Behind the Scenes: Meet Mari

We would like to send a special thank you to our provider Mari in Georgia! This month Mari sent us interesting and informative material to teach our followers all about our Country of the Month.

            MMariarine ( Mari) Changiani was born on April 4th in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. She is married and has a beautiful daughter, Barbara. Marine has her Masters Degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as an English teacher for ESL for over twelve years. She also works as a director of the American Education Center “Langate”. She has students from many different countries. Mari loves to communicate and make friends all over the world.

Mari started working with SCOLA in 2012 and enjoys the task of providing On the Street Videos every month. She likes to introduce the world to her small country and often sends videos about Georgia, its culture, history and traditions. She tries to participate in SCOLA’s projects as often as possible as it is a great pleasure for her. She is very grateful to her students and friends who help her make videos for SCOLA often.

She likes working for SCOLA not only for opportunity to provide interesting materials and videos, but because of SCOLA’s warm and friendly staff. She would like to thank all SCOLA staff and she hopes to work with them for a very long time providing SCOLA with more and more exciting and interesting videos.

SCOLA staff appreciates all the hard work Mari puts in to help our subscribers learn about Georgia. We look forward to seeing more of her work in the future!

Check back next week to learn about our new Country of the Month!

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Want to go to School in Georgia? Read this First!

Most students in the United States have either already gone back to school, or are anxiously preparing to in the next few weeks. However, students in Georgia, our Country of the Month, can still enjoy lazy days of sleeping in late and hanging out with friends until mid-September. Although schools in Georgia don’t return from summer vacation until later in the year, there are some ways that they are similar to schools in the United States.

Georgia has public and private schools. Public schools are free, however private schools are expensive and can cost around $3,000-$5,000 per year. Private school students have the opportunity to join different clubs, such as Art, Drama, and Science. Private schools also offer a school bus as a means of transportation to and from home for their students.

Students in Georgia go to school for twelve years. The first step of the Georgian education program lasts four years and is much like primary school in the United States. Children generally have 4-5 classes per day, which last approximately 45 minutes each. Students study courses such as Math, Georgian Language, Art, Music, Nature, PE and English. Students attend school five days a week, Monday through Friday.

After the first four years of school, students move on and acquire more subjects including Chemistry, Physics, Algebra, Geometry, and Russian. On average, students at these grade levels take 6-7 classes per day. After the 9th grade, students have the option to stop their education, or continue on, finishing with 12th grade. After 12th grade, students can take the National Examination for Universities if they would like to further their education.

So, does Georgia sound like a country you would like to attend school in? Tell us in the comment section below!

Want to learn more about the education systems in other countries? Check out On the Street Videos and experience what life is like for an economics student in Madagascar, discover the shortages of qualified teachers in Namibia, explore the life of a student in his final school years at a teachers college in Burundi, and so much more! Visit scola.org today for your free trial.

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SCOLA Travel Journal: Week Two

So my adventure in the Philippines is over, I am anxious to start my next journey…but I have no idea where to go! The services on SCOLA.org helped me decide the perfect destination last time, so back online I go!

I log on to People and Places and start flipping through the online photo gallery of over 29,000 original photos. So many amazing places catch my eye and it’s hard to focus on choosing just one country when there are so many to see! I’ve never been to South America, and the beautiful landscape of Peru is drawing me in. I’ve been needing to brush up on my Spanish so I figured Peru would be a great second destination!

Speaking of brushing up on my Spanish, I should figure out how to say a few key phrases like “Do you speak English?” and “I’m lost!”. Although I am busy preparing for my trip in the days leading up to my flight, I conveniently can log on to SCOLA’s mobile applications no matter where I am! I use my phone to practice my Spanish with Insta-Class, ready-to-use multi-media language lessons produced exclusively for SCOLA! I also log on to Spoken Word and chat with native speaker Julye…she lives in Peru and is able to tell me all about her country’s culture, and corrects me when I pronounce hola as hole-a instead of o-la! Julye responded to all of my video posts within 24 hours and most importantly was able to save me from a lot of embarrassment…

I now feel confident in my Spanish skills and knowledge of Peruvian culture, so I was ready to begin my second international adventure with SCOLA On the Street Videos.

My first stop in Peru is to go see my friend Julye that I met on Spoken Word. Today is her birthday! “Hola!” I greet her when she answers her front door and we both laugh. I join along as Julye’s family and friends celebrate her birthday with food, soft drinks, gifts, singing, and cake. She gets many wonderful gifts such as a necklace, picture frames, a teddy bear and flowers.

The birthday celebrations wore me out, so I went to sleep excited and anxious for the rest of adventures Peru had to bring.

The rest of the week proved just as fun as the first days celebrations and included many exciting experiences and discoveries. I was able to visit Senor de los Milagros (The Lord of the Miracles, for those of you who have not been studying your Spanish on scola.org). Senor de los Milagros is an image of Christ painted on an adobe wall at the main altar of the Shrine of The Nazarene of Lima. Many Peruvians visit The Lord of Miracles in during a procession in October and gives blessings to the faithful.

I left Peru with new friends thanks to Julye and new knowledge of Peru and it’s religious culture thanks to Senor de los Milagros, but I can’t forget to mention what else I left Peru with…and that is a very full belly! While in Peru I went on a tour of the largest food fair in Latin America- Mistura. Mistura gave me a profound appreciation of traditional Peruvian products such as quinoa, coffee, maca, cocoa, corn, and so much more…I would go on but my stomach is starting to growl just thinking about it! Mistura also featured folk dances from popular regions of Peru.

I left Peru longing to return someday soon, but also anxious to begin my next international adventure with SCOLA On the Street Videos.

Check back next week to travel along to the third destination on my journey with SCOLA!

SCOLA Travel Journal: Week One

Week One:

My international journey through SCOLA On the Street Videos has begun! If you read my last post you know that I recently signed up for a SCOLA subscription, which allows me to travel to foreign countries…right from the comfort of my own home! My first stop: the Philippines!

I arrived in the Philippines on Sunday and stayed for one week. While in the Philippines I was able to experience Filipino culture, expand my knowledge of Filipino languages, and so much more!

My first adventure in the Philippines was to meet some of the locals and gain insight into Filipino culture. I met two sisters and, after telling them about my plans for my international travels, participated in a discussion about social issues in the Philippines and other countries around the world. One sister told of her experiences of bigotry and discrimination in a foreign country. The other sister recounted her own observations of bigotry and discrimination that happen locally. Through my conversation with the two women I was able to discover how local people treat and perceive foreign nationals who stay or travel in their country. This was especially helpful as a beginner traveler!

After my long and insightful discussion with the women I was ready for some fun! While exploring the streets of the Philippines I met up with some local youth that were skateboarding. I had never skateboarded before, but I was in a new country and was up for trying new things so I thought why not! Skateboarding is a lot harder than it looks and it is safe to say I am going to need a lot more practice, but I did learn a lot about the sport. I interviewed a skateboard shop owner and learned some special tips and techniques for beginners!

Skateboarding was a lot of work and I quickly became hungry. I headed back to the two women I had met earlier, hoping they could point me in the right direction for a restaurant offering traditional Filipino food. I was beyond delighted when they offered to teach me a traditional Filipino recipe for Berenghi! My mouth watered as we started preparing the dish, which is a local version of a Spanish paella that mainly consists of sticky rice, chicken, and chorizo. I was able to easily follow along and quickly ate the dish as soon as it was finished!

It was a long, but successful first day in the Philippines. I went to bed tired and anxious to see what else this beautiful country had to bring!

The rest of my week in the Philippines was just as exciting. One day I was able to tag along with different street vendors to see what work was like in their daily lives. The first person I tagged along with was an employee of a local poultry store. I discovered his everyday routines and learned about the different products and services his store provides. The employee even gave me some tips on how to manage quail egg production, and ways to invest in the business and earn profits. I ventured off to tag along with the next person feeling very lucky…where else besides scola.org would I be able to experience a day in the life of a poultry store employee?

Looks like it was time for dessert! The next employee I tagged along with was a local ice cream vendor! “Dirty ice cream” as they call it in the Philippines, is a regular fixture in the streets of this tropical and hot country. Again, I learned helpful tips on how to invest in this type of business.

While in the Philippines I also met local street vendors, discovered what life was like for newlyweds, and got a first look at construction being done on a pharmaceutical company and a hotel in Quezon City!

My last day exploring the Philippines happened to be my favorite. I spent the entire day discovering local folklore, myths, and legends of the Philippines! I was able to explore four tales with a Filipino native: the first tale was the myth of the creation of the Philippine islands, the second tale was a myth about the creation of the first man and woman, the third and fourth stories were about mountain nymphs and their romantic and playful relationships with human beings. The stories were all captivating and left me even more intrigued on this beautiful country, it’s history, and culture.

Although I was sad my journey in the Philippines had come to an end, I was pleased knowing I could return at any time.

Stay tuned to learn where I will travel on my next adventure!

Traditional Georgian Wine Making Methods

In Georgia, our Country of the Month, one of the traditional wine making methods involves the use of a Qvevri. A Qvevri is a large, clay Amphora like vessel that typically holds anywhere from 400-2,000 liters. The Qvevri is usually buried in the ground up to its neck.

To begin the wine making process, usually grapes are feet-pressed. This is the gegentlest way to obtain a juicy pulp because the seeds remain intact and does not give the wine a strong, bitter taste. Once the grapes have been feet-pressed, the pulp, skins, stalks and pips (often referred to as “the mother” in Kakheti) are placed into a Qvevri for fermentation. The fermentation is done naturally with no cultured yeasts or nutrients added. Next, the Qvevri is sealed with a wooden lid and earth or clay, and the wine is left to mature for up to six months. After six months, the Qvevri is opened to reveal a bright, delicious liquid.

Want to learn more about food and drink in our Country of the Month? Check out Savoir-Vivre, coming soon to SCOLA.org!

SCOLA Travel Journal: Day One

Check back every week to hear all about the adventures you can take when you join SCOLA!

I’ve just signed up for a SCOLA subscription and can’t wait to begin my international adventure! SCOLA has authentic resources from around the world that allow me to travel to foreign countries…right from the comfort of my own home! As I begin my journey, I figured this blog would be a great place for you to keep up with me.

My first stop on the SCOLA website was People and Places…what better way to figure out my first destination than to browse original pictures from SCOLA providers? As I flipped through the online gallery of over 29,000 pictures I saw visitors touring the World Peace Pagoda in Myanmar, people in Spain watching a Carnaval parade, and animated children playing in Uganda. But what caught my eye were the photos from the Philippines. Over 3,000 photos of beautiful beaches, smiling faces, and delicious food! I knew right away it was the perfect location to begin my adventure.

Okay, so I had my first destination picked out, but other than what I had seen in the photos on People and Places I knew very little about the country! I once again logged on to www.scola.org where I had access to over 8,700 resources from the Philippines! I watched daily television programs on World TV Online, listened to radio broadcasts on International Radio, brushed up on my Tagalog with Insta-Class, and then expanded my knowledge of Filipino languages with Specialized Word Video Search.

I was officially ready for my international adventure! Stay tuned to learn all about my first destination with On the Street Videos: the Philippines!