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Postcards from Umbria


Did you know that 65% of us are visual learners? This means that we learn better when we see something in a visual format.


Each postcard is a photo from Umbria and has three words in Italian and English. They are all related to things you’ll see on an Oakfield Umbria Language holiday, so this is a great way to practise your vocabulary before you come and stay with us.


You can download our “Postcards from Umbria” here.
The postcards are clearly labelled so that you can easily associate the words with the photograph. By keeping the image in mind, it will help you remember the words.
To help reinforce the meanings, why not write your own example sentences using the words? Check them with us by sending an email to:

You can also use this booklet to test yourself, friends, colleagues or classmates to see how many expressions you can remember.
Once you’re confident you’ve learnt all the words, it’s time to find the opportunity to use them in a conversation or when you’re writing to someone.
Let us know how you get on!

Emma and the Oakfield Team


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It’s said that over 50% of people come back from their summer holiday suffering from post-holiday blues, especially if it was a particularly good or long holiday because when you get home, you realise how unsatisfied you are with your normal lifestyle compared to your holiday.
Are you one of these people? Are you suffering from the post-summer holiday blues? Did you travel somewhere exotic and have a really exciting holiday but now find yourself scrolling through your holiday snaps feeling like it was something that happened months and months ago and nothing can put a smile on your face? Did you try out a new activity that you loved but just can’t do it back home? Well then it’s time for a new adventure and a new journey and we’d like to suggest this is the perfect time to go on a language learning journey.

If you haven’t already seen Enrico’s video on our landing page, you’re may be asking yourself what a language learning journey is. Well, we believe that there are many similarities between a journey to a far-off land and a learning journey.
First of all, because most journeys (ignoring the one you have to do to go to work every morning) are great experiences. They can take you to distant places where you can have interesting encounters with local people and learn about new cultures. These journeys help us grow as people.
Learning a language always takes quite a bit of time until you feel comfortable with the basics, but after that you keep building on your knowledge until you reach the level where you feel you can communicate competently. That’s hugely satisfying and great fun too! You enjoy yourself while seeing the fruits of your efforts. Isn’t that the kind of journey you’d like to go on?
You’ll soon start to realise that your language learning journey is like a real journey. We say ‘travel broadens the mind’ but speaking another language also helps you grow as a person by giving you the tools you need to meet and talk to interesting people and learn about their cultures when travelling as well as providing you with the skills you need to perform better at work and be part of the success of the company you work for.
It’s also going to improve your brain! Research shows several cognitive benefits of learning languages: from having a better memory to being able to multitask and solve problems better – all of which can help you in your personal and professional lives.
There’s no getting away from the fact that learning a language can sometimes be a long journey with several milestones to reach along the way, just like a trip with several stopovers, when you think you’ll never get to your destination. Although your learning journey will never be as tedious as that daily commute to work, it will take time and effort. But, when you do finally get to these milestones, it’s the perfect moment to stop and reflect on what you’ve learnt so far. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on your achievements and then start the next stage of your journey.

So let’s summarise the 5 main benefits of starting a learning journey right now:

1 It will enable you to travel more and meet new people
2 It will boost your self-confidence as you progress and make you feel good about your achievements
3 It will help enhance your career prospects.
4 It’s brain food: it helps improve your memory, your executive function, it keeps Alzheimer’s at bay
5 It will be fun!


Look and Learn Vol1

With this blog, we’re offering you the chance to download our first Look n Learn collection. A great way to extend your vocabulary and sound like a native!

If you’re familiar with our Instagram posts, you’ll know that we post a new expression every day. We want to help you to LOOK and LEARN.

This idea was born after many Oakfield learners came back from their trips to the UK, Ireland, the US etc. and asked me about expressions they had heard, which sometimes confused them but above all they were delighted to learn and add to their vocabulary. But it’s easy to forget these expressions if you don’t use them. So to help you remember them, we created Look n Learn.


Did you know that 65% of us are visual learners? This means that we learn better when we see something in a visual format.


With our Look and Learn series on Instagram we share an image with you with an expression. These are typical expressions used by native English speakers, which can sometimes be confusing for those of you whose mother tongue is not English.


The image you can see is connected with the expression so that it’s a brain-friendly way to link the two together. By keeping the image in mind, it will help you to remember the expression.

Check out the example sentence given on the original Oakfield Training Instagram post here.

To help reinforce the meaning, why not write your own example sentence? Check it with us by sending it to:

You can also use this booklet to test yourself, friends, colleagues or classmates to see how many expressions you can remember.

Now you can be sure that you’ve understood the new expression and it’s time to find the opportunity to use it in a conversation or when you’re writing to someone.

Please let us know how you get on.

Emma and the Oakfield Team

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You go to all your classes, you do your homework, you watch movies in English during your free time, you read the news headlines in English every day. You feel that you’re doing everything to improve your English, but

when you need to make a presentation in front of the international team or participating in a video conference with senior management, the panic rises and you feel the FEAR.

Maybe you have heard that being afraid of doing something can bring out the best in us, but that’s not always much help when you have to use English at work in situations that you know could have a big effect on your career.  You would still rather be anywhere else than face that situation. And in my case the fear often makes my mind go completely blank.

So how can I stop this happening? We all know that we’ll feel great AFTER the presentation / meeting etc when we realise that we have survived and maybe we even enjoyed it in the end, but how can we prepare to overcome the rising fear beforehand?

When I first came to Barcelona, I spoke hardly any Spanish and no Catalan. In the language training company I was working in, the main language of communication was Spanish and of course to organise the courses, I needed to speak to people in the HR departments in Spanish. Having lived in Italy for many years beforehand, I soon had a reasonable level of listening comprehension but making a complete wasstill difficult – and I still mix Italian and Spanish even now – after more than 10 years! Although this can be a little embarrassing, I have learnt to communicate in Spanish applying the following rules:

1 I accept that I will make mistakes. I don’t need to speak the language perfectly in order to communicate.

2  I am speaking Spanish so that I can communicate with another person who doesn’t speak my language. Therefore, I believe that s/he should make an effort to understand me.

3  If I don’t understand my interlocutor, I will ask them to repeat what they said. If I don’t understand the second time, I will ask again. I will keep doing this until I understand the other person. Communication is a two-way street, we both need to make an effort to allow communication to flow.

4  I will remind myself that I am the expert in my field. I have been organising language training programmes for 25 years. I know about language learning and training. The person I’m speaking to is not an expert, so it is in his/her interest to make an effort to understand me and meet me at a point where we can communicate.

5  I prepare every important conversation. I think carefully about what I want to say, I check any words that I don’t know and I practise. Then I practise some more. I will often have the conversation out loud with myself, record myself and then imagine myself successfully having this conversation.

6  If possible I also practise with a native Spanish speaking friend beforehand so that s/he can give me some useful feedback.

Following these six steps has really helped me to become a more confident speaker of Spanish. Yes, I still need to work on it to become a more accurate speaker and use a wider range of vocabulary, but I can communicate competently in this language.