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Article Posted in Wander.Media on Cultural Differences in Mexico

Hi everyone! Here is an article I posted some time back on Wander.Media. It talks about some new things you might see when visiting Mexico. For most people, it will be a culture shock. They don’t always have flush-able toilets, the police move around with guns ready to shoot, and there are still class systems. The article is great for giving you a heads up before you head over for a wonderful vacation!

9 Cultural Differences You’ll Notice When Visiting Mexico

Dancing the Ceilidh

When in Scotland you have to try dancing the Ceilidh. It’s a traditional Scottish folk dance where you swing your partners around and dance up and down the hall. There’s hardly a moment you’re still.

Many of the guys dress in Scottish kilts with a baggy t-shirt or go all out with a fancy thick long sleeve. People will find all sorts of people at these dance halls. There’s always a band at the front. They are lively and play some of the more popular tunes of the early 2000’s and earlier with a twist.

Ceilidh Definition from dictionary.com: “a party, gathering, or the like, at which dancing, singing, and storytelling are the usual forms of entertainment.”

History

The Ceilidh has been around since at least 1917 when Donald Mackenzie wrote about the dance as a social gathering for people. There was music, dancing, story telling, and poetry. It was a great way for people in small villages to get together and socialize on a cold night or warm summer’s evening. Most of the time, this was where people met new people, friendships grew, and sometimes even relationships lead to marriages.

The dancing itself is performed either with partners or as a group. They are fast paced and take you all around the dance floor. Most of the music is traditional Scottish tunes, but today they take modern music and put a Scottish twist on it.

Each dance is full of excitement and energy vibrates through the room. New comers often need frequent breaks from the dances to cool down and get a good drink. This is the perfect time to spark up a conversation with new people who will most likely surprise you with the stories they have to tell.

Dance Halls

There are two great places in Edinburgh to check out some Ceilidh dancing: Summer Hall and Assembly Roxy. These places understand there are a lot of new comers and take the time to teach each new dance before swinging fully into the next tune.

I haven’t been to Assembly Roxy, but Summer Hall was great. The dance hall is like entering into a grand-Medieval dance hall. The band is situated on one side and the bar on the other. All the tables are pushed back behind the columns to allow for seating and open up the dance floor. Something to note is that since the building is so old there is no air conditioning, so make sure you wear something breathable and light.

Experience

Stepping into the dance hall was like going back in time. Music blared. Footsteps shook the floor. People laughed. The air was full of energy!

There were people of all ages from 18 to 70. Unlike America, people will ask you to dance left and right. They are very courteous and bold to say the least. Maybe that’s why so many women love Scottish men. One thing to keep in mind is when you are asked to dance say yes most of the time. It’s seen as rude if you say no.

When you get on the dance floor be ready to be tossed into the crowd. You might have a hand or an elbow to the face. Who knows? People are moving around so quickly and it’s hard to keep up sometimes. They don’t care if you get in the way. They’ll keep going no matter what.

If you’re a woman, you will feel like a light gazelle compared to the men. I always thought of myself as a bit bigger but that didn’t matter to them. They were able to lift me off the floor when we spun around. I honestly can’t tell you how long my feet were actually on the ground.

By the end of the night, you will be sweating like crazy. Make sure you wear something light and have a good fan! It’s one of the best workouts. The finale dance is one you can’t miss. It keeps you on your toes and there is continual spinning until you’re dizzy and can’t distinguish your left from right.

 

Dancing the Ceilidh is an experience every traveler should try at least once. It brings you into the Scottish culture. It’s old fashioned, gay (in the sense it’s happy), and will keep you on your toes. The best part is that you can either go with a group of friends or on your own. No matter what, you will be on that dance floor by the end of the night!

Check out this video!

 

 

 

Becoming an ESL Teacher Abroad: Final Weekend

The in class portion of the ESL certification has flown by quickly. Before I knew it, the final weekend came and passed. It seemed like only yesterday we were awkwardly sitting seats surrounded by strangers.

Day 5

Saturday, we spent time going over extra material that will be covered in the online portion and how to incorporate reading exercises into the classroom. There are so many ways to incorporate this aspect. An easy way which incorporates several learning styles is through fill in the blanks tied to a song.

An easy way to do this is take a popular, clean song, write out the lyrics, and leave some words out. Play the song and have them fill in the blanks. This gets them to listen to the lyrics, hear how words are pronounced, they see words, and they’re writing the words down.

Songs are great when teaching another language. You can use them to make kids remember tricks or important aspects easily. The song ingrains a tune into the kids heads and makes the topic easy to remember. Some good songs you might use with younger kids would be YMCA and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.

After completing our book work, we focused on student practicums. About half the class presented that day which made Sunday go by quickly. All of the practicums were great! Each person had a different teaching style yet all were interesting.

When someone is in the front of the classroom, you see more of who they are and how they approach topics. Some are very game oriented. Some are presentation oriented. Some are movement oriented.

There are different ways to approach your class and that is what this course has focused on. It depends on who your students are and how they learn. You need to be able to recognize different learning styles so you can provide your students with the most prosperous environment to learn in.

Day 6

Class went by quickly since so several people were absent and we were only presenting our practicums. In the morning, we brought in foods for a potluck and chowed down all day running straight through lunch. There was so much food and it all tasted great.

We did have a new student. She had taken most of her classes at a different location, but missed the last day. In order to make this up, she came to our class to complete her final day and the in-class portion of the course. We all wish she was there from the beginning because it was so much fun.

When it comes to missing classes, Oxford Seminars is strict. If you miss one day or are late by four hours, you have to retake the rest of that course from the day you missed to the last day at another time. This ensures that students complete all of the course material and don’t skimp on their hours.

The practicums were all neat and there were several fun activities. When you watch other people teach you learn so much about them. Take for example the Indian lady in our classroom. She is very philosophical and seems to talk down a bit to other people. It’s not that she’s trying to be mean or anything, but it’s because she’s used to working with little kids and making sure they understand everything she says. This was apparent when she presented her practicum. It was targeted to young kids, about five years old, and she hit that age group spot on. She does great for that age group, but the adults might be a bit harder if she ever tackled them.

Things like these makes you realize the difference in teachers and how they teach various age groups. Some of them are great with little kids and others are fantastic with adults. It depends on the teacher and what they’re comfortable with. Most likely, I’ll lean towards the middle to elder group.

After presenting all of our practicums, we were given our final book for the online grammar portion and our certificate for the completion of 60 hours. It’s exciting! On top of that, the online portion was finally opened up to us by the end of the day.

 

End of 3rd Weekend

The in-class portion for the TEFL/TESOL/TESL certification is by far the best. It’s a great way to learn a mass amount of information in a lot of time. What’s even better, is that you present a practicum in person. This is good, because you get feed back on your presentation and you get some practice in front of a classroom.

Most online courses don’t have you present a practicum or go as in-dept

 

h into information as Oxford Seminars. Having all of this material at hand plus getting to meet some great people has been an eye opener.

If you’re ever wondering what certification to go for while working a full time job, this is the one to check out if you’re ready to travel!

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Homemade Pizza Bites

When my Dad didn’t know what to cook he would grab whatever we had in the kitchen and start cooking. Often times, we had the ingredients to make little pizzas. He would take some French bread, a can of Rotel tomatoes, and some other goodies and whip it up. It was quick and easy.

In college, I tended to default to this recipe. It was cheap and great for my budget. There were times I didn’t have French bread so I had to come up with an alternative. I used biscuits instead of the bread and it was great. Whenever my work or class had a potluck I made these bites and everyone loved them!

You can make these with or without meat so they’re great for vegetarians. The pictures in this recipe are for a group of about 20 people. If you want it for fewer you can cut everything in half.

Ingredients:

2 Cans of biscuits
2 Cans of Rotel Tomatoes (choose your level of spice)
1 pkg of lunch meat (turkey, chicken, or ham)
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Black Pepper
Basil
Oregano
Parsley
Greek seasoning
Italian seasoning
1 pkg of Mozzarella cheese

IMG_4839

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven according to biscuit directions and follow that for cooking the biscuits. IMG_4841
  2. Once the biscuits are cooked, turn the oven down to 350 F. Cut the biscuits in half and lay them flat on the trays. (If you burned the bottom like I’ve done quite a few times try scrapping the burnt part off with a knife or grater.) Pizza Bites 2
  3. Open the cans of Rotel and drain the juice. Evenly divide the contents of cans over the biscuits.
  4. Apply according to your taste the seasonings mentioned above. Pizza Bites 3
  5. Spread the meat out on top of the biscuits. You can put as little or as much as you want. If you’re vegetarian, you can leave this step out. Pizza Bites 4
  6. Place the Mozzarella cheese on top. 1 package is good, but if you’re a cheese lover you might want to get a second. IMG_3828
  7. Top it all off with some more basil and oregano.
  8. Stick it in the oven for 4 minutes (until the cheese is soft).
  9. Broil the biscuits for about 3 min 30 sec (give or take depending on your oven). Make sure to take them out before they burn. IMG_3835
  10. Serve on a plate and enjoy!

 

 

Flare Up the Jambalaya!

Jambalaya is a great dish to serve a party. It’s easy to make enough for everyone, it’s spicy, and guests will love the flavor! Normally, I just pick up a box of jambalaya mix and add some sausage. But after trying a recipe on Yummly, I can’t do that anymore.

The recipe on here is a twist on the Yummly recipe. I’m attaching a link so that you can go to it if you’d like (1-2-3 Jambalaya). Last time I cooked up this dish, I seemed to be running out of a lot of things, so I made do with what I had. Here is what I used and it turned out great!

Ingredients:

1 package of Andouille Sausage
1 tomato
1 box of family size Jambalaya (I used Zataran’s)
Cayenne Pepper
Chili Powder
Cajun Seasoning

Preparing:

  1. Cut up the andouille sausage and cook it in a pan.IMG_4470 (1)
  2. While the sausage is cooking, dice up the tomato. IMG_4471 (1)
  3. Take a large skillet and start cooking the jambalaya according to the box. IMG_4473
  4. When the water starts to boil, add in the seasonings to your taste, andouille sausage, and tomato. IMG_4475
  5. Continue cooking according to the directions on the box. IMG_4474 (1)
  6. Once it’s all done, put it into a bowl and enjoy!

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