SCOLA Travel Journal: Week Three

Where will SCOLA take me next? The Philippines and Peru, the two countries I have traveled to so far with SCOLA, will be hard to beat. However, I know there are many other places to experience, so I log on to http://www.SCOLA.org to see what else it has in store for me.

Once again my first stop is People and Places. I enjoyed the warm weather in the Philippines and Peru, but now I think it is time for a change. I type in ‘snow’ into the convenient search bar in People and Places and scroll through the results. The one place that keeps catching my eye is Nepal. The majestic, snow capped peak of Mount Everest is captivating! While I know I would never have the courage to climb the famous mountain, the surrounding scenery and climate are just what I am looking for.

Summer recently ended and I am busy with classes, but I can conveniently use SCOLA Mobile Apps wherever I am! I use my phone to play over 200 broadcasts from Nepal on International Radio, close my eyes, and relax as I imagine myself driving through Nepal listening to the radio. I now feel ready to take on Nepal as I have experienced the beauty of their landscapes, and immersed myself in their culture with over 60 cultural radio broadcasts.

Shaking with anticipation I log on to On the Street Videos and begin my adventure. My first stop in Nepal is a visit with a local family about education in their country. Since I myself just started classes again, it makes me curious to see if other people in the world have resumed classes, what courses they study, and what they think about their country’s education system. I am able to talk with SCOLA provider Sharmila about the education system in Nepal, and experience what daily life is like for two young school boys.

I am on vacation though, so I can’t spend all my time thinking about school! Next, I discover the Nepal Tourism Board for some tips on exploring this beautiful country. As I explore temples and experience the rich Buddhist culture of Kathmandu Valley, I think about how lucky I am to be able to explore the world with SCOLA On the Street Videos. I know I must spread the word about the adventure SCOLA brings and make everyone aware of the opportunities they have to access a free trial! Visit www.scola.org today for yours!

I conclude my travels through Nepal with an experience in Panni Culture and a Children’s Recital. Though my journey in this country was short, it was a wonderful experience that I will not soon forget! I can’t wait to see where my travels take me next!

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

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SCOLA to Host our 22nd USTTI Training Course

USTTI 2013

SCOLA staff is excitedly preparing to welcome international participants for our 22nd USTTI training course. On August 11th we will host visitors from around the world at the SCOLA Campus and have the opportunity to provide hands-on training courses and show hospitable American culture to international guests for two weeks.

     USTTI courses at SCOLA provide great opportunities for exchanging cultures and improving international communication. This year’s training course will take place during a two week period at the SCOLA campus in McClelland, Iowa. The training will included hands-on sessions in video transmission, satellite fundamentals, and SCOLA services. Evenings and weekends will present a more laid back atmosphere for the guests to enjoy Omaha, Council Bluffs, and the surrounding areas.

     The USTTI training course always makes for a busy time at the SCOLA campus, but we look forward to meeting our new group of USTTI participants!

Independence Day in India

Last Friday found many in the United States celebrating Independence Day outdoors, lighting fireworks and enjoying the company of family and friends. Although your holiday plans might come naturally to you, do you ever wonder how people in other cultures celebrate Independence Day? Our provider Jitendra from India tells us here how Independence Day is celebrated in our July Country of the Month:

“India celebrates Independence Day on August 15th, the anniversary of India’s independence from British rule in 1947. Independence Day is a public holiday in India and is celebrated by wishing others well and decorating buildings with attractive lights.

Each year a flag hoisting is performed by the Prime Minister of India at the Red Fort in India’s capital city, New Delhi. Each state also does their own flag hoisting in the presence of the Chief Minister. The flag hoisting is often done at schools, colleges, and universities and includes speeches about independence and the freedom struggle of India.

Other events such as rallies, sports, singing and dancing competitions, poetry readings and much more is also organized in places throughout India to celebrate the holiday. The organized entertainment is based on themes such as The Freedom Struggle of India or Independence. “

Want to know more about international holidays around the world? Visit www.scola.org and experience holidays and celebrations in other cultures with our unique services like Savoir-Vivre and On the Street Videos. Savoir-Vivre is coming soon to SCOLA and will focus on the cultural aspect of other countries and On the Street Videos focuses on technical and instructional videos in our providers native languages. Experience Novruz celebrations in Azerbaijan and attend International Language Day festivities in Bangladesh with Savoir-vivre. Then, visit On The Street Videos to learn how Christmas is celebrated in Zimbabwe and how Ramadan is observed in Pakistan. What are you waiting for? Contact us today!

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Behind the Scenes: Meet James

In May, SCOLA traveled to the African country of Malawi for our Country of the Month. SCOLA is lucky to have people from around the world provide us with the material to share with you on www.scola.org and on our social media pages. This month, our provider is native Malawian James Chaponda.

James wDSC00054as born on April 24th in Malawi. Years later, James married his lovely wife, Tikondane, and had one child. James has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering with a major in Telecommunications from the University of Malawi-Polytechnic.

James started working with SCOLA in September 2012 and enjoys the task of providing content each month. James also works at Malawi Telecommunications Limited as a Transmission Engineer. James says “I love working with SCOLA to teach the people of the world different languages, especially Chewa from Malawi. Many people don’t know where Malawi is and what kind of language(s) we speak. Other countries are more well-known because of things like wars and disasters. I would like to encourage people of the world to start learning the Chewa language because it is spoken in various central African countries.”

James looks forward to working with SCOLA for the rest of his life, and would like to thank his wife for her encouragement and help in coming up with different resources and programs for SCOLA subscribers to enjoy. James would also like to thank the management and staff at SCOLA for their warm reception when he visited SCOLA in 2012.

SCOLA would like to thank James for the interesting and educational information he sent for the Country of the Month and for the material he sends for our services on www.scola.org.

So…May is over but you didn’t learn enough about Malawi? Be sure to check out www.scola.org for over 400 audio, image, text and video resources from Malawi, and then check us out online for our next Country of the Month!

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Chinese Birthday Traditions

Many people in the United States hold big celebrations for various milestone birthdays including a sweet sixteen where they can get their driver’s license, a bar crawl when they can legally drink on their 21st birthday, and smaller parties as they get older with their family and close friends. In China though, traditional birthday celebrations differ. Traditionally, Chinese people do not pay much attention to birthday celebrations until a person turns 60 years old. Sixty years is considered a cycle of life in Chinese culture, so the 60th birthday is regarded as very important and is celebrated with a big party. Chinese culture expects a person to have a big family filled with children and grandchildren by 60 years old, and therefore see it as an age to be proud of.

A person’s 61st year is seen as the beginning of a new life cycle. After the 60th birthday, celebrations are held every 10 years up until the person’s death, and generally, the older a person is the grander their birthday celebration is.

Sixtieth birthday parties can be large or small, but no matter the size the celebrations meal always includes peaches and noodles, which are the signs of a long life. When the noodles are cooked they cannot be cut short. Shortened noodles are thought to have bad implications. Although the celebrations are said to include peaches, the peaches, in fact, are not real. Steamed wheaten food with a sweet stuffing are called peaches because they are made in the same shape. Everyone at the party must eat the food as a sign of well wishes to the guest of honor.

If you’re planning on attending a traditional Chinese birthday party typical presents usually include two or four eggs, long noodles, artificial peaches, tonics, wine and money in red paper.

Besides the 60th birthday, some families in China also place importance on celebrating the third and twelfth birthdays for children. A child’s twelfth birthday celebration includes the birthday boy or girls friends and their parents. It is similar to a wedding ceremony with a delicious banquet and speeches by guests at the party.

Although many in China celebrate birthdays with the previously mentioned traditions, many Chinese people now seem to be following American birthday customs. Cakes with candles to represent how old a person is turning are becoming more common, along with making a wish when blowing out the candles. This is quickly becoming regarded as the best part of the birthday party.

What is your favorite birthday tradition? Let us know in the comments below!

Want to know more about birthday traditions around the world? Check out Savoir-Vivre, coming soon to www.scola.org!

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Behind the Scenes: Meet Mercy

The years travels are off to a great start as we find our adventure in Nigeria,  our February Country of the Month, coming to a close. As our journey ends, we want to thank SCOLA provider Mercy for everything she has taught us about her home country. Mercy taught us how to say ‘love’ in four languages, shared traditional Nigerian recipes with us, and so much  more!

Mercy was born in Nigeria to a family of ten, including four brothers, three sisters and her parents. She married a loving husband, and twenty years later they have three wonderful bomy pics 110ys and a sweet daughter. Her two oldest boys are currently studying engineering at Ghanaian universities. Her daughter is fifteen years old and almost through with her secondary school education. Her youngest child (who calls himself the cutest) is currently finishing his primary school education.

In 1990, Mercy graduated from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, with a Bachelor’s Degree in English (Education).  In 1992, after her compulsory one year of national service, she found a job in the media industry as an announcer with the Rivers State Television, Channel 22 UHF, Portharcourt. She later transferred to the Bayelsa State Television,  which later became Gloryland Television and is presently known as Niger Delta Television. Mercy later had to leave the Niger Delta Television to be closer to her family.

Mercy misses working in television very much, so when the opportunity for Mercy to work in media through SCOLA came along she was very happy. Her sister Azi, a Nebraska resident, got her in touch with a SCOLA employee in 1990. Mercy says “Though working for SCOLA is very demanding, it brings out the best in you. It has exposed me to many aspects of TV production as well as areas of untapped knowledge, culture and much more.”  Since Mercy joined SCOLA she has sent in material for Foreign Text, On The Street Videos, Savoir-Vivre, and World TV Online.

Next year, Mercy hopes to return back to Niger Delta Television in Bayelsa State as Deputy Director of Programs and also pursue a masters degree in Public Relations.

If you didn’t learn enough about Nigeria as our Country of the Month, make sure to check out www.scola.org to see other material Mercy has shared with us about her country. Also, be sure to check back often in March to travel with us to our new Country of the Month…China!

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Bringing Out the Best in SCOLA

As our users enjoy the authentic material SCOLA offers, many may wonder how the resources came to be available to us. Everything available to users on www.scola.org has been sent in to us from providers in countries around the world. SCOLA providers regularly send in TV programs, photos, publications and much more to ensure that our subscribers have the most current and applicable information.

Our providers are the ones who make the work we do at SCOLA possible, and between launching a new website, creating Savoir-Vivre, and updating our existing services daily, SCOLA also stays busy with many special projects, such as conferences and presentations. Our subscribers are always enthusiastic and willing to help, whether we need short clips of them singing a song, a video greeting for a special guest at a conference, or sending information on love and marriage for our upcoming 28 Days of Love. All of our special projects are in addition to the regular material our providers send in for services like World TV Online, On the Street Videos and Insta-Class.

SCOLA staff enjoys hearing about our providers daily lives, learning about their culture and viewing the new and exciting material they send in. Recently, we got to hear from a few of our providers about what they enjoy most about working with SCOLA:

“I take pleasure and feel that all these treasures of India should be shared with the rest of the world.  I also feel that one grows by learning about different cultures of the world and brings all the people closer like a universal family and does away with any misunderstandings which may exist.  It is very important for international peace and understanding and I congratulate SCOLA for doing such nice work.”
-Jitendra, India

     “Listening to a different language always encourages me to learn it. It is good to know.  My grandfather always said “Speaking one language makes you one person, speaking two languages makes you two persons.” Learn a new language and be happy.”
-Doa, Turkey

“…how fascinating it is to know the culture of other countries. This will make people from all over the world come closer and understand each other. This will make the world a more peaceful and better place to live in.”   -Jyoti, India

“[SCOLA] brings out the best in you. It has exposed me to so many aspects of TV production as well as areas of untapped knowledge, culture and much more.”
– Mercy, Nigeria

      In Mercy’s words, our providers bring out the best in SCOLA. The work the providers do for SCOLA makes our mission, to help the people of the world learn about one another; their cultures, their languages and their ideologies, possible. We are very thankful we have found so many people around the world that share the same passion of educating the world about one another. Without the hard work of our providers, SCOLA would not have the authentic language learning materials that so many of our subscribers learn from and enjoy. Their hard work is appreciated by all SCOLA staff and users!

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