Month: May 2017

Scavenger hunts are not only for kids

Hey there, people. Today’s blog article aims to help you rediscover the little pleasures you had when you were children. We are not speaking about lollypops or swings. What we are speaking about is the ultimate game. It involves mystery, astuteness, team effort and bravery. Wondering what we are talking about? Of course not, since you have already read the title of the article…but just pretend to be surprised for the writing’s sake. The topic of this article is: scavenger hunts!


Yes, dear friends. Despite your days wearing of sporty hats or braids being over, Scavenger hunting might already be an enjoyable way to spend your free time. Well… first of all because it is not only a game for kids. Indeed companies all over the world are using this practice as a team building activity. Scavenger hunters in fact, can benefit a lot from this outdoor/indoor hobby.


Among the benefits that this activity brings those who try it are the following:


  • Playing scavenger hunt improves its players’ cognitive functions. Indeed by playing this game people exercise their problem-solving skills (which is one of the reasons why this game is also really good for kids).
  • Such games are usually useful for the body too. Indeed, since it often involves passing through tortuous routes, scavenger hunts also represent a way to test and exercise the participants’ physical performance.
  • As we revealed in advance, scavenger hunts are beneficial for building relationships. Therefore, if you are looking for bonding sessions to strengthen your friendships, we strongly suggest you to organise one of these playful activities.
  • They are customizable. This means that your scavenger hunts can have different themes, different lengths, difficulties and features. Therefore, you can adapt them to your taste and mood… green light to creativity!


Finally, dear Speak Up London students, since scavenger hunts are fun and beneficial, you might opt for something different this weekend… go and look for some treasure, and remember that the journey is more important than the destination! =D


Maria Chiara Strano

scavenger day blog post pic

Pizza: the food that brings people together

Our lives can be stressful because of our work, other duties, expectations, commuting, and a lot more. Let’s be honest though, while we all share these issues, there are some remedies that we share too. For instance, we can all agree on the positive effects of the hugs from a friend, or a sunny day, or a freshly baked pizza. And that’s exactly the topic of this article: pizza.

This glorious food has ancient origins, since, apparently, ancient Mediterranean populations used to eat variants of pizza. Among them, the ancient Greeks used to consume flat bread covered with oil, cheese and herbs. However, the authentic pizza we love to eat, according to legend, was invented in Naples by a Neapolitan pizzaiolo, who created the most popular pizza in the world in honour of Queen Margherita in 1889. With time pizza became more and more popular in Europe and North America, reaching the desirable spot of ultimate fast food – which, technically, you can also eat slowly!

But, let’s try to list some of the most remarkable traits that helped this outstanding food to be so appreciated – and chosen – by millions of people!

  • It is delicious despite its simplicity.

Think about it. Pizza occupies a sweet spot in your heart even in its simplest version – with only cheese and tomato on top, to be clear.

  • It can be served both as an appetizer and a main.

No need to explain this one. Just pass me some pizza.

  • You can decide the amount of pizza to eat.

From a single slice to a whole pizza, you are in control of your eating habits.

  • Everybody likes pizza.

Whether you are a vegetarian or not, an adult or a child, on a diet or not, there is a version of pizza you end up loving that suits your needs and preferences.

  • It is perfect for parties.

Given its nature, pizza is one of the most sharable foods in the world, and therefore, perfect to be eaten by large groups of people.

  • It makes your Saturday nights at home great.

Who said that you need a club or a pub to make your Saturday night epic? Indeed, your favourite pizza and your favourite movie are the perfect combo to make the most of your time home alone.

Dear Speak Up London students, if after reading this article you have an indescribable desire to order a pizza, you are not alone. We won’t stop you. Just remember in medio stat virtus – a.k.a. don’t eat too much pizza – and have fun celebrating this food, this symbol of unity. Buon Appetito!

Maria Chiara Strano

EU and its freedoms

Hello people. How many of you know why the European Union exists? What is its aim? Wait, before continuing with this blog article it is necessary to explain something: this article doesn’t have any intention of being political. It’s all about history and facts. Therefore, Brexit won’t be mentioned – except for stating that it won’t be mentioned.



Let’s go back to basics. The 20th Century was a century characterized by major changes, interspersed by two of the most violent conflicts the world has ever witnessed. At the end of WWII, some of the states involved in it, in order to prevent new conflicts among “neighbours” decided to create a supranational foundation able to make future wars unthinkable.



The European Union we know today stems from numerous treaties that followed that intention, treaties that established the fundamental rights of the EU and its pillars. Over the years the European Union, an organization initially consisting of 6 countries (Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg), was joined by other states, eventually reaching 28 members.



Among the major achievements and foundation of the European Union is the freedom of movement of people, services, goods and capital. This simple change made all the difference in shaping the European Union as we see it today. Indeed, allowing people to cross the borders from their own nations, to live and work in other countries, helped in the achievement of the initial aim of easing the relationships among European countries and preventing wars. The unthinkability of a war between neighbours became more and more common thanks to such exchanges.



To encourage these exchanges between people of different countries, several programs have been launched, like the popular Erasmus project. Thanks to this, the youth of Europe has had the possibility to enrich itself through studying and working while embracing other cultures, which has played a fundamental role in the creation of a feeling of belonging that, also in the mind of the founding fathers of the EU, would have helped in maintaining a peaceful Europe.



Despite what your own opinions regarding this institution might be, the importance that it has had in the political, cultural and historical configuration of today’s Europe and its citizens is undeniable.

Maria Chiara Strano

EU and its Freedoms

Star Wars: when sci-fi becomes EPIC

There is right and wrong. There is ice and fire. There are Fridays and Mondays. There are Star Wars people and Star Trek people. We are definitely Star Wars people. Why? Well, because Star Wars is one of the most catching, intriguing and interesting works Hollywood has ever produced.


Before listing more of this saga’s numerous merits, we should consider the length of the Star Wars phenomenon – yes, it is appropriate to call it a phenomenon – the first Star Wars movie was launched in 1977 and since then, a Star Wars fever has pervaded our lives. We went though several trilogies, a change in management (Lucasfilm was acquired by The Walt Disney Company), and still, after 40 years, we remain in love with the characters and stories and we wait for any new Star Wars movie as if we were waiting for Christmas.


Why do we love Star Wars so much? This saga counts prequels, sequels and numerous well-rounded characters that made our childhoods rich and meaningful. We wanted to be a Jedi, we wanted to be as wise as Yoda, and as brave as Leia. The light sabers, of course, were the additional detail that made the whole package complete. It’s is a story about friendship, about fighting for what is right. Stories full of dramatic turns of events that became so much more than just sci-fi, it might even be considered epic.


Moreover, among the reasons why we would never stop watching these movies, there is the fantastic universe that surrounds these people; the great dialogues, and the surprising stories behind it. No wonder that fans of the saga have decided to celebrate “Star Wars Day” on May 4th. Are you curious to know why? Do you remember the famous quote from the movie “May the force be with you”? It is clearly an assonance between force and fourth, and the double meaning of the world May (month) – and May (modal).


Well, good friends, no more reasons to dawdle… Since today is Star Wars day why don’t you have fun going down memory lane? A good way to celebrate Star Wars Day would be to quote some of the most famous lines while speaking about any other topic, or simply watching one of the movies again…. In any case, whatever your choice is, remember, may the force be with you…and May the Fourth be with you.

Maria Chiara Strano

Star Wars