The Warm Heart of Africa

If you’re following us online you have seen we are currently on an adventure in Malawi for our May Country of the Month! James, our provider from Malawi sends SCOLA a lot of material for our services, and most recently he has sent us the material for the Country of the Month. James shares the following with you about his home country of Malawi:

Malawi is located in southern Africa. It takes pride in the fact they are often referred to as the “warm heart of Africa” because of the hospitality that its people show and that it has never shown civil unrest or went to war with any other country. The country is measured at approximately 118,000 square kilometers, with a population of about 16 million. The country has four major cities, Mzuzu in the northern region, Lilongwe in the central region, Zomba in the Eastern region and Blantyre, a commercial city, in the Southern region of Malawi.

Blantyre is called the commercial city because of the industrial sites it has, and the companies there. Blantyre is a busy city and after Lilongwe is the second largest. Blantyre has a large number of people with white collar jobs, so it is no wonder many colleges including a constituent college of the University of Malawi- The Polytechnic call Blantyre home. Along with the colleges and offices, you will also find small shops and established businesses in Blantyre.

Malawi is a landlocked country, surrounded by Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania. Although Malawi is landlocked, the country has a number of pleasing features for people to enjoy. Some of the geographical features include the famous Mulanje mountain, game reserves and national parks, and most of all, the lakes.

One lake people enjoy visiting is Lake Malawi. Lake Malawi is the biggest lake in the country at 365 miles long and 52 miles wide. Fishing at the lake is a source of income to the locals who reside near it. Lake Malawi is characterized by a species of fish called Chambo. Chambo cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Besides the chambo, the lake also has very beautiful beaches with holiday resorts and lodges. Tourists find Lake Malawi very attractive.

Although Malawi is small it has over over nine ethnic groups, namely Chewa, Lomwe, Yao, Tumbuka and Sena.The names of the ethnic groups in Malawi actually reflects the kind of language people speak. For example, Sena people speak Sena. The biggest tribe in Malawi is Chewa, representing 32% of Malawians. Since Chewa is the biggest tribe, the national language is Chewa and it is the language taught in schools.

Chewa people are popular nation wide and internationally because of their culture. The chewa people are known for the gule wamkulu dance. The gule wamkulu was once performed for the queen of England. Chewa functions are always characterised by the gule wamkulu. The dancers wear musks and do not identify themselves because it is widely believed that they are beasts and in their vernacular language they are called “Virombo” or “ Nyau”. The beasts are many, just as their a lot of beasts or wild animals in the bush, which explains why the virombo are often changed.

Welcome to Malawi the “warm heart of Africa”. Enjoy.

Do you have a country you would like to learn more about and see featured as our Country of the Month? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow us online to join in on our travels to our next Country of the Month: Belarus!

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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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Behind the Scenes- Meet Doa

DoaLast month, we introduced you to our Moroccan provider, Karima. This month, we would like you to meet Doa, our provider from Turkey. Doa has sent us a variety of material to kickoff our second Country of the Month.

Doa ( Doga Gulgun Gunenc ) was born in Gaziantep, Turkey in 1966. She started learning English as a second language when she was 11 years old in Gaziantep Anadolu Lisesi.  In 1989, she graduated from Hacettepe University, in the English Language and Literature Department. Since then, Doa has translated many film scripts, cartoons and documentaries for TRT Turkish Television.  She also translated “The Gladiators”, a book about Roman history by Fik Meijer.

Doa is currently an English teacher in a public school. She has an 11 year old son and a 15 year old son. She enjoys coaching them in tennis in her free time.

In addition to her personal and professional life, Doa started translating for SCOLA in 2006. She currently prepares Insta-Class lessons in Turkish and provides additional learning material for different SCOLA projects.

Check out the information Doa shared for the Country of the Month by visiting our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+ accounts!

An Inquiry in Language Learning

Brian Kim, a Liaison Officer at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at Offutt Air Force Base, joined SCOLA for our 2013 Users Meeting. This week, Brian kindly answered some questions for us about language learning:

– What do you think is the biggest challenge for language learners today?

Trying to sort through myriad of available technologies to select the “best” one for one’s own target language training

– What is the best tip you can give to language learners?

Be persistent and proactive in increasing your exposure to the (high quality) target language!

– Why is being multilingual important?

Too many to list!

– What is the greatest benefit of using technology to learn a language?

It enables easy integration of authentic materials into the lesson.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the language field?

– My own bilingual/immigrant upbringing. Having had such a difficult time picking up English has encouraged me to help others who are having difficulty acquiring a new language.

SCOLA is happy to have contacts such as Brian to share with us his opinions on why language learning is important. Stay tuned for more posts from language experts.