So you have arrived in this new city, ready for your English lessons but also eager to explore your surroundings.
During your stay while you study on your English course, there will be organised activities and excursions to notable locations and places of interest. And your host family may take you out and show you around.
But you may want to explore for yourself and experience the real life of the city; the sights and sounds of the local people, as well as to practice your English on your own.
New visitors travel to different cities in the world every day. Many of them will plan their trips with travel guides and travel apps. They may research online before they arrive. Or they may read advice and tips from Bloggers and on Social Media. So they are prepared for where to go and what to see.
This is all great to help you decide some of the specifics of what to see and where to go.
But what is the best way to explore once you have arrived? To make the most out of your time?
This is the most obvious, and perhaps easiest, way to explore. You could join one of the free Walking Tours or indulge in a Bus Tour or Themed Tour. Tours allow you to experience all the notable sights and tourist attractions. And you get some history and interesting facts from your tour guides, which will also help you to practice listening to the English language.
A great way to really get to know a city and its culture is to experience the local food. You can use the tips and advice from blogs and guides to find some of the popular spots for recommended local cuisine.
Or you can visit the local food Markets and try the street foods on offer. You may be able to partake in any free samples to get a taste of the variety of food that the local people like to enjoy.
Food tours are another great way to experience the food the city has to offer.
Check out seasonal festivals, gigs and local events that are on during your stay. Visit the markets to see the local wares and stall goods. These are a great way to experience the authentic culture of a city. These events and markets are where locals attend and hang out, where you can experience the real feel of the city and observe and meet the local people.
An alternative and fun way to explore is with a Scavenger Hunt. You can make your own, ticking off a list of things you want to challenge yourself to find. Or find a planned hunt that someone else has arranged for tourists and get together with a group. It makes exploring more fun and interactive.
And speaking of interactive, one of the best ways to experience a new place is to talk with the locals. Ask for advice, find out where they like to go for fun or to eat, or simply chat to get a feel for what the people are like. After all, the people are a big part of what makes the city. This also happens to be a great way to practice your English skills and your communication skills, to really experience the language and culture hands on.
Maybe you will meet fellow travellers outside hostels. They might have some tips of their own. Perhaps they will tell you about places they have visited and things they have seen that you haven’t thought to go and see.
Look around, pay attention
Remember to look around you when you are out and about. Pay attention to the architecture of the buildings. Observe the people, their style and behaviour. The personality and feel of a city is in the bricks itself and the hustle and bustle, the energy of the people. Stop and listen and take it all in. Notice and appreciate the differences to your own home city.
And take pictures. When you take a photo, it forces you to stop for a moment, to slow down and see the city through the lens.
Visit the parks and gardens in the city. Here you can experience the calmer side of the city, where people have picnics in warm weather or go for a stroll in the pleasant surroundings of nature. You may even be able to observe some wildlife.
If you really want to get a good view, find a hill in the parks or venture to the top of a tall building. Many will have viewing decks. These high views will give you a different perspective on the city and enable you to really take it all in.
Make plans but get lost
It is, of course, wise and sensible to make plans to make the most out of your stay. Especially if time is limited. But don’t be afraid to get lost and simply wander, to go off the beaten track. You might stumble upon something amazing, interesting or beautiful that you hadn’t planned. And this is always a good feeling.
And remember to relax and enjoy yourself. You are here to improve your English, and the best way is to immerse yourself and have fun with it, no matter what your English level.
Armed with these tips, you will be ready to join our language course, learn English and make the most out of your stay in an English-speaking country.
This new city is waiting and eager for you to learn from, explore and experience it.
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