It’s exciting news folks! Grab your megaphones and call the press, because SPEAK is going INTERNATIONAL!
I’ll start with a disclaimer:
It’s impossible write everything in one post. I’m trying, but you know how one thing leads to another… In the end I’m just removing stuff like that. This is personal experiences, no objective or general truths won’t be mentioned or revealed. Also thoughts and quality of text can sometimes lose the flow – English is not my native tongue after all ^^ And yeah, grammar nazis – WATCH OUT! End of excuses.
It is clear from the moment a person sets foot in Lisbon that it is a beautifully aged city, with it’s narrow, limestone paved streets, picturesque squares and impressive monuments. Just take a walk through the centre of the city, and you will feel just like a modern day Dorothy discovering the world of Oz, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”.
The city of Belém, a short 15 minute train ride away from central Lisbon, is no exception. This district is famous for it’s remarkable monuments and rich history. It is popular with tourists from all over the globe who flock here to visit the abundance of museums and to try the famed Pastel de Belém, but also with Lisbon’s own, many of whom would name Belém as their favourite place to visit in the city.
As like many of the people who get involved with SPEAK, I am a foreigner to this country. I have now been living in Lisbon for just over a month, and as a English girl from a small town in the West Country, my experiences of living here have, of course, been quite different to back home.
Of course there are obvious differences; it is much hotter here than in Britain, which for Brits is amazing, but also a little heartbreaking when it is too hot for a comforting cup of tea when I get home. And then there’s the challenge of finding your way around a new city, a matter in which Google Maps has been my saviour. But one of the biggest things has to be the language barrier.
Leiria is a special city, because it is where SPEAK took its first steps! SPEAK was born in Leiria in September 2012. It started as a Language Exchange program, but today, four years later and having gone to six other cities and looking forward to the launch of SPEAK in Italy, it is a global community, where diversity, equality and the democratisation of the language learning are promoted.
It is very normal when moving to a new country, or even just a new city, to be apprehensive and find it difficult to settle in. You’re unsure of where things are, you don’t know many people there, and there’s often the added pressure of having lots of people from home telling you how wonderful the experience is going to be. But it doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are a few tips on how to get to know your new city: