By Jean-Jacques Sene, Associate Professor of History, Global Focus Director

A gorgeous exhibition of students and faculty photographs in a collaborative research project titled “Connecting Through the Lens: Housing and Water Infrastructure in Indonesia” on February 2 in the Chatham University Art Gallery. The exhibition kicked off programming for the Global Focus Year of Indonesia. Picture taken by Greg Galford.

The name Indonesia, from the Greek language “Indian Island” or “Island of India” refers to a captivating archipelago made up of some 17,000 thousand islands! If total land and sea areas are factored in, it is one of the 10 biggest countries in the world. With a very diverse population of more than 250 million inhabitants, it stands as the largest Muslim nation of the planet.

The choice of Indonesia as the country of focus for next year’s Global Focus is a particularly important one for our academic community and its affiliates. For one thing, Chatham University belongs to the very small circle of institutions involved in the U.S.-Indonesia Partnership Program for Study Abroad Capacity (USIPP) sponsored by the New York-based Institute of International Education. The consortium includes only 6 universities in America; and Airlangga University, Bandung Institute of Technology, Bogor Agricultural Institute, Gadjah Mada University, the Indonesian Institute of the Arts/Yogyakarta, and the University of Indonesia.

The choice of country is also always motivated by the opportunities to engage with individuals and groups with strong connections to that area. The very dynamic Indonesian community in Pittsburgh has responded enthusiastically to Chatham’s invitation for a strong partnership.

Dates and Deadlines

February 17               ELP/Exchange Carnegie Science Center field trip

February 21               End-of-program celebration for Kobe & Kyoto students

March 13                    International Karaoke, 7pm, Carriage House

April 3                        International Trivia, 7pm, Carriage House

April 18                      Higher Education Summit, Eddy Theatre

April 20                      International end-of-term celebration

April 21                      Last day of class

May 22                       First day of summer semester for the ELP

Life-Changing Experiences with the English Language Program

By Daniella Bastos, ELP and MA-Psychology Graduate, International Student Ambassador

Studying English at the English Language Program (ELP) at Chatham University is one of the best decisions I have made in life. In 2014, I moved to Pittsburgh because of my husband’s work. I did some research into universities in Pittsburgh, and I found Chatham University. They have an interesting Master’s program in Psychology and a great ELP. I had very smooth communication with the ELP since the first contact by e-mail. I had the best support to complete the application and a great reception to the program. The ELP team is devoted to giving the students the best resources and opportunities to study and develop their academic, personal, and professional skills. The teachers at the ELP are specialists in teaching English for non-native speakers, which means that they have specific professional qualifications and multicultural competencies.

During my English course at Chatham, I had life-changing experiences. I had amazing classmates from Saudi Arabia, Japan, China, South Korea, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela. I had teachers with international experience. I had the best support from those teachers to prepare my application to the MA-Psychology program (application letters, documents, and TOEFL). Chatham’s ELP helped me to connect and adapt to a new country in the middle of an overwhelming personal and professional transition. I made friends and I had opportunity to work and apply my new skills.

In December 2016, I completed my Master’s degree in Psychology. That was only possible due to the commitment of the ELP and Chatham University. They were able to understand the students’ limitations and strengths and give us support so that we could succeed in our studies. They promote diversity and multiculturalism.

Studying in US is a big decision as well as a big investment of time, energy, and money. It is also an experience that can change your life and your future. Choosing a school is really important in this process. After my graduation, I became an International Student Ambassador at Chatham to encourage Brazilians who want to study in the US to know this great ESL program and university. I recommend Chatham to anyone who wants to study English or earn a degree in the US.

Connecting Through the Lens: Housing and Water Infrastructure in Indonesia

By Greg Galford, Assistant Professor of Interior Architecture

Meeting with Residents at Kampung Kali Code, Yogyakarta by Greg Galford

The recent university gallery show entitled “Connecting Through the Lens: Housing and Water Infrastructure in Indonesia” is the culmination of several years of connection between Chatham and Indonesia. We were initially invited in 2011 to join a roster of six US and six Indonesian universities in a consortium of schools that would strengthen connections in higher education between the two countries.

This presentation of student photographs explored two low income neighborhoods in Jakarta with architecture students of Universitas Indonesia and one in Yogyakarta with faculty from Institut Seni Indonesia. The students utilized a photojournalistic method of research to look at how the two issues were connected after having begun an initial comparative study in the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh in their pre-course to the trip.

The goal of both faculty and students was to use this Maymester trip as an initial model to examine how faculty and students could conduct research and build collaborative relationships with universities in Indonesia. The faculty involved with this trip wanted to begin building sustainable research relationships there. This work has grown out of a six year relationship with the consortium of Indonesian universities that was set up by the Institute of International Education. Past work of Chatham has included collaborations with Airlangga University in Surabaya and Udayana University in Bali as well.

This student research work, and the research collaboration, was the product of a research proposal by Dean Motley, Dr. Mehling, Prof. Galford, and Prof. Biss in 2015. This proposal was based on a conference on sustainability and resilient communities hosted in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2014. Dean Motley, Dr. Mehling and Prof. Galford attended that conference, which was sponsored by the Ford Foundation.

A previous student Maymester trip to examine the art and architecture of Indonesia occurred in 2012. That trip focused on visits to Surabaya, Yogyakarta and Bali, with Dr. Michelmore and Prof. Galford. This followed the initial meeting of the consortium of schools at the Bandung Institute of Technology in 2011.

A second phase of research that examines the issues of housing and water infrastructure along waterfront development will occur in 2017 with the goal of returning to the country in 2018.

Noor’s Art

By Marina Razgarina, ELP Lecturer

Noor showing her art

Delicate, surreal, and incredibly personal. Noor’s drawings make you reflect deeply on what it is you see in them and what is left beyond your comprehension of a mere visitor in her mysterious artistic world. Going beyond the obvious, they make you think of ideas and emotions she felt while drawing those. They make you wonder about the people and stories that left a trace in her heart and found embodiment in these incredible pieces.

Noor sharing her art in the High Intermediate Listening and Speaking class in fall 2016

Seeing her art brought me closer to understanding Noor’s life and personality. It made me see her not just as a student, but also as an incredibly talented person with her own goals, dreams, and struggles. Noor’s self-expression became her artistic aspiration. Genuine and complex emotions expressed so intricately in her drawings left me feeling sensitive and vulnerable in a whole new way. The way Noor shared herself and her world through her drawings touched my heart and made me open to deeper connections with the world and people around me. It truly was extraordinary and profound experience.

New International Initiatives: Pittsburgh Pathways and Agreement with Kansai University

By Linh Phung, ELP Director

Dr. Atsuko Kikuchi and Dr. Simon Humphries from Kansai University during their visit to Chatham this  February

The English Language Program (ELP) at Chatham has seen a drop in its enrollment due to the decline of Saudi students enrolled in ESL programs nationally. However, there is a silver lining to this decline. First, it highlights the imperative need of diversifying the student population for a sustainable program. Second, it has pushed the program to seek more resources from the University to market the program. We appreciate the investment from the Office of Communication and Marketing to advertise the ELP to various markets, including Latin America. Third, with the commitment from Dr. Finegold and the administration to international education, we have seen a high level of activity in this area. In fact, thanks to Dr. Finegold’s vision and international connections, we are close to launching a new program: the Pittsburgh Pathways.

The Pittsburgh Pathways is a program of study that prepares non-native English speaking students to attend a degree program at Chatham or another university. It offers a combination of ESL courses and academic courses. Students can earn up to 36 credits towards an undergraduate degree at Chatham or another university while improving their English. The Pathways students will be housed on the Eden Hall campus and take classes on both the Shadyside and the Eden Hall campuses. We expect the first cohort of at least 30 students in fall 2017. We plan to expand each year to bring more international students to Chatham and local universities. More information can be found at

We are also pleased to announce that an informal agreement has been reached with the Faculty of Foreign Language Studies at Kansai University in Japan, which plans to send about 15 Japanese students to Chatham for a few semesters to study English and take other academic courses, starting in February 2018. This is the result of intensive relationship building efforts from AVP International Affairs Chris Musick and the Office of International Affairs team as well as the commitment from Dr. Finegold to diversify the student body in the ELP to ensure that the ratio of Japanese students in each class is capped at 20%.

With these initiatives (together with the existing intensive English courses, the Conversation Partner Program, and the International Student Ambassador Program), we hope to continue to contribute to the University by providing high quality English instruction and services to non-degree and degree students, functioning as a pathway to degree programs for many students, and adding diversity of cultures and perspectives to the community. If you have connections and ideas that can help to make Chatham even more international, we would really love to hear from you.

My Journey to Chatham: From ESL Teaching to International Admission

Alia Schindler, International Admission Counselor

Alia Schindler

I moved back to Pittsburgh after having lived abroad on and off for several years in Italy, Lebanon, and Malaysia. I was teaching English as a Second Language then and found a great sense of satisfaction and comfort in doing so, as it gave me the chance to work with international students on a daily basis. After having spent a good portion of my 20’s adapting to a culture foreign from my own, I felt a little out of place back in my hometown. While I was overseas, I was viewed as a foreigner, regardless of how acculturated I felt, and back home here in Pittsburgh, I longed for the faraway lands that I had grown accustomed to while overseas. I became internally international, a wanderer of sorts, always feeling a bit out of place. Thus, I feel right at home when working with international students.

It was through my undergraduate experience in Global Studies, my drive toward higher education, and my time abroad that I realized my passion for diversity and culture. I knew I wanted to work in a field that would allow me to assist students in traveling and studying abroad in pursuit of their goals.

One day, while taking a walk through Shadyside, I came upon Chatham University’s stunning campus, and I told myself at that point, “I must find a way to work here.” Fortunately, I was able to network and obtain a position teaching in Chatham’s English Language Program. I taught wonderful students from places such as Columbia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Libya, Turkey, China, and Vietnam. It was a joy teaching them English and about Pittsburgh and American culture in general.

My passion with international education extended outside of the classroom, and I often found myself answering student questions after class relating to both their education and lives. I also found myself consistently seeking to be a part of administrative dialogues and professional groups working toward policy change. I even worked in the International Affairs office outside of my teaching hours.

A point came when I decided that I must take a leap of faith and pursue a position in higher education that would enable me to be a part of helping to enhance the overall process for international students. I branched out first by working in Chatham’s Office of Student Affairs, and it was an excellent chance for me to get to know about, and work with, the many divisions at Chatham that strive to offer the best experience possible for each and every Chatham student.

Finally, I am thrilled to have secured my current position as an International Admission Counselor at Chatham. As an International Admission Counselor, I have the opportunity to mesh my background in teaching with the administrative aspects of higher education to recruit and assist international students through their application process. I am excited to contribute to Chatham’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity. I can be reached at or 412-365-2736 or 412-400-7717.

Bún Chả: The Taste of Home

By Ngoc Dinh, World Learning Exchange Student at Chatham

What do you know about Vietnamese food? I have asked this question to many of my international friends. If I am lucky, they would attempt to pronounce some words that I could not recognize. And then they would always ask the same question: What Vietnamese dish do you recommend? How am I supposed to answer that question? My country has sixty-three cities and provinces. My city, Hanoi, alone has hundreds of great dishes. However, for a reason that I am still not quite sure about, I would immediately say: Bún Chả.

From Google Images

Bún Chả is a combination of three main elements: bún, pork, and sauce. Bún is a type of fresh rice noodle. The fibers are milky white and very soft. Bún usually has a little sour taste to it, but if it tastes very sour, it is probably not of good quality. The perfect bún must be newly-made, fresh, and without weird odor. In order to make Chả, fresh pork needs to be ground and made into balls or cut into medium pieces. They are then marinated in a mixture of fish sauce, garlic, sugar, and onion, and then grilled with charcoal. The dipping sauce is the final ingredient. To make this sauce, I usually pour fish sauce in a large bowl and add some water, sugar, chopped garlic, and lime juice. Flower-shaped pieces of raw papaya and carrot are added to the sauce. Lastly, fresh vegetables and herbs are served along.

I usually cook and eat Bún Chả at home. To make Bún Chả, I put the black charcoal and firewood into an old iron cookie box. My mom starts the fire with her special fire-making technique, a result of her poor childhood without a proper cooker. I am in charge of sustaining the fire by flapping a hand fan vehemently towards it. The continuous movements afflict my arm, but I actually take pleasure in the weariness. The task can be a drudgery, but I am delighted to watch the black charcoal turn gray, and the bright orange flame dancing on it, until the pork pieces obtain a brownish appetizing color. That is when the business gets serious. Complete concentration has to be invested to ensure the meat is cooked inside out as well as remains juicy and spiced.

Charcoal Grill – Google Images

The grilled pieces are placed onto the plates, one after another, succulent and inviting. The white fat noodle bars line up beside, waiting for their destiny. The vegetables and herbs add the green color to the plate, followed by bowls of golden sauce. My heart is enthralled by the moment when we sit down by the table. The smoke fills my heart with exhilaration. The sound of chopsticks clicks in the kitchen. The right smell fills up my nose. I am ready. It is ready.

It is hard to name the “side-kick” of the meal: the noodle, the meat, the veggie, or the sauce. The noodle is dull; the meat is greasy; the vegetable is bitter; and the sauce is unpleasant to eat alone. Magically, the combination of them is just perfect. The bland noodle is a white page for the spiced meat to draw on. Meanwhile, the freshness of the vegetable eases the harshness in the sauce. That moment when they all touch my tongue, I picture the meat’s explosive sweetness and grease, the noodle’s elegance, and the vegetables’ liveliness. Absorbed in them is the sauce that blends every taste together, making the greatest combination of all. Of course, the absence of any ingredients will not guarantee the dish’s quality. Teamwork makes the dream work, my mom would say. It also applies for the cooking process. My grandma prepares the ingredients, before my mom makes the fire and crafts the sauce. I conquer the meat challenge, while dad wakes up the garden to pick the freshest vegetable of the day. Afterwards, my brother voluntarily devotes his game time for making the neatest table of his life. We need no words; we are a well-trained team.

It never feels the same, though, to eat elsewhere. The pork is nice; the noodle is flawless; and the sauce is explosive as always. Yet, the nervousness, the excitement, and the warmth are never there. As I wait calmly for the dishes to be served, I feel nothing. The meal comes and goes. Deep down, I know that Bún Chả needs that team spirit to be complete.

Obama Eating Bun Cha in Hanoi

When president Obama visited Hanoi this year, he ate Bún Chả on an old-quarter restaurant. I bet it tasted good. Yet I should have invited him to taste the Bún Chả at my home, one that definitely surpasses every dish in Hanoi, definitely the most extraordinary dish in the world.

Study in Spain

by Karin Chipman, Study Abroad Coordinator

Downtown Madrid

In December, I had the pleasure of participating in a five-day Higher Education Workshop jointly sponsored by the Embassy of Spain -Trade Commission Miami and Eduespaña (Study in Spain).  This was a wonderful opportunity to meet with many institutions, visit numerous Spanish campuses, and learn more about what Spain can offer Chatham students.

The workshop began in the capital of Spain and its largest city, Madrid.  The first order of business was an official welcome from the US Embassy and the Spanish Trade Commission.  Next, over the course of long two days, along with study abroad professionals from thirteen other US schools, I met with institutions and language schools from all over Spain.   Each Spanish institution had twenty minutes to explain what makes their school unique and why Chatham students should study with them.

In the afternoons we toured local campuses in Madrid, including the Universidad Antonio de Nebrija (, which offers some unique English courses during summer and semester study  as well as a Spanish and internship option for a minimum of two months.

Universidad Antonio de Nebrija, Madrid

Midweek we traveled to Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city and the capital of the Catalonia region. There we visited several institutions, including the Universitat de Barcelona (, founded in 1450 by King Alfonso V.  Our group was lucky enough to visit the university’s Special Collections library and view rare and beautifully illustrated medieval texts.

Our group at the Universitat de Barcelona

On our last day in Catalonia we traveled south to Tarragona, a picturesque city from the Roman era, and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (  In addition to touring the city’s ancient ruins, we visited the university’s conservation laboratory and saw paleontological artefacts from their research sites in Spain and other parts of Europe and Africa.

Roman ruins in Tarragona

Obviously, Spain is a great location to learn or improve your Spanish. More and more, however, even if students haven’t studied Spanish, there are many opportunities to study various subjects in English.   As just a few examples:

At the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao (, students can study business, international relations, culture and Spanish language courses.

At the Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Seville (, students can study business, communications, science, and history in English, as well as study Spanish at every level.

And at CETT, the School of Tourism, Hospitality and Gastronomy of the Universitat de Barcelona (, courses are offered in English in culinary arts, business, leadership and sports management.

I studied in Spain myself when I was an undergraduate and the country was just as welcoming on this visit as when I was a student.  Spain is an affordable destination compared to most of Europe, Spanish people are very friendly and the food is delicious.  Do yourself a favor and study in Spain!

When will you study abroad?  For more information about studying in Spain or other study abroad options, study abroad vouchers, scholarships and the study abroad process, please contact or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

Summer 2017 study abroad – scholarships and opportunities in Ethiopia, Indonesia, the UK and Korea!

photo courtesy of Jacksonville University

In addition to the $1200 study abroad voucher (for all undergraduates) and the additional $1800 International Certificate funding (for students completing an International Certificate), there are several other generous study abroad scholarships and interesting funded opportunities available.  These include:

  • Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad, Ethiopia: Indigenous Wisdom & Culture. This is a funded program – for teachers, education students, and students studying Africa area studies. Application deadline for priority consideration is February 15.
  • The Bahrom International Program (BIP) at Seoul Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea. Program dates are June 26-July 21, 2017. This is a 3 credit program focusing on Korean language and culture. Chatham students pay an application fee of $300, airfare, and incidental costs. Applications are available through and are due April 15.

When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options, study abroad vouchers, scholarships and the study abroad process, please contact or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.