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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

50 States in 50 Days: Florida

Hi! My name is Donna Eacho, and I would like to tell you about my home state of Florida—the Sunshine State! Florida was the first part of the continental United States to be visited by Europeans, when the Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon, arrived in 1513. He claimed the land for Spain and named it la Florida meaning “land of flowers.” In 1565, the Spanish founded the settlement of St. Augustine, the oldest permanent European settlement in the United States. Florida became the 27th state of the union in 1845. 
By 1900, Florida had a population of only half a million people, but a land rush in the 1920’s –when my grandparents moved to the state—began an era of growth. Now, Florida is the fourth most populated state in the country, with 19 million people. Most of Florida is a peninsula situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico with its highest point being only 100 meters above sea level. We enjoy a subtropical climate and almost 2000 kilometers of beaches. Historically, the Florida economy was based on agriculture, and Florida still produces the majority of the citrus, sweet corn and green beans in the country. Now the number one industry is tourism. People from all over the world flock to our beaches and amusement parks, 
especially to Walt Disney World. Located near Orlando, in central Florida, Disney World is the world’s most visited entertainment resort with over 17 million visitors per year. Florida’s amusement parks have certainly changed since my childhood! Florida is also home to the Kennedy Space Center, the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. While the capital of Florida is Tallahassee, the largest metropolitan area is Miami. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Miami "America's Cleanest City.” Because of its large Hispanic population, Miami is nicknamed the "Capital of Latin America.” It is the second largest U.S. city with a Spanish‐speaking majority, and a rich cultural history from its large Cuban‐American population. Miami is also the number one cruise passenger port in the world. The trendy South Beach area of Miami is home to the Art Deco Historic District with over 800 historic buildings from the 1920’s‐1940’s. 
One of the most fascinating parts of the state is the Everglades, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. The Everglades boasts many rare and endangered species. It has been designated a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve. 
Florida is also home to the beautiful coral archipelago called the Florida Keys. Key West, the southernmost point in the continental United States, was the site of President Harry Truman’s “winter White House.” It is also where authors Ernest Hemmingway and Tennessee Williams wrote some of their most famous works. 
I hope you have enjoyed learning a little about my beautiful home state of Florida. 

"Sports Strengthen Communities"

The Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) has released its new electronic journal "Sports Strengthen Communities" June 2012. This issue explores the integral role of sports in American society and highlights the power of sports to strengthen community bonds that transcend differences.
To explore previous electronic e-journals, please click here:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The TOEFL IBT Test Workshop with a Fulbright Alumnus

The second workshop on TOEFL focused on exploring the ETS website. Ms. Lysun argued for using the website not only for test information (registration, fees), but also for test preparation. The participants learned about the test center locations in Ukraine, fees, scores, and score interpretation.
Particular attention was paid to the rubrics for the writing and speaking sections. Ms. Lysun explained how the rubrics can be used as guidelines for self-preparation. All of the available free test preparation materials were briefly discussed.
 Ms. Lysun also pointed out other sections of the ETS website that can be used for self-preparation. Among them, theTOEFL TV channel, TOEFL videos, and the TOEFL research archive (over 150 reports and articles) may be the most helpful.
Ms. Lysun suggested that information on other tests administered by ETS should be used as well. Ms. Lysun emphasized that these materials should be used for improving academic vocabulary as well as reading and listening practice.

The next workshop will be the last in the series. It will focus on peculiarities of the sections and preparation tips.
The next meeting is 30 June, 2012 at the Information center "Window on America" (at 12-30). Please, see your homework on Facebook page in ads.

A Quiz on the U.S. Try Yourself Too!

The winner of today's quiz on the U.S. is Phill L., the best proficient, presented with books from Vinnytsia Publishing House "Nova Knyga". Congrats to you!

English Club with Matt on Outdoor Activities

Questions with Partners

· What was the most interesting or inspirational book you have ever read? Do you like to read books? How much time do you spend reading each week?
· Which country from the remaining teams at Euro 2012 (Portugal, Germany, Spain, France, England, Italy) would you most like to visit? Why?
Discussion Topic: Outdoor Activities 
1. Do you like working in the garden? Do you enjoy this kind of work, or is it boring for you?
2. What do you think about hunting and fishing? Would you want to take part in a hunting trip?
3. Would backpacking make a good vacation for you? Are you comfortable sleeping in a tent and carrying your things?
4. Do you like lying on the beach? Do you enjoy this kind of vacation or is it boring for you?
5. What kind of outdoor hobby or adventure would you like to try that you have never tried before?
Group Contest
Our Schedule 
Thursday, June 28 – No Club!
Saturday, June 30 – 10-30
Visit Our Group on – English Club in Vinnytsia English Club Blog -

Thursday, June 21, 2012

English Club on "Success, Travels, and Money" taking part in a quiz on the U.S.

 1. What do you see as the key to success? How do you define a successful person? Do you consider yourself successful? If there was a "surefire" (definite) way to be successful, what would you do and how would you accomplish your goals?
 2. What is a "self-made" man or woman? How did they reach success? Do you have respect for people who create their own successes, despite potential obstacles and problems? How can you persevere despite hardships to reach success?
 3. Do you believe that making a lot of money leads to success? Can you make a lot of money online? If so, how do you earn money online? Would you consider this type of work exciting and challenging? How could you start an online business? 
 4. Is success related to a person's ability to buy quality goods or to travel? What are "professional travelers"? How are these people considered successful? Could you earn enough money online, foe example, to become a professional traveler? What is the difference between this and recreational travels?
 5. If you wanted to travel for less money, would you try "couch-surfing"? How does couch-surfing work and how does it affect people? Can this be considered a "free" way to travel the world?
Saturday, 23 of June at 10:30
Thursday, 28 - No Club
 Don't forget about our new Suggestion Box! Please add any topic options of interest!

The winner of today's quiz on the U.S. is Phill L., the best proficient, presented with books from Vinnytsia Publishing House "Nova Knyga". Congrats to you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

50 States in 50 Days: America the Unexpected

Today’s state is Ohio! Home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the first professional baseball team and the birthplace to astronaut Neil Armstrong! What will tomorrow’s state be? Here is a clue: singer Tim McGraw, TV show host Ellen DeGeneres, & musician Louis Armstrong were all born in this southern state that hosts a huge Mardi Gras party.
View More: Ohio -

Saturday, June 16, 2012

TOEFL Workshops with a Fulbright Alumnus, Maryna Lysun

Vinnytsia Information Center ‘Window on America’ is hosting a group of the TOEFL workshops participants who have a chance to try themselves in this examination. 16 June, 2012 became an Introduction on ETS and TOEFL.
A leader of this activity Maryna Lysun, a Fulbright alumnus had her own experience of passing this exam successfully. This time she presented the TOEFL iBT™ test’s design as the result of years of research and development that involved experts in the fields of measurement and language teaching and testing. Maryna L. told about TOEFL types taking into consideration the TOEFL history, the evolution of the TOEFL Test constructs and contents over three stages of development. It could be interesting for you to know that 1964 TOEFL launched based on: teaching practices of the time and theories language abilities.
Before starting this activity the participants told about their intentions to take this test answering the following questions: What do you want to know about TOEFL? Why do you need this information? 
It should be said that the purpose of the TOEFL iBT test is to evaluate the English proficiency of people whose native language is not English. Maryna L. admitted the TOEFL iBT scores are primarily used as a measure of the ability of international students to use English in an academic environment. The TOEFL iBT test includes many technological and assessment innovations. It was ended with Q&A. 
If you are interested in these workshops, you are welcome. The next one is 23 June, 2012. A venue is the Information Center “WOA”. The topic of it is the following one: Navigating the ETS and Supporting Websites.
There were 17 attendees of this activity at the Center.

What era or time period had the best music?

Questions with Partners

· Did you have any heroes in your childhood from tv, books or films? Who were they? Who was your favorite character as a child?
· Are you an adventurous person? What are some of the best adventures you’ve had in your life? What kinds of adventures are “too adventurous” or risky for you?
Discussion Topic:

1. What era or time period had the best music? What do you think was the “golden age” of music?
2. In your opinion, which current or past singer has the most beautiful voice? Whose voice has impressed you the most?
3. Do you like any sad songs? Why do you think that sad songs are so popular?
4. What concert venue would you most like to visit for a live show?
5. Do you think computer technology has made music better or worse?
6. Can you learn anything about a country based on the music comes from there? What countries are famous for certain types of music?
7. Do you think that the next generation of Ukrainians will remember this country’s traditional songs and instruments?
Group Contest
Our Schedule
Thursday, May 21 – 17-30
Saturday, June 23 – 10-30

Visit Our Group on – English Club in Vinnytsia
English Club Blog -

Friday, June 15, 2012


The United States is a nation of immigrants. Find out how long-time residents and newcomers are finding common ground in three U.S. communities.

Use eLibraryUSA at our Center!

eLibraryUSA gives members of Information Resource Centers, American Corners, and other American Spaces around the world access to information that Americans find at their public libraries. We have a broad range of resources about learning English, American history and culture, health, business, and more.
How to Use eLibrary:

Grant-Writing Tips for Graduate Students

Grant-Writing Tips for Graduate Students
By Lisa Patrick Bentley
Financial pressures have shifted grant writing to the forefront of skills that graduate students need to survive academic life. Some students receive instant gratification and get a grant the first or second time they apply. Far more common are repeated rejections.
With any luck, the agency or foundation that denied your grant proposal sent along comments from reviewers along with the rejection letter. But what if you take their advice, revise your proposal, and it still gets turned down? Is there a secret to grant-writing success as a graduate student? In the hope that one exists, and as a postdoc myself, I surveyed 104 graduate students with 2009 fellowships in the life sciences from the National Science Foundation, 64 postdocs with 2009 NSF fellowships in biology, and 22 graduate students who applied for grants unsuccessfully.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

English Club on “Freaks” and “Tweaks”

Topic: “Freaks” and “Tweaks”
Leader: Dima S.
Fun Fact: Central to the freak scene in the 1960s, American musician and composer Frank Zappa and his band The Mothers of Invention said, "Freaking out is a process whereby an individual casts off outmoded and restricted standards of thinking, dress and social etiquette in order to express creatively his relationship to his environment and the social structure as a whole."'
1. What does the word “freak” mean to you? How is it used in modern society? What is “freak subculture”? What is the difference between a “freak” and a self “made freak”? What may motivate a person to alter their physical body?
2. What is your personal attitude toward tattooing? Would you get a tattoo? How expensive is it in Ukraine? Have you ever made a tattoo or seen them done in person? Is there a difference in perception between women and men with tattoos?
3. What do you think about unusual hair color and styles, such as spikes, mohawks, and dreadlocks, often associated with “punks”? Have you tried this look?
4. Do you consider body piercing as a form of body modification? Is it attractive or rather ugly or degrading in your opinion? Who tends to have body piercings most often in Ukraine?
5. Cosmetic surgery can also significantly alter a person’s appearance. Can this surgery turn someone into a “made freak”? Do surgical implants make someone a freak?
6. Have you ever heard of a “freak show”? What is this exactly? Would you ever see one?
7. What is the difference between a “freak” and a “control freak”? Is there a difference between a control freak and a perfectionist? Do you consider yourself a control freak? What is your opinion on perfectionism?
Freak: A person with something unusual about their appearance or behavior. Someone not falling within typical standard deviations. "Freaks of nature." People may intentionally choose to alter their physical appearance by artificial means.

U.S. Department of State Announces Winners of the 2012 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund competition, which offers grants for public service projects to teams of alumni of U.S. government-funded exchange program. This year more than 7,000 alumni from 115 countries developed project ideas. Almost 700 projects were posted to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs “State Alumni” on-line community and 50 projects were selected as winners, representing all regions of the world.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

English Access Microscholarship Program

English Access Microscholarship Program
The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 14–18 year-olds from disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and intensive summer sessions. Access students gain an appreciation for American culture and democratic values, increase their ability to participate successfully in the socio-economic development of their countries, and gain the ability to compete for and participate in future U.S. exchange and study programs. Since its inception in 2004, approximately 70,000 students in more than 85 countries have participated in the Access Program.
It also:
- enables bright non-elite youth from underserved communities to gain proficiency in the English language and develop other communication skills.
- promotes better understanding of U.S. culture and society.
- encourages appreciation of civic values through community service activities.
- helps students better prepare for educational and career opportunities that enable them to contribute to their societies’ development.
Read More: - The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs -

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Loving Day in the U.S.

June 12 is “Loving Day,” an unofficial American holiday that commemorates the landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia, that overturned state laws against interracial marriage.
Read more:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

English Club with Mila on Comfort Zone vs. Taking Risks

Topic: Comfort Zone vs. Taking Risks
Fun Fact of the Day: “The tallest mountain in the world is located in the U.S., ‘Mauna Kea,’ in Hawaii. It is only 13,796 ft (4205 m) in altitude above sea level; however, when measured from the seafloor it is over 32,000 ft (10,000 m) high, making it taller than ‘Mount Everest,’ Earth's tallest mountain above sea level at 29,028 ft or 8848 m” (
1. What is the definition of a “comfort zone”? When do you feel the most comfortable? Do you tend to choose activities and maintain jobs that fall into your comfort zone? Do you make friends that you consider as a part of your comfort zone? Do you have a relatively narrow or large comfort zone?
2. Have you ever been outside of your comfort zone? If so, what did you do and how did you feel? Were you intimidated or scared? Did you want to return to things or people that make you feel more comfortable?
3. Do you think there is a good balance between sticking to your comfort zone and exploring new territory? How likely are you to try something new? Is it important to try new things and “expand your horizons”?
4. Would you consider yourself a risk-taker? Do you think it’s ever appropriate to take risks instead of playing it safe? How far beyond your comfort zone would you start to consider activities risky or unsafe?
5. Is there one special risk you would be willing to take in your life? Would you complete this endeavor by yourself or would you like company while taking this risk? Do you think you can be riskier on your own as opposed to when other people are involved? 
6. How often are we confronted with risks in our lives? Do we tend to bring risky behavior upon ourselves or do other people present risks to us? How can we try to mitigate unforeseen risks?
Thursday, 14 of June at 5:30
Saturday, 16 of June at 10:30