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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28 Days of Love

28 daysThe month of February often stirs up feelings of love and romance in many people. However, those feelings aren’t expressed the same in all countries around the world. Have you ever wondered what dating is like in Namibia? Or how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Japan?

Our new service, Savoir-Vivre, aims to take you into the lives of people around the world as you watch them celebrate holidays, marriage, and other aspects of their cultures. This February, we would like to give our followers a sneak peak of the material in Savoir-Vivre with “28 Days of Love”. SCOLA followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest will learn about expressions of love through dating, marriage, Valentine’s Day and more from a different country each day in February.

What countries and traditions would you like to see featured on 28 Days of Love?

Discover What’s New on SCOLA.org

SCOLA has a lot of great, authentic resources for downloading for classroom and personal use. Between text, audio clips, photos and videos, we understand that the SCOLA resources you download can take up a lot of space on your computer…and we are here to help!

With the launch of SCOLA’s new website this month we also added a new service: Video Editor: Video Editor was constructed with the user in mind. Our videos, including full length news broadcasts, entertainment programming and talk shows, contain a lot of information! We understand that not all of the information in each video is applicable to your needs, so Video Editor allows users to easily create smaller clips of SCOLA videos for downloading.

Video Editor can be accessed from each SCOLA service that contains videos. Clicking the video editor icon in a video service will bring the video of your choice into your Video Editor library.  You can then go through and choose which sections of the video you want to keep. This will save the clip into your Video Editor library and also give you the option to download the clip to your computer.

SCOLA is always looking for ways to make our services more user friendly and we hope this new feature makes downloading our authentic video clips more convenient for all of our subscribers!

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Make the World a Better Place to Live

Recently SCOLA provider Jyoti shared with us her thoughts on making the world a better place to live. Here is what she had to say:

Hi, I’m Jyoti Nikam from India. I am a freelance translator for Gujarati and Marathi. I have worked with SCOLA for the last four years and I’m happy to be a part of it. I am putting forward my views briefly about what culture is and why it’s important.

To me culture is human’s knowledge, learning, customs, language, tradition and food habits which are passed from one generation to the next. We live in a world with diverse culture. Tradition, language, dress, art, food, and festivals all form culture. A person is known by his culture, which makes his identity unique.

IMG_2457We should know about our own culture and also should learn about other’s culture as well. Knowing another’s culture will help us respect them and in return we will learn to respect others. In this age of globalization we have to travel to other countries. By knowing their culture we will communicate with them better and respect their culture as well.

For example, I live in India in Maharashtra state, and when I visited Rajasthan state, also in India, I came to know their culture. I learned about their food habits (which is very spicy), their dress, their business, and traditions. So imagine when just in India I had the opportunity to learn the culture of another state, 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.

I am happy to introduce you to my Indian culture. To start with, I will be sharing with you different Indian Recipes from different parts of India. Also, I will introduce you the different festivals that are celebrated here in India. You can find all of my material on Savoir-Vivre.

SCOLA appreciates Jyoti sharing her thoughts on culture and the material she has shared so far for Savoir-Vivre. When Savoir-Vivre launches you will be able to experience the culture Jyoti has shared with us through the fascinating videos we have received from her.

Travel the World. Discover its People. Explore New Lifestyles.

Whether it’s meeting new people, tasting different foods, or visiting famous landmarks, everyone has a favorite part about visiting a foreign country. However, some people don’t have the time or money to travel around the world, which is why SCOLA is excited to introduce you to our new service, Savoir-Vivre (Coming Soon!). Savoir-Vivre is a global adventure in culture. Travel the world, discover its people, and explore new lifestyles. No passport needed!

Savoir-VivreSavoir-Vivre is unlike any other service. You won’t just read about new countries and cultures, you will experience them!  Have you ever wondered how to make traditional Uzbek plov? Or what the dating rules in Nepal are? Escape on a global adventure from the comfort of your own living room. Explore real cities and streets from around the world and discover everything you need to know about life in another country.

You won’t need a passport for this journey, but you will need a subscription to SCOLA. Contact Us today to get started!

Do you have a cultural topic or country you would like to see featured on Savoir-Vivre? Let us know!