It was that anxious feeling when you are outside of your comfort zone that I felt walking up to the apartment building in Queens, New York. However, as soon as my host Nawida opened her door with a warm smile and welcoming hug, I settled into a sense of excitement for a culinary adventure.
Four weeks prior to this moment, I came across the company League of Kitchens, which offers cooking classes demonstrating authentic cuisine from various regions around the world. The instructors are women, living in New York City, who have immigrated to this country with a mastery of cooking in the style of their homeland. Today's cooking class: Afghani.
Bringing a decidedly luxurious edge to an educational travel package, Belmond Charleston Place is offering a midweek stay that includes a lesson in plastering, an art revered in a town that values historic preservation.
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Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.
Photo: Peter Frank Edwards
We Americans often feel insecure when we can't speak other languages when we travel overseas. Granted, maybe not insecure enough to actually learn another language—but smiling, nodding, and frequently yelling "Merci!" is a good start, right?
The good news: It turns out we may not be the world's biggest linguistic laggards. According to a recent TripAdvisor survey of Europeans, the British ranked as the worst at speaking another tongue when traveling. Only 11 percent of those surveyed could speak another language fluently, while 22 percent of them couldn't speak even one word in another language. Plus, a whopping 74 percent of Britons expected people overseas to be able to speak English.
So what about those stats that say that half of all Europeans are fluent in another language, compared to the 18 percent of Americans? That holds true in Italy and France, where 51 and 50 percent, respectively, can speak fluently in another language, according to the survey. The Germans, meanwhile, blow the curve, boasting 70 percent who are fluent in another language (and only 1 percent is clueless in another tongue).
In defense of the Brits (and ourselves), we could say that the other Europeans are just making it too easy for us to be linguistically lazy, at least in the Eurozone. It's a good bet, after all, that the second language all those Germans, French and Italians speak is English.
Photo © Chad Ehlers/ Alamy
School’s out for the summer…unless you’re one of the many who would love to fulfill that fantasy of attending the prestigious Oxford University, in Christ Church, England. But before you start worrying about SAT scores and GPAs, I should tell you: the historic university is opening up its doors (and classrooms) to anyone who applies.
Thanks to a program called The Oxford Experience, anyone ready, willing, and able to pay for a weeklong course can do just that. (And without having to suffer through those pesky final exams!)
Thos. Moser, the furniture-making firm, many of whose handmade pieces have achieved American icon status, runs a Customer-in-Residence program that could make the perfect Father’s Day gift for the would-be woodworker in your family. Never mind bringing home an ashtray or lanyard from camp—graduates of this weeklong program come home with a piece of furniture that they’ve built under the tutelage of a master woodworker.
The lucky five carpenters accepted into each session (applications are considered and previous Moser customers are given preference on the waiting list) are put up at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine, land of the outdoorsy outlet shop.