Sascha's Portfolio Weblog

La meva foto

I am an English teacher and social media consultant who lives and works in Barcelona, Spain.

Most of my work is for the British Council and I am coordinator of the IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group. 

I blog at and at

divendres, de novembre 26, 2004

3 months in paradise....

3 months in paradise, that´s the feeling I have right now about my stay and studie in Barcelona.

The first few days were like I was on holiday. So warm so much sun and visiting the beach every day. First we tried the beach near the youth hostel at Barceloneta. I really liked that one because there were lot´s of people from abroad, and there was a very nice ambiance. There were not much families but more youngsters and groups. People were playing guitar, singing just relaxing and juggling.
The next day we went to the beach at Por Olimpic. On the site from the Baja beach club and Carpe diem. I think I loved that beach the most. It was very big , but specially in the month september, like every beach during the summer, full of people. The water was very clear and the beach was clean. And another positief thing were the toilets. At the most beaches there were only some small very discusting chemical toilets to go to, and we weren´t aloud to go to the toilets in a bar or restaurant when we weren´t eating there. But at the beach in Port Olimpic were very nice big and clean toilets, we had to pay 50 cents for it, but it was worth it.
We also went to the beach on the other site from Port Olimpic. That was a nice beach as well, but the water was very dirty. So that was not that nice, because I din´t dare to swim in it.
On of the most amazing things was that on 21 octobre I still was able to lie on the beach in my bikini. It was also the last time, but in Holland I already would have turned on the heating.

But enough about beaches.
Some very nice experience was fiesta La Merçe. The temperature was still very high than and the sun was shinging. Every habitant from Barcelona was partying on the street and having fun. There were so many great things to do, and I saw some very nice traditions like the Castallers (human towers) and el Correfoc (people dressed like devils are trowing with fire) and at night there some great parties going on. La Merçe and El Forum (this was a big event in Barcelona about globalisation and cultural diversity) were finished at the same time so on that date there was the biggest and nicest firework I´ve ever seen.

Other things you really must go to are the Erasmus party´s. Invite your whole class and go there together. It was really nice to see my classmates outside of class and dance and talk together about other things than school. That way I got to know my classmates also on a different level.
And when there are know Erasmus pary´s to go to, than go to l´Oveilla Negra. That´s the place were lot´s of students from abroad go to. There are big tables, so you can talk with everyone you want. They have the best sangria from whole Barcelona, in a big can for only 7 euro´s.

Just wandering arround in El Raval y Bario Ghotico is also very nice to do, you´ll discover lot´s of nice little boutiques and shops. When you come in El Borne, you have to go to Vinyes del Senyor. A very small wine bar, but very cosey. El Borne is also a good place to eat tapas.

But the best place I have eaten is Margarita blue. Mexican nachos con guacamole y queso and Fajita´s......hmmmm... and cocktails, and all really really good. There´s a bar as well so it´s not necesarry to eat. And on some day´s there will be some acrobats performing.

I also went to Montserrat. It´s a monestry and you can see the black Virgin (nobody know´s how come she is black but she´s a legend in Catalunya and everybody kisses her hand for luck)there. But the thing I mostly liked about it were the nature, the vieuws, the silence and the fresh air. Because Barcelona is a very noisy and poluted city and I´m not used to live in city like that so for me it was really relaxing to go there and enjoy all those parts.

There are so many nice things to see and do in Barcelona, I could speak hours about it.
Oke just on last thing....The magical fountains at the Monjuíc, and the palau nacional. It looked really amazing. I lived there really near, and the first time I was walking that way I didn´t knew that there was something so beautifull near my house. But it was a beautifull surprise. You can see a way full of fountains and on the end a very big fountain, with light and music. And on top of a little hill you see the beautifull Palau Nacional. I can´t explain how nice, so just go there. Especially at night, because the vieuw is amazing near the palau with the whole city lighten up.

As I said Barcelona is enjoy you time!!!!!

dimarts, d’octubre 19, 2004

Cava, cafee con leche and the history of barcelona


I´ve been doing/seeing a lot tipical Catalan things the last week, but i forgat to wright them on my weblog, untill now.
Saturday 9 october we (Inge, Sanne, Merel, Sophie, Jet and I) went to San Sadourni d´Anouia (I don´t know how to wright it). San Sadourni is the Cava place to be. Espcecially on that saturday because that saturday the week of the Cava started.
When we arrived ther by train, there was nothing that looked like a big Cava party, but only a few other people. So we desided to walk there were the other people also were walking. After some time walking we entered the centre of the little village. In the little center was one street full of little white market things, were the owners of cava ´factory´s´ were selling their cava. There were lot´s of people on the street, but I believe we were the only ´tourists´.
After a little bit wandering around, we became hongry and dived into the nearest supermarket (without tasting any Cava yet) When we were eating our buyings, and asking a man to make a picture of us, his friend gave us some coupons!! With those coupons we were aloud to taste cava wherever we wanted!!!! The Cava was lovely, and during the taste session another man who was selling some kind of tapas, offered us some tapas for free to try that also.....was it so obvious that we were tourists....
After that we wanted to see how cava becomes we went to the only cava ´factory´ were they had a English speaking guide...Pere Ventura. The factory I was speaking about turned out to be a lovely Villa/Landhouse, and the English speaking guide a very kind, sweet, funny and happy only Catalan speaking man from I guess 60 years old (especially for us he would try to speak some Spanish..). He had a very caracteristic face, full of rincles and he kept saying that his boss was such a *!#??#!, because he kept all the money for his selve. We had a wonderful tour through the wine ´basement´, and we were also aloud to try some of the Pere Ventura Cava. The guide really made us laugh because he kept repeting every sentence he said, and try to make hisselve clear with a lot of non verbal sign lenguage.
After this experience none of once will ever forget, we wanted to eat something. Tapas...of course. But the only tapas bar in whole San sadourni served us not exactly what we expected from good tapas. To be very was discusting....The tapas wich was suposed to be warm was cold, and it didn´t taste really nice, there was a hair on my plate and the table wasn´t clean...but anyway...After our ´lovely´meal we wen´t to the central placa were the party was about to start. On some big screans we could see what the Cava party was about in 2003.
Than the music started and a line of dancing giants and music making horse riding people the Cava queen entered the placa and went up on a big balconie to wave to all the people and speak some words in Catalan.
As I said it was an unforgetteble experience. And when the party only was starting in San Sadourni we went back to Barcelona.

The sunday after our cava experience we wanted to do another typical thing. Drink Caffe con leche in the morning. Normally I don´t drink cofee that much, but I wanted to try this. We went looking for a typical small cute bar in our neighbourhoud (l´Eixample). After some walking we found one and dronk the caffee and eat a croissant. It was half past twelve so a little bit to late but the caffe con leche and the croissant tasted lovely. I really think I´m going to do that more often.

Saturday the sixtheenth we went to the Museu d`Història de la Ciutat on Plaça del Rei. The first part was nice but a little bit boring. We really were curious how the rests of the old city would look like. With an elevator we went down to this part of the museum. We could walk through it on some kind of bridge. We could hardly believe that the things we were walking over were so old. ´Isn´t it just fake?????It was very interesting to read what the people on those specific places were doing (like painting ´clothes´, salting fish, preparing wine etc)many many many years agoo. We also met some pro tennis players who were practicing for winning Wimbledon. We have a picture of them so when they´re going to get famous onces we can say that we ´know´ them....But besides of the tennisplayers, the museum it selves was alsoo very interesting, and I think it is very good that those very important thing got saved for such a long time.

That was my Cava, caffe con leche and the history of Bcn story. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it wasn´t too difficult to understaind it because of my English grammatical and vocabulairical mistakes.

divendres, d’octubre 15, 2004



The assignment was to intervieuw two people, and ask, how they think about Catalunya.

The first intervieuw I did was with Albert. Albert (23) is from Barcelona, he studied here on St. Ignasi and I know him from the Autumn Course in Holland.
The quistions I asked were:

We´re you from?
I´m from Barcelona.

Do you speak Catalan?
I speak Catalan and Castellano. My parents and grand parents are also from Barcelona, so I grew up speaking two lenguages. First I learned to speak Catalan and when I got a little bit older I learned to speak Castellano.

How do you think about Catalunya?
I think Catalunya is and has been very important for the rest of Spain. For example lot´s of tourists are visiting Catalunya, wich is good for the Spanish economy.
Catalunya is also a beautifull place to live. The Costa Brava has lovely beaches and Barcelona is a very dynamic and nice city.
And I really think everybody should speak Catalan, that would be much easyer.

Do you think Catalunya should be independent?
I don´t know. I like my live right know and I don´t know if it would change very much when Catalunya would be independent. It would be nice, because everything would be in Catalan. Catalunya would be able to keep the money she would earn for example in the tourists sector, and spend it on other things than the Spanish governement is spending its money on. But I think there also would be some negative points.
But to be honest, I haven´t thought about it a lot.

The second intervieuw was with Peter (18). Peter was born in Barcelona, his father is from Barcelona, but his mother is from New Zealand. I know him from my holiday in Spain this summer, and we still have contact.

We´re you from?
I´m from Barcelona, my dad is Catalan and my mom is from New Zealand.

Do you speak Catalan?
Yes, but my first lenguage is English.
But you also speak Spanish?
So you grew up speaking three lenguages? Wasn´t that difficult?
No, it just went the same as somebody who learned to speak one lenguage. And I learned to speak Spanish a bit later.

How do you think about Catalunya.
I find Barcelona a nice city to live in. And the people are very kind. But I prefer New Zealand. I´ve been there for half a year with my mom when I was little and I´m visiting my family there a lot.
I really respect the Catalan people and the Catalan lenguage, but when everybody here would be speaking Spanish and Catalunya wouldn´t exist I wouldn´t mind eather. My mom and dead learned me to speak Catalan because it would be easyer for me in the future, and not directly because of my dad is very proud on the Catalan culture.

Do you think Catalunya shoud be independent?
Some Catalan people really want an independent Catalunya, and as I said I respect them. So when they really want that so bad, why not. But I don´t mind. For me it wouldn´t make any difference. Because I think that when I´m older, I´m going to live in New Zealand.

I chose to intervieuw Albert and Peter because I already expected they would have totally different opions about Catalunya and it´s independency.
But I think that the thought about an independent Catalunya is only really ´alive´ under the older Catalan people or younger people who are more ´extreem´ Catalan.
Albert is a real Catalan, but he isn´t thinking about an independent Catalunya very much.
But on the other hand, I only talked with to persons about Catalunya yet, so maybe my opinion will change.

Greetings Sascha.

dimecres, d’octubre 06, 2004

My expectations


Graham asked us to write something about the expectations we had before we came to BCN. About, the culture, the school, the city etc.
I don´t know if i´m doing this right (via, catalan culture, create a post..) but I´ll hear when it´s not.
I´ve been to Bcn one time before in january 2003. During that week I really fell in love with the city. It was beautifull weather (about 18 degrees and everyday sun) and I really loved how the city looked like (with all the old buildings for example from Gaudi, Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, lots of nice shops, and much more) I was only here for a week so I didn´t really had much contact with the catalan people.
I expected that I would get lots of energy from living in such a nice area for 3 months. The people from our school who went to Barcelona last year told us, that it was a wonderfull experience, that they had a real good time here and they were very sad when they had to go back to Holland. When I spoke with some of them they didn´t quit talking about how nice it was. So my expectations are quite high. But not only because the other people liked it here so very much. Also because I love the spanish culture in general, because the people are very dynamic, expressive (the speak with their whole body), and laid back (that the people lot´s of times are late on appointments). I also like the lenguage a lot and I expected to learn it during my time in Barcelona. And when the sun is shining or when there´s a beach I can go to, I get more energy and it feals like I can handle a lot more than when it´s raining and the beach is like 3 hours driving away. So also because the things I just mentioned my expections where really high. I felt like those 3 months were going to be a hugh vacation with a little bit of studieing.
Before I came here I learned only a little bit about the catalan culture. During my vacation in Spain this summer, I discoverd that Catalan people are very proud to be Catalan and that they speak Catalan instead of Castellano. So I expected that the people might be a little bit arrogant and hard to reach. But now I know that they´re not like that when you respect them and try to speak Catalan a little.
I really had a lot of expectations, that there would be lot´s of festivals and cultural things going on in the city, and that it would be very easy to meet other new people.
And I think, untill now, I discoverd that some expections were right, some not, and some I still have to find out.


ps. Writing in English is sometimes a little difficult, so, sorry if you don´t understand what i´m writing.

divendres, de setembre 24, 2004

Welcome to Catalonia!

Hi and welcome to the course!