Christmas: Portugal vs Britain

Every country has it’s own Christmas traditions. Some people celebrate on the 25th, some on the 24th, and some even earlier. Some countries celebrate advent and some don’t, and even advent is celebrated differently in each country that has it. There are hundreds of different Christmas traditions that billions of people worldwide take part in every year. So we thought that this festive period, it would be fun and interesting to see the difference in the Portuguese and British cultures.

Life After SPEAK

Nelson Mandela once said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
At SPEAK, we agree. We think communication is invaluable, that learning about the language and cultures of others is key. We are now nearly at the end of this semester of SPEAK courses, congratulations to everyone who has made the effort with their classes and is continuing to work hard on their language learning! This week we wanted to talk about inspiring all of you to continue with your learning inside and outside of the classroom.

Capoeira: My first adventure

What is this… copacana? Copacabana? Co…thing that you’re doing? The thing I did was a Capoeira, Afro-Brazilian martial art with elements of dance.

But it doesn’t make sense! It’s neither dance nor a fight! It’s a sect; you’re standing in the circle and singing! Is it ok to do it for Catholics? I’ve heard those and many other questions while practising for two years. Was it a sect? No, I left without any problem. Did it make me incredibly happy and filled me with endorphins and positive adrenaline? Totally. I was addicted, that was what I wanted to do and what I wanted to talk about the entire time. Why?

SPEAK @ Web Summit 2016

As some of you, especially those who follow SPEAK on Instagram and Facebook, may already know, SPEAK was lucky enough to be invited to present at Web Summit 2016! This was a great opportunity for SPEAK to get our message out to more people, and to spread the SPEAK joy!
Web Summit is an annual technology conference, which has been called ‘the best technology conference on the planet’. This year, there were over 50,000 attendees, around 15,000 companies and 7,000 CEOs from 166 different countries giving talks on all sorts of topics…

What does it mean to be a Buddy at SPEAK?

For people who have not had the possibility to leave their own country, SPEAK gives you a “window into the world”, to get out there and understand that we, as humans, are all basically the same. To learn whether you need to tip at a restaurant in Spain, or how to accept business cards in China, or even how to sit appropriately in Thailand!

Marisa Mercês is a first-time Portuguese buddy with us from Porto, and she shares her experiences of what it is like to be a buddy with SPEAK. Thank you Marisa for your kind words and your hard work!

“I had never ever thought about teaching Portuguese. Honestly! But when I moved to Porto, and a friend talked to me about SPEAK and how I’d love it, I thought I should give it a try…..

Belém, the District of Discovery

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.

Experiences of a foreigner abroad

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.

SPEAK @ Leiria

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.