How to speak Spanish in a month: Learn like a five year …

What’s the easiest way to learn Spanish? What’s the fastest way to learn a foreign language in general? Learn like a five year old. We arrived in Santiago de Chile about a year ago. My five year old son, Sebastian now speaks almost fluently and understands about 90% of Spanish (unless we’re talking about cartoons or cake, then it’s 100%).…
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Language learning hacks from the experts

Welcome to 2019, Expaters! If learning a new foreign language is on your New Year’s resolution list, then read on… Here are some top tips, cheats and hacks from a range of language experts for learning a language quicker and more effectively. Let free time become study time Blur the lines between your free time and your learning time. At…
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How to learn a foreign language – it’s simpler than you thought

Languages are like diets. Just like that pill which promises to give you a Victoria’s Secret model’s body in a week, anyone telling you they can make you fluent in Russian overnight is lying. I studied French and German at university, I dabbled in Arabic while living in Damascus and I’m now trying my hand at Spanish here in Chile.…
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The Best Schools in Santiago

We’re currently looking into a school for our son in Santiago, Chile. If you’re starting the search too, here is a list of some of the best schools we’ve come across here in Santiago and the suburbs. Please note that these notes are my very personal thoughts and impressions. Just because I didn’t rate a school, doesn’t mean you won’t.…
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How to learn Spanish (and other foreign languages) fast

We’ve been in Chile nearly two months now. My Spanish has gone from terrible to borderline average. I studied French and German at university. I’m in an unrequited love affair with Arabic (I love the language, but it doesn’t seem to love my brain). I picked up some Dutch in Antwerp. I tried to learn basic Hindi prior to my…
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Expat mums: is this the craziest school admission process ever?

I guess if you’re reading this you’ve gone through it already or are about to face it. You thought the house move was tough. You find it hard to master your new local language, but nothing prepared you for… the dreaded school application process. School admissions can be a stressful process no matter your country. I’ve heard stories of parents…
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My most embarrassing, bizarre and surreal expat moments

Expat life is a funny thing. Funny as in odd, and funny as in hilarious. We’re thrown into situations we wouldn’t normally experience back ‘home’, where we don’t speak the local language, where we don’t understand the local culture and we’re perhaps a bit more brazen because we have to get on and get things organised. Here’s a collection of…
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My semester at a Syrian mosque: Islamic dress, spies and Britney Spears

I lived in Syria, pre civil war, before it became known to many as hell on earth, for about six months. A chance chat with a lovely beautician led me to rent a room in her home. To say that Syria was nothing like today is an understatement. After a few months studying Arabic at the University of Damascus, I still…
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Top tips for applying to schools in Santiago, Chile

A few weeks ago I posted about how tough the school application process is here in Santiago, Chile. There’s an under supply of schools and a huge demand from parents, resulting in a scarcity of places. While in some countries a large bank balance will get your pick of the top schools of the country, here in Chile it’s much…
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How to choose a good kindergarten

Creche, kindergarten, nursery, parvulario… call it what you like. An important developmental stage for children, a useful preparation for school, a life saver for parents… nurseries can be great. My sister in law is a super qualified childcare expert and when I got myself in a bit of a tizzy over which nursery to choose for my son, she reassured…
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