English, language, Learning & Education, Motivation and Change

Why should I learn English?

In a world where technology dominates, it may seem that today there is no need to learn a language. Let the power of Google Translate do the work. I even have a direct translate option on my website, so you can read everything in your own language.
However, there is still a real need for learning English.
Why?

Technology is good, true. But can it help in every situation you find yourself in? The business meeting with people from 6 different countries….presentations, discussions, reports, conferences, socialising over dinner….the Skype conference call…the phone call from your overseas HQ. You need English, the ability to listen, understand, communicate in English. Not a translation service on your phone, that has only 1% battery life left. HELP! Yes, English is your best help and best hope.

Travel anywhere in the world these days and unless you speak the language of the country you are in then you need a common language. And in 90% of countries that will be English. OK, OK…France and French speaking countries would no doubt prefer you to speak French. But, having been to France as a non French speaker, English is used widely. Similarly in Latin American countries. An ability to speak Spanish will go down very well. But…what, if like me, you are not a Spanish speaker. English again will get you out of a tricky situation.
Almost everywhere you go in the world you will find someone who can speak English, or who is learning English. There are currently around 1 billion learners of English worldwide and that is expected to double by 2020. Join the world’s biggest language club!

I have travelled in Iran, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Nepal, Turkey, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and many many countries throughout Europe and the world. Whenever I had problems, if I was lost, if I couldn’t find the correct bus, train or my hotel, I was always helped by someone who spoke English. This was 20 years ago. Before Google Translate.

Today so many people have the freedom to move abroad to study and to work. Studying at a university in the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia requires an ability to speak good English. If you have a good education, combined with excellent English skills, your opportunities of a great career of your choice are increased dramatically. Companies I have worked with over the years would actively choose new graduate employees not just on their engineering or architectural or management skill. They demanded a high level of English.

People choose to relocate abroad and work in different countries for many reasons; economic improvement, career development, a change of lifestyle and culture. I have lived and worked in Indonesia and Malaysia. I learnt the language, but I found I spoke English a lot with friends and colleagues, with people I met who were learning or just interested to practice English. If you are a lawyer, a doctor, a nurse, an engineer, a management consultant, an accountant or an architect and wish to move overseas, English is a definite requirement.

Learning English is still a skill that opens doors – to education, to employment, to the world and to your personal development and success.

So, put down Google Translate and do something effective. Learn English with a teacher who knows how to help you improve your ability, maximize your confidence and achieve the best for you and your future.

Good luck!

Tony Frobisher

 

 

English, language

Things the English absolutely love!

It is an interesting question…what are the things the English absolutely love?
Perhaps an easier way for me to answer this is by looking at what I missed the most while I was living and working and travelling for 6 years from 1996 to 2002.

I did not experience an English winter for 6 years. Every winter I was sat sweating and hot, being buzzed by flies, bitten by mosquitoes and burnt by the tropical sun. Christmas on the beach in Sri Lanka or a remote island in the Maluku Islands in Indonesia is fantastic. But there were times when I just wanted to wake up to a frosty morning, hear the hammering of the rain on the windows and the howling of the wind. To leave for work in the dark and to come home in the dark. Did I miss the winter? Yes, sometimes. But it was more the thought of family and feeling cosy wrapped up in a big coat and hat on a long walk on a clear but chilly day I missed. Your breath in clouds as you puffed up a hill.

So what did I miss…and what do the English (and most British people) love?

Tea

Tea is part of the British way of life. We love tea. With milk (of course). And biscuits to dunk in the tea (Dunk – a great word…to ‘dip or place’ a biscuit (or doughnut / donut) into a (usually hot) drink. Dunkin’ Donuts?? Yes, the same idea).
The English / British always complain that whenever they travel, ‘the tea is never as good as back home’. I missed a really good cup of tea.

Chips

OK, ‘Fries’ to many people. But while made from potato, fries and chips are essentially different things. Like two different breeds of dog. French Fries – skinny, crispy. The whippet of the potato chip family. Chips – big, fat, chunky, hot, delicious covered in salt and vinegar. The British Bulldog of the potato chip family. Plenty of bite and it makes you salivate just thinking about them or smelling them.
Proper chips. Nothing less will do. Sorry McDonalds.

Queues

The humble queue. A line of people. Or in the case of the Brits even a line of one person. To queue is to show politeness, courtesy, respect for others, patience, restraint, tolerance, acceptance. Etc etc. Want to upset the English. Just push in front of a queue. Queue jumping is a crime. Well, to us it should be. So having experienced the world and its lack of queuing, it is always wonderful to return home to the land of queues.

Football & Cricket

Football. The nation’s game, the beautiful game, a game of two halves….There is something about the sight of 11 players on two sides, 22 people in total chasing a ball and trying to kick it in the back of a net that causes love, anger, devotion and passion like no other in the English. In Wales they love rugby, the Irish have hurling, the Scottish curling – yes Wales, Ireland and Scotland love their football too. But to an Englishman, football is by far their pride and passion. When your local team does well, you can feel a sense of happiness and optimism in the town or city. When your team is losing, the sense of sadness and despair in a town is very obvious. You can feel it, you can smell it in the air.
I used to sit and watch the English Premier League on a Saturday evening (Indonesian time)…I would sit sweating and being bitten by the mosquitoes (again) watching my team Newcastle United play Manchester United in the snow of a cold January day and wish I was back home.

As for cricket…I love cricket. I won’t try to explain it here. It would take a year. But to a cricket mad Englishman, 6 years of not watching any cricket was terrible. Whisper it, but that is why I really wanted to come home…not for work or anything important. I missed the cricket.

What else are we obsessed with?

In no particular order ….

  • the weather – it’s too hot, too cold, too sunny, too rainy, too windy, too cloudy
  • the television – when a programme grips a nation, everyone talks about it…from X Factor to the Great British Bake Off to Strictly Come Dancing (yes it is true, we are obsessed with a programme about a cake baking competition and a dancing competition with celebrities and professional dance partners)
  • music – we love music, going to gigs, concerts and festivals to watch it being played live, on the radio, in the car, music competitions (X Factor etc)
  • complaining about traffic jams, late trains, cancelled planes etc Start every conversation when you meet someone with ‘How was your journey?’ and you’ll probably hear about ‘The 10:30 train to Leeds was delayed an hour, the M25 had a huge traffic jam, the 08:15 flight to Bristol was cancelled at the last moment’ …awful
  • celebrities – they are everywhere. Famous and not so famous people. A list to Z list. And what do we do? Gossip…magazines, tv programmes, in the office, out with friends. Celebrities. We love them (but not me).
  • the pub – although many pubs have closed down due to the economic problems of the last 10 years, pubs are still an important part of town and cities throughout the UK. A meeting place, a place to eat, a place to socialise and to de-stress. For many villages, the pub is the heartbeat of the place. The central and focal point of village life.

There are so many other things we love and I hope one day you will be able to come and enjoy them yourself.

But join the queue first please.

Tony Frobisher

 

English, Travel

Places to see when you visit

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – so many places to see. So much to visit and experience. From historic cities, ancients monuments, beautiful unspoilt countryside, mountains, lakes, rivers and coasts….thousands of islands, remote villages, legendary forests or famous seaside towns. The UK has all you could ever want.

So, I am going to go a little off the beaten track. To share a few places I love that are maybe not so familiar outside of Britain and are less visited by tourists when they come to our wonderful country.

So, while we all know about London, Oxford and Edinburgh, Stratford-upon-Avon let me share some of my highlights of the UK

  1. The Lake District

The highest mountains in England with beautiful, peaceful lakes, just a couple of hours north of Manchester. Dramatic scenery, fantastic walks, great food and an amazing place for a variety of outdoor activities. From sailing on the lakes, cycling some of the hardest climbs in Britain, mountain biking, hiking over the peaks – there is always something to do. Or you could just relax with a picnic by the lakes.

http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/

 

2. The Norfolk Broads

Norfolk is one of the most beautiful counties in England.. Located a couple of hours by train from London, it is home to the amazing Norfolk Broads. A vast inland waterway network or rivers and canals. Take a relaxing trip on the Broads and spot lots of birdlife and wildlife along the river banks, or venture to the coast and see the colonies of grey seals in the North Sea or lying on one of the endless sandy beaches.

http://www.visitthebroads.co.uk/

3. The Jurassic Coast

Located along the south coast of England between Exmouth in Devon and Swanage in Dorset, the Jurassic coast is home to 185 million years of geology. Explore the beaches where cliffs have been eroded over millions of years and find fossils or possibly the bones of dinosaurs.

http://jurassiccoast.org/

4. Snowdonia & Anglesey

A magical region of North Wales with amazing mountain landscapes, beautiful scenery, historic mines and industry. Breath taking views from the highest mountain in England Wales, Snowdon, are always worth the effort of a long climb up the mountain on a number of paths. Or you can take the train to the summit where there is a cafe. Just to the north is the island of Anglesey. The famous Menai bridge links the island to the mainland and has wonderful beaches and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

http://www.visitsnowdonia.info/

http://www.visitanglesey.co.uk/en

5. Liverpool

Everyone goes to London, Oxford, Cambridge, Stratford upon Avon, Bath, Edinburgh. But what of the places that don’t get so much attention.
Well, Liverpool has to be a highlight of any visit. A city of history, architecture, music and culture. A city that has welcomed foreigners for centuries and has a unique accent and sense of fun. Meet a ‘scouser’ (someone from Liverpool) and you’ll be met with a funny, friendly person (but the accent takes a bit of getting used to). Home of the Beatles, the ferry across the River Mersey, Liverpool and Everton Football clubs, a vibrant music scene and nightlife, museums and art galleries and Liverpool is a great place to spend some time in.

https://www.visitliverpool.com/

6. Northern Ireland

Just over the water is Northern Ireland. A country that has sadly often been overlooked by visitors due to its political and social troubles in the past. With a peace agreement and stability in Northern Ireland more people have begun to realise what they had been missing. A country of warmth, kindness and welcome. Friendly people and a country of stunning landscapes, incredible geology (For example The Giant’s Causeway), fantastic beaches and lakes (or loughs as they are called in Northern Ireland), an energetic and interesting capital in Belfast, the Titanic Museum and the location for Game of Thrones. As well as some of the best food and top restaurants in the UK. Take a spectacular drive on the Causeway Coast Road and you will understand how incredible Northern Ireland is.

https://discovernorthernireland.com/

7. Glen Coe, Scotland

Glen Coe has to be one of the most spectacular, dramatic landscapes in the UK. A long valley between high sided mountains on either side a few hours north and west of Glasgow. The setting for the finale of James Bond Skyfall and a place that is quiet, rich with wildlife and a huge attraction for walkers, rocks climbers, cyclists and bird watchers. At the top of Glen Coe is the wild and rugged Rannoch Moor. Just make sure you bring lots of good clothing to keep out the cold and rain. But the sun does shine sometimes…. An absolutely beautiful place to visit.

http://discoverglencoe.scot/