All posts by lphung

IIE and NAFSA events for International Education Week 2020

INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION (IIE) EVENTS

The Open Doors 2020 Data Release were released on November 16. Watch the VIDEO RELEASE here. Representatives from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education released findings from the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.

Thursday, Nov 19
Now More than Ever: DEI in Global Programming, 11:00am ET

IIE’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been central to our mission and we continue to practice and reaffirm that commitment in our programming throughout the world. Join a panel of IIE team members from across our global offices moderated by Mary Karam McKey, Head of IIE’s Corporate & Foundation Programs. Panelists will explore regional considerations around DEI as well as incorporating it into program design and implementation. Panelists and locations include:

  • Ethiopia Abebe, Lead, Ethiopia and Sub Saharan Africa (Addis Ababa)
  • Jonathan Lembright, Head, Southeast Asia (Bangkok)
  • Nichole Johnson, Director, Private Sector Program Development (NYC)
  • Evgenia Valuy, Lead, Evaluation and Learning (NYC)
  • Michelle Pickard, Director, Gilman International Scholarship Program (Houston)
  • Akta Sawhney, Senior Program Specialist (New Delhi)

Friday, Nov 20
Now More than Ever: Cultivating Leaders to Address Global Challenges, 11:00am ET

Exchange alumni contribute to society in positive ways and, shaped by their lived experiences, become leaders who are working to address the world’s most pressing challenges. Michelle Dass Pickard, IIE’s Director of the Gilman International Scholarship Program, will be joined by alumni of various leadership development and exchange programs who will discuss the need for these programs in light of current challenges, the importance of DEI in programs, and considerations to ensure that the benefit of the exchange experience does not end with the individual participant.

NAFSA INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION WEEK CAMPUS CONNECTION

Cost: $89 for non-members

More information here: https://www.nafsa.org/programs-and-events/nafsa-iew-campus-connection

Monday, November 16

Our Future: The Next Four Years, 1:00pm- 2:30pm ET
Examine the outcome of the 2020 U.S. election and how it will impact international education, diplomacy and engagement with the world.

Tuesday, November 17

Social Justice & International Education: Exploring the Intersections, 10:00am- 1:00pm ET

Wednesday, November 18

NAFSA Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization Presidential Panel and Award Recognition, 1:00pm-2:30pm ET
Recognize the achievements of the 2020 NAFSA Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization winners and join us for a live Presidential Panel.

Thursday, November 19

Perspectives on Engaging Today’s Students, 1:00pm ET

Friday, November 20

Fall 2020 NAFSA Research Symposium: A Critical Discussion of Theories, Methodologies, and Practices in International Education, 9:30am-1:30pm ET

Restricted and Expanded: Life During COVID-19

Dr. Linh Phung wrote this reflection to inspire her students to write their own reflection on their experience during COVID-19. She shares it here with the hope to hear more stories and reflections from others. 

Life-changing news came in droves in the week of March 9, 2020. Restrictions on gatherings were announced at the university earlier in the week. The IELTS workshop that I had spent so much time arranging was effectively cancelled. The much anticipated TESOL Convention, where thousands of English teachers would meet to share ideas and get inspired, was called off. On Thursday, after I finished teaching, I gathered my books and work computer to bring home, considering the high chance of not being able to return to work the following week. Then it all became clear on Friday, March 13. We were in “lockdown.” Every “non-essential” worker, not only at Chatham, but in many parts of the state, was ordered to stay at home. The daycare was closed, and my 18-month-old baby was also ordered to “shelter in place.” My husband and I congregated at home with laptops, monitors, and phones on the dining table, trying to work while the baby did everything but allow us to work. What just happened?

New COVID-related vocabularies broadcast on the air and though social media became everyday lingo: positive cases, contact tracing, social distancing, self-isolation, lockdown, and so on. Life had no choice but to go on, but in a much smaller and restricted manner in the physical space of home. In my English Language Program (ELP), some international students were recalled home while others were understandably disappointed with the move to virtual learning and physical confinement. “This is not the study-abroad experience that we signed up for” was the sentiment that many stated. The program carried on with 20 hours of English instruction on Zoom, offered conversation hours and games on Zoom, and gathered for the End-of-Term Celebration on Zoom. There were undoubtedly frustrations, challenges, and Zoom fatigue, but there were also highlights of what was inspiring and heart-warming as we came to terms with the new reality. One such highlight was what students wrote in their submissions to the ELP Writing Contest: words of hope, unity, care, and living life in the moment as well as the humor of “staring straight in the eyes” of the virus with a stern warning that “you can’t divide us.” All of these gave me the positive energy, going into another semester of virtual classes with the determination of making instruction better for students. There is no choice but to persist, is there?

End-of-Term Celebration

With students taking classes from four countries in vastly different time zones in the summer, the summer classes were challenging time-wise, yet diverse and exciting. Overall, I had a stellar group of students, and in the end, I think the semester was a success with students appreciating what they learned from the Reading course and the “Science of Wellbeing” course on Coursera that we were all enrolled in. To me, the “Happiness” course as we called it was a highlight of the summer as we learned about what really matters for our subjective happiness, the fallacies of our mind, and simple-to-understand-but-difficult-to-implement strategies to boost our happiness. Connecting with others, being kind to others, expressing gratitude, and focusing on the here-and-now are not only strategies supported by a large body of happiness research, but also, I think, ones that bring us together as social beings and help us look deeper into ourselves as individual beings. I’m still far from turning those strategies into sustainable habits, but I have some hope that by making these small changes,  I can better maintain my mental health and live a more meaningful life.

Being serious with other TESOL leaders

Now being well into the fall semester without any hope of Covid-19 going away anytime soon, I’ve also come to appreciate the silver linings of a world less restricted by physical barriers. Apart from teaching my usual lessons to college students, I have conducted countless virtual conversation hours for students of all ages. I’ve presented on Facebook live to nearly a thousand viewers. I’ve attended far more conference presentations than in any normal year. I talk with colleagues from all over the world on a weekly basis. I’m collaborating on research with friends and colleagues. I’ve found my professional life expanded. If happiness means having a pleasant life, an engaged life, and/or a meaningful life, I’m certainly having a more engaged work life and feeling good about it.

Fall 2020
The world is now hoping for a vaccine that can be efficiently distributed so that we can soon get back to our normal life: A life with concerts, gatherings, hugs, and kisses that no technologies can simulate. A life when we can go out to lunch with colleagues, visit places with students, and exchange small talks in hallways and on campus walks. However, I also wonder about the lasting impacts of the new ways of teaching, working, communicating, and conferencing during Covid on the future of my work and professional life. Some questions come to mind.
  • What elements of virtual teaching, assessment, and student services will likely stick around?
  • To what extent will university staff go back to work in the office and continue to telework?
  • What are the benefits and challenges of both options? What will encourage more productivity and engagement?
  • Will colleagues from near and far still gather to share ideas across borders or will we retreat back to our local networks?

Dare to make predictions? Please leave your comments!

An Unforgettable Experience with Chatham English Language Program

By Bich Ta, English Language Program Graduate

My best classmate Miku

My name is Bich Ta from Hanoi, Vietnam. I received a scholarship to study English virtually with the English Language Program at Chatham University in the Summer 2020 semester. I am now planning to do a Master’s Degree in Sustainability in Europe.

The 2020 Summer ELP semester at Chatham University truly expanded my horizon for many reasons. Firstly, I studied with two most enthusiastic teachers: Dr. Linh Phung and Prof. Sylvia Shipp.  They were excellent in pedagogical skills, and always supportive whenever I and my classmates needed help. Besides, I had a one-of-a-kind opportunity to make friends with people from different parts of the world namely Japan, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. During the semester, they were friendly and helpful to me. Even now, we still keep in touch to talk and study together.

Teamwork with my classmates

In addition, every course in the summer semester was immensely intriguing and useful, which helped me lay a solid foundation for studying academic subjects of my upcoming Master’s course. To be more specific, not only did I gain a deeper insight into American culture, but I was also guided to make appealing presentations, analyze scientific research, and do group projects. One thing I am extremely grateful for is that we studied together about the science of happiness. We all know that the emergence of Covid-19 has changed our lives enormously. And it’s so thoughtful that our teachers gave us the opportunity to find out how to improve our well-being, and learnt the fallacies of the human mind.

Let’s Talk Friday in my eyes

Last but not least, the Office of International Affairs at Chatham University provided us with a wide range of activities outside classes like Let’s talk Friday, Conversation Partner Program, and Kahoot Games. I joined most of the activities, and that was why I felt more confident to communicate with others in English. I’d also like to share good news that I recently achieved an IELTS score of 7.0, an improvement from my previous score after the summer program with Chatham.

Looking back at the whole summer semester, I have no regrets to invest time in studying with Chatham since I learnt many things both for my English skills and social knowledge. If I have a chance, I would definitely love to visit Chatham University one day as I was impressed about the beauty of the green and sustainable Campuses.

Flowers and a rabbit on Chatham campus – Photo taken by my friend Miku

I’m happy to make friends. So, if you want me to share more about my experience with Chatham, please feel free to connect me by email at Bich.Ta@Chatham.edu.

Let’s Talk Friday!

Between May 29 to July 24, 2020, the English Language Program at Chatham University organized and hosted eight virtual events open to students from all over the world. The topics of the events ranged from cities around the world, yoga and meditation, food and cuisine, and racism in the U.S. Participants had the opportunity to hear from not only all of the staff from the Office of International Affairs at Chatham University, but also guest speakers, including Ms. Sue Finegold and Dr. Randi Congleton. Especially, the participants enjoyed making connections, talking with one another in the Zoom breakout rooms, and playing Kahoot and Jeopardy games. We’d like to share some of the pictures and resources from the events below.

Let’s Talk Friday, July 24, 2020: Summer Experiences and More

Hosted by Ms. Kate Emory, Office of International Affairs

Let’s Talk July 24, 2020

Let’s Talk Friday, July 17, 2020: Storytelling

Hosted by Ms. Karin Chipman, Office of International Affairs

Ms. Karin Chipman led the students in the discussion of fictional stories and what makes a good story. Participants did some storytelling activities and learned more about parts of a fictional story and story transitions

Let’s Talk Friday: July 10, 2020: A Conversation with Dr. Randi Congleton about Racism and Other Social Justice Topics

Hosted by Dr. Linh Phung, Director of the English Language Program

Let’s Talk, July 10, 2020

Dr. Randi Congleton and the participants talked about the history of of racism in the U.S. and the recent social justice movements and issues, including:

  • Black Lives Matter
  • Black in the Ivory Tower
  • Say Her Name
  • DACA (Children of Undocumented Immigrants)
  • Dakota Access Pipeline
  • International Students in U.S Higher Education

Dr. Congleton also suggested the following additional resources:

  • Netflix Documentaries
    • 13th
    • Living Undocumented
    • When They See Us
  • Reading
    • An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States by: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
    • So You Want to Talk About Race by: Ijeoma Oluo
    • Between the World and Me by: Ta-nehisi Coates

Dr. Congleton is the Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Chatham University. Dr. Congleton has been at Chatham University for 3 years and has spent the past fourteen years advocating for inclusive excellence in higher education. Prior to coming to Chatham, Dr. Congleton was the Director of Multicultural Programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. She is a proud parent of a Fashion Design student and is a very proud alumna of The Pennsylvania State University, Michigan State University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When she is not enacting strategies for campus inclusion, Dr. Congleton can be found watching a great movie, cooking, relaxing with friends, or traveling.

Let’s Talk Friday: June 26,  2020: Jeopardy

Hosted by Ms. Sylvia Shipp, ELP Lecturer

Participants played a round of Jeopardy (based on the TV trivia game) and had a great time.

Let’s Talk Friday: June 19,  2020

Hosted by Ms. Kate Emory, Office of International Affairs

Participants talked about food and cuisine and recommended dishes from different countries.

Let’s Talk Friday: June 12,  2020

Hosted by Ms. Sylvia Shipp, ELP Lecturer

We had a blast playing skribbl.io together!

Participants talked and played the online Zoom/Skribbl.io game.

About skribbl.ioskribbl.io is a free multiplayer drawing game to play on your laptop. A game consists of 3 rounds. In each round someone must draw their chosen word and others have to guess it to gain points. The person with the most points at the end is the winner!

How to PlayWhen it’s your turn to draw, you choose a word from 3 options and draw that word in 80 seconds. When someone is drawing, you type your guess into the chat to get points. The faster you guess a word, the more points you get!

Here’s an example:

Let’s Talk Friday, June 5: A conversation with Ms. Sue Finegold

Hosted by Dr. Linh Phung, ELP Director

Let’s Talk Friday on June 5, 2020

Participants had the opportunity to hear from Ms. Sue Finegold, Chatham President’s wife and community Yoga instructor at Chatham. We practiced a breathing exercise and talked about how important exercising is for our physical and mental health.

Sue’s introduction:

Susan Finegold grew up in the north of England, near Manchester.  She studied English Literature at Oxford University, and then taught it in a sixth-form college (a school for students aged 16-19, as you might know from the Harry Potter books).  After she had moved to America and had two children, she retrained as a yoga teacher.  She teaches community classes at Chatham’s three campuses, and at some other places in the city.

Let’s Talk Friday: May 29,  2020: Cities Around the World

Hosted by Dr. Linh Phung, ELP Director

Participants visited the Chatham’s Shadyside campus before the event. They then shared a picture and some information about their home city. We concluded with a fun Kahoot game.

  • A virtual tour of Chatham’s campuses: https://chatham.edu/admission-and-aid/next-steps/virtual-tours.html
  • Read about the city of Pittsburgh: https://pittsburghpa.gov/pittsburgh/pgh-about

Connect and Care for Each Other: International Student Experiences in Spring 2020

Connect and Care for Each Other: International Student Experiences in Spring 2020

By Dr. Linh Phung, Director of the English Language and Pathways Programs

End-of-Program Celebration to students finishing their study-abroad program in February

Like any other academic programs at the University, the English Language Program, Chatham Semester, Pittsburgh Pathways, and other non-degree international programs in the Office of International Affairs (OIA) follow the predictable rhythm of orientation of new students, course registration, midterm exams, spring break, and final exams. We also have students leaving and arriving in late February, making the spring semester more eventful than other semesters because of greater student mobility and more welcome and graduation events. Spring 2020 had a similar rhythm, but, and it’s a big but, everything was also different after the University had to transition its instruction, services, and operations to the virtual space after March 13, 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

Farewell to Kobe and Kyoto Students in Late February 2020

We carried on with the ELP’s intensive English instruction (20 hours a week) in Zoom, offered conversation hours and games in Zoom, gathered for the End-of-Term Celebration in Zoom, and offered other usual services to international students virtually. There were undoubtedly Zoom fatigue, disappointments, and challenges, way beyond what this article can describe and the author of this article can understand, but there were also highlights of what was inspiring and heart-warming. The snapshot below was based on what some international students shared in conversations and their published essays in the OIA Blog.

To non-degree seeking international students who chose to study abroad at Chatham, studying in their dorm room or apartment separated from others in physical space, might, at times, have felt nothing like studying abroad. All the expressed desires to meet more people, make more friends, and see more places were put on hold. Some exchange and sponsored students were recalled to their country while others were faced with the difficult decision of remaining in their program or deferring to the following year. Some were worried about the cost of health care in the U.S. and whether they would get proper treatment in case they needed it. Even going grocery shopping in the midst of increased infection became a difficult decision. Focusing on classwork was harder and harder each day. Family worries added to the stress.

But then “Every cloud has a silver lining,” wrote Ohla Viun, a UGRAD student from Ukraine at Chatham in her essay receiving an honorable mention in the English Language Program Writing Contest in April, one of the best highlights of the spring 2020 term in the English Language Program. In this contest, students were encouraged to submit a writing in any format to bring joy and happiness to the readers. Ohla wrote about the “twists and turns” of receiving a UGRAD scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study abroad in the U.S., “an opportunity of a lifetime” for her; the overshadowing impact of Covid-19; and her sudden return to home where, ironically, Covid-19 was also a hard reality. However, with the passion for learning, she was determined to find happiness and exert control over the situation by focusing on her studies and enrolling herself in even more online courses. To her, “the stronger the wind blows, the tougher the tree has to be.”

Other essays showcase the students’ humor, gratitude, strength, and resilience. Abdulaziz Alkashi (Honorable Mention) writes a letter to the Coronavirus with a warning that it can’t “win against us,” but will make us “connect and care for each other” more. Lila Usquiano (Honorable Mention) is committed to living in the moment despite the distractions of this unprecedented time. Saffanah Moualla (Third Prize) expresses her appreciation for a tree that, during her one year living near it, provided her with pleasantness and fragrance of nature, a tree that also symbolizes “strength, pleasantness, and stability of all seasons.” Miku Nishii (Second Prize) describes her fabulous partner, who was given to her by her friend, which turns out to be a stuffed animal. Size Li (Second Prize) writes a stand-up comedy about his experience as an international student this past semester and humorously jokes about how wonderful his family was when they sent him an article about “How to arrange a funeral in the U.S.” Bothainah Sharrofnah (First Prize) writes about the everyday compromises, melancholy, daydreaming, and imagination of the day when things are back to normal with the knowledge that “this too shall pass.” All of what we are going through shall pass, and even the normal days we will eventually get back shall pass.

All these wonderful essays are posted on the OIA Blog, and they truly brought joy to us, teachers and the students’ classmates, who read them. We are proud of ELP students and other international students’ contributions to the Chatham community. To celebrate, like any other semesters, we gathered for the End-of-Term Celebration and talked about the semester, said farewell to students who completed their studies at Chatham, and presented students with certificates and awards. We all agreed that the motto for us moving forward is “This Too Shall Pass” with the commitment to continuing to do good work in English language learning and teaching and international education.

End-of-Term Celebration, April 2020

In fact, without the limitation of geographies, we took advantage of the virtual delivery format to deliver international conversation hours and presentations that engaged not only Chatham students, but also local residents and students currently located in other countries. These include a conversation hour that involved students in playing a competitive Kahoot game about American culture. Interestingly, a young Vietnamese student who has not been to the U.S. won the game, which made him sort of “gloat” in front of other students.

Conversation Hour, March 23, 2020

Another conversation hour had Dr. Natasha Garrett from La Roche University talk about her essay Common Ground with the participants. We talked about finding a common ground with our family through food, gardening, and the mundane conversations that we sometimes take for granted.

Conversation Hour with Dr. Natasha Garrett

After the semester ended, Dr. Linh Phung and Ms. Shipp gave a presentation with suggestions on how students can improve their English speaking skills. The presentation was hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, livestreamed on Facebook , and attracted over 26,000 views. We were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm to learn English among the participants and viewers in Vietnam and glad to share our knowledge and experience.

Presentation to Vietnamese Students Through EducationUSA Hanoi

Moving into the summer semester, which starts on May 22 with students taking classes virtually from the U.S., Japan, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, the ELP and OIA plan to continue to offer meaningful programming to its students and engage with the wider world through:

Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/chathamoia) or OIA Blog (www.blogs.chatham.edu/oia) for more information about these programs. Email internationalaffairs@chatham.edu if you’d like to be added to an email list about upcoming events or if you have questions. We are looking forward to staying engaged and connected in the summer and fall 2020 terms.

Summer International Programs

Chatham English Language Program is delighted to announce opportunities for international students to join our special courses and activities from May 26 to July 31 right from home. More information about how you can register for these will be updated in this post soon. Please check this post again if you’re interested.

  1. Learn English Through TV Shows

Sign up for 9 weekly workshops on Learning English Through TV Shows from May 29 to July 31. Students will watch several episodes from a TV show chosen by the instructor before each live workshop. During the workshop they will discuss the content, learn new idioms and expressions, and practice conversational skills. At the end of the course, they will perform a “show” that they create with other students. The workshop time will be every Friday, 8-8:50am US Eastern Time except Friday, July 3.

Cost to register for all 9 workshops: $100

Register and pay by credit card HERE.

2. Pronunciation and Public Speaking

Sign up for 9 weekly workshops on Pronunciation and Public Speaking from May 26 to July 31. Before each workshop, students will prepare a short speech to deliver in class and get feedback from peers and the instructor. The instructor will help the students to improve their speeches through more effective pronunciation and other delivery techniques. The workshop time will be every Friday, 9-9:50am, U.S. Eastern Time, except Friday, July 3.

Cost to register for 9 workshops: $100

Register and pay by credit card HERE.

3. Virtual International Conversations and Guest Speeches

We will offer free conversation hours and guest speeches every Friday from 10-11am, U.S. Eastern Time, except Friday, July 3. Students will have opportunities to hear from a guest speaker and engage in conversations with the speaker and other international students. There will also be online games and fun activities.

Cost: Free

Links to register for the conversation hours will be available later here.

My Fabulous Partner

By Miku Nishii, ELP Student

April 2020

Miku wrote this essay for the English Language Program Writing Contest to bring joy and happiness to the readers. She won the Second Prize in the contest. Congrats, Miku!

Who is your partner? I have a partner by my side right now because it is unusual in my case. He always stays with me, so I can feel relaxed in my room. One day we had a fateful encounter.

It was last summer when we met. I was not interested in him at first. However, I found that he was very attractive. He was so cute and lovely; however, he was my friend’s. I really wanted him after I was fascinated by him.

Last fall, I asked my friend to give him to me. She hesitated to give her answer. After a moment, she decided to give him to me because I was supposed to study abroad this year. She thought that if she gives him to me, I would not feel lonely even when I am in the US. I was glad to hear that.

Now, he plays an important role for me. He is always soft and fluffy. He always makes me smile. His name is Stitch, and actually, he is a stuffed animal. I am so happy he is close to me. Thank you, Stitch!

All and Nothing

By Size Li, Pittsburgh Pathways Student

April 2020

“Size wrote an essay that won the Second Prize in the English Language Program Writing Contest. The students in the program were encouraged to submit a writing that will bring joy and happiness to the readers. They all wrote theirs in a very short period of time and did a wonderful job!”

“Those who don’t have time for entertainment, their time will be spent on getting sick.”

—— John Wanamaker

My name is Size, so most people just call me [saɪz]. Actually, it is pronounced more like [si:zə], but I will not ask people to call me “Caesar” since I am neither an emperor nor an ape. As an international student, improving my English level is my main task, and expanding vocabulary is the most important part of it. However, many words look very similar: open the book: Contact; close the book: Contract? Contrast? Or Context?; open the book again: Oh, it is Contact, I got it. But during the exam: I am sure it is Contest. After I entered the US, I found it was easier than I thought: I only needed to take a flight and a nap; when I woke up, I had already arrived in the US. So what is the purpose to build a wall on the border of the country? I come from China; I am sure it is useless because nobody knows about the wall better than I do.

I made many friends on campus. They come from different countries, and they taught me many things: not every Japanese is bashful, not every Russian likes to drink, and not every Muslim is violent. My adviser also gave me many good proposals. She recommended me take the American politics class, which helped me to learn a lot: the core of politics and culture in America, the conflicts among different social classes, and the first “F” in my life. I used to think politics was easy because in China we only needed to remember: “Communist Party is the best.” However, I changed my mind after attending the American policy class. These are my Q&A in class:

Q: What is the First Amendment?

A: Is it the reason why people can discriminate against others online?

Q: What is the Second Amendment?

A: Is it the reason why people do not discriminate against others in reality?

I thought I answered pretty well, but unfortunately, the instructor did not think so.

There are many things that have happened since the COVID-19 has spread around the world: China was affected first, Britain adopted the appeasement policy, Germany plundered the surrounding countries, Japan postponed the Olympics and America is having an economic depression after World War II. Moreover, people need to make their choices: civil rights, or civil lives, that is the question. Whether it is nobler: in the mind to suffer the loneliness and emptiness of quarantine or to go out against a lockdown order? For now, both options are similar: go to a mental hospital or an ICU.

Despite most countries were chaotic right now, most universities are reliable because knowledge has no borders. 190 universities around the world have opened many distinctive and interesting courses free for people to study online. For example, MIT introduced Engineering the Space Shuttle, Keio University provided Exploring Japanese Avant-garde Art Through Butoh Dance, and Tsinghua University gave us a big present: Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New era. I am tired of socialism or Chinese characteristics, but if Harvard University opened a course named Trump’s Experience on Racism with American Characteristics, I would like to attend.

Now, I have a very nice family. Every time I go back to China, they will welcome me and say: “We miss you so much, sweetheart!” Moreover, when I return to America, my family will also “bless” me: “Get away and never come back you little buster!” At the beginning of the epidemic, they told me they were fine and did not worry about them. When the US began to have cases, they comforted me and sent me many supplies. After my air ticket was canceled and the situation in the US became worse, they did not say anything but shared with me this article: How to Arrange a Funeral in the US. How wonderful family they are!

In the end, what can you get from my writing? Nothing, indistinct complaints, experiences of an international student, criticisms of reality, or differences in the world. It does not matter right or wrong because there are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes. I just wrote all the things I wanted, and I hope they can bring you a little bit of entertainment under this difficult time.

This Too Shall Pass

By Bothainah Sharrofnah, English Language Program Student

April 2020

Beth wrote a winning essay for the English Language Program Writing Contest. Students in the program were encouraged to submit a writing to bring joy and happiness to the readers. They all wrote this in a very short period of time.

Spring 2020 Before Social Distancing

You wake up every day in the hope of getting good news. You check your phone. Your family is worried, and things are getting worse. You decide to make your favorite breakfast, but you notice that you don’t have all the ingredients for it. You compromise. Then, you wonder if you should go out to buy groceries. Should I risk getting sick or should I stay home until I desperately need groceries, you ask yourself. You want to do things and to accomplish things, but everything seems stressful. You miss the streets, your friends and somehow, you even miss school. Though, this too shall pass.

One day, you will again make plans to go out with your friends. You will wear your favorite outfit that you’ve been saving all these times. You will step out of your house and take a deep breath of fresh air. You deserve it. The sun is out and you’re feeling like the king of the world. The streets are busy. People are laughing, shaking their hands and hugging, even those who are not usually huggy people, just because they finally can. You finally see your friends again. They are all happy and excited to go to the same restaurants that you all used to be so sick of, but surprisingly, you all miss it so much. You miss the waiter that you didn’t like before. You miss the smell of the restaurant that you used to despise. You miss the tables that are slightly crooked and made you so angry before. But you miss it all, and you’re finally going to live all of that again. This too shall pass.

You’re finally stress-free again. Your family is safe. Your friends are safe. Most importantly, you are safe. You once again decide to work on your hobbies now that you have no stress. You feel a sense of euphoria. You got your control back. Everything is back to normal. You know that tomorrow is going to be a great day. You know that you can visit your grandma who you haven’t seen for a long time. She’s safe and healthy. You can finally give her a hug with zero worries. You feel the warmth. This too shall pass.

You open your eyes, and all of this is a distant memory, vague. Everything is back to normal. Everybody is back to their jobs and schools. You wake up and make your favorite breakfast as usual. The streets are too loud that you miss the quiet again. You rest your eyes and wonder: did that all happen or was it all a dream? You smile and get ready to live your uneventful life that you appreciate so much. This too shall pass.

Virtual Conversation Hour with Dr. Natasha Garrett

Please join a Virtual Conversation Hour hosted by Chatham English Language Program to discuss the topics of gardening, food, family life, and finding a “Common Ground” with Dr. Natasha Garrett.

Speaker: Dr. Natasha Garrett, Writer, Translator, Director of International Student Services at La Roche University

Host: Dr. Linh Phung, Director of the English Language and Pathways Programs at Chatham University

Topic: Common Ground: Gardening, Food, and Family

Date: Friday, April 10, 2020

Time: 9am-10am US Eastern Standard Time

Registration link: https://chatham.zoom.us/meeting/register/upErduqpqzgiQBagSG4VmNxwg1nvEH-Lqg

Description: If you ask an immigrant what they miss most about home, they will likely say: the food! In this interactive session, Natasha will discuss her essay Common Ground, in which she writes how gardening connected her with her own family members and her ancestral roots. It will also give participants a sneak peek into everyday life in the U.S. and share about theirs. Participants are encouraged to read her essay Common Ground published in her Motherlands book before the session: https://www.gravelmag.com/natasha-garrett.html

Speaker’s bio: Natasha Garrett was born and raised in Macedonia and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She came to the U.S. as an international student. She is a writer and a translator whose work has appeared in numerous national and international publications. She works at La Roche University as a director of international student services and an adjunct professor.

Apple pie