Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why I agree with Snowden’s actions

The leaks didn’t cause harm, in fact the served the public good”. These are only some of the words that Edward Snowden, the man known for his work both for and against the NSA, said while he was being interviewed by a German television broadcast. During the interview, both interesting and frightening subjects were discussed between the German interviewer and Snowden, who claims he sleeps well at nights in Russia even though he has received several threats from his home country. He also claimed that NSA would love to either poison him or put a bullet through his head as a punishment for the things he’d done. However, not everyone has the same opinion about Snowden’s actions. I am one of those who supports him for his work and his proof that NSA is as sensitive to information as any other company, website or individual.

In the interview, Snowden also said that he felt he did the right thing and that no matter how faithful one is to the government and its country, one can still judge whether the things the government is doing are wrong or right. What he was trying to say was that there has to be a limit for what’s appropriate and what’s not, and the actions the NSA did against the American citizens is one of the things that is inappropriate. If you aren’t familiar with NSA actions, a short explanation to it would be that every phone call you make, or every website you surf on, can be traced by the NSA and be used against you if the information is reliable enough.
What Edward Snowden did is basically to inform the society about this. Thanks to him, people not only in USA, but also the rest of the world are aware of what kind of consequences their actions on the internet might lead to.

A topic that was discussed in the interview that I personally found quite interesting is the fact that NSA isn’t allowed to monitor American citizens. It is however allowed to monitor other countries’ citizens and their actions. The German interviewer asked Snowden if it was true that UK spied on American citizens and that USA spied on British citizens, and if these countries later on exchanged the information so that USA got their own people’s actions from Britain and opposite. Snowden replied that this could be possible and that even if NSA isn’t allowed to spy on American people, they did it anyway.  

Here’s a link to the interview: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f93_1390833151

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool’s Day

April Fool’s Day, or All Fool’s Day as it is also called, is a holiday recognized worldwide as a day on which people play different jokes, prank and/ or hoaxes on each other. These may be everything from jokes like telling your boyfriend that you’re pregnant or telling your parents that you crashed their car, to larger pranks like your local supermarket telling you that you’ll get free beer in exchange of your

Brief history
How and where this holiday started is and will probably remain a mystery. However, there are actually several theories about its origins and history. One of the most popular theories that I found on the National Geographic’s website, is that when France changed its calendar in the 1500s so that the New Year started in January instead of April, some rural areas in France were still celebrating after the old calendar, and these were called the April Fools.
Further in the article, Boese, a man who has studied the origins of the April Fool’s Day said that the this theory if wrong because the French celebrated the New Year on the Easter Day, and therefore this day was never associated with April 1st.
Another theory about this holiday is that it originated from the medieval festivals called the Feast of Fools, where people probably ate, drank and made jokes.

The best hoaxes ever
As mentioned before, there are a variety of jokes people pull out on each other on the 1
st of April. The best of the best hoaxes that have ever been pulled can be found on various websites out there on the internet. However, here’s a site that I find quite interesting:


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A short description of my in-depth project

One of our tasks for our blog for this week was to write a short description of what our in-depth project is going to be about.
If you’re wondering what an in-depth project is, a short and precise explanation would be a project in which our task is to write an article about something we’re interested in. Or at least in our case it is.
Since our class is called “International English” and not only “English”, it is strongly recommended that we use a more formal type of English when we’re working on the written part of the in-depth project. In other words we should use a more complex language.
The reason why I mentioned “the written part of the project” is because we’re going to have an oral one after we are done with our article. This will be a hard project to execute, but I’m sure we’ll manage to work it out.

I have chosen to write an article about the Korean martial art taekwondo, and the reason why I chose this particular topic is simply because I’m training taekwondo myself and I want to teach the people in my English class how taekwondo started and what it really is.
Now that I told you that I’m training taekwondo, you’re probably wondering what belt I have and how long I’ve been training. If you are, I’ll tell you straight away that I have the red belt, and after this one there’s only one left, and that’s of course the one and only black belt.
Before I can get the black belt, I have to go thru three more exams or three more black stripes on my belt. If you are interested in knowing more about how the belt system is set up, you can search for it on Google because there’s quite a lot to explain, and I really don’t have time for that.

The questions I want answered when I’m done with this projects are pretty much the questions that you want answered. As I mentioned earlier I’m going to talk about what taekwondo really is and a bit about its history. I will also write about the different organizations such as ITF (International Taekwondo Federation) and NTN (National Taekwondo Norway), as well as some of the rules that are to be found in taekwondo. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Joy Luck Club (book)
A short summary of the very first chapters

Our task before the Christmas holiday was to choose between the two books “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan or “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga.
The book I have chosen to read in my English class is The Joy Luck Club and is written by Amy Tan – an American writer with Chinese descent. She was born in Oakland in California shortly after her parents left China. While Amy was growing up she has had more downs than ups in her life, because both her father and her older brother died from brain tumor. She was also arrested while she lived in Switzerland because she was in possession of drugs that her boyfriend was responsible for. This is just a very short summary of Amy’s childhood. If you want to know more about Amy Tan’s early years, simply Google “Amy Tan” and you’ll enter a magical world of informative texts.

Last week we got a task to write a short summary of the first four chapters in our chosen book, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in the text below.
First of all, let me tell you that The Joy Luck Club is a book that is somehow based on the real life of Amy Tan because there are a lot of similarities between these two.
The Joy Luck Club is actually the name of the mah jong club that Amy Tan’s mother came up with. During the first chapters in the book we meet four Chinese women and their daughters who both immigrated to USA hoping for a better life. Suyuan Woo, one of the mothers in the book, or actually the one that founded The Joy Luck Club, lived in China during WWII.
Her husband was then serving as an officer, and while he was away Suyuan Woo founded the Joy Luck Club along with her friends because she both needed company and hope. What awaited them in the future was very unclear back then.
Suyuan soon left the town after a Japanese invasion. She took her twin-daughters along with her as well as some clothes and food. After finding out that there was no hope left for her (or at least after thinking so), Suyuan left her daughters under a tree and married another man after finding out that her husband has died. She then immigrated to the United States and formed a new Joy Luck Club together with the Chinese women that she met in a church.
Suyuan died from brain illness many years after she left China and her daughters behind. She never got a chance to visit them despite the fact that she found out they have been adopted.
Because of this, Suyuan’s daughter Jing-Mei will fulfill her mother’s dream and find her half-sisters. That’s all I can recall from the book. If you want to know more about this amazing story and if
Jing-Mei will find her half-sisters at the end, you’ll have to read the book yourself.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Once again we were lucky enough to watch an American film in our English class. This is the third time we’ve watched a movie, and also the third time we’ve learned something from a film, because that’s basically all that matters when we watch a movie in our English class.
The title of the movie that we have watched today is “The Great Debaters”, and I really liked it. Personally I would say that this is one of the better movies that I have watched through my lifespan. I really liked the way how the debaters fought against their opponents with nothing more than words. There are some people who say that words are only words and that they can do no harm, but trust me, if you watch the movie that I’ve just watched, you’ll know that I’m speaking the truth when I say that words can do a lot of harm if they’re used in a correct way.
Nobody actually got hurt because of a bunch of words in the movie, but I hope you get my point.

The movie “The Great Debaters” is as you may have guessed about debaters. The plot takes place in 1935 primarily in Marshall, Texas, although the young debaters travel across the country to meet their opponents who attend other colleges.
The debaters, or the main characters in the movie, are black and go to Wiley College – a college for black students. The students that we meet here are Henry Lowe, James Farmer, Jr., Samantha Booke and Hamilton Burgess, and their teacher Melvin B. Tolson. All of the people that I’ve mentioned here have actually lived in real life. I don’t remember what each one of them became when they grew up, but I can certainly tell you that they became either lawyers, doctors or something else.

As mentioned before, the four students that I mentioned above are all a part of the debate team of Wiley College, who along with their professor travel to different colleges in the USA and debate with other students about different themes. They were very successful and had many victories, which is why Harvard students, a national debating champion, invited the students from Wiley over to Boston so that they could debate against each other.
I will not tell you who won, if you want to know that, I’m afraid you’ll have to watch the movie by yourself. I don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t watch it because it is after all a very good movie directed by Denzel Washington himself. He starred as Melvin B. Tolson, by the way.

Before we started watching the movie, we had to write two questions that we wanted answered after the movie. One of my own questions was “How was the Harvard University back in the 1930s?” I thought I would get a precise answer to this question since the three students from Wiley College went to Harvard to debate against the Harvard students.

All in all, I didn’t exactly get a precise answer to my question, and I’m not even sure I got an answer to it at all, because I think that not much has changed at Harvard from 1935 to present. The university has probably stayed more or less the same since it has been founded till today.

Well, even if I didn’t get my question answered, I certainly did learn a thing or two thanks to the movie. I would definitely recommend this movie for those who are into American history and how the Afro-Americans were treated in the southern states back then.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What did I learn in school today?

 Original date: 08.10.2013

As the title of this post says, our task for today was to write what we learned at school today, or to be more precise, what we learned during our English class.
A quick and short answer to this question would “Peace One Day” and Jeremy Gilley, but a longer and more detailed answer is that we have learned what the charity “Peace One Day” is and what it works for, and that Jeremy Gilley, who is (was) a British actor and a film maker, is the one who founded it. And believe it or not, we have also had a chance to speak with Jeremy via Skype. It was a very exiting experience because he is (was) after all an actor, and he is also known worldwide for his work and accomplishments with “Peace One Day”. I think that we are in fact the only ones at this school who have had the chance to speak with Jeremy on Skype.
So, now that you know that we have spoken with Jeremy Gilley, you’re probably wondering what we were talking about. We asked him some questions about his charity and their progress so far. He seemed very prepared for the conversation and he managed to answer our question with both precision and detail. And you could see that he was a professional actor because he seemed relaxed when we were having the Skype conversation with him.
I think that this is all I have and need to say about the day today. If you want to know more about “Peace One Day”, you can visit their website by clicking this link: http://peaceoneday.org/

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Studying abroad - a good or a bad thing?

Studying abroad can be both fun and interesting for some people, while other people can find it boring and frustrating. I think that studying abroad is a great opportunity for you to meet people from all around the world. If you are a student from Norway, for example, and you wish to study in USA for a couple of years, I can guarantee you that American students aren’t the only ones that you will meet. In USA there are a lot of people from other countries, too, so there is a big chance that you’ll meet someone from e.g. Sweden or Russia while you are studying in the US.

Meeting new people isn’t the only thing that you’ll experience if you are studying abroad. Your English skills are most likely to be improved drastically if you’re studying in a country where classes at the school are in English. If you study good enough, you’ll probably be fluent in English by the time you come back to your homeland.

These are the positive sides of studying abroad, but, unfortunately, everything that has its up-sides also has to have its down-sides, too. As for this topic, one of the negative sides of studying abroad is that you can be miles away from your friends and family, but thanks to Skype, Facebook and various other communicating tools, you can get in touch with your old friends and family whenever and wherever you want to as long as you have an internet connection.
Another con with studying abroad, which probably is the most frightening one, is that it can be frustrating getting known with the students and the teachers at your new school. But  also this can simply be solved by getting to know those people by yourself and not waiting for them to get to know you.
I would personally recommend studying abroad, especially if you like traveling and exploring new countries. Many people that I know have been studying in the US and they said that it’s the best experience they have ever had. They also told me that they have improved their abilities in both writing and speaking English. So, again, if you are a student and you like traveling around the globe, studying abroad is definitely something for you.