Monthly Archives: July 2013

Daily Life – Photography and writing competition 2013

Entries to our photography and writing competition.  Thanks to everyone who entered for your contributions.

Photo competition board

Tusca and Tigre

Tusca and Tigre

I’ve always wanted a dog, and these are my first. Their names are Tusca and Tigre.  They’ve changed my life.  They understand when I’m happy or sad, they are always there for me, they are my best friends.

By Beatriz

Study desk

Study desk

Here in this image we can see a desk with a lot of material to study. Daily life in Coimbra is represented here due to the fact that this city is known for its student life, a lot of them come from other locations to study in Coimbra, it represents the past, present and future of a lot of people.

By Ana Rute and Inês

Room with a view

Room with a view

After a tiring day I always lean on my balcony and see this:  Coimbra. The lighted university is a symbol of this magnificent city, and I have the luck to be able to see it from my house. This image gives me hope and strength to keep my path. One day I’ll be there every day, learning.

By Patrícia

Always growing

Always growing

In this photo we can see the shadow of a university student with his cape with ribbons that look like a small tree that’s still growing, which represents the country. The background is a floor of a house in the city. This picture tells us that Coimbra is a city shared by nature and buildings.

By Maria Inês

My fortress

My fortress

This is where I spend most time of my regular days. Maybe some will say my life must be depressing, spending all day in bed. Well, this is where I study, listen to music, paint, play computer games, and of course sleep. My bed is my fortress. Don’t underestimate its power.

By Patrícia

More than a coffee

More than a coffee

If you looked at this photo without paying much attention, you would only see a man reading his newspaper and drinking his coffee. But one should never “judge the book by its cover”.

This picture tells a story known by many, forgotten by some; the story of our culture and identity. Yes, Portuguese people like to read the latest news while drinking their coffee, but what about those who made that coffee for you? Sometimes they’re the ones who listen to us when something is wrong with our country, sometimes they even see us crying or laughing until we can’t laugh any more. Don’t they play a major role in our day-to-day life? I believe they do, that’s why when you look closer, you’ll see that part of our daily lives represented in this picture… You’ll then remember who you are and the ones you spend many hours with.

And just like this photo, what makes the difference in our routines are those extra “effects” that we can add.

by Inês

Nature - inspiration, vitality and harmony

Nature – inspiration, vitality and harmony

Nature is vital in my life, as it is my source of inspiration and vitality. It gives me the peace that I need to overcome the stress in me. This is why I need to breathe nature every day, without it I wouldn’t reach true harmony.

By Patrícia

My support

My support

The shiny eyes of my dog look at me whenever I get home. He’s the living proof that animals can love. My best friend has seen me playing, eating, working, laughing, crying… And after everything he keeps by my side, supports me and comforts me. There is no one like him.

By Patrícia

You can see the photograph that inspired our competition here.  It was taken by Portuguese photographer Daniel Rodrigues and won 1st prize in the World Press Photo Daily Life category:

World Press Photo

Daniel Rodrigues Blog



Filed under Daily life - photo and writing competition

B1 – Summer 2013 – Holiday ads and holiday headaches

Travel related texts from students studying on our B1 Summer course.

Holiday adverts

Border adventure

Star Trips is organizing an exciting trip called Get to know the border between Portugal and Spain.

This holiday gives you the chance to visit Monte Gordo and lasts seven days.

The trip is perfect for people who like adventure and want to go scuba diving, hiking, canoeing, horse riding and water skiing.

We guarantee you will see the best sunset ever on this beautiful coast line and enjoy the warmest water on the wonderful coast of The Algarve.

During this trip you can eat sea food and Bolas de Berlim which are Portuguese sweets popular in The Algarve.

We promise you a relaxing experience as well as adventure that is great value for money.

Book today!

Adventure is out there!  American Trip

Ever wanted to get to know North, Central and South America?  Ready for the trip of a lifetime?

This trip lasts 5 months and gives you the chance to grow as a person and get to know new cultures.

We offer you the opportunity to visit Canada, San Francisco, New York, Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Argentina and finally Brazil.  It’s an unmissable chance to go sightseeing in these wonderful destinations.

The tour is perfect for people who have an adventurous spirit and have the desire to learn about traditions.

If you like adventure, this is the best trip for you.

Formal letters to a travel agency…

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to tell you about the problems I had during my trip to America which I booked with you nine months ago.

First of all, I arrived to New York to take a flight to California but the plane was late which meant we missed our connection.  As a result we had to pay for a night in a hotel and a new flight to San Francisco.  The airline said I should contact you about compensation.

Then, in Brazil, when I was waiting for my bag, someone picked it up by mistake and I never got it back.

As you can imagine, all these problems spoiled my holiday because I spent more money than I expected and lost many things that were in my lost bag.

I would appreciate it if you could help me with a partial refund.

Yours faithfully, …

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to tell you about some problems I had during my recent trip to Monte Gordo last June.

First of all, when I arrived at the hotel I discovered that there was not a car park near by.  This was very inconvenient. Furthermore, the bedroom was very noisy at night even though your advert promised a ‘relaxing trip.’  Last but not least, the beach was very far from the hotel.

Although the receptionist of the hotel was very professional, she was unable to offer me a refund for these problems.  For these reasons, I would be grateful if you would return 20% of the money I paid for this trip.

Yours faithfully,

Leave a comment

Filed under B1 - Summer 2013

Vocabulary for romantic relationships

Students on our B1 Summer Course have been learning vocabulary for describing the ups and downs of romantic relationships.  Here are two texts they wrote in groups to recycle some of the phrases we’ve met on the course so far…

Group 1

I really love my Prince William.  We met when we were at university and we had friends in common.

He still means more to me than anything else in the world.  We have the same tastes, favourite sports, foods and we both love travelling around the world.

Our wedding was incredible.  Like a dream.  I wore a long wedding dress and William was in a military uniform.  I found him impossible to resist.

Now were are expecting a baby and we have a perfect relationship.

Group 2

I detest my husband John!  He’s a fat, lazy man.

He drives me mad because he doesn’t do any housework.  Nothing!  Even worse, he never pays any attention to anything I say and this gets me really frustrated.

Sometimes we have terrible rows and I just want to kill him.

The best solution for us is to get divorced as soon as possible!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

B1 – Summer 2013 – Vox Pops: giving advice about studying and health

Vox Pops as planned and recorded by students on our B1 Summer course…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

B1 Summer 2013 – Romantic stories

Three love stories from students studying on our summer 2013 B1 course…

It wasn’t meant to be

I was drawn to him from the first time I saw him.  I still remember our first look during a train journey.  He looked at me and gave me a big smile.  Then he came up to me and asked my name.  After that, we exchanged phone numbers and from that time we kept in touch regularly.

A few weeks later we started a relationship.

He was very gracious and polite but sometimes we had arguments because he spent a lot of money on clothes, cars and other expensive things.  In this aspect he was the opposite of me.

After 5 years we split up when he was preparing to ask me if I wanted to marry him.

I have to accept that I will never truly understand why he spent a lot of money on things that weren’t a priority for me in life.

Now the best thing I can do is to continue with my life and I know that one day I will marry the man I am meant for.


Forever a star

My name is Lea and this is my story.

I was drawn to Cory from the first time I saw him in Glee.  We were there for an audition and we both managed to get through it.  At first we just talked about our job and how fantastic it would be to work together but after we started to hang out and two months later we were in a relationship.

I will never forget these two years with Cory.

We were going to get married but he died three months before the wedding.

I really miss him but I know that he’s still looking at me.  I still love him and I think I always will.

The positive side is that I already have a star in the sky.


Love at the airport

Four years ago I was the airport going to London when I saw a beautiful girl.  From that moment I was immediately drawn to her.  I tried to not lose sight of her and to find out which plane she would take.  I discovered that she was going to London.

When I boarded the plane I tried to sit beside her and I managed to get the seat I wanted.  We spent all the flight talking and I discovered we had a lot in common.  I was going to London for an interview for a job and she was going to see a friend.  When the plane landed and we left the airport we exchanged numbers and we sent a lot of messages to one another.

My application for the job was accepted and she decided to stay in London to look for a job too.  We started dating and a year later we decided to share a flat in London.

I really can’t imagine living without her.

Leave a comment

Filed under B1 - Summer 2013, Stories

Advice for Cambridge First from Advanced level students

Students in our C1 Advanced group, inspired by the Baz Luhrmann song Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen), offer their advice to students preparing for Cambridge First at B2 level…

The original Sunscreen texts

The original text by Mary Schmich as published in 1997 in a column in The Chicago Tribune:  Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young.

Baz Luhrmann, Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) (EMI, 1999)

with lyrics:

Rozalla – Evrybody’s Free (To Feel Good)

Thanks to:

  • Anya Shaw for her inspiring session at the International House Teachers’ Online Conference, May 2013:  Closing Ceremonies (slides and handout)
  • Sally for the wonderful job with the video editing
  • Our wonderful C1 students who came up with their ideas and recorded the audio during the last class of the year

1 Comment

Filed under B2 - Cambridge English: First, Pre-FCE 2012-13

Legends of sport and music – biographies

Students on our YL summer course have been writing biographies of famous people from the world of sport and music.  Who are your legends of the past?

Jimmy Hendrix

He has born on November 27, 1942 and died on September 18, 1970.

He was an American musician, singer, and songwriter.

He is one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of the popular music.

By Rafael

Ayrton Senna

He was born on 21 March 1960 in Brazil and he died in 1994 in Italy.  He was a famous F1 driver.  He drove a Toleman, a Lotus, a Honda, a McLaren and so many others.  He died in an accident in Italy when he drove in the Williams at high speed and he died.  There is a memorial at the site of his win in European Grand Prix, Donington Park.

By Tiago

Angélico Vieira

Sandro Milton Vieira Angélico, known as Angélico Vieira, was born on 31 December 1982 in Lisbon, he died on 28 June 2011 in Porto in a road accident.

Angélico was Portuguese and lived in Lisbon. He was famous because he was a former member of the Portuguese boy band, D`ZRT, and for participating in the Portuguese series Morangos com Açúcar in 2003.

By Carla

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was a American singer-songwriter and dancer.

Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 and he died on  June 25, 2009.

He is considered the most successful entertainer of all time.

By Pedro

Leave a comment

Filed under Biography, Summer 2013 - YL