30 November, 2013

GABFEST's Thanksgiving Celebration

Today’s session of the Gabfest Club (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was dedicated to the Thanksgiving Traditions in the USA. We have invited our American friends – Mr. Andrew from PCV and Mr. Chris from Fulbright Exchange to share the joy with us. The session was remarkable for the number of newcomers and the house was packed to capacity.
The session started with a slide show that was compiled by a PC volunteer from the Donetsk region. It was a special one as it showed the Thanksgiving celebration through the eyes of an American. The Club members had an opportunity to speak about Thanksgiving – they translated the facts and figures about American celebration and described slides. Our American guests commented on some interesting slides and shared their own experience of Thanksgiving celebrations.

The second part of the session was arranged as a Thanksgiving party. The Club members prepared traditional American dishes and snacks. The highlight of the menu was baked Turkey breast with cranberry sauce cooked by the WOA’s Head Ms. Svitlana Usenko. The highlight of the desserts was pumpkin pie baked by Ms. Helen L. , the club’s activist. Some other Club members offered their home-made snacks – from baked bread and pickles to home-made juices and soft drinks.
The Club members thanked the WOA staff – Svitlana and Tamara -  for the wonderful conditions created for the English learners. The WOA staff thanked the American people and the US Embassy in Kyiv for their wonderful gifts to the WOA facility and Ukrainian community in Dnipropetrovsk.
In the heartwarming atmosphere of the Thanksgiving dinner the club members developed new friendships with fellow citizens and our American guests.
The session was most enjoyable and inspired to build more bridges between American and Ukrainian people.
Number of participants – 42 persons.

Learn the Language - Learn the Traditions!

At WOA Dnipropetrovsk teenagers were introduced to the traditions of a favorite  American Holiday – the Thanksgiving Day.
The ATC (American Teen Club) moderator - the FLEX alumnae Dasha Gerasimova – prepared several relevant videos. The focus of all the videos was on the history of the holiday. The children learned about the Pilgrims who disembarked on the American coast (the territory of the modern Massachusetts state) and the lovely “Mayflower” ship that brought them over the ocean. After several centuries Thanksgiving is a US national holiday and the most popular family holiday. It is normally celebrated with an array of festive activities - sports events, concerts and parades (like the famous Macy’s balloon parade in New-York). The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday and starts the Christmas sales season in the USA.
Besides language activities Thanksgiving paper craft was offered to the group. The symbol of Thanksgiving is a Turkey bird. The children colored the feathers of paper turkeys and wrote thanks to different people on those feathers. The best crafted turkeys were used to decorate the WOA’s room.
The cult American cartoon “The Simpsons” was screened for the group; the part about Simpsons celebrating Thanksgiving made the teenagers laugh.

The second part of the Teenage Club’s session was a party with American snacks and soft drinks.
The book and image display from the WOA’s collection illustrated the topic of the TC session.
Participants number - 14 persons.
Join the WOA’s Teenage Club and have fun studying American English!

Have a look at more pictures, please

27 November, 2013

The Lake House

“Wednesday Movie Club” at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine offered screening of the film The Lake House (2006) with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves starring. This wonderful actors’ duo is well known to the audience after the action movie “Speed”. In this romantic drama both actors showed new facets of their talent and presented a touching story of extraordinary romance.
After the screening the club members had a discussion about the film. It turned out that male and female spectators had totally different opinions about the plot of the movie.

The film The Lake House (2006, 99 min  -  Drama | Fantasy | Romance).
Plot: A lonely doctor who once occupied an unusual lakeside home begins exchanging love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.
Director: Alejandro Agresti
Writers: David Auburn (screenplay), Eun-Jeong Kim (motion picture "Siworae")
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Christopher Plumme
Number of participants  11 persons.

The demonstration of the film was advertised in the local newspaper “Visti”(News).

23 November, 2013

Round-table discussion about Tolerance

The session of the Gabfest Club (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) started the session with the introductions of the newcomers. The official topic of the session was “Tolerance in the modern society”, it was moderated by the center’s volunteer Sergey. The group clarified the meaning of the notion. 
According to the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance in 1995, tolerance is understood as "respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich cultural diversity of our world." Tolerance is defined as the Declaration of "harmony in diversity". The main principles of Tolerance were introduced and each club members had a chance to illustrate this phenomenon with a real life case. The focus in the discussion was on cultural diversity in the modern society. The group read and translated several quotes and answered a dozen of questions about tolerance. 
We hope that this session reminded the club members about this very important phenomenon.
Number of participants – 29.
«Round-table discussion»

Time: the precious

On Saturday there was a meeting of an American Teen Club held at the Dnipropetrovsk «Window on America» center, where teenagers have ability to develop their English-using skills and get to know more about the USA.
 The theme was «Time: the precious», presenter – alumnae of an exchange program FLEX – Ganna Akastyelova. 

The comers were introduced to some typical English idioms about time, successfully completed grammatical exercises, watched a scientific video about «Time and matter»  and played game called «Statement», where they could of practice their debatable skills.
 Also club-mates played the game «The Scrambled States of America», purpose of which is to check one’s knowledge about the USA geography. Each person got to find out some interesting facts about nicknames and capitals of the United States.
 In the middle of the meet there was a breakthrough singing of the popular American kids’ song  «If You're Happy and You Know It!» with the imitation of the dance that comes along.
At the end of the meet Ganna pointed out the upcoming celebration that is very important in American culture - Thanksgiving day and shared some interesting traditional aspects with others. Teens watched the episode called «A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving», to get the atmosphere of a celebration and figured out meanings of some unknown yet phrases and meanings.
The «time flew» for a club-mates, they absorbed some new information, extend their grammatical stock, shared the positive emotions.
During the meeting the center resources were used as well as the nicest host Svetlana helped along with all the materials: books, game, Internet.
The meeting was an educational and cultural nature.
 Number of participants - 14.

Have a look at more pictures, please

20 November, 2013

Mr. Geoffrey Pyatt

This Wednesday WOA Dnipropetrovsk hosted a round-table discussion of the US Ambassador in Ukraine Mr. Geoffrey Pyatt and Ukrainian participants of different exchange programs between the USA and Ukraine.  
The Ukrainian participants of the meeting represented programs for different age groups and society strata: from “FLEX” for high school students to “Open World” program for professional adults.
After brief introductions the US Ambassador asked the participants to share their opinion on the current economic situation in Ukraine, the association with EU and cooperation with Russia, etc. The participants expressed their concerns and expectations. The Ambassador   emphasized that US wants to see a prosperous Ukraine, it made big investments in Ukraine to promote deeper connectivity with the democratic world.

Some current Ukrainian political issues were also touched upon and many participants expressed their opinion about them. The discussion drifted into the direction of sport s; the audience talked about sport stars and their impact in politics in Ukraine and similar cases in the world. All the participants agreed that only a really democratic leader will be able to change the situation in the Ukrainian politics. To wrap up the discussion the Ambassador urged the participants to be in touch with the Embassy through social networks.
A group photo with the Ambassador Pyatt will be a wonderful memory for all the participants of the discussion.
The after-meeting tea ceremony allowed the participants to build networks with alumni in Dnipropetrovsk and plan common events for the future. Some participants promised to volunteer at the Window on America center and the DOUNB Library.
Number of participants 21 persons (17 Ukrainians + 4 Embassy guests)

Ferris Bueller’s Day off

“Wednesday Movie Club” at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.
The film Ferris Bueller’s Day off (1986) was presented to all who wish to improve their language skills.
Plot: A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite of what the principal thinks of that.
Director: John Hughes
Writer: John Hughes
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara 

16 November, 2013

PCV friends and foreign guest

Today’s session of the Gabfest speaking club (at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) started with a surprise visit of several foreign guests. Our PCV friends Brandon and Andrew paid a visit to the Club.
 A guest from Holland – Meindrt - was directed to our club by a friend to meet the English-speaking Ukrainian community. Meindrt surprised the group with his wearing a traditional Ukrainian shirt. He shared his method of learning English with the Club. We spent the session asking questions about our Dutch visitor’s native area and found several Dutch geographical names repeated in American geography. American club members added some curious facts about American Harlem – a neighborhood in New York city. Some time was dedicated to Meindrt’s volunteering project in one of the local schools.
The second part of the session was dedicated to the questions of foreigners about Ukraine. We explained them the symbolism of the city’s coat of arms and its modern logo. We told the history of the city’s names: original and modern. Recent tourist projects in Dnipropetrovsk area were introduced: industrial tourism and folk art tours to Petrykivka. Some other unique touristic objects were presented to the guests, among them Kodak Cossack fortress, pine woods in Novomoskovsk area, Rocket Park in Dnipropetrovsk.
The big group of new comers had a chance to introduce themselves to the regular club members. 

The session was funny and educational both for Ukrainian and the foreign guests.
Number of participants – 31.