SCOLA Travel Journal: Week Thirteen

If you can think back that far, you will remember that thirteen weeks ago I began my travels with SCOLA with Peru as my first destination. In that time I have traveled to countries around the world and learned a lot about different cultures and languages, so it is no surprise that I feel like I need to brush up on my Spanish! I decide to journey back to South America and visit Argentina. Before I do though, I better refresh my Spanish skills!

I first log on to Insta-Class to review ready-to-use Spanish lessons from Argentina. I start out with Beginner Lessons, and the language quickly comes back to me as I work my way up to the Advanced Lessons.

I’m anxious to start my journey, but before I do there is one more stop I have to make on SCOLA.orgWorld TV Online of course! Did you know that Channel Two plays various programs from Argentina every weekday? It is a great resource for learning the Spanish language and learning about current, local events in Argentina. Once the program is over I am ready to begin my international adventure!

I log on to On the Street Videos to start my journey in Argentina. All of this learning and traveling has made me work up an appetite, so the first stop is to learn how to prepare a traditional Argentinean torte! Delicious! I now have the energy to continue my travels through this beautiful country.

My next stop is a rodeo show, which makes me so happy I took the time to refresh my Spanish skills. Without learning Spanish with SCOLA I wouldn’t have been able to understand any of the jokes or entertainment at the rodeo. The rodeo was great fun, but my next adventure here in Argentina takes me to something a little more serious- a First Communion ceremony at a church here in Argentina. The ceremony was beautiful and the perfect way to end my second tour of South America.

Visit SCOLA for your free trial of On the Street Videos and don’t forget to check back soon to see where I travel to next!

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SCOLA Travel Journal: Week Eleven

I’m settled back at home after my journey to Armenia, and needless to say my adventure left me yearning for more…so pack your bags and come along!

I log on to People and Places and the photos of old buildings and recreational activities in Belarus catch my eye. Looks like I have found where my travels are taking me next! But wait a second…let’s learn a little bit about the country’s language before we begin.

I log on to Insta-Class and dive in to the 250+ Belarusian language lessons they offer. With a travel schedule like mine I don’t have time to sit in class and learn a language, which is why SCOLA’s services are so helpful! Insta-Class has ready to use ‘instant’ language lessons that allow me to study over 50 languages at my own pace and on my own time. I learn a few keywords and phrases in Belarusian and I’m ready to begin my next adventure with SCOLA On the Street Videos!

No need to grab my passport, and no time to pack any bags! As soon as I log on to SCOLA On the Street Videos my next adventure begins! Belarus here we come!

There’s no jet lag for me, so I have plenty of energy for my first stop in Belarus: Folk Dancing! I learn about the wide variety of Belarusian folk dances, the dance culture in Belarus, dance clubs, and even schools that specialize in folk dances!

While folk dancing I begin to think I need to start taking pictures of all the places I visit- how else will I remember all the experiences and memories I have made? A nice woman teaches me how to use a camera, not only do I now have a way to document my adventures, I also picked up a few Belarusian vocabulary words from her instructions as well!

As they say, time flies when you’re having fun, and my time in Belarus seemed so short. Looking back though I learned a lot. I talked with locals about the Fiftieth Anniversary of the October Revolution in Minsk, the proper way to care for your hair, and even learned what dating and relationships are like for people in Belarus.

Check back soon for our next international adventure with SCOLA On the Street Videos!

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Visiting China: Tips and Taboos You Need to Know

The seasons are changing and many of you may be thinking ahead to your summer travel plans. If your plans include traveling abroad keep reading! Many foreign countries have taboos and laws that are essential for travelers to know before you arrive. The following list was shared with us by a SCOLA provider in China. He says many travelers from abroad may become confused and frightened by Chinese customs. This handy reference tool makes it easy for newcomers to Beijing to fit right in.

Greetings

1. When addressing someone, it is customary to add terms of honor before their family name based on their age: lao (honorable old one), xiao (honorable young one) or occasionally da (honorable middle-aged one).

2. Most greetings begin with a brief handshake. When greeting the elderly or senior officials, your handshake should be gentle and include a slight nod. As an expression of warmth, it can be acceptable to cover the handshake with your left hand. As a sign of respect, Chinese usually slightly lower their eyes when meeting someone.

3. Embracing and kissing are not parts of a Chinese greeting or saying good-bye. Public displays of affection, or acting in too carefree a manner are not advisable in public.

Conversation

4. Be cautious in political discussions.

Gifts

5. Normally, Chinese will not accept a gift, invitation or favor until the second or third time it is presented. In their culture, this shows modesty and humility. If a person accepts too quickly it can make them look aggressive or greedy. The same goes for opening a gift in front of the giver.

6. When wrapping a present, be aware that Chinese give much importance to color. Red represents luck, and pink and yellow represent happiness and prosperity. Do not wrap gifts in white, grey or black, as those are funeral colors. When you are ready to present a gift, hand it off with both of your hands.

7. Acceptable gifts may include lighters, stamps, t-shirts and exotic coins, and the following gifts should be avoided: white or yellow flowers (especially chrysanthemums), which are used for funerals, pears, the word for Pear in Chinese sounds the same as separate and is considered bad luck, red ink on cards or letters symbolizes the end of a relationship, and clocks of any kind. because the word clock in Chinese sounds like the expression “the end of life”.

Food and Dining

8. Tipping is not normally practiced in China and almost no one asks for them. Only in some luxurious hotels are tips expected.

9. While eating, place chopsticks next to your dish instead of upright in your rice bowl. In China, when someone dies, their shrine may include two incense sticks stuck upright in a bowl of sand or rice. If you stick your chopsticks upright in your dish at the dinner table, it looks like the shrine and is comparable to wishing death upon person at the table!

10. When drinking tea, do not face the spout of the teapot towards anyone. It is impolite.

11. Don’t tap on your bowl with your chopsticks. People in restaurants where the food is taking too long and beggars tap on their bowls. It is insulting to the cook.

12. People in China dine out at least once a week with friends or family members as a way to strengthen relationships. The dinner will last long and include alcohol drinks.

Are you planning on traveling to China soon? Were these tips helpful to you? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Be sure to check back next week to learn more about Chinese Dating and Marriage Customs!

Want to learn more tips and taboos for international travel? Check out Savoir-Vivre…coming soon!

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2014 SCOLA Users Meeting

SCOLA would like to invite you to our 2014 Users Meeting on May 15th and 16th in Omaha, Nebraska and McClelland, Iowa. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy presentations by language teaching professionals, networking, dining and entertainment, and a Congressional Presentation. Guests will also have the opportunity to learn about trends and resources for foreign language education and SCOLA resources.

Check-in for the SCOLA Users Meeting will begin Thursday, May 15th at 10 a.m. in the lobby of the Doubletree Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. Lunch will be served at 11 a.m. followed by an afternoon of presentations. Thursday evening will be a night of dinner and entertainment at the Scoular Ballroom in Omaha. The event will continue Friday morning with a trip to the campus in McClelland, Iowa. The meeting will conclude on Friday afternoon at the Doubletree Hotel with lunch and a Congressional Speaker.

Transportation to all events and meals are included with your $100 registration fee. Guests can register for the 2014 Users Meeting in advance at www.scola.org and are offered discounted accommodations at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Omaha.

For additional conference information, please check our website at www.scola.org. Also, please feel free to e-mail us at conf@scola.org or call 712-566-2202.

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China: Making Learning (Even More) Fun

For your entertainment, SCOLA has acquired a few more jokes to share with you from China. It is safe to say this has been our funniest Country of the Month yet!
儿子战战兢兢地回到家:“爸,今天考试只得了60分”。爸爸很生气:“下次再考低了,就别叫我爸!” 第二天儿子回来了:“对不起,哥!”
One day, a boy did poorly on his test at school. He went home after and nervously said, “Dad, I only got a 60% on the test today.” His dad was very angry and said “Don’t call me dad if you ever do that bad again!”The next day the son came home after school and said “Sorry brother!”
农夫向医生诉苦,说他晚上上床后常觉得脚冷。是,医生说:我也常常有这种现象,那时我就会搂著太太,这样脚就会暖和来!这个农夫鼓起很大的勇气说:这是一个很好的办法,但是--你太太什麼时候才方便?
A farmer complained to a doctor that his feet always got cold while sleeping at night. “Yes,” the doctor said,“I myself used to feel that way too. Now, I hug my wife tightly to make my feet warm.” The farmer thought about this for a while and finally asked with great bravery “That is really good thinking. The problem is, when will your wife be available?”
A man said to his wife “Dear I haven’t had a thrilling experience in a long time.” The next day she took him to a jewelry store.
A woman wanted a fur coat as a birthday present. She said to her husband, “Dear, my birthday is coming up. Don’t you want to go and see those fluffy things for me?” The husband slaps his thigh and said “That’s a good idea! Let’s go right now or the zoo will be closed!”
A husband said to his wife “Since we have been married, I have realized that marriage is a heavy job!” His wife said “Of course, that is why two people have to share it.” The husband asked tentatively “So don’t you think we would feel more relaxed if there were three people?”
A husband said to his wife “I appreciated your praise tonight when you told the neighbors I was talented.” The wife said “You have neither money nor position and your looks are very plain. If I hadn’t told such a lie other people would laugh at me!”

Want more jokes? Let us know which country you would like to hear a joke from in the comments below!

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Homesick? Visit SCOLA.org

In a world where long-term or permanent relocation to find the next best job, education or lifestyle is the norm, many might find that they feel out of the loop on their friends and families social lives, their countries current events and cultural celebrations and holidays. Thankfully, communication methods such as texting, e-mail and Facebook make it easy for families and friends to stay in touch and keep those away from home in the loop.  With advancements in technology it should be just as easy for those people to keep up on their home countries current news topics and cultural celebrations…and with SCOLA it is!

SCOLA prides itself on routinely receiving current authentic resources from all around the world. We want those away from home to still be able to start their day with the front page of their cities newspaper, and end their day hearing the evening news in their native language.  Foreign Text holds publications such as newspapers, magazines, and books from around the world that aren’t available anywhere else online. World TV Online routinely receives news, entertainment and other varied programming from a variety of countries around the world that SCOLA subscribers can stream live or download.

A SCOLA friend and provider recently said about SCOLA that readers can look at the website and say “It is my webpage”, familiar, interesting and easy to read.” He was especially impressed with a special project SCOLA is doing this month called 28 Days of Love, which inspired him to write the following poem:

Spring , A Season for Love

February breeze

stirs the love string of the universe

The earth awakens, stretches his body and

Desires to make love to the sky

Spring rain

falls silently with the previous spring’s memory.

Moist, sweet and happy rain

the thirsty wheat smiles,

the white-haired peasant

through the long(tabacco) pipe,

unburdens himself of a long winter’s anxiety

Spring sun

Taking off the winter muslin

Kisses the winter jasmine

And hugs the willow trees

The flowers yellow and

The twigs green

It is a season for love

The twittering sound from above

Announcing the couple swallow’s back home

“everybody is fine?”

The birds sit side by side,

telling the hostess a winter missing story.

The boy and the girl

Taking off winter coats

Run into spring fields

“You are one end and

I am  the other

No matter how high you are flying

You are sure to come back”

The kite rope pulls the promise of love

SCOLA thanks our friend for the kind words and the beautiful poem. We are always happy to hear from our friends, providers and subscribers interested in our work and mission! We hope that many of you can visit SCOLA.org and feel happiness and at home the way this person does!

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Your Upcoming Travel Itinerary

SCOLA and China Yellow River Television have been shortening the distance between McClelland and Taiyuan for 23 years, and next month, China is coming to you! If you follow our social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, you may have noticed each month SCOLA presents a “Country of the Month”. Our social media followers can learn a lot about countries around the world such as traditional recipes, typical weather conditions, and a vocabulary word in the country’s native language.

In May 2013, our journey began in the country of Morocco and this March, followers have the opportunity to visit China…from the comfort of their own home! The country has interested viewers with programming on World TV Online, readers with magazines and newspapers on Foreign Text, and learners with lessons on Insta-Class. Featuring China as our Country of the Month will give people that do not already subscribe to SCOLA a small preview of the authentic Chinese resources SCOLA has to offer.

At the end of the month, you may find yourself wanting more information about the country and not ready to move on to the next one. Our website has additional resources from every country we visit for the SCOLA Country of the Month.  Want to know more traditional recipes from Nigeria? Check out Savoir-Vivre, coming soon to www.scola.org! Want to learn more Czech vocabulary? Check out Insta-Class or Specialized Word Video Search! Come see for yourself that the Country of the Month features only a small portion of the material SCOLA offers to subscribers.

Is there a country you would like to see featured as the Country of the Month? Let us know in the comments below!

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