Happy Norooz – Iranian New Year, March 20th

Norooz is the Iranian New Year. In harmony with the rebirth of nature, the Persian New Year Celebration always begins on the first day of Spring, March 20th of each year.

Norooz (meaning “New Day” in Persian) ceremonies are symbolic representations of two ancient concepts – the End and Rebirth. About 3,000 years ago Persian’s major religion was Zoroastrianism, named in honour of its founder Zoroaster, and arguably the world’s first monotheistic religion. Zoroastrians had a festival called “Farvardgan” which lasted ten days, and took place at the end of the solar year. It is said that this was a festival of sorrow and mourning, signifying the end of life, while the festival of Norooz at the beginning of Spring signified rebirth, and was a time of great joy and celebration.

Norooz sinifies hope, peace and prosperity and has been celebrated among people regardless of ethnic background, political views or religion in many countries around the globe, such as Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Georgia, Iraq, Tajikistan, Syria, Armenia and India.

Some of the activities during Norooz include spring cleaning, buying new clothes, painting eggs, family reunion, giving presents, visiting neighbours and friends and celebrating with a picnic on the 13th day of Spring.

By Peyman Shameli, Language Course Advisor at Cactus.

Cactus Worldwide Blog: February 2014 – Focus On TEFL

Focus on: Cactus TEFL Special Offers


Hello, and welcome to the February 2014 edition of the Cactus Worldwide blog! And also, welcome to our agency – Cactus Worldwide – where our team of experienced course advisors are here every day to discuss options with you and help set up a varied range of unique language-learning or language-teaching experiences, all over the globe, throughout the year, for all of our fantastic students.

This month’s blog is all about the special offers we currently have available to those of you considering taking a TEFL course this year, in the U.K. or abroad.

If you have any questions about any of the special offers that you read about here, please feel free to contact our experienced TEFL admissions advisor, Peyman Shameli, directly via info@cactusworldwide.com and he’d be happy to answer any questions.

1.      £47 off the Cambridge CELTA course in April in Krakow, Poland!

Now only £868 for the 4-week CELTA course starting 7th April (finishing 9th May).

Click below to find out more about this last-minute offer and apply now!

Full-time Cambridge CELTA course in Krakow in April with British Council and Cactus TEFL – now just £868

2.       £50 off the Full-Time March Trinity CertTESOL + £100 off the Part-Time April Trinity CertTESOL in Oxford Circus, Central London!

Established in 1962, St George International operates out of a new purpose-built centre, situated in the Fitzrovia district of Central London. Although only three minutes away from busy Oxford Circus underground, the school itself lies in a wonderfully quiet back street.

The centre is widely regarded as being a specialist in the field of EFL, having run high-quality, good-value teacher training courses in Central London since the summer of 1993. Since then, over two thousand trainees have successfully passed through their doors as newly-qualified English language teachers of the globally-recognised Trinity College London Cert TESOL.

Click below to find out more about the 2014 special offers and apply now!

Full-time Trinity CertTESOL in March with Cactus TEFL & St George International – now just £845

Part-time Trinity CertTESOL in April with Cactus TEFL & St George International – now just £895


St George International, Oxford Circus, Central London

3.       Free Course Book (Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener, worth £30) for every successful Trinity TESOL applicant in 2014 @ British Study Centres in Brighton! Exclusive to Cactus TEFL

BSC in Brighton was opened in 2008 and is located in a beautifully refurbished, four-storey Victorian house between Brighton and Hove, with a garden, a terrace and a 5-star cafeteria, and in an ideal location with the beach, Brighton attractions and city centre only 15 minutes away. The school has 15 spacious classrooms with large windows, a fully stocked study centre and library, a computer room as well as WiFi throughout the building. This school is not only newly-renovated, well-resourced and a pleasant training environment, it is also a real, thriving workplace where students can experience the reality of teaching.

Every little helps, and this year they are offering every successful Trinity TESOL applicant applying via Cactus TEFL a free copy of arguably the most highly-regarded text in the EFL industry – Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener – worth £30.

Click the link below to take advantage of this special offer!

Trinity TESOL in Brighton with Cactus TEFL & British Study Centres


The garden at British Study Centres in Brighton

4.       Free Course Book (Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener, worth £30) for every successful Trinity TESOL applicant in 2014 @ Athena Teacher Training in Bournemouth! Exclusive to Cactus TEFL

Just two minutes from Bournemouth’s long sandy beaches and city centre, Athena Teacher Training forms one of Bournemouth’s largest language schools and prides itself on offering a friendly, professional atmosphere in which to develop the teaching skills vital to all good teachers.

The school is offering every successful Trinity TESOL applicant applying via Cactus TEFL a free copy of arguably the most highly-regarded text in the EFL industry – Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener – worth £30.

Click the link below to take advantage of this special offer!

Trinity TESOL in Bournemouth with Cactus TEFL & Athena Teacher Training

5.        Discounted Part-Time Trinity Cert TESOL course in Oxford this March – now only £795!

ISIS Oxford are offering £55 off off their part-time Cert TESOL course starting 4th March – normally £850, now just £795.

This 14 week part-time course leads to the award of the Trinity Certificate in TESOL. Along with the RSA CELTA, this is the most widely accepted qualification for teachers of EFL/ESOL, with recognition from schools and colleges worldwide and bodies such as the British Council and the QCA. You can anticipate a demanding but enjoyable month, at the end of which you will have the tools and the confidence to take up a first TESOL position either in the UK or abroad.

If you’re interested in taking a last-minute Cert TESOL course this is a wonderful opportunity to study in the beautiful, iconic city of Oxford at a reduced price.

Click the link below to find out more and apply!

Part-time Trinity Cert TESOL in Oxford with Cactus TEFL and ISIS Oxford


6.       10% off a CELTA course in the Sevilla sunshine this March, with Cactus TEFL & Clic! – but be quick, offer only valid for applicants applying before Friday February 21st


The Andalucian ‘Clic Sevilla’ school building

Are you considering teaching English in Spain this year? If so, we highly recommend taking a course in-country, as this offers many significant benefits, such as a valuable in-country contact for jobs advice and support. Trainees taking their TEFL course abroad also benefit from teaching students native to that country during their teaching practice sessions, so they graduate from the course already highly equipped with knowledge of these learners’ specific academic and cultural learning needs.

This highly popular school in Sevilla, called Clic, is part of an international network of schools (for teacher training and teaching Spanish as a foreign language) located in the heart of the town, just 10 minutes’ walking distance to the cathedral and 2 minutes to Plaza Nueva. The building is a very well-equipped Andalucian house with a reception desk on the ground floor, training director’s office, teachers’ room, classrooms, internet access, kitchen, vending machines and common room on the second and third floors and a large roof terrace. The school also owns its own cafe/bar (serving drinks and tapas) on the same street. This provides an excellent meeting place for both teachers and students from all over the world.

Interested? Visit the link below to find out more about the course and download an application form for the 17th March CELTA course!

Cambridge CELTA in Sevilla with Cactus TEFL & Clic International House


The ‘Clic’ cafeteria in Sevilla

We hope this selection has been of interest, and may have given you some ideas for some bargain study options for the year ahead. Any Qs at all, please feel free to contact me directly and I’d be happy to help.

Happy planning 😉

Best Wishes,



Oliver Donovan
Agency Product Manager

Email: oliver.donovan@cactusworldwide.com

French course in Antibes: Cactus staff review

Operations Manager at Cactus, Leticia Artiles Gracia, tells us her reasons for learning French and how much she enjoyed immersing herself in the language in Antibes

I love and enjoy doing many things. But if I had to choose two, they would definitely be: travelling and learning languages.

What if you are given the choice to combine both? That is exactly what I have been doing once a year since I joined the Cactus team, almost 4 years ago. This time I took a 1-week holiday and went to do a French course in Antibes.


I must admit that this was a bit of a risk as French is not really my favourite language. I have tried to study it many times without success and not because I find it difficult: I am Spanish and that helps a lot when it comes to understanding the language, its structures, its spelling, etc. The real  reason behind my lack of interest in French is that I have never had a real motivation to learn this particular language.

Now I do have one: I am learning Arabic in Morocco and the Moroccan dialect uses a lot of French terms and in many cities of Morocco they use a high percentage of French words.

So, there you go, if I want to communicate with people in Morocco, I need to improve my French too!

So I decided to give myself another chance and instead of going for a normal course I thought: why not to go there for a week and immerse myself completely in the language and the culture? I am so glad I did.

A language holiday is such a good choice for a solo traveller. The General Course is perfect in terms of number of hours. I had to get up early in the mornings to go to the school but then at midday I was free to go and enjoy my free time while practicing what I had learnt in the classroom. During the 3 hour class we practiced all skills: listening, reading, writing, speaking.

My teacher & classes

My teacher could not have been better. You could tell she was highly qualified and experienced and she managed to motivate us to produce as much language as we could. I was placed in a higher level than I expected and that was very encouraging. I cannot say it was not a challenge, but it really pushed me to try and learn as much as I could in a week.

The whole class was entirely in French, not a single translation in English and the teacher did not allow us to use dictionaries or applications to translate. What was not understood at first was explained using different techniques such as: giving examples, using synonyms, mimics, sounds, anything! My vocabulary grew by the days and my oral expression and understanding were definitely improving. The course was complemented with a grammar book created by the school with clear explanations and examples.

Due to the fact that the week I was there was low season, we did not manage to get enough people together to do any of the extra activities the school offers. These included city tours and a wine and cheese tasting evening. Next time I will have to go when it’s busier but that would also mean more people in the classes. The class size at this time of the year is between 6 and 8 people, perfect if you want to make the most of the week.

Although most of the students were in their early twenties, there were also quite a few people over 30. I managed to meet people of my age not so much in the classroom as in the residence where I stayed. This one was definitely the best choice as most people were over 25 and it was a nice and quiet place to stay that invited you to relax and study during your free time.

There was where I met Diana, a Dutch lady, with whom I shared lovely chats (in French!), nice seafood and wine dinners and entertaining excursions in and out of Antibes. We agreed that although we both spoke much better English than French we would try to speak French as much as we could and so we did.

Antibes & the surrounding area


Antibes has a lot to see; it’s a lovely and picturesque town on the Côte d’Azur, full of small cafés, restaurants and shops. It has a beautiful beach really close to the school, perfect to run to right after the classes for a couple of hours. There is also a traditional market right in the heart of the town. It is a place that allows you to travel back in time.

The residences are in a more touristic area called Juan les Pins, a lively place perfect for partying. From my point of view, Antibes is much more authentic – it has the perfect southern French taste! People are very lovely, although there are many tourists. You still get that personal treatment and after going to a café twice, they already know what you want.

I managed to visit Nice and Cannes. My favourite was definitely Nice, a very charming city with a mix of traditional architecture and modern buildings and a great promenade to enjoy a pleasant walk in the evening. There is also a nice waterfall at the top of the mountain definitely worth visiting.

Other class mates visited other small cities and they all sounded very nice too. I wish I had gone for 2 weeks so that I could have had time to see a lot more.

All in all, the experience was extremely positive. Now that I have experience learning French in a country where it´s spoken I can´t wait to do it again.

Leticia learned French in Antibes with Cactus. Cactus offers French courses in many locations across France and Canada, as well as evening and part-time courses in the UK and the US.

French evening course in Brighton: Cactus staff review

Salut, je suis Laura et j’apprends français à Brighton.

I have always loved the French language and studied it for numerous years at school. I had thought I had a reasonable grasp of it – that is until I visited Paris last year and stayed with some friends. I found the ability to repeatedly ask for the location of the toilets and to describe my love of swimming at the swimming pool only gets you so far. So when Cactus offered the Beginner 1 French class at their St Giles centre in Brighton, I jumped at the chance!

I am so pleased that I did now – going back to basics has proved so incredibly useful.  We were quite a large group, which was initially quite nerve-wracking (I am not a confident public speaker!). My classmates were of all ages and came from a variety of different backgrounds – some were learning French as they had family and friends in France whilst others took it up as a challenging way to occupy their Wednesday evenings. We were eased into the lesson with a couple of ice-breakers, which included greetings and a fun bingo-style number game. After a short space of time, I felt comfortable piecing together short sentences in French to my allocated partner and then onto the whole class.

We covered a lot of ground in the next few weeks, from learning nationalities to describing what we do at work. However, we eventually had to cover the most formidable subject matter for a native English speaker… le grammaire! It turns out that I had nothing to worry about – our teacher guided us through the different conjugations clearly and concisely, testing us on our new-found knowledge every so often. I can now proudly say that I have the ability to conjugate all (regular) verbs… magnifique!

Learning French with Cactus has been such an enriching experience. Yes, two hours of French on a Wednesday evening after a long day at work can be a little daunting, but the time flies by once you’re in the classroom. If you are thinking of joining an evening course, I would highly recommend committing to a couple of hours a week of self-study outside of the lessons.  It is very important to reinforce the information you take on in class.

I am now enrolled on the Beginner 2 course with the same teacher and I am greatly enjoying it. Although I struggle with certain aspects (such as gender – seriously, why is a table a woman…?!), I really feel like I am making great progress. So much so, I will be trying my luck communicating with others in Paris next month, where I have enrolled on a week-long intensive course.

Merci beaucoup, Cactus!

Laura is Corporate Client Liaison Officer at Cactus and she took a 10-week French evening course in Brighton. Cactus offers part-time and evening language courses in a variety of languages and at various levels across the UK and the US.

German course in Brighton: Cactus staff review

Language Course Advisor Alessia Ungari tells us how her German evening course has given her a real passion for the language

Since I was at primary school I’ve been learning foreign languages and over the years I’ve become a more and more dedicated learner. When I heard that Cactus was offering me the chance to take a language course I was really excited. I speak Italian and Spanish fluently and wasn’t sure whether to brush up my French knowledge or to start with a completely new language. I decided to enrol on a German course, although I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to learn a word.

Why German then? Mainly because my relatives live in Switzerland and I’m used to hearing the language since I was a child. But I never learned more than a few words and expressions, such as “Danke”, “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Kartoffeln”. I wanted to surprise them, and the idea of being able to communicate with my little cousins made me very eager to begin lessons.

One of the advantages of Cactus courses: the timetable. As I’m a full time employee, I couldn’t really find time during the week, but studying one evening per week can definitely fit into everyone’s schedule.

The day of the first lesson arrived and I left my work place a bit anxious to meet my classmates and teacher. All I knew about my course was that the tutor was a native German speaker and that there were 6 students in total, including me. All students were in the room at 7pm and the teacher had already prepared the materials necessary to start. For the first hour we had to fill in a questionnaire and played a warm-up game to get to know each other and very soon the atmosphere became pleasant and enjoyable. The lesson went smoothly; Rebecca, our tutor, showed us the lesson plan and asked more about our preferences and expectations from the course. It was a nice feeling to know that we all could express our personal needs and that Rebecca was flexible regarding the course content.

After the first session passed I felt much more relaxed, and despite my tiredness, I was already looking forward to the second lesson.

I couldn’t expect to understand everything at beginner level, but I was really surprised to notice my quick progress over the 10 weeks. My understanding improved, I was much more confident with my speaking and I enjoyed the variety of activities and the great interaction with the group.

In short, my overall experience has been awesome and I haven’t stopped learning since: I’m currently attending the German Elementary 1 programme and all the concerns and the anxiety I had on first day have gone.

My Wednesdays are now exciting and I can’t wait to do my homework during the break to get prepared for the next lesson!

Alessia took a 10-week German evening course in Brighton. Cactus runs evening and part-time courses in a variety of languages and at many levels in locations across the UK and in the US.