prefer.

For example, in the Amazon, we spent three hours each morning learning Spanish, followed by some downtime and lunch. Then mid-afternoon, we headed off for jungle activities, or stayed back and chilled in a hammock at the lodge.

The amount of time you spend having lessons in the morning varies from place to place. In the Amazon, it was three hours a day but in Quito and Manta, it’s four hours. In Cuenca, you’ll have five hours of lessons. While in Montañita, you’ll have a two-hour class in the morning and another two hours in the afternoon. That lets you take surfing lessons in between!

Relaxing in the common area after Spanish lessons at Gaia Eco Lodge and Spanish School

What’s the experience of doing the Travelling Classroom like?

We can only truly speak about our experiences in Montañita and the Amazon as we didn’t study elsewhere. But we talked to some of our fellow students who did the entire program. That gave us a feel for what the whole experience was like.

One of the activities included in Quito is a ride up the mountain on the cable car

Quito

For many students, Quito is their first stop in their Travelling Classroom circuit. The group that we met in the Amazon had just come from Quito. Those who were starting with zero Spanish there said that it was quite an intense week.

Spending four hours a day learning any language is a challenge but even more so as a complete beginner; you’ll be trying to absorb a whole lot of new vocabulary and grammar rules. That being said, I was very impressed by the level that these students were at after just one week of Spanish lessons in Quito.

Several of the students we spoke to really enjoyed the activities in Quito, such as the visit to the Cotopaxi National Park, the ride up the cable car and visiting the Middle of the World (the equator line).

  • Learning how to make chocolate!
  • A beautiful butterfly
  • Chicha in the making!
  • Just chillin’!
  • Off to wander through the jungle!

The Amazon

In the Amazon, you’ll learn Spanish in incredible surroundings. Our classes at the Gaia Eco Lodge were either upstairs or downstairs in the main communal area. This area is completely open to the surrounding jungle, so you’ll learn Spanish while listening to the wind whistling through the trees, the birds chirping and the monkeys playing nearby.

It’s an incredibly relaxing environment for your Spanish lessons and self-study. You can chill in a hammock on the deck of your cabaña and practice your flashcards.

The Amazon is also a great place for bonding more with your classmates because there are plenty of activities you’ll all be doing together in the jungle. Plus, the lodge is quite isolated so you’ll be spending lots of time together. That being said, it’s easy to get away from everyone for some alone time and self-study if that’s what you’re after.

  • Sweet stalls setup during Corpus Christi
  • Corpus Christi celebrations
  • Great street art
  • Cuenca’s beautiful cathedral
  • With street art on every corner, Cuenca is a lot of fun to wander around

Cuenca

We didn’t meet any students who’d done Cuenca instead of the Amazon but Cuenca would be a cool city to study Spanish in. There are lots of great bars and restaurants to hang out in, cool street art to discover and its a great city for walking around. Even if you don’t do Cuenca as part of the Travelling Classroom, we recommend checking it out anyway for two or three days. For more information, see our dedicated post on Cuenca.

  • Whale watching tour (depending on the season)
  • These guys are big!

Manta

Manta is a coastal town, further up the coast from Montañita. However, Manta is quite different from Montañita. While Montañita is a party town, Manta is much more laid back and chilled.

Apart from your Spanish lessons, one of the key activities during your time in Manta is a visit to the Isla de la Plata. When we met up in Montañita with our classmates from the Amazon who’d done this activity while in Manta, they raved about it. Some of them had incredible photos of Blue Footed Boobies, Frigate birds and Humpback whales. If you happen to visit (as they did) in whale season, part of the tour includes some whale watching.

As in Quito, in Manta you’ll stay with a host family, giving you another chance to practice you’re Spanish with locals in a variety of scenarios.

  • Salsa lessons
  • First to class!
  • The pool at the Montanita Cabanas
  • Chilling after school
  • Surf’s up! – photo courtesy Didi Kramer and Montañita Spanish School

Montañita

Most people doing the Travelling Classroom finish their circuit in Montañita, the home of Montañita Spanish School. Here you’ll be studying Spanish in the main school building, which is just a short five-minute walk from the Montañita Cabañas where you’ll be staying.

We stayed at Montañita Cabañas during our stay and enjoyed it. It’s a nice little quiet (well as quiet as Montañita gets!) oasis to retreat to after class. The other benefit of staying at the cabañas is that the majority of students studying at the school stay there, so it’s a very social environment.

There are plenty of activities included in the Travelling Classroom program in Montañita. While you can also do these activities at Montañita Spanish School outside of the Travelling Classroom program, you’ll be paying extra. In the program, they are included as part of the cost.

Salsa, Yoga, Cooking classes and Surfing!

Activities include salsa or yoga lessons and cooking classes. But the most popular activity in Montañita is the surfing lessons that you do in between your morning and afternoon classes. It’s a whole lot of fun and a great way to give your mind a break from class. I did, however, struggle a bit in afternoon class to stay alert after surfing. But maybe that’s just because I’m getting old!

The Travelling Classroom also includes a surf trip on Saturday, down the coast to another beach. This is also something that’s an extra cost if you’re not doing the Travelling Classroom. We had to leave Montañita a day early and therefore had to miss out on this but other students we talked to said it was a whole lot of fun and a great day out with their classmates.

  • The beautiful grounds of the Montanita Cabanas
  • Hanging around on our terrace in the Amazon!
  • Swimming after a long day of studying at Montañita Cabañas

What’s included in terms of food and accommodation?

Food provisions throughout the Travelling Classroom experience vary depending on the location. For example, in the Amazon, you’ll get full board (three meals a day) because you’re essentially in the jungle, far from the nearest restaurant. In Quito, Cuenca and Manta you get half-board provided by your host family. In Montañita meals aren’t included but never fear, Montañita has a great selection of restaurants as well as plenty of cheap eats.

The accommodation also varies depending on location. In Quito, Cuenca and Manta, you stay with a host family while in the Amazon and Montañita you’ll stay in a shared dorm (with the option to have a private room instead for a small extra cost).

Learning Spanish is hard. But a setting like this makes it a lot easier!

Our final thoughts on the Travelling Classroom

We enjoyed our time in Montañita and our time in the Amazon was one of the highlights of our seven weeks in Ecuador.

The Travelling Classroom is a great way to learn Spanish in different contexts and to learn vocabulary that is relevant to that context. For example, in the Amazon, we learnt the words for “jungle”, “spider!”, “monkey” and many more! But more than that you also get to see more of Ecuador, meet the locals and learn about their customs and traditions.

Learn Spanish while travelling – the best of both worlds

If you don’t have time to travel around Ecuador and spend four weeks in Montañita afterwards, the Travelling Classroom lets you have the best of both worlds. Many students we met were doing the Travelling Classroom in the summer holidays and their time was limited, especially as many also wanted to spend some time in other South American countries such as Peru and Colombia.

The final benefit of the Travelling Classroom is that all of the transfers, activities and accommodation are organised for you by Montañita Spanish School. You just need to arrange your international flight, airport pickup and show up at your first location!

So if you’re looking to learn Spanish in South America, we highly recommend checking out their Travelling Classroom page for more information on itineraries and pricing.

Full disclosure: We were hosted by Montañita Spanish School as part of our Travelling Classroom experience. However, all opinions are our own. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and think it’s a great idea.

Checking In: Our Review of the Montañita Cabañas

Two Weeks of Immersive Spanish in Montañita

5 Days in the Ecuadorian Amazon

The post Learn Spanish while travelling around Ecuador appeared first on Free Two Roam.

This content was originally published here.

5 Best Ways to Learn French Online

Learning French can be difficult for many people. In fact, the internet has plenty of ways to learn French online. We’ve done the research and created a list of the 5 best ways to learn French on the internet. While some of these learning styles are obvious, some of the ways you can learn French are quite ingenious. Let’s get started.

1 Learn French on Skype

Learning French on Skype is one of the best ways to improve your language skills. Here’s why: You’ll get one-on-one instruction from a live French teacher located in your time zone with a native French speaker. There’s no better way to learn a new language than immersing yourself in a new language. You won’t have to meet your teacher and you can take a lesson at any time that fits your schedule. Additionally, Skype comes with intuitive tools such as a chat board that an instructor can use to show you spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and more.

Recommended School: Visit to learn French on Skype

Learn French at Home is the original French language school that uses Skype as a primary teaching tool. Over the years they have developed learning programs that accelerate your French language skills. The French tutors themselves are native to France with a few living in Canada, UK, the United States and Australia. This online school also offers e-books with audio examples to help you learn proper grammar and pronunciation in between Skype sessions. In conclusion learning French on Skype gives you the ability to learn and speak French with a native French tutor which is something that today’s technology can’t replicate. They also offer a Free 30-minute evaluation over Skype. A language advisor will assess your language skills and determine the best learning path that best meets your needs, budget, and schedule.

2 Take an Online French Course

Today online French courses have evolved to teach you the basics of French quickly and easily. While nothing can top getting one-on-one instruction, today’s online learning centers are the next best thing. Here’s why: You’ll be able to take the online courses at your own pace. Plus, you’ll learn with audio examples and learn proper spelling and grammar. The best part is that you’ll get to test your new French skills with quizzes and a final exam at the end of your course.

Recommended Courses:

It’s free, It’s easy, and it’s visual. You get to learn basic French spelling, grammar, and pronunciation quicky and easily.

Con: You won’t be able to practice your French speaking skills with anyone.

3 Watch Youtube Videos

There’s plenty of Youtube videos online that will teach you basic and advanced French. Unfortunately, the videos are not interactive and there’s no way to practice your French with another person, test your skills, or learn proper spelling and grammar. On the plus side, you’ll get to learn the basics very quickly.

Learn French Consonants, Vowels, and Plurals. Check out Youtube for more French tutorials.

4 Join a Discussion Group

Joining a discussion group such as a Facebook group or online forum is a great way to get help with your French questions. Typically most group members are prompt and friendly with most of your questions. A strong word of advice: French culture is a culture of manners and politeness. So please be on your best behavior when joining a group or forum. You’ll enjoy the company and get better responses when you’re polite.

Recommended Forum:

Subscribing to a French language eMagazine will not only help keep you up to date on the latest French happenings, but it will also teach you French culture as well as French language. While there are many online French eMagazines to subscribe to, we recommend French Accent Magazine. The online publication offers a wealth of information, crossword puzzles, audio examples, and articles for your reading enjoyment.

Visit:   for a free subscription.

In Conclusion

Finding the right place to start learning French can be a difficult task. While all of these online learning tools are a great way to Learn French, you may want to start off with a Free online assessment or a free online French course. This will help you find the path that best fits your needs, budget, and schedule.

The post 5 Best Ways to Learn French Online appeared first on The Good Life France.

This content was originally published here.