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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Dinner at the Valletta Waterfront

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Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)

It was the eve of another activity, one more hectic week had soon come to a close, and the agenda for our Friday evening was to go out to eat for dinner at the Valletta Waterfront. To my disappointment however, there weren’t as many students on the sign-up sheet as anticipated. This was a concern I told Michael (Maltalingua’s Director of Studies) about, who quickly took it upon himself to promote this activity to our students. I knew his enthusiasm would work, but I didn’t think it would triple the amount of students attending! Before we knew it, there was literally no space for students to write any more of their names on the list, I actually had to cram in a few more names at the top and bottom of the page! We even needed to book two coaches to ensure everyone had the usual two-way transportation and was seated comfortably.

The evening commenced at the usual meeting place, in front of the school premises. Most of the students were already keenly waiting for me to take attendance and collect the money for transport. Isabelle was kind enough to help me count heads and check who still needed to show up. No sooner had we finished checking attendance and collecting the money, the transport picked us up and we arrived in Valletta. I admit, I was slightly worried as to whether we would find a place that would cater for 24 people, on such short notice, so we promptly went to try our luck at a couple of restaurants. I wasn’t hopeful, since we didn’t have a booking and it appeared to be a rather busy Friday night. Nevertheless, in the worst case scenario, we had a backup plan, and would have easily walked to the Upper Barraka Gardens, where there was the second Winefest of summer taking place.

Fortunately, we managed to find a restaurant that was willing to set up tables for us outdoors. They gathered and laid half a dozen tables, and we were very impressed with their service and organization and to top it all off, there was a great variety of food and it was all absolutely delicious! Eva and Isabelle chose to take an American Style baked pasta dish, whilst Ramona decided on a mushroom risotto. Others like myself, opted for the lighter (and supposedly healthier) choice of salad. Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves over food, beverages and wine. It was a pleasant way to end the week and start the weekend. Benjamin amongst others, was enjoying himself so much, that they decided to remain there. To be perfectly honest I didn’t blame them for wanting to stay. The ambience was simply beautiful. The glittering water and well lit up buildings, decorated with colourful lights that surrounded us all evening, were characteristics that made this night all the more welcoming.

I must say that this was a very relaxing and enjoyable evening, and certainly a great way to kick off the weekend, on a nice and breezy summer eve.

written by Michaela Griscti

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Maltalingua’s English Quiz Night

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Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)

Thirteen students lined up in front of the school doors at 8 o’clock sharp, clutching their sharpened pencils, geared up and ready to scribble all their answers in the shortest time possible, in order to win the prize… an 8-pack of local beer and a packet of crisps Ha Ha The students hollered at me when I suggested that we wait for the late comers for a few minutes, so I had to give in and lead the contenders to a local Irish pub.

As soon as we walked through the pub doors, the students occupied the sofa and seats that were closest to the bar, and without any hesitation, divided themselves into three groups. I was astonished at the students’ behavior. I had never known they had such a competitive streak in them. I was actually scared that the students were going to find this challenge boring. But to my surprise, the contestants were all alert and ready to start.

I had originally prepared 3 different general knowledge quizzes; one that had 50 questions and another two that had 25 questions each. I decided to be lenient with them, especially since it had been so hot and humid in the last few days so I handed out a copy of the short quizzes to each group and set a time limit of 15 minutes.

All of a sudden, the students were discussing a question, screaming the answer of another and when the 15 minutes were up, I had to beg them to stop debating. They were disappointed because they weren’t sure about some answers and wanted more time to think.

Time for round two! As soon as I handed out the questions for the second quiz, the students, keen as boxers waiting for the bell to ring, as soon as I said the word “GO” their drive to compete kicked in again. After a further 15 minutes, I signalled the end of round two.

Isabelle, one of the students, declared she hadn’t had enough yet. She begged me to hand out the longer quiz. I thought it was too much for them. However, they unanimously agreed to take on the last challenge. The 50 question-long quiz. This was going to be hard.

It took longer them than they expected. I was glad for I could relax for a while after witnessing such keen competition. I wondered what had gotten into them. Thirty minutes later, I collected all their answers and proceeded with counting the points.

It was definitely a close call; however with a total of 40 points, we had a winning group! (See pictures below) The losing two teams were not pleased at all but still congratulated the winners. The quiz completely exhausted them, and one by one the students left the bar and went home to relax.

I was just glad the winners didn’t sing “we are the champions”! That would have been really embarrassing.  😉

written by Katrin Risiott

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Useful English expressions – Ordering food in a restaurant

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Rating: 3.8/5 (13 votes cast)

Difficulty

(Low) Medium High
(A1) (A2) B1 B2 C1 C2

Read the text first and then try to answer the questions in the quiz below.

Waiter: Hello, here are your menus. I’ll be back to take your order in a few minutes.

Waiter: Are you ready to order?

Peter: Yes, please.

Waiter: Would you like a starter?

Peter: Yes, I’d like a vegetable soup.

Waiter: And what would you like for a main course?

Peter: I’ll have the grilled salmon.

Waiter: Would you like anything to drink?

Peter: Yes, I’d like a glass of white wine, please.

Waiter: (After Peter has his meal) Can I bring you anything else?

Peter: May I see the dessert menu?

Waiter: Certainly.

Peter: What do you recommend?

Waiter: The chocolate cake. It’s delicious.

Peter: Okay, I’ll have the cake. Also, may I have the bill please?

Waiter: Certainly

created by Tess Giordmaina

 [ssquiz id=’6′ all]

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My experience with Maltalingua Language School – by Dino Jansen

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Rating: 5.0/5 (5 votes cast)

A Maltalingua student interview by Katrin Risiott (EFL Teacher)

Was this your first time studying English abroad?
In the past, I have studied English abroad, but this was the first time I studied English in Malta, and it was also the first time I had English lessons at a very small school. It was a very different experience at Maltalingua.  I really liked the methods of teaching and was able to practise English in every class.
What were your expectations of Malta?

I had the idea that Malta was a very tiny island, but there are many things to do and I regret not seeing more of it. Also, I never expected students to be so interested in learning a language, especially in summer! I was very surprised that people took their lessons seriously. I am not saying that nobody partied, but most of us found time for everything.

What did you think of the school?
Maltalingua is a very small school and it is easy for students to get to know everybody there. At first I was shocked, as I had expected it to be much bigger, but I soon realised that this was a good thing. I felt like part of the Maltalingua family, with the students and also the members of staff.

How would you describe your experience in class?
On the whole, I think that the lessons were very good. I like the idea of having different teachers throughout the whole day. This helped me understand the English language better, through different teachers with different teaching techniques. The students and teachers were very friendly.

What did you learn?
I learned that I don’t need to translate words into German and to use examples. I also learned a lot of new expressions in English. I think my pronunciation has improved a little bit too and I am surprised that I am now able to understand people who speak English with different accents.
I also think that sharing an apartment with other students was really good. I tried to speak English as much as possible and I made friends with people from different countries. The Maltalingua teachers and staff also helped me to improve at the school and in the social activities.

Did you join any of the school activities during your stay?
Yes I think I attended most of them. I particularly enjoyed the football match. It was originally planned to take place on the beach but some of us took this game very seriously and Michael, the Director booked a football pitch.
Another Maltese event I really liked was the Festa in Msida. I never expected to make friends with Maltese people, but I did. They are friendly and very open-minded people.
The activity I enjoyed the most was karaoke. I will always remember the students and teachers singing together! I will always remember the great times I had with other students from Maltalingua, the teachers and members of staff there and a Maltese family, my new family in Malta.

What other things do you think helped you improve your English?
I think the karaoke sessions helped me a lot along with listening to English songs also watching movies in English.  I tried to learn new words everyday and practise with friends as much as possible.

What will you most remember about Malta and Maltalingua?
I have many memories to cherish. I have made friends with many people from different places. I also have a good impression of Malta, so much so that I want to visit it again.

Student details

Name: Dino Jansen
Age: 20
Nationality: German
Study time: 5 weeks (July/August 2012)
Course: General English Intensive (30 lessons per week)
English level (at start of course): Upper Intermediate (B2)
English level (at end of course): Advanced (C1+)

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English Grammar – Present Tense

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Difficulty

(Low) Medium High
A1 (A2) B1 B2 C1 C2

Differences between these two tenses:

Present Simple

Present Continuous

Used to express facts/permanent situation and habits/routines Used to express an action that is happening now and a temporary situation
Examples:
My best friend lives in London (fact) A: what are you doing?B: I’m studying because tomorrow I’ve got an important test. (an action happening now)
I buy the newspaper every morning (routine) Peter is working in a restaurant because he’s got school holidays at the moment. (temporary situation)

 

Remember – Some verbs (called state verbs) are never used with the present continuous. e.g. need, want, love, like, know, understand, hate, remember etc.

created by Tess Giordmaina

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Karaoke Night full of endless Delight!

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Rating: 5.0/5 (5 votes cast)

Seeing as we were nearing the end of the last week for many of our students, we decided to celebrate their departure with our popular fortnightly Karaoke event. This has become somewhat of a tradition at Maltalingua now, and students simply relish it! Some of our students love it so much, they sometimes go themselves on separate occasions during the week.

Last Thursday’s Karaoke night was pretty special, because loads of students showed up, even ones who said they were unable to join because they had other plans for that evening.  The initial plan for the night was to meet some students in front of the school. Other students preferred meeting us at the regular local bar, because they play a couple of rounds of football first at a pitch we used a few weeks ago (http://www.blog.maltalingua.com/football/). Most of the students knew the place anyhow, since it was the umpteenth time we were going.

Bored after waiting for a quarter of an hour in front of the school, Yutaka suggested it was time to make a move, so after some students turned up, we decided to head off to Paceville on foot. We arrived all geared up for a night of fun and banter, however to my disappointment no one was there yet. This was of course not for long. Slowly but surely, the numbers were increasing and before we knew it, the bar was packed. Time was literally flying. We didn’t realise it was already half ten and no one had even sung a song yet! Katrin, Tess and I were encouraging students to go inside the bar and start singing a couple of tunes, but they seemed to be enjoying their time chatting outside. Suddenly we realised Yutaka was nowhere in sight, until we heard his famous rendition of ‘Twist and Shout’.

Suddenly EVERYONE wanted to join in the singing and dancing, and that is exactly what we all did! Cliché as it may sound, the fun was endless. Virtually all of us had a go at singing whether solo, as part of a duet or a group effort. I wanted to sing with Yutaka, because his enthusiasm was literally infectious and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that. Tess, Susanne and I also sang ‘Mamma Mia’, Dino and Katrin sang ‘Time of my Life’, whilst Michael, Susanne, Cedric and Dino all sang ‘Summer of ‘69’.

These were only a few examples of the many songs we sang, but one song we didn’t want to sing was ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ , firstly because it was too sad, and secondly, we don’t believe in goodbyes, but ‘See you laters and soons’. Coincidentally, the pub we visit is called ‘Memories’, a suitable  name since this night was full of unforgettable moments, that we will cherish forever no matter the distance between us.

written by Michaela Griscti

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Farsons Beer Fest Malta

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

How would you end a hot and tiring week? At the Great Farsons Beerfest of course! And that’s exactly what we did!

Our teachers and managers were really looking forward to the event, and, were hoping that the students were too. I guess that the turn out spoke for itself… 29 Maltalingua students were queuing outside the school doors half an hour before the arranged meeting time! We were all surprised to see how excited all of these students were to get on the minivans and enjoy themselves in the company of other students and members of staff.

Three vans were packed with students and staff, all eager to reach Ta’ Qali Park and enter the gates of the Great Farsons Beerfest, listen to the upbeat jazz tunes at the main stage, head bang to the strumming sounds of the guitars at the rock stage, munch on snacks at the food stalls, and most importantly, have a nice refreshing cold beer… local of course!

As soon as we walked through the entrance, most of the students disappeared and so did one of our teachers, Michaela, who happened to meet her friends there. I was left with one of the managers, Susanne, and a few students who I guess were either scared of losing us or just enjoying our company. Well, at least I hope it was the latter.

Yutaka, one of our students, led us to a packed bar and together we queued to buy a fair share of beers that lasted the whole night through. After that, we made our way towards the main stage and danced to the lively jazz music, played by a 14 man band, called The Big Band Brothers, which are famous in Malta for entertaining the old and young with internationally known tunes.

While we were enjoying ourselves, we were interrupted by a young lady who gave us helium balloons. Another student, Dino, decided to humour us by inhaling helium and speaking in a high pitched voice. Everybody, including myself had a go and we were in fits of laughter. Too bad that most of the students couldn’t witness it, but I am sure that they were having fun elsewhere.

Later on, we met Michaela near the rock stage and unfortunately, it was time to make our way back outside the Ta’ Qali Park and wait for our buses to take us back to the school. Students reluctantly got on the buses and were not so keen on returning home, so they came up with the idea of extending the fun over another round of drinks in Paceville.

It was certainly an eventful day, and as the old saying goes, all good things come to an end. Too bad I can’t turn back the clock to relive the exciting evening! It will definitely be a memory I’ll cherish forever!

written by Katrin Risiott

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Cool school pool Monday madness!

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Another manic Monday had come to an end here at Maltalingua, and there was no better way to end it than with our typical afternoon by the pool, whilst munching over traditional Maltese food and drinks. Music was playing and all the students, including the newcomers, were mingling by the pool, laughing and eating away in the Maltese sunshine. It was great to see everyone having fun.

The atmosphere was fantastic, because students were having a blast sunbathing and chilling out by or inside the pool.  Of course those were not the only eventful activities of the afternoon, students decided to include us teachers in their pool party, whether we liked it or not. We were begging them not to throw us in, but this was all in vain.

The first victim was Susanne, our Operations Manager, who was kindly thrown in, and soon after Katrin was the next victim, who was sized up by Dino and Cedric. Before she knew it, Michela’s fate was to join the other victims in the pool too. Although I tried to make a run for it, it was an unsuccessful attempt, because I was stopped inside the lift by Michela and Susanne who wouldn’t accept the fact that I was the only one who got away. Once they finally got their hands on me, I decided to give up and dive into the pool myself. It was obviously no use to continue trying to run away, as I was outnumbered. Both students and colleagues surrounded me, to make sure I got drenched too!

However being thrown in the pool once, was certainly not enough. The students seemed to like the idea of getting their own back on their teachers. So they decided to keep throwing us in a number of times. I guess this was their time of sweet revenge for all the hard work and homework we assign to them during their lessons. I must say, the look on our students’ faces was simply priceless. Later we tried to seek revenge on our comfortably dry student Ralf, who initially tried to run away, but then decided to jump in when he was being ganged up by his classmates and teachers.

This was both a fun packed event, and undoubtedly, a student packed event.  It was a great opportunity for them to meet new people from other classes, to practise their English and socialise with their classmates and teachers. It was definitely a unique way to get over our Monday Blues!

written by Michaela Griscti

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