July Update

Hello, everyone! I hope this monthly update finds you well. Thank you to those who voted in the poll the other regarding the future of Phil’s Blog. If you haven’t had a chance to do yet, I would be very grateful if you spared me a couple of minutes out of your day to answer [...]

“Do What You Love”

Last week, I listened to this podcast interviewing Gordon Smith-Durán. I’ve followed Gordon and Cynthia’s work at Lightspeed Spanish for many years now. It was my go-to resource for Beginner and Intermediate Spanish learning on Youtube, when I first started learning Spanish 9 years ago! I found this interview with Gordon when I was looking for the [...]

Switch Off

Last weekend, in the middle of my exam period, I took a few days off.  My Catalan speaking exam went well on Friday morning. I was pleased because I had put a lot of effort into the preparation. I was now a third of the way through my exams (still six to go!), but I [...]

Podcast University

Sometimes, I think I’ve learnt more over the past few years by listening to podcasts and reading than in my university lectures and seminars. It’s quite sad, given the thousands of pounds (plus interest) I’ve racked up in debt from the last three years studying in higher education. But my criticism of the university system [...]

Good Preparation

A couple of weeks ago, I had the first of my final university exams. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.  Three years of studying. An unexpected year and a half of online university. Now, the time has come to make it count. It comes down to these nine exams I have [...]

Afraid To Say It

One thing I’m sometimes ashamed to admit is that I study Catalan. As I’m coming to the end of my university degree, I’ve had a few conversations recently with people (often older folk!) who have been asking me about my plans for the future.  “What are you studying?”  “What are you going to do with [...]

Obra y Omisión

I’ve been to Mass many times with my family when we were in Spain on holiday. I always found it interesting because although the ritual was the same, I didn’t understand any Spanish. When I was travelling in Spain on my own and learning the language a few years ago, I went to Mass and [...]

Insensitive Jokes

Last weekend, my brother was wearing a smart, blue-striped shirt. One of his friends joked about it, saying he looked like the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. He’s been told this before and laughed it off. But it has put him off wearing the shirt in the past.  These kinds of jokes are inappropriate. That goes [...]

A Hard Day’s Work?

For me, studying languages, everything can be "work" - listening to music, watching Netflix, reading, podcasts.  However, this can be a double-edged sword. It's good because I can be passively "working" throughout the day and don't have to be in my "office" as such. But at the same time, it blurs the lines between what [...]

Ask Your Question

Last week, I attended a video conference with a Valencian musician called Xavi Sarrià. He recently recorded the soundtrack for a film about the murder of a pro-Catalan Independence and anti-fascist boy in the 1990s. His family and friends have been fighting for nearly 30 years to have his story told and it was fascinating [...]