Bolivar square in Bogota Colombia

Win a TEFL Course in London or Bogota!

Would you like to win a TEFL course in one of two fantastic worldwide locations?

Cactus TEFL is bringing back our popular Suzanne Furstner Scholarship in January 2016, and this time we are excited to be giving away not one, but two TEFL courses!

Become a qualified English teacher in the vibrant heart of London, or jet off to Colombia’s historic capital to gain your prestigious CELTA qualification – the choice is yours. These are two of the best teacher training courses available and will equip you with the skills and confidence you need to launch a career teaching English.

Scholarship Prizes:

4-week Trinity CertTESOL course in London, UK

4-week Cambridge CELTA course in Bogota, Colombia

Win a TEFL Course – How to Apply:

  • Create a video of 3 minutes maximum on the subject: ‘Why I want to become a teacher’
  • The video can be as creative as you choose, as long as it is relevant to the subject
  • Videos should be posted on YouTube with the following hashtags in the Comments box: #cactustefl #winacourse
  • Check ‘Also share on Google+’ below the Comments box
  • If you prefer to keep your video private, there is an option to select ‘Private’ in the Privacy Settings
  • The link to the video should be sent to with the subject line ‘Suzanne Furstner Scholarship Entry 2016: [your name]’
  • Please specify your preferred course location (London or Bogota)
  • Dates for entry 1st January – 31st March 2016

Winners’ Criteria:

  • The course prizes must be taken in September, October or November 2016
  • The winning videos will be published on the Cactus TEFL website, Cactus blog and social media channels
  • The winners will be required to create a video diary of their course to be published by Cactus.

Suzanne Furstner Scholarship

An annual scholarship that gives aspiring teachers from all the world the chance to win a TEFL course, the Suzanne Furstner Scholarship was set up in 2006 in memory of our much-loved colleague Suzanne. To date, we have sent winners to take CELTA and CertTESOL courses in locations ranging from Spain and Italy to San Franciso and Playa del Carmen.

Remember, entries are accepted from 1st January 2016, so you have plenty of time to start thinking and make your dreams come true in 2016!

Day of the Dead in Mexico: a time to celebrate

Anyone lucky enough to have already seen the latest Bond film, Spectre, will have been treated to the most fabulous opening sequence shot during Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations.

The Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is not the morbid event it may at first appear: to the contrary, it is an uplifting fiesta, celebrated mainly in Mexico, to remember and pay tribute to friends and relatives who have died.

It is believed that the souls of the deceased are believed to return to earth on this day, which falls on 2nd November each year, in conjunction with the Catholic holy festival of All Saints’ Day (Día de Todos los Santos) on 1st November.

As with many Mexican rituals, the Day of the Dead has pre-Hispanic roots, dating back some 2,500-3,000 years to the Aztecs, Mayas, Olmecs and other indigenous civilisations. In Aztec times the festival was celebrated in August, the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, and for an entire month. In modern-day Mexico, celebrations take place in November, and the day before Día de los Muertos, 1st November, is dedicated to lost children and infants: this is known as Día de los Angelitos, or Day of the Little Angels, as children who die are believed to automatically become angels.

On the Day of the Dead families traditionally build altars in their homes and visit graveyards to commune with their lost loved ones. They take offerings, or ofrendas, of sugar skulls, garlands and flowers (often marigolds, which have ancient ceremonial importance), and personal gifts such as photos and favourite foods of the departed. It is thought that these will encourage the souls of the dead to visit, and pillows and blankets are even laid out so that they can rest after their long journey. Many people spend all night beside the graves of their relatives. But it is a happy atmosphere that prevails, with dancing, feasting and the recounting of affectionate anecdotes.

One of the best places to experience Day of the Dead is around the beautiful region of Pátzcuaro in Mexico’s Western Central Highlands. Mexicans and sightseers flock here to remember their loved ones and join in the renowned festivities, which include traditional music and dances, candlelit vigils and picturesque ceremonies.

Cactus offers Spanish courses in 4 locations across Mexico, including Oaxaca which is famed for its Day of the Dead celebrations. Spanish courses start each week, from one week upwards, and can be combined with accommodation and meals with a local family – the perfect way to immerse yourself in the language and culture.

tour de france 2016 route map

Experience Le Tour de France 2016

The Tour de France 2016 Route has been Announced

So why not take a French language course in one of the Tour stops, experience the amazing race and cheer on your favourite rider at the same time? Choose from mountains, lakes or city centres and study French in one of many beautiful locations.

Running from Saturday 2nd July to Sunday 24th July 2016, the 103th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,519 kilometres. There will be 9 flat stages, 1 hilly stage, 9 mountain stages and 2 rest days.

Starting off in Mont-St-Michel the tour will go through Montauban on the 7th July, which is on the edge of Toulouse, known as ‘la ville rose’ due to its distinctive pink buildings. Toulouse is a historic city with some beautiful and unique architecture. The tour will then continue to capital of France’s Languedoc region Montpellier on the 13th and 14th July. Montpellier is a popular and thriving university city and the old city centre consists of a maze of attractive, winding streets, open-air terraces and luxurious houses. On the 23rd July the tour reaches the French Alps and the charming Alpine town of Morzine where a wide variety of summer Alpine activities is available. And from there the tour finishes on the 24th July in the city of love, fashion and elegance; Paris. In all of these locations you have the opportunity to take French lessons, take part in the fanfare that surrounds the tour and have an amazing holiday.

Studying a language in the country it is spoken is one the best ways to improve your language skills in a short period of time. By immersing yourself in the French language, chatting with the locals, and following “Le maillot jaune” (the yellow jersey) you can give yourself an experience of a life-time.

To browse all of the language holidays, including French language courses, available with Cactus Language please visit our website or contact us by email, Facebook or Twitter.

a woman learning a language online

Why Learn a Language Online?

If learning a language were easy and fast then we would all be multilingual.

The truth is, learning a language and speaking it well takes time, dedication and determination. Face-to-face tuition and language immersion are generally regarded as the best ways to learn a language. Even Donavan Whyte, the Vice President of EMEA for Rosetta Stone admits,

“I think it is possible to learn a language on your own via some tech-based platform, but I think it would take you a long, long time and you would need to be very disciplined.”

However, there are lots of reasons you should be using technology and online courses to support your language learning and speed-up your progression. Here are some reasons to learn a language online:

1. The Blended Approach
Online options give you a chance to practise and consolidate what you have learnt in the classroom. Language acquisition is all about revision and recycling – to really fix those words and grammar structures in your mind to the point where producing them becomes second nature.

2. Online Courses put you in Control
Online courses and apps allow you to study when you want and where you want. Essentially they give you the opportunity to take responsibility for your own education, in any setting, at any time of the day (or night).

3. Personalisation
By varying the arsenal of tools you have at your disposal for learning a language you increase your chances of being successful. How you learn is individual to you, therefore by multiplying the channels and mediums through which you learn you can find the combination that suits you best.

4. Bit by Bit
Option A: 4 hours of face-to-face tuition one day a week. Plus 30 mins of written homework a week.
Option B: 2 hours of face-to-face tuition one day a week. Plus 30 mins of online practice 4 days a week on your way to work.
Which of these do you think will be more effective in terms of language acquisition and target language retention? Which of these is more cost effective?

If you are interested in finding out more about how to learn a language online and how online courses can support your language learning in English and French take our free 7 day trial for English and for French. You can start today!

Spanish course Panama Boquete

Spanish Course Panama: Feedback from Boquete

Panama is a fantastic place to learn Spanish and here, a student from our partner school Habla Ya gives us first-hand feedback from her 6-week Spanish course in Boquete learning Spanish for work

“I’m a native English speaker from the U.S., and my Spanish was at a low intermediate level when I started at Habla Ya. I really enjoyed my time at the location in Boquete, and I learned a lot. I am now quite conversational (of course I still make tons of mistakes!), and I am able to speak Spanish with my clients at work. I consider many of the Habla Ya teachers good friends after my experience at the school, and I am thrilled to have Facebook as a way to keep in touch with them.

Spanish Course Panama – Learning Spanish for Work

Spanish course Panama Boquete schoolI attended Habla Ya for six weeks, and I was extremely motivated since I need to be proficient in Spanish for my job. The professors at Habla Ya took this seriously and helped me focus most on conversation and my comfort/confidence level. Through some strange (probably uncommon) circumstances, I think I had all but maybe two of Boquete’s Habla Ya professors while attending the school. This was a terrific experience for me because each teacher has a different style and some focus more on specific things than others. I especially liked the teachers who corrected me when I made the same mistakes repeatedly, as I learned a lot from this. It can be a tough balance because correcting every single mistake would slow the flow of conversation, but the corrections were always very helpful.

It wasn’t easy to be away from home and income for six weeks, but I feel like I really turned a corner after around week four, and weeks five and six were amazing since I could actually hold a conversation and improve my fluency and confidence level. I know it’s hard to get away for so long, but I highly recommend it if you can. I also recommend you take your learning into your own hands too. Bring supplemental materials and study them. Habla Ya can sell you an excellent language dictionary, but I also highly recommend the book 501 Verbs, the Practice Makes Perfect workbooks (they are available in hard copy or downloadable format), basic children’s novels in Spanish, movies (depending on your level, you can work your way up to watching with Spanish audio and Spanish subtitles), and especially podcasts like Buenos Dias America, Notes in Spanish, and Coffee Break Spanish. I would have been lost at times without these supplemental materials, as the Habla Ya texts don’t provide a lot of explanation. The teachers do, but when you’re back at your homestay trying to study or do your homework, it’s nice to have other helpful materials. And it was a serious luxury for me to be able to study Spanish around the clock, so I tried to immerse myself in Spanish constantly, even back at my homestay after dinner. (Also, a tip: if you need office supplies/notebooks, etc. while in Boquete, I recommend going to La Reina.)

Spanish Course Panama – Homestay Benefits

I highly recommend doing a homestay during your time at Habla Ya. My Spanish would not have advanced nearly so far if I hadn’t been speaking it every day, all day. I stayed with a lovely family in which the parents spoke almost no English, and that meant I had to use my Spanish to communicate and couldn’t slack off once classes were over. It was also wonderful to experience the culture of Boquete and the culture of Panama in a family setting.

Spanish Course Panama – Best Places To Go

Boquete is a lovely town, and I was glad I stayed in one place while I studied. I’ve taken Spanish classes elsewhere at a time in my life when the travel part of the trip was more important to me than the language acquisition part of the trip, but for my time in Boquete I was very focused on my studies. Boquete was a good choice as a place where I could concentrate. You just have to be careful you don’t spend much of your lunch and free time at American-owned establishments where you can speak English – it’s easy to fall into this, but it definitely doesn’t help in the long run.

Spanish course PanamaIf you can spend a couple of days in Panama City before heading to Boquete, that is very worthwhile. A trip to see the canal and spending some time in Casco Viejo would be my two top recommendations in Panama City.

If you can get to David while you’re in Boquete, you will see a very different type of city from Boquete, and I enjoyed that too. Taking the bus to David isn’t difficult, and anyone at Habla Ya can tell you how to do it. The excursions are also really fun (you can do these with Habla Ya or a number of other outfitters around town), and Giselle at Habla Ya is amazing at helping with travel booking, rides to and from the bus station, etc. I felt like Habla Ya took really good care of me while I was there. I felt very safe in Boquete, and the people were incredibly friendly. I fell in love with the place and hope to return.

Spanish Course Panama – Teachers & Classes

As I said, I had many teachers at Habla Ya, and I thought they were all very good. I enjoyed both the group and the individual classes. I started with group classes plus one hour of individual instruction each day, and the last week or so I had three hours of individual classes per day with no group classes. I didn’t plan it this way, but it worked out really well.

The group classes are great for learning grammar, learning from questions that other students ask, making friends, etc., and the individual classes allow you to ask all of your own questions, even when they don’t pertain to what you’re studying at the moment, and to talk talk talk talk talk (the most important thing you can do!).

boquete staffI’m very happy with how my experience at Habla Ya played out, as the last week or so I was literally just conversing with my individual instructors for one or two hours at a time, and this is just what I needed. And it was such fun to get to know them and hear about their lives and families and dreams. I highly recommend each of the teachers I had. Tamara was my individual professor for nearly the entire six weeks, and she helped me focus on legal terminology and the language I would need in my job. We did role plays so I could practice working with clients and get more comfortable in that format, and she helped me develop my conversational skills a lot. She is very good at correcting you without interrupting the conversation, and conversations are so pleasant and useful that the time just flies by. She speaks English well, which was helpful when I wanted to know how to convey a specific idea or sentiment in Spanish and couldn’t really explain it in Spanish.

Yubal was my group class professor, and he did such a great job keeping the group cohesive and making sure everyone had the same opportunities to share and practice their Spanish. He is very inquisitive, so it was fun to talk with him in Spanish about different political issues, problems, cultures, etc. In fact, that was one of my favorite things about the school. The lessons were structured so that we were studying and talking about major issues like capital punishment, drug trafficking, etc. The subject matter was fascinating so studying was interesting and kept your attention.

In a very short time I learned so much from Ericka and Widad. I felt like they took my Spanish up an entire level just in my last week or so. Yaira spent hours with me just chatting, which is the best way I’ve found to improve my Spanish, and she corrected some mistakes that I had been making over and over. I only had Irasema for my first week, but that was a great way to get adjusted to speaking Spanish daily, and she was very kind and patient. I think Arelis was my teacher for only one or two days, but she was an excellent teacher and a great friend and spirit throughout my stay in Boquete. Lorena, Maritza, and Alberto were very helpful and generous with their time, and I always felt like my progress learning Spanish was everyone’s biggest priority. They all speak Spanish and English, but no one ever tried to switch to English when I was taking forever to say a simple sentence in Spanish.

I definitely recommend Habla Ya, and I’m very grateful to the school and its amazing staff and professors.”

Thank you to Tiffany from Denver, Colorado, for contributing her feedback, and to Habla Ya for providing images.

Spanish Course Panama: Cactus offers Spanish courses in the thriving capital city of Panama City, the Pacific mountains of Boquete and the idyllic Caribbean beach location of Bocas del Toro.

Spanish courses are also available across Spain and Latin America.

A Level Revision Courses in October Half Term

An A Level revision course during half term is a great boost to confidence and grades

For British students taking French, Spanish or German at A Level, there are huge benefits to be gained by spending time in a country where that language is spoken. A 1-week A Level revision course during the October half term is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the language and culture, whilst taking lessons that specifically focus on the skills and topic areas you will need to succeed at A Level.

The Benefits of an A Level Revision Course:

  • Practise the language in a native-speaking environment
  • Enjoy the culture of the target language through the food, people and lifestyle
  • Receive high quality language tuition in small group classes
  • Focus on specific examination tasks, grammar revision and vocabulary
  • Socialise with A Level students from other schools
  • Gain important skills and confidence prior to exams

French A Level Revision Courses – 26th October 2015:

a level revision courses computerMontpellier: French AS / A Level Revision Course (26 lessons per week) = from £291

Paris: French Mini-Group AS and A2 Revision Course (15 lessons per week) = from £366

Rouen: French A-Level Revision Course (15 group + 5 individual + 5 self-study lessons per week) = from £440

Spanish A Level Revision Courses:

Students studying Spanish or German at A Level can take a Combined Course which includes group and private lessons. The private lessons can then concentrate on A Level skills and content (please request this when booking). Alternatively, a General Course in one of our preferred partner schools offers excellent motivation and revision.

Barcelona: Spanish Combined Course (20 group + 5 individual lessons per week) = from £325

Salamanca: Spanish General Course (20 group lessons per week) = from £134

San Sebastian: Spanish Combined Course (15 group lessons + 5 individual lessons per week) = from £179

German A Level Revision Courses:

Berlin: German General Course (20 group lessons per week) = from £149

Cologne: German Combined Course (20 group + 5 individual lessons per week) = from £168

Hamburg: German Combined Course (25 group + 5 individual lessons per week) = from £235

Safety & Welfare of Students:

The schools that offer A Level revision courses are very aware of the extra responsibilities and requirements that come with offering Under 18 programmes, and as such are very careful to ensure their students’ safety, well-being and happiness at all times. Host families are thoroughly checked, as are staff that meet and return students to the airport, and every effort is made to ensure that students feel as safe and comfortable as possible.

The above prices are for the language course only. Accommodation in a carefully selected host families can be booked in addition to each course, with all meals included.

If you have a language learning or language teaching query, please visit our blog or get in contact with us either by Facebook or by Twitter. Alternatively, feel free to contact us here or call to speak to one of our advisors on 00 44 (0) 1273 830 960.

teacher training language courses

Teacher Training Courses: European Languages

Cactus offers Teacher Training Courses in London for fluent speakers of French, Spanish & Italian, and Teacher Refresher Courses abroad for non-native teachers

Teacher Training Courses in London

As the population of countries within Europe and around the world continues to diversify, and as globalisation makes it normal for us to mix with people of all languages and cultures (in schools, universities and the workplace), the demand for foreign language teachers is at an all-time high. People want to learn languages and we need qualified teachers to teach them.

In response to this demand, Cactus now offers teacher training courses for fluent speakers of French, Spanish and Italian who want to teach the language as a second language to adults. No prior teaching experience is required; the only stipulation is native or near-native speaker level in the language.  These courses are a great way to turn your language skills into a career in teaching whilst filling a widening hole in the market.

Teacher Training Courses – Advantages

  • Following a similar format to the CELTA course for English, these courses will prepare you for teaching your chosen language at different levels
  • You will observe qualified language teachers, learn how to plan a lesson and manage a class, and attend feedback and discussion sessions to help you progress
  • The combination of practical classroom experience combined with teaching methodology will give you valuable skills and confidence
  • You will meet like-minded people with similar goals
  • You can take a full-time course (4 weeks) or a part-time course (12 weeks)
  • Courses take place in London’s popular Covent Garden
  • You should find it easy to obtain paid work upon completion of your course (depending on location)

For a complete list of teacher training courses in French, Spanish and Italian, including prices and start dates, please visit the Cactus TEFL website page.

Teacher Refresher Courses Abroad

montpellier_squareIn addition to our Teacher Training Courses, Cactus also offers Teacher Training Refresher Courses for non-native teachers of French, Spanish and German.

These courses take place in France, Spain and Germany, and provide a unique immersive environment where foreign language teachers can advance their teaching skills, learn the latest approaches and network with other MFL teachers. They are a valuable way for teachers to develop professionally and remain at the forefront of their profession.

Teacher Refresher Courses – Advantages:

  • Develop your language teaching skills
  • Learn the latest techniques
  • Immerse yourself in the language and culture at the same time
  • Great environment in which to brainstorm ideas, create activities and discuss challenges specific to teaching languages in the UK education system
  • Opportunity to suggest language-related themes to include in course content
  • Leave feeling inspired and informed, and ready to share everything you have learned on your return to the classroom.

Please visit the Cactus Language website for full details of our teacher training refresher courses in Europe.

If you have a language learning or language teaching query that you can’t find the answer to, please get in contact with us either by Facebook or by Twitter, or contact us here.


Win a TEFL Course: Suzanne Furstner Scholarship 2016

Win a TEFL course in London or South America

Cactus TEFL is delighted to announce that the Suzanne Furstner Scholarship will be back in 2016 – with not just one course, but two courses to be won!

If you have ever dreamed of qualifying to become an English language teacher, this is your chance to win a TEFL course in London or South America. London is our most popular location to take a TEFL course – an exciting city with opportunity everywhere – while South America is exotic and thrilling, and already in the spotlight with the Rio Olympics less than a year away.

Win a TEFL Course: entry requirements

The competition opens in January 2016 and full details will be released shortly, but our sneak preview can tell you this: entrants will need to make a video of 3 minutes maximum to show us why they want to teach English!

An annual scholarship that gives aspiring teachers from all the world the chance to win a TEFL course, the Suzanne Furstner Scholarship was set up in 2006 in memory of our much-loved colleague Suzanne. To date, we have sent winners to take CELTA and CertTESOL courses in locations ranging from Spain and Italy to San Franciso and Playa del Carmen.

Keep posted for more details of the Suzanne Furstner Scholarship 2016!

Cactus TEFL is an admissions and advice service for quality teacher training courses worldwide. Cactus works with well-known course providers to offer CELTA, TESOL, equivalent and online courses in over 90 locations across 36 countries. Cactus TEFL also offers free post-course careers advice and support, as well as access to our very own TEFL jobs board and job alerts.

If you have a language learning or language teaching query that you can’t find the answer to, please get in contact with us either by Facebook or by Twitter, or contact us here.

TEFL Course Abroad: Learn the Language

Taking a TEFL course abroad is a great way to explore a new part of the world and maximise your job opportunities if you wish to teach in the same location

If you are thinking of taking a TEFL course in a non-English speaking country, learning some of the language before you go will make a huge difference to your experience – and make it far less daunting.

Being able to communicate with the locals from the moment you arrive will give you confidence, help you settle in quickly and enable you to really soak up the culture of your host city.

This is especially important if you are planning on teaching in the same city once you have qualified; although you are likely to learn some of the language just by living there, having a good grounding of vocabulary and grammar will make this much easier.

TEFL Course Abroad: How to Learn the Language

An evening language course is an economical and effective way of learning the language before you jet off for your TEFL course abroad.

With courses available in 22 languages and in 17 locations across the UK, there is course for everyone: if you are hoping to take your TEFL course in Prague you can take a Czech evening course, if you have your sights on a TEFL course in Barcelona there are Spanish evening courses at all levels, while those dreaming of qualifying in the beautiful Indian state of Kerala can take a Hindi evening course in London. All courses run for 10 weeks, on start dates throughout the year.

* It’s not too late to book a course starting in January 2016 – to be ready for your TEFL course abroad in 2016! *

Search for your preferred evening course at

Whatever your plans, Cactus can help you to find the right course for you.

Cactus TEFL is an admissions and advice service for quality teacher training courses worldwide. Cactus works with well-known course providers to offer CELTA, TESOL, equivalent and online courses in over 90 locations across 36 countries. Cactus TEFL also offers free post-course careers advice and support, as well as access to our very own TEFL jobs board and job alerts.

If you have a language learning or language teaching query that you can’t find the answer to, please get in contact with us either by Facebook or by Twitter, or contact us here.