Davao – Philippines

August 11th 2015. Australia was behind and the plane was flighting to Manila, the capital of Philippines. After spending all night in Manila I took the second fight in the morning and I finally arrived in Davao.

Philippines-Airlines

I took my baggage and looked for a taxi. The taxi driver was cool, but his English was not. πŸ™‚ He drove me to the hotel and during the travel I was shocked about the traffic, the cars, the buildings, and everything else.. Everything looked very poor, classic town with old buildings and broken streets. The cars were all old, there were motorbikes with a third wheel on the side to support a box with a roof and a couple of sits to transport people, vans made up as mini buses, and bicycles with umbrellas to block the sun. All of that was very, very different from the world in Italy or Australia and I was quite shocked to see that. Philippines is a third world country but I didn’t think about it before to go there and I didn’t really know what to expect from it. However, I was reassured by the fact that everyone was saying that Davao was the safest city in the Philippines.

Jeep

Once I arrived in the hotel I finally got my room and there I was, ready for a great shower. And there, I got the second surprise that made me think about how spoilt I was: no warm water for the shower, but a single handle for the cold water and a bucket. πŸ™‚ After thinking β€œhow spoilt am I ?!!” and waiting myself to be brave enough I took the bucket full of water and with a big smile on my face I turn it over my head! πŸ˜€ That was refreshing and definitely not such a big deal since the weather was very hot and the humidity incredibly high!

Da-vao

I then decided to go out and walk around a little. Everything looked soo crazy and new to me. Taxi driver were crossing with red traffic light, people jumped in the middle of the street to across it and overtake only on the right didn’t seem to be a valid rule there! As soon as I got off the hotel, I start noticing that everyone was looking at me. I didn’t know if that was a good thing or not but I figured it out soon when people started stopping me and try to be as friendly as possible. A couple of girls asked me where I was from and offered me to join them on Sunday, the Kadayawan Festival was about to start and people were all excited about it. The festival is an annual festival in the city of Davao that is similar to a famous carnival festival full of colours. Lunch time arrived and I asked advice for where to go to eat. They brought me in a very Filipino place where I got fried chicken, meatballs, rice, and stock, and I learnt how to say water in Visayan (tubig), the language spoken in the south of Philippines.

People's-Park

Now, you might wonder why I did go to Philippines before come back to Europe. The answers are many. During my life I met a few Filipino and they were always very fun and nice people. This was one of the reasons. Secondly I wanted to relax for 1 week since in Australia I had two jobs and little social life. During the past year I had also worked remotely in IT for a company based in Davao. Another reason was that I had the possibility to meet people I had worked for. Finally, while I was learning English 2 years before, I start talking with many people living around the world through a language exchange website. One of my friend was living in Davao and for me was great to see her after long time talking.

Davao

Really, people were so amazing, kind, nice, fun ! πŸ™‚ My expectation was totally fulfilled. Knowing people there gave me the possibility to live very close to Filipino’s culture for one week. I was often taking a jeep to go back to my hotel (the jeep was the van/bus and it was the most common way people were moving in the city), I eat a Balut (typical food in the Philippines: an egg with a chick inside boiled after 16, 17, or 18 days), I visited parks and I enjoyed an amazing tropical beach on an island.

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I want to end this article by saying that Philippines in only one week opened my mind like nothing before. Seeing so many people living in such bad conditions and still laugh and have fun made me realize even more that happiness in not about things we have but it is about what there is in our mind. It made me realize that most of the problems people in developed countries complain about everyday, in reality are not real problems. Philippines was one of the best experiences of my life.

EDEN

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Goodbye Australia

Here I am, my 7 months left of Working Holiday Visa have expired and the choice of what to do next has been made. πŸ™‚ but wait.. let’s go back.
Imagine a puzzle. You know how to solve it because you did it already in the past, but now there is no way you can solve it again. You try and try again but you can’t get over it! But you know you can.. And you just need not to give up.
Well, during my first 2 months in Brisbane I was in the same situation: finding a job in IT was my puzzle. I spent almost everyday sending resumes and cover letters around and finding alternative ways to get the job but I could not get it! The reason of this was my temporary visa but I knew it was possible because I got one in Sydney the year before and that was the reason why I did not give up until one day an email enlighted me; finally an employer wanted to see me, and after a first interview, I started to work in Brisbane.

BrisbaneFlight

From that day things went quite fine in Brisbane. But clearly, in my mind I was already thinking about what to do next. My visa was not endless and days were passing. . . But there was a news in my mind. It was already sometime that I was thinking about a new passion. Communication, interactions with people, and psychology was something I was thinking all the time. I had been reading about social psychology for over 2 years and I started to like it more than I liked IT. This was the reason why, once I got a job, my focus moved from looking for work, to applying for a bachelor in Europe. Getting a sponsor in Australia and stay there was an option; being accepted and start to study was another.

cropped-HeaderBrisbane.jpg

My visa was almost finished, and I didn’t have neither a sponsorship, nor a reply from universities. I then start thinking about a third alternative, but as soon as I started planning, a recruitment agency called me saying that there was the possibility for a sponsorship for a job in the Gold Coast, Australia. Finally, after almost 2 years wishing for it, I had a possibility to get it. But that was not all because after only 2 days the university of Maastricht (the Netherlands) sent me an email saying that I was accepted to the psychology course.

The decision on what to do got though. Trying to stay in Australia or start to study? The decision would have shaped my life for the next years. I had spent all my years after high school focusing on IT and I had experience in it, but psychology was what I liked the most. After thinking about it for a few days, I figure out that what I wanted was to do what I liked and that once again I had the possibility to start a new life from the beginning. I am very happy with my choice to study now and Maastricht is amazing.

GoodbyeStraya

Before coming back to Europe I visited Philippines for a week. But I will talk about it more in my next articles (I won’t take months to write the next one this time) πŸ™‚

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Banana land

Here I am, Sydney again. People are waiting the train at the station like me and since I have to wait another hour this is the best time for me to write for my blog. πŸ™‚

Well, I’ve written my last post when I was back in Italy, and now I’m back in Sydney. My time Italy has been amazing for me and at the end I decided to stay 1 month more. I went to ski for the third time and this time I wasn’t falling down all the time but I managed to have fun! I like to ski and I’d like to improve. Australia opened me so many possibilities and options but skiing is not very possible here. (:

I still have 7 months of Working Holiday Visa in Australia and then I’ll have to choose what to do. Since during 7 months anything could happens I can’t make a decision now because I might change my mind. I’m going to evaluate every option very well in a few months.

The news are that I’m leaving Sydney and going to bananaland! The train is coming at the station and I’ll be soon in Brisbane (if you are wondering why the train and not the plane it’s because after all this time in Australia I collected new clothes and new stuff and my luggage was definitely out of weight making a flight too expensive! πŸ™‚

I’m going to start again from nothing. Let’s see what happens. I’m looking forward to put a new flag on the world map and I’m curious to see what Queensland is like.

Brisbane01

Arrived in Brisbane. Well, the station looks like a station, it’s 6am, there are 21 degrees and they’re going to be 30 today. I’ve done almost 14 hours on the train and I’m surprise that I don’t feel all these hours traveling as much as I used to do in the past. I need to wait 1 hour now and I’ll then reach the hostel where I’ll rest a bit before to start to organise my stay in Queensland capital. πŸ™‚

Brisbane02

One day is gone. Brisbane is better than I thought. I was scared to go in a place way too small but it’s actually fine and I like it! Yesterday I’ve been walking around and doing stuff all day. It’s cleaner than Sydney and I really like the city. The only thing that worries me now is to find a job. I got up early today and I’m now at the State Library of Queensland. I love the fact that there is free wifi in the library and all around the city! The connection is also pretty good and I don’t even need any username and password to login. Let’s start the job hunting.. I hope to have good news for the next post. πŸ˜‰

Brisbane03

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Back in Italy

I don’t know how many of you can understand, but after all this days far from home I have to admit it, I miss Italy, my family and my friends. That is why I decided it’s time to go back. I’m going to be in Italy from the beginning of the next month, and I’ll stay till the end of it. Australia has become my responsibilities, Italy is where I would like to go for holiday. The countdown is there and I would like to see days going down as minutes. I remember when I was in Italy, waiting for the day to leave for Sydney. Now, like in that moment, I’m excited and I can’t wait.
I know, soon I’ll probably realise the difficulties and problems which are still there, and I’ll understand what make me take the decision to leave. The experience of living for a long time time out of Italy forced me to see that there is a lot more than what people can see in Italy. Many cultures, many people and many ideas. But after all this time I really want to see my parents and look at their surprised faces! It will be an astonishing surprise. πŸ™‚

Dubai2014

I’have written those words 1 month ago and now, I’m finally at Home. The big 26 hours travel has been heavy and I’m now getting back from the jet leg. I would say I also enjoyed the travel because I was thinking about my people in Italy. I also got an Heineken at the Dubai airport to have user and password and connect to the free Heineken wi-fi hotspot. When I arrived at home my parents did not believe to their eyes. My cousin was with no words and my best friend couldn’t stop jumping for his happiness πŸ™‚
Very nice to hear people talking Italian around me and understand every single word. Less nice to see that the problems are still here and the media didn’t stop to distract people with useless stuff. I didn’t find difficult to drive on the right again but I did notice the differences between the angry italian drivers and the “take it easy” aussie drivers. Everything is like I never left and if Sydney and Australia has been only a long dream and now I’m awake. Only now, after a few days I’m beginning to realise that there is something more in me.
November 22nd was the day of my Academic IELTS exam and I will receive the results in 2 days. With big ideas in mind I’ll now wait the result, enjoy my month at home and plan what to do once I’ll be back in Australia again. Australia 2015 will be even better than Australia 2014.

My little town Canneto Pavese greeted me with a ‘Welcome back’ on the heart which became by the time Canneto’s logo. πŸ™‚

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After 1 year in Australia

The Opera House was just in front of the Harbour Bridge and was slowly flowing to the left while I was on the boat moving inside the bay. Like a picture, the classic image of Harbour Bridge with the Opera House on its left was about to appear, and I was there realising that I was finally in Sydney. That time it was not a picture, but I could see it with my own eyes.

One year ago I was just arrived in Sydney, I was confused and excited for the new world. I remember I was trying to have conversation with people in the homestay but I couldn’t understand half of what they were saying. I recall I was sometimes struggling even to order a sandwich or something to eat.
My mind get full if I think how many things happen since then. Australia have given me the possibility to meet people from everywhere in the world. Australia has been one of the best choices of my life. It was not only a dream as I thought 2 years ago but it was really possible. The only thing I had to do to make it real was to stop to think about Australia and begin to work for it. Thus, I chose a city, organised my visa and bought the ticket. That was all, Australia was not a dream anymore.

I have now been in Australia for more that one year. During this year I have never felt like I was learning new things but now. Similarly to my English, this experience taught me a little more every day. Now at the end of one year, I’m looking back surprised about how many things changed and how many fantastic people I met. I grew up a lot, and I’ve became more responsible, independent and free.

Opera HarbourBridge

This last month has been the moment for me to sum up what I’ve done and figure out what to do next. The outcome has been that to stay in Australia for more than 2 years does not seem to be worth it for what I’ve in mind. The reason is that it seems impossible now for me to use the General Training IELTS certification I’ve got and my experience in IT to get a better visa and stay for longer. The Australian government requires more years of experience in IT if a not graduate person wants to stay. The option I have if I want to stay is to apply for a Student Visa and start the university. Although the idea to start a university programme attracts me a lot, in Australia international students do not have many choices for the courses and the courses are extremely expensive. However, with the English I now have the possibility to start my studies in a different country in the world. To make it real though, I need to take again the IELTS exam (Academic module and not General Training) and save money.
A second year in Australia has started and I’m ready to make it even more constructive than the first. πŸ™‚

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The IELTS exam

Got up at 6:30, I needed to be ready at 7:30. After a shower and a big breakfast, I walked out with a bottle of tea in the backpack, some documents and the passport in my hand. I arrived at Sydney university, and after a first documents checking I sit on a coach, waiting to start. Writing, reading, listening and speaking. My IELTS exam was ready.

The IELTS certification is an english certification used in Australia and other countries where english is the national language, to test English proficiency of immigrant who want to work abroad or students who want to apply for a university.
IELTS is a difficult exam but with the right advices and lot of practice it may turn to be easier than expected.
The IELTS exam is divided in four components: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. For each component there is a score from 1 to 9. The average produces the overall band score. The total test time is about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

IELTS

And there I was, first exam: Writing. I was impressed about how seriously they took this exam. There was identification by picture, verification of passport and finger print even if we had to go to the toilette!
I have been quite lucky about the Writing exam. The essay topic was not so difficult: videogames for children, are they good or not for education? I was pretty confident I have done a very good essay even if after the exam I realised that instead of write that in America a boy killed people after he played the game GTA (Grand Theft Auto), I wrote that GTA killed the boy.. The structure, grammar and content was probably ok though and I got a 6.5.

After the Writing, no one moved from his place. They took our essays, explained how the reading exam works and gave us the booklet with the texts and questions. Also the reading went well. The biggest topic was about the history of clocks. No diffucult academic topic ad no very tricky questions. As if on purpose, I finished the reading, I looked at my watch and I was 10 minutes early. I took a few more minutes to check a couple of question and then, my problems started… During the IELTS preparation course I met a lovely girl from Sardinia who took the exam two weeks before and advised me to drink something with sugar during the test: “it will help your brain!” she said. That is the reason why I had a bottle of tea with me. That turned out to be a very bad idea. It wasn’t possible to go to the toilette 10 minutes before the end of the test and I didn’t have any chance to leave my sit up to the end. As I thought, my reading test was quite good and I got a 7.

The listening started. Same procedure: collect reading booklets -> explain listening -> distribute listening booklets. I thought I had done a disaster in this test. One of the task was to associate the picture of each wale to the name and I would never forget the two student talking about wales. I used to be very good on this kind of question but not this time. I remember the two students said that one wale did not have fins but all of the drawn wales had fins! I wanted to remove the fins and draw the wale again but I didn’t have enough time and it wouldn’t have helped me with the score anyway. I ended up to guess that and many other questions and I scored 6.5.

Videogames

My speaking test was at 4:45pm and I had all the time to relax and take my time. I met my friend from Sardinia, I complained for the “sweet drink” advice, and we eat together some sushi rolls. At 4pm I went to Sydney uni and just after the usual procedure of finger print, picture and passport, the examiner came to catch me. A sturdy man with about 40 years of age. The question were all about friends, old friends and relationship between family and friends. After 2 minutes I started to relax and I scored a 7.

I have been waiting the result for the two weeks after the test, scared for the performance in the listening test. I would never have scored a 7 overall without the help from the two teacher who followed me in the 2 months before the exam. An IELTS preparation course is a must to understand how the exam works, to try real tests and to figure out what tricky question you can find. An advice? Do not drink too much during the exam! (:

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Australia 2014 – Farm & Travel (:

After a couple of months, I finally created the video of my travel and farmjob in Australia!

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

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The IT job

Keyboard

The IT job, the main goal I was aiming for. I came back in Sydney about 2 months ago and since then I’ve been studying for preparing the IELTS exam. The course is now finished and my tests’ scores are around 7, which is a pretty good score. The exam will be soon, only one month before the end of my first year in Australia.

A few days ago was my birthday, and if I think about how many things happened from my last birthday it doesn’t seem real. I left Italy, I studied English for 2 months, found a job and worked every weekend. I got bored and I left Sydney after I celebrated the new year eve and saw the famous Sydney fireworks. I worked in farm, met people and saw amazing places (and my first kangaroo) πŸ™‚ .. I started then an IELTS preparation course in Sydney and now it is finished. My exam will be very soon and the tension pre-exam start to grow.

Well, let’s talk about the title of this post: the IT job. I appositely used the past to say that I was aiming for a job in IT in the beginning of the post. The reason is that I’ve finally got a job a few weeks ago after heavy job hunting through LinkedIn, seek.com.au and online recruitment agencies! πŸ™‚ Needless to say how happy I was. I had been looking for a similar job in November 2013 and I didn’t receive positive answers. My English wasn’t as good as today and I was probably using the wrong method. Now I was a bit discouraged, but when I received a call and I’ve been asked for an interview, I realised that this time it would be different.
The company name is Azteq and the responsibilities are a bit different from the ones in my previous job. After the first weeks of training through a heap of video courses, I’m now starting to get used to. This is an opportunity to learn new things and, of course, to do my first Australian experience in IT.

WestRyde

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10 tips – how to learn English

Nowadays, English is becoming fundamental for our life. In the era of Internet people need a global language to communicate and the most widely used language is English, which has over 1.8 billion users world wide.

EnglishCountries

The first thing you should know is your current lever of English. Online you can find plenty of websites with English tests; an example is “Englishatag”. If you have an elementary or intermediate level don’t get discouraged. You already know something, and you can probably already communicate and make people understand you somehow. To speak a perfect English as a native speaker require years. To understand people and make them understand you though, can be done in much less time!
I have been in Australia for more than 10 months and I can say my level of English is enormously improved. I wrote 10 advices based on my experience aimed to who would like to learn English staying in his own country or living abroad.

Willpower

1. Motivation
The best advice to learn English is to have the right attitude and push yourself out of the comfort zone every time. To give an example, I personally know that that this article is likely to contain a few minor mistakes but I know that I’m not a native speaker and if I want to improve my writing I need to keep practicing. You need to be motivated. Without willpower you will not make progresses. Try to follow these 10 advices as much as you can and try to do your best every time.
Start to change little things like the language on your phone and your computer. It will be harder to find the informations or settings you need and even if you will struggle in the beginning, you will soon realise that you are using your devices in English without any problems. Start to think in English: ask yourself how to say in English what you just said in your language and if you don’t know it, do a research or write down a note and check it later. Try to talk with as many people as you can if you are abroad. Ask people the meaning of a word instead of translate it with your phone. If you are in your country, try to talk as much as you can in English when you have the possibilities. Even easy expressions like “Hey, how is it going?” or “have a good day!” will help you to remember that you want to learn English and you need to think in English.

2. Movies and TV in English
This is probably one of the most common advice. Watching movies is easy and also a very good way to improve your Listening. It is very easy to find movies to watch. Another option is to watch the television in English. Although often you can’t add subtitles, almost all televisions today have the possibility to change language and set the original audio for an english movie. However, I advice to start to watch them with subtitles. If your lever is elementary you could start setting them in your language. If you are intermediate I definitely advice to start with English subtitles also if in the beginning it may be tough to understand. When you get used to, you can push yourself to watch movies without; in the beginning you probably won’t understand a lot, but if you keep going you will surprise yourself.

3. Music, Podcast & Radio
Music! This is the second most common advice! (: Everybody likes music and everybody today have the possibility to listen English music. The problem is that most of the people listen to English music just because they like the melody without understanding anything about what the singer say. You won’t improve your English in this way.
If you want to make progresses listening to your favourite music you should watch the lyrics, learn it, and if you want, try to sing it. Despite that, this is not the best way to learn English. A lot of singers have a very strong accent and often their language can be slightly different.
However, listen to Podcasts is a very good way. Many of them are not very interesting but others will make you addicted to them. On-line you can find podcast about every topic. If you are interested in history, psychology or other, you will probably find plenty of podcasts about it. I started to listen to them because of a friend of mine who advised me the podcasts of Radiolab. If you have an iPhone, you can find them on the Itunes Store and synchronise them between your devices.
If your level is advanced you can listen to the radio. All the biggest radio companies have today an online radio available. For example, if you are in Sydney, you should keep yourself updated with the local news. ABC radio is a very good option for Australia. You can also find the application for your smartphone.

ILoveMusic

4. Flashcards – write down new words
Flashcards helped me a lot (and still do it) to learn new words and extend my vocabulary. When people find a new word, they usually look for the meaning to understand the sentence they are reading or what they are listening. This will let them understand but after one day, if they don’t use that word, they are going to forget it and the only solution will be to look for it again. This is the big problem of learning words in English: we don’t use them in our everyday’s language and we forget them right away. Well, flashcards are the solution!
A flashcard is like a note you can write to remember a word. You can also download free complete lists of flashcards from ankiweb website. Anki is a free software for you PC or Mac. Although the app for smartphone Android and iPhone is available, the latter is not free. This software is able to show you your flashcards one after another and you have the possibility to decide how much do you remember about every of them. Anki will receive your responses and decide when to show you the flashcard again. With this method you will see often a flashcard you don’t remember and after days a word that you have learned. I used to write a note on my phone for every new word I meet during my day and create the correspondent flashcards in my personal deck in the evening. With this solution you’ll see over and over a word until you’ll learn it.

5. MyLanguageExchange & Meetup
To learn a new language living in your own country without a school may be difficult. Even more, to find someone to talk in English is sometimes impossible. The website MyLanguageEschange, like many other, may be very useful for this purpose. In this website you can find people who know english and want to learn your native language. It would be very useful for you to exchange your language for english.
If you are abroad you have much many possibilities to talk with native speaker. By the way, even if you live in an English country, it can be tough to make good English friendship because of the cultural difference and the difficulties with the language. Meetup is a nice solution to meet people with your same interest. On Meetup are available many groups with many different interests and you have the possibility to join them and attend meetups.
When you have an elementary level and you try to communicate in english is likely that people won’t understand everything you say because your accent is still too strong. A good solution to know how to pronounce a word if you are alone is Google Translate.

6. Youtube & Ted
How many times did you go on Youtube to watch some videos? I imagine a lot of times.
Even Youtube can be a very good tool to learn a language. Everyone have spent several hours surfing on Youtube and watching a great quantity of videos. What if you watch all those videos in English? You might improve your English just watching tutorials on how to learn guitar or every other thing. This is another occasion for you to join your passions with English. To learn would be easier for you and you will be happy to struggle for understand what the video says.
During my IELTS preparation course in Sydney I received another advice about video websites from my teacher. It’s name is Ted.com. Ted maintain a database of talks of professionals about every kind of topic. Moreover, almost every video have the transcript of the video and the possibility to add subtitles in every language. You can discover new things about your favourite subject and learn about very interesting thing about others. Psychology, science, robotics and also politics: Ted is an amazing storage of knowledge.

EnglishBooks

7. Books & Newspaper
I know, many people do not really like to read, but when you are learning a language, reading may enormously help you! Even in this case Google can help us to find what we need. You can give it a go starting with children books if you are elementary level or technical books if you level is advanced.
If you are abroad and your English is already quite good you should try to read newspapers. I still find newspaper quite difficult because the authors use high level language with slangs and idiomatic expression. You need to learn also these expressions if you want to understand everything a native speaker say, but I personally would not go crazy with those expressions if my level is still low. On the internet there are also plenty of news websites. One of the most famous in Sydney is the The Sydney Morning Herald.
Reading books and newspaper will notably improve your vocabulary. Reading actively means to notice every word or expression you don’t know and doing researches to understand every sentence you read. You can create new flashcards through Anki and constantly review them. It is a heavy activity but this method would help you to make incredible progresses in a few time. My advice is to active read only if you are very determinate. The other option is to read even if you don’t understand everything, looking for a word only if it is fundamental. After you’ll read a page, you will understand all the meaning from the context.
To translate new word don’t use Google Translate. Wordreference is a very professional translator witch often have synonyms and examples to make you surely understand the meaning. If you are already confident with English you may avoid translators and use directly an English dictionary. The best dictionary is the
Cambridge dictionary.

8. Diary or Blog
To learn English people need also to learn how to write a good email. To have the ability to write without grammar and spelling mistakes is a very important skill. It seems silly but even native language people can often make mistakes with difficult words such as “questionnaire” or “entrepreneur”. In English you do not say exactly what you read. Furthermore, some words have different spelling but same sound (hear, here / write, right) or same sound but different spelling (red->colour and read->past participle of read). The only way to understand and stop to make mistakes is practice over and over. If you are abroad you have probably realised how many times you need to write an email to apply for a job or to ask for a new accommodation.
A very good way to practice is to open a blog or begin to write a diary every day. It will be easier for you to write about yourself and it will substantially improve the way you write. You can write it in your own language and translate it in english. When you get used to you can start to write in English from the beginning.

9. Practice everyday
It is not important to follow all of these 10 advices but it is fundamental to follow this one: practice constantly every day or at least every 2 days. Do something, watch a movie or write to a pen friend in America to tell him what are you up to. This is even more important if you are living in your home country because you haven’t the possibilities to talk in English with everyone you meet. You need to remember what you are aiming to and find a way to make time for keeping practicing.
If you have the possibility to enrol to a course or an English school do it. If you paid for it you will be keener to attend the class. A school can seriously help you and if you find good teachers your English can jump easily to the next level.
Another solution to constantly practice is to register and participate to forums in line with you interests. Internet is crowd with forums about every topic you can imagine.

10. Go abroad
This is probably the less practical advice. Perhaps you are not planning to leave you country, but if you really want a substantial improvement in a few time this is the best choice you can do. However, sometimes this is not a solution. Learn English or not is always up to you and go abroad do not make you a native English speaker. I met many people who had left their country with friends to learn English and travel. Almost everyone was speaking in their own language all the time using English just occasionally. Well, as you can imagine their English was only slightly improving.
Leave your country will help you by the way. You can find very difficult to stay far away from your family and friend and you will miss everything, especially if you are alone. You will feel very relieved when you will find someone who talks your own language and has you same culture. You will feel at home but this can become a double-edged sword. I met many people who regretted staying a long time with old friends in Australia. I’m not saying that you should avoid your friends, but you need to have clear what is your goal and why you left your country. Sometimes you can miss everything but when you’ll find yourself struggling to remember an expression or words in your language you will be surprised because you’ll know you’re doing a good job.

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Remember that you cannot upload the English language from you computer to your brain. Not yet =) And there are not magic solution to do it. You just need to work hard for it. Nobody can help you as good as yourself.

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The caterpillar transformation

A few weeks ago, while I was working in Mildura, I was listening to a podcast of Radiolab, witch was talking of “Black boxes“. One of the black boxes discussed in the podcast was the caterpillar transformation in butterfly. The topic make me very curious and I’ve decided that it deserve a post on my blog.
As everybody knows, caterpillars make a cocoon after a period of time that is different between the species and become a butterfly that start flying. The question arises:

Caterpillar

What happen inside the cocoon during the caterpillar transformation?
The first thing most of the people think is that the caterpillar grows 2 wings and its body change as a consequence. Well, that’s wrong! (:
If someone take a cocoon and open it after the caterpillar have started its chrysalis you won’t find neither a caterpillar nor a butterfly. You’d just find a yellow liquid.

What? The caterpillar is.. melt? what happened
Tha’s the interesting thing! Since 1600 people have started to wonder what happen during the chrysalis. The only solution they found was that something magic was happening. people thought it was something religious, like a miracle in whitch the caterpillare die and revive butterfly.
Furthermore, some studies showed that butterflies (or moths) ‘remember’ their lives when they were caterpillars and act accordingly. To be more precise, the experiment proved that a butterly avoid a smell it learn to avoid when it was a caterpillar. This means that also the brain with the memory is rebuilt in the new body.

Amazing! So? How can a caterpillar become butterfly?
Well, first of all the carterpillar digest himself realising enzymes to dissolve the tissues. It seems that the content of a cocoon is not just a mix of tissues but some groups of organised cells called ‘imaginal discs’ survive to the digestive process. These cells are already present in the caterpillar’s egg. They grow during the caterpillar’s life for every parts of the adult body. There will be sn ‘image’ for the legs, the eyes, the wings, and so on. Once that the cartepillar has been dissolved, the cells use all the proteins there are around to create the new body.

Butterfly

The mistery is explained. This can be called a miracle of the nature.

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