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Posted in: Home / Archives for July 2007

Lindau: why I am determined to return

I recently took a German course at the school in Lindau and had a fantastic time. I loved the proximity to the mountains, and the clear skies and warm weather which engulfs the island of Lindau in Lake Constance (Bodensee). You can observe where the borders between Austria and Switzerland lie with a naked eye from a number of turrets that have existed since the 14th century.

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Hamburg – Meine erste Woche

It´s now Sunday; my first week of learning German in Hamburg and most of the weekend is over and I am actually looking forward to going back to school tomorrow! I was surprised with how much I could learn in my first week but also how quickly I could make some great friends.

The class I am in contains a really nice group of people and Friday night we all went to a house party of a Swedish-Iranian women who lives in Hamburg with her German boyfriend. We met at Barmbek subway and didn´t have the best directions, but after asking German taxi drivers for the way… in German… we found it very quickly! There were exactly (she´s counted) 92 steps to her aparment in an old German style building, so the first drink of the night was very welcome!

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My first day

Well for some reason I was a little nervous on my short trip to school on Monday morning; maybe it was the fact that it was early, I hadn´t had any coffee and was still recovering a little from Saturday night; maybe I was reminiscing the last first day I had at school, who knows – but I found out quickly that I needn´t have been.

The street (that the school is on) was much busier now it was a weekday and the cafes were full with people getting a quick fix before they start work – or in my case school! I thought it best to go straight in and in doing so was met with glances and many smiles from fellow international students. I was then greeted by one of the school´s directors who told me what class I was in and the times I will be in it: 8:50 – 13:00 with a 15 minute break in between. The school owns buildings of each side of the street and a bookstore also. My classes were opposite the bookstore on the third floor. There’s a lift, but since I am in training (ahem, cough, cough) for the next season of volleyball I thought I´d run up the stairs instead.

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Arriving in Hamburg

hamburg Well I´m here safe and sound and all is good. I flew Ryanair to Hamburg Lubeck – arriving Saturday and the bus to the city centre could not have been simpler. It was 8 Euros and coincides with the flights, so if your plane is late it will wait – which is reassuring. It took about an hour and I had the back seat to myself, so that was nice! I was met by my girlfriend at Hamburg´s main bus station but if someone´s not meeting you (if you are thinking of coming) then don´t worry. You are right next to the metro and can easily get around for just 1 Euro 30 cents.

Hamburg´s metro is not like London´s with barriers everywhere. You could get around a lot and not have your ticket checked, but I know I couldn´t go ticketless. If you are caught the fine is severe! That reminds me – I must figure out how to buy a week´s ticket. I´m sure it´s not complicated.

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All about the grammar, it is.

Well it’s about time that I was properly taught German. My only experience of it before was from a not very nice Scottish teacher (with a thick and confusing accent) in an English classroom. My sisters used to also help me with my homework, so it was probably the subject as school I knew least about.

It is Friday and I have started to wrap things up at work, ready for my 2 week break in the excellent port city (Hafenstadt) of Hamburg. My German friend is on an internship at the Trend Buero in Hamburg so why not take the opportunity to visit her and learn German whilst I am there?!

I have already completed a level test, which really pointed out my non-existent knowledge of German grammar. The problem I believe is that I have no decent concept of English grammar and it is hard to change my mind on what I believe is the only way to construct sentences. I am sure you are aware but in German you can’t simply translate sentences as they are written in English… if only it were that simple!

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Why I chose Madrid – Retiro Park

When I was looking for a summer course in Spain to continue with my Spanish lessons, I didn’t know where to go. Should I look for a place with a beach or should I (considering that I would go for a month) go to a big city where there would be more to see and discover?

I decided to go with the second option and spend one month of my vacation at the Madrid (Retiro Park) school. I don’t regret my choice at all, as there are really so many things to do in Madrid that you don’t miss the sea at all!

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Don’t miss the festival in Nerja

If you’re going to Nerja for your Spanish course this summer, then don’t miss out on the town’s fantastic festivals! Flamenco, opera, ballet, gospel and jazz… whatever your tastes, Nerja has a concert for you! You can buy your tickets to some of the best concerts at the school office, such as the José Mercé concert. Who is José Mercé? Well, he’s one of the great flamenco artists of modern times, and he’s coming to Nerja Thursday 26 July. A regular to Andalucía’s summer festivals, José started his recording career at the age of 13 and now is perhaps the most successful singer on the flamenco scene.

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Living it and loving it in Malaga!!

It’s all change in our school apartment this week! Three new students have arrived and they will be sharing the apartment with me for the next two months. They are so sweet – there’s one Swiss, one Italian and and one Russian. The Italian girl is so nice and most importantly she cooks the best pasta I have had in years! The Swiss girl is always doing exercise and is so fit, and the Russian girl is really funny.

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Why you should pack your bags now and come to Sorrento!

I’ve just finished my second week here at the school in Sorrento and I think I must be dreaming. Let me tell you why.

I decided I needed a break from my routine to recharge my batteries and to fulfil my dream of going to southern Italy. I chose Sorrento because of its proximity to exotic places such as the Isle of Capri, the Amalfi Coast and the ruins of Pompeii. I had heard it was rich in history and beauty and an ideal place to soak in the sun and culture.

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Sea, sand and sun in Malaga

I have been so busy with work and school and I am loving every minute! The Spanish classes are great and I never get bored because there is so much variety in the teaching methods.

The girls at work are so sweet and are always helping me with my Spanish. If I don’t pronounce things right they won’t give me what I need until I say it right, which is great for my Spanish! After work sometimes we go out for drinks which is great. I always get asked where I’m from and people are always really friendly.

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