Friday, 22 April 2011

Sant Jordi's day Barcelona

”La Diada de Sant Jordi” is Saint Georges day. St George’s day is the most romantic day in Barcelona and Catalunia. There are roses everywhere in the city and it’s hard to see a woman without a rose or a man without a book in his hand. All around the city various exhibitions are held and activities are organized. Las Ramblas, Barcelonas most famous street is full of roses and book stalls. It’s also one of the few days on which Generalitat de Catalunya (Governament Institution of Catalonia) on Placa Sant Jaume opens its doors to the public. The gothic arcitechtural masterpiece is open all day and huge collections of roses are displayed inside.

According to the legend Sant Jordi, patron saint of Catalonia died on the 23 of April year 303. Sant Jordi is said to have saved the princess of Catalonia from being killed by a dragon. The brave Sant Jordi in his shining armour slew the dragon and from the dead dragons blood grew roses. Sant Jordi picked a rose and gave it to the beautiful princess.

The 23 of April is also the anniversary of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes’ death. The idea for the celebration of World book day originated in Catalunyas celebrations on La Diada de Sant Jordi.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Human towers in Barcelona

The Catalan tradition of building human towers are now on UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

"Castells" are regarded by Catalans as an integral part of their cultural identity, passed on from generation to generation.

Go to to find out where and when you can see the spectacular show.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Movies on Montjuïc

Every year there is an open-air film festival on Montjuïc. Movies are shown every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you haven't been there yet this year it's about time! The movies are shown close to the castle on the top of the mountain and you can go by car, motorbike, Montjuïc “teleférico” or by bike.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Monestir de pedralbes

Described by many as one of Barcelonas hidden treasures. The Pedralbes Monastery located in Les Corts is one of the city's most interesting examples of Catalan Gothic architecture.
The initiator Queen Elisenda built the Monastery as a retreat for herself after her husband Jaume II's death .

The cloister's three-story structure hosts the museum, showing the remains of the nuns' everyday lives. The collections include paintings, ceramics, furniture, gold- and silverware and textiles.


As you enter the cloister look at the broken paving stones, tracks made during Napoleons occupation of Barcelona 1809, when the nunnery was turned into barracks


How to get there:
The nearest metro station is Palau Reial. From there Avinguda de Pedralbes will take you all the way to the Monastery.


Monday, 7 June 2010

What's it like to teach English abroad?

Thinking about starting to teach English for the first time?
Or moving to another country to teach?
On this website I've found excellent stories from other teachers working in different parts of the world. Job possibilities in Asia, requirements for teching in Latin America.. Its all there!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Interesting listening

For listening exercises or homework BBC offers a broad range of pod casts covering many different subjects. They are easy to download and you can find something for every level.

Grammar challenge (learn English) is originally 6 minutes long but can be shortened if needed. Verb forms, tenses, prepositions and pronunciation are presented in a easily comprehendible way.

The Song Tree Music and educational resources for school children aged 5 to 7. For musical activities, learning and
performing songs.

Talk about English (learn English) A 20 minute chat
show that can be divided or shortened. Covers different topics and highlights useful words and expressions.

Programmes about news, sport, history, film etc. are also available. Why not let the students choose their own pod cast to listen to as homework?

Communication, leadership and fruit

For seven years Greig Martin has been teaching in Barcelona. I figured he must have some things to say about his experiences so I decided to ask him some questions.

Why did you choose to become a teacher?
- It started as a hobby two evenings a week when I worked in stock exchange in Ireland. In Barcelona I asked for work in the stock exchange but they asked for my level of Spanish and Catalan, which was zero. They offered me a job sorting mail; I said no thanks and decided to change my hobby into a profession.

What do you like about teaching?
-Autonomy, leading, helping people achieve their goals. I find it fun to make a measurable impact on people’s lives, a change that you can notice.

Do you have any advice for someone who hasn't got much experience of teaching? What should they have in mind?
That you're guiding a bunch of people through a forest. You might not know everything that's in the forest but it's important you know your destination and help them get there. Knowing grammar and specific vocabulary points, don't worry, that can take years before you know all that. You just have to get them to the one point that you're doing with the class.

What is the most important characteristics of a great teacher?
Patience, leadership, patience, communication and more patience.

What is the most challenging thing you've done as a teacher?
Now I’m mainly organizing costumed courses for different multinationals, with students of different professions in the classes. It’s continually challenging to try to make that class very useful to them as individuals. The most difficult thing was when I had to teach the names of fruit and vegetables in four different languages, for one of the largest fruit companies in this part of
Spain. It was very boring, but at least now I know the name of all different fruit in four different languages.

What would you advise a person coming to teach in
Just do it. I came with one sentence and not a lot of teaching experience. So I had a big drive to learn Spanish because when you really want to speak and need to speak on a daily basis you can learn it very quickly.