Why did you want to become a motorcycle expedition guide? When did you know it was what you wanted to do?

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Why did you want to become a motorcycle expedition guide? When did you know it was what you wanted to do?

I had a craze for adventure, a love for vehicles, and a determination to combine both into a job. I hadn’t much hope of this plan working, but I just couldn’t see myself sitting in a cubicle and writing Excel formulas eight hours a day for the rest of my life. So instead of his son finishing school with a degree in business like my father had originally planned, he had to watch me doing a hundred off-road driver training days with Land Rover. I also studied anthropology, archaeology, became certified in CPR and wilderness medicine. In winters I worked as a ski instructor at a nearby resort, that being my first try in the tourism industry.

But New England didn’t really have the backdrops I had in mind for my adventures; I had to get somewhere exotic. So I looked to Australia–far away, conveniently English speaking, and of course the off-roading capital of the world. Nowhere else can you travel the distances you can in Australia without another person getting in your way and still enjoy political stability. Besides that, I’ve heard of the whole country being crazy for adventure driving.


This is a pretty unique job that involves several unique skills sets. How does a man become a motorcycle expedition guide?


My boss took a chance on a guy with lots of theoretical training but not much actual experience (hell, I had never been to Australia) and for that I’m still extremely grateful.

So, if you’re looking to score a job in extreme off-roading or adventure tourism, start with “less extreme” jobs in sports or tourism, like coaching or teaching a sport to kids.

Adventure travel is all about your staying positive when things go wrong, because they sooner or later do. For your next vacation buy a one-way flight somewhere interesting and see how you get on; adventure tourism is the one industry where such behavior would impress an employer.


This seems like a young man’s job. Is this something you can do until your golden years, and if not, what do you have planned for your second act?

Actually, my boss is almost 50 and he can out-ride, out-drive, and out-move me all day. In fact, many of our clients are in the 40-50 year old age range. Despite the physical nature of what we do, experience is more valuable than the vivacity of youth.

Anyway,after my coming back it’ll take some time to make something of the stories I’ve created and collected. My mom has been dreaming of her son finding a way to make a living as a writer.


What is the best part of your job?


The drama. Every tour could be made into a movie, and people would actually watch it. I wake up every morning with no idea of what’s going to happen that day–only that it’s going to be epic. I love that. Even the disasters have their up-sides; once the dust settles there’s always a great story left behind.


What is the worst part of your job?


When we’re touring or racing, the work is literally nonstop. If I’m awake, I’m on-duty. While clients are lounging around the campfire enjoying post-ride drinks and laughs, I have ten motorcycles that need oil changes, tires fitted, handlebars straightened, or all the above.


Any other tips, commentary, or anecdotes you’d like to share?


As far as anecdotes, the place to go is my blog at RoadRoving.com. I add new adventure stories from behind the handlebars as often as I can.

Lesson 7, Ex.2a

Marylin: I've been a travel agent for 25 years. When I started, it was common for customers to come to the office. Some would dress up. They would make a day of it. These days, people barely have four seconds to spend on booking their trips.

The Internet has changed this business a lot. Now that it's easy for people to book their own flights and hotels, I'm often asked to arrange more complicated trips. A family of 13, from all over the United States, wanted to have a reunion in Italy. I put together all the details, including trains and car rentals. Another client wanted to visit every baseball park in the United States. I had to look up all the hotels close to ball parks. I booked a trip to Antarctica for a woman's 50th birthday, and later that year, arranged a trip for her to the Arctic Circle.

About 80 percent of my business comes from the same 20 people. These are keen travelers. With them, I'm like a concierge. They ask me to book theater tickets in London, make restaurant reservations in Madrid. The company where I work now is great for that. Most of the people here used to own their own agencies and have traveled all over the world, eaten at every restaurant. They are my best resource, better than a book or the Internet.

Before I worked here, I had some odd experiences. A client once called from Florida, hysterical, because his hotel room was green. He had chlorophobia - a fear of the color green. We had to find him another hotel.

I was once consulted by an F.B.I. agent who was trying to locate someone on a flight. I told him how to call the airline posing as a travel agent, gave him some of the lingo of the industry.

My clients are the best part of this job. They are intelligent people and very appreciative. I've received flowers, books, chocolates sent from New Zealand. I've dealt with some clients for so long, they let me make their travel decisions for them. They tell me, ''I want to be in such and such country on such and such dates. You do the rest.'' They trust my judgment. It's like I have power of attorney over their travel.


David: According to a study brought up on yesterday’s Oprah show one of the jobs that creates the happiest people is a travel agent, the part time job of yours truly. Now, technically, I’m not your typical travel agent. My job is basically a travel agent for study abroad. I coordinate and organize people’s educational travel. For instance, if you’re taking a trip to Spain and you want to spend your time actually learning Spanish a few hours a day while you’re there, I can make that happen. Or if you think, hey, I’m in France, I want to relax and immerse in the language – how about a language lessons and spa package. Call me, and I’ll arrange it for you.

However, until Oprah’s show today I hadn’t really thought about how happy my job makes me. But watching the show got me to thinking – is it one of the happiest jobs available? And honestly after thinking about it, I would say yes, it probably is. And here are the real reasons why:

Firstly, I don’t take my work home with me. When I leave the office I leave the office. I don’t bring home work stress. Because really, what stress? Seriously, you’re going to Spain to learn Spanish in the morning and do yoga in the afternoon. Your email can wait until tomorrow.

Secondly, I’m helping people improve their lives. People come to us to learn a new language, gain a new skill, and sometimes even change their career path, and my job is to help make that happen. And the end of the day that makes me feel good about how I spent my day and excited for my clients and their life plans.

The people who do complain and come to me with problems are one of two kinds – they are either people with completely reasonable complaints that I want to bend over backwards to help because they should not be dealing with stress on their vacation OR they’re just old fashioned complainers. The first type are a pleasure to help because they deserve it. The second type are those I will help because it’s my job but who I don’t feel the need to overcompensate for by stressing myself out with their well being because they just don’t get the simple pleasures of life. That’s their problem, not mine.

One more advantage is that I am dealing with international people all day long. On a typical day I speak to people in France, Argentina, Germany, Beijing, Spain, and the list goes on and on. This makes me feel like an actual part of the international community and validates my belief that the world is smaller than we all think.

Not a bad job at the end of the day, if I do say so myself. Will I do it forever? Who really knows? Regardless, I’m thankful. Of all the jobs to have in a crazy city like New York, mine turns up in the top 4 of the happiest jobs on Oprah. Life could be worse.


Lesson 1, Ex.2

Belarus has plenty to show to its guests. The cultural life in Belarus never slows down at any time of the year, that is why, event tourism is considered offseason.

The international festival "Slavyanskiy bazar" in Vitebsk became one of the most significant events known far beyond the country. Participation in this event is considered to be quite prestigious not only for young performers from all over the world, but for leading variety artists as well. Hundreds of viewers are attracted by the film festival "Listopad" held in Minsk, where globally acknowledged directors present their films. Numerous festivals of classic, spiritual, and jazz music and folklore fests attract visitors and participants from all over the world. For example in 2010, we hosted "Eurovision" song contest for children that attracted participants from 14 countries.

Special place in event tourism is taken by so-called "fan-tourism" or tourism for supporters visiting different sport events. Numerous competitions of different difficulty levels, World and Europe cups and championships are held in Belarus. In fact, in 2014, Belarus hosts the World Ice Hockey Championship. Festivals of rural tourism, which have already crossed the borders of local events and started to attract more and more guests from abroad, represent an integral part of the cultural life of the country. Knight tournaments and medieval music festivals having their own numerous admirers are quite popular. All these events of cultural and sport life help guests of our country to see Belarus from the most diverse aspects, to come back and get to know it even better.

Lesson 1, Ex.3a

In January we welcome International Christmas Amateur Hockey Tournament for the Prizes of the President of the Republic of Belarus with the participants from Belarus, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Austria, USA and other countries. It traditionally takes place in Minsk Palace of Sport and The Ice Palace.

There is an archaic tradition to celebrate the New Year according to the Old Style on January 13-14. The folk name of this holiday is Shchedrets or Kolyada. People dress in the costumes of animals and fantastic creatures, go from home to home and sing the traditional songs. The c "Zhenitba Tereshki" ("Tereshka's wedding") is held in Lepel district during Kolyady holidays. It is celebrated in the State Folk Architecture and Lifestyle Museum of the near village of Ozertso.

“The Protection Festival” is an International Classical Music Festival in Brest. This annual holiday gathers the leading creative groups from Belarus, Hungary, China, Spain, Croatia, Holland and Russia. More than 350 professional musicians from 15 countries take part in the festival.

Probably the most joyous holiday of February is Pancake Week Celebration - an ancient holiday of the pagan culture, celebrating the end of winter and the coming of the long-awaited spring. This holiday is popular with the travel agencies which organize special tours and excursions around Belarus accompanied by the entertaining animation.

The spring starts with the Wrestling Tournament for the Prizes of 3-times Olympic Champion Alexander Medved’ held in Minsk Palace of Sport. The national Belarusian team as well as the sportsmen from many foreign countries takes part in these high-class competitions.

“Charouny Kuferak” (“Magical Box”), Regional Festival of the Children’s Theatre Art gathers the young theatre lovers from all over the country and many foreign countries in March. The location is Luban district of Minsk region.

April starts with the Bikers’ Season Opening in Minsk region. Enjoy modern music and spectacular tricks performed by the bikers from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and many other countries.

“Minsk Spring”, XXVIII International Festival is dedicated to the composers of the XXth century. The traditional stage of Belarusian State Philharmonic welcomes young performers from Belarus as well as the representatives of many Europian countries in April.

International meeting of the ancient bagpipe lovers - Bagpipers’ Fest in Minsk greets the musicians from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Bulgaria and New Zealand. Professionals and amateur are invited to participate.

“Neman Spring”, Belarusian Water Tourism Technique Cup takes place in Grodno region, Augustovsky canal. This grand sports event gathers the combined teams from the regions and cities of Belarus as well as the foreign guests.

“The Land beneath the White Wings”, International Young Talents Festival is held once in two years in Mozyr. Gifted children from Belarus and foreign countries get together to demonstrate their talents.

“BelSwissBank” Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup Stage welcome visitors in the last days of April in Minsk Palace of Sport. The national Belarusian team and the sportsmen from more than 30 countries compete for the prestigious trophy.

One of the 100 most respected Orthodox icons in the world, the wonder-working icon of Virgin Mary of Zhirovichi, is kept in the 500 year old monastery. The Fest of Virgin Mary of Zhirovichi Icon attracts worshipers from all over the world on the 19 of May.

On the last days of May “Rubon”, Medieval Culture Festival happening in the Framework of the Days of Polotsk invites tourists to witness numerous knights’ tournaments, mass battles, castle assault, and fire-shows. Craft fairs and traditional meals are also in the program of the fest. Knights’ clubs from Belarus, Poland, Russia, Czech Republic and other countries are expected to put on the best of their shows.

International Children’s Art Festival “Golden Bee” is held annually in Klimovichi in June. The fest gathers gifted youth from Russia, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine, Latvia, Holland and other countries.

“Gedymin’s Castle”, International Knight’s Fest of the Medieval Culture and Traditions is held in the ancient castle of the XII century in Lida, Grodno region. The spectacular tournaments, stunts’ performances, fire-show, horse riding are in the program of this event. A special music and dance show is prepared to entertain the audience.

In June International Folk Art Festival “Friendship Wreath” brings together folk groups from more than 10 countries in Bobruisk, Mogilev region.

July is high time to visit Vitebsk hosting the International Art Festival “Slavyansky Bazar”. Young performers contest gathers more than 5000 talents from 30 countries annually. The international festival became one of the most significant events known far beyond the country.

International Music Festival “The Beatles Forever!” creates warm and homely atmosphere for the real fans of “The Beatles” at the end of July in Logoisk, where contemporary performers sing the songs of the famous Liverpool four.

The atmosphere of the real bikers’ show, more than 1000 participants from different countries, live performances of the best Belarusian and foreign rock bands characterize the Nesvizh International Bikers’ Festival that takes place in early August each year.

International Theatre Festival “Belaya Vezha” features the best of contemporary theatre. Participants from 16 countries, more than 30 theatre collectives present their art in Brest theatres in mid September.

Village Workers Fair-Festival “Dazhynki” offers its hospitality in October just after the harvesting time in Molodechno. Many concerts, exhibitions, agricultural fairs honour the agriculture workers of the country.

In October Yury Bashmet International Festival gathers the world’s most brilliant and extraordinary performers of the classical music from all over the world in Minsk.

International Military-Historic Festival “Berezina” reconstructs the 1812 events in Brylevskoe field, Borisov district in Mid-November. A realistic show that amazes by its scale, horse battles and splendid costumes. Historic clubs from Belarus, Russia, Poland, Latvia and France create an impressive performance.

Hundreds of viewers are attracted by the international film festival "Listopad" held in Minsk in November, where globally acknowledged film directors present their films.

International Festival of Modern Choreography (IFMC) in Vitebsk is an exciting fest for those who love contemporary dance.

December, 24 (25) is Kolyady Carnival in Minsk. Grandiose fest dedicated to the Belarusian tradition of the Christmas (Catholic) celebration features national customs, sketches, costume balls, live performances of traditional music, etc.

Lesson 2, Ex.2b

As any other field fashion design has a list of terms that make up its particular vocabulary.

Accessory is clothing that is worn or carried, but not part of your main clothing. Runway is a narrow walkway extending from the stage into the audience used by models in a fashion show. The fashion industry consists of four levels: the production of raw materials, the production of fashion goods by designers, retail sales; and various forms of advertising and promotion. And of course everybody involved in fashion business is a part of this industry. Haute couture (French for high-fashion) clothes are made to order for an individual customer, and is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric, often using time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Pret-a-porte or ready-to-wear clothes are a cross between haute couture and mass market. They are not made for individual customers, but great care is taken in the choice and cut of the fabric. Ready-to-wear collections are usually presented by fashion houses each season during a period known as Fashion Week. Currently the fashion industry relies more on mass market sales. The mass market caters for a wide range of customers, producing ready set by the famous names in fashion. In order to save money and time, they use cheaper fabrics and simpler production techniques which can easily be done by machine. The end product can therefore be sold much more cheaply. A capsule collection is a set of items -- say six to twelve -- by the same designer, that, when used together in different combinations, can produce about twenty different looks (outfits). Each piece of the capsule must be interchangeable and mix and match well together. Commercial collection is made to be sold.

Lesson 3, Ex.3

- Didier, you quite often visit Russia, several times happened to be in Minsk, and now you’re going to perform in Vitebsk for the first time. What do you know about our city? Was it easy for you to accept the proposal to performe at the Festival?

- Yes, my band and I are regular visitors to Russia, Ukraine and other CIS countries. And it’s a great pleasure for me. My first tour included 21 concerts given in 1983 and it was the beginning of a great love story. I’ve heard of the festival “Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk” a lot for quite a long time. And when I got in contact with the festival organizing commitee I accepted the proposal without hesitation for it has been the greatest and the largest festival in Europe with very good technical conditions.

We got very warm welcome in Minsk three years ago. This time I’ll be glad to celebrate the 20th Jubilee of “Slavianski Bazaar” together with you.

- Didier, you are famous for extraordinary concerts. What could the audience in Vitebsk wait for?

- The festive concert in Vitebsk is going to be an absolutely new performance; we will perform the songs from a newly created album “From Earth to Mars”. It will be accompanied with laser show and video scenery.

- You always travel with your family. Are you going to take them to Vitebsk?

- Yes, I’m. I’m very devoted to my children, my wife and very happy when they accompany me in my tours. My elder son Sebastian works with me. Younger Rafael (11 years old) and Christopher (9 years old) are also fond of music. They are very talented. They perform the Chopin which I performed when I was 13. They bring me back to the reality when I’m taken away by my dreams…

I've just had a fabulous time in Belarus judging and performing at the International Festival of arts, 'Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk'. This is the biggest festival of its kind in Eastern Europe, and one of the biggest in the world. It is organised and run just like Eurovision.

I was invited by the organisers to represent the UK as a jury member in the international Pop Song Performers' Contest. The 12 members of the jury consisted of internationally acclaimed performers, composers and producers from countries such as Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, Italy and myself from Wales. I was invited as a consequence of being involved in the International Nile Festival, Egypt, in February 2008, where I was also a jury member.

I also performed and mine was the final performance of the day during the closing ceremony of the International Children's Music Contest Gala.

They were intrigued by my use of 'Odd Socks' as a sign of peace, love and unity, as my speech included explaining that I have worn odd socks for many years, displaying that material things, like people, do not necessarily have to match!

The connection with Belarus and Wales was emphasised by the children who performed with me waving Welsh Flags! It was lovely to see these Belarusian children waving the Welsh flags on stage.

I also presented Welsh rugby shirts as gifts to jury members and festival organisers.

Children from TIC Theatre Company, Wales, pre-recorded the backing vocals, including a middle section of shouting 'Welcome' in several languages.

Consequently, I have been invited to perform next year at similar festivals in Moldova, Bulgaria and Latvia, flying the Welsh flag once again.

Lesson 4, Ex.2b

1. The legendary rock band Scorpions have arrived in Belarus. In the Minsk airport they were welcomed by fans and journalists.

“We are looking forward to our concert at Minsk Arena,” the German guests said. When asked by BelTA whether this trip to Belarus would be the last one, they said they hope to go to Moscow next year and would like to meet with the Belarusian audience again. “We are now on the world tour. Probably we will get back to Belarus,” they said. The musicians are planning to take a tour of the Belarusian capital and to taste Belarusian cuisine.

2. Belarus serves an example of preserving and multiplying the national cultural heritage, Countess Raine Spencer (stepmother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales) said as she and a Harrods delegation visited Belkhudozhpromysly store.

The Belarusian company held a presentation of its products. The major goal of the impromptu excursion was to introduce the foreign guests to the peculiarities of the Belarusian national culture.

The company also demonstrated a collection of linen clothing that combines elements of the contemporary fashion and traditional decoration. “It is wonderful that Belarus has preserved century-old traditions and customs. In Great Britain, unfortunately, the younger generation started to forget its roots,” the Countess said.

3. Vitebsk will host the Manhattan Short Film Festival from 25 September to 2 October, BelTA learned from head of the repertoire planning department of Kinovideoprokat Company Dmitry Gusakov.

This is the 14th Manhattan Short Film Festival. This year the festival will take place in over 200 cities of 48 countries. All guests of the festival will vote for the best short film.

Partaking in the festival are ten films from Sweden, the United States, Egypt, Canada, Hungary, Peru, Austria, Australia, Switzerland.

Belarus plays host to the Manhattan Short Film Festival for the third time.

4. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Culture Minister of Belarus Pavel Latushko and Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay, BelTA learnt from Anna Smolskaya, a spokeswoman for the Belarusian Culture Ministry.
The ministers gave special priority to joint film production. In particular, they discussed the ways Turkey can use cinematographic services and the potential of the Belarusfilm national studio. The sides also focused on the protection of the historical and cultural heritage.
The Turkish official supported Belarus’ initiative to develop cooperation with the leading cultural educational establishments of Turkey for a possible organization of training and education of Belarusian students.

5. The Embassy of Belarus in London initiated the meetings of the Ambassador Aleksandr Mikhnevich with the representatives of The Victoria and Albert Museum, the world's greatest museum of art and design, and The Horniman Museum, London’s leading museum of anthropology, natural history, cultural artefacts and musical instruments.

During the meetings the parties discussed possibilities for cooperation between Belarusian and British museums, exchange of traveling and stationary exhibitions and agreed to work out the details of the plans in the areas of mutual interest that could be implemented in the near future.

6. On 6 April the photo-exhibition «The Brest Fortress» opened its doors to the public in Pushkin House in London.

The opening ceremony hosted by the administration of the «Brest Fortress – the Hero» Museum and The Ambassador of Belarus to London Mr Aleksandr Mikhnevich was attended by the cultural figures, representatives of London museums, humanitarian organisations and businessmen who cooperate with Belarus.

The photo-exhibition tells about the glorious history of the Brest Fortress from its foundation in 19 century till our days. It has already been touring Great Britain for more than a year successfully attracting new visitors from all over the country.

7. On 10-11 May the City Hall to Kensington and Chelsea (London) hosted the 52nd Annual Charity Fair.

The fair was organised by the humanitarian organisation "Children and Families across Borders", which is engaged in charitable activities around the world to protect the interests of families and children. Funds raised by the fair were directed at the socio-humanitarian aims set by this humanitarian organisation.

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus hosted a national stand, which was represented by products of various Belarusian enterprises, including crystal, light industry goods, works of arts and crafts, publications about Belarus of economic, cultural, historical and tourist nature.

8. The founder and music director of the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra, Philip Simmons, visited Minsk on June 5-11. The American conductor based in Hawaii came to Belarus at the invitation of the Belarusian State Musical Theater to take part in a joint production of the musical Westside Story. The premiere of the first ever full scale American musical is scheduled for May next year. Philip Simmons’ program in Belarus also included participation in an open air opera concert. The audience of over 500 music lovers gave a warm welcome to the joint performance of everlasting classics by the American, Belarusian and Russian musicians.

Lesson 6, Ex.2a

“Mom, can we host a foreign exchange student next year?” I asked my mom out of nowhere. At the time, I didn’t think of it as a big deal, just a really cool idea. Little did I know that a few months later, I would be spending nine months with my greatest friend.
When Janina stepped off the 31 hour flight from Germany to Wisconsin, I knew right away we would connect. With her cute black glasses, dirty blonde hair, and worn-out converse, she already had a place in the family. And, that’s not because prior to that day we had had several hour long chats through facebook.
Though we did have our disagreements, many of which ended in wet cheeks and slammed doors. “Cultural differences” my mother called them. Me – a shy old-fashioned country girl, she - a trendy, chatty city girl.
But, from those disagreements, I learned vital lessons. I learned how to accept other people’s points of view, as she was born in an entirely different world. I learned how to say “Ich Liebe Dich”—“I love you” in German. I learned that a life time friend may not always be what you expect. Mine - a tall, beautiful, music loving, German girl. And, most importantly, I learned that trust is a valuable trait, and it’s easy to lose and harder to gain back.
There was no way I could predict all of this when I asked my mom for a foreign exchange student. But, this one girl shaped who I am. And for that, I am thankful.

I was a junior in high school and our school had foreign exchange students coming to spend two weeks in our community. Were there any volunteers willing to host a student or two? You bet, I thought! I'll take a handsome, dark Frenchman please. So I promptly signed up to volunteer my family. I told my mom we would have a guest for two weeks coming from Europe. She didn't believe me. So when the time came for me and my friends to go pick up our mail order Frenchman (I mean exchange student) she panicked. When we got to the airport we met Stephan, he was from Germany, he spoke practically no English and he was an unsighty, pimply 16 year old. Ew..this already was not working out how I had planned. We got home and I introduced him to my mom, they loved each other. For the next two weeks they were inseparable. She would let him use our brand new car, forget that they can't drive until they're 18 in Germany...she didn't care. They even shopped for jeans together!

My friends and I were determined to show this kid a good time, and to us that was getting wasted. We went out to a karaoke bar, had a pizza... Well, this clearly was not his idea of a great time, so we had to take him back home. So the next few weeks were filled with annoying, not to mention stinky cultural differences, he never showered or wore deodorant, at least he wasn't taking up my shower time. Communication would have been easier with a mute person. How annoying, but two weeks flew by and before I knew it he was gone. My dream of a love affair had been lost weeks ago, but at least I had the car back and my mom.

I met Sarah (who pronounced her name "Soorah" in Swedish) because she was in every one of my classes. She was short, with long brown hair and intelligent, to the extreme. We said a few words and then I didn't pay much more attention to her, until the day in late January when I walked into a gym to find her crying.

It seemed the problem she was having was not that she was homesick, which is what I had assumed was the problem. She was being used as a housekeeper/baby sitter for the host family she was staying with. They had decided to host an exchange student because it would be and economical way to kill two birds with one stone. They would get a live in servant and a babysitter.

At the point I found her, Sarah was planning on going home early. Me, in all my teen age bravado said, "Don't go, I'll ask my Mom if you can stay with us." And she did.

My parents were always willing to have my friends over and they saw this as an extended sleep over.

After she was installed in our house, we decided to work up a plan to make the most of the time Sarah had left. She had a list of things she wanted to do in America and she showed it to me. On the list she had 1. to see the statue of liberty 2. to act in a high school play 3. to eat American ice cream 4. to visit NYC 5. to go to a prom.

That was it. Accomplishing most of Sarah's list was easy. We became regulars at every local ice cream shop. Sarah easily got a part in the Spring play put on in our school that Spring. It was a musical and she was a naturally talented Soprano.

Come May, there was only one thing left on the list for her to accomplish. Well, the prom was slightly harder to deal with. The boy from our school asked Sarah to go to the prom and she was thrilled. I was secretly crushed but put on a brave face. I didn't want her to know how hurt I was. I watched her leave for the prom, and then went over to a friend's house. It didn't help that the prom fell on my birthday.

Despite the few tough moments, Sarah and I became very close friends. We were both very sad when she had to go home. Years went by and we lost contact, but I will always remember what a blast I had introducing my Swedish sister to life as an American teen. It also helped me see my own life from a different point of view, not something most teens get to experience.


Lesson , Ex.1


Country Nationality Belonging to
Austria Austrians Austrian
Belarus Belarusians Belarusian
Belgium Belgians Belgian
Denmark Danes Dannish
Finland Finns Finnish
France The French French
Germany Germans German
Greece Greek Greek
Holland (the Netherlands) The Dutch Dutch
India Indian Indian
Italy Italian Italian
Japan Japanese Japanese
Luxembourg Luxembourgians Luxembourgian
Poland Pole Polish
Portugal Portuguese Portuguese
Russia Russian Russian
Sweden Swede Swedish
Ukraine Ukrainian Ukrainian
The USA American American

Lesson 3, Ex.2a)

We know a lot of stereotypes concerning the United Kingdom and its natives. Using them we are able to create the national characteristic that British people are believed to present. Many stereotypes are wrong, but some of them seem to be good. We should be aware though, that some of them aren't true.

The typical British representative should be the tea lover. What is more, the tea should be drunk in the exact time. Most of the British drink their tea at 5 o’clock They are also known to have a big traditional breakfast. The breakfast consists of many toasts covered with jam or marmalade which seem to be typical British. We couldn't even imagine how various can the British toasts be. The other stereotype is connected with the traditional British cuisine and some cooking traditions. British meals are considered to be completely tasteless They are unlikely to be accepted by foreigners. The basic British dish is called ‘fish and chips’ but most of tourists don't like it.

There are a number of stereotypes about British gentlemen. They appear to be too stiff and conservative. Moreover they speak with a strange British accent. They call the accent "Received Pronunciation" and it is thought to be a very distinguished one, but in fact it isn't. What is more typical, the British sense of humour is very specific. It is presented mostly in such British films and TV series as "Monty Python's Flying Circus", "Mister Bean" and "Black Adder". All of them present the stereotypes, which aren't often the truth.

The other stereotype is that the British youth are believed to be the clubbing lovers, which means that they enjoy walking form a club to the other club or pub at weekends. It is a kind of modern British tradition, which is today observed in various countries. But British young people are believed to enjoy their lives. In fact, the British young people turn out to be very different as the young people all over the world.

Summing up, the British aren't as conservative as they are thought to be. Their main characteristic is that they are talkative and very friendly. They seem to be also pedantic, but about every other nation we can say the same. Every nation has the stereotypical positive features and negative ones.


Lesson 5, Ex. 4a)

Presenter: Today, we continue speaking about national characters. Our guest is a Fulbright student Ariana Tobin and the usual question we ask people from different countries is: What makes Americans different from other nationalitiess? In other words, what is a typical American?

Ariana Tobin : It is not an easy question. I’d rather start from afar. Let’s say food. Choosing a restaurant in New York requires research. New cafés, streetcarts, and fancy dining halls open every day, on all corners of the city. Sushi? You can find it at 3 a.m. Tacos?* Of course, and everyone has a favorite kind of taco sauce. Low-fat frozen yogurt with full-fat chocolate syrup? Try any one of the four ice cream shops on the same block. They're all competing to attract the hungry passer-by.

As a visitor, maybe you would like to try some plain, simple, typical American cuisine. Where should you go? What to eat? Don't worry: in New York City, it won't take you long to find a restaurant with “American Food” written on the window. In fact, you will probably see what we call the “classic American diner.”

And there you might find some burgers and fries. But you also might not. Consider this a warning: the label “American food” is not much of a label at all. It will not help you to predict what might be on the menu, because no one can agree on what it means. Most diners serve everything from pasta and potatoes to seaweed and sauerkraut**, and few if any stick to one type of national cuisine. You are just as likely to find a painting of the Parthenon on the wall as you are to find Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling.

So is this misleading? Perhaps. A very small number of Americans can claim to come from families which are “American only” – those who identify as Native American or American Indian. Everyone and everything else came from Europe, or Asia, or Africa, or Australia at some point over the past 250 years. Including the food.

American food is difficult to characterize. In fact, American character is difficult to characterize. How can we draw comprehensive conclusions of any kind when no two neighboring households eat the same kind of cereal for breakfast, and when every coffee shop customer orders a specialized, personalized drink? Americans like to think of themselves as “diverse” and “multi-cultural,” as a “melting pot” or a “salad bowl” of immigrants and nationalities, a mixture too rich and too unpredictable for easy classification. The most common type of American is perhaps the American who doesn’t want to be a “type” at all, those who see themselves as what we call “rugged individualists,” “independent-minded,” “convention-defying,” and “non-conformist.” Ask an American a question, and she’s is likely to give you a different answer than anyone else – and chances are, she’ll be proud to tell you that her opinion is her own.

Lesson 6, Ex. 1

· This Brazilian never spends his time on beaches.

· An Australian or a Canadian speaks English which is difficult to understand.

· Neither an American nor a Canadian is able to pronounce the word tomato as [təˈmɑːtəʊ]

· Either an American or a Canadian is able to pronounce the word tomato as [təˈmɑːtəʊ]

· Either snake charming or walking on fire is going to amuse the kids in India.

· Neither she nor I am materialistic, although we are both American.

· A piece of salami or red hot chilly peppers are the basic ingredients for any Hungarian dish.

· Either cheese or frog legs are very popular in France.

· A Dutch and a Dane are those who love fame.

· A kilt and a horn are the Scottish national symbols

· Loud voice, as well as the gestures, isso typical of the Italians.

· Fried chicken, not healthy fish, isa popular dish in America.

· Every one of the English guests has left without a goodbye.

· In Holland every one has a garden full of tulips.

· The majority of the Asian population doeskung fu.

· One-third of Italians are artistic.

· The number of people who treats me normally is huge but a number of people think that I can play the balalaika because I am Russian

· -Is raw fish or wood mushrooms your favourite food?

- Neither of them is. I am Chinese, not Japanese.

· Either Dutch student isable to teach you about tulips.

· There are many Australians who love nature. But there is one Australian who doesn’t love it at all

· A Scotsman was so much troubled with his tooth that he decided to have it extracted.
"How much will it cost?" he asked.
"£50," replied the dentist.
"£50 is too much for only a few minutes work," said the Scotsman.
"Well, I can pull it slowly if you like." said the dentist.
"Look," said the Scotsman, "here's£5. Just loosen it a little."

· Russia is the nation that seems to have bought all football clubs in England.

· Brazilians spendall their time on beaches

Lesson 8, Ex.2

Danielle Montagne:

Travelling and teaching abroad have become my passion. When I learned that I would be teaching in Minsk, I was very excited. I started

my twenty-four hour journey from Syracuse, New York

My first glimpse at the city of Minsk was through the windows of an old city taxicab. It was the middle of the night and the city was

completely empty—empty, but filled with lights. The buildings and monuments were huge. We passed by very modern buildings—like the National Library. Then I saw very beautiful monuments—like Victory Square statue and the eternal flame. Minsk was filled with an atmosphere of power and grandeur that I was not expecting.

In the days that followed, I spent a lot of time walking around the streets, getting lost and then finding my way again. I found myself wandering though beautiful parks filled with carnival rides. I saw children running and laughing along the banks of the river. I witnessed young couples holding hands and kissing on park benches. All of these images made me happy. The city felt completely alive. I was inspired to begin taking Russian classes in order to be able to read street signs and communicate with people outside the university.

My warm sentiments about the city of Minsk followed me to MSLU, where I met the most wonderful colleagues and students I could

imagine. There is a real sense of community at MSLU that sometimes lacks at other educational institutions. The kindness and

thoughtfulness I have encountered from the teachers and professors has made my time here wonderful thus far.

As I become more acquainted with the city, the people and the language, I am sure I will continue to enjoy my time and teaching experiences.

I believe I have a unique opportunity to not only teach Belarusians about American culture and life, but upon my return to the United States

also share my experiences about Belarus with my colleague back home.

Lesson 8 , Ex.3

Last weekend, my American roommate and I were on the way out the door to meet Andrei, a 22 year-old Belarusian student, for what he called “a tour of his hometown.” I was grabbing my keys and putting on my jacket when, all of a sudden, I heard a scream from the other room.

“I think the bathroom’s broken,” my roommate said.

I called Andrei to cancel our meeting.

“I will help you,” he said.

“I don’t think you want to do that,” I replied. “It’s ugly over here.”

“You need help,” he said again.

He wouldn’t take no for answer. And as it turned out, we did need help – when we couldn't reach our hosts, we finally accepted Andrei’s offer to come over and try his luck. This turned into an entire afternoon of Andrei arguing with telephone operators and technicians, and advising us on proper Belarusian Saturday-emergency-plumbing situation etiquette.

I hesitate to generalize about a country and its people. But as I described the day’s events to my friends and family in the USA, I realized that there was, in fact, a common theme running through my three months of emails home. Over and over again, I find myself saying: “the Belarusians I meet are nice.” They take me to the market. They give me their phone numbers and offer to "take me anywhere, to show me anything I might like." They serve tea and set out cookies every time I teach a class. They spend entire afternoons helping to fix broken plumbing units – and, moreover, they seem glad to do it. Everyone I meet seems "glad to do it," whatever "it" may be – and as a newcomer, I have needed a lot of local guidance. I can't count the number of times I have had to show my passport, pay fees at the bank a few blocks away, sign papers, translate diplomas, take pictures, and so forth. Our landlady and landlord do not speak English, we always need interpreters. Ordering ice cream is, as a fellow American put it, "an adventure." Even registering for Russian classes took two weeks and about two hundred official documents.

Yet, three months has felt like three weeks, and I suspect I know why. Perhaps I wouldn’t know it from the people riding the metro or waiting in line at the polyclinic. But I have never been someplace so cold, and yet so warm. I have been floored by Belarusian kindness, generosity, and beyond all else, hospitality.


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