Monday, July 2, 2007

Monday’s News in Spain: Spain's eternal summer challenge; more than one million did it in Catalonia yesterday; Catalonian condom machines

Spaniards Take Up Their Annual Summer Challenge - English! Yes, many Spaniards take time during the summer to study English -- children and adults -- at home, in camps and abroad. Intensive courses abound in Spain's cities; children's summer camps (colegios) are held in the countryside where studying English is a major focus; and trips are made to the UK, Ireland, Canada, the USA and as far away as Australasia to participate in immersion courses. According to to the newspaper-ita, Que! , more than 100,000 Spaniards will travel abroad this summer to study languages. And this year Spain's Ministry of Education has made grants available for 18 to 30 year olds who want to study English abroad.

One million and counting: According to freebie paper ADN, the first day of "rebajas de verano" (summer sales) saw more than one million shoppers turn out in Catalonia yesterday. The most popular items: clothing and shoes.
Condom Machines Spreading: It's not uncommon to see condom machines in bars, restaurants, schools and on walls outside pharmacies in Barcelona. Now Catalonia's government, the Generalitat, plans to install them in public libraries throughout the region and in metro stations in the greater Barcelona area.

1 comment:

Carloz said...

I'll add my own comment about the challenge of studying English:

According to a study by PUEBLO INGLÉS cited in Que! today, over 32% of Spanish professionals have studied English for more than 15 years without mastering it. 51% of those surveyed said they speak English better than their bosses.

Of course what's not known about those who were surveyed are things like the following:

How many of them had native English teachers? (Most public school English teachers here are Spanish speakers!)

How consistently did they study over those 15 years? Did they go to class only once or twice a week for only an hour each class? How many of these classes did they miss? When they missed a class, did they try to make it up?

Did they do work outside of class? Homework? Reading articles in English? Watching movies in English?

Did they try to socialize with English speakers?

Did they do like most people and stop classes for three months each summer -- without doing anything to improve their English all summer?

Did they buy and carry with them a little pocket-sized notebook to note new words in? If they did, did they pull it out and study it whenever they were in a traffic jam, in a line at the bank, riding public transportation, etc.?