Archive for July, 2014

  • Top 5 U.S. destinations to visit this summer

    School is already over – have you planned your summer vacation yet?

    No doubt most of us have spent more time in making summer and travel plans than studying for exams. But if you are more of a  “last minute” person and you still haven’t decided what destinations to visit this summer- take a look at our Top 5 US destinations.

    1. Las Vegas, Nevada

    Las Vegas – the Mecca for movie-making, gambling and unexpected weddings! World famous casinos and hotels, world-class entertainment shows and glittering nightlife – this is just a small part of the wonders that Las Vegas offers to tourists. You will be amazed by the diversity – just in one day you can step back in time to ancient Egypt, travel the canals of Venice, ride a roller coaster through a model of New York City or enjoy the amazing Bellagio Dancing Fountains.

    Visiting Las Vegas is a dream come true for most travelers although it is considered to be quite expensive destination. So it is advisable to do a bit of research to find good hotel deals and special offers if you choose Las Vegas for your summer destination.

    1. Grand Canyon, Arizona

    There is no doubt – Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most spectacular and colorful landscapes. More than 4,000,000 people visit the canyon each year, making it the most visited national park in the United States. You wonder why? Go and see for yourself all the amazing canyons, painted deserts, and interesting volcanic and geological figures carved by the Colorado River. Take one of the Grand Canyon Tours by helicopter, motor coach, water float or even by foot – see this amazing landmark from different perspectives in order to find its entire beauty.

    1. Niagara Falls, NY

    Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls which determine the boundary between USA and Canada. Niagara Falls is one of the favorite attractions for students to visit. Peak season, of course, occurs in the summertime. Take a journey deep below and behind the heart of Niagara and feel the thunder of the water crashing down. The view is more than spectacular daytime and even more beautiful at night – thousands of colored spotlights illuminate Niagara’s Horseshoe and American falls and create worth seeing light show.

    1. Walt Disney World, Orlando – Florida

    Every kid’s dream is to visit Disney World and be part of the magic cartoon world even for a day. And even if you insist you are grown-up now that little child in you may dreams to visit the Disney Resort.

    Disney World in Florida has four unique theme parks to visit.  In the MagicKingdom you can see the popular CinderellaCastle which it is the best place to watch the night fireworks.  EpcotPark will fascinate you with its Future world section and World Showcases area where you can get to know the culture and cuisine of many countries all around the world – France, Japan, Canada, UK, Morocco, etc. without even leaving the resort.  In Disney-MGM Studios you can see interesting behind-the scene looks of popular movies and TV shows. When you get tired, you can relax in the Animal Kingdom with its exotic landscapes and supernatural creatures.

    1. Yosemite National Park, CA

    Are you keen on camping, rock climbing, water sports or other outdoor adventures? Then YosemiteNational Park is the right place for you and 2014 is the perfect time to visit it – the park celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.  Thunderous waterfalls, majestic peaks and breath-taking mountains, grassy meadows beside a bubbling river – the nature wonders here are countless. You can relax under the beautiful shadows of huge thousand-year-old sequoias or go hiking to the beautiful MirrorLake. The possibilities of having fun are so many and the beauty of YosemiteNational Park is simply astonishing.

    Do not hesitate- pack your bags and hit the road to your dreams! No matter where they take you- have an amazing summer!

  • Sports

    The end of the school year is approaching and you will have a lot of free time in your hands. This means that this is the perfect time to find something new and exciting to do in your spare time. Why not try sports?

    Sport has historically played an important role in all societies, be it in the form of competitive sport, physical activity or play.

    Most American universities host athletic camps during the summer. These camps are a great opportunity for a college coach to see what you can do – and you will get invaluable, unbiased guidance about your ability level compared with student – athletes.

    This can be the perfect opportunity for you to be active during the summer and continue this valuable activity during the winter as well.

    Here are some general tips on why sports are good and how to choose the best one for you:

    Why play sport?

    1. It keeps you healthy – Physical activity is the most obvious benefit of sports. Sports practices and games provide an opportunity for exercise that can keep you in shape and healthy.
    2. It builds character – One of the most popular sports philosophies is to valuing sports because they are seen as having a positive impact on your personality, character and makeup. Sports build belief in one’s own abilities, which leads to being more confident in everyday life.
    3. It improves your social skills – Sports are a great way to build friendships and form new connections, which can create a support system that leads to future opportunities and life-long bonds.
    4. It helps you be more successful – Students who play sports learn they are rewarded for their efforts. This often drives academic success, which leads to better college and career opportunities.
    5. It has positive impact on your attitude – Exercise elevates mood and relieves stress so that people can channel their energy towards something positive, like improving strength and endurance.
    6. It teaches you to set your goals – Achieving and setting goals are a big part of sports. This involves hard work and discipline which helps you attain skills you need to score, to win, or to finish strong.

    How to choose the perfect sport for you?

    1. Select a few sports, which seem interesting to you and try them all – this way you will see what you enjoy to do and what you are good at
    2. Compare the sports you like to your body type – for example if you are tall you might want to try basketball; if you have strong hands – you could try wrestling. Don’t push yourself to do more than your body can endure.
    3. Try both individual and team sports – decide for yourself  how you feel better – to practice with a team or just by yourself. If you’re not a team player you might want to try karate, tennis, swimming or cycling. If you enjoy playing in a team you could try football, soccer, baseball or dancing.
    4. Decide how much time you would have for practice – try one you can find time for in your full schedule, so you don’t have to miss your other activities
    5. Examine how you feel after a work-out – above all you should feel relaxed and more energetic. Don’t feel bad if you have muscle cramps – they’re normal when you haven’t practiced any sports recently
    6. Learn more about the sport which you are interested in – there might be many interesting facts you had no idea about. You can learn a lot about the history of the sport and it’s best players. Read about their achievements and goals – you can feel more motivated during practice

    Once you find a sport that you love start practicing it on a regular basis. You will feel much better when the sport you have chosen takes a place in your schedule.

    Sports also provide a positive learning experience – perhaps the greatest life lessons are learned in sports. Winning does not come easy; you’ve got to work for it. “Winners never quit and quitters never win”

  • Happy Birthday America!

    John Adams once wrote: Fourth of July “…ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…” and that is exactly what all Americans do, wherever you are in the USA there is bound to be some sort of July 4th celebrations so why not put on your red, white and blue and join in on the fun!

    Top 3 of the most popular Fourth of July traditions

    •  Public Fireworks

    The most popular July 4th tradition is enjoying a local firework display with family and friends. The largest firework  display in the country is held in New York City, with over 22 tons of pyrotechnics exploding every year. But wherever you are in the US you will be able to find a light show close by. Check out your local online resources and newspapers to find our more information.

    • Parades

    Americans love parades and Fourth of July Parades are among the most spectacular. You can see marching bands, antique cars, floats, horses, cheerleaders and military bands, passing by and waving U.S. flags.

    • Picnics

    Americans usually use this national day-off to spend quality time with their family and friends.  Big picnics, beach parties and barbecue gatherings – there are so many possibilities to celebrate the country’s birthday and have so much fun. With this beautiful summer weather – you should definitely plan some outdoors activities.

     

    The Spritax team would love to hear how you spent your July 4th, why not tell us your story and send us a picture.

  • How to write an article for the universities newspaper

    Whether you are interested in writing for a small school newspaper or you’re fulfilling a requirement for school, you will want to write like a professional if you intend to write a good article.

    Here are a few simple steps and tips on how to write the best article!

     What makes a good story

    First you must decide what to write about. Sometimes an editor (or instructor) will give you specific assignments, but other times you’ll have to find your own stories to write about. Anything that could interest or affect your classmates, teachers, school or family will make a good story. Make sure the news report is suitable for everyone to read and is easy for everyone to understand. Encyclopedias, dictionaries or other reference materials, and internet research will help you get the facts you need. You can also interview people — such as a professor or coach — who know the facts. This way you will collect quotes that reflect the public’s opinion on the story.

    You need a strong lead

    Almost all newspaper stories start off by answering the most important questions – Who – What – When – Where – Why – How. This will be the opening paragraph of the article and it needs to be strong so it will grab the readers and make them want to read more. The lead tells the reader why he should read the story. Make sure that your lead includes only one main idea. It’s good to make the reader smile or be surprised sometimes. Some leads can be lifeless, and need some tension or something that pushes the reader to read on. Another crucial point here is the length of the opening sentence. The word count needs to be no more than twenty words for your grab line. This in itself is a challenge.

     The Story

    Once you’ve set the stage with a good lead, you follow up with a well-written story that contains facts from your research and quotes from people you’ve interviewed. The second paragraph should contain quotes, built on the information from the lead. The third graph is a “nut” graph – it tells why this story is important to the reader. It should include the where and when. In the next paragraphs which will complete your story, fill in other information. These graphs should include at least one more quote, which usually goes in the final paragraph – “the kicker”. It usually sums up the point of the story. It should also refer back to the first paragraph, which ties everything up nicely for the reader.

    Here are a few additional tips for writing that apply to writing in general. These will help your writing be clearer and easier to understand.

     

    •  Accuracy-  Make sure everything you say is true. A writer has a responsibility to make sure his facts are accurate.
    •  Once the article is completed, professional writers will always proof read the article to find and fix any errors.
    • Avoid jargon – If a technical detail is not essential to your argument, don’t use it.
    • Use the active voice – it is always better than passive voice. It’s easier to read, and it leaves no doubt about who is doing the hoping, recommending or other action.
    • Add to the amazing text you’ve written with videos, pictures, charts, and any other visual or audio material which you found or made in the course of your research. This will make your information more engaging and easier to understand.
    • Practice your writing as much as you can – we all know, that practice makes perfect!

    And why not start practicing now? Tell your personal story or most exciting adventure through the Sprintax blog –  http://blog.sprintax.com/share-your-story-for-being-an-international-student-in-the-usa-now/

     Just send it at hello@sprintax.com