Si desea ver consejos gratis en español del libro, El Idioma es Música, clique aquí.
Sample Tips from Travel Happy, Budget Low
Make sure to give yourself enough time to get the visas. Embassies and consulates honor the national holidays of the countries where they are located and their own national ones. This means that they have more holidays then you probably do.
Most embassies and consulates do not accept personal checks. They only take money orders or cashiers checks. Some may accept credit cards. Check with the consulate for instructions. If you want them to mail your passport and visa back to you, follow their mailing instructions carefully. If they say to bring a post office return envelope or a FedEx one, don’t come with a UPS one. They may not accept it.
I had to rush to get my Chinese visa in February 2008 because the Chinese consulate was closed for a few days during Chinese New Year. I wanted to save myself the trip to San Francisco to pick up my Chinese visa and asked a friend to get it for me. When my friend got home from the consulate and opened my passport, he called me and told me that the Chinese had re-baptized me and given me a new surname. I had to take a day off work and go up to San Francisco to fix the mistake and get a new visa.
Check for the procedures for your visa
Visa processing companies in the US
Small, lightweight immersion heaters are inexpensive and available in dual voltages, though you may still need a plug adapter. You can buy a new immersion heater locally in most developed countries. Better-quality versions of these have thermostatic shut-offs. If you purchase a cheaper one, be sure that the coil is immersed in liquid whenever the unit is plugged in.
www.letravelstore.com Check here for immersion heaters and other travel products.
While traveling in Kiev in 1997, I had a travel pouch on my stomach. It was raining outside. The moisture on my skin seeped through the travel pouch and got the gold eagle paint on the outside of my passport wet. The gold paint went through the material of my passport and stained my passport photo, making it look fake. This was a disaster as I was leaving later the same day and had to go through customs with a suspicious looking passport. Lesson learned. I always keep my passport in a re-sealable (Ziploc) bag inside my travel pouch.
Airlines say that you can’t get bonus miles more than once with their credit card partners. This is not always the case as I’ve closed cards for which I got many bonus miles and then opened new ones with the same airlines and still got the new bonus miles.
The American Express Gold card lets you accumulate points that you can then use to pay for part of or all of your plane fare.
I have had credit cards from several airlines and have always paid my balance in full each month. I never carry a balance. If you are unable to control your spending and are afraid of running up credit card debt by getting a new card to fund your free travel, then don’t get it. I don’t want to encourage people to get into debt. We already have a horrible savings rate in the US as it is. Be responsible.
www.americanexpress.com Look for Gold Card information.
List of airline and travel credit cards with interest rates and mileage credit policies.
While traveling in Chicago in June 2008, I got food poisoning and didn’t have my usual first aid kit with me that I bring on international trips. I had to pay one of the bellmen at the hotel to go to the nearest pharmacy at 1am to get me Tylenol and Pepto- Bismol. I realized that the same precautions I take for travel in foreign countries should apply to domestic trips.
Sample Tips from Language is Music
Learning a new language means you have to change your key and tune. Dancing the cha-cha to waltz music is like speaking a new language while still using the rhythm of your mother tongue. Let yourself take in the sounds of the language as though you were listening to a new piece of music.
Even if you are just a beginner and barely know any words, you can still learn by listening. Pay attention to how people speak. Does it seem like they are reading a phone number or rattling of a list of numbers? Are they angry? Happy? Sometimes, you have to shut off your brain and inclination to interpret to analyze. Listen to the words spoken to you and listen to your intuition.
Language is music.
During my first days of my semester abroad in Budapest, Hungary in 1997, I was in the advisor’s office waiting to speak to him. He was on the phone talking in Hungarian. Even though I knew just a few words in Hungarian, I could surmise he was telling the person on the other line a phone number because of the melody of his sentence. The way he pronounced the succession of numbers sounded dramatically different from the rest of his conversation.
Relax and close your eyes. Turn off the lights. Lay down or sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and listen to the music. Don’t try to understand the words, just listen. You might fall asleep or day dream. Give yourself the time to simply listen and not do anything else. Your mind needs to be calm in order to absorb the sounds. Your ears need no other distractions to let them properly hear all the high, medium and low frequencies of the language. Do this regularly.
Your local library may have a foreign language CD selection. Large music stores carry foreign music sections and may let you listen to the music before buying.
You can find songs to download for a cost at
When you first start listening to radio broadcasts, the radio announcers may sound like they are emitting a stream or storm of sounds and not individual words. In time, you’ll hear familiar words repeated and will learn to distinguish them. Language teachers call this “acquired competence.” Like with the music section, you can actively listen to the radio attentively and take notes, listen to it in the background or just close your eyes to listen without straining yourself to understand.
For years, I listened to Rádio Comercial Portuguesa, the Portuguese radio station in San José, California. The radio station served the Portuguese immigrant community from the Azores Islands. While driving and being stuck in traffic, I listened to their local advertisements for Portuguese companies that ranged from plumbing contractors and construction supply companies to Portuguese padarias (bakeries). I could care less about construction companies and their wonderful supplies, but I listened to the announcers just to get a feeling for the rhythm of Portuguese and to learn vocabulary. Since the community was very religious, the station broadcast their Catholic mass in Portuguese at the same time everyday. I am not Catholic and was not keen on learning the “Our Father” prayer em portugues, but I listened anyway. The music was mostly not of my taste either. Old Portuguese fisherman songs and folk tunes dominated the programming. I loved melancholic fados, but they were rarely on air. It didn’t matter. I was stuck in my car and had the choice of listening to news or music in English or learning more Portuguese. I chose the latter. The station often aired radio news directly from the national news service of Portugal, giving me news about many countries in the Portuguese speaking world.
The result was that, despite the fact that I had few opportunities to speak Portuguese, I was passively learning it for years. As a matter of fact, I thought that I spoke Portuguese like Tarzan because I had mostly taught myself the language and had only taken two basic classes in adult school. In 2006, while living in New York, my Brazilian roommate Carla invited Silvia, her friend from Brazil, to visit during Christmas. Silvia barely spoke English. I had to speak in Portuguese, even though I was embarrassed for what I thought was my Neanderthal-like command of the language. To my and everyone else’s surprise, sophisticated words and long sentences came out of my mouth with ease. Carla and Silvia commented that my accent sounded like it was from Portugal. I found out that I knew much more Portuguese than I thought. All those years of listening to fishermen’s songs and Catholic masses paid off. I spoke Portuguese! I had been reinforcing the vocabulary and sentence structure rules that I had learned by just listening to the radio. The music was inside of me for years.
You can create your own symphonies as well. Just listen!
(Now, my accent is more Brazilian sounding as I have traveled in Brazil, speaking to Brazilians.)
Turn the radio dial during different times of the day to look for radio stations. Some radio stations may not have 24 hour programming as they share the frequencies with other small radio stations.
Look in your phone book under the radio section. If you are in the US, use the Yellow Pages and look under “Radio Stations.” The foreign language stations usually list their language in their title.
Go to the Yahoo Directory of radio stations:
Look up the radio stations in your area, checking for the language you are learning. It’s best to search under regions rather than your city. There might be a radio station in another city nearby that broadcasts in the language that you want. If you only look for radio stations in your town, you will not find others in your vicinity.
Let’s say you are learning Spanish. You have found a local Spanish language TV station in your area or you are watching the national Univision news. Even without knowing all the words, you will be able to get the gist of some of the news reports. The images and video footage of events already tell you what the news announcers are talking about. Tune into HOW they are speaking and the words they are using to describe the images on screen.
Even if you can’t watch TV all the time, it’s all right to do errands around the house as you listen to the TV in the background. Think of the TV as background music like you would hear in a café or restaurant. Even though it’s not at the forefront of your consciousness, your brain is still processing it and getting used to the flow of the language. Remember, we listen before we speak.
Extra bonus: Not only will you be learning how the language sounds, you will also be exposed to news you may not see on your local or national television news. If you are learning Mandarin Chinese and find a local television news station broadcasting in your area, you may learn a great deal about the Chinese community that you never saw reported in mainstream news. You will learn about what is going on in places where the language is spoken. It’s quite possible that the Italian news will have more news about other European countries than a news channel in the United States or Taiwan. So, keep your mind open. You are not only learning a language, but another view of the world.
Check your local television listings for foreign language programs or stations. If you have cable or satellite TV, you should have more foreign language options.
NEVER WATCH MOVIES DUBBED IN YOUR LANGUAGE!!!
Watching dubbed movies is a cardinal sin when it comes to learning languages. You lose most of the cultural experience when you watch a dubbed movie.
Living in Europe, I wondered why the Scandinavians and Dutch had such good accents in English, while the French, Spanish, and Italians were known for their heavy signature accents. Northern Europeans start learning English earlier than the French, Spanish, and Italians. But it’s not only their early start that gives the Northern Europeans their wonderful pronunciation. Their teachers are not native English speakers. So, they are most likely not acquiring their stellar accents from just their instructors.
The Scandinavians watch many English language television programs on their televisions and English language movies in their movie theaters, as do the Mediterraneans. However, the northern Europeans leave the soundtrack in the original language and just add subtitles in their respective tongues. The French, Spanish and Italians see English language actors speak in unnatural dubbed voices in their national languages. They are learning English in isolation from the sounds of native speakers. Learning a language in a vacuum is tough.
You can let the world into your home by watching the original versions of movies, listening to how people really speak. Stay away from dubbed movies and TV programs!
A movie that’s mostly conversation and no movement, may be hard to follow. (The philosophical French movies fall into this category.) Action-packed Indiana Jones is much easier to understand than Hiroshima Mon Amour with the long scenes of just two people talking. Comedies may have a lot of jokes that will be hard to understand. Humor does not often translate well!
You can rent foreign movies at your local library. Look for cultural organizations in your neighborhood. They might have their own libraries with films from their native countries.
These two sites have a wide selection of international movies:
If you want to just watch certain scenes from movies, you can look for them on You Tube. Just type in the name of the movie and some words pertaining to the scene you want to see:
You are busy. You want to learn Chinese while driving to work, commuting by bus or waiting at the doctor’s office. It’s possible.
Praxis Language Learning Networks have created mobile podcasts of language lessons for Chinese, French, Spanish, English and Italian that you can listen to and interact with on an MP3 Player/iPod, mobile phone, in a customized workbook or CD, on TV, on the Internet or through a learning service/API. A native speaker and language learner use a conversational style to lead daily lessons in grammar, conversation, social customs, real life situations, stories, anecdotes, humor, mnemonic devices, etc. Students can print out lessons and flash cards from the website. There are also opportunities for students to study together online. Students can choose which topics they like best and customize their lessons. The introductory podcasts are free and subscriptions that include lessons and learning materials range from $5-23 a month.