What’s in my bag? – by Katie

29 January 2015
What’s in my bag? – by Katie
There’s a bit of a trend for sharing the contents of one’s handbag with the world, so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and show you what I’m carrying around in my Chatter Bag today!

If any of you like what you see then do follow the links below to buy everything online!

Chatter Bags: The London Edition

Samsung Galaxy S4
House keys (not for sale!)
PURE collection Cashmere Scarf
Moleskin 2015 Pocket Diary – RED!
Burt’s Bees Blueberry and Dark Chocolate Revitalising Lip Balm
Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara
KIKO Milano Magnificent Highlighter
Tweezerman Nail File
Tangle Teezer Original – Pink
Two clementines and an apple :)

The daily commute

22 January 2015
What are the best and worst things about your daily commute? Leave a reply below or join the discussion on Twitter with #madetomakeconversation or #MTMC

Lack of language skills cost UK businesses £50billion a year

21 January 2015
Lack of language skills cost UK businesses £50billion a year
Before 2004 it was compulsory to take a foreign language at GCSE level, this is no longer the case. Despite many attempts to encourage students to take foreign language GCSEs, the numbers are still dwindling and the few that do choose to study a language are unlikely to take this on to A-Level. Achieving an A-Level in your chosen language is a standard prerequisite for continuing with your linguistic choices at university. It is no surprise therefore, that the number of people studying languages to degree level has also seen a significant decrease in recent years. It’s causing a bit of a problem for businesses. In fact, UK businesses lose an estimated £50 billion every year to competitors for a lack of employees with the necessary language skills(!) To analyse the reasons behind this, the Guardian carried out a recent survey with students aged 14 to 24, it reveals some interesting points of view on language learning. It would appear that students do not feel they learn enough of the language in their lessons, with nearly half (48%) of those surveyed saying that learning a language is too difficult… It’s true, grammar is a pain. It’s really hard and sometimes a small grammatical error can cause huge personal embarrassment, but as we have always said, conversation is the best way to learn a language and to improve your skills and self-confidence. Coincidentally, the students agree! 35% rated a language exchange abroad as something that would encourage them to learn a language and a similar number also found talking to native speakers a great help!

32% encouraged by conversation with native speakers.

Perhaps at this vital stage of a student’s life and learning, they need some more motivation; more opportunities to speak to native speakers and more engaging activities, both at home and abroad to encourage them to learn another language. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be happening enough. It’s no secret that students leaving university with a language degree are much more employable than their monolingual peers, the European Commission have written reports on it! Lack of language skills cost UK businesses 50billion a year2There are so many benefits to speaking another language; it’s hard to understand why people are seemingly less interested in what is an incredibly enriching experience. Businesses feel the same way, they are specifically looking for people who have spent time living abroad and speaking another language, or have been brought up in a bilingual environment. These are the people they want in their increasingly multilingual offices. ready for workWith youth unemployment at the horribly high rate of 16.6% for 16 – 25 year olds at the end of last year and under-employment affecting thousands, these extra skills can really make a difference to the person reading your CV. Despite the number of fantastic translation apps and web services out there, nothing truly compares to a native speaker’s interpretation of a document or a simple face to face conversation. Time to step away from Google Translate and ask a local, don’t you think?

One Month Old Today!

13 January 2015
One Month Old Today!

Pillow Talk

12 January 2015
Pillow Talk
Caroline and Manu.

They met in 2012 in Siena, Italy when Caroline was there on her Erasmus placement. In July 2013 they got engaged and in January 2015 they are getting married!

They are not the first couple to meet during an Erasmus placement; in fact an estimated 1 million babies have been born to Erasmus couples since 1987.

When I was studying Italian at uni, one of my teachers actually suggested we all start dating Italians to improve our language skills and our accents. I think his sentence was something along the lines of;

“There’s no better way of learning a language than through pillow talk!”
Reckon he had a point.

Connecting with people from all over the world is one of the most exciting and important things that someone can do and how much better to be able to do so in their language?! Even better if they are incredibly gorgeous and interested in discussing the benefits of goose feather versus hollow-fibre or memory foam…

It’s no wonder that this unique, once in a lifetime experience that brings people together across Europe for studying opportunities actually brings people together forever. Whether it is in the form of friendship or something more, you will never forget your Erasmus experience or the people you meet along the way.

It’s all about making that first move and getting chatting, maybe even igniting a bit of romance. So let’s do it, the next person you see/hear speaking a language you are learning, go and say hi your way!

Katie

To find out more about Erasmus, click here.
made to make conversation