Tag Archives: Coimbra

#IHSummer – July 2015 @ IH Santa Clara

Two International House Santa Clara students from our July 2015 Summer Courses directed this video depicting their IH Summer experience.  It features students from both our English and Portuguese courses and the IH Santa Clara team.

The video has been entered for the International House Summer Blockbuster competition.  You can vote for this entry and take a look at what other IH schools have been up to this summer by following these steps:

1) Go to https://www.facebook.com/internationalhouselanguages/app_403834839671843 or http://woobox.com/xs5qpb for mobile devices
2) Click ‘vote’
3) Find the IH Santa Clara video and vote.

Thanks for your votes!

Video made with iMovie.


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Filed under Summer 2015 @ IH Santa Clara

60 second idea to improve the world…

If you could suggest one idea to improve the world around us, what would it be?

That was the question we asked our four students during our July 2014 Speaking Skills course and here are three of ideas they came up…


Sixty second idea to improve the world:

Each week on the BBC World Service radio programme The Forum invites a guest presents an idea to improve the world.  You can listen to an archive of these recordings on the web:

Using the Sixty Second Idea in the ELT classroom:

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Filed under Speaking Skills - Summer 2014

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

A visit to Coimbra – what to see and do (Pre-Intermediate, Saturdays)

Students in our A2 Saturday group give their advice to visitors to Coimbra – click the link to our class poster.

A visit to Coimbra – What to see and do

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Filed under Pre-Intermediate A2+ 2012-13

Coimbra – Off the beaten track

Here is another post from one of our Advanced students who is preparing for the CAE at International House Santa Clara.

The text is a section of a tourist guide for visitors to Coimbra giving them advice about places which can be easily visited from their base in Coimbra.  Places which are worth visiting but often overlooked by tourists in our corner of  Portugal.

Coimbra – Off the beaten track

Coimbra is one of the most important cities in Portugal because of its long, illustrious history.  Visitors to Coimbra will find lots to fill their time here from beautiful monuments to interesting museums.  However, within easy reach of the city lie other places well worth a visit.

A stroll through history

The first place you should consider are the ruins of Conímbriga, once one of the biggest Roman settlements in Portugal.  To learn more about the Roman lifestyle tourists can visit an informative museum beside the ruins.  After wandering around the ruins themselves, the location is the perfect spot for a picnic, or, if you prefer, there’s an inexpensive restaurant onsite.

Ancient stone walls

Another fantastic place that is not often visited by foreign tourists is the castle at Montemor-o-Velho.  This is a medieval castle built during the Christian reconquest.  Here tourists can see the impressive fortifications and great views from the old walls.  Sometimes, in summer, there are concerts inside the walls.

An insight into the past

Salinas da Figueira da Foz is another site of interest just a few kilometres from Coimbra.  It preserves one of Portugal’s oldest agricultural activities – salt production.  The Salinas da Figueira was created to safeguard this important heritage and consists of a museum, a walk between the channels and salt flats and a sightseeing boat.  These three options provide a wonderful way to learn more about this traditional practice.  Visitors can see typical salt warehouses, wooden buildings based on platforms with the capacity to store between 150-200 tonnes of salt.

In short, within easy access of Coimbra, visitors can find many fascinating places which give them a greater insight into the history and culture of Portugal.  It’s well worth considering exploring at least one of these places during your trip to Coimbra.

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Filed under CAE 2012, CAE 2013

A new tourist attraction for Coimbra – proposals from Teens 7

Our Teens 7 students at International House Santa Clara have been learning vocabulary related to travel and tourism in class recently.  In one lesson they discussed ideas about how to attract more tourists to Coimbra.  They then wrote up their discussions as proposals.  We hope you enjoy reading them.  Which ideas do you think would be most successful?

Proposal 1

The aim of this proposal is to outline 3 suggestions for attracting more tourists to Coimbra.  In total 8 ideas were discussed and we made a short-list of three ideas that we thought would be the most effective.

Ideas we rejected

We decided that a water park would not be very successful because it would be very expensive and in times of financial crises people don’t have much money to spend on activities like this.

We didn’t think the Ferris Wheel would be a good idea either, because in Coimbra the space is very limited so we wouldn’t be able to put something of this dimension up in our city.

Lastly, the marine park was rejected due to the fact that the animals would suffer because of the weather.

Ideas we approved

On the other hand, we believe that an adventure park in Choupal would bring tourists to Coimbra because young people like doing outdoor sports and activities.

A dry ski slope would be a good idea because it’s something new and different; people would like this because it’s something that they don’t have the opportunity to do very frequently.

However, our final choice was for a theme park.  We feel that this would be the most popular attraction.  Everyone likes rides and roller coasters.


To sum up, our opinion is that a theme park would be the most popular attraction for visitors because everyone likes to have fun and sometimes this is a good way to do it.

By Ines, Sofia and Claudia

Proposal 2

The aim of this proposal is to outline 3 suggestions that will attract more tourists to Coimbra.  We discussed 8 ideas and we made a shortlist of 3 ideas that we thought would be the most effective.

Ideas we rejected

We decided that building a new museum would not be very successful because it’s not for young people.  Similarly, we did not think that a ferris wheel would work.  The reason for this is that it is boring.

Although we thought that a marine park/aquarium or a zoo might be popular, we dismissed the idea since we thought it would make the animals suffer.

Ideas we approved

First of all, we chose a theme park because we feel an adrenaline rush there.  It would be popular with a lot of people.  Secondly, we decided that a water park would appeal to young people.  Finally, it was felt that a dry ski slope would be a great way to increase the number of visitors to the area.  It would entertain young people because it’s different and fun.

By Sofia, Joana and Francisco

Proposal 3

The aim of this proposal is to outline 3 suggestions for attracting more tourists to Coimbra.  In total 8 ideas were discussed and we made a shortlist of three ideas that we thought would be the most effective.

Ideas we rejected

We have rejected a marine zoo.  We do not think it will be very successful because it’s too expensive making the natural habitats of marine animals.

Similarly, we did not think that a race track would work for the reason that we already have one near Coimbra.

Although we thought that a new museum might be popular, we dismissed this idea since we thought it would be difficult to find the theme for it. We already have a natural history museum, Roman museum and a military museum in the town.

Lastly, a water park was rejected due to the fact that in Coimbra we don’t have the weather that is conducive to going to a water park throughout the year.

Ideas we approved

First of all, we chose a beautiful Ferris Wheel because we feel that it could be a good attraction for people of all ages.

Secondly, we decided that a theme park would appeal to teenagers.

Finally, it was felt that a dry ski slope would be a great way to increase the number of visitors to the area.  It would bring a lot of tourists to Coimbra because it would be the first dry ski slope in Portugal.

By Alexandra, Claudio, Mariana and Beatriz

We think there are some fantastic ideas in these proposals.  Theme parks seemed to be a popular choice with everyone.  Have you visited any of the theme parks mentioned in this article in English on The Portugal Daily View website?

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Filed under Teens 7 2012-13

Pack your bags and pay a visit to Lousa

Continuing our series of posts from students studying in our summer intensive course at A1+/A2 level, with recommendations for places to visit around the Coimbra area, here’s Telma’s suggestion…

Lousá is a small town located in the countryside near Coimbra.  It is a quiet place, surrounded by natural beauty so, if you want to relax, you’ve got to go there.

You should stay for a few days to visit all the wonderful things there are here.  You can stay at The Palace Hotel (4 stars), or, if you prefer something more traditional, you should stay in the rural tourism houses and cottages that you can rent.

Lousá is located near some mountains where you can find some beautiful shale (or schist) villages.  These are lovely, so you really must visit them.

In the mountain range (Serra da Lousá) there are some wonderful views and beautiful sights.  You can see many different types of trees, flowers and animals so you need to bring a camera to take lots of pictures.

A view of the castle and surrounding forests from the mountains around Lousa

In the middle of the mountains there is a castle with an old legend and a natural pool with very cold water.  It’s a good idea to bring a swimming costume to find out how true that is!  You’ll also need comfortable clothes and sneakers to walk along the mountain paths.

There is also a great restaurant which serves typical Portuguese dishes.  It’s called O Burgo and you just have to eat there.  O Burgo was opened in 1989 and it has become a very popular and famous restaurant because it has quality traditional dishes from the region.  You’ll need to bring a lot of money because it isn’t very cheap but it is worth it.

Doesn’t all this sound fantastic?  You don’t want to miss out on this experience…visit Lousá soon!

By Telma.

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Filed under A1+/A2 Summer 2012 Intensive Course