Learning Spanish in Peru

Ask anyone who’s had to learn or teach a second language, and they’ll be quick to say that it’s all about immersion. You can learn all the grammar and spelling rules, and even read literature in that language, but if you don’t pit yourself against native speakers, not much of it will stick.

That’s why South America, and especially Peru, is a popular destination for aspiring Spanish speakers. As a former Spanish colony, Peru has ties with the Spanish on more than the linguistic level. In a Peruvian school, you’ll learn more than just the words—you’ll also learn the stories behind these words, and gain a new appreciation for the culture.

Peruvian Spanish schools can be found all over the country, but are more common in touristy areas like Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa. They range from large institutions, sometimes affiliated with national universities, to small private outfits. Teachers can be language professionals, writers, or journalists, or people from unrelated fields who are simply doing it for fun. An intensive full-time course usually involves two or more mentors, allowing you to get used to different accents.

Courses can be designed for absolute beginners, meaning your Spanish is limited to sí, no, and buenos dias, if even that. If you already speak it a little, there are intermediate and low intermediate courses. Advanced courses are for those who are already quite conversational and would like to work on their accents, refine their grammar, or widen their vocabulary. Doing all these levels can take up to a year, after which a typical student can usually get around on his own.

What’s great about learning Spanish in Peru, besides the immersion factor, is that you get to meet people from all over the world as well. Language learners in Peru can come from all walks of life—professionals looking to further their career in Latin America, new immigrants, or tourists learning for the fun of it. If you don’t have a common language and are forced to speak in Spanish all the time, you’ll pick it up even faster.

If you have the time and budget, consider signing up for a cultural Spanish course—a program that teaches you not just the language, but Peruvian culture and history as well. It’s a great way to use your newfound skills beyond introducing yourself and talking to hotel clerks, and you’ll have more than just a new vocabulary to bring home with you.

What Makes Hospitality Jobs Fun?

747-baltic-beach-hotel-receptionWith travel becoming more and more accessible, and with a growing number of countries upping their tourism efforts, the hospitality industry is set to grow worldwide in the next few years. For job seekers, this means that hospitality jobs may soon be in demand, with ample opportunities for professional advancement.

The hospitality industry employs millions of people around the world, from full-time executive positions to smaller seasonal jobs. For many, the biggest perk is the opportunity to travel and meet people from all walks of life. This is certainly one of the industry’s biggest benefits, especially since most of the skills involved are transferable across countries and cultures. People in hospitality jobs are often curious, open-minded, and adaptable as a result of their vast cultural contacts.

Another advantage of working in hospitality is the variety of tasks and positions available, and the possibility of mobility within a company. Most hospitality workers can easily work in reception areas, reservation offices, and restaurants and move up to management positions within a few years. It’s a great way to build a nice set of skills and experience while building company loyalty for future career stability.

For creative types, hospitality jobs also offer a lot of promise. Indeed, creativity is becoming more and more valuable in this industry as hotels, restaurants, and other institutions strive to come up with new experiences to keep visitors coming. Interior design, copywriting, logistical planning, and culinary arts are just some of the ways you can put those creative juices to work in the hospitality industry. And in a job where reinventing is essential, there’s a thrill in constantly coming up with ideas.

Perhaps the most practical advantage of working in hospitality is the potential stability and constant demand for work. Think about it: no matter where you go, you’ll always need a place to stay, something to eat, and help in getting around. This means that any place will always have a hospitality industry. Workers therefore have a wealth of choices and a lot of flexibility when it comes to finding jobs—it’s all just a matter of getting the right qualifications and grabbing the right opportunities. This is true whether you’re after a summer job or want to get your foot in the door for a potential long-term career.

Of course, hospitality has its daily grind like any other career—the hours are sometimes long and unpredictable, and there will always be the occasional problem customer. But anyone who has been in the industry for a while will be quick to tell you that the perks, the travel, the professional opportunities, and the satisfaction of being part of someone’s dream experience is more than worth the trouble.

Online Passport Services

To a traveller, there are few things more important than a passport. You can’t get very far without it, and you’re asked for it at almost every point of your journey. Fortunately, getting a passport has never been easier: the government has an efficient online service, and you can online passport application forms from several licensed third-party agencies. In most cases, all you have to do is provide the right documentation, pay the fees, and wait for it in the mail.

Other passport services are also available online, including renewals, replacements, and extensions. Renewals are probably the most common service, especially with travel becoming much more accessible today. Ideally, you should renew your passport well before it expires, so you do not get that little window where you don’t have your passport in hand in case you need to jet off. In addition, expired passport renewal can be complicated in some cases, or at least involve more steps than renewing a valid one.

Passport extension is a different service for holders of limited U.S. passports. Extensions usually require additional documentation such as proof of identity, and any documents missing at the time the passport was issued. Third-party agencies such as Flying Passport also provide this service online.

Some people are reluctant to go through a middleman for passport services, but the industry has never been safer. The main advantage of applying through an agency is that you avoid the long lines and bureaucratic hurdles, and you can make sure you’re getting all the right forms and information—although of course you still have to provide the documents yourself. When passport rules change (which they often do), you can be sure an accredited agency will be up to date and help you comply. You can also get expedited service for an extra fee, which can be useful if you need to leave right away or are on a tight deadline.

To make sure you get good service, choose one with a good track record and reviews. One such service is Flying Passport, which has been around since 1984 and also offers visa services to several countries. They also have a tracking service that allows customers to check the status of their application, as well as a travel advice section with tips on everything from getting insurance to fighting jet lag.

You can also look up passport services up at the Better Business Bureau to make sure they are a legitimate business, and ask around for firsthand feedback. This can take some time, but it’s well worth it for something as important as a passport. As long as you do your research and make sure all your papers are in order, you’ll be   jetting off before you know it!

Explore Peru and Kick the Culture Shock to the Curb

Peru, with its vast beaches and dormant volcanoes, has turned into a major expat destination in recent years. Although it is home to people of various ethnicities, expats moving to Peru often experience a hefty culture shock. This does not come as a surprise. Not only is culture shock a common phenomenon among expats, Peru also has its ups and downs. Luckily, the best way of kicking your culture shock to the curb is by exploring your new home abroad.

As most expats are living in Peru’s bigger cities such as Lima or Arequipa, chances are that you quickly feel trapped between the concrete and crazy traffic and lose sight of Peru’s natural beauties. But getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city will be well worth your while. Peru is a very diverse country with a varied ecosystem. On your travels, you will see the wide mountain ranges of the Andes, beautiful beaches, and vast rainforests. One of your stops should definitely be Lake Titicaca, one of the highest lakes in Latin America.

The Peruvian countryside is also often explored by hikers. Indeed paying a visit to Peru’s rural villages is a good idea, as different traditions have prevailed in different regions of the country. The Peruvian people are proud of their Inca heritage and do not hesitate to celebrate it with Andean music and monthly festivals. As you get to know your new home and its culture, you should also stop by Machu Picchu. The ruins of the 15th century-city is the biggest symbol of Peru’s culture which is closely intertwined with its Inca history. And while you are there, maybe you can learn a few words Quechua along the way.

If you are living in Peru and have decided to take a break from working here, you should not forget to be prepared before embarking on this epic journey. Before taking a trip to the rainforest, for instance, malaria prevention is important, not to mention vaccinations against rabies, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and yellow fever. You can take the Pan American highway to drive across the country. However, you should try to avoid mountainous terrain if you are not an experienced driver or drive extra carefully, as rocks might fall on the roads and block them completely. If you use common sense and maintain an open mind while you enjoy your time away from the big city, you will learn to love your new home abroad in no time.

Finding Affordable Apartments Online

Apartment living has attracted a growing number of people in the last few years. Whether it’s the unstable state of the housing market or the move towards smaller lifestyles, apartments have gained a strong appeal, in cities and small towns alike. These days, they’ve also gained a special appeal for budget travelers, who often look to cut costs by opting for cheaper accommodation.

Of course, apartments also come on both ends of the spectrum, from dirt cheap to the height of luxury. But unlike in most markets, it’s easy to find affordable apartments without sacrificing quality—in fact, precisely because of the rising demand, landlords are more open to giving you more value for your money. As is often the case, it’s a matter of looking around.

The Internet is one of the best places to look for cheap apartments. There are several companies dedicated to helping people find apartments within every budget and that fit every preference. Often, it’s as simple as typing in your requirements, browsing through a shortlist, and picking out an apartment or two. Compared to skimming through pages of newsprint and local listings, it’s a valuable time saver.

A large number of websites offer comprehensive search options that allow you to search by city, price range, and specific features like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. In most of them, you can also look in specific communities and neighborhoods, which is useful if you’re after a particular location that’s close to work or tourist attractions, or allows easy access to public transport.

What makes online apartment listings particularly convenient is that these companies work with a wide range of property owners, with the common goal of giving them the right amount of exposure. For renters, this means a greater range of choices in much less time. It also means better access to information, whether it’s about the neighborhood, building or community regulations, or the property itself—all without having to make all those phone calls.

Finding the right apartment for the right price is no easy job, but there are ways to cut corners in every step. Starting your search online, especially on well-established websites, can save you a good deal of time and effort in browsing, calling, and paperwork. After all, when it’s something as important as choosing a home, you want to focus on things making the big move and getting settled—in other words, things that matter the most.

Learning Spanish in Peru

Ask anyone who’s had to learn or teach a second language, and they’ll be quick to say that it’s all about immersion. You can learn all the grammar and spelling rules, and even read literature in that language, but if you don’t pit yourself against native speakers, not much of it will stick.

That’s why South America, and especially Peru, is a popular destination for aspiring Spanish speakers. As a former Spanish colony, Peru has ties with the Spanish on more than the linguistic level. In a Peruvian school, you’ll learn more than just the words—you’ll also learn the stories behind these words, and gain a new appreciation for the culture.

Peruvian Spanish schools can be found all over the country, but are more common in touristy areas like Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa. They range from large institutions, sometimes affiliated with national universities, to small private outfits. Teachers can be language professionals, writers, or journalists, or people from unrelated fields who are simply doing it for fun. An intensive full-time course usually involves two or more mentors, allowing you to get used to different accents.

Courses can be designed for absolute beginners, meaning your Spanish is limited to sí, no, and buenos dias, if even that. If you already speak it a little, there are intermediate and low intermediate courses. Advanced courses are for those who are already quite conversational and would like to work on their accents, refine their grammar, or widen their vocabulary. Doing all these levels can take up to a year, after which a typical student can usually get around on his own.

What’s great about learning Spanish in Peru, besides the immersion factor, is that you get to meet people from all over the world as well. Language learners in Peru can come from all walks of life—professionals looking to further their career in Latin America, new immigrants, or tourists learning for the fun of it. If you don’t have a common language and are forced to speak in Spanish all the time, you’ll pick it up even faster.

If you have the time and budget, consider signing up for a cultural Spanish course—a program that teaches you not just the language, but Peruvian culture and history as well. It’s a great way to use your newfound skills beyond introducing yourself and talking to hotel clerks, and you’ll have more than just a new vocabulary to bring home with you.

What Makes Hospitality Jobs Fun?

747-baltic-beach-hotel-receptionWith travel becoming more and more accessible, and with a growing number of countries upping their tourism efforts, the hospitality industry is set to grow worldwide in the next few years. For job seekers, this means that hospitality jobs may soon be in demand, with ample opportunities for professional advancement.

The hospitality industry employs millions of people around the world, from full-time executive positions to smaller seasonal jobs. For many, the biggest perk is the opportunity to travel and meet people from all walks of life. This is certainly one of the industry’s biggest benefits, especially since most of the skills involved are transferable across countries and cultures. People in hospitality jobs are often curious, open-minded, and adaptable as a result of their vast cultural contacts.

Another advantage of working in hospitality is the variety of tasks and positions available, and the possibility of mobility within a company. Most hospitality workers can easily work in reception areas, reservation offices, and restaurants and move up to management positions within a few years. It’s a great way to build a nice set of skills and experience while building company loyalty for future career stability.

For creative types, hospitality jobs also offer a lot of promise. Indeed, creativity is becoming more and more valuable in this industry as hotels, restaurants, and other institutions strive to come up with new experiences to keep visitors coming. Interior design, copywriting, logistical planning, and culinary arts are just some of the ways you can put those creative juices to work in the hospitality industry. And in a job where reinventing is essential, there’s a thrill in constantly coming up with ideas.

Perhaps the most practical advantage of working in hospitality is the potential stability and constant demand for work. Think about it: no matter where you go, you’ll always need a place to stay, something to eat, and help in getting around. This means that any place will always have a hospitality industry. Workers therefore have a wealth of choices and a lot of flexibility when it comes to finding jobs—it’s all just a matter of getting the right qualifications and grabbing the right opportunities. This is true whether you’re after a summer job or want to get your foot in the door for a potential long-term career.

Of course, hospitality has its daily grind like any other career—the hours are sometimes long and unpredictable, and there will always be the occasional problem customer. But anyone who has been in the industry for a while will be quick to tell you that the perks, the travel, the professional opportunities, and the satisfaction of being part of someone’s dream experience is more than worth the trouble.

Online Passport Services

To a traveller, there are few things more important than a passport. You can’t get very far without it, and you’re asked for it at almost every point of your journey. Fortunately, getting a passport has never been easier: the government has an efficient online service, and you can online passport application forms from several licensed third-party agencies. In most cases, all you have to do is provide the right documentation, pay the fees, and wait for it in the mail.

Other passport services are also available online, including renewals, replacements, and extensions. Renewals are probably the most common service, especially with travel becoming much more accessible today. Ideally, you should renew your passport well before it expires, so you do not get that little window where you don’t have your passport in hand in case you need to jet off. In addition, expired passport renewal can be complicated in some cases, or at least involve more steps than renewing a valid one.

Passport extension is a different service for holders of limited U.S. passports. Extensions usually require additional documentation such as proof of identity, and any documents missing at the time the passport was issued. Third-party agencies such as Flying Passport also provide this service online.

Some people are reluctant to go through a middleman for passport services, but the industry has never been safer. The main advantage of applying through an agency is that you avoid the long lines and bureaucratic hurdles, and you can make sure you’re getting all the right forms and information—although of course you still have to provide the documents yourself. When passport rules change (which they often do), you can be sure an accredited agency will be up to date and help you comply. You can also get expedited service for an extra fee, which can be useful if you need to leave right away or are on a tight deadline.

To make sure you get good service, choose one with a good track record and reviews. One such service is Flying Passport, which has been around since 1984 and also offers visa services to several countries. They also have a tracking service that allows customers to check the status of their application, as well as a travel advice section with tips on everything from getting insurance to fighting jet lag.

You can also look up passport services up at the Better Business Bureau to make sure they are a legitimate business, and ask around for firsthand feedback. This can take some time, but it’s well worth it for something as important as a passport. As long as you do your research and make sure all your papers are in order, you’ll be   jetting off before you know it!

Explore Peru and Kick the Culture Shock to the Curb

Peru, with its vast beaches and dormant volcanoes, has turned into a major expat destination in recent years. Although it is home to people of various ethnicities, expats moving to Peru often experience a hefty culture shock. This does not come as a surprise. Not only is culture shock a common phenomenon among expats, Peru also has its ups and downs. Luckily, the best way of kicking your culture shock to the curb is by exploring your new home abroad.

As most expats are living in Peru’s bigger cities such as Lima or Arequipa, chances are that you quickly feel trapped between the concrete and crazy traffic and lose sight of Peru’s natural beauties. But getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city will be well worth your while. Peru is a very diverse country with a varied ecosystem. On your travels, you will see the wide mountain ranges of the Andes, beautiful beaches, and vast rainforests. One of your stops should definitely be Lake Titicaca, one of the highest lakes in Latin America.

The Peruvian countryside is also often explored by hikers. Indeed paying a visit to Peru’s rural villages is a good idea, as different traditions have prevailed in different regions of the country. The Peruvian people are proud of their Inca heritage and do not hesitate to celebrate it with Andean music and monthly festivals. As you get to know your new home and its culture, you should also stop by Machu Picchu. The ruins of the 15th century-city is the biggest symbol of Peru’s culture which is closely intertwined with its Inca history. And while you are there, maybe you can learn a few words Quechua along the way.

If you are living in Peru and have decided to take a break from working here, you should not forget to be prepared before embarking on this epic journey. Before taking a trip to the rainforest, for instance, malaria prevention is important, not to mention vaccinations against rabies, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and yellow fever. You can take the Pan American highway to drive across the country. However, you should try to avoid mountainous terrain if you are not an experienced driver or drive extra carefully, as rocks might fall on the roads and block them completely. If you use common sense and maintain an open mind while you enjoy your time away from the big city, you will learn to love your new home abroad in no time.

Finding Affordable Apartments Online

Apartment living has attracted a growing number of people in the last few years. Whether it’s the unstable state of the housing market or the move towards smaller lifestyles, apartments have gained a strong appeal, in cities and small towns alike. These days, they’ve also gained a special appeal for budget travelers, who often look to cut costs by opting for cheaper accommodation.

Of course, apartments also come on both ends of the spectrum, from dirt cheap to the height of luxury. But unlike in most markets, it’s easy to find affordable apartments without sacrificing quality—in fact, precisely because of the rising demand, landlords are more open to giving you more value for your money. As is often the case, it’s a matter of looking around.

The Internet is one of the best places to look for cheap apartments. There are several companies dedicated to helping people find apartments within every budget and that fit every preference. Often, it’s as simple as typing in your requirements, browsing through a shortlist, and picking out an apartment or two. Compared to skimming through pages of newsprint and local listings, it’s a valuable time saver.

A large number of websites offer comprehensive search options that allow you to search by city, price range, and specific features like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. In most of them, you can also look in specific communities and neighborhoods, which is useful if you’re after a particular location that’s close to work or tourist attractions, or allows easy access to public transport.

What makes online apartment listings particularly convenient is that these companies work with a wide range of property owners, with the common goal of giving them the right amount of exposure. For renters, this means a greater range of choices in much less time. It also means better access to information, whether it’s about the neighborhood, building or community regulations, or the property itself—all without having to make all those phone calls.

Finding the right apartment for the right price is no easy job, but there are ways to cut corners in every step. Starting your search online, especially on well-established websites, can save you a good deal of time and effort in browsing, calling, and paperwork. After all, when it’s something as important as choosing a home, you want to focus on things making the big move and getting settled—in other words, things that matter the most.

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