Sunday, 23 November 2014

Hiroko in Melbourne

I've been in Melbourne in Australia as (on) a working holiday since November. At first, I was in (on the) Gold Coast to meet Kate from Russia who studied English in Helc with me (in 2012) and after that, I started working in (a) Japanese style hotel. I work with Japanese staff and (the) Austaralian owner so I speak Japanese and English. Haha.  I'll work at here for 4 months maybe so I've been pondering about how to study English in this situation. The worst thing is my listening ability. Anyway, I read books all the time. I hope my English will be better in here. How is Hastings?
       Hiroko

[To ponder something = to think about it carefully and for a long time]


Hiroko from Japan and Kate from Russia on the beach on the Gold Coast

Hiroko waiting for a Kangaroo to arrive

Friday, 21 November 2014

Morning Class

From left to right: Eva from the Czech Republic - Abdullah from Saudi Arabia - Rie from Japan - Analice from Brazil - Rika from Japan - Midori from Japan - Maichan from Spain.
My name is Eva Cechova, I am from the Czech Republic (and) I am 26 years old.  My parents are 63 years old and they are pensioners now. I have two brothers and one sister, I am the youngest, (and) I have six nephews.  I live with my boyfriend and my family in a family house with a garden in a small village near Opava. I graduated from (in) Quality Management at Technical university. I am jobless at the moment (so) I am looking for my future job. 
I am tall [179cm], I have brown eyes and I wear glasses. I have long brown hair. I am very friendly, funny and nice. My boyfriend says about me, that I am sometimes outspoken, very active and moody. I like (the colour) purple colour and I love cats. My hobbies are swimming, reading, walking, watching TV and speaking with my friends. 
Eva

My name is Abdullah (and) I’m from Saudi Arabia. I’m 22 years old (and) I live in Jeddah city with my parents. I finished university and I studied media (and) I finished last year .
I have black hair and black eyes. I “think” Im friendly. I play football because it is good for my body and health and I like swimming and travelling.
Abdullah

My name’s Rie Aramaki (and) I’m from Osaka in Japan. I’m 22 years old, I’m a college student (and) I’m going to Canada after I graduate from college so (as) I’ve already got a visa. I’m looking forward to going there.
 I came to Hastings to improve my English. When I came here I was  very nervous for the first time but now I’ve been (am) enjoying  school life now.  This is a very nice place with lovely people.
I usually go out every weekend. My first weekend was terrible, because I went to Oxford without knowing how far away it was so I came home at nearly 11 o’clock (at night)! I was so tired, but I thought it was a good experience for me.
I want to explore a lot of British afternoon tea shops. I didn’t use to have sandwiches, but now I always have them for lunch. (Japanese) people who came to England said ‘I miss rice and miso soup’ but I don’t. I don’t know why. Am I becoming a British girl?  
Rie




My name is Analice, I am 34 years old, I graduated from Business University, I am from Brazil but I have been living in Norway for two years with my husband and my son. My son’s name is Gabriel, he is 8 years old and a lovely boy.
I am quite short, I have shoulder-length brown hair and brown eyes. I wear glasses, but sometimes contact lenses. I think I am a friendly, extrovert and talkative person.
I like staying together my family, traveling, eating out, meeting friends and trying different foods and knowing about different cultures.
Analice

My name is Rika Sato. I am from Japan and I live in Tokyo. There are many people in Tokyo. I have been living in Tokyo for 4 years. I am 23 years old and a university student (in) 4th grade. I study economics (but) it is difficult for me.
I am going to tell you about myself. I have long straight black hair and black eyes. I think I am a friendly person because I have many friends and I like talking with my friends.

In my free time I love watching drama, playing volley ball and travelling but I do not have much free time because I have classes every day. But I can go traveling at the weekend in Hastings, I often go to near places with my classmates like Brighton (or) London. 
Rika 

My name is Midori, I’m Japanese and I live in Hastings now. Hastings is a very pretty town, I live with my host mother. I’m 26 years old and I’m at HELC studying English but I studied Biology at university in Japan. I’m going to work in a Japanese language school in London just next year, I (will) teach Japanese to British people.
I’m going to tell you about myself. I have black shoulder-length hair and black eyes, I wear glasses, but sometimes use contact lenses. I think I’m shy, but my family and friends say I’m a very friendly and positive person.
In my free time I love reading but I can’t read English books so I study English now.  I like  travelling. I have been  to many countries, My favorite countries are France, Spain and of course U.K !
Midori

My name is Maichan. I'm Spanish and I live in Asturias (in) Gijon, Gijon is a small city in the north of Spain. I live with my mother. I'm 30 years old and I'm working in a restaurant and its specialty is typical fish (dishes of) ‘Cantabric’ seafood. I`m  (have been) in my job (for) 9 years.
I`m going to a tell you about myself. I have short hair and brown eyes (and) I wear glasses. I think I'm a positive person, I'm friendly. 
In my free time I love reading and playing football. In Spain I don`t have (much) free time because I work every day, and I go to English classes in the morning every day. 
Maichan


Monday, 27 October 2014

Afternoon Class says Goodbye to Theresa

From the left: Lorenzo from Rome in Italy - Mikako from Tokyo in Japan - Romana from a village near Zurich in Switzerland - Karoliina from Helsinki in Finland - Theresa from Bremen in Germany and Rie from Fukuoka (but now living in Osaka) in Japan. 

Friday, 3 October 2014

Class Profiles

From the left: Magdalena from the Czech Republic - Alice from Germany - 
their teacher but I can't remember his name!!! - Ryosuke from Japan - 
Theresa from Germany - Dana from the Czech Republic.


Hello, my name is Magdalena Holcova, I’m 20 years old and I live in a city near Prague – the Czech Republic's capital.  Currently I’m a university student – I’m studying  biology and I would like to be a botanist in the future. I love travelling a lot. I think I’m quite an adventurous and energetic type of person. I love visiting foreign countries, meeting different people and comparing our lifestyles, traditions and habits. I enjoy being in nature, hiking in the mountains, swimming in the sea, running alongside (the) river bank and admiring all the beautiful things around. Sometimes I can be little bit competitive and ambitious. I love to do things enthusiastically and properly and I’m annoyed when people around me don’t. My idea of the perfect life includes an interesting and creative job, a lot of hobbies, nice, supportive and extraordinary friends and first and foremost a happy family.


I am Alice from Germany. I studied law and now work as an assistant at the university. I am staying in Hastings to improve my skills of the English language, therefore I might describe myself as ambitious. Getting to know the English culture by staying with a friendly and open-minded guest family and actually enjoying the sunny weather with a lot of students from all around the world just complets this great opportunity of learning and travelling. I consider myself to be open-minded because I like to learn languages and to travel to different countries. Friends characterize me as independent and reliable, but unfortunately I  can be a little bit untidy and absent-minded in some situations.

My name is Ryosuke. I come from Japan, I live in Tokyo (and) I’m a university student, I’m studying economics. My hobbies are practising Karate and playing guitar.  I like UK rock 'n' roll music, particularly The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, so I chose Britain to learn English. I think HELC is the best place to learn English, because there are not a lot of students.
I’m a senior in university at present, so I have to do job hunting. I think English is an indispensable skill to search for a  job. I know I should study English hard, but actually it is difficult for me to improve my English skills. In the future, I want to be a rich man, get great fame (and) marry a beautiful woman so at the moment I should get a lot of good skills to work for a big company.

Hi, my name is Theresa. I’m 23 years old and I live in Bremen, Germany. I’m staying here for 8 weeks to improve my English skills. At the moment I’m looking for a new job. The reason I’m here is because I want to get a job in a purchase department in a wholesale company and there I (will) have to speak English very well. I’m enjoying my trip to Hastings which is a very nice city and you can meet a lot of friendly, lovely people. Maybe next year I’ll come again but I hope that I’ll be able to speak English better and I can try to go on the business course. My friends say about me that I’m open-minded, optimistic, generous but a little bit chaotic, but sometimes I think that’s good. ☺ In my spare time I go swimming twice a week, I like to meet friends after work and I love shopping. If I got a lot of money I think I would go clothes shopping every day. 

Hi, my name is Dana. I am 47 years old and live in Pilsen, Czech Republc. I am in Hasting to improve my English and my motivation for it, especially for speaking and understanding live English.
I am optimistic and cheerful especially to my clients and friends. Some people say I can be a little bit bitchy. I think that's (a) good insight. But for me it is different to be (an) introverted and less sociable person, but both seem similar. I am reliable and industrious  when I am interested in it (but) I am losing (lose) motivation very easily when I start to be bored but (only) for (a) short time because I need to do a lot of things.
My nearest friends say I am independent, obstinate and adventurous. My mother sees (me) differently I think. She says I am too impulsive to stand in one place and too impatient to do only one thing, I think all (this) is true. I like to be by myself and try to be kind to myself. That's the most important partnership in life, I think. I like travelling, cooking, hiking, animals, films and theatre performances and a lot of other things.




Thursday, 2 October 2014

A Visit to the Old Town

Magdalena from the Czech Republic - Alice from Germany - Shoko from Japan enjoy a coffee in the café in George Street called 'Hanushka'.

Standing outside a house in the Old Town with a very pink door!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Afternoon Tea

Sitting in the Apothecary Tea Rooms in Rye having afternoon tea are Theresa from Germany; Ayaka from Japan and Emi, also from Japan. 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Last Night of the Proms

Every year, from the Royal Albert Hall in London, the BBC televise more than seventy classical music concerts over a period of eight weeks. These are called the 'Promenade Concerts' or the 'Proms'. 

The Last Night of the Proms is very special. The people attending the concert bring flags and wear Union Jack waist coats (see the conductor), scarves, dresses and so on. The last piece of music is always "God Save the Queen' but the one before is called 'Pomp and Circumstance, written by Edward Elgar. 



This is a very British event and it shows how music can unite people. The final chorus starts at 4:50/8:48 and everyone sings the chorus "Land of hope and glory, land of the free" together and there is a lot of patriotic flag waving.

However, it is not just the Union flag that is being waved - you can (if you look carefully) see English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, Cornish, South African, Italian, Netherlands, Norwegian, Japanese, Canadian, Chinese, Swedish, Polish, New Zealand, Australian, French, German, North American and Spanish flags and more, and the conductor is from Finland! 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Favourite Buildings

My morning class who wrote about their favourite buildings, from left to right: Marie - Magdalena - Harumi - Lucie - Katsuya - Dmitry

Himeji Castle - Japan
A building I admire in my city is Himeji Castle, a large castle and one of the most famous places in Japan. This was built in 1346 as a fortress, then a lot of famous generals made this castle bigger and now, Himeji castle is one of the largest castles in Japan. This castle is also called “Shirasagi Castle” and “Hakuro Castle” which means white herons because of its beauty and the pure white walls. It was registered (a) UNESCO World Heritage (site) in 1993. 
What I like most about (it) is its size and perfection. The castle covers 23 hectares and has 74 buildings.  In addition, Himeji Castle has a tennsyukaku which is a space where people live. There are only 12 castles which have tennsyukaku and Himeji Castle has  the biggest one of all. Its height above sea level is 92 metres. The scale is also unparalleled as other castles. 
Moreover, this castle sustains its elegance and beauty even now because this castle has not been involved a hot war and it was fixed twice after WW2. Although other castles (have been) reconstructed, Osaka castle, for instance, was attached with an elevator, Himeji castle is not. In addition, it has a lot of equipment which was used in war, for example, there are many holes in the wall to shoot enemies with arrows from it. From the above, Himeji Castle (maintains) the appearance which you can feel the history and it is (known as) the best castle in Japan. 
Katsuya

Cesky Krumlov Castle - Czech Republic
Cesky Krumlov Castle is located in the centre of Cesky Krumlov (English: Bohemian Crumlaw). It is one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. What I like most about it is that the castle lies on the banks of the Vltava, the longest river in the Czech Republic, and if you sail on a canoe or raft you have such a beautiful view of the castle. 
If you visit Cesky Krumlov you should definitely rent a raft or canoe and explore the town (from) the river, it’s the thing which is best about it. Cesky Krumlov Castle is a complex of 40 buildings situated around 5 courtyards and it is the second largest castle complex in Central Europe (the first is Prague Castle). 
The whole complex is open to the public. The castle was founded by the Lord of Krumlov before 1250 as a gothic castle. After him, the castle received the Rosenbers family in 1302. They had their seat there for 300 years. In 1602, the Emperor Ferdinand II von Habsbursg bought the castle for the Austrian princely family of Eggenbergs. They rebuilt the castle in the Baroque style. The next family who owned this castle was the Schwarzenbergs, but in 1947 all their property was nationalized (transferred to state ownership) because socialism came to power. In 1992, the castle was added to the UNESCO list (as well as Prague and Telc).
Lucie Jileckova

Kenchoji Temple - Japan
This is one of the greatest temples in Japan. Built in the 13th century, it is a historical piece of architecture made of wood. Although the temple is not as elegant as those in Kyoto, it has attracted a lot of people not only from across Japan but from around the world due to its large scale. That is because Kamakura was once a metropolis founded by a samurai, while Kyoto was founded by a noble person. 
The temple has several buildings on quite (a) large site, surrounded by greenery. And so, the contrast between the old dark brown wood and the deep green forest is very beautiful. However, its most attractive feature I should tell you is that the temple offers people opportunities to practice meditation. It is located in Kamakura, ten minutes walk from Kita-kamakura station. How would you like to experience meditation and think about your life in a quiet atmosphere?  Come to Kamakura and visit Kenchoji Temple.
Harumi

The Municipal House - Czech Republic
The Municipal House in Prague is considered to be one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings in the world. The palace-like building is situated near the Old Town and was officially opened on 22 November 1912. The most skilled Czech artists of the day decorated all the building with paintings, sculptures and stained glass. Their main idea was to create a splendid representative building for the Czech capital, Prague.  
Today, the building has a large number of concert halls, cafes and exhibition halls inside and going there is a great experience for every visitor. Outside, the building is painted white, decorated with a balcony, railing and a big dome. What I love the most about the building is the flower-shaped decoration, the beautiful murals and the magnificent Art Nouveau style facade and windows which together form the great example of the architecture of the beginning of the last century.
Magdalena Holcova

Rokuonn-ji Temple - Japan
Rokuonn-ji Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in the world. This temple is better-known as Kinkaku-ji Temple. Do you know The Temple of the Golden Pavilion which was written by Yukio Mishima? In the story, a man burns down a temple. The author describes the man’s feelings and why he burned it.


Rokuonn-ji temple reminds me of this story, and it actually was burned down in 1950 the author got the idea from this event, and it was rebuilt in 1955. It is located in Kyoto in a place which was purchased by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397, and after he died it was changed into a Zen temple by his son, according to his wishes. It has three stories and the top two stories are coverd with pure gold leaf. It’s approximately 12.5 meters in height. It was chosen as World Heritage Site of UNESCO in 1994. This is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto and people who visit Kyoto should go there. 
Marie Kato

The Sky Tower - New Zealand
Do you know what the highest building in the southern hemisphere is? To answer this question we should visit the only home of kiwi birds, the land of the Maoris and the fascinating islands discovered by James Cook in the second part of the 18th century, New Zealand.
The Sky Tower is situated in Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand. It is a telecommunication and observation tower built between 1994 and 1997. The tower is 328 meters high or about 1,076 feet tall making it the tallest man-made structure in the southern hemisphere. How tall is that? Well, it is about 4 meters or 13 feet taller than the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. 
What I find most exciting about the Sky Tower is its beautiful architecture and its safety. The tower is designed to face winds exceeding 200 km/h or about 120 mph. Also, it can stand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake which is very important since New Zealand is quite a seismic country.
Without doubt, the Sky Tower remains one of the most remarkable constructions of the country and one of the most amazing towers in the world. 
Dmitry

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Notting Hill Carnival


I went to see Notting Hill Carnival on 25th of August 2014.
 
The day (It) had been raining all day but I could see the uncrowded carnival because of it (that). It was funny for me because a lot of people weared (wore their) own costumes and (were) dancing.


I also could see a lot of young people (who had) drunk too much. I had been dancing to traditional cultural music during this time because this music made me really happy. I really enjoyed the time. I had a very good experience there.
Tetsuo - Japan 

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Friday Again

From left to right: Tetsuo from Japan - Satoshi from Japan - Fabio from Germany - Rocio from Spain - Michele from Italy - Momoyo from Japan - Dominik from the Czech Republic - Carmen from Spain. 
Everyone leaves today except Momoyo and Satoshi.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Mont Saint Michel in France

On (the) 23rd (of) August, I took a ferry from Portsmouth to St. Malo and I stayed overnight on the ferry for 10 hours. 
On (the) 24th, in the morning I took a bus from St. Malo to Mont Saint-Michel for one hour. Then I arrived at Mont Saint-Michel.
In the afternoon, I took this picture. Mont Saint-Michel is (a) very beautiful island.
And I took this picture in the evening.

On (the) 25th, I took (a picture) from (the) bridge at 7 a.m. I saw the reflection of Mont Saint-Michel in the river. You can see it only (in the) early morning.
Satoshi - Japan 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Hi from Hiroko, Saori and Mikio

Three ex-students who were at HELC last summer, 2013 say hello from Japan. Mikio, Hiroko and Saori.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Goodbye Friday

From left to right: Setsuko from Japan - Maria from Spain - Patricia from Spain -  Aneta from the Czech Republic - Vladimir from the Czech Republic - Eva from Spain - Aneta from the Czech Republic - Setsuko from Japan - Natalie from Switzerland. Setsuko, Maria, Aneta, Vladimir, Aneta and Natalie all leave today. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Best 'Learn English' Websites

Katie's morning class did some online research into the most useful websites to help students to improve their English. Below are the results of their investigations which we hope you find useful.

From left to right: Klara - Zuzanna - teacher Katie - Valeria - Marta - Ludvik - Shoko - Veronika - Katsuya - Veronika


On this website you can find five sections – video interviews, typical mistakes, writing, Teachers' Page and Office English. Each section includes three subsections for three different levels of English. Unfortunately, if you are a beginner, you cannot find anything there. From our point of (view), these websites are well-arranged, so it is no problem to find (finding) what you want. (It is) very pleasant is that there are no ads. If you need to be professional in the language of business, we suggest you visit this website.
The video section helps you if you want to apply for a job in abroad. There are a lot of examples where you can listen and see how you should behave during job interviews. They give you good examples of what to say and how to react to the interviewer’s questions. 
There is another section called typical mistakes, where everybody can find what not to do. The site helps you to correct your common mistakes that you are unaware of.
In the writing section you can find guidelines and sample sentences and solutions that help you prepare for the writing paper of the different levels of the most popular Business English exams, as well as for real life.
If you need English at your workplace it is a good idea to visit the section which is called Office English. This section introduces you to common business English.
This website is very suitable for you if you need to practise your English. You can find a lot of exercises here, which help you to recognize how your English is doing. 
Ludvik - Katsu - Veronika

Spotify
We would like to introduce a free internet website “Spotify” on which you can find your taste in music. If you log in, you can search for them. You can listen to whatever you like.
If you choose your favourite kind of music, the site suggests your taste in music weekly. You can find new music automatically in your in-box.
However, there are some disadvantages. When you listen to music, some advertisments can suddenly jump out when you are listening to songs. It is quite loud and annoying. On the other hand, if you pay, you can listen to music without interruption.
Moreover, there is only a small possibility of finding non-English musicians. If they release an English album, you will find them without any problems.
You could always find out what is new or what is a hit for each week. It does not take long to discover your favourite music.  You also could improve your English listening skills.

We would highly recommend Spotify because it is the website of many possibilities and it helps you to be open-minded efficient to new types of music. 
Free internet website for music with log in 
Researching your favourite musicians or songs
Finding similar kind of music of your taste
Listening to music whichever musicians you like
Suggests several new musicians you may like every week 
Impossible to avoid listening to advertisements.
If you pay, you can listen to only music without disruption.
Limited possibility to find non-English musicians.
Shoko - Veronika


Lyrics Training.com
In order to talk about how learning languages using websites, we can find some pages on the Net. One of them is LyricsTraining.com which is the website about (which) we are going to speak. But, how to do it? Nowadays, with the technological advances, we are surrounded by a large amount of information.  That’s why we have to discern which is the best website that we can use. For this reason,  we are going to make a comparision between the above website and EsolCourses.com 


First of all, talking about the advantages of Lyrics Training we can find that:
  • You can choose the song that you want to listen to and also the student level. I mean, you can choose between beginner, intermediate, advanced or expert level depending on your own (level). For example, in the beginner level your only task is to complete the gaps of the lyrics while the singer is singing instead of the expert level, where you have to complete all the lyrics. However, you can also use “help” when you don’t know the correct word and it can make the task easier. 
  • You can choose the singer that you really want to listen to and also the song. 
  • This website not only permits you to learn English because there is a big variety of languages between which you can choose, there are Spanish and Italian songs too. 
  • Another important advantage is that you can distinguish the difference between English and American. So you can see if the singer is from the UK or America.
  • It is easy to use. 
Comparison of the two sites:
  • Lyrics Training only offers you the opportunity of improving your listening, but you can’t practise your grammar or maybe your comprhension, because you can write the words correctly but you can not understand the meaning of them. 
  • Instead, http://www.esolcourses.com/content/topics/songs/britpop/waterloo-sunset.html gives you the opportunity of making quizzes about the meaning of the song. It is so because in it there is a space called “Quiz Question” where there are some questions referring to the song that you have chosen. Using this page, you can improve other aspects of the language that you want to learn and make you feel that you have the control of learning the language. 
  • With www.esolcourses.com you can only practise English and you can’t search for the songs that you really want to listen to. The side gives you a list of songs and you have to choose between them. 
Conclusion:
  • To improve your listening, Lyrics Training is a good website but if you are interested in learning other aspects like comprehension or grammar, you have to go to another site. 
Marta and Valeria

PHRASAL VERBS
The internet these days is the biggest source of information for students. We can find many websites about sports, news, music and others. But the question is  “Are these websites good enough, clear, better than books?”  Today we want to pay attention to phrasal verbs (PV) which are a particular part of English. We found many websites about PV but these aren’t similar. Some of them are for advanced students and some of them are only for beginners.

FIRST
This is the first page which we have found. It has a lot of advantages. The site is very clear. The alphabetic order is very useful. There are definitions and examples of PV use. If you are an upper intermediate or advanced student and want only to remind yourself or find some more PV it’s the website for you.
SECOND
This web is for beginner students because there are many explanations of how to use it. There is also an alphabetical list of PV with meanings and examples. The best advantage is you can do a lot of interactive excercises to check your knowledge.
THIRD
Well-known Wikipedia: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrasal-verb In our opinion it isn’t a good website because it’s too long, with too much useless information. We can’t find the meaning of PV. The site isn’t clear.

We want to say that everyone can find something for yourself. But we would recommend www.learn-english-today.com. It’s useful for the independent learner. All these websites are free so it’s the main advantage in our opinion. It’s the fastest way to find what you looking for.
Zuzanna and Klára

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Film/TV Series Reviews

Film Review - Life is Beautiful
Life is beautiful is a moving and wonderful film which shows how, even in the worst moments, you can change tragedy into happiness. When Roberto Benigni (Guido Orefice) and all his family are confined to a Nazi death camp,  this young and optimistic man finds the courage to hide the truth from his little son,  Joshua (Giorgio Cantarini), making him believe that everything is just a game. Passing through different awful situations gives (each of) them points, and there is no chance to cry or to be sad if they want to get the first prize, an awesome tank. Death, hopelessness and human cruelty are some of the main features of this Italian comedy-drama film, but also love, hope and, even though it can seem strange, lots of humour.  The acting is unbeatable; it is impossible not to feel sympathy and affection for the main characters. Giorgio Cantarini does a great job and he seems so innocent and naive that you will feel the need to protect him from anything wrong. The plot is accompanied by a beautiful  soundtrack, which has won countless awards, and has been able to represent all the mixed-feelings that define this film. 
So, if you want to realise how beautiful life is, just play this film, but, before anything else, make sure you have enough tissues at home, because will definitely need them. 
Mar Part Lopez - Spain

TV Drama: Sons of Anarchy
Sons of Anarchy (SoA) started in 2008 as a television drama series. You are introduced to an outlaw motorcycle club operating in a fictional town called Charming, California. The main protagonists are the club’s vice-president Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) and his family. Jax is questioning himself about the future directions of the club and about his life. While watching SoA you are introduced to various places and various types of people. Most of them you would rather not visit, nor meet. Members of SoA make their livelihood by smuggling and selling arms, so it’s common for them to shoot and kill. The club’s president, Clay Morrow (Ron Perlmann, better known as Hellboy) is forcing the club to take a part in a drug deal. 
By the way, Clay on his way thru the series turns into the main antagonist but it’s not obvious at the beginning and some people could be disappointed by this. Anyway, Perlman’s performance as Clay is excellent and you can feel how it is to change your mind from love to hate. Notable also is the performance of Katey Sagal as Clay’s wife Gemma. It’s almost unbelievable that Peggy from (the programme) ‘Married with Children’ and Gemma Morrow are the same person.
Other story lines are SoA’s members’ family affairs which are affecting the club. All people, even outlaw bikers have parents, children, wives etc. , but in this case, the club must be in first position. 
When I started to watch this series, I was kinda sceptical. I’m not a TV addict and series aren’t my hobby at all, but after watching a couple of episodes I found myself fingers crossed to a group of weirdly dressed morons. Maybe, someday in the future, I’ll buy a leather jacket and a Harley Davidson. No, maybe not.
Jan - Czech Republic


Movie Review – Transcendence (2014)
Transcendence is a thrilling science fiction movie starring Johnny Depp as the curious scientist Dr. Will Caster. He predicts that computers will create a technological singularity, which he calls “Transcendence”.  After a dramatic incident his life depends on medical equipment so his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) promises to do everything she is able to do to save him and decides to continue his research and experiments, unaware that she would soon create a technological monster no one could stop.
This futuristic movie makes you forget what is possible and what is not, including 119 minutes of haunting and exciting scenes. 
However, the film received mainly negative reviews and was criticized for its plot structure and for the film’s poor logic but Transcendence deals with large, troublesome ideas about right now and what’s ahead and that makes this movie timeless. A few reviews described it as “a bold, beautiful flight of futuristic speculation” and “a stunning piece of work”, which was also my opinion. 
The special effects were amazingly detailed and stunning which makes it difficult for you as the viewer of the film to decide what you should focus on. Transcendence is definitely not a movie for kids but I would recommend it to every adult who is interested in futuristic science.
Morgana Dias - Switzerland

Film review: Pride & Prejudice
Pride & Prejudice is a romantic film based on Jane Austen’s novel and directed by Joe Wright. The whole story takes place in the British countryside during the late 18th century and it describes five sisters from an English family dealing with issues such as marriage, morality, prejudice and its consequences. The lead actress gives a fantastic performance in the role of Elizabeth Bennet [Keira Knightley], who is one of the five sisters and wants to find a true love. As it is a popular romantic novel, there must be the right one for Elizabeth and that is the moment, when Mr. Darcy [Matthew Macfadyen] appears on the screen. The plot is really predictable, but I think it doesn’t have to be such a bad thing. The music, which flows through the entire film, was written by Italian composer Dario Marianelli.
This film is for everyone, who likes romance, classical music, beautiful countryside and loves happyendings. The film would make a great afternoon or evening’s entertaiment especially for a woman audience, but don’t expect any action or surprises.
Katerina - Czech Republic

Series review: Game of Thrones
These days TV serials are becoming more and more popular and according to the research the obvious winner is Game of Thrones, which is filmed according to the books written by George R. R. Martin.
I’d like to tell you about the first season, which is more gripping than the others. In the first season we are introduced to the world of the Seven Kingdoms where there are a lot of main characters and many more secondary characters. I will tell you only about the most important characters which are the Starks: a famouse and very old clan which is very honorable and predictable, they are also called the Rullers of the North and in their crest is a mysterious wolf. The Lannisters: an old clan which is known for an incredible amount of money and their cunning behaviour, in their crest is a golden lion. The Barratheons: a clan which rules to the Seven Kingdoms. Their crest is green with a deers head.
And what is it actually about? It becomes interesting in the first episode when Cersei and Jaime Lanister were caught comitting incest by young Stark and they throw him out of a window. Here must no-one knows what it is about. The story fall out is quite fast and the whole season is full of bloody scenes and magnificent celebrations and what is most important is a lot of intrigues which are unexpectable. To not spoil your entertainment I can only tell you, that after a king’s death all the clans declare war on each other.
I personally would recommend it to everybody, but the rule that the book is always better still applies!
Vaclav - Czech Republic

Movie Review - Amelie
The film I would like to present to you is called “Amelie”. The film is about a very sensitive girl, named Amelie, who can sense things around her before they happen. The film is centred on the figure of this woman, (who) is (an) exceptional person and very particular.                                                                                                                                                     She meets a boy and she falls in love with him and after that she finds out that the boy has lost his book, an album with thousands of photos that he has been collecting. She adopts a particular way of acting: to return his book, instead of simply giving it back to him by appointment or by calling him, like every person would do, Amelie makes him find the book by using arrows, that she would draw on the ground, or throw other unpredictable signs that would eventually lead him to the right location of where his book is. In the meanwhile, Amelie also tries to discover who is the mysterious man that appears continuously in the album.
With overwhelming imagination and infinite sensivity, Amelie guides us in her world which is fantastic and incredible, and which reflects a very singular way of seeing life, besides her being an exquisite character.
I don’t know whether to recommend this book or not because it can be enjoyed but it can also be horrible for some people.                                                                                                                                           Personally speaking, I can say that I liked this movie and I even watched it more than one time.
Eleonora - Italy

Sitcom review: The Big Bang Theory
The American sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” is an extremely witty series which is recommended especially for younger people – but not only for them. 
Chuck Lorre’s and Bill Prady’s sitcom is set in Pasadena, California and is primarily focused on the four physicists Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Dr. Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), Dr. Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) and Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) who are all employed at the University of Pasadena and (are) addicted to fantasy and comics. The four physicists behave in an absolutely funny way different from average human beings and Sheldon especially is a really queer bird, who becomes during the development of the plot more and more aware of human behaviour, phrases and irony. The complete contrast to the four guys is epitomised by their neighbour and friend Penny (Kaley Cuoco), who works at the cheesecake factory and (is trying) to establish herself as an actress in California. However, her plans don’t seem to be successful. She supports the four guys during their daily life by giving them advice (on) how to behave in particular situations. However, she is often annoyed (by) them, as well.
The main question beyond the whole series is from my point of view: Can physics be funny? And Sheldon and his friends show that of course, they can be! This is achieved through the entertaining behaviour of the four guys which is, for instance, indicated by (the) problems (they have) with talking to women, understanding irony or behaving socially. All these problems are part of Sheldon’s, Leonard’s, Raj’s and Howard’s daily life and make it so funny to watch the sitcom. The actually untypical and fairly unnatural behaviour is put into the foreground of the content and is exaggerated in a way that is superb. Sheldon’s problems in his daily life especially are acted totally fantastically by Jim Parsons, who manages to depict the character of Dr. Sheldon Cooper perfectly. Moreover, this success comes, nevertheless, (because of) the slightly infantile (clothing) chosen for each character.
As a closing remark, I can recommend watching (this) sitcom at least once (but) I’m sure that the risk of becoming addicted to it is very high!
Chris - Germany

Film Review - Bridget Jones’ Diary
Bridget Jones’ Diary is a true love story, totally inspired by the fairy tales with a happy ending. 
Bridget Jones (played by Renee Zellwegger) is a single woman in her early thirties, with some bad habits –smoking and drinking - that she tries each year to stop, but obviously unsuccessfully. 
Bridget works in a magazine, where she starts flirting with her boss Daniel Cleaver, (Hugh Grant), an attractive barrister, with whom she has found what she has been searching for in all her 32 years of singleness. 
But suddenly, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), a business man and the son of her parents’ friends returns to her life at her mum’s Christmas party in a reindeer jumper.They have known each other from their childhood, when she ran naked into his garden, but now, they can’t stand each other. 
This love triangle that reminds us of Pride and Prejudice, also has an intriguing point, some lies will soon come out, and no one will really be what they pretended to be.
And moving on, the cast is spectacular, especially Zellwegger after we found out what she did for the film, gaining more than 20 pounds (in weight), and it is even more stunning how she played the role of a 32 year old stereotypical single Londoner, that made her win an Oscar. 
Like one of my teachers told me years ago, you should watch this film in your thirties, if you are single and if you are trying to win some self-esteem, obviously then, you will understand the feelings of Bridget Jones.  
Empar Martinez - Spain

Film review – ‘Monster in law’ & ‘Maleficent’
‘Monster in law ‘ is a romantic comedy directed by Robert Luketic. The story is about a young girl, Charlotte (Jennifer Lopez) and her relationship with her fiance’s mother, Viola (Jane Fonda). 
Charlotte met Kevin (Michael Vartan) at a private party, and a few days later, they started their relationship. Things started going wrong when Charlie met Kevin’s mother, Viola, who had lost her job and had spent three months in a psychiatric hospital. When Kevin proposed to Charlie, Viola thought that she would lose her son the way that she had lost her career, so she wanted to destroy their relationship. If you want to know whether their love was strong enough to overcome all the challenges, you must watch this movie!
‘Maleficent’ is a 2014 American fantasy film, based on a story about a good fairy, who lives in a magical forest, near the human kingdom. The main character is, of course, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie).  
Things start to get complicated when she meets Stefan, a guy from the kingdom. She falls in love with him, and as the king wants her dead, Stefan cuts away her wings and, as a reward, he marries the king’s daughter. When Stefan’s daughter, Aurora, is born, Maleficent puts a curse on her, saying that she will fall into an eternal dream on her sixteenth birthday, and that only ‘true love’s kiss’ can wake her up. But does that kiss have to be from a prince or not? If you want to find that out, hurry to the cinema!
To sum up, ‘Monster in law’ is a movie with lots of funny scenes, which will make you laugh.  But if you prefer to see an old story in a new way, ‘Maleficent’ is the best choice.
Katarina - Serbia

Jan - Eleonora - Vaclav - Katerina - Chris - Morgana -Empar - Katarina - Mar