How to say ‘Happy New Year’ in 20 languages

Wherever you are in the world, make sure you welcome in 2015 in style! Here we have the translations for ‘Happy New Year’ in 20 different languages

Afrikaans: Gelukkige nuwe jaar / Voorspoedige Nuwe jaar

Arabic: (helol alseneh aljedīdah) حلول السنة الجديدة

Bulgarian: Щастлива Нова Година (Štastliva Nova Godina)

Catalan: Feliç Any Nou

Chinese:

Mandarin: xīn nián kuài lè / gōng xǐ fā cái

Cantonese: sàn nìhn faai lohk / gung héi fáat chōi

Hakka: sin ngien kwai lok / giung hi fat coi

Shanghainese: sin ni kua loq / kong shi fuh ze

Danish: Godt nytår

Esperanto: Feliĉan novan jaron

French: Bonne Année

German: Guten Rutsch

Greek: Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Ετος (Eutukhismeno to Neo Etos) / Καλὴ χρονιά (Kalí hroniá)

Hindi: नये साल की हार्दिक शुभकामनायें (Naye sāl kī hārdik śubhkāmnayeṅ)

Irish: Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Duit

Italian: Felice Anno Nuovo

Japanese: akemashite omedetō gozaimasu

Malay: Selamat Tahun Baru

Polish: Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku

Portuguese: Feliz Ano Novo / Próspero Ano Novo

Russian: С наступающим Новым Годом (S nastupayuščim Novym Godom)

Spanish: Feliz Año Nuevo / Próspero Año Nuevo

Welsh: Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

10 great reasons to kick-start the year with an evening language course

Whether you’re determined to start the new year with a ‘new you’, need to prepare for a holiday overseas or want to improve your job prospects, now is the ideal time to take a language course!

1. Cactus is welcoming in 2015 with fun, engaging language courses in London and cities across the UK. We offer the five mainstream languages of French, Spanish, Italian, German and Brazilian Portuguese in most centres, plus rarer languages in our main centres. New evening courses start w/c 19th January 2015.

2. Learning a language is an excellent resolution as it will give you a skill that will last way longer than the average resolution – and one that might come in handy on holiday later this year!

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3. If you’ve had a hectic festive season, then it’s proven that giving your brain a workout is the perfect way to de-stress. Learning a language stimulates your mind, stretches your imagination and, ultimately, helps your brain to relax…in fact it is more effective at reducing stress than opening a bar of chocolate.

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4. If you’ve decided to de-tox in January then going to an evening language class – and doing homework in the week, if you’re diligent – will take your mind off the pub (that is, until your last night when you’ll probably all end up in the local tapas bar – but by then it will be March and it won’t matter!).

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5. You can be sure of a consistent teaching framework that falls in line with other internationally-recognised language level systems – meaning that what you learn on our courses will be easily recognised outside of Cactus. Unlike many other providers, with Cactus you also receive a certificate of attendance on completion of your course.

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6. When times are tight employers will be looking for that little extra in job applicants. Knowledge of a foreign language is an asset in itself, but it also shows initiative and an appreciation of other cultures, which is valuable in today’s global society.

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7. Language learning makes you clever! If you feel like you need a kick-start after the Christmas break, learning a language will boost cognitive development in areas such as mental flexibility, creativity, problem-solving and reasoning.

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8. 2015 promises a stellar list of foreign language film nominations in the upcoming Oscars, and there’s no better way to appreciate these films than with an understanding of the language and culture. Watch out for Ida (Poland), Mommy (Canada), Leviathan (Russian), Winter Sleep (Turkey), Wild Tales (Argentina) and Saint Laurent (France).

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9. With a reduced number of children learning a language at school, let’s lead by example and show that learning a language is a passport to other cultures and a huge asset when you travel. Don’t forget we have new after-school language courses for kids aged 7-15 in London starting in January too!

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10. Let’s face it, January can be a bit depressing. The excitement of Christmas is over, the days are still short and the weather can be miserable. If there was ever a time to take an evening course it’s now. Having a goal such as learning a language will make the weeks pass quickly and make you feel that you’re using the dark evenings productively!

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Cactus runs adult evening language courses and junior afternoon language courses in schools across London and in cities nationwide. Courses are available at many levels and on regular start dates throughout the year, starting in January.

7 New Year’s Eve traditions to experience before you die

Out with the old and in with the new – from sending candles out to sea to wearing yellow underwear and eating 12 grapes at midnight, here’s why you should celebrate new year away from home this year.

1. Germany

Marzipan pig with cloverleaf and mushroom on white

Fireworks at midnight to oust bad spirits, resolutions (gute Vorsätze) written on paper and then burned to make them come true, the exchange of marzipan pigs (Glücksschwein) to bring good luck for the new year…German traditions at New Year are touching, wistful and fun.

2. Italy

zampone

Expect to eat zampone, or stuffed pig’s trotter, if you’re celebrating new year in Italy. In true Italian style, the bigger the gathering the better – this is a time for friends, family, celebrations and lots of prosecco.

3. Scotland

hogmanay

One of the best-known New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world, at Hogmanay you’ll be treated to concerts, processions, fireworks and people bursting with pride singing Auld Lang Syne.

Beware of ‘first footing’! If you’re the first person to visit a house after midnight, you must take coal, whisky, salt or shortbread to bring good luck. In preparation for the chimes at midnight it’s also customary to clean your house, take out the ashes from the fire and clear your debts.

4. Brazil

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For all the partying that has made Brazil so famous – and there’ll be plenty of this at ‘Reveillon’, or new year – there is one heart-warming tradition. Crowds gather along Brazil’s beaches, dressed all in white, to celebrate the Festa de Iemanja, the Goddess of Water, and little boats are sent out to sea carrying flowers, candles, rice and gifts to ensure a good year to follow.

5. Spain

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As you would expect in Spain, celebrations for Noche Vieja, or New Year’s Eve, continue all the way through to the morning! Wherever you are, welcome in the near year by eating 12 lucky grapes at midnight, one with each chime of the clock. Eat them all and good luck will come your way the following year.

6. Greece

vasilopita

Get rich eating cake? You might just do so in Greece. Amongst the many special dishes that are prepared at New Year, the Vassilopitta, or St Basil’s cake, has a silver or gold coin buried within. Bite with caution.

7. Peru

Sports yellow female panties on white background

In a country known for its mysticism and spirituality, new clothes are perhaps not the first thing you would think of at new year. Yet don your best pair of yellow undies and you will be granted happiness and luck for the coming year. Alternatively, red underwear will bring you love and green underwear will bring you money. Easy…and no-one will ever know!

Wherever you are celebrating, a very happy new year from us all at Cactus.

If you have experienced New Year celebrations in other countries across the globe, please leave your comments below!

NEW adult evening courses in London – starting Jan 2015

Take your pick from 8 fantastic locations for our upcoming courses in January 2015

Cactus has added three new locations to its offering of evening courses in London. Ready for the next intake in January, these extra locations bring language courses closer to you, to make it even easier to access a course close to work or home.

Kick-start your new year’s resolutions with a language course and you’ll deserve a holiday to practise it all!

NEW for 2015 are:

  1. Canada Water
    This new school, just 5 minutes’ walk from Canada Water overground and tube station, boasts a cool and contemporary environment. It is ideal for those working in the Canary Wharf business district who want to join friendly and professional small group evening courses.
    Languages available: French, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese
  2. Aldgate East
    We are excited to offer our first location in East London, conveniently situated between 3 underground lines (District Line, Circle Line and Hammersmith & City Line), the DLR station (Shadwell) and major bus routes. It’s right by Altab Ali Park, which connects the City at Aldgate to the Olympic Park at Stratford.
    Languages available: French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian
  3. Tottenham Court Road
    This is an excellent new addition to our selection of schools in Central London. Two doors down from the British Museum, it has 9 fully equipped classrooms and a student lounge to relax in outside class.
    Languages available: French, Spanish, Italian, German

Don’t forget that these new locations are in addition to our existing schools in Bond Street, Kings Cross, Holborn-Russell Square, Islington and Wimbledon.

Visit our website www.languagecoursesuk.co.uk for full information and booking.

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* Stuck for a present for a loved one this Christmas? *

Why not give the gift of language through a Cactus gift voucher – perfect for a male or female of any age!

Call us on 01273 930 960 for more info or order your voucher online.

 

Top 5 cities for Christmas shopping

With Christmas just around the corner, shops are busier than ever as the search for that perfect present begins. Easier said than done! Why not book a quick break away, and you’ll pick up unique gifts that will delight your friends and family, plus you’ll get a few days to soak up the festive spirit in foreign climes – or escape the frenzy if it’s not really your thing. Either way, you’re sure to find plenty of fantastic Christmas goodies in these top 5 cities for Christmas shopping…

Paris

Whatever you’re looking to fill stockings with this year, Paris is sure to have it. Haute couture? Tick! Head for Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Trendy boutiques and antique shops? Tick! Look no further than Le Marais. Big brands and department stores? Tick! Hit the Champs-Elysées and Boulevard Haussmann. Foodie treats such as cheese, bread, meats and wine? Tick! Follow your nose to Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli. Paris also hosts a number of special winter markets which are perfect for picking up regional delicacies and beautiful arts and crafts; Noisy le Grand Christmas Market is one of its best, offering a magical festive atmosphere for young and old, with hand-crafted wooden toys, traditional glassware and horse-drawn carriages just waiting to be wrapped up for Christmas.

French courses in Paris

Marrakech

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Marrakech’s maze of souks is a winner if you’re after a unique and exotic stocking filler. From multi-coloured spices and stained-glass lanterns to intricate jewellery and high quality leather goods, you will find stall after stall of crafts, foodstuffs and souvenirs to put a smile on anyone’s face. Be prepared for a bit of haggling and you never know, you may even be invited for an impromptu mint tea (thé a la menthe) if you linger long enough. Rip up your shopping list and go with the flow – not knowing what you might find is all part of the magic here.

Arabic courses in Marrakech

New York

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You can’t help but get caught up in the festive spirit in the Big Apple. It’s great for shopping any time of year, but pre-Christmas it’s a fairytale of twinkling lights, extravagantly decorated trees, roasted chestnut sellers and an appropriate chill in the air for wrapping up and feeling snug. Browse the elaborate department store window displays (Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are a must), pick up some novel gifts at holiday markets such as the Grand Central Holiday Fair or the Holiday Shopping Market in Union Square, and top it all off with ice skating at Central Park. It’s just like in the movies, but better.

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses in New York

English courses in New York

Milan

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Italy’s always a winner when it comes to shopping, so why not head straight to its most stylish city and bag yourself some real Christmas treats. At any time of year Milan is a shopper’s paradise, with a wonderful variety of shops and boutiques selling haute couture, antiques, furniture, home accessories and more. In the run-up to Christmas, Milan really gets into the festive spirit, with many shops staying open on a Sunday and Christmas fairs such as the ‘Oh Bei, Oh Bei’ market near the castle, and the craft fair of L’Artigiano in Fiera, tempting you with their magnificent array of artisan goods and unique gifts.

Italian courses in Milan

Top 10 things to see and do in Milan

Munich

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Munich is a wonderful place to get into the Christmas spirit. Think Christmas markets, mulled wine, crafts, sweets, cakes, twinkling trees and cosy bars. The most famous of its markets is the Christkindlmarkt at the Marienplat, open until Christmas Eve, where eating and drinking are as much a part of the experience as is shopping for people back home. Munich is heaven for shoppers away from the markets too, its shops combining international brands and designer goods with traditional Bavarian crafts. Wood carvings (Holzschnitzereien), pewter-ware (Zinn), traditional clothing (Trachten) and the famous Nymphenburg porcelain all make gifts unlike no others – plus you get to soak up all the culture and entertainment that the Bavarian capital has to offer, too.

German courses in Munich

Top 5 Christmas markets in Germany & Austria

Cactus offers language courses in more than 20 languages and 120 destinations worldwide. We also run our own language courses in the UK, which are the ideal way to learn the basics or brush up on previous language knowledge before a holiday or business trip abroad.

Cactus Gift Vouchers – The Perfect Present

Stuck for present ideas? For a gift that’s original, lasting and memorable, Cactus gift vouchers are the answer – and it’s perfect for a male or female of any age!

You can purchase gift vouchers for family and friends for use towards any Cactus product, such as an evening language course, a language holiday overseas, a TEFL course or private tuition.

Cactus gift vouchers are valid for one year from the date of issue and you will be sent a receipt along with an e-voucher (PDF). You may also request a paper voucher by post. Please let us know if your voucher is a surprise gift and we’ll send the confirmation to you rather than the lucky recipient! You can order your Cactus gift vouchers online, along with a personalised message card which will be delivered by email to the recipient of your gift. These gift vouchers are an original present for anyone who loves to travel and learn more about new cultures and new places.

ORDER YOUR CACTUS GIFT VOUCHER ONLINE >>

Alternatively, call us on 01273 830 960 and we will process your order over the phone.

Learning a language is a gift that will last a lifetime; it inspires, boosts confidence and above all feels good.

 

Top 5 Halloween destinations in Europe

You don’t have to stay at home to celebrate Halloween on 31st October. Head to one of the following locations and you’ll get a lot more than trick-or-treaters or jack-o-lanterns…

Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s mass of dark buildings and cobbled streets make it the quintessential setting for a spot of gothic horror. The city’s long, and at times bloody, history means that it has formed the backdrop to many a grisly tale, which you can hear about either at the city’s famous Dungeons, or on one of the Auld Reekie Tours. One of the city’s most infamous, and shockingly, factual, stories is that of Burke and Hare, two Irish immigrants who coupled their menial day jobs with the more lucrative night-time activity of grave robbing and murder.

English courses in Edinburgh

Venice

Venice has a reputation for being a very romantic destination, but you want to grab hands for another reason this month. This ancient labyrinth of a city is the setting of many a ghost story, and taking a ghost walk will make you see the narrow passageways and pretty canals in a much more spooky light! You’ll learn about legendary sea monsters, ancient cemeteries hidden beneath the streets of modern-day Venice, and even a secret about Marco Polo’s wife…

Italian courses in Venice

Paris

Paris is another beautiful modern-day city, whose charming aesthetics make its bloody history easy to forget. The city’s most famous tour, The Paris Ghost Tour, covers the city’s catacombs and how they came to be, the satanic conspiracies of the 17th-19th centuries, the true Sweeney Todd of Paris and, last but by no means least, the Vampire of Paris – a real life cannibal and suspected serial killer.

French courses in Paris

Prague

Prague is often hailed as the most haunted city in Europe, and it’s easy to see why. Prague’s ancient buildings and narrow streets conceal many a tale and mystery, including mass executions, murderous thieves, and gothic creatures. The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague dates back to the 15th century and is one of the largest in Europe – because of the lack of space, though, the graves had to be put one on another, somewhere even in twelve layers. It is somewhere that is generally considered to be quite a peaceful place, but still not somewhere you’d necessary feel comfortable after dark!

TEFL courses in Prague

Palermo

Surprisingly perhaps, Palermo is also a city with lots to offer the horror-buff! The Capuchin Catacombs is a little-known, but exceptionally grizzly spot, where you will find thousands of preserved mummies from the last 500 years suspended from the walls in their Sunday best. Definitely not the activity for anyone in search of a lesiurely museum trip at the end of a relaxing Mediterranean break…

Italian courses in Palermo

Cactus offers language and TEFL courses in exciting locations all over the world.

Halloween vocabulary in Italian

Halloween Halloween
ottobre October
trentuno 31st
Ognissanti All Saints Day
automno Autumn/Fall
zucca Pumpkin
strega Witch
ginestra Broom
cimitero Cemetery
candela Candle
maschera Mask
travestimento Disguise / Costume
scheletro Skeleton
gatto nero Black cat
pipistrello Bat
ragno Spider
spaventapasseri Scarecrow
lanterna Jack-o’-lantern
vampiro Vampire
folletto Goblin
mummia Mummy
mostro Monster
diavolo Devil
Dolci/caramelle Sweets / Candy

Cactus offer a wide range of Italian Courses both in the UK and around the world.

Where are the Best Language Schools in the World?

Good value and quality tuition in the world’s best locations…these are the best language schools in the world

Cactus’ recent appearance on the Guardian website in an article entitled “Top language learning holidays – in pictures” coincides perfectly with our brand new Top 10 Schools page.

Designed to give inspiration for the best places to learn a language, these schools are not just our most popular; they also offer great value and quality teaching in some of the most exciting locations across the globe. Whether you fancy learning Portuguese in Brazil or French on the glittering Côte d’Azur, you can be sure that our Top 10 schools offer the best and cheapest ways to study a language.

Currently topping our Top 10 list is Babylon Idiomas Seville, a small and friendly school located in the heart of Seville’s flamenco neighbourhood of Macarena. This makes an excellent choice when it comes to learning Spanish in Spain, or perhaps you’d prefer to combine your lessons with sailing or kite surfing at Taronja Valencia (number 6)?

Whatever your preference, there is something for everyone in our Top 10 Schools…our clients are a savvy bunch, and if these are the places they book time after time, they must be on to something.

Cactus offers language courses in over 25 languages and 120 destinations worldwide for adults, juniors and professionals. We have over 15 years’ experience providing study abroad courses, and you can book in the knowledge that you will receive the highest levels of customer service as well as a price match guarantee.

Use our website to browse language courses by location or language, or feel free to call us to chat through the options on 0845 130 4775 (UK local rate).

* Above image is of Brooklyn which appears at number 2 of our top 10.

Top 5 Italian course destinations this summer

If you’re thinking of heading to Italy this summer, here are our top locations to learn Italian (and keep cool)…

In Mediterranean countries such as Italy, August is traditionally a month where city dwellers pack up and head to the beach to escape the heat. Whilst this means that large cities are less crowded than at other times of the year, and that accommodation is less expensive, it does also mean that many shops and restaurants are closed.

Most of Italy’s seaside resorts are at their most crowded in July and August, but this gives the towns a really lively atmosphere – and if you do a language course, you won’t have the normal struggle to secure accommodation as this is arranged on your behalf. If you do opt for an Italian language course at one of the prime beach resorts in Italy, it’s wise to get booked up as early as possible.

We offer a wide range of Italian courses in Italy, and here are our top picks if you’re planning to go this summer.

1. Tropea

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You might not be the only one thinking that heading to Italy’s coast is a good idea in the summer – in fact, you should expect to share beach space with a good number of Italians who holiday in Tropea – but the crowds are a small price to pay for a slice of Tropea in summertime. This small, attractive town perched on a cliff above the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea in southern Italy boasts a stunning piece of coastline, with white sandy beaches stretching in both directions – making it a real ‘holiday’ for those who want to sunbathe or cool off in the sea after class. Back in town there are plenty of cosy trattorias and a lively local marketplace, but Tropea remains small-town Italy at heart. The excellent school here offers a varied activities programme to help you make the most of your time whilst learning Italian in Tropea: there’s sure to be plenty going on around the Italian holiday of Ferragosto on 15th August.

More about Italian courses in Tropea

2. Taormina

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Situated on a terrace of Mount Tauro, overlooking the sparkling Ionian Sea and with spectacular views of Mount Etna to the west, it’s easy to see why Taormina has been attracting visitors for so long. Its beautiful sandy beaches and balmy climate also go some way to explaining its popularity! Taormina has more to offer than the average beach resort, every summer playing host to the internationally renowned arts festival ‘Taormina Arte’. During the festival there are some fantastic shows and events to enjoy, all of which promise a great insight into Italian culture and plenty of opportunity to immerse yourself in the language.

More about Italian courses in Taormina

3. Island of Elba

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The island of Elba is less well-known than islands such as Sardinia and Sicily, but it’s equally as beautiful. A relatively small island, Elba is situated off the Tuscan coast and is home to some beautiful bays and stunning natural scenery. Outside Italian lessons, students are able to sit on the beach, have a go at a range of watersports, explore the island’s walking and cycling trails, or visit sites such as the Museo Archeologico and the Palazzina dei Mulini, the official residence of Napoleon and his sister Paolina. The island of Elba has got to be one of Italy’s best-kept secrets and you’ll certainly leave feeling priviliged to have experienced all that it has to offer.

More about Italian courses on the Island of Elba

4. Verona

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Undoubtedly one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, Verona is brimming with history. Unsurpringly, it’s a really popular tourist destination, which ensures a steady stream of visitors and lots to entertain them all year round. Amongst the most popular tourist attractions are the mythical balcony at Casa di Giulietta and the Roman amphitheatre in the city centre. It is this particular attraction which forms the backdrop to the annual summer opera season, which draws thousands and thousands of visitors. Although opera is the highlight, there are also rock concerts and jazz performances throughout the summer to ensure that all tastes are catered for…there are few better ways to spend a warm summer’s afternoon or evening than in a pretty city, enjoying fine food and drink, surrounded by music.

More about Italian in Verona

5. Viareggio

Tuscany isn’t particularly well known for its beaches – you might think you’re more likely to head here for rolling landscapes and fine food and wine – but, just north of Pisa, the resort of Viareggio is one of northern Italy’s most popular, especially amongst Italians. With its roots dating back to the 16th century, the town has plenty of history and its faded pastel façades combined with classic Italian elegance lend something of a retro feel to it. Viareggio is famous the world over for its extravagant Carnival celebrations at Easter, but come summer most people are here to enjoy the 10km of sandy beaches or cultural events including the Puccini Festival (this year celebrating its 60th year) and the Gaber Festival that attracts high-profile Italian musicians.

More about Italian courses in Viareggio

Cactus offers a wide range of Italian courses in Italy. Prepare yourself for your trip by learning the basics or brushing up on existing knowledge with a part-time or evening course in Italian in the UK.