Musings in a roman church

I step through the worn wooden doorway and am greeted by a rush of air that caresses my cheek. The candles that hang in lanterns cast a soft illumination, and I breathe the warm scent of old incense. I can hear the laughter of my friends drift down to hushed whispers as I lead the way in, bowing my head to the statue of Jesus that watches over those who have entered. As I raise my eyes, the calm atmosphere brings my aching heart a bit of comfort. In these last intense weeks of college finals, saying goodbye to the study-abroads, and packing up for the summer, this tranquil place gives me a sense of peace…

Keep on reading on Kappa Language School’s website.

Italian food haikus

This one is definitely a new one. When the idea was first suggested to me, I laughed my butt off until I realized that my editor was serious. He wanted me to write what? You read the title right folks; these are haikus about Italian food. I apologize to any of my readers who are poetry lovers, because I cannot claim to be even remotely good at poetry. My strength lies in storytelling, not poetry. But with that said, read on at your own risk. Please blame my editor for whatever damage these poems may do to your mind.

Olive taggiasche

olive_taggiascheOlives are a great snack food that I love getting from the fresh market. In Italy they come in these huge barrels and you just fish them out. They are extremely healthy for you. The oil they produce is a staple of Italian cooking, and is present in every Italian kitchen in large quantities. So here is a little poem for our ever-present friend, the olive!

“A great midday snack
Nature’s chewy vitamin
But beware the pit!”

Penne all’arrabbiata

arrabbiataNext up is my personal favorite, penne all’arrabbiata. This dish is akin to the ramen noodles of the Italian culture. Every college student knows how to make it and its relatively simple to make. I personally love this dish, and for those of you who don’t know what it is, its simply tomato sauce but with hot pepper flakes.

“Oh my god, my mouth!
I think I just ate the sun!
Waiter? Please bring more!”

Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita

The next is Pizza Margherita. Now this is what I assume the Italian version of chicken nuggets are in America. If you have absolutely no idea what to get, or you are an extremely picky eater, this pizza is always a safe choice. Its pretty hard to screw up and its almost always amazing. This was the only thing I ate when I first came to Italy.

“It makes mouths water,
Eatable display of the flag,
a chefs masterpiece!”

Tiramisù

tiramisu-bimbyThe last poem is about one of the most classic Italian desserts there is: Tiramisù. I love this dish, and though I have yet to perfect it in my own kitchen, I am not about to give up. In this great dish, the Italians have combined coffee, pastry, chocolate, and cream into one great mix of perfection. I applaud whoever came up with this dish.

“A sweet aroma,
And a delicate coffee taste.
Creamy perfection!”

Ok, now you don’t really have to comment the poems themselves, do you? Just post your thoughts on these fantastic dishes in the comment section! 😉

Bus Lover

I have been called strange many times in my 20 years, usually for different reasons, however since moving to Rome I have found that the number one reason now is that I like riding the buses. When I have to go somewhere I go early enough so that I can still make it to my destination if I have to ride two or more buses; and while all of my friends loathe taking the bus, I will take one even if they decide they want to use the metro or a taxi. There are many reasons that I prefer the buses over the other forms of transportation here in Rome, and today I’m going to list them for you. Maybe you too will become a bus lover ;).

Keep on reading the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

A meal in a Roman square

474411420Sitting down at an outside table, I set my cappuccino on the table and dig into my beat up purse to find my notebook. The sun is relentless today and sitting under the large crimson umbrella that blooms over the middle of my table is the only reason my skin isn’t lobster red. I put my purse under my seat and open my notebook, then turn my head to look out into the square. In the middle rests a large fountain, with steps leading up to see into its waters. Art students are perched all over it and look around the square as I do, reminding me of a flock of pigeons, their heads bobbing up and down as they draw. Speaking of pigeons, they of course are all over the place. I remind myself not to drop any of my sandwich when they bring it to me, because otherwise death-by-pigeon will be on my coroner’s report.

Around Rome (8 of 49)-LSipping my cappuccino, an elderly couple walks by with a fat dachshund, who is merrily waddling along in front of them. A lady passes them going the opposite way and honestly I’m impressed at how well she is walking on the old cobblestones, which are riddled with cracks and holes. I can barely manage to walk on them in flat shoes. Brava, lady, brava. An elderly woman stands in front of the church across the street begs for money from anyone who walks in or out; and I have to look away, because its painful to watch. I try to give money when I can, but I can barely afford to feed myself as it is.

The birds’ chirping is a sweet melody that twines together with the smell of the lavender plants that blanket many of the buildings in the square, and its calming qualities make me lean my head back and just listen. With my eyes closed I can hear the clicks of someone’s shoes pass my table to go into the bar, and a deep voice bellows out a cheerful greeting that is reciprocated wholeheartedly from the female bartender. I imagine they are old friends, who see each other everyday and yet never run out of things to talk about. And as they begin to chat loudly among the tinks of the china and the bubbling of steamed milk, my mind wanders to a different sound. I assume one of the street musicians has set up shop somewhere near the fountain because now there is some lovely violin music drifting steadily to my ears. Oh, he is playing Ave Maria I realize, and find a newfound love for whoever this street performer is, because that is one of my favorites.

2929081691_1a89901780_bI hear footsteps approaching and slowly open my eyes to the crimson umbrella above me. I can see little dots of sunshine peaking through, which dance and sparkle when I move my head. Wow people probably think I’m high right now I think to myself and crack a smile.

Signorina, il tuo panino.” Says a handsome bartender who is hold a plate with my sandwich. I smile and take it from him with a Grazie. Setting it down, I take the last sip of my cappuccino and once again have to remind myself not to feed the birds, even if a little brown one just happened to land near me and chirp with an otherworldly cuteness. As I breathe in the hot Italian air filled with lavender (and now salami from my sandwich), and I hear the birds and violin sing in a natural harmony, I set my cup down and sigh with content. I am the luckiest girl in the world if I can call this beautiful place my home, even if only for a short while.

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

An Expat’s Thoughts On Italy

I have lived in Rome for almost nine months now, and this is a beautiful place with quite a different culture. One of my friends recently asked me what I think of Italy as an expat living in Italy and I couldn’t answer him right away. I decided to write it out considering that this is the best way to express what I am thinking. So I am sharing it here so that everyone can see. What I think is not representative of what all expats think, these are just my observances and opinions…

Continue reading on Kappa Language School’s website.

What to look for in a language school

Hello again! This weeks article is about what to look for in a language school. As someone who went to a language school to learning Italian, I can say that I have some experience with this. I’m talking about going to a different country and learning through immersion as well as taking a class. There are multiple benefits to this, because you aren’t learning just the language, you are learning the culture, which is very important. So for those of you who may be looking for a language school but aren’t sure which one to pick, here you go! This is what to look for in a language school.

Small classrooms

lezione02.jpgSmall classrooms are great, because not only does that mean smaller class sizes and less people, it also means that you can really get to know the people around you. If you make friends with your classmates you can go out and practice the language together. And for those of you who are shy at first, getting to know you classmates can help you not feel as scared to answer a question the teacher poses at the class. It’s also better for one-on-one questions with your professor before and after class because there won’t be a huge crowd waiting to talk to them.

Native speaker teachers

If you are in a classroom with a teacher that speaks the language as a mother tongue, you are golden. Not only will they make sure that you are pronouncing words correctly, they also know the language in a way that you can’t. They are the key that unlocks your ability to speak like a native, so this bullet is an important one. Also you can get special help, for example, when I went to the Kappa Language School here in Rome, my teacher and I would meet in the classroom about an hour before class, and I would read out loud in Italian. Not only did this help my pronunciation, it also gave me new vocabulary to study and reinforced the things that I was learning.

Teachers that actually care about your progress

DSC_0509.jpegI can even use the example from the bullet before for this one. My teacher spent and hour everyday, of his own time, to listen to me butcher his language while I read The Lightning Thief in Italian. He didn’t have to do that, but he put in the extra effort because he wanted me to succeed. You want to find a school with teachers like that. He became a good friend, and that’s another benefit, you can make friends with your teachers. In addition to that, if you have a teacher who is excited to teach, then you will be excited to learn. And on those cloudy days, when everything seems grey and you don’t want to come in to learn, because you feel like you aren’t getting any better, they are more then willing to help you cheer up and show you how far you have come.

The School organizes outings and events

Bohemien2Okay, now this one is pretty important too. If the school organizes events and trips, it really shows that they are trying to get you immersed in the language. They want to show you their culture and to practice not only with the natives, but also the other students who are in more advanced classes. You can see your progress when you talk to the people who are in less advanced classes, and that is encouraging, because it really shows you the progress you’ve made and how far you have come from the beginning. It’s usually a good environment and you make friends with people you didn’t know before and have a great time with people who have the same goal as you.

Alright, that’s the tips that I have. You want to make sure you find a school that fits you, and for me, these are the things that I looked for. If you have anything else you think I’ve missed or have a suggestion, please comment below!

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

For all those traveling Expats

This is an article for all those expats who live in Italy. For if you have moved to another country, then I’m sure you all can understand the itch to keep traveling; because it doesn’t matter, young or old we all want to see the world. I’ve recently had an itch to go to Spain, and so I’ve started researching cheap ways to get around Europe, because I am a poor college student. All the companies that I researched are going to be compared on the cost of just transportation to Spain. So without further ado, here is what I have found, all the cheaper ways to get around Europe, at your convenience so you don’t have to spend hours researching like I did.

We are going to start with planes first because unlike boats or trains, they are the fastest way to get somewhere far away. Bear in mind that I have the freedom to go and come back when I choose so those of you with a lot of appointments or responsibilities might find that having to schedule specific dates might find these prices to be a bit higher than my research.

airlines_2512977bUp first, Ryanair. This flight company is actually pretty famous so you may have already heard of it, but it usually offers cheap flights just about anywhere in Europe and recently has improved their service. I choose a flight that would take me to Madrid, Spain on a Wednesday with a return to Rome on a Saturday and it cost €53.18. That, however, was just the flight. If you want to add bags, you add extra onto that. This site is nice because it is easy to use and you can not only get cars and hotels, but also transportation to a hotel and such.

Vueling is our next contender. I was able to plan a trip from Rome to Madrid and back again with three days there. This cost me a total of 87.53 but I believe this includes bags and such. It’s a fairly easy website to use, and while the cost might be a bit more, it’s definitely still cheap.

Air Berlin. This one is actually quite a lot more than the first two, and I was debating with myself if I should mention it at all. However, for those of you that might be here and actually have money to spend, this might be a nice alternative for a high priced plane ticket. The same trip that I planned for Vueling was 306.65 euros on Air Berlin for one adult to travel to Madrid for three days. Maybe the price difference is justified by a more comfortable ride over? I’m not sure because I haven’t taken this particular airline before.

cheap-flights-south-africa


While there are others, such as
EasyJet, Pegasus (this one only goes to Turkey and Greece apparently) German Wings (This one found me Ryanair flights), and Blue Express, and Air One. I had some trouble with Air One, but maybe my computer just doesn’t like that website. 😦

So there you have it folks, those are most of the cheaper airlines. If you know of any more, or want to comment about better prices, then please feel free! We would love to hear from you!

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

You Choose! The pros and cons of immersion and app learning

Almost everyone that I have ever known has “I want to learn a second language” on their bucket list. But often, they don’t know where to start on this lengthy and difficult path. You’ll bring it up at maybe a family gathering, and that strange relative that you hardly know always has to chime in about how immersion learning is the best way to learn any language. Yes thank you weird uncle Hank, but not all of us have the money to just up and move somewhere across an ocean. But even if you could, is it really the best way to learn a language? I mean, everyone learns differently. So this article is dedicated to you fellow internet users! If you want to learn a language but don’t know the best option for yourself, here are some pros and cons to different methods of learning a language.

There are three main categories for learning a language that I can think of. If you can think of more, just comment below and I will add them in if I have tried them before! The three that I am going to write about are Immersion learning, using apps on your phone and/or computer, and class learning.

lezione02

So the first one up is Immersion learning! For this one, we are going to be talking about immersion learning as moving to the country, and paying for classes while there. For example how I moved to Rome, Italy and went to Kappa Language School.

Pros 🙂

  • You don’t just learn the language, you learn the culture as well.
  • If you choose a school with teachers around your age, you can become friends with them after. This is handy when you can’t remember a certain word or phrase and they don’t mind a barrage of texts.
  • Because they hold you accountable, you have to practice literally ALL THE TIME just to keep up with the class. If you are lazy like me, this one can really get you to practice even when you don’t want to.

Cons 😦

  • Moving to another country is SUPER EXPENSIVE!
  • Going to a different country can be very lonely at first because you literally know not a single person, and you are cut off in a variety of ways from the people you do know.
  • Simple tasks become really challenging.
  • Embarassments, which can range from being embarrassed about not knowing what to say in a conversation because you aren’t advanced enough yet, to cultural misunderstandings where you just don’t know that things are done in a certain way and you accidently deeply insult someone.

Ok now we can move on to App learning. This includes programs that you can put on your computer or your mobile device for learning languages. I’m sure we all can name a few like Duolingo, Memrise, Livemocha, Busuu.

Pros 🙂

  • You can use them whenever you need to (at least the ones on your phone) and so you can practice at any point during your day.
  • There are quite a few to choose from, so you can do different activities when you switch apps. There are ones that are better with reading activities and others that are better at writing activities. Some others, like uTandem, are focused on language exchange.
  • Some of them have really fun games that help you learn better then just practicing with flash cards over and over again.

Cons 😦

  • There isn’t someone to ask if you don’t understand why something isn’t right or when it gets frustrating.
  • When they try to teach you ‘naturally’ they often don’t explain why something has changed and you get very confused.
  • While some are free, there are many you have to pay for to advance or to get the other lessons.

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The last one that I will talk about is learning a language by taking a class near your home, or getting together with some people who speak the language for a few nights a week.

Pros 🙂

  • This one can be a form of immersion learning if you work hard enough
  • It’s nice to be able to come back home and be able to talk in your own language and not feel like a fool 24/7 like if you moved.
  • You can have a structured learning schedule that helps you immerse yourself into the language rather then being thrown in and fumbling around trying to make out the correct tense and pronoun.

Cons 😦

  • This is a much slower way to learn unless the class is 1 on 1.
  • There is a classroom pressure to get it right that can make you anxious and forgetful
  • You don’t get the culture, you get the language
  • You can only practice at certain times

Ok there you have it folks! the pros and cons of different ways to learn a language. If you think we have forgotten one, just comment below! I find that the best way to learn a language is the combination of two of these, because the pros and cons of both can balance out the experience.

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Five tips to help you find a great apartment when traveling abroad

Wether you are studying abroad, moving for work, or just wanting to travel the word, finding accomodation can be quite a challenge no matter where you go. Take it from me, after moving to Italy, it was nearly impossible for me to find the right kind of appartment. Luckily I had several friends to help me along and give me some very good tips that I will now pass on.

Find out the best tips to find a great apartment in Rome on Kappa Language School’s website.

To The Girl I Was Before I Moved Internationally

Dear me,

I know right now that you are probably feeling a huge range of emotions that make you both want to cry, vomit, and also giggle. You cant wait to start anew, reluctant to leave the life you already have, and hesitant to even try getting down that god forsaken language. But trust me the emotional roller coaster hasn’t even begun yet.

There are things you need to think about before you step on that plane, things that we both know you haven’t quite considered yet. You don’t want to admit it but you are really only thinking about the positives, and you need to know that despite how happy your daydreams are, reality is rarely so kind.

You haven’t considered that you will be alone. You don’t even know how much you are going to miss your friends. I mean, come on, this isn’t like moving to a different state. You  will try to chat constantly and you will wait impatiently for them to wake up, and every time you have to hang up because you need sleep, your heart is going to break a little more. You aren’t going to see your best friend and despite how much you guys swear to stay in touch, you mostly only talk through Facebook posts now. You’ll probably see some of your family at Christmas, but not all of them. Basically, prepare to be lonely. For a while.

You don’t even understand how hard a language barrier is until you’re the one trying to break through it. Everything seems so much easier when everyone you know speaks the same language you do. You think “Oh everyone says I’ll pick it up quickly, I’ll be fine!” NO. You are going to wish that you had studied a lot more, and even now I am still tripping over sentences, and forgetting words that I have been taught a hundred times. And those looks, those annoyed eye rolls and the exasperated sighs of store clerks will make you feel terrible. You chose this path; now put effort into the language.

Yes, there are going to be days when you want to just drop everything and run onto a plane that will take you back. Yes, there are going to be hard days when you feel like nothing you do is going right and moving here was a terrible, terrible mistake. You can’t do it though. You can’t fly home and take the easy route. We both know that you are coming here, taking the hard way, because you know that the benefits are worth so much more then those horrible times. Here, I’ll even give you a little sneak peek for what to expect.

You are going to be fine. You are going to a university here and you will have wonderful friends who care about you. You’ll work somewhere you love, doing what you love, and that it self is fantastic. You’ll find that new friends are easier to make now then when you were in college. Yes your brothers and sisters aren’t exactly going to be able to visit you every holiday, but you’ll soon find that family doesn’t mean you share the same blood.  Yes you do drift apart from the friends you had back home, but once you go back to visit, everyone will welcome you with open arms, because real friendship doesn’t end at the shore. What I’m basically trying to say is, take a breathe and calm down. Yes its hard to be away from the people you love, but if that love is real, then you have nothing to worry about.

So stop anxiously pacing about near your folded up clothes and your new suite case. This journey may have its downs (like seriously you will be so down, you’ll basically be underground) but those ups are so worth it, you just might touch the sky. And seriously, start studying Italian. I’m not kidding about that.

Sincerely,

Future Andrea.

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.