Friday, February 17, 2017

Taste of Serbia

We talked about Serbia with Mariah who is from this country and the information about raspberries was quite interesting.

Did you know that raspberries which we eat are probably from Serbia? Serbia has the largest share of export raspberry around the world. 95% of the world's raspberries came from Serbia.
Raspberry is my favorite berry and the fact described above added an additional attraction of this country :)

This is a link to the article about 22 interesting facts about Serbia you've probably never heard before:
We talked about Serbia with teacher Mariah in online English school

From Port of Plymouth to America

The city Plymouth is located on the South of England. Ian who is from this place told me about his home town.

Plymouth became famous in the time of discovering the New World. The Port of Plymouth is where the Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower in 1620 to set sail for America.

It is why many tourists attractions are dedicated to this event. One of them is a granite block which marks the entryway to the famous Mayflower Steps dated by the time of the 17th century. Next, the Mayflower Museum represents an exhibition about an epoch of exploring America.

Tourists can buy in the museum's shop Pilgrim-themed souvenirs and other attractions such as Smeaton's Tower (a 1759 lighthouse) and the Elizabethan House (a sea captain's home built in the era of Sir Francis Drake).

It is still a very busy port for fishermen.

Because it is a port there are a lot of transatlantic yachts there.

The impression about Plymouth is that life here is flowing slowly. Seaside town with a cold sea is a very different from a town on the warm sea. If you want to find the calm and peaceful place, this city corresponds to such wishes.

We had this conversation with the teacher Ian in online English school

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Purple Cow with Cash

The teacher proposed that after class of reading poems the students will decide to write them.

This is a poem which we read:

Purple cow

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

And this is a sequel which was written by me after the class:

And better have cash cow
Than living a poor life
And happiness just now
Much better than beside

For information:
Cash-cow is business jargon for a business venture that generates a steady return of profits that far exceed the outlay of cash required to acquire or start it. Many businesses attempt to create or acquire such ventures since they can be used to boost a company's overall income and to support less profitable endeavors.

This poem was read during the class in online English school with the teacher Alexsis and the student Sebastien.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Talking about Paris

I see this picture every day not because I live near Eiffel tower but because I have it in my bedroom. This picture inspired me to visit Paris again.

We talked about Paris with Yuliya who lives in France and Daniella who is from Italy. During a short Skype session, we discussed randomly chosen details, impressions of being in Paris.

My first experience of being in Paris wasn't comfortable because I was there only one day and it was raining.

Next time we had four days. The first day was also raining day and we started our trip from observing Louvre. I was surprised that the painting of the Mona Lisa looks too small. The fact that most of the paintings in Louver are from Italy. It is a little weird because France has also a lot of great painters, but Louver looks as Italian museum.

Being on the Bastille plaza I was surprised that I didn't find exactly Bastille tower. I recalled that I read in a history book that this prison was destroyed.

We read the text about this topic. "Parisians are like party animals and gourmet". "Who are party animals", Julia asked. I answered that they are probably linked with an exhibition of dogs or cats and ... I was wrong. We talked about nightlife in Paris. People who go to the nightclubs are called party animals. A gourmet is a person who has a very a good testing food, he goes to very expensive restaurants.

We talked about nightclub looking to the picture of Moulin Rouge. , Daniella told us her her experience of being there. She enjoyed performance of a very colored

It makes the audience happy but it was very expensive. There is also an obligation to pay for the drinks inside this club.

I stayed in a very lovely small hotel Darcet in the district Montmartre near Moulin Rouge.

We read about Coco Chanel. Her last name pronounces with sound "sh" not "ch" as we used to pronounce in English. This sounds the same in France and Italy and in Russia, probably in other countries too.

I didn't go up to Eiffel Tower because of a huge queue, we can't afford to stay in this line, we were under Eiffel Tower. Considering the fact that I have a picture of Eiffel Tower in my home it reminds me unforgettable Paris - every day.

We had this conversation in online school with the teacher Yuliya K who lives in France near Lion together with another student Daniela from Sardinia, Italy.

Friday, February 10, 2017

New Zealand and Environmental Refugees

Two countries, Australia and New Zealand are located in a very remote place from Europe. What is a better destination for tourists? I asked this question Vuke, who is from Auckland (New Zealand) during the online conversation and he answered:
New Zealand is a better destination than Australia. There is a friendly war between Australians and New Zealanders about which country is better. New Zealanders say that Australia is full of poisonous insects and they will kill you. Australians say that New Zealand has nothing happening, the place was forgotten and this country is not relevant.

It is true that in New Zealand we don't have poisonous insects, the climate is very mild compared to Australia. The temperature in Summer is about 27-28 degrees Celsius. During the winter the temperature is plus 5-12 degrees.

Just recommendation for tourists who come to New Zealand for a beach holiday is to stay in the Coromandel on the North Island.

About the level of life:
Living in New Zealand is quite expensive, especially real estates.
Prices of houses are really high. It is necessary to have one million 
New Zealand Dollars (NZD) for foreigner's investors who move for living to New Zealand. Many rich people came last years from China and the South Korea. A living wage is 21 NZD. The government approved a minimum wage is 15 NZD for an hour. It is not much and it is a reason why people search other places for living.

About emigration:
In the 60s -70s it was very easy to emigrate, it was more affordable, because it was time for industrialization and the country needed the workers. During this period of time appeared some large Cambodian community, Russian community, Pacific islands communities. Today is quite difficult to emigrate to New Zealand. New Zealand is welcoming the qualified working force, educated people. Tourists need to keep in mind that it is not possible to find cheap air tickets from Europe to New Zealand.

The country's biggest city, Auckland, is located on the North Island. The South Island is very close to the South Pole. Auckland is a very boring city compared to other metropolises. It's trying to be a huge city, it's trying to copy a big city, but it doesn't work. The nature on the South Islands is untouched.

New Zealand's South Island scenery

It is why so many cruise ships float around the island. Tourists enjoy seeing to kiwi birds, spring penguins, and other rare animals. North Island has a majority of a population. South Island is only for 10% inhabited by people.

There is a big discussion in media last years about environmental refugees. Environmental refugees are people who are forced to leave their home region due to sudden or long-term changes to their local environment which compromise their well-being or secure livelihood. Such changes include sea-level rise. Environmental refugees flee to or migrate to another country. The problem is that there are some islands which are covering the water due to global warming.

The biggest suggestion is to ship people from them to the South Island because it has a lot of space.
One of the stories which were discussed on the Internet and was caused even protests from inhabitants happened a few years ago. A New Zealand court has granted residency to a family from Tuvalu, a Pacific island nation averaging about two meters above sea level. It was claimed as a juridical precedent of giving to refugees the rights to stay in New Zealand. It claimed that it based on the humanitarian reasons but in fact, it wasn't. The decision of the tribunal was based on close family ties with their members who already have stayed in the country.

Another story is about the man who is Kiribati climate change refugee. He was arrested by police and immigration officials at his West Auckland home for overstaying his permit. His family, from Kiribati, had fought numerous legal battles to stay in New Zealand as climate change refugees rather than return to the island nation, which is threatened by rising sea levels. They didn't want to return to their polluted and potentially dangerous home country. The court decided that "the Government of Kiribati is failing to take steps to protect its citizens from the effects of environmental degradation to the extent that it can". The man and his family had to return to the Pacific Island nation, which was threatened by the effects of global warming.

This news came just Today:
More than 400 whales have stranded on a New Zealand beach and about three-quarters of them have died in what authorities are describing as the worst whale stranding they've ever seen.

It proves that the problem of protecting our environment is becoming more and more real. Let's think about it again.

This story was written after the class with the teacher Vuke in online school

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Eight months in Englishtown

Englishtown is a former name of the online English school

After eight months of studying in this online school, I decided to cancel my subscription. It is a good time to make a review about studying there, describing pros and cons of being a student in that school.

The pros of studying in the school is a very low tuition, about 30$ in a month for an unlimited access.

The school gives two main options for learning English:
participating in the group classes and;
studying by yourself using multimedia with a possibility to synchronize it and work offline on iPad and probably on the other devices.

Monthly subscription includes 30 group classes duration 45 minutes. The courses divided for levels from Beginners to Upper Intermediate.

The topic changes once a day. Students can attend classes more than once a day but it doesn't make sense because of the topic of the day doesn't change.

Participating in the classes possible trough Acrobat Connection. This application works with standard internet browsers (Goggle Chrome, Safari etc) and on iPad using Apple store app).

The sound's quality in Acrobat Connection is worse than in Skype or G+hangouts but it is acceptable. "Rising hand" is a feature of Acrobat Connections which is widely used during the classes.

Most of the teachers from the USA, the UK, South Africa. A usual number of students is four or five.

The class dedicates to the definite topic and presents on the slides.

Plan of each class includes these steps:
Introduction of the teacher and all students;
Discussing of each slide from the presentation.
Role play when two students speak each other according to the task displayed on the screen.

After the class teachers write feedback and score your participation of the class. I think that it is forbidden to criticize students. Usual the two best students are mentioned by the teacher in a very positive light. It was a pleasure for me to see my name in feedback.

There is a ticket for the fluency test with a teacher, it includes in subscription one time in a month.

The part of the site "Community" doesn't work well. It is difficult to find a language partner and no good way for communication.

I appreciated very much the possibility of studying by myself without the internet connection on my iPad.

The class material for self-studying prepared very well, it includes video, reading exercises, a grammar section, virtual conversation using voice recognition feature.

The material divided for a few levels from beginner to upper advanced.

I was really impressed by the very large size of this digital book. Each of 16 courses consists five classes.

It needed several months for me to go from upper-intermediate level to upper-advance, even though I studied hard.

The decision of leaving this online school came to my mind when the topics of classes became repeated even not the second but the third or fourth time. The fact that the school does not change the topics, but just repeats them every month. Next reason was that I found another school which offered not expensive private classes.
When I decided to cancel my subscription I found that there is no button on the site for doing it. Monthly payments commit automatically from your bank card. Canceling subscription is possible only after applying to the school through trough the special chat. This chat includes the titles like complaining about technical problems, about teachers, class material and for subscription cancellation. I chose the last one and sent my request and started to wait. I waited two days during the weekend, nothing happened. I sent the second request, after that the third and so on. After several attempts of applying for canceling a subscription, I decided to phone them. But it wasn't possible because their phone number wasn't answered. Only after I posted help applying on their Facebook and G+ pages, after I wrote my requests on all titles of the site's chat, my subscription was canceled. I think the process of interrupting subscription was long because of absent at working place the definite employee who didn't open chat with requests for canceling the subscription.

Some thoughts about protection your money. I asked my bank if I can ban auto payment from my card for this company. They answered - No, only one way is to change the card. It is very possible that someone has suffered from the fact that the company knowing his bank account details, relieves with your bank card money. And no way to file a lawsuit in the court, because we don't know the legal address of the company.

Nevertheless, my conclusion about the learning process in EF-English live is a very positive. All teachers are true professionals, quality of the class material is very high. I would recommend this school for other people who are looking for serious online English school with reasonable prices.

Friday, February 3, 2017

I gotta feeling

Exploring foreign language analyzing lyrics of the songs is a good and funny way of studying, which helps learners to feel rhythm, pronunciation, slang, cultural traditions of language.

"I got a feeling" - this is a phrase of proper English, but what is a meaning of the phrase "I gotta feeling" in the lyrics of the song from 
the band "Black Eyed Peas"? Let's make a lyrics analysis.

I gotta feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night (gotta = got to) (tonight's = tonight is) (gonna = going to)

That tonight's gonna be a good night
That tonight's gonna be a good, good night
Tonight's the night, let's live it up (Let's live it up = to live life to the fullest)
I got my money, let's spend it up (it is just a phrase: live it up - spend it up)
Go out and smash it like oh my God (smash it = squeeze it)
Jump off that sofa, let's get, get off (get Off = to get away from; get off the train or bus)

I know that we'll have a ball (to have a ball = to enjoy yourself)
If we get down and go out and just lose it all (just loose it all = to lose one's mind - behave crazy)
I feel stressed out, I wanna let it go (feel stressed out = to be under tension) (I wanna let it go = = let out my feeling of being stressed = to escape from this feeling)
Let's go way out spaced out and losing all control (spaced out = enough of space)

Fill up my cup, Mazel Tov
Look at her dancing, just take it off (just take it off = take out your stress)
Let's paint the town, we'll shut it down (paint the town = figurative expression of imagining the town) (shut it down = it could be to switch off, to stop but here for the town)
Let's burn the roof, and then we'll do it again

Tonight's the night (Hey! )
Let's live it up (Let's live it up)
I got my money (My pay)
Let's spend it up (Let's spend it up)

Go out and smash it (Smash it)
Like oh my God (Like oh my God)
Jump off that sofa (Come on!)
Let's get, get off

Fill up my cup (Drink)
Mazel Tov (L'chaim)
Look at her dancing (Move it, move it)
Just take it off

Let's paint the town (Paint the town)
We'll shut it down (Let's shut it down)
Let's burn the roof
And then we'll do it again

Here we come, here we go, we gotta rock (Rock rock rock rock rock) (Here we go = to begin something) (to rock = to move)
Easy come, easy go, now we on top (Top top top top top) (easy come = feel easy)
Feel the shot, body rock, rock it, don't stop (Stop stop stop stop stop) (feel the shot = to drink) (rock = the style of music) (rock your body = move your body and dance)
Round and round, up and down, around the clock (Rock rock rock rock rock) (around the clock = all the time)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Friday, Saturday, Saturday to Sunday
Get, get, get, get, get with us, you know what we say, say
Party every day, p-p-p-party every day

The lyrics explain how after being stressed out there is a need to kick back (kick back = N.American be at leisure, relax) and simply to have a good time. Dealing with the daily monotonous drone (drone = informal - a monotonous speech or a low continuous humming sound) routine of life, it is necessary to break it up (break up = disintegrate, disperse) a little bit and enjoy yourselves.

This is a video:

The Black Eyed Peas is an American group. Their first major hit was the 2003 single "Where Is the Love?" I wrote analisis this song on my blog.

This analysis was written during the class with teacher Pearl in inline English school

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

View from Turin, Italy

We talked about Turin, Italy with Gennie, who lives there.

A stunning view in the picture below represents a gorgeous horizon looming over the Italian Alps. It is difficult to guess what is the tallest building in this photo if you don't know the answer. This is the oldest Cinema Museum and it looks like a big tower, which is the highest structure in Europe (167,5 m).

The North of Italy where Turin located is one of the most developed parts of Italy. Fiat Automobiles Factory is based in Turin, and it is the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy.

The next great tourist attraction is an Egyptian museum. It is the second biggest Egyptian museum in the World after the Cairo's museum.

There is also some very famous Christianity sightseeing in Turin: The Shroud of Christ. Many people come from around the World to see this.

The Turin Shroud is a length of linen cloth with the image of a man, that is believed by some to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel in Turin. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud.

The Shroud of Turin: modern photo of the face, positive left, digitally processed image right.

In 2006 Turin welcomed the Olympic Games. Before the year 2006, Turin was known mostly as an industrial city, rather than a holiday destination, but the 2006 Winter Games helped change that image. Turin became the fourth-most visited Italian city, after Rome, Florence, and Venice.

I asked Gennie's recommendations for a beach vacation in Italy and here is her answer:

Sardinia is great but it is a very expensive place. Gallipoli is a southern Italian town and comune in the province of Lecce, in Apulia. This is a great place and not expensive at all.

Great Scenery of Gallipoli, Italy

We had this conversation in online school with the teacher Gennie.

This text was corrected by Ryan (nickname on Here are corrections: Mistakes

Ryan's comment:
Great job! I hardly had to make any corrections. Some phrases didn't sound natural and there were minor grammatical errors, which I highlighted, but overall very good! :) I never had an issue understanding what you were writing.