Practicing English Abroad – Without Having to Pay!

Whenever the advantages of learning an advanced degree in an English-speaking country are stated, "improving my English skills" and "practicing my English" always rank high among them. But, as the experience of many a foreign student has shown, practicing – let alone improving – your English is, as the English saying goes, "easier said than done."

Understandably, many students studying abroad gravitate toward students from their own country or region, both for greater ease of conversation as well as to be with others who understand their cultural perspective. Valuable as such friends are, they often get in the way of using English and refining the skills, speaking and listening in particular.

Furthermore, a lack of confidence inhibits many foreign students from putting them forward in English. Even when they have the confidence and willingness, students from other countries often do not know how – and where – to create situations outside the classroom in which they're likely to learn English by using it. The following suggestions, some of them familiar and obvious, others more novel, come from clever students who have found ways to make the most of their time in the English-speaking world.

All of them agree that making as many native English-speaking friends as possible is the most helpful thing of all. That does not necessarily mean living with native speakers, but if you can – in a dormitory or shared house, apartment or flat situation – you're sure to get your English up to comfortable speaking, listening and general comprehension standards at the fastest rate , having the most fun in the process.

English-speaking students are as interested in making friends with people from other countries as you are in getting to know them. Many of them have not traveled extensively outside their home countries or continents – and are as aware as you are of the value of getting experience experience of the ways people from other cultures think and interact.

A good thing to avoid in making native-speaker friends is not to suggest spending time together so that you can practice your English. Even though it is part of what you want from the interaction, it is only part, and it sounds less appealing to native speakers than simply asking to go out for coffee or some other appropriate means of getting to know someone. It sounds like there is work or effort involved on the part of the native speaker.

In fact, the people you approach with the idea of ​​"practicing your English" are less like to decline your invitation because they are unwilling to be helpful than they are to feel that they are not "qualified" to teach and may have a negative late than a positive influence on your English. The reality is that no matter how they speak English, they have something to teach you, since, as native speakers, they are examples of the kinds of English speakers you can expect to encounter in your later, professional or personal life.

Beyond …

Missing Her Childhood – The Homeschooling Early College Myth

When my daughter entered full-time college at age 13 we heard all kinds of warnings from people about how it was a shame that she would miss out on a "normal" childhood and was not it a shame that she would not be allowed to just "be a kid." The comments did make me think about the situation we were entering and I did sometimes wonder if there would be any damage done once she got older. However, I was convinced that what we were doing was the only option and so we moved forward.

To date, it has been eight years since my daughter entered college. She recently turned 21 and will complete her Master's degree this Spring. I have since gone back to college for my third degree and have had the opportunity to talk to many people about the early college process. After all these years, I asked my daughter if she had it to do over again, would she? I asked if she felt as if she missed out on anything by not going to high school. Her answer: Yes, she would do it again without any hesitation. And, no she does not feel as if she missed out on a "normal" childhood. To her, she did have a normal childhood. What prompted me to write this article was that one of my co-workers who has worked in education for many years said "It's a shame your daughter had to miss out on a normal childhood." Years later, after my daughter and I had already determined that we had not only made a good decisions, but that we had made the best decision and would follow the exact same course again, I was still raising the same warning, the same "its such a shame. "

One of the other accelerated kids was on TV recently and I heard a reporter say the same thing. "Yes, she has completed a lot, but you have to wonder. What about her childhood?" I just shake my head when I hear it now. I realized that the people who are usually saying it have never even met an accelerated child. They've never been exposed to that world at all … So, they really are irresponsibly giving their "expert" opinion on things that they know absolutely nothing about.

I can say that my daughter did miss out on some things by not going to high school. She missed out on being exposed to drugs and alcohol. She missed out on being exposed to other kids who do not take school seriously and who misbehave. She missed out on cliques. She missed out on gang violence. She missed out on sitting in a classroom, being told not to talk from 8 to 2:45 every day.

My daughter's childhood was filled with after school activities. She was on the soccer team with kids her own age. They practiced three to four days a week. She was in dance class three to four days …

Commercial Real Estate Sales and Leasing As a Career Change

In every property market around the world there is an abundance of residential real estate. It's not hard to understand how to sell residential property given that we all live in houses and know the local area in which we live.

On that foundation you have lots of real estate agents selling and renting residential property in all markets and locations. The same agents however are not always as skillful when it comes to commercial property sales and leasing. Here is why.

The commercial real estate agent has to have a sound knowledge and skill base in things such as these:

  1. Property performance and analysis
  2. Return on investment, capitalization, summary, and comparable price analysis methods
  3. Rental types used in the current market for different commercial properties
  4. Lease types and terms used in different lease situations
  5. Marketing methods for investment property
  6. Income generation from properties of all types
  7. Expenditure controls and benchmarks from property
  8. Tenant mix strategies together with anchor tenant opportunities
  9. Lease documentation and strategies in different property types
  10. Vacancy analysis and minimization as part of property performance
  11. Supply and demand for commercial property and space
  12. Tenant movement and placement
  13. Business sentiment in the local area
  14. Services and amenities required by tenants in the current market
  15. Comparable prices and rents with local properties sold or leased over the last 5 years
  16. Landlord investment requirements and strategies that can solve them
  17. Time on market for selling or leasing commercial property currently

To start a career in commercial property from a base of residential property experience, there is a reasonable amount of study required in the local market, and with the types of property that changes hands. The information is available from convenient sources such as the local existing property listings, existing agents in the region, internet, and property owners.

Importantly the reason a property owner will use a particular agent to market a commercial property for sale or for lease, centers on knowledge of the local market, market share, and experience in handling the property. If you as a real estate agent are considering changing or expanding from residential real estate property sales, then the opportunity awaits.

A career change to commercial property will take some time but the rewards are many. Choose to be the best in the market and build your skills towards that. …

Work, Life & School – Get Balanced

Today's graduate students face more than just the workload of graduate school. Many of them work full-time, attend graduate school, and have a family and home life. Needless to say, it can be a challenge, even for those who choose to earn their graduate degree online. While many adults choose to advance and further their education through the Internet, they still find it challenging to juggle the three balls in the air at the same time without dropping one.

Here you will find some tips to help you learn how to balance your work life with your school life and your home life.

1. Get organized. Life is busy. Whatever you are a mom, wife and full-time employee or whether you are a mom and a student, there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that you need to get done. The key to getting everything done as effectively and efficiently as possible is being organized.

Keep a master schedule that includes important dates for work, home and school responsibilities. Use a different color pen or marker to represent the three areas of your life. By setting a schedule for yourself, you are setting up a guideline for you to follow. Do not add further pressure to yourself by rigidly trying to stick minute by minute to your schedule. Set your schedule with priorities, reorganizing your time so that you will stick to what is important.

Make a daily to-do list placing the most important things at the top of your list so you know that those are the items that. Try to get through as many items on your list as you can. What you are not able to accomplish today, place on your to-do list for tomorrow. If you have a husband, wife or significant other that shares responsibilities with you, then make them a to-do list also. Obviously, each of you will have different things on your list, but it will help to divide up some of the family and home life items between the two of you. It will also ensure that between the two of you everything should ever be completed.

2. Time Management. Experts say that it is more effective to study in 15-minute intervals than it is to study for one straight hour period. Instead of wasting time during lunch at work, during your work breaks, while riding on the subway, waiting in the waiting room for an appointment, or standing in line at the grocery store, use this time to read your textbook or review your class notes . After you have put your kids to bed at night take 30 minutes to study before spending some alone time with your husband or significant other. By filling in some of your downtime with these types of activities, you will be able to accomplish more and more each day.

3. Make rules. When you have scheduled school time or study time for yourself, make it known to your family …