Saturday, 10 April 2010



  1. Hi, everyone.

    It's a little bit challenging to write about the American lifestyle because I'm not really sure what that means. I'll give a few general thoughts, however.


    Many Americans love to travel—both for short local trips and for longer ones to a distant part of the country or abroad. I'd say that most traveling is done nowadays by car or plane, though train trips were once very common also.


    I'd say the most popular holidays in the U.S. are Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although both of these holidays were religious in orientation at one time, Thanksgiving is mostly a time for family get-togethers now—and for eating lots of the traditional foods, such as turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie. Christmas is still partially religious, but it's fast becoming more secular—again, a time for family get-togethers, good food, and also for decorating a tree and giving gifts. Other important holidays include religious ones like Chanukah, Passover, and Easter and secular ones like the 4th of July and Halloween.


    Baseball and football are probably the most popular sports in the U.S., followed closely by basketball, but more and more people are developing an interest in soccer. In areas where there's a lot of snow, winter sports such as skiing, tobogganing, ice skating, and ice hockey are popular, too. Americans enjoy going to see live sports and many also watch various sports on TV.


    Americans love to eat, but favorite foods differ from one part of the country to another. In the coastal regions, there are many favorite ways of preparing sea foods—lobster and clam bakes, crawfish broils, chowder and cioppino, crab cakes, and much more. In the southwest, the influence of Mexico is widespread—in dishes such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, posole, flan, torta de tres leches, and so on. In the central U.S., beef and dairy products exist in many forms—including many kinds of cheese and sausage. American-style meals are often informal—for example, cook-outs and barbecues in the back yard or around the patio, picnics in the park, and tailgate parties at football games.


    12 years of school are required for American children—elementary school, junior high, and high school. After high school, many continue their education at community colleges and universities—some all the way to doctoral studies.


    There is no state-supported religion in the U.S., and any sizeable American city will include dozens of religious institutions, including Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches, Jewish and Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, and more. Some religious institutions still have strong ties to particular ethnic and/or cultural groups.

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    Hmm. I don't know what else to say.

    What questions do you have?

    Dennis in Phoenix
    (Arizona, U.S.A.)

  2. hello denis! mi name is camila.
    i found that information really interesting! thanks for shearing, what would you like to kwon about us?

  3. Saludos, Camila.

    I'm glad you found my comments interesting.

    I'd like to know lots of things about your class. I think one thing I'd be interested in knowing is how many of you have traveled outside of Argentina

    I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best wishes from Arizona—


  4. Hi Dennis, my name is Georgina.
    Actually, I don't know how many of us have travelled abroad, but I'll tell you about my own experience.
    I travelled to Disney World and Miami almost two years ago, when I turned 15. I found those places fascinating; the beaches in Miami were lovely, and the people were very polite. Disney World was like a dream and I hope I will be able to go again in the future.
    I'm thinking about going to the States next year. I would like to join one of those programmes which offer a job for young people to improve my English and get to know your culture better.
    That's all about me. Best,

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  6. Hi Dennis,
    Firstly, I'd like to thank you for joining this blog. It's very useful for us, as we have to improve our English level.
    I've already read your text about the American lifestyle, and I found that there are some differences between our country..
    With reference to travelig, I think that most of the people like traveling both abroad or in the country. Unfortunately,for us it's really expensive to go abroad, but so it's to visit the south of Argentina. However, it's well worth spendig more money in order to visit wonderful places (such as Usuahia, Argentina), or to learn a little bit about other cultures.
    There aren't too many differences between your holidays and ours. As you said about American people, in this country, as time goes by, religious holidays are fast becoming more secular.
    Regarding to sports, in Rosario, the most popular are football, rugby, basketball and tennis.
    In Argentina you can also find deliciuos food. The typical food all over the country it's what we call 'asado', which it's similar to American barbecue.
    The years of school that are required in our contry are exactly the same number as yours, and many continue their education at community colleges or universities.
    Finally, the most popular religion is the Catholic one. Regrettably, I'm not informed enough in this matter.
    In response to your question, I've been to Italy about a month ago (in my profile picture you can see the landscape of one of the island I've visited, Capri). Every highschool in here organise a trip as a celebration for attending the last year. And as I go to a highschool that teaches Italian language, me and my mates decided to go to Italy. It has been the best experience I've ever had in my whole life. What appreciate the most, it's the fact that I went with some of my best friends. It was very funny to be lost in unknown places with people that made me laugh in any situation, but also interesting, because we visit many historical Churches, theatres, palaces, monuments and museums. I'm grateful to my parents 'cause they've payed such an expensive trip, and gave me a couple of memories that won't die.
    Well Dennis, there is one thing i'd like to know, have you ever been abroad?, if so, what did you like the most of your trip?
    I don't know what else to tell you. In case you have any ohter doubt, just ask me.
    Thanks for shearing your time with us.

  7. Hi Dennis!. i´ve read your comment on the american lifestyle and i found it very interesting.The mexican influence on the southeastern typical food surprised me!
    As you asked if any of us has travelled abroad, i would like to tell you about my experience in the USA. I went there when i was 14 years old(i´m 17 now, almost 18) as part of a sport tour with the soccer team of my club. we toured around the east-side;cities like new york, boston, and washington. The older guys who went there before us told us that those were wonderful,beatiful and overwhelming cities, and they were right!I was shocked by the way that everything in society worked(or seemed to work): the order, the structral oraganization and then urban development gave me the impression to be amazing.
    I stayed at two different familie houses of players of the clubs we played, and they received me with a charming hospitality.I notest that , in both cases, they had expensive things in their houses that they didn´t need,and appeared to spend money on things impulsiveley.
    American society,in general terms, is known to be a bit consumerist, at least in comparisson with the rest of the world.What do you think about this?Do you feel that you live in a kind of consumerist society?Do you think everything works that good, or i just got a not entirely correct impression?

  8. Hi Dennis!! How do you do?
    My name is Cecilia and I am one of the elder members in Rita´s group...A piece of information about me: I am 26 years old, I work in a private library and I study History. I´ve been dedicated to Ancient Near East studies during the last four years; I investigate and work -ad honorem- at university in this field.
    In relation to your question…, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe twice in my life. In both cases (first time when I was 17 and the other one, last year) I took my backpack and traveled around different countries...Both trips were amazing and unforgettable experiences...Getting to know not only spectacular places but great people too is something so priceless....walks through the cities....getting lost in them...sharing moments with people that perhaps you will never see again in your life is so touching…
    As you can imagine, I really wish to get on plane again (as soon as possible hahaha) and travel, travel and travel..!!
    And…What about you? What places have you visited?

  9. hi, Denis. we are very happy that we can share information with people from other country. thanks you to tell us about USA culture! I found it very interesting!
    I had the opportunity to travel to you country when I was 15! I went to Disney with frinds! It is unforgettable for me!USA is a wonderful country and people there are very friendly and polite! I love traveling but like oriana told you nowadays it is vey expensive for us.
    I like my country, it has a lots of beautiful places. Unfortunately I have not been in all, but I would like to travel around muy country and visit all the places!
    Have you ever trave to Argentina?

  10. Dear Rita and students,
    What a wonderful idea to have a few friends talk about their countries and then have your students ask us questions of interest to them.
    I was born in the greater Lisbon area, in Portugal, and have lived in this area for most of my life, excluding a few years in the USA and in England.
    Portugal is a very small country: close to 700kms from North to South and about 300kms from East to West. Actually, we are a very small rectangle in the western part of Europe and Cabo da Roca, about 20 kms from where I live, is the westernmost point of Europe.
    In spite of its very small size, it's a very diverse country at different levels. If you travel from North to South, you'll find a very different landscape, climate, architecture, agriculture, gastronomy (food, desserts and wines), and even people with different accents.
    We are a very old country dating back to the beginning of the 12th century, currently with a population of ten million.
    The birthplace of Portugal is Guimaraes, a lovely city in the North where I will be in two weeks to present at a conference of teachers of English.
    We have beautiful and very old stone momuments -castles, cathedrals, monasteries, manor houses... - and very old towns, a few of them built inside castle walls, such as Óbidos. Take a look at this photostory from Jul. 2009, when my husband, a friend of ours and I revisited it for the "n"th time. (may take a while to load, but it's worth being patient)
    Hope you have questions for me.
    Keep up the great work!
    Cheers, Teresa

  11. Hi Dennis and Teresa! My name is Luciana and I would like to thank you for your postings! It's a pleasure to communicate with you!
    Teresa: we're very interesting to learn more about your country! (Your culture, costummes, food, education). Thanks a lot for sharing your video! The pictures are incredible! I hope you can bring us all the information to know more about you.
    Dennis: your post is fantastic! I've only been abroad once, but I was 1 year old! So I can't remember anything at all. We went to Chile with my family because of my dad's work and stay there for one or two months. It's a shame that I can't give you more information about that experience. However, I've visited wonderful places here in Argentina, so I'm going to tell you a little bit about my experiences in my own country.
    I went to Bariloche, Río Negro (the south of the country) with my schoolmates two years ago. This is a very typical trip that students made when they're finishing their last year of high shool. It was such a great experience! We went skiing, snowboarding and we also did horse riding and many other fascinating activities. We went out every night to the discos which are very well known, like Rocket, Pacha and By Pass. It was the best trip of my life!
    Apart from this, I had the opportunity to visit the East Coast of Argentina, places like Mar del Plata, Villa Gesell, Mar de ajó, and so on. You can relax there, go to the beach, and the most important: relax and have fun! HAHA!
    That's all for now. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!
    Best wishes,

  12. Hi teresa!I really liked to read a little bit of Portugal because i don´t know much of your country.I would like to know how you relate to Spain, as it is your only neighboring country.

  13. Hi, dear all! Hi dear Rita, sorry for being a little bit late. Hi dear Teresa, so nice to meet you again, now in different place. I saw you only today, I haven't visited all corners of this wonderful classblog. So I know who will speak about life in Russia, I could relax. Teresa went farther than many Russians could go and we had a great meeting in Moscow.
    Only today I have read an article that Europe is going to make holiday a people's right. So travelling is getting more important.
    I was born in Crimea,it's a very nice place in the south of former USSR, now Ukraine. It's a small peninsular with different climates and landscape -mountains and forests in the south and so called step in the middle and northern part. It has a very interesting history with different ancient peoples populated it in different periods - scythians, sarmats, ancient Greeks. There are a lot of excavations of old settlements.
    For the last 15 years I have been living in Moscow. It's a great city I love very much, beautiful, busy, with a lot of churches, museums, with noisy and so calm places. I will try to post some pictures later.
    Dear Rita, thank you for inviting me to your class, I enjoy meeting your students and learning too.

  14. Hi, Luli!
    Sorry for such a delayed reply, but... better late than never! :-)
    Let me tell you a little about our education system. Compulsory education goes up to the 9th grade. To be very honest, I'm not sure if the extension to the 12th grade has already been approved or not. In my opinion, 5th to 9th grade students have too many subjects: about 10-12. In elementary school and secondary school there are less subjects.
    School generally starts at 8:30 and ends at 15:30, but students can stay on at school till later and do different afterschool activities. All schools have access to the Internet and the latest fad is interactive white boards. The big problem, however, is that teachers lack training in ICTs in general, so it's a bit like trying to make omelettes without eggs. Equipping classrooms but not training the teachers is almost the same as nothing. And the workload for teachers is so heavy that they have little or no time for training on their own.
    Students go on to university if they so wish, and entry is based on the results of final exams and final average at the end of secondary/high school. We have both public and private universities. It costs about a thousand euros a year to study at a public university. Private universities are about three times more expensive.
    The economic situation is very difficult at present and in the last couple of days severe austerity measures were announced to take effect next month. Among them, higher taxes and cuts in salaries. Unemployment is at 10%!
    Cheers, Teresa

  15. Hello, Francisco!
    I've always heard that there has always been a certain rivalry between Spain and Portugal - could it be related to the time when each country owned half the world??!! -, but I think that it's more of a myth. I really think that we get along well.
    The Portuguese love traveling to Spain and the Spaniards love traveling to Portugal. Easter is a very popular time of year for visitors from Spain. There are also more and more Spaniards working in Portugal, and the opposite is also true.
    We understand Spanish very easily, but the Spaniards don't make any special effort to understand Portuguese, so the end result is the Portuguese speaking a mixture of both languages, which I dislike.
    Best wishes in your studies.
    Cheers, Teresa