foreign language

foreign language

It’s Fun to Raise Bilingual Kids with Chungaboo’s Language Learning App

“I want to play Chinese!” is a phrase my two-year-old daughter often shouts out. I’m never sure if she really wants to play with Chungaboo’s iBook “Words: English to Chinese” or if she knows it’s a sure-fire way to gain access to the iPad. Either way, I call it a win. These books are so engaging with vivid illustrations by artist Miles Wisniewski and expert language translation voiceovers that even my toddler is picking up pieces of the Mandarin language and inserting it into every day conversation. Earlier this summer we introduced you to Chungaboo in a feature at Yahoo! Shine, Parents Should Load iPads with Chungaboo eBooks for Summer Learning, and we think no matter the season these books should be in your kids’ hands.

An article about bilingual children at Parents.com said, “The earlier you introduce a second language, the easier it will be for your child to pick up its unique sounds.” It went on to say that ages 2 to 3 are ideal for introducing a second language because it’s at this time that the “ability to hear different phonetic pronunciations is sharpest.”

We all know that children are sponges and are at the peak of learning ability in their earliest ages, so my husband and I loved finding Chungaboo (disclaimer: created by friends we met in college) for our daughter. She thinks it’s a game, we know she’s learning, and according to an article in the New York Times this past spring, each time she plays and picks up a new word she’s getting a little brighter. Read the rest of this entry »



Learning Computer Code is Becoming Essential for Business Success

According to The New York Times, most foreign languages go in and out of fashion, but one language that is going to become increasingly valuable to know is computer code.

OK, so it’s not a spoken language, but learning to “speak” computer code is a great skill to have. The number of night classes and online classes that teach this language has been growing quickly as more and more people want to learn how to design websites, as well as iPhone apps. It also has many real-life applications for future employees, such as allowing you to customize a blog for your company, a skill which employers might find very appealing.

“Inasmuch as you need to know how to read English, you need to have some understanding of the code that builds the web,” said Sarah Henry, an investment manager. “It is fundamental to the way the world is organized and the way people think about things these days.”

Some colleges are also getting on board and offering classes that cater to this new field of interest. Stanford University offers two computer science classes that are free and offered online. So far, more than 100,000 people have tried out the classes.

Another way that you can learn computer coding is through Codeacademy, a new company that offers interactive lessons to help people learn how to write code. More than 1,000,000 people – including the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg – have signed up for the program since it started last summer.

Why the sudden interest in this field? I think that Peter Harsha, the director of government affairs at the Computing Research Association, said it best:

“To be successful in the modern world, regardless of your occupation, requires a fluency in computers. It is more than knowing how to use Word or Excel but how to use a computer to solve problems.”



How to Study Abroad in Verona, Italy

Verona BridgeVerona, Italy, is  a beautiful city in northern Italy, that is rich with historic value. It is a great place for architecture and art history majors to study abroad, and of course if you want to learn to speak Italian, this is a great place for you too. The city has a population of around 715,000 people and is a main tourist attraction in Italy. Also, if you are a Shakespeare fan, you know that Romeo and Juliet was set in this city and you can still go see Juliet’s balcony.

So what else can you do while in Verona to really get the most out of your study abroad experience in this city? Here are EDUinReview’s tips for how to study abroad in Verona, Italy.

1. Go back in time at the Museo di Castelvecchio. This ancient castle was built in the 14 century. if you visit this castle, you will get a better understanding for what Verona was like before and during the Renaissance, when the city enjoyed it’s heyday as a cultural hub. There is also a museum in the castle which features many original works of art which are absolutely wonderful. You can also enjoy fantastic views of the city from the castle. I’d plan to be here for at least half the day; it really is a great place to spend a day.

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How to Study Abroad in Florence, Italy

Ponte VecchioFlorence has been the capital of Italy since 1865 and has a metropolitan population of 1.5 million people. Florence is famous for its historical and cultural significance in Europe since the Middle Ages. Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is a great place to study abroad if you are interested in  art history, classics, Italian, or history.

Have you decide that you want to study abroad in Florence? Here are EDUinReview’s tips for how to get the most out of your study abroad experience in Florence.

1. Go back in time at the Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio. The Piazza della Signoria has been an important political center in Florence since the Middle Ages. The Palazzo Vecchio is the medieval town hall, which is located on the piazza. This is the most famous piazza in Italy and is a great place to soak up the culture. You can visit several public rooms and private apartments in the piazza, which have been decorated to appeal to tourists. Another great thing to do here is grab a cup of coffee at a café and read a book or watch people going about their daily lives.

2. Look up in Il Duomo. This Duomo is often overlooked when people think of cathedrals to visit in Italy. However, it is absolutely beautiful and you should definitely visit it if you are studying abroad in Florence. The dome of the Duomo is what is so amazing. When you walk into Il Duomo, look up so you can really appreciate the wonder of this dome. Designed by Brunelleschi, the dome is nearly 142 feet tall, making it taller than the domes at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., St. Peters in Vatican City, and the Pantheon in Rome.  I recommend taking the tour which allows you to climb to the top of the dome to get a better look at the “Last Judgement” fresco painting and to better understand how Brunelleschi built the dome itself.

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Five Tips for Learning a Foreign Language

different language booksMany students have to take a foreign language class or two as part of the general education requirements. These classes can be a real challenge, especially if you are just going to class a few times a week and not really studying outside of class. So if that’s the problem, then start using those flashcards and learning a foreign language!

However, if you are studying and just can’t get the foreign language vocabulary words to stick in your mind, here are some tips and tricks for learning a foreign language.

1. Listen to music. Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head and can’t get it out no matter what you do? For many people, words put to music are much easier to remember than just words, so if you are trying to learn some new vocabulary or memorize something in a foreign language, try making a song to go along with the things you are trying to learn. You can also listen to popular songs in the foreign language you are studying in order to become more familiar with the pronunciation of words and grammar structure.

2. Read one of your favorite books in the foreign language. Personally, I love the Harry Potter books and have read them at least several times each. Therefore, reading them in Spanish is pretty easy for me because I know the stories by heart and if I do not know a particular vocabulary word, I can still figure out what is going on in the story. This is a great way to learn new vocabulary words while also seeing the grammatical structure that the author uses.

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How to Study Abroad in Munich, Germany

Munich's Church of Our LadyMunich, Germany, is the third largest city in Germany and home to 1.35 million people. It is the capital of Bavaria, Germany, and was the host city of the 1972 Summer Olympics. It is a historically rich city that is currently doing very well in the areas of economics and social innovation. It is a great place to study abroad if you want to learn to speak German and experience the Germanic culture; sadly, it is also considered to be the most expensive city to live in in Germany, which can make it unappealing to students who are living on a tight budget.

If you have decided that you are going to study abroad in Munich, there are still a lot of cool things you can see and do that will not break the bank. Here is a list of some of my favorite things to do in Munich:

1. Go to the English Garden (Englischer Garten). This is not just a large garden of the English variety, like it’s name implies. In fact, it has representative gardens for several countries. There is a Greek temple, a Japanese tea garden, and a Chinese pagoda. The first time I went here was on a sunny day with friends. We returned several more times to have picnics in various parts of the park. This is also a good place to do your homework or go for a run. Basically, if you want to be outside in Munich during the nice weather and feel like you have escaped from the big city for a while, you should go the English Garden.

2. Visit the Royal Palace, Nymphenburg Palace. This gorgeous palace and it’s ground were built between the years of 1664 and 1675. The Baroque artworks inside the palace are absolutely beautiful; remember to look at the ceiling when you go into the palace or else you might miss some of the most beautiful works of art including the Steinerner Saal. The gardens around the palace contain two lakes, various fountains, and many pavilions where you can stop and rest in the shade. My favorite part of the Nymphenburg Palace is the Amalienburg, a hunting lodge that was constructed for Maria Amalia. This smaller, pink building is home to the Hall of Mirrors, something that you absolutely must see if you are going to the Nymphenburg Palace.

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How to Study Abroad in Vienna, Austria

st. stephen's cathedralVienna is the capital of Austria and is the largest city in the nation and the 10th largest in the European Union with a metropolitan population of 2.4 million people. The official language of the country is German, which makes Vienna a good place to study abroad if you want to learn the language. Vienna is also a good place to study if you are interested in art history, architecture, or international relations.

So besides studying, what should you do if you are studying abroad in Vienna, Austria? Here are some of our tips for getting the most out of your study abroad experience in Vienna:

1. Listen to the music. Vienna has been home to many musical geniuses, including Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Haydn. There are many monuments dedicated to these musicians, as well as the Haus deer Musik, an interactive museum dedicated to music and musicians. There are also live musicians playing in the streets on most days. Throw them a coin or two and keep the tradition alive for future generations of musicians.

2. Visit the beautiful Schonbrunn Palace.
The Schonbrunn Palace is the former summer residence for the Royal Family in Austria. In the 1960s, it was converted into a museum and has been a major tourist attraction since then, but don’t let the hoards of tourists keep you away from this UNESCO World Heritage Site. This palace contains 1,441 rooms and demonstrates the wealth of the Habsburg monarchy. The Holy Roman Emperor Maximllian II purchased the land where the palace would be built; his original intention for the land was to be used as a recreational hunting ground. Today, it is home to the beautiful palace and many gardens. My favorite part of the Schonbrunn Palace is the hedge maze in the gardens; it took me a while to find it, but the search was part of the fun.

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How to Study Abroad in Madrid, Spain

Buildings on Gran Vía, MadridSo you’ve decided to study abroad in order to learn Spanish? That’s awesome and congratulations! But now it’s time to decide where to go.

If you want a small town where you will get to know the locals and become fully integrated into their daily lives, then you should not go to Madrid. However, if you like the hustle and bustle of a major city and all of the options that go along with living in the biggest city in the nation, then Madrid is one of your best options! Another benefit of living in Madrid if you are learning Spanish is that they have a very pure accent that is easy to understand, which is somewhat rare in Spain.

Luckily, the accent isn’t the only thing that you should take advantage of if you decide to study abroad in Madrid, Spain. Here are some other fun things that you should do in order to make the most of your study abroad experience.

1. Visit the Official Home of the King of Spain.
El Palacio Real is one of the most beautiful palaces that I have ever seen and it is the largest in Europe. Although the King and Queen do not actually live there now, it is very easy to get lost in legend and imagine that you are going to see them just around the corner. Construction of El Palacio Real started in 1738 and it is located on the site of an Arab fortress that was built in the 9th century. Today, it is a museum and features 2,800 rooms that contain various works of art, furniture, and other historical and cultural items. Make sure you walk across the plaza and see the gardens that surround the palace because they are definitely worth taking a look at.

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Is a Double Major Right for You?

Girl Reading a Textbook in a lecture roomIf you’re ready to declare a major, this single thought may be lingering in your mind: Should I or shouldn’t I attain a double major? Sure, it could mean more job opportunities and higher pay, but a double major could also mean twice the stress and a hefty tuition bill.

To ease such torment, read these pros and cons of double majoring, and decide the right path for you.

Pros:

  • As a prospective employee, you’re more marketable. Having a double major shows that you’re flexible and well-rounded in more than one area of study. For instance, foreign language as a second major, specifically Spanish, is always a huge plus with employers. With this tough job market, a double-whammy could mean that you’ll get hired straight out of college.
  • It may be the only solution if you’re equally torn between two majors. It’s likely that if you don’t follow your destined education path now, you’ll head back to school after you graduate. Going back isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it’s tough to do when you’re working a full-time job. It’s best to get your degrees out of the way now while you have education on the mind.

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Avenues: The World School Aims to Make Students More Internationally Aware

There a lot of private schools out there. Some are labeled as being preparatory schools, where a huge emphasis is placed on preparing the students for admission to a top-notch college. However, in September 2012, a new school might be opening in Chelsea, NY, that would put all of these other private schools to shame. The only problem is that the school does not yet exist.

Chris Whittle, an educational entrepreneur, is planning to build a school called Avenues: The World School, which will be a for-profit private school for students ages nursery through ninth grade. The school is already in great demand, even though it is still being constructed, because many parents in this area are desperate to enroll their children in a private school, and there just are not enough seats available to fulfill the demand in the older private schools.

The curriculum at Avenues will allow students to learn bilingually in English and either Spanish or Mandarin. The bilingual classes will take place from nursery school until fourth grade. The need for bilingual adults in the future will be incredibly high, so by instilling these skills in students now, Avenues would be creating future employees who would be in higher demand in the international workplace in the future. Avenues will also be part of a network of international schools that have the same curriculum. So, if a student wanted to spend a semester in London or Shanghai or any other exotic location, his or her education would not have to suffer because he or she could study the same curriculum and stay on track while living in a foreign country.

“Schools need to do a better job preparing children for international lives,” Whittle said.

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