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Archive for the ‘Tips to learn languages’ Category

Tips for learning French

Friday, April 11th, 2014

visit groupe ParisThere is no better and more appealing way of learning the French language than as a foreign exchange student in France in one of our Homestay Programs. The opportunity to become immersed in the wonderful French culture, meeting new friends and gaining  first hand experience of new and different points of view is an amazing opportunity of a lifetime.

While enjoying the many exciting events of your educational travel program, meeting your host family, new French pals and sampling the delicious foods, it is an excellent chance to become skilled with the language and pick up much more without any extra demands or hard work at all.

Here are some tips for making the most of your time during your educational program in France.

  • Take every chance to speak the language – not only with your host family but when shopping, sightseeing and out and about. Ask directions, order food and buy tickets. Take a step out of your comfort zone and strike up conversations with locals, being careful to be always be polite and friendly. This will greatly boost your speaking skills.
  • Watch a bit of TV – the fun of watching a popular program in French is a great way to pick up more vocabulary and improve those listening skills.
  • Listen to radio – trying to keep up with the fast paced news and listening to French pop music will give you a boost to improve your understanding of the language.
  • Grab a copy of your favorite magazine in French and your reading will immediately reach new heights.
  • Most importantly, remember to socialize with French friends and not make the mistake of hanging only with your own country mates – be continually open to the great opportunities that your visit can offer.

Since 1957, Nacel’s programs have provided young people with the opportunity to discover new things about themselves and the world around them in safe and fun learning environments.  Contact us for more information!

Homestay Matchmakers – Your Host Family in France

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

When we receive a request for a homestay, we delve into resources developed over a long period of time. It’s a matchmaking process that requires information collected and catalogued about the host families who apply to the program, but most of all, that requires human insight and understanding that come from years of experience in matching a child, a teenager or a young adult to the right family.

French Homestay Family with their guest

French homestay family with their guest

Families, in Nacel’s French homestay program, volunteer to welcome a child from another culture into their homes. Very often, they’ve heard about a Nacel homestay from a friend of theirs, or someone in their village. Maybe their own children met the “stranger” who shared their classroom for a few weeks. Word of mouth, spread through the enthusiasm of host families, is a key factor in making the decision to apply.

Once they’ve submitted the application form, the family is contacted by our agents in France to discuss the Nacel homestay program. This first interview, conducted over the telephone, aims to explain the goal of the program and to ensure that the family understands their responsibilities. This screening process identifies the families who are ready to fulfill their role and provide the immersive experience that our participants are coming to enjoy.

The next step is to interview the whole family. This is carried out by Nacel representatives, local to the area, who will visit the home, collect information about each member in the household, including professions, interests and hobbies. An inventory is taken of living arrangements, pets and activities available in the home as well as the local area. One of the most important discussions is towards setting expectations: what to expect of the children and what they expect of the family in return. A full written report is handed back to the Nacel team who decides if the family’s living conditions and motivations are suitable for the program.

And once they’ve been approved, they wait for a match. In 2013, Nacel has over 700 families in the program who trust in our reputation established over 50 years.

In another country, a program applicant is also filling out a form, thinking objectively about what they enjoy doing. A graded response from ‘not at all’ to ‘very much’ identifies the measure of participation in each activity. There’s also the medical information: allergies, illness, vaccines, medication, everything a host family needs to keep their guest safe and healthy.

Students also write a personal letter to the host family in which applicants talk about themselves and choose photographs to showcase what’s important in their life. Their anticipation of the upcoming adventure is clear.

When the application is received, it immediately goes to regional representatives who review individual preferences and identify the families who fit the profile. The top criteria are finding families with children close in age and with similar interests.

Recently, an American mother sending her daughter to Spain on her first homestay, recounted her own youthful homestay experience with Nacel. She spoke of that moment when first introduced to her family, how nervous she was in those few moments waiting to find out who they were. On the way home, she compared her experience with the other participants. It turned out that they all felt the way she did; that “her” family was a perfect match and she couldn’t have wished for anyone else.

The nasal twang of your French tutor

Monday, October 1st, 2012

So you are finally on your way to attend private French lessons in Paris itself, what could be better, you are set up with a highly recommended French tutor and you have listened to a lot of tapes and watched a lot of that famous French cinema to get acquainted with the feel and flow of it.

But when you install yourself for your first lesson somewhere in France, don’t be too shocked if your French tutor doesn’t sound exactly like your number one movie star, because here, like everywhere else, there are differences in dialects depending on where in France you are from.

If your French tutor speaks with a nasal twang he’s likely to be from the southern parts, maybe from the nitty-gritty of harbour town Marseille, or the palm tree paradise of Nice. Or maybe he comes across a bit harsh with the Germanic influences of the eastern part colouring his accent. Does he seem a bit full of himself? Maybe it is just the rounded vowels stuck in his throat from his northern upbringing.

When you attend Home Lessons in France, the regional accent of your French tutor is something to be aware of, since the significance of dialects isn’t just constricted to different ways of pronunciation. No. They always come rich in symbolism, being a class marker between high and low and between country and city.

There are a thousand stories to a dialect, and if you study in France, you will have the opportunity to learn a little bit more about them, as there is no such thing as a neutral way of speaking. Once you have come to grips with the basics of the French language, or maybe excelled further than that, you will still have a hard time escaping that small but revealing tone in your pronunciation that gives away clues as to where you are from.

Even if, when you study in France, totally master standard French, that will tell people something about you, since standard anything when it comes to languages isn’t spoken by the general public, but rather by TV-anchors and weathergirls. It’s like trying to flatten out the rough terrain located in an accent, instead of celebrating the diversity and history of a region that comes so closely integrated with the flavour of a voice.

So when you sign up for home lessons in France, embrace the local accent of your French tutor, play with it, try other dialects on for size as it is a fun and effective way of expanding your vocabulary and will get you a true feeling for the rhythm of a language as a whole.

Advice to the young – Study abroad

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

To study abroad has become an increasingly vital part of growing up, but there are more benefits linked to attending language schools abroad than the mere experience of making it on your own in a strange environment.

At an age where you are not just young at heart, but body and mind as well, it is a scientific fact that your brain is more susceptible to really integrate new knowledge, making it a natural part of yourself rather than a costume that you are able to wear, but you never feel quite comfortable in.

The younger you are, the more likely you are to be able to speak a second language like a true native, not only due to neutrons and brain cells, but because the thorns of the world that makes an adult develop a social armor of conduct and self-awareness, hasn’t yet sunk their claws into you, leaving you with an openness and natural curiosity for taking new things to heart.

Another thing that just comes with the territory of learning a second language at an early age is that it’s like doing push-ups for your brain. Only you will not grow more muscles, you’ll grow smarter, which in the long run is going to serve you far better in every field, the opposite sex included. And I’m not saying that just to be the teachers pet, heavy research has been done in this area, showing a direct link between learning a new language and performing better in tests no matter what the subject is.

You really should take advantage of that opportunity, and to study languages abroad at one of the many language schools available is the perfect way of doing that. You will experience all the adventure you can handle, and in the process, you come out the other end with the added bonus of the freedom to choose the direction of your life. It’s a luxury that money just can’t buy.

Language schools abroad are there for your taking, wherever you are from and wherever you are going, and to have any of the major languages- English, Spanish, French, German-  as a backbone will give you a head start in the race of life and career. And to learn languages abroad is not only the most exciting way of doing that; it is also the most effective.

So if your parents are hesitant of letting you run off to study abroad, just wave this little piece of paper in their face and ask them if they really are prepared to stand in the way of you becoming the great leader of your country.

LEARNING ENGLISH ABROAD – the adventure of a lifetime

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The adventure of learning English abroad is a thing to keep in mind as you are sitting in the classroom feeling bored, with half your attention span more than half way out the door.

Signing up for an English language school is like a premonition to what awaits you once you can read, speak and understand it. Only by taking that first step, the world starts to open up to you.

You will get the all inclusive package, as you wave goodbye to friends and family to study abroad, you are not only about to embark on an adventure that you will remember for the rest of your life- to learn a language in its native environment is also the fastest, most useful training tool you will find, as everything you practice within the confines of your classroom walls, you will immediately be able to put the test in a practical way.

So to study abroad could mean you will find yourself in learning English in London or New York, and that would get you to experience the bustle of the world’s biggest, most exciting cities and at the same time, given you study hard of course, being there will take you one step closer of being in control of your future destiny.

In essence, that what learning English will do for you. A native language in 45 countries and a second or third language throughout most of the world, the ability to master it is the ability to pursue a life of freedom and options. It will transform you into a citizen of the world; it is an initial and vital step to make you an attractive asset on the globalized job market, as well as making you into a potential globetrotter. With English as a vital ingredient on your backpack, the world is at your feet.

There is an old saying that goes: “knowledge is power”, and in this day and age of a high speed information society, that saying has never been truer. And, as you all are probably aware of, a large chunk of that information is presented in English.

So with that in mind, learning English is acquiring knowledge in itself, but also a basis for further exploration. It has become a key ingredient in development and progress, for you as an individual as well as for countries at large.

So there really aren’t any reasons good enough to pass up the chance of a lifetime adventure of learning languages abroad, which at the same time provides you with a future of limitless opportunities.

Germany: a country full of treasures!

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Do you like the sea, mountains, cities that are constantly moving and historic small towns of Germany full of history with an incredible architecture? Each of the 16 states of Germany has its own history and scenery all different but all beautiful.

Germany recently became a real success model. Many international companies have their headquarters in Germany and many brands come from Germany too.
It is a country that is at the forefront of new technology and it is not car enthusiasts who will tell you the contrary! Indeed, many beautiful cars are made in Germany such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche…

You are not fond of beautiful cars? Germany has plenty of other assets well hidden …

Germany is famous for its classical music, but there are contemporary artists whose careers began here, such as the famous violinist David Garrett (or more recently Tokyo Hotel). Germany is an inspiration!
In addition, there are over 4000 museums in Germany where you can explore the art and history, technology and architecture.

In Germany, there is something for everyone: whether cities with their famous architecture, historical monuments or shopping, meals (the Sauerbrate, the Kartoffelkloesse …), the medieval houses or nightlife.

Germany is home of the finest monuments qualified Unesco World Heritage such as the castle and park of Sanssouci in Potsdam, Cologne Cathedral and the city center of Dresden.

The Berlinale is to Germany what the Oscars for the United States: the International Film Festival of Berlin but also the largest cultural event in the capital. Stars, rhinestones and sequins … The Berlinale is a major event film and media. Each year, 20,000 professionals from 120 countries, including 4,200 journalists flocked to Berlin to attend this event.
If you’re more athletic than glitz and glitter, just run the marathon in Munich and take the opportunity to visit the royal castles: Neuschwanstein and Linderhof!

Go ahead and discover Germany with Nacel!
You can for example choose to study German in Berlin . Younger students could attend am Summer Camp in Germany to study German and have fun! High School students can choose to live in a German host family and attend an academic year in Germany.

The Music Day in France!

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Music Day is the celebration of music and a way to discover new talents. This day has evolved from a few scattered in the streets to a major event of the early summer.

The Music Day has been initiated by the Culture of Minister Jack Lang June 21, 1982 with the slogan “Make Music, Music Day .”
The concept is simple: “the music everywhere and the concert nowhere” (Maurice Fleuret, 1981). In 1982, five million people,among them the half are young people, play a musical instrument; the idea is to get people on the street at the Music Day. The date of June 21 is generally the first day of summer (northern hemisphere) and is also the longest day of the year.
In addition, this day refers to the old holiday tradition of St Jacques which is still celebrated in other countries.

The success of this day is the one of all its actors, such as theaters, orchestras, bands, music festivals.


Experience this unforgettable French celebration in France and take the opportunity to get French courses in one of our French schools.
Learn French in France in Lyon with its historical and cultural richness or learn French in Rouen, in the old medieval city where you can venture out on the trail of Joan of Arc …
Use this opportunity to practise your French skills!
Learn French in France in June and enjoy the Music day!

ESTA procedure to enter the United States

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Study, work or travel in a foreign country often requires a lot of paperwork and especially for the U.S. territory. Indeed, the ESTA procedure is one of the necessary administrative procedures to study in the United States.

Since 2009, participants must obtain the ESTA authorization prior to boarding an airline for the United States.
ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is an electronic registration system requiring travelers who are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) (27 countries) to register before boarding an airplane or a cruise ship bound for the United States. This recording allows the government to do a pre-selection before granting them the right to enter the United States. ESTA now costs $ 14 (since August 10, 2010). However, this authorization is valid for 2 years (multiple entries) and can be made by third parties (travel, family and friends). It is possible to update personal data at any time. A response will be given immediately in most cases. Permission will be granted or not authorized or is “pending” (response sent within 72 hours). When permission is not granted, the participant will move to an embassy or consulate and apply for a visa. The ESTA does not mean, however, that access to the United States is guaranteed.
Registration must be done on the following website:
ESTA procedure

Some private websites pose as government sites in the United States. These websites charge their customers to apply for ESTA for them. Make your own actions, you do not need to use the websites to apply. Remember if you let someone else do the application for you, you may get an invalid authorization.

These administrative measures can ensure the security of the United States and somehow, your safety. Do not waste time, go and register on the website and fly in peace!

Choose to learn English in the United States with Nacel!

Welcome to the United States !

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

We want you to have a very good experience studying in the United States with your host family, so here are some shrewdnesses to help you become the best young foreign guest:

-Above all, allow yourself the opportunity to experience a new culture and open the door to communicate with your host family. Therefore do not consider your host family as a hotel.

-Nobody is immune to moments of sadness so do not you withdraw into yourself and open yourself to your family. Do not hesitate to confide in them and if you prefer a neutral person, contact your chaperone or your local coordinator.

-Make a maximum effort to express yourself using symbols if necessary and remember that a smile can be very infectious!

-Go beyond a simple “thank you “, show your appreciation with enthusiastic participation, positive attitude and an inquiring mind.

-Be adventurous, motivated and enjoy the differences.

-Do whatever you can to make of your stay a positive experience. If you are introverted and shy, force yourself to change for a month!

-Plan to use some of your pocket money to please your host family during your stay. Host families are pleased when you offer to pay for a soda, ice cream, cake, outings.

-Do not plan anything without the agreement of your host family and remember that this program would not be possible without the generosity of host families who planned to welcome you.

-Taste new foods, do not hesitate! You can even prepare a typical national dish for your host family. Share your culture with them it is an exchange!

-Also remember that you are a representative of your country, so be a good example of it!

- Do not expect to do activities every day because activities have a cost for the family who can maybe not afford to do activities all the time.

-This program is non-smoking. In the United States, it is illegal to consume alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 years, so do not ask to consume alcohol during your stay.

- Of course, do not forget to write a letter of thanks to the host family upon your return!
At the end of your stay you will complete an end-of-stay questionnaire, your host family will do the same. We wish you a memorable stay and that your host family will believe you are the best young foreign guest in the world!

Choose our Homestay in France or our Homestay in Argentina!

Read our FAQs before travelling abroad!

Live in a host family abroad and discover a new country!

Monday, March 7th, 2011

You wish to get acquainted with a civilization and a culture different from yours? You look for an accommodation during a traineeship abroad? You wish to improve your language knowledge but independently, without attending any language course? This student homestay program is for you!

Available from 18 years old only, this program allows you to live in a host family living in the below destinations:
- England: South suburb of London or Plymouth.
- Scotland: Edinburgh
- Malta: Sliema
- Germany: Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Köln, Koblenz, Gresden, Freiburg, Hamburg, Hannover, Lübeck, Mainz, Munich, Regensburg, Ulm, Weimar and Wiesbaden
- Spain: Barcelona, Cadiz, Granada, Huesca, Madrid city centre and suburb, Sabadell (North of Barcelona), Segovia, Seville.
-Etats-Unis: New York, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Seattle.


In host family: breakfasts as well as dinners are included.

Your days will be free (no activity planned). So, we advise you to collect information before your departure on the city or the region which you will have visit. Contact us if you need any additional information!
Dates and duration of the stay are free (minimum at 5 nights).

Prepare the TOEIC exam!

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

The TOEIC is the most recognized English test in the world. Many companies of all around the world use it.
His goal: to measure and certify the English level of international people whose mother tongue is not English.It may be students looking for job or professionnals who need to use English at work.
This test indeed assesses the ability to use English in the business.
This exam is in the form of the MCQ and it is composed of 200 questions which last about 2:30.
Nowadays it is more common and more interesting to find the score of a TOEIC in a curriculum vitae. It helps young people who enter in the job market to show their experience and really appreciated by recruiters .

The cost of the test is about €100.

 Here is a list of the schools where you can prepare and attend this exam :

- London Hampstead

- Oxford

- Cambridge

- Auckland

More information about the TOEIC exam here!

Adding a Foreign Language to your Degree

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Just like choosing a career for your future if you want to progress faster, it would be a good idea to take a total-immersion course in a country where the language is spoken natively to add a bonus asset to your degree. A semester abroad to become fluent in a foreign language.

Many modern languages degree programs will encourage students to study abroad in order to enhance their language understanding, so this course of study may allow you to enjoy overseas travel and become a part of a different culture than your own besides the fact that it offers so many different opportunities for the future.

Nonetheless, the challenge of learning a new language will always work in your favor. You know what they say…. 1 language is never enough!

Click here to find out more about our study abroad programs!