+44 (0)2920 344805

Celtic English Academy Blog

April Pugh

Recent Posts

Mother's Day Around the World

Posted by April Pugh on 29-Mar-2019 09:00:00

  

 

Perhaps you have noticed the posters, flowers, cards and adverts around the city recently. You may be asking yourself, what is the special occasion? The answer is: it is Mother’s Day in the UK on the 31st March 2019. This day gives us the chance to celebrate mothers and grandmothers. Whilst this tradition is widely acknowledged around the world, each country has its own local customs.

South Korea and Japan

May 8th is designated as Parents’ Day in South Korea. Traditionally children make red carnation flowers out of paper and give them to their parents to wear. On this day, you will see lots of adults walking around public places, proudly wearing their flowers.

Japan also celebrates Mother’s Day in May, on the second Sunday. Similarly, red carnations are given as gifts to mothers by their children. Whilst, meals on this day are based on eggs, such as tamagoyaki and chawanmushi.

Why carnations? I hear you ask – well, carnations are steeped in history, dating back more than 2,000 years, and have been used as a symbol for love, motherhood, good luck, admiration and affection.

Brazil

Second only to Christmas, Mother’s Day is an extremely popular occasion in Brazil. It is celebrated with big family barbecues, going to church and special children’s performances.

Ethiopia

Here, Mother’s Day comes at the end of the rainy season, forming part of the Antrosht festival. When the sunny weather arrives, families celebrate with a feast. Traditionally, the families’ daughters and sons bring an array of different vegetables, spices, cheeses and meats to enjoy.  

India

Mother’s Day is celebrated alongside a special Hindu festival in October called Durga Puja. During this festival, people celebrate the goddess Durga (Divine Mother). Friends and family gather together during this time to rejoice the triumph of good over evil.

Peru

In Peru, another mother takes centre stage in the celebrations - Mother Nature (Pachamama). The Andean population honor her on Martes de Challa by burying food, throwing sweets and burning incense.

UK

Finally, here in the UK, Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent each year. Lent is a period of fasting before Easter. It was often known as ‘Refreshment Sunday,’ because strict Lent fasting rules were set aside for this occasion.

Children would traditionally bake a Simnel cake, known as a ‘mothering cake’, and pick flowers for their mother.

 

So, as we have learnt, Mother’s Day is more than just another commercial holiday. It has deep roots that connect families, communities, cultures to one another and our natural environment.

#motheringsunday #mothersday2019 #lovemothernature

 

 

Read More

Topics: Key Calendar Events

Lena - not goodbye, but see you again!

Posted by April Pugh on 14-Mar-2019 15:13:56

  

'See you again! never Goodbye'

It is unbelievable, but my time in Cardiff is coming to an end as I will be flying back to Germany on Sunday afternoon. Not only will I take with me the many new clothes I bought in St David’s shopping centre, but also lots of wonderful memories and a wealth of experience.

Before I came to Cardiff to start my internship at Celtic, I was scared. Although I’ve spent some time abroad before, and although I have been teaching German for three years in Germany, I still thought I might not be able to meet the requirements of doing an academic internship in a well-known language school. I was also anxious about my host family and my colleagues: Will they be friendly? Will I understand them when they talk to me? Will I have to make them coffee all day?

After six weeks, I can now say with certainty that my fear was much ado about nothing. I’ve stayed with a perfect host family. They’ve been welcoming and friendly since the beginning and I’ve felt completely at home in their house. They took me to Quantum Fitness, an entertaining gym where you don’t need to sign a contract (so you might want to go there if you stay for a shorter period of time) and we worked out together. They also took me to Barry Island and the Cardiff Bay Barrage and showed me around like tourist guides. And, each Sunday, they took me to the Bowls Club, where I got to know both the sport (which we don’t have in Germany), and many kind-hearted elderly people. Staying in homestay has been a wonderful experience for me and I hope I will return to Cardiff to visit my second family again!

I’ve also enjoyed my work at Celtic. Everyone has been so friendly towards me – office staff, teachers, and students. I’ve never walked up and down as many stairs in one day before and I’ve never spent as much time in the rain, but nevertheless I’ve loved working at Celtic and I am really sad to leave! What I’ve enjoyed most has been all the interacting with students. I’ve loved working in the classroom as a teaching assistant as well as helping with student enquiries in the office (giving out the books from the small office library was fun) and going on trips with the groups. It was also interesting to look behind the scenes, too. I found out how the attendance is reported; how new students are uploaded to the Celtic online platform; and how the starters are processed every week. Thank you to the staff at Celtic who have been friendly and helpful at all times, I’ve enjoyed my internship a lot!

All I have left to say now is “Auf Wiedersehen” – it is German and does not mean “Goodbye”, but “See you again!”

#NewFriends #FindYourEpic #LearnEnglishinWales 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

Topics: Key Calendar Events, Celtic Life

April's story on International Women's Day

Posted by April Pugh on 08-Mar-2019 08:32:13

International Women’s Day 8th March

My story – I’m Possible

For this International Woman’s Day 2019, I wanted to share my story in the hope that it might encourage you to follow your dreams, to believe in yourself and to bravely state – “I’m possible” when everyone around you is shouting that your goal is “impossible”.

My story started around 18 months ago, it was a difficult period in my life and at times I felt hopeless. But I decided the best way to empower myself was by educating myself. I had always dreamed of completing my Masters’ degree, yet until that point, I had never really had the motivation or determination to make it happen. That all changed when I came across a meme online…

 

 

As a mother, I felt it was my duty to show my young daughter how to work hard, reach for the stars and create a better life for us both. With a steely resolve I applied for a post graduate course in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and managed to secure funding.

Then came the hard part, convincing the course director, my manager, and my family that I was able to be a full-time Masters’ student, full-time teacher and full-time mother all at once. I politely smiled as they cautioned….’there just aren’t enough hours in the day, you’ll never fit everything in, it’s impossible to do all three well at the same time.’ But I reasoned that if other women before me could overcome even greater obstacles then I could at least try because (as Bob Marley said) you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice.

Of course, it was not an ideal situation, but I never gave up: working throughout the day, looking after my little girl and studying intensely late at night once my daughter was sound asleep in bed. With each small success my confidence grew and what started as a faint whisper deep in my conscientiousness grew louder each day – I can do this!

Fast forward to December 2018 and the day of my graduation had arrived. I am so proud to be able to say that not only had I achieved my dream of gaining a Masters, but that I had done so in style. I was awarded The Professional Learning Outstanding Achievement accolade for earning a distinction in every module on the course and obtaining the highest score for a dissertation in the university department’s history.

 

Above all I’ve learned that a spark of self-belief accompanied by a whole lot of courage and determination can propel us to where we want to be. Echoing the words of Maya Angelou ‘go out there and grab life because Life loves the person who dares to live it!’

 

 

 

Read More

Topics: Celtic Life, Celtic teachers

Lena - my experience of International Women's Day in Germany

Posted by April Pugh on 08-Mar-2019 08:00:00

 

International Women’s Day 8th March

Every year on the 8th of March, the International Women’s Day is celebrated all around the world. In some countries, this day is just as important as Mother’s Day. Flowers, chocolate or other gifts are given to women to celebrate their day and in some countries the International Women’s Day is a public holiday, so people don’t have to work on that day. But what is this day about? I will tell you some facts about the International Women’s Day and how I celebrated it last year.

The first Women’s Day was celebrated 110 years ago, on the 28th of February 1909. It was organised by the American Socialist Party and was limited to New York City. Others picked up the idea and soon the day was celebrated annually on the 8th of March, although at first mainly by socialist and communist groups. This changed when in 1975 the International Women’s Day was adopted by the United Nations.

The International Women’s Day has different purposes in different countries. In some places, it is a way of protesting against the inequality between men and women, unfair laws or the absence of human rights. In other countries, such as in the UK, it is a day to celebrate womanhood and, especially, the strong women who have fought and are fighting for their rights. That women in the UK nowadays can vote, choose any profession they like and have the same rights as men should not be taken for granted. To be honest, the International Women’s Day is not of great importance in Germany. Since I live in a smaller town, there are no events taking place and the International Women’s Day is just another ordinary day. But last year, it was really special for me.

I teach German as a foreign language in Germany and many of my students are refugees from countries such as Syria, Iraq or Eritrea. I had prepared a normal lesson for the 8th of March last year – but the female students in my class had other plans. It was very special for them to spend the International Women’s Day in Germany because women and men are equal in Germany: women can be teachers and lawyers and politicians, and with Angela Merkel we have a female leader of our country. So, when my students came into the classroom in the morning, they not only were wearing their finest clothes, but also they had cooked and baked traditional dishes from their countries. Instead of studying German grammar, we then spent the day discussing the differences between our countries, especially the treatment of women, their rights and their career perspectives. The students told me that they loved Germany because of the many possibilities they were given and that they wanted to celebrate Women’s Day because they finally felt strong and well-educated. After all what has happened to them, they said they were proud to be women in Germany. I was very happy that they celebrated the International Women’s Day with me – they showed me that I was privileged to live in a country where women can achieve the same as men. And they also showed me that the International Women’s Day is important to raise awareness because not every woman is as privileged as I am.

 

#InternationalWomensDay2019  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

Topics: Key Calendar Events, Celtic Life

Lena - Celtic's Trip to London

Posted by April Pugh on 06-Mar-2019 15:45:57

 

A perfect day in London

Last Saturday, around 30 of Celtic’s students and I went to London by bus to visit the capital city of England. In the morning, the weather in Cardiff was horrible – it was raining, and it was very windy, too. But after the 2.5-hour bus drive to London, everyone could take their coats off. The sun shone and it was much warmer than in Cardiff.

We got off the bus near Westminster Abbey and during a short walking tour of the city, we visited several of London’s best-known sights: London Eye, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and Oxford Street. We also saw the Houses of Parliament, but we did not really see Big Ben – the tower was surrounded by scaffolding and almost unrecognisable! However, the perfect weather made up for this small disappointment and we enjoyed the walking tour a lot.

After the walking tour, we could explore the big city of London on our owns. While some students went shopping on Oxford Street or in Harrod’s, others moved on to sights such as Piccadilly Circus or visited one of London’s many markets. After I had eaten lunch, I went to the National Gallery with some students. The National Gallery is a huge museum in which many different paintings are exhibited, and it also contains the National Portrait Gallery. The building itself was as amazing as the art inside of it, so I enjoyed the afternoon a lot.

Everybody arrived back on the bus punctually, so we left London at 5 pm. The day in London was perfect (especially for our birthday girl Aylen), so many of us slept in the bus on the way back and dreamed of London!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

Topics: Celtic Life, Social Activities

Lena - it's British Pie Week!

Posted by April Pugh on 04-Mar-2019 14:42:16

 

 

British Pie Week

From the 4th to 10th of March this year, as in every first full week of March since 2007, British people celebrate the British Pie Week, which is one of their best-loved dishes. A pie is defined as “a baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry.” It is one of the most traditional British dishes and is eaten all around the UK. Pies can come in nearly every flavour, from ordinary ones such as steak pie or apple pie to extravagant combinations such as peanut butter and pickle pie. Pies have a long history: in former times, every dish used to be a pie. The pastry shell was used to cook other food such as fish or vegetables in it and was then given to the servants, whereas the masters ate only the fillings. Nowadays, it is the combination of pastry and fillings that is valued – and sometimes valuable: the most expensive slice of pie ever was sold in 2005 and cost £1024.

Now that you know some things about this traditional British dish, I am sure you want to try it. In Cardiff, the best place to eat delicious pies is The Pieminister. The restaurant is located at 35 Mary Street, near the Principality Stadium and St David’s Shopping Centre. I went to the restaurant on St David’s Day for lunch and dessert to find out what their pies are like:

 

The menu at The Pieminister is not big, but there still is something available for everyone. They have many vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free alternatives to the more traditional meat-filled pies. You can also choose between different sides such as fries, peas or mashed potatoes. When I had lunch at The Pieminister I chose the Heidi Piewhich is a vegetarian pie filled with goat’s cheese, sweet potatoes, spinach and red onions and I had onion rings as a side. It was delicious and the way the plate was arranged was lovely as well!

If you prefer something sweeter, you can try a dessert pie. Again, there are vegan and gluten-free options available and you can choose between fruity pies, caramel pies and chocolate pies. Although I was already full, I had an apple pie for dessert and it was delicious, too! They served it with vanilla ice cream and some apple sauce.

So, whether as the main course or as the dessert, a pie is always a delicious dish and it is definitely worth trying – especially during British Pie Week!

#Celticlife #PieMinister #BritishPieWeek 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

Topics: Celtic Life, Social Activities, Explore Wales

Lena - Upcoming events in Cardiff

Posted by April Pugh on 21-Feb-2019 08:51:16

 

Hello! I've been having such a great time in Cardiff and working at Celtic English Academy that I'm quite sad to be leaving soon to continue my studies in Germany. And that got me thinking....how can I make the most of my remaining time in this beautiful capital city? 

What’s happening in Cardiff in the next few weeks?

This week, I went to the National Museum to see the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition and I really recommend it. It only costs £4 if you show your student ID (the rest of the museum is free, so you can spend a whole day there if you’d like to) and you can see twelve original paintings by the amazing Leonardo da Vinci. They are on display until May 6th, so you still have plenty of time to see the exhibition. You can buy tickets on the day of your visit, but you need to be early – there may be long queues!

Apart from visiting this exhibition, what else can you do in Cardiff in the next few weeks? Here are some ideas:

If you like art, I have good news for you: There is another exhibition that you might enjoy, this one is at the Albany Gallery (74b Albany Road). It displays works of the three landscape artists: Karl Davies, Peter Kettle and Euan McGregor, who are all from Wales. You can have a look at their paintings from February 14th to March 9th. The admission is free for everyone.

In case you are not interested in paintings but in music, you could go to see the Berkeley Ensemble performing The Mare’s Tale at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (Castle Grounds, Cathays Park) on February 28th at 7.30pm. The Mare’s Tale is a musical score inspired by a series of drawings by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. These drawings, and therefore the corresponding music, are based upon the oldest Welsh midwinter traditions and the cult of the horse. The concert costs £12 for students. Don’t miss it and book your ticket here: https://www.rwcmd.ac.uk/whats_on/tickets/book.aspx?EventInstanceId=47202.

From 6th to 10th March you could pay the Gallery Gift Shop (craft fayre) a visit. At this small fair, a collaboration of artists, artisans, crafters and photographers from around South Wales offer their unique and hand-crafted products. It takes place in the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay and the admission is free.

If you’ve always wanted to know what traditional Welsh food is like? Go on a Cardiff Tasting Tour! This walking and tasting tour will take you to seven different places, where you can try Welsh and Cardiff’s cosmopolitan food and drinks, for example delicious cakes, sumptuous cheeses, and fragrant ciders or beers. You can go on a tour every Friday and Saturday from 10.30am to 2:30pm. Book your ticket online for £40 (http://lovingwelshfood.uk/product/cardiff-tasting-tour/) and meet the tour guide in the gift shop inside Cardiff castle at 10.15am.

Now that you’ve eaten so much, you might want to burn some calories. How about participating in Cardiff’s Resolution Run on March 10th in Bute Park? The entry fee is £15, and you can decide how many miles you want to run. The Resolution Run is an annual event in Cardiff and supports stroke patients in Wales. Be aware that you need to be at least 18 years old to participate.

And of course, don’t miss the annual St David’s Day Parade on March 1st. To celebrate the Welsh patron saint’s feast day, a huge parade is organised every year. You can either watch the parade or even be a part of it if you register as a contributing group in advance (download the forms here: http://www.stdavidsday.org/pages/about.html). If you want to join the parade as a group, make sure you look Welsh: wear traditional Welsh clothes and maybe carry a Welsh flag. Whether you are walking along or just watching: The parade starts at 11.30am on King Edward VII Avenue and then criss-crosses the city centre.

Choosing to attend one or more of the above-mentioned events, I am sure the next few weeks in Cardiff will be exciting and wonderful!

 

 

 

Images from: https://museum.wales/cardiff/whatson/10265/Leonardo-da-Vinci-A-Life-in-Drawing/

 http://www.albanygallery.com/index.php?page=5&p=2

https://www.visitcardiff.com/event/the-mares-tale-berkeley-ensemble/

https://cardiffharbour.com/events/gallery-gift-shop/

https://lovingwelshfood.uk/

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/571535008931664503/

http://www.stdavidsday.org/pages/about.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

Topics: Celtic Life, Social Activities, Explore Wales

Lena - for the love of books!

Posted by April Pugh on 14-Feb-2019 08:00:00

 

My name is Lena, I am from Germany and I will be working as an intern at Celtic English Academy for the next six weeks. My first blog post is about a very special day – February 14th.

I am sure everyone knows that Valentine’s Day is celebrated on this day. Though originally a Christian feast day, nowadays it is widely known as a celebration of love. On this day, many people all over the world give gifts to their loved ones; especially to boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives. But there is more to this date: February 14th also marks the annual International Book Giving Day.

The International Book Giving Day was first celebrated in the UK but has since spread to many countries all around the world. Its aim is to provide access to books for children in need, and to install a lifelong love of reading in these children. Therefore, many people either give books as gifts to their own children, donate books to children’s libraries, schools and charities or leave books in places where they’ll be found.

I asked some of the staff at Celtic about a book character they love and why they think this book would be a nice gift. So maybe this year you can combine Valentine’s Day and International Book Giving Day and give a book to someone you love on February 14th.

 

Here are some recommendations:

April's choiceMy favourite character is Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series. He is not what you first suspect, and he keeps you guessing – you never really know whether he is good or evil. And he never gives up on his true love!

Why is the Harry Potter series a good gift? The books appeal to people of all ages and nationalities. They are magical and they are full of life-lessons.

 

Alex's choice - The character I love best is Arya Stark from the Game of Thrones series. After seeing her father die, she pretends to be a boy and wants to take revenge on all her enemies. You can see her development towards a warrior-figure throughout the series!

Why is the Game of Thrones series a good gift? It features very many great and diverse characters and offers you a whole new universe to explore. It is rich of both fantastic elements and a lot of political intrigue.

 

Helen's choice - I first read Alice in Wonderland when I was 7 years old, and Alice has been my favourite character ever since. She is adventurous and just adapts to the strange new world she is confronted with. I wanted to be like her and most of all I admired her bravery. And I really enjoy imagining her world!

Why is Alice in Wonderland a good gift? The book is timeless and could have been written any time. The story is exciting, visually psychedelic, funny and charming. Alice in Wonderland is a template for children’s books and the original edition is beautifully illustrated (if you can, try and get the illustrated book!). It is also forward-thinking because Alice as a girl did not have any limits, although the book was written at a time when women weren’t supposed to go on adventures.

 

Last but not least, here is my opinion: My favourite book character is Bob. Bob is not a man, as you might think, but a ginger tom cat. In the memoir A Street Cat Named Bob, formerly homeless author James Bowen tells the story of how he changed his life for the better with Bob’s help. Bob is funny, cute, independently-minded and compassionate – and he is real and lives in London!

Why is A Street Cat Named Bob a good gift? Bob’s story touches your heart and makes you think differently about homeless people because you get to see their side of the story. The friendship between man and cat is remarkable and the book is funny and easy to understand.

 

So, I hope I've inspired you to get reading and maybe give your loved one a book this year. Let me know in the comments who your favourite characters are. 

 

Images from: https://jakubmaslowski.artstation.com/projects/dV9bJ

https://www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones/cast-and-crew/arya-stark

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/350999364681057703/

https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/11/17/11/14BA3E2D000005DC-3945138-image-a-11_1479381258441.jpg

Read More

Topics: Study English

IELTS - what to expect and how best to prepare for success!

Posted by April Pugh on 06-Dec-2018 15:15:18

The exam tests all four main communication skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. Take a look at our helpful table which provides an overview of each part of the exam and some of the rules. 

Read More

Topics: Study English

Verb patterns: Using Infinitive or Gerund

Posted by April Pugh on 22-Nov-2018 13:13:34

Verb patterns in English can be confusing. There are some instances when the verb is in the infinitive form, and others when the verb is in the gerund. Here are some guidelines to help you understand when to use each one. 

Read More

Topics: Study English

Hello, we are Celtic English Academy

We teach English today, so you can start your tomorrow.

We are a friendly and welcoming English language centre in the heart of Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. We have been providing English language courses for over 10 years.

Whether you are looking to improve your English for your career, to go to university or simply to be able to communicate more effectively in our global world of today, we can help you meet your goals.

On the Celtic blog, you can find information from staff, teachers and students about:

  • Things to do in Cardiff
  • Social activities
  • Information about accommodation
  • Studying at Celtic
  • Latest news and more!

We hope you enjoy the read!

Follow us on Instagram

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts