Words by Georgina Choueiri

It was a family reunion after a long time….

My oldest sister from the USA, me from the UK and the rest of the family who live in Lebanon.

The decision was made to visit the most unique and beautiful place in the North of Lebanon – the Cedars of God – or the Arz al Rab in Arabic – which are 2,000 or 3,000 years old.

Driving from home, the journey across steep hills and narrow roads took about three hours.

The weather was cloudy and cool and the temperature around 15 degrees Centigrade.

There was no entrance fee but voluntary donations were encouraged. We had a great walk inside the charming old forest for about an hour, right into the centre where there is a tiny old church with a traditional design.

How wonderful it was to walk along the path through these ancient trees which released their scent into the forest air. Our joy was over the moon – everybody was amazed and happy! It was such a beautiful place with the giant trees, the valley, the mountains and the views of the hills. As they say – truly Heaven on Earth.

Everyone should visit this magical place……..

Afterwards we went to the nearby village of Bsharri which is the birthplace of the well known writer and poet Gibran Khalil Gibran. We bought souvenirs and shared a festive lunch at one of its famous restaurants.

The whole experience was unique and memorable and a wonderful discovery!

For a summary presentation of the wonders of the Cedars of Lebanon also created by Georgina, click the link below:

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is #connectingwithnature which reminds us how simple activities like gardening and getting outside for a walk can really help our mental health and wellbeing.

We share a presentation delivered by our charity’s Chair, Annie Peters, which includes lots of helpful resources and tips on how to protect our mental health and prioritise our wellbeing.

Click to view the presentation here: Health and Wellbeing.pptx

EAL student Ana Maria Segnini looks back on the early weeks of lockdown in 2020 and the time she spent in Wonersh, Surrey. Ana was inspired by her daily walks in nature and decided to begin a crafting project to pass the time.

Click the link below to view Ana’s presentation which documents how her beautiful model of planet Earth, pictured above, was made using found natural items.

Last month, EAL students were asked to share their thoughts on Zoom learning and their experiences of preparing and delivering presentations on topics of interest during our group classes.

Their feedback has been compiled below and highlights the value of presentations in EAL learning, both in building confidence in delivering verbal presentations and using digital tools like Microsoft Powerpoint.

“It keeps my mind busy and pushes me to think in English. It’s rewarding to share your experience to others.” Azize (Turkish)

“I like to share my knowledge with people. Preparing and presenting presentations also means sharing. It means being interactive.” Berrin (Turkish)

“I’m shy, and giving a presentation requires me to speak, and it’s important if I want to progress.” Nadège (French)

“I learned many skills through preparing and presenting a presentation. It helped me to think more, gathering new information and sharing new information with others. It boosts up my confidence level.” Manju (Malayalam)

“It’s special chance to show people my interested things and my country. I can learn the knowledge for my friend’s home county, as if I attend the tour each country.” Tomomi (Japanese)

“It improved my confidence because I was able to present some elements of my culture to my British teacher and foreign friends in English which is not my mother tongue.” Hang (Vietnamese)

“I enjoy giving presentations because I learn and get confidence. I learn about different items, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary. I also learn from the corrections to others.” Ana S. (Spanish)

“Making presentations improved my basic skills in internet search and I have an idea how to prepare a PowerPoint presentation now. Also I improved my knowledge in arranging the sentences. Using prepositions.” Rafif (Arabic)

“I appreciated the opportunity was given to me and the attention to my presentation by all my zoom group.” Chiara (Italian)

“I think that preparing a presentation while learning English has contributed a lot to me.”

”I learned new words while researching the subject. Having the correct sentence helps improve grammar.” Nazli (Turkish)

All presentations created by our learners can be viewed on our Submissions page. You can also see our current EAL class schedule here.

Before moving to the UK from Syria, EAL student Rafif Tayara worked as a qualified paediatrician until retiring in 2011. Rafif shares a fascinating presentation that showcases her professional knowledge regarding children’s developmental milestones.

Rafif’s presentation has been made based on her observations of her lovely grandchildren’s development which you can view by clicking the link below.

EAL students Azize Hangisi and Berrin Guzel worked together to deliver a fascinating presentation on cats. With so many breeds and characteristics associated with cats, this is an interesting overview of the quirky characteristics and physical abilities cats have, as well as their prominence in Turkey and Islamic culture.

Berrin supports our charity as a technical adviser and Azize qualified and worked as a dentist in Turkey before coming to the UK. Click the link below to view the presentation.

Puglia has a long and old tradition of religious holidays. Pasqua (Easter) is probably the most celebrated and loved among the locals; for an entire week, known as the Holy Week (Settimana Santa). Learn more about the Rites of the Holy week through today’s presentation which has been prepared by EAL student, Chiara.

Chiara comes from Puglia in Southern Italy and is currently studying to become a volunteer lifeguard for our Women’s Friendship Swimming Club.