SCOLA Travel Journal: Week Five

Fall has almost arrived here at SCOLA and the weather is getting cooler, I’m ready to go somewhere warm on vacation! I log on to People and Places and start searching when the colorful landscapes of Indonesia catch my eye. I’m ready to get out of my sweatshirts and long pants and into some shorts and sandals!

One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new country is converse with the locals, so before heading to On the Street Videos to travel to Indonesia, I make a pit stop at Insta-Class. Insta-Class is ready to use, multi-media language lessons produced exclusively for SCOLA by experts from around the world! The service has over 420 lessons for Indonesia that are easy for independent learners like myself to use. I log on and quickly brush up on my Indonesian. Soon I feel confident that I will be able to converse with the locals on my upcoming adventure.

My hands shake in anticipation as I log on to On the Street Videos to begin my journey. My first stop is Bali. Choosing a destination from People and Places was tough, and learning a new language on Insta-Class wore me out, so my first quest is to learn how to make a traditional Balinese dinner. The SCOLA provider gave detailed instructions that were easy to follow, thanks to the practice I received on Insta-Class! Once I eat dinner I have the energy to explore the rest of what On the Street Videos and Indonesia have to offer.

Since I was already in Bali I decided to do a quick tour. I had an excellent tour guide that showed me some of the best beaches and shops Bali had to offer. I learned a lot about Bali and was able to enjoy the warm weather I had been craving, so next up was my favorite activity: conversing with the locals!

Through SCOLA I was able to meet with a Balinese man to talk with him to learn about his daily lifestyle and work. This gave me further insight to Indonesia’s culture than any typical vacation ever could.

On the Street Videos not only allows you to explore and experience places, it also allows you to discover the locals and their lifestyles, including community and family, work and recreation, and so much more. I’m very lucky to have the service available to me, and you could too by logging on to www.scola.org for your free trial!

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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!

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!

The Secret to Easy and Reliable International Travel

Imagine the international adventure of your dreams and then turn those dreams into a reality with On the Street Videos from SCOLA. Your first stop is Bangladesh, where you can experience firsthand what it’s like to be a freedom fighter. Our next stop will take you to Iraq, where you can uncover what life used to be like living in Baghdad as a Kurdish political activist. Are you tired of traveling yet? We hope not, because you’ll want to be wide awake on our third stop as we explore the culture of Myanmar at Sunday Buddha School at Min Lwin Kone Monastery. All this traveling has surely made you hungry, so our fourth stop will take you to Japan where you will learn how to make a traditional Japanese sushi roll. Eat up, because you will need your energy for the rest of your travels on this ninety country expedition, including a visit to the Philippines to go wake-boarding, attending a wedding in Mali, lending a hand to a beekeeper in Serbia as he completes his daily tasks, and so much more!

As you experience new countries and cultures with On the Street Videos you can also brush up on your foreign language skills. Each adventure offers an authentic experience in our providers native languages.

Not fluent in Burmese and are having trouble following along with the lessons at the Sunday Buddha School in Myanmar?

No problem! SCOLA.org is equipped with a variety of language services designed to help you expand your knowledge and vocabulary of over 175 languages! Log on to Insta-Class and practice your Burmese with over 200 ready-to-use lessons and then head back over to On the Street Videos once you have refreshed your language skills.

Can’t understand all the ingredients in Japan and are really craving that traditional Japanese sushi roll?

No problem! Log on to Spoken Word and chat with our native speaker Misuzu from Japan! Misuzu can answer any questions you have about Japanese language and culture. Soon you will be on your way to mastering Japanese…and have a full stomach!

These adventures are exclusive to SCOLA and won’t be beat by your local travel agency, so contact us today for your free trial! Visit www.scola.org where you won’t just read or learn about new skills, languages, and cultures, you will experience them!

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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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