Mary Baumeister from Germany – experience at SPEAK

Als ich vor zwei Jahren über das Erasmus Programm nach Portugal gekommen bin, habe ich mich direkt nach einer guten Möglichkeit umgesehen die Landessprache zu lernen. An der Uni wurden Portugiesisch-Kurse angeboten, sowie im Goethe Institut und vielen anderen Institutionen. Aber wie das als Student nun mal so ist, will man nicht viel Geld ausgeben und selbst an der Uni konnte man die Kurse nur gegen eine Gebühr belegen. Als ich einer portugiesischen Kommilitonin von meinem “Leid” erzählt habe, hat sie mir von Speak erzählt.

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 @ Cascais

Just 30 kilometers on the west from the marvelous capital of Portugal – Lisbon there is a small town called Cascais. It used to be a fishermen village and also a place where Kings and Queens chose to spend their summers. Full of restaurants, bars, nice walks by the sea and of course – the best view of Atlantic ocean’s sunset. As almost all the other cities in Portugal, Cascais

Narmin experience @ SPEAK

It was less than a month left to finish my spring semester at University and I was about to give up on summer internship or to choose a place which I didn’t want to go. I applied to many places for Erasmus internship, but some of them I didn’t get a reply, for others I had a visa problem, and some of them I just didn’t like the tasks.

I remember that day, I opened erasmusintern website to check for the last time if there was any new vacancies, and I came across SPEAK. It looked like jackpot, everything I wanted was in one place: startup, web developing and Portugal.

Fado, a big part of Portuguese culture

Saudade. This one colourful word, a mixture of melancholy, nostalgy, longing and sadness is paired with fado, the genre of music specific for Portugal, always sang by one person, accompanied by two guitars. The lyrics are full of love, longing, fate, the entire game of feelings and emotions. Some people call it the “Portuguese blues”, and I think that is a fair comparison. The word fado itself translates to “fate” but Portuguese rarely use it in this context, leaving it rather for songs lyrics.

Lisbon – the city of the seven hills

I have been living in Lisbon only for 9 months, but I could definately say that it has caught me with its charming and fascinating streets, monuments, positive and smiling people, and of course the greatest cuisine.

Lisbon isn’t the flatiest city in Europe. As legend says, Lisbon was edified over seven hills:

– São Jorge: Where the São Jorge castle is standing.
– São Vicente : Where the São Vincente de Fora Monastery and the Alfama area stands.
– Sant’Ana: Between Martim Moniz square and the Rua Portas de Santo Antão, where the São José Hospital stands.
– Santo André : Largo/ Miradouro da Graça is the top of this hill.
– Chagas: At Largo do Carmo
– Santa Catarina: Around Largo Camões, Bairro Alto
– São Roque: Around Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, Bairro Alto…..

Movies With Lisbon in a Title

There are many different and nice ways of language learning and some of my favourites are watching movies and TV series since the actors have to speak clearly and you can learn some idioms and words out of the context while following the plot. First, you can go with subtitles, but the more advanced you get, the less you need them.

Whenever I tell someone that I’ve never been to Portugal, I’m told that I have to go, especially to Lisbon, to see its small atmospheric lanes, trams, old buildings, generally to feel its ambience. So far I’ve been admiring Lisbon only on movies but I’m going to change it this autumn. Two films, though, have caught my attention and have a distinctive place in my heart.

3 apps that will boost your language learning experience

Learning languages gives me plenty of joy. I started from English in elementary school, adding Portuguese and German while studying. The Portuguese was a result of capoeira training – Afro-Brazilian martial arts with elements of dance. Many of the leading coaches were from Brazil and every year a part of a group was going to Brazilian headquarters to train with our Mestre, so I started to learn because I wanted to be able to communicate when I will go for the workshops.