Three New Skills You Should Learn in 2014

learning new skill, welding, woman weldingA new year means new experiences, and what better way to start off the year than by learning some new skills. Something about the beginning of a new year makes us motivated to learn new things and enter a new phase of life. If you’ve been thinking about learning a new skill, now is the time. Not quite sure what it is you want to do? Here are some ideas to get you started.


You may think it’s simple, but there is a whole lot more to gardening that just planting things in the ground. Not all plants are the same, and they need different conditions and levels of care. By researching the different families and varieties of plants, you can help yourself become more acquainted with the needs of the different species. Start off by purchasing some easy to care for plants, if you don’t know what these are, your local nursery will be more than happy to help.

Over time you will realize the differences between plants. You can start growing vegetables, herbs and fruit. If you’ve got a creative side you may even want to landscape your garden. Get down and dirty and dig up some flower beds. Separate them with a simple plank of timber, and use spare bricks to build pathways through your garden.


Perhaps you promised your kids you would build them a cubbyhouse? It’s time you learned how to build. This isn’t an easy thing to learn, but the more practise you have, the better you will be. Talk to somebody who’s in the know, and start on small, easier projects. Build yourself a box and get acquainted with the tools you will need before you start on bigger projects. Over time you will become more and more confident. Only when you know you’re capable should you try the harder jobs.


Similarly, if you’re looking to learn to build, you should probably learn how to weld. Building isn’t all about wood, and you will need to learn how to work with different kinds of metal. Unfortunately, welding is one of the much harder things to learn. It’s important that you do as much research as you can. You should never assume that you can figure it out, as welding can be dangerous. Get some lessons from a professional before you try anything too soon. It’s important to be cautious and aware. At the same time, if you’re going to weld you need to make sure that you have the right safety equipment. You will need a mask, goggles, solid work boots and clothes that cover you from top to bottom.

It’s always a great idea to learn something new, especially when you can put those skills to use on something creative. But make sure you take your time, learn all that you can and have the appropriate safety equipment before you begin. 2014 is your year, so invest yourself in a new project. For more information about learning DIY skills visit .

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Embark on Brilliant Adventure for Schools Trips with your Students

School trips and tours can be great fun for students, and also very valuable too. If you want to treat your students to a trip then make sure that you go through a company that specialises in putting on these trips – they can do all the hard work for you and
make sure it is a smooth and fun experience.

As a kid there was no better feeling than going on a school trip, as you get to spend some time away from the classroom and with all your friends, and for many young students it is the first time that they spend any lengthy period away from home. This makes them valuable experiences and important ones, but they are also great fun for the students too, and something that they will talk about for a long time and cherish forever. As a teacher though, the idea of organising one will no doubt cause a lot of stress and anxiety, as taking away a whole class of excitable kids under your responsibility and introducing them into a new place does not seem too smart! This should not put you off however, as you should know that there are companies out there that can do all of the hard work for you.

These companies will have expertise in planning and putting on fun, valuable and educational school trips and tours. They can do all of the hard work for you, and this will allow you to enjoy the trip with the students and get to know them all a little better, and you are sure to have a great time on the trip because of this. Of course with any trip or tour with students safety will be paramount, and you can rest easy because these companies understand this and the worries that it may cause, and they do everything they can to make sure it is completely safe at all times.

adventure school trips, school trips
There are all kinds of fun and valuable trips and tours to go on, including ones to exciting places all around the world. These can be particularly helpful if they are learning a foreign language, as it will really improve their confidence trying it out in an environment that is not in the classroom. It will also inspire them to learn more – they will get a better understanding being around the language and culture all the time. It is not just trips abroad that these companies can offer; there are also lots of adventure for schools trips to consider too, and these feature a wide range of fun activities for the students to try out. Of course all of these activities will be perfectly safe for them, and they are sure to have a great time trying some of them out.

You will find that after these trips it will have a great impact on how the classroom is on your return, as the students will feel happy that they got to have some fun and spend time away from school, and the whole group including yourself will have bonded. They will also greatly appreciate what you have done for them, and this will certainly help too. These companies can do all of the difficult work for you, and you are sure to be impressed with the amazing trips that are available to the students.

Global Education: Exploring Other Cultures through School Travel

It’s a global village that we live in today where everyone is interconnected and are basically exposed to common information no matter where in the world we are. There still are, however, plenty of things a student can learn when he immerses himself in another culture through school travel.

school travel

School travels are more like extended field trips wherein groups of students go on educational tours together. Through these tours students are able to “experience” their lessons rather than just read about them from the pages of their textbooks. These tours can either be done in-country our out-of-the country. The more exciting tours, of course, are those that take students out of their home country to experience the rich cultures of other lands. They can perhaps have school tours, visit the beaches where the D Day happened, take a historic trip through Berlin’s World War II landmarks and concentration camps, or be awed with the architectural wonders of Rome’s Colosseum, Italy’s Sistine Chapel and Barcelona’s Prague. Whatever destination students and their teachers and parents choose, any student travel will surely be an enriching journey for all participants.

Here are some of the things that can be expected from student travels:

  • Site visits – these are what the travels are all about. It’s about seeing the sites up close. The sites to see differ from one place to another. They can be historic landmarks, museum, archaeological digs, tribal villages, restored structures, or bustling industrial centers. Some travel coordinators tailor-fit the site itineraries to the students’ curriculum so that they are in sync with the learning goals of the group.
  • Lectures – conventions where student groups come together to hear experts speak about their particular topics of interest may also be arranged. This complements the students’ discoveries and enhances their appreciation of what they have learned through their exploration of the places that they visit.
  • Interactions – during these travels students will get a chance to interact not only with student groups from other countries but with the locals as well. Things as common as shopping in the agoras and city markets can give them a better feel of the local culture. Foreign language students will also be able to practice actually conversing in the language they learned in their classrooms back home.

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Winter Driving Tips: Keep Safe on The Roads This Winter!

No matter where you’re at or what type of driver you are, winter driving can be dangerous and difficult for all. In Scotland, winter conditions are harsh and slick, making it rough for you to drive safely. Luckily, there are some ways you can keep safe and prevent you from slips or accidents. Hamilton Mazda is an excellent place to stop by for used cars that will keep you safe in these conditions. Check out these tips on how to drive safely in winter conditions:

1. Put on snow tyres:

If you’re in the snow or know there will be some along your way, be sure to put on snow tyres because they are your number one bet in staying safe when there’s snow or ice. They will put a nice grip on your car and prevent you from sliding.

2. Increase your distance between cars: 

winter driving, safety tips in drivingStay further away from cars when you begin to break. You never know what the car behind you may be doing or how the road is ahead. If a car slams into you, staying farther away from the car ahead will save you from possibly hitting it. Plus, the roads are icy and you don’t want to risk getting to close.

3. Defrost your windows: 

When people are running late, they don’t want to defrost their windows and go straight on the road. Defrosting your windows is one of them most important parts of driving safely, because not being able to see in harsh conditions can cause you a crash. Defrost your car before you get in it.

winter tyres, driving in winter4. Check your tyre tread: 

The deeper the tread on your tyres, the better it is for slick roads. Your tread needs to be at least 3mm, but the bigger it is the safer you’ll be on slick roads. A 1.8 and under needs to be changed right away.

It goes without saying that you should be careful on the roads, especially when driving with the most precious cargo (your family and friends). Wherever you are, you should take the utmost care and precautions when setting out on any journey where there is a chance of snow, sleet or slush. Remember, black ice is one of the most deadly obstacles on the road, and it’s impossible to spot. Please follow our advice and enjoy the winter wonderland safely. Thanks for reading, please leave your comments and questions below.

About the author:Aaron is an ex-professional rally driver, Aaron is now a full time family man who blogs (when he gets the chance!).
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Going to University – Advantages and Disadvantages

Going To University, university,

For a lot of young people, going to university can seem like the only logical step forward after finishing college or sixth form. Although the majority of people who go to university because they want to, some people feel pressured into it by their family or teachers, and still others may feel like they have no other options.With so many university graduates around these days, it can be hard to stand out. And as the fees have recently risen (to an extortionately high £9000 a year), many young people are finding themselves “priced out” of attendance. So is university really all it’s cracked up to be? Here are some advantages and disadvantages.

Pro – It Opens up New Avenues of Employment

One of the main reasons people go to uni is to better their chances at employment. A number of jobs are simply “graduate jobs” – ones in which you need a degree (sometimes any degree) just to get past the CV application stage.

And it almost goes without saying, but if you’re looking to get a career in medicine, architecture, accountancy (the list goes on…) you’ll need a degree suited to the path. A study revealed graduates tend to earn significantly more than non-graduates, but this is offset somewhat by…

Con – Student Loans

The bane of any graduate’s life, student loans cost more than you might think. At £9000 a year, you’re looking at almost thirty grand of debt for a typical three-year course, and that’s not including the maintenance loans for rent and food and so on!

There is interest there, too, so the longer you take to pay it back, the more it’ll be. Also, it’s based on income – the more you earn, the more you pay back. This can sometimes feel like you’re being punished for getting a well-paid position.

Pro – New Life Experiences

“Student life”, a phrase often spoken of in hushed, awe-filled tones, like it’s some kind of booze-fuelled Nirvana. Although you might forsake the alcohol (there will be a lot going around, just to confirm) you will definitely meet a lot of new people and have a lot of new experiences.

You will gain a large amount of independence and make friendships (and memories) that will last a lifetime, so enjoy it!

Con – Lack of Experience

Unfortunately, spending your time getting educated means you won’t have much practical experience. Depending on the career, some employers will prefer action-learning to book-learning, and you won’t have much of a CV to show them.

Pro – Self-improvement

You’re living away from home for the first time. You’re cooking and cleaning yourself, you’re managing your own schedules, and you’re balancing your bank accounts (hopefully!). You will become wiser, more independent, and more reliable.

You will come out of university with a wealth of life experience, and will be all the better for it. No matter what the cost is, you will have improved as a person.

Your time might have also given you more direction – maybe you decided that you’re not suited to physiotherapy after all, and instead choose a different path, perhaps in laboratory refurbishment or as a dance teacher! Who knows?

Con – Time Cost

Apart from the money, the other big cost of university is time. Three years for a standard undergraduate degree, and up to seven for some medical ones – it’s a long time. Some people simply decide that, instead of racking up a huge debt, they’ll get straight into the world of employment.

A degree isn’t entirely necessary – you can work your way up through a company by hard work alone. The important thing to do before deciding to go to university is weigh up the pros and cons, and make up your own mind.

About the author:

Post by ex university student Tom Rokins.

A Week Break for the Saints’ Day

Yahoo!!! I have a one week break from my boring German class same with all the schools here in Aalen. 😀 Just like many other Catholic countries, we are celebrating the All Saints’ Day called Allerheiligen.

Traditionally, Catholics take part in a church service, light up candles and offer prayers for their deceased relatives. People may also visit graves of their dearly departed family members or friends. These graveyards are adorned with plants and flowers and candles are lit just as it begins to get dark in the latter part of the day.

Honestly I’m really surprised knowing this. I thought Philippines is the only country remembering our departed loved ones on All Saints’ Day and not on All Souls’ Day which is celebrated on November 2. I have yet to see really how they do it here as we didn’t go out last year to witness their celebration.

Newweling, All Saints' Day in GermanyUpon research I learned that All Saints’ Day in some parts of Germany is symbolized by Newweling. As described, Newweling is made of two or more candle wicks dipped in wax and wrapped around a cone shaped form. The form is removed before the candle is lit. Traditionally, each candle wick is dipped in red, white, blue, yellow or green wax and two or more different colors are used for each candle.

 Anyway, for the whole week me and Zyc will just be staying home since Ryz has Kindergarten and offices aren’t closed except on All Saints’ Day itself. What will I do? Of course update my blog(s) and work up with my two new baby blogs. 🙂 Oh, I almost forgot! Our teacher gave us “tons” of homework to do during the week-long break. Haist! Oh well… Hope I still remember to do them and will not be so preoccupied with my online world.

Teddy Bears Galore at the Steiff Museum

A week after our visit to the Hellenstein Schloss for our Mother’s Day celebration, we decided to go to where teddy bear stuff toys originated – the Steiff Museum. Steiff, named after Margarete Steiff who started it all, is a toy company found in Giengen which is approximately a 40-minute drive from our place.

Inside the museum you will see the replica of the first teddy bear originally called PB55.

There’s also a shop where you can buy their products. They’re too expensive, though. The cheapest stuff toy I saw was around €17 or around $21 and it was only about 4 inches long. Hehe… They also sell clothes for kids.

It was a fun “field trip” not just for kids but also adults. There were even a group of seniors who came in a bus. It was an educational one actually.

I was amazed with this presentation of how Margarete Steiff came up with the idea of the toy and the company. The mechanical movements and all. The things you see here were old possessions of Margarete. We were the only ones inside because we said we wanted the audio to be in English. I believe all the other tourists were Deutsch so no one joined us. Hehe..

After the presentation, we were led to a room where we saw the replica of PB55 (photo above) with also an audio presentation and mechanical movements (yes, that teddy bear was moving as if telling a story). After that, we rode on an elevator-like mechanism where we met Frieda and Knopf…

These cute characters’ voices led us to the different rooms where our eyes were treated to the masterpieces of Steiff. Honestly, I can’t remember anything that they were saying. I was just awed by everything I saw in those rooms.

Called the TEDDYTANIC, it’s an underwater-themed room filled with stuff toys of marine characters.

In the arctic region… (I forgot what it was called. Told you, I wasn’t listening to Frieda and Knopf. )

And the “worldwide” room where toys are showcased in the different countries around the world.

The tour was called “Die Welt von Steiff” or The World of Steiff.

I’ll let you see the rest of the World of Steiff on my next post. ‘Til then…


A Language Software Could Help Me

Few weeks from now I will be taking the Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer (DTZ) or German language test for immigrants. For those who do not know, every immigrant should attend an integration course here in Germany. In this course, Ausländer or immigrants are taught the fundamentals in German communication from alphabets and numbers to various important aspects of one’s daily life like shopping, housing, work and career and so on. This lesson aims for you to pass the DTZ and once you pass this you will receive a “Zertifikat Integrationskurs” or Integration Course Certificate. Aside from certifying that you have the basic knowledge of the German language, this certificate aids you in naturalization if you plan to apply for German citizenship and settle here. Knowledge of the German legal and social system is also required when applying for permanent settlement permit.

Anyway, in preparation for the exam our teachers are giving us exercises which are the same with what we’ll be doing in the test proper. They let us listen to conversations and ask questions to test our listening ability. They also give us situations where we have to write letters or e-mails in German. And the hardest part for me is they ask us questions to test our verbal communication skills.

Honestly, I have really been struggling with my German, especially on the verbal part. Funny thing is the question that was asked to me this morning is “Welche Probleme haben Sie mit Deutschlernen?” or Which problems do you have in learning German? Of course I answered that it is my Deutsch sprechen. It has been a problem for me since my only chance to speak German is when I attend my Deutsch course and whenever I buy something from the market. Sometimes I get to talk to my kids’ teachers and I really thank them for being patient with me. So to compensate this, I search online on applications or software which I can use where not only German translation is available but ones that have interactive features. I have tried a few free sessions and I can say that they can also be beneficial in practicing the language. I use them usually to review myself and see if I still know the basics. But I’m still looking for something that could help me in my verbal skills. An American classmate told me of the Rosetta Stone software she was able to buy when she had a vacation in the US. According to her it was really good because she’s able to train and hone her verbal skills and it also checks on her diction. I thought it was really cool because the ones I’ve tried only let me follow the audio and no feature of correcting me in my pronunciation. I also went to its website and I saw that it also offers different languages. I was even glad to see my own language there. Hehe.. Just what my classmate told me, I can see that anybody who wants to learn a new language or develop their communication skills foreign to them can achieve it through Rosetta Stone with its vast features. And with live coaches to teach you online, you can’t go wrong.

Tips for Learning a New Language

Learning a new language is never an easy task, especially for an adult. While a child’s brain is still developing and has the advantage of being able to absorb a new language much more easily than the rest of us, adult men and women will have a more difficult time of it. Our brains are already practically hardwired for our native languages, and while it’s hardly impossible to learn a foreign language it can take more work than learning other skills. Enrolling in an online college would definitely help to learn a new language, but it’s still going to take a lot of hard work and perseverance on your part. That being said, here are some tips that might help you.

  • Study Every Day – The best way to learn a new language is to study and practice it every day. Language is a skill best learned through repetition, and the best way to achieve that is through daily study sessions lasting about 30 minutes; cramming for three hours in an afternoon simply doesn’t work.
  • Build on Foundations – Languages are best learned if you only tackle things that you know you’re ready for. This means that you should focus on perfecting one thing such as basic grammar or vocabulary before moving on to something else. Never rush your studies; you may think you’re making progress by covering several topics in a day, but in the end you’re really only hurting yourself and slowing the learning process.
  • Focus on the Things That Interest You – Just like any other subject, learning a new language is easier when you can incorporate your own interests into the lessons. Write about things that interest you such as your hobbies, your favorite foods or anything else that you enjoy. When you practice speaking a new language in a conversation, stick to similar topics. It will at the very least make the learning process easier and more fun.
  • Don’t Get Discouraged – There’s a big difference between being a native speaker of a language and being a student, and that difference can be intimidating for a lot of people. As a student of a foreign language, you will make mistakes, and it will sometimes seem like you’re not making as much progress as you would like. Remember that you’re still learning and unless you immerse yourself into another culture completely you will probably always be learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your teachers, tutors or whomever might be teaching you a foreign language and don’t be afraid of letting people know that you’re still learning.

As always, education and diligence are very important in learning a new language or for learning anything for that matter. If you would like to find more information about colleges in your area or about how to earn your GED online, there will always be resources available to you at your local library or even through an Internet search of schools in your area. Just remember that it’s never too late to learn something new.

Sources (2012)

Omniglot (2012)

A Dream Fulfilled

I’ve been seeing posts from friends and relatives on their Facebook walls lately sending their wishes and congratulating someone on his graduation. Then I realized, oh yeah it is graduation season once again in my homeland.

I suddenly remembered my own 15 years ago. Actually we just had a small celebration that day. I knew we could not afford a party that time so we had a family dinner in a simple restaurant. But to my surprise my parents gave me a personalized graduation gift. It was a wooden photo frame with my name engraved on it. They told me to put my photo taken when I was receiving my diploma at the stage. I was really happy for the gift because it will hold something that I know was my greatest gift to my parents. Finishing studies was of great importance to us, especially to them. Since we are not rich, I remember clearly how our dad tells me and big bro to finish our studies because education is the only thing they could pass on to us .

I am thankful for my parents for instilling in us the value of education. I have seen their hardships just for us to graduate and I know they are happy that we have fulfilled their dreams for us. And this I will also impart to my kids because knowledge is something that you could be proud of and no one can ever take it away from you.