Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Taste of Home

When you're away from home, food can be one of the biggest things you miss.  Eating unfamiliar food is an adventure for a while, but sometimes you just want a taste of home.  There's a good reason we talk about comfort food.

In a British city it's usually possible to find international supermarkets, while some countries like Italy and India are well represented in mainstream supermarkets as well, and many local high streets now have Eastern European shops.  In more rural areas though, international food can be harder to find.

But if you can find the right ingredients (and have access to a kitchen), preparing your own food and cooking for others can make you feel more at home, and help you share your culture.  Why not have an international dinner party with some other students?

Learning vocabulary about food can be surprising - you may find that some foods from your country are called the same thing in English, or that there is no English word for them at all.  Pizza is international!  So are sushi, samosas, moussaka, tagine and tapas.

For cooking in English, as well as finding your ingredients, you need to know what to do with them.  So here is a handy set of kitchen verbs to help you.

So, what foods from home do you miss most when you're away?  Can you get food from your country in the UK?  Do you ever cook for your friends?  Please leave a comment below - I'd love to hear from you!

Photos taken from by @thornburyscott, @grahamstanley, Christina Martidou and @sandymillin, used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license,

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Why record yourself speaking?

You want to get better at speaking English, but how?

Well, you do have a powerful communications device in your pocket.

Oh yes, that device.

You know that recording yourself speaking is a great way to judge where you're currently at with speaking, and measure your progress. So why aren't you doing it already?

Here are the most common reasons why, and some tips to help you start.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

All work and no play... Experiencing British culture during your study visit.

So you're in the UK, studying hard for your language exam.  You're constantly thinking about vocabulary, grammar tips and listening practice, and free time is a distant memory.

Students hard at work

Then one day your teacher asks you a practice speaking question:

"Can you tell me about an arts performance that you attended?"

And.... your mind goes blank.  Performing arts?  When was the last time?  Back in school?  Before that?  Never?

So what do you do?