At inlingua, we think that the internet is a great place to practise your English and learn new things. As you all know, we love vloggers and we are trying to promote our favourite local vloggers.
Today we wanted to highlight, Gavin Bell, a 22 year old multi-award winning entrepreneur & vlogger based in Edinburgh. He grew up in the Shetland Islands – the very north of Scotland. He is the founder of Blue Cliff Media , a digital marketing agency. He is an expert on Facebook advertising. For a couple of months, he has been sharing his life of the world of entrepreneurship with a weekly vlog, The Journey.
For those who are learning/practising English don’t forget to turn on the subtitles! 🙂
Exploring the Shetland Islands with Gavin:
By the way, he is a bit crazy and as you know we love crazy people!
It’s useful to learn about the different measurement systems, and interesting to find out how they came to be used. In the UK, we use a combination of imperial and metric measurements. In this lesson, Gill from engvid.com will explain the British measurements we use for height, weight, distance, and temperature.
Are you looking for more ‘real-life’ opportunities to speak English? Want to meet more native speakers? Trying to apply for a job but don’t have any experience of working in the UK? Then read on…
First of all, what is a charity shop?
A charity is a non-profit organisation that raises money and awareness for different causes, such as research for a disease, or animal welfare, or the protection of vulnerable people. Charity shops are shops where people can donate clothes or household objects they don’t want, and the charity then sells them to the public. (You can find some great bargains!) All money raised in charity shops helps support the charity’s cause.
Where can I find these charity shops?
All over Edinburgh! There is even one opposite Inlingua (The British Heart Foundation). It would be best to find one in a location that’s convenient for you, like close to your accommodation.
What sort of work would I have to do?
There are many different tasks you can do in a charity shop, such as: operating the till; sorting the donations; organising the shop; and creating the displays. There is lots of variety in the shift and plenty of people to talk to, so you won’t get bored!
How often would I have to work?
Volunteering is flexible so you can often choose your hours to fit around your schedule. Typically shops will ask you to work once or twice a week, for 2-4 hours at a time. It’s best if you are staying in Edinburgh long term (4 weeks or more), so you can become a regular part of the team.
Do I need to be eligible to work in the UK?
No! As it is voluntary work, anyone can do it.
Volunteering means working for free, right?
It does – you won’t get paid for working in a charity shop. However there are many other benefits you can get from this experience, such as:
Improving your English through contact with native speakers
The chance to learn some new skills
Experience working in the UK (volunteering looks great on your CV!)
The knowledge that you are helping a good cause
Count me in! How do I start?
First, choose the shop you want to work in, preferably near to your accommodation or Inlingua. Go in and tell the manager you are interested in volunteering – he/she will give you a form to fill out. Once you have completed the form, take it back to the shop and the manager will arrange an induction with you to show you how everything works.
TED is a global set of conferences that have run every year since 1990. Speakers from around the world gather to deliver talks on their specialist subjects, life experiences, professions, areas of research and more. They aim to open the mind to new ideas, inspiring and educating viewers.
How can they help?
When it comes to learning English, the more resources we have the better. These videos can help you to improve not only your listening skills, but also improve your pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. TED talks are delivered by native English speakers from all over the world.
Most TED Talks (as found on the main TED website) are often translated in 40+ languages – Don’t forget to click on the video to set up subtitles in English or your own language.
James Veitch:This is what happens when you reply to spam email
Suspicious emails: unclaimed insurance bonds, diamond-encrusted safe deposit boxes, close friends marooned in a foreign country. They pop up in our inboxes, and standard procedure is to delete on sight. But what happens when you reply? Follow along as writer and comedian James Veitch narrates a hilarious, weeks-long exchange with a spammer who offered to cut him in on a hot deal.
Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator
Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn’t make sense, but he’s never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window — and encourages us to think harder about what we’re really procrastinating on, before we run out of time.
Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter …
“If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s gonna call me Point B … ” began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis — from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project V.O.I.C.E. — and gives two breathtaking performances of “B” and “Hiroshima.”
Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend
Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.
Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar
On any given day we’re lied to from 10 to 200 times, and the clues to detect those lie can be subtle and counter-intuitive. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, shows the manners and “hotspots” used by those trained to recognize deception — and she argues honesty is a value worth preserving.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
Patricia Ryan: Don’t insist on English!
Patricia Ryan is a longtime English teacher who asks a provocative question: Is the world’s focus on English preventing the spread of great ideas in other languages? In other words: What if Einstein had to pass the TOEFL? It’s a passionate defense of translating and sharing ideas.
Susan Cain: The power of introverts
In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do
Tony Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone’s actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.
Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame
“Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop,” says Monica Lewinsky. In 1998, she says, “I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.” Today, the kind of online public shaming she went through has become constant — and can turn deadly. In a brave talk, she takes a hard look at our online culture of humiliation, and asks for a different way.
If you are thinking of learning any foreign language, these five useful techniques will make it so much easier:
1. Make mistakes
From the moment we born, we are said to do things properly, but the only way to learn a language is to get things wrong. Why? Because when you make mistakes you are able to remember them and do as much as possible to change them.
2. Scrap the dictionary
Have you ever noticed how much confusing reading a language can be? That is because we are used to our mother tongue sounds. Sometimes, and more for a beginner, it’s more useful to scrap the dictionary and study it phonetically.
3. Ask people to correct you
When you start learning a new language, you need someone to introduce words and grammar in the same way as you learnt your mother tongue. As time goes by , it’s important to have someone who will not hesitate to correct your mistakes while encouraging you to improve. At inlingua Edinburgh, our teachers’ method means you will have as much speaking practice as possible with frequent error corrections.
4. Keep talking
It’s easy to stop using a language when you reach your goal. But unfortunately, if you don’t keep training your skills, you’ll forget it, so try to make native-speaking friends or find a language exchange partner who you can practise with on a regular basis.
5. Make it fun!
If you find learning a new language tedious, you’ll never reach your goal. So make it fun!
Most English learners will find that they reach a plateau at some point. This is where you can speak English well enough to communicate with others but you notice less improvement in your language skills than you did at the start. Many find they have reached a comfort zone where there is a danger of becoming demotivated as they can already get by using the English words, phrases and tenses with which they are comfortable.
If you want to progress in English, this can be the most difficult stage on your learning journey but it’s important to push past this. Here are some tips on how to stay motivated when learning English:
1. Picture yourself in the future
Imagine what you could do if you could speak English as fluently as your first language. Would you be able to get your dream job? Get promoted in your current work? Delve deeper into English-language culture? Whatever your motivation was to learn English in the first place, try to remember it throughout your language-learning journey.
2. Go on holiday
Go on holiday somewhere where you don’t speak the language. If you’re living in an English-speaking country, you will be able to see how far you have come by going to a country where you hardly understand anything. You can then come back refreshed and motivated to keep going.
3. Get into an English-language TV series
There are a number of great TV shows in English that are addictive and will keep you coming back for more. You will also be motivated to improve in order to increase your understanding of the storyline.
4. Join a local club or try volunteering
Local clubs and societies are a great way to meet new people and can be great motivators to improve your English. Try to join a group or volunteer in something outside of your comfort zone. That way, you can improve your vocabulary and speak about subjects that would normally never come up in your everyday life. Meetup.com is a great way to find groups like this.
5. Challenge yourself
Set yourself a goal such as taking an official English exam. This will put pressure on you to improve before the date of the exam and will allow you to measure your success in a formal context.
6. Imitate your favourite celebrity
If your favourite celebrity is a native speaker of English, or if they have learned English as a second language, you can use their story as motivation to improve your own language skills.
7. Take a course
By taking an English language course, you are committing yourself to taking the time to improve. It’s also the best learning environment as you will consistently learn new things and your mistakes will be corrected by the teacher.
8. Improve your relationships with native speakers
A great motivator to improve your language skills is to build on your relationships with your English-speaking friends and/or colleagues. Native speakers will sometimes subconsciously change they speak when speaking to non-native speakers (think of the way you communicate with people who are learners of your own language). Get to know people in a new light by improving your English to a stage where native-speakers will speak to you as they would other natives.
9. Remember there is still a lot to learn
Those with the ability to speak English at a native level generally have one thing in common – they never stop learning. Even if you are comfortable at the level you can communicate in, learning a language is a life-long process where there is always room for improvement.
10. Take action
By improving your English, you are opening doors to more opportunities in your career, social life and personal development. There is no better time than the present, so take the first steps towards improving your English today!
At inlingua Edinburgh, we offer evening and part-time General English and Exam Preparation courses to fit around your work and life here in Edinburgh. Lessons are led by qualified, native-speaking trainers in small groups to maximise speaking practice. We have classes to suit each level and there are no mixed level groups. Why wait? Take the first step towards improving your English and contact us now!