SCOLA Travel Journal: Week Twenty

Have you accessed your free trial to www.scola.org yet? If so, you may have noticed all the material available from Pakistan on Foreign Text! There are over 1,900 newspaper publications and over 30 magazine issues! Wow! I could read this stuff all day, but what better way to learn about Pakistan than experience it myself? I know just the place I need to go to begin my quick adventure to Pakistan, but before I do that I better find out what I am getting myself into with World TV Online!

World TV Online plays international television programming 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. News from Islamabad in Urdu is available every weekday on Channel Six. I quickly discover all the news and current events that I missed when browsing papers and magazines on Foreign Text.

After reading Foreign Text and watching World TV Online, I am ready for my adventure with On the Street Videos! My first adventure in Pakistan is to chat with the Tribal Chief from the remote Balochistan Province. I discover how tribal chiefs in Balochistan are selected and how they govern their territory.

My next stop in Pakistan is to learn about Pakistan’s climate and explore what the weather is typically like this time of year. Where I live the weather has been cold with lots of snow, so if there’s is warmer I might consider taking a trip there for real! Unfortunately, I realize the winter weather in Pakistan is still cold, with snow falling, frozen lakes, and freezing lakes. Looks like I’ll have to choose a different destination to cure my winter blues!

My third and final stop in Pakistan is to talk with the locals about music in Pakistan. The locals and I both agree that music is important because it is a language that is understood throughout the world. In Pakistan, there are many forms and kinds of music, including classical, rock, pop, and more. Everyone has their own choice of what kind of music to listen to and Pakistani singers are famous for their command and understanding of the art of music.

Well, it’s time to head home. I’m back sitting on my couch in no time at all. I’ll be going on my next adventure soon, so don’t forget to log on to www.scola.org and access your free trial so you can join me next time!

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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!

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: An Introduction to Belarus

Welcome to Belarus, our June Country of the Month!

During June, SCOLA followers can look forward to learning about the language, climate, and cuisine of Belarus, but first we would like to share some information with you about the people who make up this wonderful country. Belarus is a country of many diverse nationalities, and today our provider Marina from Belarus gives us insight into the population of Belarus, its diverse ethnic groups, and the languages you might hear when visiting.

“According to the 2009 census, more than 130 nationalities are represented in the Belarusian territory. Among them the most represented are Belarusians, Russians, Poles, and Ukrainians. Armenians, Tatars, and Lithuanians amount to less than 1%.The number of Turkmen, Chinese, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, and Arabs is increasing.

“Throughout the history of Belarus the majority of rural population were Belarusians, in the northwest of the country there were many Poles, and in the east there were Russians, including the ‘Old Believers’. Nowadays, cities and towns are inhabited with diverse ethnic groups, though Belarusians remain the majority (more than 80%).

“Belarusian and Russian are the official languages ​​in Belarus. Thirty-four percent of Belarusians say they are fluent in Belarusian, about 6% of Belarusians say they use the Belarusian language constantly, and almost 74% speak Russian.”

Want to learn more about our Country of the Month? Visit http://www.scola.org today and contact us for your free trial!

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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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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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