Author: Leo

The Best Free Spanish Learning Resources

“I decided to write a no-nonsense list of the best resources for learning Spanish.” Every time I tried to find guidance on the best resources to learn Spanish, I was presented with a long list of the pros and cons of various alternatives. This meant I still had to try each option to figure out which one was actually the best. So, I decided to write a no-nonsense list of the best resources for learning Spanish. Bookmark each one and try to integrate them into your studies every day. Learn Grammar – StudySpanish This website provides amazingly succinct modular grammar lessons. Try to read at least one article per day and make sure to go back and review often. Practice Speaking – iTalki You can easily find language exchange partners on this website, but you’ll have to reciprocate by teaching your partner your language. You’re better off speaking with Spanish speakers in-person, but this is the next best thing.It is important to note that you have to control the direction of your language-exchanges (e.g. prepare questions and ask your partner to correct your mistakes), otherwise you won’t be maximizing the learning opportunity. Practice Writing – Duolingo This doesn’t focus exclusively on reading and writing; it actually targets all major skills. That being said, it’s mostly a writing program. The best part of Duolingo is that it’s addictive, because it gamifies learning. Practice Reading – BBC...

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Best DIY Natural Humidifier to Add Moisture to the Dry Air in Your Home

I searched the internet for an effective DIY humidifier solution, but couldn’t find the “universal” solution that I was looking for. This method doesn’t require any electricity, external heat, wasted water, doesn’t create additional noise and it’s highly effective! I call it the Drip Towel Humidifier. Drip Towel Humidifier What You Need Two large bowls (preferably deep bowls) Disposable or reusable kitchen towels (disposable works better and is easier to maintain, but reusable results in less garbage) Water Instructions Fill one bowl with water (preferably hot, but any temperature is okay). Place the bowl filled with water on the edge of an elevated surface, like a table, ledge or chair. Place the empty bowl under the water filled bowl so that the centre of the lower bowl aligns with the outer edge of the upper bowl. Safety Tip: Make sure that the lower bowl is a sufficient distance from any electrical wiring or electronics Put an appropriate length of the kitchen towel into the upper bowl and have it hang over the outer edge so that it hangs directly above the lower bowl. Wrap the bottom edge of the kitchen towel together so that the accumulated water will drip from one point into the centre of the lower bowl. Add more water to the upper bowl when it runs low by either putting the accumulated water in the lower bowl...

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The First 5 Minutes of Korean

This tutorial is for anyone that has considered learning Korean, but has had no idea where and how to start. Here, I will teach you the first 5 minutes of Hangeul (한글/Korean). Part 1: Hangeul Block Shapes 안녕하세요! If you’ve never studied Korean before, you probably have no idea what that line above says. Those lines and circles are, in fact, letters! However, Korean letters aren’t written one-by-one in a row, like English. They’re written in blocks, like lego! There are 4 basic Hangeul block shapes. Each have a minimum of 1 consonant and 1 vowel. C = Consonant; V= Vowel   Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Type 4 Block Shape Example 아  앙 우 웅 Every block must start with a consonant and have a vowel. However, Type 2 and Type 4 block shapes end with a consonant. By the way, you’ve probably noticed the word “Hangeul” used a few times by now. “Hangeul” is the Korean word for the Korean alphabet! Part 2: The First 6 Letters Now that we know how to put Hangeul letters into blocks, let’s memorize a few letters. The chart below applies some visual mnemonics (tools to help you memorize) to help you remember each letter shape. ㄱ (sounds like “g”) ㄴ (sounds like “n”) ㅁ (sounds like “m”) (g)reeting Doesn’t it look like a person bowing to greet you? (n)orth An arrow...

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I’m Spoiled

I was born in a middle class family in one of the richest, safest and well-balanced countries in the world. I have never  been witness to any great war, famine, disease, poverty or strife. I was lucky to be born with above average intelligence, a propensity to athleticism and a natural desire to learn and better myself. As a result, I have always been good at almost anything I choose to pursue, but never “great.” I have never had to fight for anything in my life. I see everyday people that have subjected themselves to rigid diet and exercise regimens leading to a 50 kg weight loss. I see everyday students fail a class, then turn around and become elite class-men. I see everyday workers that overcome mediocrity to become all-star salesmen. I have never known true failure, true suffering, depression or insignificance. I have never needed to apply myself to a single task or goal, and overcome strings of failures and obstacles to achieve the unachievable. What scares me the most is that this is how I justify my spoiled behaviour to myself. I could live my entire life in above-average-mediocrity. It would be a good life. Yet, I know I’m capable of more. Why am I waiting for something tragic to happen? I am spoiled, and I’m too comfortable to...

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From Introvert with Social Anxiety, to Social Extrovert

As a high school student (particularly before gr. 11), I HATED the telephone. I would often start sweating and feel extreme anxiety when I had to make a phone call. I had to run the conversation through my mind multiple times before I could conjure up the courage to dial the phone number. Usually, I’d just find some excuse to not make the call at all. It didn’t just end there. What do I say if he/she actually picks up (I was secretly hoping to reach the voice mail)? How do I end the call? Do I say “bye” after him/her? Phone calls in Japanese were the worst. I was highly insecure about my Japanese and didn’t have confidence in my formal Japanese (for speaking to elders) at all. After a phone call, I’d run the conversation through my mind again to examine if I “successfully” completed it. Walking with people, I was constantly asking myself these questions: Do I walk beside, in front or behind them? How fast should I walk? What is the “ideal” position in this group? Forget girls.  I never attended parties. I was never invited nor did I invite others to anything outside of school. Occasionally, I would hang around after school to try to join people, but that mostly resulted in me walking around the school grounds for half an hour before the...

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