How to Learn Language Basics Before Your Holiday

pexels-photo-128949

Ever arrived in a foreign country for work or play, and found that you wished you could have at least introduced yourself in the native tongue? You’re not alone!

Learning a language can be intimidating, but it’s worth it. We aren’t talking fluency, we’re just seeking to make a little effort to chat to locals and add a whole new wonderful dimension to your trip. People tend to be happy to hear someone attempting to speak their language – no matter how many mistakes you make. If you’re trying, then you will be rewarded with cool experiences and conversations. Plus, you’ll be able to ask where the toilet is without having to mime awkwardly. Everyone wins!

1- Set Reasonable Goals

Put down the grammar textbook, because the aim here is to make learning little but often and fun. Whether you have three months or three days until the flight, you can still learn enough if you are consistent. 2 hours a day might sound great, but if it doesn’t fit in your schedule then don’t push it – you’ll feel demotivated a lot faster.

As well as time goals, think about what you would reasonably like to achieve. If you only have a week, then keep it basic. Aspire to introduce yourself, to order food and to buy tickets and transport. If you have a few months, then maybe you could work towards a ten minute conversation in the target language.

language2

2- Select Relevant Vocab

Phrasebooks are great, but don’t waste time learning things you aren’t going to use. Make your own vocab list based on your interests and needs and learn those words, not necessarily the ones that the phrase book assumes you might need.

Imagine a conversation where you are introducing yourself. Learn the words for your nationality, your travel plans, your interests. If you don’t like a certain food, learn how to say so. If you can talk about your family dog til the cows come home, then you’d better make sure that ‘cute’ and ‘best friend’ are in your vocab list! You get the idea.

language3

3- Be Practical About What You Need to Learn

If you are looking for a quick fix, then ditch grammar in favour of learning phrases and sentences. Often, sentences like “where is the … “ can be reused with other nouns and will still make sense. If possible, ask someone to check.

If your target language uses a different alphabet, then you may also decide to devote your time to learning to speak rather than read. Most of the tips in this article are more geared towards being able to talk on your holiday, but factor in extra time for alphabet if that’s part of your goals.

4- Make it Fun

As well as using a variety of different resources (see next tip), taking the time to come up with clever ways of learning has been proven to really boost your ability to recall phrases in a foreign language. As a french speaker, I remember learning l’orge (barley) when I worked as a tour guide for a whisky distillery. I would visualize Shrek, the ogre, in a field of barley in order to remember the word as it sounded so different to the English. And it worked! Come up with mnemonics and your learning will stick.

language4

5- Use Different Resources

Phrasebook: Particularly useful in-country, but try and pick one up before you go as they will often have good suggestions for generic phrases to learn such as directions and ordering food.

Dictionary: Whether you prefer an old school paper dictionary or would rather just download one on your phone, this can be a great way to pick up words. Try setting a reminder once or twice a day to pause what you’re doing and look up the word for whatever you are doing, or for an object in the same room as you.

Flashcards: Once again, this can be paper or digital format. Take public transport to work? Flashcards. Waiting for dinner to cook? Flashcards. About to go to bed? Flashcards. The words will start to stick before you know it.

Radio: Online, you should be able to find radio channels from all over the world. Listening to the radio can be a great way to immerse yourself and get used to the way a language flows. Plus, you can listen pretty much whenever you have internet access. It can be a good way to keep your brain thinking about the target whilst still doing other things.

Youtube: There are lots of great youtubers out there who either film in your target language, or who blog about learning their language. Youtubers are great because they will often also give you cultural tips as well.

Movies: Watch Netflix with subtitles and add a few foreign language movies to your watch-list. You can learn and relax at the same time!

Apps: I’ve used Duolingo and Memrise to great effect, the former to brush up on some German before a trip to Berlin and the latter to tackle the Arabic alphabet to give myself more excuses to visit Morocco.

language5

6- Talk to Natives before you Go

This may seem impossible depending on where you live and the language you are learning, but it can be surprisingly straightforward to get experience of speaking and it will make a huge difference to your learning.

Have a look online for local language meetups first of all. No luck? Then the internet can help you out again. Sites such as iTalki allow you to connect with hundreds of teachers who have really reasonable prices for a skype lesson, or a language exchange if you can find someone with the complementary languages to your needs.

Now that the practicalities are sorted, you might feel that it’s going to be impossible to talk to somebody for half an hour. Perhaps it is, and that is precisely why it’s so important to get the first chat attempt out the way whilst you have internet access to hand and all of your vocab in front of you! Make good use of this time by noting down the gaps in your vocab as and when they arise, and just one or two short sessions will really boost your confidence ahead of talking the language in person.

language6

7- Once You Arrive

The most important thing is just to have a great time! Do not be scared in the slightest of making mistakes. It happens to us all and you are highly unlikely to really offend someone as they will know you are trying your best. I once chatted away about how lots of ready meals contained condoms. I was trying to say preservatives (conservateur in French) by saying preservatifs. It means condom in French. I figured out that mistake pretty quickly, and I’m still on good terms with the lovely French friend who corrected me. No harm done.

What do you think of these tips? Will you use any of them to learn some language basics before your next trip? Have you ever used any of them to great success? Let us know in the comments!

 

Bio: Global Language Services (http://www.globallanguageservices.co.uk/) is a Scotland-based translation and interpreting company committed to providing speedy, efficient and accurate service no matter what. Please get in touch or check out our website for more details.

Where to Have the Best Breakfast in Sydney

sydneyfood1

Sydney is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. It’s easy to get disoriented on the sidewalk if you are a newcomer and completely lose yourself in the beats of this metropolis. In order to fully enjoy everything Sydney has to offer, you’ll need a quality meal to kick start the morning before you embark on your urban adventure. These are the places where you can have the best breakfast in Sydney.

1. Shuk

Finding the best breakfast in such a big city is like finding a needle in a haystack. Wouldn’t it be nice to start off the day at one of the most iconic locations in Sydney, Bondi Beach? Situated at the corner of Murriverie Road and Mitchell Street, this charming restaurant was a carefully hidden secret of the cuisine aficionados that really know the beat of the city.

sydneyfood2

However, it seems the rabbit is out of the hat. Visits have increased significantly over the last few years and there’s really nothing surprising about that – the food, which is a mix of Mediterranean and Israeli sensibilities, will give your taste receptors a whole new palette of impressions. Shakshuka, which is a combination of scrambled eggs, tomato, onion, olives and spices, will give you a solid energy boost for a busy morning.

2. Blackwood Pantry

Even though it sounds like a location straight out of David Lynch’s nightmare, don’t let the name fool you, (considering his nostalgia-stricken all-American sensibilities, he’d probably be thrilled with its gentle diner-like setup).

Located on Cronulla Beach, it’s off the beaten path for many people which are visiting Sydney for the first time. The chow is worth the trip! Blackwood offers an array of salads that rotate based on seasons, and some of the lightest yet nutritious breakfasts you can have.

Want to try strawberries on a toast? Here’s a place where you can do it. For something more substantial for breakfast, we’d recommend you to opt for Turkish eggs.

sydneyfood3

3. Bernasconi’s Cafe

You can’t have a solid breakfast without a cup of coffee. On the corner of O’Sullivan and Plumer Road lies one of the most comfortable breakfast spots in Bellevue Hill/Rose Bay area. It’s not only a casual place with relaxed atmosphere, it’s a place with a twenty-year long tradition.  And it sports some of the best coffee around which you can have with a healthy and filling meal.

If you want a calm start to your morning, this is a perfectly cozy place hidden away from the scorching tropical sun by over-arching treetops. If you are up for a no-nonsense meal, you can have a complete ham and eggs breakfast, French toast with crispy bacon etc.

If you are up for something more adventurous, Bernasconi’s Café has its own share of grilled bananas, gluten-free ricottas, mashed avocado combos, smoked salmon, and other meals that will lend something new to your palate.

sydneyfood4

4. Blackbird Cafe

Are you looking for a place that is situated in a dynamic urban area? You can hit one of the gorgeous Darling Harbour restaurants in the popular Cockle Bay Wharf dining precinct for a top-notch meal and enjoy arguably the best cocktails in the harbor.

Blackbird has both indoor and outdoor seating options but the choice offers the same visual stimulus. The Cafe overlooks the waters of Cockle Bay Wharf and a vivacious river of passers-by. Since the place is so popular, it is always filled with various visitors. If you are up for just watching people as you dine, you won’t miss out anything if you opt to go inside.

sydneyfood5

As far as breakfast is concerned, the Spanish Omelet is amazing, and it goes with onions, mushroom, cheese and served with toasted Italian bread. There’s a variety of coffees and tea options at your disposal, as well as smoothies for a true morning energy boost.

5. Ruby Lane

Cities like Sydney have quality food joints for everyone’s taste at every corner. However, up north, just beside Manly Beach, lies Ruby Lane Wholefoods, a place for those who are bound to more subtle dietary regimes.

It is a health food club with a variety of colorful meals that will give you all the needed nutrients through organic food with no gluten, added sugar, salts and, if you are lactose intolerant, no dairy. The main selling point of Ruby Lane is that all meals are absolutely delicious and irresistible.

sydneyfood6

Sydney is not only a bustling metropolis, it is a place that can offer something for everyone. Go around the block a few times, and we bet you’ll find all the perfect breakfast places, parks, and “it” spots. You’ll end up fashioning your own Sydney out of the existing one. Just make sure to get a substantial energy kick with a solid breakfast before you embark on conquering the town.

 

 

Top 7 Distinctive Locations in India For Photographers

See the world through your lens. Photos capture moments of beauty and exquisiteness in one frame. For the budding photographers out there, India is a treat in the kind of diversity it presents. From the chaos of the cities to the serenity of nature, India has it all. This list compiles some of the most picturesque places in India.

1. Sambhar, Rajasthan

india1

Photo by Rajarshi MITRA, CC BY 2.0

The largest inland Salt Lake in India is one of the weekend getaway from Jaipur. The area is covered by a sheet of white. I would call this region a photographer’s delight not only because of the landscape but also the many villages adjoining the area that give a glimpse of the Rajasthani culture. Hire bikes and tents from Jaipur and ride to Sambhar because the night sky here, undisturbed by the many building of the city has many secrets to show. To explore Jaipur and its nearby tourist places visit:http://www.transindiatravels.com/rajasthan/jaipur/weekend-getaways-from-jaipur/

2. Jammu And Kashmir

india2

Photo by Colin Tsoi, CC BY-ND 2.0

Heaven on earth is bound to give you some photos you would cherish. A walk along the Kashmir at five in the morning would show you how well the town and nature blend together. The city of Leh is the crown of the state and the artistically arresting in its charm. If you want to plan a road trip with your friends, check this: http://www.transindiatravels.com/jammu-and-kashmir/leh/tourist-places-to-visit-in-leh-laddakh

 3. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

india3

Photo by Nico Crisafulli, CC BY 2.0

The spiritual hub of India is submerged in chaos. The city has many temples and Ghats that are marvels of architecture which attracts thousands of tourists to visit Varanasi every year, but what is interesting about the city are the people. The area is sure to give you some marvelous portrait shots. To know the most Instagrammed places in Varanasi visit:

http://www.transindiatravels.com/uttar-pradesh/varanasi/tourist-places-to-visit-in-varanasi

4. Assam

india4

Photo by Bidyut Gogoi, CC BY 2.0

The tea gardens in the state paint the region green. Drained by the Brahmaputra river, the region has many beautiful sites. The state has a cultural extravaganza for three days, Roongali Festival. The cultural gala will have it all – dance, theatre, handicraft along with other events.

 5. Kerala

india5

Photo by Kerala Tourism, CC BY-SA 2.0

The scenic beauty in the state is an added bonus to the cultural heritage. The cluttered urban centers or the serene backwaters are equally enamoring. Mohiniyattam performers dance with their emotions and expressions. Get your photographic masterpiece while the dancers are in action.

6. Mumbai, Maharashtra

india6

Photo by Andy Hay, CC BY 2.0

The madhouse metropolitan Mumbai may not be a scenic beauty but its exquisiteness lay in the soaring skyline. The British Indian architecture of the city mixed with the modern Millie is picture perfect. To explore Mumbai and its nearby attractions visit: http://www.transindiatravels.com/maharashtra/mumbai/tourist-places-to-visit-in-mumbai

7. Lakshwadeep Islands

india7

Photo by Binu K S, CC BY-SA 2.0

Abounding with beaches and lagoons, the island settlement of Lakshwadeep is an exotic location. The coral reefs in the region are the deal stealer. The island has many ornately decorated mosques. The beauty of the region is reflected in the clear blue waters. To read more about this island:

http://www.transindiatravels.com/lakshadweep-islands/tourist-places-to-visit-in-lakshadweep-islands/

Henri Cartier-Bresson said that your first 10,000 pictures are your worst. His words are the motivation that every budding photographer needs. The beauty of India is unprecedented, so pick up your camera and get the pictures of your life.