Daylight Savings – Time Change

Krystal, ESL InstructorIt’s that time of year again, time to spring forward! Every spring and fall the clocks are changed in the United States in almost all states. As an international student, this may be something new to you if you do not have daylight savings time in your country (check out the map at the bottom of this post to see which countries participate in daylight savings time -DST). So, we enjoy our sleep while we can, and we look forward to more sunshine in the days ahead. Spring is right around the corner!

Here’s what you need to know…


The clocks will be springing ahead one hour this weekend. Clocks are scheduled to change on Sunday, March 10, 2013, from 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM.  You can change your clock before you go to sleep on Saturday or when you wake up on Sunday morning. Just remember to change it, or you’ll be late for class on Monday morning!

More information about Daylight Savings Time can be found here.


image courtesy of Wikipedia


Nat King Cole

Emily,  Level 3 Reading and Discussion Instructor

Emily, Level 3 Reading and Discussion Instructor

During the month of February, America celebrates Black History Month, which is a celebration of African-American culture and customs. This nationwide celebration was created in 1962 as Black History Week, but the week was extended into a month in 1976. Our class has discussed numerous influential African-Americans such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.; however, we focused our discussion mainly on a legendary musician, Nat King Cole. In honor of this revolutionary artist, we read Nat King Cole: An Unforgettable Life of Music. 

natkingcoleNat King Cole was born in Montgomery, Alabama and grew up to revolutionize music. Though he began his career in jazz, he eventually transitioned to pop music. Our class thoroughly enjoyed learning about Nat’s interesting life, and I hope you take the time to do the same.

Mobile, Alabama Trip

Mardi Gras

Have you ever heard of Mardi Gras? If not, we have a great opportunity for you to experience and learn about this celebration. The Intensive English Program will be taking a trip to Mobile, AL on Saturday, February 9 and will be able to see a Mardi Gras parade as well as other popular attractions during the day. This trip is open to all current IEP students, but seats are limited. Any student interested in attending this acculturation activity should see Kylie in the ESL office as soon as possible.  No matter if you know a little or a lot about Mardi Gras, this trip is for you.  Seats are going fast, so make sure and sign up today!

IEP Mobile Trip Tentative Itinerary

Date Saturday, February 9, 2013
Check-In Time No later than 8:45 AM in nursing parking lot
Transportation AUM Vans
Cost $5 – Reservation Fee (only current IEP students)
Things to Bring With You:
  1. Camera
  2. Spending Money for meals and souvenirs
Itinerary(approximatetimes) 8:45am          Meet at AUM

9:00am          Leave Montgomery

12:00pm        Lunch and Mobile Bay Sightseeing

2:00pm          USS Alabama Tour

6:00pm          Mardi Gras Parade

8:00pm          Dinner


MG 2

Watch more about the history of Mardi Gras here:

Thanksgiving Around the World

Thanksgiving in the United States is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. It is often thought of as a particularly American holiday because of the story of the Pilgrims and the Indians. It is interesting however, that most cultures, religions, and/or countries have some kind of a holiday that involves giving thanks. Many of them are associated with harvest time. Some of them are still celebrated as separate holidays. Some of them provide background for the United States’ Thanksgiving.

Did you Know? 

In ancient times the Hebrews had a feast at which they gave thanks to God for their harvest. It was called Sukkot and Jews still celebrate it today. The ancient Greeks had a harvest festival in honor of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. They brought gifts of honey, fruit, and grain to her shrines. The Romans honored Ceres, the goddess who protected their crops. They called the festival the Cerelia, and that is where the word “cereal” is derived.

Did you know?

For hundreds of years the Chinese have celebrated a festival of the harvest moon. This brightest moon of the year shines on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The festival is called the Mid-Autumn Festival. The Vietnamese call this festival Tet Trung Thu. Koreans celebrate it as Chu-Sok.

Did you Know?

People in southern India celebrate at least two harvest festivals, Onam in the fall and Pongal in midwinter. Onam is a harvest festival associated with the legendary King Mahabalia. Pongol is the celebration of the rice harvest, the biggest festival of the year.

Did you Know?

In England, the thanksgiving celebration was called Harvest Home. It took place when the last field was harvested and the crops were brought safely to the barns. Thanksgiving has also been celebrated in Canada for a long time. It was probably begun many years before the Pilgrims landed in America.

So when the Pilgrims did land in their new home on December 21, 1620, they already knew about ceremonies of thanksgiving. They had, of course, come from England and were familiar with the custom of giving thanks after the harvest. So, one year later, after a year of terrible hardship and frighteningly little success, Governor William Bradford proclaimed the first day of Thanksgiving in the Plymouth Colony. This was the feast day that many think of when we hear “the first Thanksgiving.” It was the one shared with the Indians, who had helped the Pilgrims and introduced them to the native foods and strange farming practices of the New World.

Source: Multicultural Holidays – Teacher Created Resources

We want to know!

Help us learn more about you and your culture. Do you celebrate Thanksgiving or a festival or holiday that involves giving thanks? How is the holiday celebrated at your home? Do you celebrate more than one holiday that involves giving thanks? What foods does your family eat for your thanksgiving holiday or festival?