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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Behind the Scenes: Meet Mari

We would like to send a special thank you to our provider Mari in Georgia! This month Mari sent us interesting and informative material to teach our followers all about our Country of the Month.

            MMariarine ( Mari) Changiani was born on April 4th in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. She is married and has a beautiful daughter, Barbara. Marine has her Masters Degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as an English teacher for ESL for over twelve years. She also works as a director of the American Education Center “Langate”. She has students from many different countries. Mari loves to communicate and make friends all over the world.

Mari started working with SCOLA in 2012 and enjoys the task of providing On the Street Videos every month. She likes to introduce the world to her small country and often sends videos about Georgia, its culture, history and traditions. She tries to participate in SCOLA’s projects as often as possible as it is a great pleasure for her. She is very grateful to her students and friends who help her make videos for SCOLA often.

She likes working for SCOLA not only for opportunity to provide interesting materials and videos, but because of SCOLA’s warm and friendly staff. She would like to thank all SCOLA staff and she hopes to work with them for a very long time providing SCOLA with more and more exciting and interesting videos.

SCOLA staff appreciates all the hard work Mari puts in to help our subscribers learn about Georgia. We look forward to seeing more of her work in the future!

Check back next week to learn about our new Country of the Month!

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Behind the Scenes: Meet Marina

In June, SCOLA followers traveled to Belarus with our provider Marina for our Country of the Month. Marina shared traditional Belarusian recipes and a word of the month, and taught us about the climate of her home country.it's me

Marina was born on May 16, 1983, in Minsk, Belarus. From 1989 to 2000, Marina studied at school № 137 in Minsk. From 2000 till 2006, she studied at Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts in the Department of Cultural Studies. From 2006 till 2009, Marina worked at the Institute of Problems of Culture as a Junior Researcher. Meanwhile, she also taught herself about video and editing and soon after became a videographer. Marina started working with SCOLA in 2012 and hopes to continue working with us for many years to come. The material she provided for our Country of the Month is just one of the many projects she has helped us work on. She also sends in material for other SCOLA services, including Savoir-Vivre, which will soon be available for SCOLA subscribers.

When Marina is not working on materials for SCOLA she enjoys traveling, cycling, watching movies and attending concerts and open air festivals. Along with our followers, we would like to thank Marina for all the wonderful and informative information she shared for our June Country of the Month!

Want to learn more about Belarus? Contact us today for your free trial and gain access to over 2,000 resources from Belarus on www.scola.org.

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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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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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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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