There are few greater feelings for me than finally being proficient enough in a foreign language to be able to understand bits of an eavesdropped conversation or, even better, to carry on a conversation of my own. But if you’ve studied any language, you know that it takes incredible amounts of diligence to get to this level. Being multilingual isn’t easy!
But, as my bilingual students in Spain would attest here, it’s definitely fun.
Immersion is one of the best ways to pick up a foreign language, but taking a language course can be pricey, and jumping on a plane to a foreign country often isn’t feasible. However, there are still plenty of ways to boost your language skills right from home. Here are some of my favorite audiovisual strategies for learning a foreign language.
If there’s one thing I can tell you now that I’ve spent twenty months here in Australia, it’s that this is a country every traveler must experience at least once in their lifetime. Stunning landscapes, friendly locals, and unbelievably good weather make it an ideal vacation destination, except for one thing: Australia has been rated the world’s most expensive country for the past four years. But all is not lost! It is possible to see this costly country inexpensively, I promise! Here are a few tips to save money while traveling Australia.
These views don’t come cheap!
G.K. Chesterton wrote, “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” It seems that the more time I spend abroad, the more I appreciate home: the United States, the state of California, and my hometown, Pasadena.
On one of my recent late-night perusals of Wikipedia, I found myself reading up on the history of Pasadena, the suburb of Los Angeles where I grew up. I normally rave about the exotic travel destinations I’ve explored, but the places we hail from can often be just as intriguing. Here are some fun facts about Pasadena.
I’ve seen Sydney Harbour from my first bedroom in Sydney, from rotating bars, from sunset picnics across the bridge, and from quite a few boat rides. I’ve boated around on ferries, a VIP party cruise, old sailing ships, and whale watching tours, but sailing around the harbor never seems to get old. Nonetheless, one mode I hadn’t tried was jet boat.
I’ll take whatever views of this place I can get.
Since moving to Sydney, I had seen the jet boat rides offered around Sydney Harbour, but I had never really thought to give one a try. Two weekends ago, though, I exchanged a Tinggly voucher for a new adventure, a thirty minute thrill ride around the harbor.
It’s that time again: another interview with a fabulous traveler! Nicole of Lost in Wanderland has lived in the two Spanish cities I’ve called home, teaching English as an auxiliar de conversación for a second year in Madrid after previously studying abroad in Sevilla. I asked her a few questions about her experiences in Spain, her new web project, and her upcoming travel plans.
Hey Nicole! Tell us about yourself.
My name is Nicole, and I’m a 20 something born and raised Miamian. I currently live in Madrid, where I teach English to a bunch of rowdy primary schoolers whom I love dearly. When I’m not correcting my students’ pronunciation of the letter r, I love going out for tapas, hiking, and exploring both Spain and Europe.
I may have left my heart in Spain, but for a few weeks this year, Spain is coming right to me in Sydney!
This year’s Spanish Film Festival is hitting eight cities across Australia, from the 21st of April to the 13th of May, offering screenings of some of the best recent films from Spain and the Spanish-speaking world. The festival is headlined by the hit Basque film Ocho apellidos vascos/Spanish Affair, which I’ve been eager to see for the past year, and there’s no shortage of other appealing films that speak right to my Hispanophile heart.
Like most travelers, I looove me a good map. The Clay Aiken and Paula Abdul posters that adorned my wall as a teenager (why do I admit these things publicly?) have been replaced in my adulthood by maps of my favorite cities and countries, and I’m always on the lookout for more map-related decor.
Between my love for maps and my appreciation for talented Etsy shop owners, I’m excited to be hosting a giveaway with Stuart of the Etsy shop The Map Collection. His shop sells customized art prints of maps, and he’s giving away a free 8″x10″ print, featuring your choice of city and color, to one of my readers.
Back in December, I compiled some of my favorite travel-related gift ideas that I had found around the web. I’m still oohing and ahhing over most of those items, but the list also made me realize just how difficult travelers can be to shop for. After all, what do you give someone who has minimized their possessions and stuffed their entire life into a backpack?
Hint: it starts with “e” and ends in “xperiences.”
No room for knick-knacks on this camel!