My language history with tips

My English story
It started before I was actually born because my mummy was listening to English during her pregnancy. I try to think it has to do something with my talent for languages. My first memories with English are from kindergarten when we learned short tales, verses and songs like Jingle Bells. I remember playing the main role of the duck mother in one of our performances (and the Kindergarten Academy Award goes to…). Then I entered elementary school and my parents put me in the English devision. It continued till the end of high school. I did my basic language exam when I was 14, the intermediate level when I was 16 and advanced level at 18. They couldn’t have happen without the help of my father whom I consider my true language teacher. At University I attended a semester of medical English and then I was not learning English directly, but it remained a part of my life through books and movies. After finishing medical school, I was offered a 4-month job of a medical translator that I’m currently doing besides my actual job of being a doctor.

My German history
When I entered high school, I wanted to learn French, but I didn’t have the opportunity, so my parents and I chose German instead. Some people might consider German harsh, but I liked that it has rules and it was the language of Mozart and Beethoven. I was studying it for 4 years and I did my intermediate language exam right before university, when I was 18. Learning German 2 times a week was not enough, so my father helped me during summers. I attended 2 semesters of medical German, that was very helpful and I spent 10 weeks in Austria with internships.

My French history
I was always very passionate about learning French, though it hasn’t happened yet… I started getting to know it with watching Youtube videos and using Duolingo. With Duolingo I learned some words and phrases, but it gave me only passive knowledge, that means I recognise the meanings of some words, but it’s extremely hard to make full sentences. When I’ll have more time, I want to go to a teacher to help my dream come true.

I consider someone great in a language when he or she doesn’t have to think during talking. I only have that with English. Here are the things that I consider very helpful when it comes to learning languages:
– watching movies, series and Youtube videos in that language with no subtitle! (or if you really want them, let them be in the language you want to learn)
– reading articles, magazines and books
– have a penfriend (I had a German penfriend and it was great that I had to force myself trying to make up the grammarly best sentences for a native speaker.)
– go abroad (it doesn’t have to be England if you are studying English! I spent 1 month in Poland with 30 other foreigners and our chosen language was English, because that was the only language everybody understood.)
– write a blog in English.

Pack like a pro

On Monday I’m leaving for my new adventure, my thirteenth country, Slovenia and I thought I would share the most important things I learned about packing through the years.

First things first: make a check list not to forget anything!

Clothing

  1. Always check the weather forecast beforehand and prepare at least one outfit for colder weather.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, but also bring a nicer ‘party’ outfit.
  3. If you are travelling by plane, check what kind of suitcase your ticket allows you to bring, because that may limit your options. And don’t forget to weigh your luggage!
  4. Use the so called rolling technique with your clothes. They won’t be wrinkled and you will spare space in your suitcase.

Skin protection

Unfortunately my skin is fifty shades of white, so I always have to prepare for sunburns. My tips for people with sensitive skin are:

  1. Buy your sunscreen at a pharmacy!
  2. Take some hydrating cream with you in case you get sunburnt! Aloe vera and chamomile are great to soothe your skin.
  3. Bring a straw hat with you as well!
  4. White coloured clothes reflect the sunlight.

Medication and allergies

  1. If you take any kind of medication regularly, bring more of them than your trip lasts. If something happens and you are stuck abroad, it won’t be easy to have more of it.
  2. If you have any kind of allergy, don’t forget to bring antihistamine!
  3. Bring some painkillers too, they may be useful!

Insurance

You might think that bad things can not happen to you on your short vacation, but that is not true! You can have appendicitis in Barcelona, it’s not optional! So always have an insurance before travelling! They don’t cost a lot, and it will make you feel safe. It’s highly recommended for European people to have a European Health Insurance Card.

Other useful things

  1. A pair of small scissors and a sewing kit can save the day!
  2. Earplugs can be useful during your flight or in the hotel.
  3. Pack some plastic bags as well!
  4. If you have a tablet, it can function as many things: computer, camera, book, communication system.
  5. Always leave some space in your suitcase or backpack because you will definitely buy some souvenirs.

And last but not least, enjoy every second of your journey! 🙂