31 August, 2013

Culture of Texas

Today’s session of the Gabfest Club (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was planned as “Knowledge and Science” session. So we started it with the conversation about the importance of the date September, 1 for the Ukrainian society. The Club members explained to Ms. Jackie the Ukrainian school tradition of beginning the academic year with a big celebration – The First School Bell ceremony.
The second part of the session was dedicated to the Culture of Texas. Our American guest Ms. Jackie decided to have an introduction into Tex-Mex cuisine. She was kind enough to cook an assortment of Tex-Mex snacks and organized a food tasting for the big group of Club members present at the session. She managed to find corn chips and taco shells in the Ukrainian supermarket and a local substitute for hot sauce. The club members were impressed with the new flavors and some of them noted down the recipes.
At the end of the session each club member told the group about his way to celebrate the Independence Day of Ukraine. The stories described picnics in the woods, patriotic tours to Cossack village, “vyshyvanka” parade, pizza in national colors preparation (with yellow bell pepper and bluish herring filet), fireworks on the city’s waterfront, etc.
The session was attended by a big number of newcomers and regular patrons and turned out to be very enjoyable for all participants.
Number of participants – 31.

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Movie Club in August 2013

29 August, 2013

American Teen Club Opening

“American Teen Club Opening” at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.
American Teen Club, running by FLEX alumni Darya Gerasymova and Hanna Akastelova opened up its first meeting for teenagers who are willing to practice their English and find new friends.
Club was happy to welcome FLEX alumni and hear their stories about an experience received in United States. Moreover, teens were interested in procedure of testing and system of selection FLEX finalists. A lot of questions were responded about how to behave yourself in host-family, shopping in America, respecting personal space and different culture differences that were noticed while staying in USA.
Darya Gerasymova (Oxford, MS) presented amazing montage video devoted to her host-family, thanking them for an awesome year she had in US, being an exchange student.
Hanna Akastelova, in her turn, showed a presentation about her time-spending in Wisconsin and shares her feelings about American life style and traditions.
Olha Chychykalo ( Boise,ID) and Karina Turchina ( Salem,OR) were delighted to be part of Club meeting that evening and happy to answer all questions about their experience in United States, impressions about new country ,finding ways to get through homesickness, enjoying all exchange year’s possibilities, travelling, exploring America and making new friends!
Besides, American guests - Mr. Keith Hetman and his son Jacob joined us. It was very pleasant opportunity for our Club members to talk with Native speakers and we enjoyed their presence very much.
Number of participants 25 persons.

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28 August, 2013

Financial Session

This afternoon the Gabfest Club had a guest from the US Embassy in Kyiv - Ms. Elisabeth Horst is a Deputy Economic Councilor.
She was asked to talk to the club members about the ways to save money - the financial topic that might be interesting for all club members. Ms. Horst told us many facts and figures about the ways of saving money that exists in the USA. We compared credit card culture in the US and Ukraine   and talked about the good and bad things about plastic money.
The club members were very active and asked many questions. We were lucky to have other American guests in the audience – loyal club friends Mr. Joseph and Mr. Keith.

The atmosphere was enhanced by the presence of the FLEX exchange program participants - Dasha and Nastia who also took an active part in the conversation. Our guest was delighted to see the motivated and interested audience.
The club members shared their thoughts with Ms. Horst after the session and the Club’s chairman Jeff presented a book about Ukraine to her.
The session with the Embassy economists turned out very lively, educational and was enjoyed by all the participants.
Number of participants 22 persons.

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Barn Burning

“Wednesday Movie Club” at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.
The film Barn Burning (1980) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.
"Barn Burning" is a short story by the American author William Faulkner which first appeared in Harper's in 1939 and has since been widely anthologized. The story deals with class conflicts, the influence of fathers, and vengeance as viewed through the third-person perspective of a young, impressionable child. It is a prequel to The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion, the three novels make up the Snopes trilogy.
 In 1980, the story was adapted into a short film of the same name by director Peter Werner. It starred Tommy Lee Jones as Abner Snopes, Shawn Whittington as Sartoris Snopes, and Faulkner's nephew as De Spain.
Number of participants  20 persons.

22 August, 2013

Welcome to Ukraine!

The new display at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine dedicated to the 22nd anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence.
The Ukrainian English-speaking magazine «Welcome to Ukraine» was presented to the Club members and visiting guest as a wonderful tool for improving reading and comprehension skills.

21 August, 2013

You've Got Mail

The film «You've Got Mail» was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.
You've Got Mail is a 1998 American romantic comedy film directed by Nora Ephron, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It was written by Nora and Delia Ephron based on the play Parfumerie by Miklós László. The film is about two e-mailing lovers who are completely unaware that their sweetheart is, in fact, a person with whom they share a degree of animosity. An adaptation of Parfumerie was previously made as The Shop Around the Corner, a 1940 film by Ernst Lubitsch and also a 1949 musical remake, In the Good Old Summertime by Robert Z. Leonard starring Judy Garland. You've Got Mail updates that concept with the use of e-mail. Influences from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice can also be seen in the relationship between Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly — a reference pointed out by these characters actually discussing Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet in the film. Ephron insists that You've Got Mail was as much about the Upper West Side itself as the characters, highlighting the "small town community" feel that pervades the Upper West Side.

The name of the film is an example of product placement, based on the trademark greeting that AOL users hear when they receive new e-mail.

The biological experiment

Today the WOA Dnipropetrovsk centre welcomed back our American friends – Mr. Keith and his son Jacob. They are visiting Dnipropetrovsk for several weeks and will join the Gabfest Club activities.
An active Club member Vlada told the guest about the project she prepares for one of the sessions. The scientific presentation will involve the biological experiment with the plants growing in different rooms of the DOUNB Library building.
Vlada fetched a real microscope for this project and the WOA staff arranged for her a real researcher’s work station. The American guests listened with interest to Vlada’s story about the objective of her experiment and used the opportunity to observe through the microscope various biological materials. For Vlada that was a wonderful chance to practice her English with native speakers. 

17 August, 2013

Ukrainian Independence Day eve

Today’s session of the Gabfest speaking club (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) started was dedicated to the 22nd anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence.
The session started with the presentation of the new display. The Ukrainian English-speaking magazine “Welcome to Ukraine” was presented to the Club members and visiting guest as a wonderful tool for improving reading and comprehension skills.
We have discussed the basic attributes of an independents state: the coat of arms and a national flag, national anthem, national currency and national heroes. Each attribute was illustrated with a relevant video or image. The club members were encouraged to explain the symbolism behind   the attributes as well as other controversies. Some artifacts of Ukrainian decorative art where used to provide the topic for conversation about folk art. The modern tradition of celebrating Independence Day in Kiev was also discussed.
Our surprised guest from USA Ms. Jackie Aguilar was given an insight into the Independence Day traditions in Ukraine.
The second part of the session was dedicated to the American guest’s presentation. We were told about the Texas State: its tourist attractions and other aspects of life. The Club members asked numerous questions to the guest about her project in Ukraine and its objectives. The charismatic Ms. Jackie Aguilar was invited to join other activities of the WOA Center while she is in Ukraine. The session was educational and enjoyable for all the participants.
Participants - 21 persons.


14 August, 2013

The Social Network

At the Window on America center in Dnipropetrovsk  The Social Network (2010) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.
120 min  -  Biography | Drama
Plot: Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the cofounder who was later squeezed out of the business.
Director: David Fincher
Writers: Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), Ben Mezrich (book)
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Rooney Mara, Andrew Garfield

10 August, 2013

The Smithsonian Institution

Today’s session of the Gabfest speaking club (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was dedicated to the anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution. It turned out that none of the Club members have heard about this organization before. When Smithsonian logo was presented to the group only the tenth guess was correct - that it was the logo of a museum.
To introduce the museum we have used several YouTube videos. The most enjoyable was a video hosted by Ben Stiller. This actor is known to those club members who watched the movie “The night at the museum”.
The comprehension of the content was checked by offering a list of questions about the museum and its history. The strange facts fascinated the group- a late English scientist James Smithson left his estate to his nephew, with a curious clause stating that if his nephew died without heirs, the estate would go to the people of the United States - to found a museum in the City of Washington under the name of Smithsonian Institution. We have discussed the mission of the museum and its role in the American society. The club members were encouraged to examine the facility’s book display dedicated to the Smithsonian Institution.

The second part of the session was used to discuss the latest news in American-Ukrainian relations. The highlight of the discussion was introduction of the new US Ambassador in Ukraine Mr. Geoff Pyatt. We have listened to his video introduction on the official site and started to prepare video questions for the Ambassador.
Introduction ritual for new comers was a good conclusion for this educational session.