Top 5 places in Norway – best uknown cities and villages

Norway is a breathetaking and mysterious land. It’s an indescrivble experience to travel to one of its longest fjords or to some of its cosy cities. A trip to this country needs to be done once in life! I assure you it’s worth it. Living there for one year gave me the opportunity to get to know a lot of places and in this post I want to give you a list of the most stunning cities and small villages I had the chance to see. They’re special because very few travelling agencies list them on their websites, usually are Oslo, Tromso and Bergen the most quoted cities, but here you’ll have the opportunity to discover other parts of Norway, with a more “typical” norwegian styles of fairytales and seamen.

1- Mausund

Risultati immagini per mausund norway

Mausund is a tiny village found on a small group of islands next to a bigger one Frøya, also a more popular attracion for fishing lovers. It’s a fishing village, with  cute red houses and a lot of wind. Its rocks and nature are a typical northern ocean landscape but the cosy atmosphere and the friendly people give to the place an unique vibe.

2- Røros

Risultati immagini per røros

One of the cutest places on earth. It’s a really small village and everything there reminds of fairies, elves and Christmas. Even on summer it’s a fantastic place to visit for its coal caves and museum and for the nice trips in the mountains. Røros is a typical norwegian village, I would say “the norwegian village”. I went there every weekend and I never got tired of it. I would suggest you to go there on the last tuesday of February for the Rorosmartnan, a market and cultural event that attracts so many people every year. You get a chance to taste typical norwegian food, listen to folk music and pet some raindeers too!

3Fefor, Vinstra

Fefor is a locality near Vinstra, a small village in the middle of the country. I have never heard of it before I went there and it was almost impossible to find on Google Maps, but lukily it exists for real because it’s marvelous. I stayed at the Fefor Hoyfjellehotel that it’s close to an amaxing trip on the top of a mountain and also to the lake nearby. I assure you that a day there makes your soul happy. If you love nature, silence and hiking that’s the best place you could go to! It’s literally a pity that none values it as it should.

4 – Stavanger

I know a lot of people already heard about this city. In the last few years it’s becoming more and more popular to visit because it’s one of the stops of an amazing route in the western part of Norway, but I think it deserves to be mentioned in this list for it’s particular streets and white houses. Its history is also really fascinating: Stavanger is the city of oil’s extraction. From a poor fishing village it turned into a rich city in the 70s and now it’s a wonderful norwegian attraction where tourists can get to know a big part of norwegian culture and history.

Risultati immagini per stavanger

5- Lillehammer

Last but not least Lillehammer. The city of the Olympic Games of 1975. A small but lovely town with a lot of green and an amazing landscape. The sky there is always blue and in winter is covered by big white clouds of snow.  I love walking in the main street, drinking hot chocolate and taking a walk up to the sky jump. I suggest you to visist for also just one day this town, you’ll be fascinated by it!

Risultati immagini per lillehammer

 

I really hope you got more tips for your trip in Norway! This country is all beautiful (no joke) but I wanted to give a small insight to some of its less known places that deserves to be visited and valued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS PASSIVE LISTENING – how to use it to access all languages

The magic word: passive listening

The first time I came across this term I was desperately searching the easiest ways to learn a language. I had been in Norway for one month and I hadn’t seen any real progress with Norwegian, so one night I typed “learning a language overnight” on Google (I know it’s not such a great idea but as I said I was desperate) and I found passive listening in the list of the methods suggested. I thought that the only thing that I had to do was hearing  YouTube videos all night long for some time and voilà: job done. There are some people who pass off passive listening as an easy technique that just requires the use of headphones and a pillow. I’m sorry if I disappoint someone but it is not like that, at all. Passive listening is more than listening to random videos while sleeping, it’s listening to everything and everyone always. Personally when I talk about passive listening I like to mention also passive learning. Passive listening is a part of passive learning. You’ll find some advices that are not directly connected to the listening part but to the reading one. Passive listening and passive reading go hand in hand so I couldn’t live it behind. But first things first.

The conscious and subconscious mind

Passive listening is listening without attention. When you hear music in a clothes shop, that’s passive listening. When your mum is talking to you but you’re just staring at the phone smiling at a meme, that’s passive listening too. In other terms passive listening is hearing with your conscious mind and listening with your subconscious mind. For those who don’t know the difference between these two parts of the brain, I’ll try to explain it in a simple way: the conscious mind is that area responsible for attention, focus, analysis of the possibilities, for decision making and goal setting. It’s basically the voice you hear in your head that tells you what is right and wrong, what to say and not say. The subconscious mind, instead, can’t be heard but it acts uncontrollably and without pause. It’s the box of our most dark fears, of our traumas, of our inner desires but also of our first memories, of everything that happened to us and everything we felt. It’s literally our personal storage, the problem is that we can’t access it with our conscious mind (not in a simple way) even if it drives the 95% of our mind. It can be quite scary: we believe we have full control of our days but instead it’s our storage that has it… anyway it’s not so bad if you are aware of its power and if you try to use this big storage in your favour. But so, how can you do that when it comes to learning and specifically studying a new language?

A guide for passive listening

So passive listening, as the word itself says, it’s not active, so it’s not appropriate for our conscious mind but for our subconscious mind. As opposite to mainstream advices, sleep, that is the activity most known for its easy connection with the subconscious mind, is not enough for making remarkable changing with passive listening. What is needed is a combination of the two minds. So take my experience for example. I studied Norwegian while living in Norway so I had easiest access to the language but anyway I had to create methods and habits to improve it. The first thing that really matters in learning a new language even if it’s from scratch is to not care to understand, just listen, just hear, just do not care! So passive listening is the best technique in this case, mostly if you are just getting started. What I did was hanging out with friends, with my host family and listening consciously to everything they said and time to time ask for a translation. Watching movies is another type of conscious or active listening and listening to songs while reading the text is too. So when is the time for passive listening? ANY TIME. You just have to decide to not care to understand. Use your headphones and go to school or to work listening to music of your target language or to podcast and audio book. Watch the news, watch debate programs, tv shows without subtitles. All these activities can be done in an active way or passive way, the difference is that if you are active you are constantly thinking about a translation and your brain goes like “Ohh that’s difficult, I don’t understand anything”. In the passive way instead you JUST LISTEN.

Other two strategies that I use that are not in the category of passive listening but more in the passive learning, is reading newspapers without focusing too much on the words, I just turn page to page and read, I DO NOT CARE TO UNDERSTAND. Using flashcards and putting them on my room walls is another thing that I suggest you to try. They can be words of specific objects or phrases, quotes that you like in your target language. So every time you enter your room you’ll see those cards and even if you don’t direct your full attention to them, your subconscious mind will do the work for you.

Passive listening and passive learning activities

  • Meeting native speakers and watching them talking
  • Listening to music, podcasts, YouTube videos
  • Watching movies, series, programs without subtitles
  • Reading newspapers without trying to understand
  • Hang flashcards on the walls

How much time should I spend doing passive listening activities?

This varies a lot. There isn’treally a specific amount of time to devote to passive listening. You should not think about passive listening as a normal “studying session”. It should be something that become natural, like a habit. In the beginning it can be more difficult to see it in this way so what I suggest is to create a routine where you give time to a passive listening activity. You can do it in the morning with listening to some musing and maybe before going to bed or after dinner watching a movie. It’s really up to you. The important thing is to do it everyday and try hard to not to stress if you don’t understand.

How much time it takes to learn a language with passive listening?

YEARS. If you just use passive listening, you’ll probably be fluent at 80 years old. Do not confuse a specific technique with the whole learning method. You need to sit down, write, think, translate, speak, you need to practice in different ways. Passive listening is something that can help you speed up the process, but it can’t take the place of conscious studying, meaning opening a book, or speaking with a native speaker, or going to a course. You need to put effort in what you do and there is no easy way to learn languages, just lots of strategies.

THE BEST LANGUAGES TO LEARN

Nowadays the hardest question is not anymore how to learn a language but which. We have so many tools that can help us in the learning process but it can be difficult when we don’t even know what to learn! So here you will find a list about the (5) best languages to learn that I hope will help you to make up your mind.

If you want me to be truly honest my first advice is to follow your heart. I know it sounds like a cliché but I mean it for real: do what interests you the most, what sparks your soul, in this case choose the language that moves your excitement and curiosity.

If you are searching for a more “professional” and “specific” direction, the “follow your heart” affirmation doesn’t really help a lot, so here I am providing you with clearer advices.

ENGLISH: the first language you should know it’s English. If you’re reading this you have probably already learnt it, but my advice is to own it (if you are a native speaker skip this part). I’m frankly not a genius in English but I feel comfortable writing, speaking and hearing it. That’s what I think is to “own” a language: to smile when it is around, to see it like a friend, to not be afraid of it. So yes English it’s really important. It’s spoken by the 20% of the world’s population, around 1.5 billion people, so no doubts that learning it can be an advantage. On the other hand, knowing only English is not so popular and useful anymore. There is an increasing request of polyglots in a lot of jobs, not just in the education field, but in the technology one too. This is where the list of “the best languages to learn” becomes really interesting.

FRENCH: which language can take the second place if not French? It’s not just the language of charme and love, it’s the official language of the European Union, not so bad… and over 275 million people speak it. Also if you have a particular interest in Roman languages French can be a good start for you: it can make you more familiar with this particular linguistic system found also in Italian and Spanish for example.

CHINESE: the most spoken language in the world. Better saying Mandarin than Chinese. For those who don’t know Chinese is the group of dialects spoken in China, Mandarin is the official language of China, the standard on,  so to say. Lots of people define it as the language of the future. I personally think that despite the validity that it will gain, having the skill to speak Chinese gives a ton of job’s opportunities and the possibility to get to know a totally different culture. Not mentioning its relevance in politics and trade.

ARABIC: It’s the 5th most spoken language in the world but it’s quite seldom to meet people who are studying it (at least in my own experience). Along with Chinese, in my opinion, Arabic will become more and more demanded in the future in all kinds of field, from politics to medicine. Moreover if you learn to read the alphabet you are access to other 4 languages (Farsi, Dari, Urdu, Pashto)!

RUSSIAN: I’ve always had a personal desire to learn it and maybe that’s why I put it in this list, but you can’t deny that Russian looks pretty good on a CV. Also, as with Chinese, just think about the importance that Rusha has in the world trade and global affairs: huge. Furthermore if you have a passion in literature reading poetries and books in Russian can add so much value in your interest.

“Give your mind a chance to travel through foreign languages”

All these languages have their own importance and it can be really difficult to put them in a list. If you get to learn them all you’ll probably have a job for the rest of your life.  Anyway do not forget about my first advice: follow your heart. Starting to study a language just for having more opportunities at the work place sometimes it’s not so worth it. The major fact about learning a language is the feeling that arises with it and it must be a good one, and last but not least you have to keep your motivation way and way up!

STUDYING FOREIGN LANGUAGES – Why and How

If you’re here you probably want to understand if it’s worth starting to study a foreign language and mostly how to do so. Or probably you are already learning it but you just need a confirmation that you’re not wasting your time.  Believe me you are not!

Why study foreign languages?

If English is not your mother tongue you probably already know the answer: I have to learn it, that’s it. Period. But if you know English well or you are an English native speaker you don’t have an immediate answer to that. Nowadays English is almost spoken by everyone and the need of communicating with another language seems less and less important. It shouldn’t be, why? Because languages open another world, open your eyes to truly understand a culture and open your mind too. Languages hide a way of thinking and perceiving, a way of being. Learning languages can make you more empathic and more thoughtful, and furthermore it makes you look cool ????. Imagine being able to switch from English to Spanish and then to Norwegian and to Italian in just some minutes. Your brain screams help but your ego rejoices. More than this personal satisfaction there is the service to other
that you are able to give: people feel good and safer when someone can speak their own language and it will be easier to build trust with them. Also having skills in different languages gives a lot of opportunities to find jobs and travelling around the world. If you are interested in languages it’s almost certain that you are also interesting in live in new places and discover new things. Learning languages is not a waste of time, is a gain of knowledge, fun and satisfaction. It can be a long and painful process sometimes but it’s worth it, I assure you. Through this website you’ll be able as a language lover to discover new courses, platforms and books to help improve your learning skills, but even if your new in this fantastic world or if you just want to study a specific language you’ll find everything you need!

 

Why studying foreign languages – videos

Here two videos about why study languages. The first one is more about language university but it gives information also on a general level. The second one is a ted talk and it describes 4 reasons why we should learn languages.

Why study languages, University of Birmingham: https://youtu.be/v7lU8mwb770

4 reasons to learn a new language, John McWhorter: https://youtu.be/VQRjouwKDlU

How to study foreign languages?

This is one of the hardest and easiest questions about languages. It depends on how you look at it. If your perspective is specific there are lot of things to take into consideration, otherwise if you want a general approach the answer is: open internet. That’s it. If you don’t want to study languages at school, or you think it’s too boring to sit in class just for 4 hours (or less) a week reading grammar and killing that one spark of motivation left, your only and best choice is to sit on the sofa and search on google the best apps, the best courses for learning a language and start working for real. Internet is really an amazing tool to use: there are websites, videos, pictures. You can find everything you need, but of course you need a strategy, and here it’s when the answer becomes harder: you need to exercise in all aspect of a language, you need to have a method and you need to organize and keep up the motivation. Right now, I don’t want to go into the details about all of these aspects, I just want to mention that it is not easy but it’s possible. My goal is to show you the tool you can use to be better at a new language but also how to use it. So do not stop now, search what resonate with you as best tool and best method and start your journey!

How to study foreign languages – Videos

I like videos and podcasts so you will probably find a lot of them on the website. This video is about some ways to study languages and improve them.

How to learn languages effectively, Matyáš Pilin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mls2m_oZT6U

Studying languages is worth it (for real)

Languages in my opinion are on the funniest and most interesting things to learn. Studying them can bring personal growth, satisfaction, job opportunities, knowledge. An advice is to never stop doing it. If it’s what you truly want, you have to continue to push, to work, to believe in yourself. Our world is full of opportunities, mostly if you have a computer or an ipad, or a phone in your hands. There are so many ways to learn a language, so many ways to enjoy doing that. I really hope I helped you realizing how beautiful it is to study a language and how easy but demanding it is to learn it for real.

Do not forget to check my website. You can find online courses, apps and platforms to start learning a language!