“10 Things to do in Edinburgh” by ELA-Edinburgh students, Matteo and Paola

1 GRASSMARKET

Two of Paola and Matteo’s star attractions: Edinburgh castle and the grassmarket

Let’s say you just arrived in Edinburgh. You still have time before returning to the Hotel, but is getting late and you are a little bit tired. Still, you want to take a walk around the city and get something to eat. The perfect place to aim for is the Grassmarket. It is an old square in the Old Town, just south of the Royal Mile, so you can get a glimpse of old medieval Edinburgh. They used to hang people there, and a lot of pubs are “in theme” (you can even have a pint at The White Hart, the oldest pub in town).

2 VISIT ROSE STREET

The Rose street is the perfect place to visit some pubs and restaurants with local food. There are a lot of different places where you can go for local specialities like ginger beer, haggis or whiskeys. Rose street is pedestrianized zone, so it is quite easy and relaxing to go through.

3 MARY KINGS’ CLOSE

The Edinburgh Old Town is probably the best place to understand how the life in the 16th century was. The best place to do it is Mary King’s Close, which is on the Royal Mile. Situated below the Edinburgh City Council, it’s perfectly preserved, and the spooky mood certainly adds something to the experience, if you are into that kind of thing. Mind that the tours are usually pretty crowded, so booking a spot in advance could be a good idea.

4 EDINBURGH CASTLE

The Edinburgh castle is the second highest point in the city and you can see it from a great distance. It looks impressive because you can see it from all over the town and if you walk the way up to the castle on the hill you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city.

5 PARLIAMENT OF SCOTLAND

All the way down the Royal Mile you can find the modern center of power for Scotland. The most recent center of power, the Parliament of Scotland, was built in the last decade, following the Devolution, so if you appreciate contemporary architecture you will probably enjoy it. Also, since the Scottish are pretty proud of their fight for freedom, you can learn all the details of their parliamentary quest. The most interesting part of the exhibition is visiting the Debate Chamber (you can also watch a public debate).

 

The Scottish parliament in front of Arthur’s Seat

6 VISIT WELLINGTON COFFEE SHOP

The Wellington coffee shop is a lovely place for recover from the first daily english session. The great Italian coffee and the tasty scones with his different ingredients makes the life easy going.

7 HOLYROOD PALACE

The other seat of power down the Royal Mile is Holyrood Palace. Built during the 15th century, it was the residence of Scotland’s Royal Family. Now it is the Royal Residence during official visits of the British Royal Family. When the Queen is not visiting Scotland, you can visit most of the palace, and in summer also the gardens. In particular, in the gardens you can visit the ruins of the St. Augustine Abbey.

8 ROYAL MILE

One of the most beautiful and famous streets is Royal mile. The architecture of the buildings is typical for Edinburgh with its old churches and houses with the gothic style. You can also look for some souvenirs or some pretty little things to buy. Furthermore there are some fudge kitchens where you can buy the best homemade fudge in very different flavours. They also show you how they produce this special Scottish candy.

The Royal Mile: home to Mary King’s Close and Holyrood Palace

9 CLIMB ARTHUR’S SEAT

The sleeping volcano just behind Holyrood Palace is the highest point of Edinburgh (ca. 250m), and the potential panoramic view that this fact implies should be enough to convince you to climb all the way up. You can actually see all of Edinburgh, south to the Borderlands, the Kingdom of Fife and all the way out to the North Sea. Also, if you appreciate archeology and paleontology, you can find the remains of three Prehistoric Forts. The tracks are easy, but remember to bring a jacket (it’s very windy) and sturdy shoes.

10 PORTOBELLO BEACH

The Portobello beach is a few miles away  from the city center and if you are there you have a beautiful view over the sea. You can go there if you need some variety from the crowded city. If you are as crazy as some Scottish people you can do some sunbathing.

 

Building English Language Skills – With a Twist

ELA – Edinburgh Broadens Horizons!

Last week, at ELA, students of the Liceo Scientifico Statale Galileo Galilei of Trieste participated in a 35 hour course . Unlike our standard array of activities however, they also took part in a series of Model UN (MUN) workshops with the Edinburgh University Model UN Society (EdMUN). Model UN seeks to simulate the activities of the actual UN, and teach valuable life skills such as public speaking, debating and negotiation through that medium. It was a new and innovative way of engaging advanced students with the English language and judging by the feedback we have received it was a huge success.

More than any simple classroom activity, MUN has the capacity to draw students into engaging with current affairs as well as improving their English skills. The workshops contained over 15 hours of lectures and training in public speaking, negotiation, conflict resolution with a healthy dollop of international politics. The whole thing was capped by a one day Model UN Conference taking place on Saturday, which allowed the students act as an ambassador for a country in a simulated UN. It was remarkable to see the progression of students over one week from being shy and reluctant to speak; to giving full two minute speeches by Saturday. We very much hope that this is only the first of many new and interesting activities we can bring to our students.

Aside from thanking our wonderful students from Liceo Galilei, we also have to extend our thanks to EdMUN and the Edinburgh University Student’s Association for working with us on this exciting new project. It has been a true pleasure!

Announcing Liceo Galilei Visit, and Model UN Partnership

ELA-Edinburgh  and the Edinburgh University Model UN Society (EdMUN) are pleased to announce that the Liceo Galileo Galilei of Trieste will be in Edinburgh during the 2nd week of March to take part in a series of language classes and EdMUN’s TeachMUN project.

Students from Liceo Galilei will take part in rigorous language classes in the mornings, and then learn all about the Model United Nations phenomenon in the afternoons. As well as essential language skills, they will learn valuable skills such as public speaking, debating and negotiation in a week-long series of fun activities. We look forward to welcoming them to historic Edinburgh on March 6th!

This is part of our ever-improving number of social, academic and cultural activities that we offer here at ELA, not just for youth students, but students of all ages! ELA is delighted to be able to team up with a local University Society for this venture, and hopes to hav
e many similar successful events in the future.

 

Celebrating Robert Burns at ELA!!

As all Scots know January 25th is Burns Day in Scotland, the annual celebration of our national poet and a good excuse to let our hair down in the dark days of January! At ELA it was a golden opportunity to get our students involved in learning at little bit about Scottish culture and tradition.

ELA Burns supper 2017

 

Scottish people across the world celebrate the poet-farmer from the South West of Scotland every 25th January with traditional Scottish food and drink, his poems and songs. Copious amounts of haggis, neeps and tatties are eaten while whisky and Irn-Bru (Scotland’s national soft-drink) wash down the food. Scots believe Robert Burns is worth celebrating not only because of his beautiful poetry and songs but also because of his eloquent commitment to equality and fairness.

The Immortal Memory

Typical Burns Supper nourishment

Students and staff tuck into their Haggis

We held our Burns Supper on Wednesday afternoon after class, but not before our teachers made sure that the students knew something about our famous poet. As all good teachers know, it’s very important to let the students do all the hard work. So we decided that the students would make the speeches at our Burns Supper. The first speech gives some information and thoughts on the life of Robert Burns, this is the Immortal Memory. Our students delivered it in their own unique style, drawing on their own national traditions for support!

 

The highlight of any Burns Supper is very often the ‘Toast to the Lassies’ (or girls). This should be funny and self deprecating but ultimately complimentary. Our toasts quoted Bob Dylan and featured some original poetry, written especially for the occasion.  At all Burns suppers the lassies have the last word with the ‘Reply to the Laddies’ (boys). Our reply went down a storm and was greatly appreciated by students, teachers and guests.

 

 

The toast to the lassies

To put it in a nutshell, everyone at ELA had a wonderful time celebrating Robert Burns and we believe that this kind of fun is part of learning a language. At ELA we are lucky to have such amazingly friendly staff and students to make events like this a great success!

 

 

The reply to the laddies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vocabulary builder:

Can you guess what the under-lined words from the text mean?

Let your hair down: a) Dance b) Have fun c) Read poetry

Golden opportunity: a) Perfect chance b) Lots of hard work c) A small chance

Eloquent: a) Elegant and persuasive b) honest and caring c) long and difficult

Supper: a) Breakfast b) Lunch c) Dinner

To draw on: a) Using an experience b) Remembering c) Ignoring

Toast: a) Hot bread b) Drink to health c) Joke

Tuck into: a) Start eating b) Enjoy eating c) Stop eating

Self-deprecating: a) Have no fun b) Make fun of others c) Make fun of yourself

Go down a storm: a) Be controversial b) Be very funny c) Be very popular

Put it in a nutshell: a) Talk for a long time b) Tell a lie c) Say something in just a few words

 

Tweet us @E_L_Academy when you have the answers!!!

Top 5 reasons for downloading an audiobook

AUDIOBOOKS

 

You might have heard this term, which started circling the web over 5 years ago, but didn’t know what the fuss was all about. Well, let us introduce you to this modern way of ‘reading’ or learning a language.

Please meet audiobooks, professionally narrated recordings of different kinds of literature, ranging from classical novels to modern sci-fi, including biographies and even recipe books. They are usually the exact version of a book, but sometimes they are shortened to further simplify the reader’s or in this case the listener’s life.
Now that we know what audiobooks are, we will find out why they are so popular and where to download free audiobooks in English.

Here are top 5 reasons why you should listen to an audiobook.

1. Audiobooks are great for those who do not like reading. We all have different learning techniques, some prefer reading while others prefer listening, so if you are one of the latter team, then audiobooks are your perfect match. Also, they are amazing for when you are feeling too lazy to read or just too busy to spare some of your time to reading.

2. You can take your audiobook wherever you want. It will substitute your boring date on your walks in the park, sunbathing sessions by the pool and many other activities like going to the gym, travelling and so on. Whether you are on the move or lying in your cosy bed, they can be downloaded straight to your phone or other smart device and be available within minutes.

3. When learning a new language, for example English, audiobooks will help you improve your pronunciation and boost your vocabulary. Furthermore, listening is proved to be an efficient way of memorising important facts, so stack up on books and get learning.

4. If you haven’t seen yet, there is a huge list of audiobooks available to suit everyone’s taste. And since they do not take up any space in your bag you can download several books at a time and enjoy listening to different stories and scenarios.

5. Another advantage of audiobooks is that you can set your own pace and regulate the speed of the recording. You can set it on low speed, to allow your brain to consume and process new information, or you could speed it up and learn more in an hour.

And if you are still not convinced, I suggest you give it a go and let us know what you think.

Big fans of audiobooks, who I am sure are members of Audible, will most definitely recommend to sign up and explore the rich collection of books that Audible has to offer.

At last, all I have to say is, audiobooks are wonderful! Even if you prefer reading books, you should at least once, try listening to your favourite novel.

 

As promised, here are a few websites where you can download free audiobooks in English:

http://esl-bits.net/

http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks

Edinburgh is Calling

EDINBURGH IS CALLING
Get 20% off our social program

Edinburgh is an astonishing place, where you will find a perfect contrast between the old medieval town and Georgian town. It is a place, on the streets of which you will come across exceptionally beautiful architecture that organically coordinates with the traces of magnificent volcanoes, which are located in the heart of the city.

Edinburgh is home to world know philosophers, writers, academics, scientists, doctors, artists and many more famous people, like Alexander Graham Bell, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Darwin, David Hume, Peter Higgs and J.K. Rowling.

Here it seems like a long time ago the clouds from heaven have occupied the skies above the city, creating ever wonderful sunsets that cannot be compared to anything else. Here, every street is filled with rich history and possess a unique story, which is waiting to be revealed. Here, (spoiler alert) you will not find a lot of sunshine, but this place is famous for dramatic landscapes, mysterious legends, beautiful greenery and wonderful people who will make your visit to Scotland unforgettable.

ELA has gathered some of the most iconic places of this wonderful city, where you can immerse yourself in a fairy tale of this magical land. I can guarantee, that by looking at these photographs you will set off on an adventure to Edinburgh and there is no better place than ELA, who will help you find suitable English courses and comfortable accommodation, as well as organise tours and excursions.

scott monument

The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world.

 

 

 

 

southbridge

Here’s just a glimpse of some of the country’s top architectural feats.

During the last lunar eclipse, the Earth’s main shadow didn’t cover the Moon. As the Earth’s shadow (umbra) missed the Moon during a lunar eclipse, there were no other locations on Earth, apart from Edinburgh where the Moon appeared partially or totally eclipsed during this event.

castle south

Edinburgh’s sunsets are simply the best.

castle

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh.

calton hill

The panoramic views from Calton Hill have astonished and inspired visitors for centuries.

balmoral

We are not lying when we say that the region bursts with historical attractions.

 

Come and see for yourself!
Get 20% off our social program, when you book a minimum of 2 weeks of English classes with ELA.

What you have to do is, share this post on your wall, get as many likes as possible and write a very short story- ‘I would like to visit this wonderful place, because…’

(The story has to be no more than 150 words)
The offer is valid until the 20th of June 2016*
The winner will be announced on the 22nd of June.

*Terms and conditions apply
Please contact ELA for more information.
website: http://www.elacademy.co.uk/
email: info@elacademy.co.uk
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdinburghLanguageAcademy
twitter: https://twitter.com/E_L_ACADEMY

How to Build a Time Machine

Start here

Work with a partner. Answer these questions:

1. Is it illegal to break the laws of physics? Can you give an example of one law of physics?
2. Do you think time travel is possible? What do you know about Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity?
3. If you could open a portal to the past, where and when would you go?
4. What about a shortcut to the future- would you jump ahead in time? Why (not)?
5. Look at these two images. How are they connected to the idea of time travel?

1 2

A. Match these words ( Black hole, Wormhole, Dark energy, Quantum mechanics) with a definition:

1. a theory that explains the behaviour of elementary particles, both separately and in groups

2. a theoretical form of energy postulated to act in opposition to gravity and to occupy the entire universe, accounting for most of the energy in it and causing its expansion to accelerate.

3. a region in space where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape

4. a special type of structure that some scientists think might exist, connecting parts of space and time that are not usually connected

C. Play a fun game! Falling into a Black Hole!
http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/black-hole-boardgame/en/

Video

A. Watch the first part of the video (0.00-1.00) and fill in these sentences:

Time travel is 1 _________________________________________
Einstein’s 2 ______________________________________ claims that the stronger the gravity the slower 3 ________________ moves.
This means that by linking two parts of 4 ____________________ that have different gravity you would in theory be able to travel back and forward in time between the two planets.
Gravity is the strongest close to a black hole, which means that time moves slower close to the black hole than it does on 5__________________________.
The problem is that right now scientists don’t know how to get space explorers from Earth to the black hole 6___________________ because they have not been able to build anything that travels faster than the 7___________________________.
Wormholes are claimed to be the only 8_______________________ that would allow people to travel back and forth in time.

B. Watch the next part of the video (1.00-1.57) and fill in this diagram that summarises how to build a time machine.

Diagram

C. Watch the last part of the video and take notes in order to answer the following questions:

1. According to the video, how far back in the past would a traveller be able to go?
2. How much energy would a time machine actually require?
3. What is the Grandfather Paradox?
4. In your opinion, will time travel ever happen?

How much clean air do you need?

Today, two listening comprehension activities based on a real news story from a couple of weeks ago. As unbelievable as it may seem, this is a true story!!! Watch this video from Sky News and do the exercises below:

A different kind of family business

1. Fill in this text
A family in Dorset is showing how to make money out of 1.………………………..

Leo De Watts’ mother and sister collect hillside air and then put it into jars to sell them for 2…………………….. each. Clients in 3………………… have already bought more than 100 jars, because pollution levels in this country are among the highest in the world. Leo says part of the idea behind the venture was to raise awareness that millions of people around the world don’t have access to clean air.

The De Watts collect and sell air from a variety of UK locations: Yorkshire, Dorset and Somerset, and Leo’s sister Francesca explains they’re all different. She says: “Some of the air may pick up different notes of 4 …………………. , or near the sea it would pick up some 5…………………… in it as well.” Melanie De Watts, Leo’s mother, is adamant that it is not a 7…………… and all the air is collected to order. She told Sky News: “It’s got no pollutants in it at all. It’s fresh, it’s good for you and it’s freely available. It’s a …………….. product. We’ve never shipped a jar that was just filled in 8……………………..or at 9………………………home.”

The product is being advertised and sold as a high-end product, ” 6……………….. air”.

2. Answer these questions:

a. What is the problem the journalist points out?
b. Why wouldn’t the man buy the product?
c. How many people die of pollution in China each year?
d. How many jars would a single individual require in a single day?

A short video about the space race

This is a video 2 of our IELTS students prepared for the topic “The Space Race”. Very useful information to build a little bit of background knowledge about this less than familiar field. We hope it will help you cope with this daunting subject matter!