29 June, 2011

«Wednesday Movie Club» - The Tourist

To sum up the first chapter of the project for Dnipropetrovsk students of tourism and hospitality “USAUkraine: cross-cultural encounters” today’s movie club presented the film “The Tourist”.

The Tourist is a 2010 romantic thriller film directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. It is a remake of the 2005 French action film Anthony Zimmer. After a very public slow start, The Tourist went on to gross US$ 277 million worldwide. Despite the negative reception from the critics, the film was nominated for three Golden Globes, with a debate arising over the question if it was a comedy or a drama. Donnersmarck repeatedly stated it was neither genre, calling it "a travel romance with thriller elements", but that if he had to choose between the two, he would choose comedy.

Frank (Johnny Depp), a mild-mannered American on
vacation in Venice, Italy, is befriended by Elise
(Angelina Jolie), a breathtakingly beautiful woman with a
mysterious secret. Soon, their playful romantic dalliance
turns into a complicated web of dangerous deceit as they
are chased by Interpol, the Italian police, and Russian hit
men in this action-adventure film.

25 June, 2011

English Speaking club - Constitution Day and constitutional rights in Ukraine

Today’s English Speaking Club sessions in Dnipropetrovsk Window on America Center started with the introduction of the newcomers.
 All the newcomers were the students of the English language school “Green Forest” who needed extra language practice. 
The topic of today’s session was “Constitution Day and constitutional rights in Ukraine”. 
We have read   the abstract of the Ukrainian Constitution in English and learned some useful terms.
After this activity the discussion drifted to the topic of the human rights in general and   women’s rights in particular.
The video of Hillary Clinton’s speech touching this issue was demonstrated.
The discussion of political and human rights was followed by the discussion of the consumers’ rights and relevant videos were actively discussed.
The consumers’ rights are often violated in Ukraine and every club member described the case from own experience.
The famous quotes about patriotism were offered for translation. Club members exchanged opinions about them.
Look at more pictures here 
Useful materials here:

22 June, 2011

«Wednesday Movie Club» - Singin' In The Rain

Today's viewing of  the "Singin' in the rain" has been unexpectedly interrupted by the arrival of the Peace Corps Volunteer Patrick Kelly.
Patrick  introduced himself briefly and got  acquainted with the members of the movie club. He promised to cooperate with Window on America and the speaking  club as soon as he settled in.

20 June, 2011


The WOA project – “SUMMER with WOA" continues.

 The objective of the project is to keep up the junior students’ English language skills during summer holidays.

The secondary schools in the vicinity of the WOA have “summer camp” facilities for 7-12 year old children. All the children groups are invited to visit WOA on a regular basis and use its resources.

Today the WOA Center was visited by several groups from the secondary school # 23.

The visitors watched the movie “Homeward Bound” .

The number of participants – 44 persons (40 students, 4 teachers).

18 June, 2011

English Speaking club - Flag Day

Today’s ESC sessions started with the introduction of the newcomers. All the newcomers were the students of the English language school “Green Forest” who needed extra language practice. 
The topic of today’s session was “Flag Day in USA”
We have discussed the meaning of the US flag details: the number of stripes and stars, the choice of colors.
The celebration procedures were introduced to the club members – Flag Day parade, the Pledge of Allegiance, honoring the flag rules and its folding procedure.  Apollo mission to the Moon introduced the US flag to this planet. The relevant YouTube videos were shown.
To pick up some details about the history of the US flag an on-line Flag Day Quiz was offered. The score was not very high, but we learned new facts from the US flag history.
A Flag is a symbol of a Nation. So it was logical that discussion drifted from the Flag Day to the phenomenon of patriotism. Various demonstrations of patriotism were discussed and illustrated with relevant videos – patriotic parties, drinks, party favors, attire, etc.
The difference between patriotism and nationalism was also discussed.
The famous quotes about patriotism were offered for translation. Club members exchanged opinions about them.
The number of participants – 21 persons.

Recommended links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJt6GJwkl5A   Roosevelt flag day address
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9k5qQxr3LA  retirement flag ceremony
According to Thomson, "White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valor, and Blue . . . vigilance, perseverance & justice."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjztOebhqYQ       patriotic cocktails 1

15 June, 2011

«Wednesday Movie Club» - The Patriot

The patriotic movie "The Patriot" is dedicated to the patriotic Flag Day celebration.

Read more here, please 

11 June, 2011

English Speaking club - American Sports

          Today’s ESC sessions started with the introduction of the new comers. Among them was an American citizen Bill Andrews. Other newcomers were the students of the local English language school “Green Forest” who needed extra language practice.  After the introduction formality some common friends were found.

The topic of today’s session was “Favorite American Sports”. According to the recent polls the top 5 sports in the USA are football, baseball, college football, auto racing, and basketball.

This discussion touched in some detail the game of baseball – a de facto national game in USA. The facts about the rules, traditions and rituals of this game were illustrated by funny

Youtube videos from American stadiums.

       The American format of auto racing was introduced to the audience with several videos of NASCAR races.

       The NBA video about a European player was a good opportunity to train one’s ear and distinguish different accents in American English.

The lists of the favorite American male and female athletes were also discussed. Some of the male sportsmen were unknown to the club members, while female athletes are well known in our part of the world as well.

To draw the line of the discussion we have exchanged opinions about some nice quotes about sports.

Useful material:

America's Favorite Sports and Favorite Sports Stars
by www.SixWise.com

While most will agree that Americans' love affair with sports is unshakable, there is much more room for interpretation when it comes to naming America's most-loved sport and athlete. At one time, baseball was named America's favorite pastime, but so was soccer, football and even golf, depending on whom you talk to. But, market research firm Harris Interactive may have found the data to put the debate to rest once and for all. Two polls conducted in 2006 reveal exactly which sports Americans love, and which sports stars make the top of the list.
Football is Still #1
Although professional football is not quite as popular as it was in 2005, 29 percent of adults polled by Harris Interactive in December 2006 still said football was their favorite sport (down from 33 percent in 2005).
That's enough to make professional football America's favorite sport, as it has been since the poll began in 1985.
How did the other sports fare?
Baseball came in #2, as the favorite of 14 percent of respondents
Baseball  is a de facto national game in USA

Baseball Traditions and Rituals

Baseball in America - Aurae Beidler
Through its American history, baseball has revolved around tradition and ritual, from performing the Chicken Dance, the Wave and the Seventh Inning Stretch.
From hot dogs, to the Star-Spangled Banner, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and the Seventh Inning Stretch, baseball has been bursting with tradition and lore since its beginnings.

Baseball History in Brief

Although youngsters have been playing baseball since the early 1800s, it wasn’t until Alexander Cartwright designed the structure and rules of the game of baseball in 1945 that the game became popularized as America’s “national pastime”. It took another 20 years before a national association of players official formed. The first professional team played in 1869, named the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The national association of professional baseball players formed in 1871.

Baseball Traditions: Song and Dance

Entangled in baseball history is the history of baseball tradition and ritual. Fans have been enveloped in baseball lore since the beginning. The first recorded song referring to baseball was “The Baseball Polka”, written in 1858. The Library of Congress has published a bibliography containing over 400 songs dedicated to the subject of baseball.
The Seventh Inning Stretch
 Whether it was invented by President Taft, Brother Jasper or Harry Wright of the Cinncinnati Red Stockings, the seventh inning stretch has long been a part of baseball. No one is sure who should be credited with the invention but fans do enjoy the opportunity to stand and stretch.
Fans generally stand up and stretch out their arms and legs and sometimes walk around. It is a popular time to get a late-inning snack as well; many teams end alcohol sales at this point. The stretch also serves as a short break for the players

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game”
Now considered baseball’s unofficial anthem, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is sung in ballparks around the nation during the mid-point of the seventh inning. The song was first written by Jack Norworth in 1908, beginning as a poem about baseball. The song is set to music composed by Albert Von Tilzer.
“early 1900s. Chicago broadcaster Harry Caray may have been the first to associate the song with the Seventh Inning Stretch.
The Chicken Dance
How did a silly polka song written by a Swiss accordion player become a part of baseball tradition, and beyond? Originally a success in Europe, the song, “Dance Little Bird” came to America in the 1970s, where it was used in commercials, and children’s music collections. Not only is the song a part of baseball and sporting events, the song is more popular than many other dance and party songs. No matter how the song became a part of baseball, the silly “Chicken Dance” is considered fun, urging fans to make a fool of themselves, in order to lighten the spirits and create a light-hearted environment.
Other songs like the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A” are also a popular way for baseball fans to be silly and have fun.

Baseball Almanac
Library of Congress

http://www.wiffle.com/about_rules.htm    baseball version for indoors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk3TPCEWwVk     waffle game  on small grounds

College football was #3, at 13 percent
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies.
Auto racing was #4,  at 9 percent
It is one of the world's most watched televised sports

NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing)

NASCAR is an American tradition
During the post-World War II years the American economy hit a boom time and more people spent money on entertainment. Dirt track racing was already popular in the South where large tracts of land and inexpensive gasoline fueled the sport. In 1948 Bill France organized racing into an entity that expanded during the next fifty years. The first official NASCAR race was held February 15th 1948 in Daytona. That year 52 races made up the NASCAR season. The original stock cars were the same sort of automobiles that traveled America's highways.

Professional basketball was #5,  at 7 percent
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada.

Interestingly, in the last two decades America's sports preferences seem to have changed. While professional football is even more popular than it was 20+ years ago, baseball, horse racing and men's tennis have become less so. College football and auto racing, meanwhile, have gained more fans.
Sports interests also vary quite dramatically depending on demographics. According to the survey:
Professional football is most popular among those who live in the East, among those with incomes of $35,000 to $45,000, and among Generation Xers.
Baseball is most popular among liberals and least popular among African Americans.
College football is most popular among those with post-graduate degrees.
Auto racing, such as NASCAR, is most popular among those with a high school education or less, and those with incomes of $25,000 to $35,000, and least popular among those with a post-graduate degree and liberals.
And America's Favorite Sports Star Is ... (Hint: It's NOT Michael Jordan)
The second Harris Poll, which surveyed over 2,000 U.S. adults in May 2006, set out to find which athletes are America's favorites, and they don't necessarily coincide with the favorite sports. While Michael Jordan has been the number one athlete since 1993, in 2006 he was ousted in favor of golf-pro Tiger Woods.
For women, meanwhile, tennis star Venus Williams was number one, followed by her sister Serena Williams in place number two. As for the top 10 favorite athletes overall, the survey found:
1.     Tiger Woods
2.     Michael Jordan
3.     Brett Favre (Green Bay Packers quarterback)
4.     Derek Jeter (New York Yankees)
5.     Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (race car driver)
6.     Shaquille O'Neal (Miami Heat)
7.     Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers)
8.     LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
9.     Jeff Gordon (race car driver)
10.  Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants)
While no women athletes made the top 10 list, the poll did rank female athletes' popularity as well. The top 10 female athletes were:
1.     Venus Williams (tennis player)
2.     Serena Williams (tennis player)
3.     Mia Hamm (soccer player)
4.     Michelle Wie (golfer)
5.     Danica Patrick (race car driver)
6.     Michelle Kwan (figure skater)
7.     Annika Sorenstam (golfer)
8.     Maria Sharapova (tennis player)
9.     Anna Kournikova (tennis player)
10.  Sasha Cohen (figure skater)
One final note: men and women stayed consistent when it came to their favorite sports stars, with one exception: Men tended to prefer Serena Williams, while women chose Venus.

09 June, 2011

Wi-Fi zone

Ann Kalashnikova is the student of National Metallurgical academy and Wi-Fi fun.

08 June, 2011

WebChat: 5 Myths About the "Information Age"

Svitlana, the Head of Dnepropetrovsk Information Resource Center "Window on America", has the unique opportunity to participate in WebChat: 5 Myths About the "Information Age" (CO.NX webchat, hosted at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy), featuring Robert Darnton, Director of the University Library at Harvard, and the author of the "The Case for Books: Past, Present and Future".

A lot of interesting questions were in focus of discussion from various parts of the world. All of them are connected with the topic "Information Age". Here you can look them through:
IRC El Salvador: Isn't the ''digital age'' (with websites and technologies disappearing all the time..) a threat to preserving information for the future generations?...What can be done??
Vinnytsia Window on America: Nice to have such an opportunity to communicate.  Is there a difference in the way the brain takes in or absorbs information when it is presented electronically versus on paper? Does the reading experience change, from retention to comprehension, depending on the medium?
IRC Rio: Can we consider the social media a part of the information age?

I've taken an active part in this activity and have got detailed answer my question:
WOA Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine: Are you happy to be living in the ‘Information Age’?

Look at the video here 

«Wednesday Movie Club» - PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

Today’s movie was the "Pirates of the Caribbean. The curse of Black Pearl."
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a 2003 adventure fantasy film based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney theme parks. It was directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

Number of the visitors 9.

Kids Hour

WOA Dnipro started a new project – “SUMMER with WOA”.

 The objective of the project is to keep up the junior students’ English language skills during summer holidays.

The secondary schools in the vicinity of the WOA have “summer camp” facilities for 7-12 year old children. All the children groups are invited to visit WOA on a regular basis and use its resources.

Today the WOA Centre was visited by several groups from the secondary school # 23.

The visitors were acquainted with the collection of the children’s book collection and watched the video “Toy Story”.

The number of participants – 64 persons (60 students, 4 teachers).

07 June, 2011

Our guests from Novomoskovsk

Today a group of students from Novomoskovsk (a small town 40 km from Dnipropetrovsk) attended WOA. Their English language teacher visited  WOA earlier, during the Information Day for the teachers of the Dnipropetrovsk region. 
Today Ms. Vira Strelchenko brought to the center her senior  school students.

The group listened to the presentation of S. Usenko, the head of WOA. The informative slide show introduced the students to the geography of the USA, its capital and several big cities, national symbols and outstanding personalities.

 The group’s visit was much appreciated as distance often becomes an obstacle between the center and its potential patrons. The teacher Vira Strelnikova received as a present a copy of the slide show "Meet the USA" to present it at school to the rest of her students and improve their level of English language.

Cooperation with this Novomoskovsk school will continue later in the year.

More pictures here

06 June, 2011

Meeting with colleague

It was useful meeting with colleague Oksana Serheeva from Kirovograd Window on America center.
We spent 3 hours changing opinions.

04 June, 2011

The book display “USA Landmarks”

The book display “USA Landmarks” received a lot of attention from the students.
The samples of tourist reference literature from the center’s resources were presented:  Fodor’s guides, The Smithsonian guides, Zhultz guide, National Geographic guide, etc.
Have a look at more pictures, please

English Speaking club - TRAVEL and TRANSPORT in your life

 Today’s session topic of the ESC was inspired by the beginning of summer - TRAVEL and TRANSPORT in your life.
At first we have tried to classify travel by various criteria – each club member  selected a criteria and  categorized types of travel accordingly – by comfort level, by budget, by quantity of people, by season, by trip duration, by destination etc.
A couple of new travel terms were introduced – package tour, budget travel, luxury travel, back packers etc.
It turned out that for some club members travel is a life style. A discussion about the best place visited was rather interesting. The impressions ranged from best fishing places and beach villages in Ukraine to the most romantic capitals of the world (Paris, Singapore, etc.).
At the second half of the session we watched the video presentations and commercials of the best American transportation companies – Greyhound, Amtrack, Delta airlines, Carnival and Caribbean cruise lines. The club members were thoroughly impressed by the cruise lines’ presentations.

Number of the visitors – 16.

“Tourism Management in the USA”

The WOA Dnipropetrovsk continues to implement the project “Cross Cultural Encounters: Ukraine - USA”.
Today the aim of the project was to introduce the WOA and its resources to the students majoring in “Tourism Management”.  It was the lecture Tourism Management in the USA”.
At the initial stage of the project students of the Kyiv University for Arts and Culture (Dnipropetrovsk branch) have been invited to the WOA center.
Svitlana Usenko, the head of Window on America center, presented the resources of the Center (Books, Movie Club, Rosetta Stone etc.)

The group of students with major in “Tourism Management” watched the numerous videos introducing the top transportation companies of the USA – airlines, cruise companies, railroad company Amtrack, bus company Greyhound, etc.
Moreover, American travel professionals’ associations were introduced to the students by Tamara Gavrilyuk:
ASTA – the American Society of Travel Agents, is the world's largest association of travel professionals                                       http://www.asta.org

NACTA - the National Association of Career Travel Agents, was established in 1986 as the original association with a mission to represent the interests of independent and home based travel entrepreneurs.                             http://www.nacta.com

Virtuoso® –  a network of the world’s finest travel agencies with knowledgeable advisors who draw upon first-hand experience to craft the perfect vacation  .The company positions itself as “Specialists in the art of travel “                        www.virtuoso.com

The students were impressed by the scale of tourist business in the USA and the technical level of the transportation companies.

The book display “USA Landmarks”   received a lot of attention from the students. The samples of tourist reference literature from the center’s resources were presented:  Fodor’s guides, The Smithsonian guides, Zhultz guide, National Geographic guide, etc.

Number of the visitors – 17

01 June, 2011

A schedule

Cossack village - Trade Union bonus

Tamara and Svitlana have got Trade Union bonus: a trip to the authentic 200 y.o. Ukrainian Cossack village.

The beginning of summer started with a trip to Galushkovka – an authentic 200 year old Cossaks’ farmstead.  The one hour bus drive from Dnipropetrovsk through pastoral countryside was pleasant.
The bus was met by a young rider with a flag to show the way. When the tourist group disembarked from the bus a cannon blast represented a loud greeting to the newcomers.
At the entrance to the farmstead the hosts in the traditional dress met the group in a traditional Slavic way – with freshly baked  bread and salt and a welcome drink of a homemade vodka. The Cossak tradition requires to drink  vodka without touching the glass  with one’s hands .
The glass is placed on the side of a sabre which one  holds with both hands.. Using the sabre as a kind of a serving tray the guests lift the vodka glasses and drink them.
           Traditional Ukrainian village houses are used as a small ethnographic museum. In one house (‘KHA-TA in Ukrainian ) one can see an authentic interior with ancient household utensils – oven fork, oven spade, hot irons, cold irons, etc. One can see a traditional oven and solid wood  vessels used for making dough and baking bread. Old spinning wheel reminded us how linen and woolen cloths were made in old times.
         Samples of   old weapons were presented as well – guns, shot guns and “o- ‘zhy -ha” – kind of “machine gun” used by Cossaks.
            The other house was used as a workshop by traditional craftsmen. The lady was making traditional hand painting on walls and wooden utensils. A local man demonstrated the skill of making hats and other objects and decorations from wheat straw. A hat, for example, requires 20 meters of the flattened straw band.
            A Cossack homestead had several horses. Some of us enjoyed horseback rides, others had a ride in a horse cart around the village.
            After the ethnographic lecture about the old peasant tools we enjoyed the Cossak show which included demonstration of old time games and exercises, horse riding skills, and other tricks. The 3 meter whip cracking was particularly enjoyed by the audience.
            After all the fun in the shade of a tent we had traditional lunch snack: Ku-‘leesh (a thick gruel with bacon rashes) and tea with step herbs. Some simple village sweet breads were also offered.
            After the snack we had some time to explore the   farm yard and meet the animals – from the traditional cats and geese to more exotic: goats with   kids and sheep with lambs. The baby animals were very cute and requested treats.
            On the way home all the participants shared the experiences and photos.
More pictures here