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Learning English Video Project Blog

Sao Paulo day 2

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. after a ten hour sleep. The time difference from Shanghai meant that my body was telling me it was time to go to sleep but the receptionist at the hostel was telling me that it was time for breakfast. I have just decided to go with the flow and stay awake for as long as possible. We only have one opportunity to film here in Brazil and so after recharging our body batteries this once, we can not afford to do this again.

Like Shanghai, Sao Paulo is a huge city. Vila Madalena, the area in which we are staying, is full of Bohemian culture and boasts scores of art galleries and graffiti areas. I was hoping that today we would be able to shoot some of the surrounding area but the rain was unrelenting. I ended up taking a few shots from inside the hostel but the sky was extremely dark and sinister looking! Read on »

Sao Paulo update

I am sorry to say that I have missed a few days on the blog post but hope to be able to update a little later. We are currently staying at a beach house on the Brazilian coast with Denis’ family. Joel and I met Denis for the first time in Shanghai when we interviewed him for The Learning English Video Project. Denis is from Sao Paulo, and when he learned that we were coming here to film, he contacted his family and they met us for the first time yesterday morning. We are just about to set up some interviews with our ‘host family’ and find out about the importance of young children learning English in Sao Paulo!

The fact that we are living with the family of a gentleman we met while filming in China is a wild coincidence and further proof that the world is only as big as you make it!

All the best,


Sao Paulo day 1 (part 2)

After arriving in Leitao and getting settled in, Joel and I made our way to the first school that we will be working with. I am particularly keen on getting some information on how and why Brazilian parents are eager for their children to learn English at a young age. We are therefore collaborating with Juan Uribe at his school for young learners in Sao Paulo. Juan has over 100 students between the ages of 2 and 13 at his school and we will be interviewing his staff and some of the students parents next week to find out more about how the younger generation are learning English here.

We met some of the teachers at the school, most of whom are from Sao Paulo, and then with Juan himself. Everybody seems extremely enthusiastic about The Learning English Video Project and so we made arrangements to set up some interviews next week.

Joel and I decided to walk back to our hostel, which took us about an hour. Sao Paulo is supposedly a bigger place than Shanghai in terms of population, but it seems to be a lot more laid back. No sooner were we back at the hostel than it began to rain extremely heavily… so much so that we were stuck in our lodgings for the remainder of the evening – a great opportunity to catch up on some sleep after our journey.

Tomorrow we will visit a private school in the city centre before taking in a taste of the Brazilian bohemian culture we have been promised here in Sampa! This is certainly going to be an exciting finale to the trip – be sure to keep checking for more updates!

Best Wishes,


Sao Paulo day 1 (part 1)


We have just arrived in Sao Paulo! I have only been here for a couple of hours and I already feel at home… everything is so vibrant and full of colour – I will report back with our adventures from day one a little later. Thanks again for all your positive comments!

Does anybody have any stories from Brazil?

Best wishes,

Shanghai days 9, 10, 11

I am cheating quite considerably in that I am writing this blog from my base in London. The last few days of filming in China were extremely productive; not only did we manage to travel to Xiamen, but we also carried out a number of interviews, shot some scenic footage of the coastline and got some spectacular sequences from Hong Kou Park on Sunday morning. The last few days were a dramatic conclusion to our time in China and I can say with certainty that this was not the last time I will be visiting Shanghai…

Read on »

Shanghai days 5, 6, 7, 8

It has been a long and productive week in Shanghai. Over the course of the past few days we have interviewed almost every senior manager and a fair few other members of staff at China’s first low cost airline company. Joel and I have also had the opportunity to visit some of Shanghai’s highest buildings and busiest markets. Tomorrow we will fly to Xiamen to get some shots of Read on »

Shanghai day 4

We woke up early on Sunday morning and interviewed some of our newly acquainted friends.  Both Wei Wei from China and Dennis from Brazil had some fascinating things to say about learning English in different parts of the world. Neither of our interviewees were from Shanghai and they had only spent a few days here, so it was particularly interesting to find out their first impressions of the city and the different ways that they were able to communicate with people here. Joel and I then took a taxi to Read on »

Shanghai day 3

I am yet to find out exactly why some Chinese men tend to grow their finger nails exceptionally long on their left hand. My initial thought was that is could be related to playing the guitar, but our driver this morning had exceedingly long nails on his pinky and his thumb… I am not sure as to how beneficial this would be when playing a musical instrument. Read on »

Shanghai day 2

Even though the sun seemed to be struggling to break through the hazy clouds overhead, the heat was deep and penetrating. The air felt like it was curdling in my lungs before I could release it and it was still only 10:00 a.m. Tony Hird, one of the executives at Spring Airlines and my contact within the company, met Joel and me outside our hostel. It was good finally meeting Tony in person as we had been corresponding via email every since he had heard The Learning English Video Project was coming to Shanghai. We had plenty to Read on »

Shanghai day 1

The last time I saw my dear friend and consequent cameraman assistant was in November last year after our 10 day stay in Bucharest. We had just finished filming Lessons From Romania when we parted company and it was good to see him again, so eager to continue filming for the EnglishClub project. After a good deal of catch-up (it turns out Joel had been dropped off at Heathrow at midnight as there was no later bus available to bring him to the airport from Birmingham), a flight from London to Zurich and a series of lattes, we boarded our flight to China where we sat and waited patiently for 12 hours until the plane touched down in Shanghai. Read on »