Category Archives: Reflection

Ohiopyle State Park

by Kylie Fletcher, OIA Student worker

On this past Sunday, I went with my family to Ohiopyle. Ohiopyle is a small riverside town that many people in (especially) Southern Pennsylvania visit during late Spring to late Fall. There’s a very long trail nearby, small shops that sell different frozen desserts and handmade products, a visitor center that doubles as a gift shop and museum, and rental places for whitewater rafting and biking. Often, people spend the day there and bring a picnic lunch to share with friends or family by the river. My family lives close by, about a 30-minute drive away, so we go rather often during the summer. Usually, my grandfather won’t let us go swimming in the water, no one is really sure why, but this year my siblings, cousin, and I waded in the river that runs through Ohiopyle.

Ohiopyle Falls 2018

My smallest cousins waded in the water near the riverbank, since they weren’t allowed to go farther. I watched my siblings and my other, older cousin, so we went out much farther into the water. It was freezing but refreshing in the recent heat. There are also a lot of dogs that swim and play catch in the water. Dogs who come to Ohiopyle are usually really friendly, several immediately made me pet them when I let the dogs sniff my hands. My family saw a husky who was afraid of the water and refused to go deeper than its ankles in the water and my siblings, cousin, and I saw another family with three puppies who looked like they were in the water for the first time. One of them was really excited to be in the water so the puppy was hopping in the shallow end of the river where we were. Going to Ohiopyle reminds me of the theory a lot of people have that most people’s dogs look like their owners. Most of the people I saw had dogs that looked and/ or acted really similar to their families, i.e. smaller, energetic dogs tended to be with active petite people, and greyhounds were with people that looked, like a greyhound, very very thin. I always think it’s funny to compare how a dog looks compared to their family.

When I was small, I used to get ice cream with my family after walking on the trails, but I found that I’m allergic to milk. This past trip to Ohiopyle, I saw that there was a frozen yogurt shop, which also had sorbet. Sorbet is basically a frozen fruit puree, which I always find more refreshing than ice cream when it’s hot anyway. There’s about six or seven different stores that sell ice cream, which is a lot considering they’re all in such a little town. There’s a few different stores that sell handmade jams and candy. I usually like looking around at the falls and river more than at the shops.

The waterfall area of Ohiopyle is a short walk away from the riverbank most people swim in. Obviously, visitors are not allowed to swim in the falls area of the river, though there is whitewater rafting renting services. I don’t think I’ve ever seen whitewater rafters at the falls, which I find different since I used to live near a waterfall where there would be a lot of people riding the falls in small boats. I think at Ohiopyle, though, the lack of people actually in the water makes it more beautiful since you can see the natural beauty of the water.

Kylie Fletcher is a senior at Chatham, majoring in Media Arts: Graphic Design and Cultural Studies. Kylie works in the Office of International Affairs.

 

 

Reflection: Chatham Field Experience – Berlin, Germany

By Melanie Landsittel, OIA Student worker

During the first two weeks of May, 2018, I was able to attend Chatham’s short term field experience program in Berlin and Brussels and in the following post I will describe my experience in Berlin.

To me, Berlin is an extremely livable city. Its wide open spaces, rivers, and abundance of public green space are unlike any other place. Getting around is easy with the subway and tram system as well. Another great thing about it is the food—there is a huge variety of what you can eat in Berlin, and most of it is great, like New-York level food.

The above picture is me, being touristy and taking a picture by the Brandenburg gate. The area we stayed in, in general, was a bit touristy, but it really wasn’t too crowded which I was impressed by.

Here you can see what I mean by open spaces. This picture also shows how clean of a city Berlin is, it’s extremely impressive. For those of you who haven’t visited Europe, you may be surprised to know that most public bathrooms here, and in other cities around the continent, charge 50 cents to 1 euro on average to use the public restroom.  This may seem a little bizarre, but… honestly it’s kind of worth it because they are so clean!

On this field experience, we had several opportunities to visit sites related to German history. One of these is pictured above—The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. It was really a sobering experience, the tour guide described the structure to us as a “geometry of terror.” I didn’t quite get what he meant until I glanced out this window—the whole structure is enclosed in a giant triangular wall, the rows of camps forming semicircles facing the gate. It was quite jarring to look at, and to contemplate what had taken place here. It’s kind of beyond words for me.

We also visited the Stasi Archives. These were where the East German secret police kept their files on citizens. An estimated 51% of the East German population was associated with the Stasi in some way, as official or unofficial spies, according to our tour guide. She recounted to us a story about a woman whose husband had been spying on her for years and she had no idea. Nowadays, citizens of the former East Germany can request that their file be released, but the average processing time is about 2 years. When I think about it, I’m not sure if I would want my file or not—imaging finding out that one of your parents or sibling had been giving the Stasi your private information!

On a lighter note, we also took a short bus ride to the city of Potsdam to visit the castles of old Prussian kings, as well as the offices of the Potsdam conference. The castle pictured above, Sans Souci (Without Worry) was the home of Fredrick the Great King of Prussia… and his 11 greyhounds. He loved these dogs so much, he had them buried next to him on the grounds of the castle.  Potsdam is quite the gem of a city—I highly recommend taking the time to visit!

In our free time, we were able to roam around the city, using our transit pass for the subway and the tram. Berlin is very large with so much to do, so we didn’t have any trouble keeping ourselves busy. One treasure that we stumbled upon was the Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm Zentrum, the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin Library. Pictured above is a view of the library’s astounding architecture—this style is characteristic of the Bauhaus movement in Germany, which is also very popular in the United States! Many famous Bauhaus artists moved to the USA to escape WWII.

On our last night in Berlin, a group of us managed to buy tickets to the Berlin Philharmonic. This was an amazing experience, especially as a fan of classical music, it’s probably the most famous orchestra hall in the world. We saw a group from Berlin University of the Arts’ rendition of Mahler 9—it was absolutely incredible.

As far as Berlin goes, there’s plenty to do to experience the culture, enjoy yourself, and learn about German history.

Tschüss! (It means bye, people didn’t really say Auf Wiedersehen)

Melanie Landsittel is a senior at Chatham, majoring in Visual Arts: with a double concentration in Studio Art and Art History. Melanie works in the Office of International Affairs.

Interested in study abroad? Contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu to find out about options available!

Fulbright Reflections – Taiwan

by Karin Chipman, Study abroad coordinator

For two weeks in March 2018, I was privileged to visit Taiwan as a grantee on a Fulbright International Education Administrator (IEA) seminar, and enjoyed beautiful weather, excellent food and meaningful cultural exchange with our hosts from the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan).  Our itinerary included visits to a variety of universities, from large research-oriented institutions to smaller schools focused on language learning and liberal arts.

On Elephant Mountain, overlooking Taipei 101

Along with the ten other international education administrators on the seminar, we met with government officials at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Taiwan Fulbright Alumni Association and the Taitung County government.  We had many wonderful meals and cultural experiences including the Fulbright Research Workshop with a special keynote speaker, none other than Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan.

Fulbright Taiwan IEA grantees at Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung

I was fortunate to visit two of Chatham’s Taiwanese partners during the seminar.  At Tamkang University in New Taipei City, we were greeted by the Office of International Affairs and a friendly group of student ambassadors ready with their umbrellas to shield us from the rain (that happily did not materialize).   As we walked up the promenade of the beautiful campus with flowers and greenery toward the library, the student ambassadors oriented us to campus and told us about student life at Tamkang University.  The campus was busy with a student run marketplace in full swing along our walk.  At Tunghai University in Taichung, we met with the International Office, enjoyed an informative video and presentation that included tasting the ice cream made at the university farm. Afterwards, we enjoyed a sunny campus tour and a visit to the Chinese Language Center.  There were many people enjoying the weather and the beautiful surroundings, including the iconic Luce Memorial Chapel, designed by I.M. Pei. This is an impressive structure with a peaceful environment for reflection and contemplation.

With international coordinator Doris Tsai, at Tungai University, Luce Chapel in background

The seminar included meetings with several Fulbright US student program grantees in Taiwan.  We visited three schools where English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) were placed.  I enjoyed talking to the Fulbright researchers and ETAs regarding their experience in Taiwan.  For any graduate or soon to be graduate looking for a wonderful experience conducting research, studying or teaching English for a year, I’d encourage you to apply for a Fulbright grant in Taiwan.

Fulbright ETA in action in elementary school in Yilan

Students who are seeking an exciting and safe study abroad destination should definitely consider Taiwan. Beyond Chatham’s partner institutions and many wonderful centers for learning Mandarin, there are institutions with programs taught in English in every academic area.  My Fulbright experience confirmed for me that Taiwan is a destination that can work for a variety of students’ needs. Taiwan is a beautiful country with modern conveniences, like excellent public transportation in cities, and the high-speed train for easy travel north to south. And the food is delicious!  Taiwan holds a wealth of incredible treasures for US students to explore further.

For more information on studying in Taiwan or applying for a Fulbright grant, please contact me at kchipman@chatham.edu or internationalaffairs@chatham.edu. Visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

Celebrating Diversity During International Education Week

What does diversity mean to you?

We asked Chatham University students, faculty, and staff this question, together with questions about where they are from or have been to and what languages they speak. The majority of the students who answered the questions are international students taking language courses offered by the English Language Program and Modern Languages Program, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. The answers showcase the diversity of places, languages, and cultures that makes Chatham University a great place that it is. Enjoy the word clouds and different takes on diversity below!

Places mentioned

 

Antarctica was mentioned because it was the only continent Professor Galford and Dean Motley haven’t been to.

Languages spoken

If you’d like to share your thoughts, please send an email to Linh Phung, Director of English Language and Pathway Programs and Member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council: lphung@chatham.edu.

Name Major/Position Places Languages What diversity means
Abdelaziz Bagabas Geomatics Saudi Arabia, Egypt, England, and Indonesia Arabic, English “Diversity means respect and learn culture disparately around the world.”
Abduleh Al Ghanmi ELP Saudi Arabia, US Arabic, English “It means to me learning something new from different people or culture. It means to me how I can improve myself.”
Abdullah Almatairi Electricity Technician Riyadh, US Arabic, English “I have one language which is the language Arabic. I visit the USA because I study language English.”
Ahmir Allen Creative Writing/Film Pittsburgh English, Spanish, Japanese “Diversity is about open-mindedness and inclusivity. In a diverse environment people can feel accepted without a fear that someone will view them as “less than” or understanding of their basic human rights.”
Alex Ferrer Policy Studies, Graphic Design Las Vegas English, Spanish, German “Diversity to me is the acceptance of different cultures in a community. Once this happens, people expose themselves to different lifestyle and become more diverse.”
Allison Love Human Biology Pittsburgh English “Diversity is being able to bring people together from different backgrounds or cultures. Realizing the differences between others and accepting them and celebrating them.”
Ameerah Almarawani ELP Saudi Arabia, US English, Arabic “Identify the cultures of society. Communicate with new friends. Communicate with my family. Gain language.”
Arief Zulkifli International Studies Malaysia, U.S., Dubai English, Malay Diversity means the presence of various things. In a general context, I would associate diversity with the inclusion of many people from various backgrounds/ genders. However, diversity could simply be the range of something.
Asami Nabeshima English Literature/ Junior Japan Japanese, English “I think diversity is to have to do something with people who have different culture, so we should understand and respect other culture each other.”
Bholika Kothiya Healthcare Administration/ ELP India Hindi, English “Diversity means variety. It is understanding between two cultures.”
Brian Harr Biochemistry Derry, PA English “Diversity literally means having variety. To me, diversity means being accepted in each aspect, regardless of how much it may differ from others.”
Chris Musick AVP, Office of International Affairs Yorktown, IN English, Japanese “The beautiful differences in thought, perception, and worldview gathered in one place working toward a common goal without conflict.”
Christine Emerick Counseling Psychology Halifax, PA. Traveled to many different states, including Arkansas, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. English “Diversity means various people with different backgrounds coexisting in an area. Diversity also allows for conversations to be had between different people and allows us to learn something new, if we are willing to learn.”
Chika Kitagishi English Literature Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong Chinese, Korean, Japanese, English “It is something broadening any perspectives.”

 

Curran O’Neill Media Arts Pittsburgh English, (some) Japanese “Diversity is a vast number of people from different races/ ethnicities/ sexualities/ genders/ classes/ etc. A group of people that don’t all share the same character traits.”
Cymon Butler Graphic Design U.S. English, Spanish, Japanese, French, German “What diversity means to me is multiple groups of people converging together, with none in particular standing out. There are different ways of thinking and backgrounds, but everybody is accepting of one another.”
Daria Montgomery Psychology Russia, Chicago, Pittsburgh English, French “Being diverse, to me, means having people of all walks of life having an equal chance to be heard and respected. We all come from different places, were born into different circumstances, were raised different ways, and so should take that to find a middle ground that we can all stand on.”
Darlen Motley Dean, School of Arts, Science and Business PA, NY, Chicago, Atlanta, VA, visited all continents except Antarctica English, Basic Spanish “Diversity and inclusion means respect and appreciation of values and culture of all peoples.”
Ding-Wei Linh Chatham Semester Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, U.S., Canada Chinese, English “We don’t want to be the same, but we want to understand each other.”
Dori Cawley Media Arts Newport, RI, USA English, Japanese (learning now), Spanish, can read Hebrew “Diversity means that you are surrounded by people of different ethnicities and cultures. It also means that you want to better your understanding of the world.”
Duncan Eisen-Slade Sustainability Born-Scranton, PA; raised-Mt. Pleasant, SC; Living-Pittsburgh, PA English “An environment of rich cultural expressions and a variety of opportunities and communities. Not living in a mirror chamber. An environment of many different types of people.”
Elena Woodworth Sustainability Pittsburgh, PA English “Diversity means having a group with all different people of race, socio-economic status, religion, sexuality, gender, language, cultural background, and any other differences. It means having those differences, but having respect and appreciation for those who are different from you. It also means wanting know and understand those differences.”
Erika Nankawa Bioscience (in Japan) and ELP (in the U.S.) Japan Japanese, English “I think that different food from country to another is diversity. I think that different color of skin is diversity. I think that different education system and different languages is diversity. “
Faisal  Information Management Systems Saudi Arabia, USA, UK, UAE Arabic, English “Different cultures, opinions, and perspectives coming together.”
Fernando Soriano Biology-Environmental Science The United States of America English (primary, fluent); Spanish (secondary, roughly fluent) “Diversity is a pre-emptive step to achieving a larger goal: equality. Diversity itself means nothing if no constructive steps are taken to assist the needs and inequalities of non-dominant identities/classes.”
Gregory Galford Educator, Architect Grew up in rural West Virginia. Lived in Philadelphia, London, New York City. Have visited every continent except Antarctica. Bucket list. Can read road signs and menus in 3-4 languages “Diversity means willingness to listen and learn from those who live and think differently.”

 

Hana Education Techniques Saudi Arabia-Jeddah. Immigrates UAE Arabic, Indonesia, English.  
Hannah Hutton Undecided Bethel Park, PA English, Spanish “The presence and acceptance of those who are from different backgrounds and cultures. It can also be the incorporation of various traditions from those cultures in everyday life.”
Hasnah Alghamdi History Arabic, English “Languages, cultures, personal, customs and traditions”
Heather Sekeres Biology & Sustainability Brookville, Pennsylvania English, some German, and some Spanish “Support and acceptance of people from all walks of life. Each person is valuable and without any one of us the world would be a little less beautiful.”
HongChing Cheung Accounting Hong Kong, Pittsburgh Cantonese, English, Japanese “Diversity means being in an environment surrounded by a large range of people that may include people from different countries, race, age, gender. Diversity involves with interactions and relations with others who are different.”
Hyemi Economics Korea Korean, English “There are many kinds of diversity such as age, gender, religion, ethnicity, and race, etc. Studying in America, these days. I think about race diversity more. People have to recognize and respect the diversity, but there is still some discrimination based on race.”
Jade Miley Sustainability Born in China. Grew up in US English, a little bit of Mandarin “Knowing what life and cultures are like to people in other countries and/or cultures. Being aware of what is going on in the world other than just your own country/culture.”

 

Jake Reed Criminology Ontario, Canada English and French “Diversity means having different people all from a different backgrounds. It means having a group of people where not one person is the same as the next.”
Jake Rideaw Communications Potomac, MD English and French “Having people of different backgrounds coming together to coexist harmoniously in society, regardless of gender, race, and religion. People are able to come together to form strong bonds with one another.”
Johnny Artinger Exercise Science Pittsburgh English “Diversity is what makes everyone different from one another. We all come from diverse backgrounds making us different in our own unique way.”
Jordan Annarumo Human Biology Ellwood City, PA English “Diversity is when our population is represented by more than just Americans. To be diverse you embrace cultures and customs from other nations.”
Justin McCloskey Sustainability California, Pennsylvania English, Japanese “Diversity to me means the mixing of different cultural traits and aspects into one purpose or event.”
Juyeon Shim  English Language and Literature S. Korea Korean, English “(Maybe) in cultural way, because of the diversity, I can learn many culture at once and experience others. Diversity is good to get along with others and experience many things than I expected.”
Karun Lelahuta English Language Program Thailand, Bangkok Thai, Japanese, English “The people from different background, such as culture, country, language, etc. Live in the same place and shared their experience together.”
Kazuki Tarumi English Literature/ Chatham Semester Osaka, Japan Japanese, English, Chinese “People from different countries come together.”
Kelsey Calamaro Human Biology Florida English “Diversity has a common meaning to me, it means different. This is not something bad, even though some people may make it seem that way. Diversity is intriguing, new and educating because you never know what you might learn from an entity that is diverse.”
Kimara Bernard Architecture Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Been to a lot of countries besides the United States French, English, Creole, Spanish “To me, there is a lot of meaning for Diversity. The fact that we all have different beliefs, languages, ethnicity, that we have our own culture .And all that makes us ourselves makes us diverse.”
Kiyo Irie Environmental Bioscience/ Junior Japan Japanese, English “Diversity is learning other cultures and; languages to me. I think the goal of diversity is understanding each culture.”
Kylie Fletcher Cultural Studies/ Graphic Design Born in West Virginia, US. Grew up in Okinawa, Japan and New Mexico, US. English, Japanese, French “To me, having diversity means having a space with a number of different identities and cultures (race, ability, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc.) that co-exist with one another. Diversity should be met with respect for other cultures.”
Laramie Ball Psychology New York State, USA A little bit of Spanish and Japanese “Equal respect and representation for all people regardless of who they are, where they are from, and what they believe. A celebration of these differences, and that these differences are not pushed down, but uplifted.”
Linh Phung Director, English Language and Pathway Programs Vietnam, State College, Pittsburgh. Visited Brazil, Canada, and Malaysia English, Vietnamese, Basic French. Learned some Spanish. Learning Chinese We were born with different characteristics and into different circumstances, resulting in different experiences and opportunities in life. Understanding differences also means understanding shared humanity.
Liz Peace Psychology Pittsburgh English, Japanese “Diversity means celebrating everyone’s differences. By understanding what makes everyone unique and being open-minded, we can all learn a lot.”
Liz Romano Music Cape Cod, Massachusetts English and French “Diversity is being different, but is also celebrating these differences.”
Maha Al Humaidi ELP Student Saudi Arabia Arabic, English “Diversity means for my knowledge and learn new language. I can communicate with another person.”
Maha Aloufi ELP Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Britain, America, France Arabic, English, beginner French “More diversity, I see, the more happy I feel. People from all around the world share different culture with each other.”
Marina Razgarina  ELP Lecturer Grew up in Russia. Visited Turkey, England, France, Ukraine, and Canada Russian, English, Turkish (Int), French (low int) “It means appreciation for other cultures, religion, traditions. It means sharing what’s good about our cultural identities. It means tolerance and open-mindedness. It means losing preconceived notions about other cultures.”
Marissa Wightman Human Biology California English “Diversity means to have varying qualities within oneself and others. I think diversity also means to be unique.”
Megan Simda Early Education Virginia, West Virginia, and Ellwood City English and learning French “Diversity means living in a world where everybody is able to bring something different to the table. Because everyone’s unique cultural background and attributes. Diversity makes the world a better place for everyone.”
Meier Parr Exercise Science Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania English “Diversity means being a part of, and appreciating, multiple cultures.”
Mina Hogsett ELP Teacher From West Virginia, US, Lived in Palestine/ Israel, Finland, South Korea, and Kenya. Visited 29 countries total. English, Arabic “To me, diversity is when different people, perspectives and emergent ideas may share a space together where listening, respect and curiosity overshadow fear and conflict”
Mitra MBA/ ELP Iran Farsi/ Persian, English “Diversity is defined as differences. For me, it means variation between people and society. We can see a lot of diversity in the U.S., which is amazing.”
Monica Snyder International Studies (focus in Latin America) and Policy Studies Pittsburgh Portuguese, English, French (intermediate), Spanish “Diversity to me means including everyone. Making others feel welcomed at all times is also very important.”
Nagisa Fujimoto Chatham Semester Japan Japanese, English “Diversity means various ideas and cultures in each country and acknowledging them.”
Naomi Saenz Chemistry Pittsburgh. Grew up in Mexico English, Spanish, and some French “Different ethnicities, race, languages, and cultures living in the same community.”
Natsuki Sakagami English Literature/ Chatham Semester Japan Japanese, Chinese, English “To know new things and accept them.”
Nayu Hattori International Studies Kobe, Japan. Been to Hawaii, Guam, California Japanese, English “Diversity for me: People respect everyone, and accept everyone no matter their age, the gender, the place raised or born, the nationality and any other things.”
Noriko Sasaki English Literature/ Chatham Semester Japan Japanese, English, a little German “Everyone has a right to live freely. Everyone should not be limited about anything.”
Rumi Horibe English Literature/ Chatham Semester Japan Japanese, English “Japan, America, ect.”
Sabrina Cheng Undecided Pittsburgh Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese Chinese, English and currently learning Japanese “Diversity is surrounding yourself with many different types of people. Diversity covers religion, opinion, sexuality, nationality, age, etc. and it’s important for everyone to be exposed to different point of views.”
Seina Maeda  English Japan Japanese, English “It means that people and animals which exist in this world have difference. Everyone and everything is not the same.”
Shashanka Hassan Exercise Science India English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Japanese “Diversity is one of the many important things I think a country should have. Diversity gives us an opportunity to learn and experience new things making us get more out of life.”
Sierra McCullough Psychology New Castle English/Spanish “Diversity is a broad array of cultures accepted as one. We need diversity to understand the many ways of life.”
Sierra Spraker History/Education Baltimore, MD English, Spanish, German “Diversity to me is allowing different people or things to be intermingled. Diversity is not only by race, but all other characteristics.”
Siyeon An Communication S. Korea Korean, English “Something that’s not fully attained even in America.”
Soumayani Ghoshal Journalism/ Junior India. Visited Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland Hindi, Bengali, English “Diversity is an amalgamation of cultures, traditions, cuisines, values, and beliefs. It brings together people from different races, ethnicities, and cultures and portrays unity in differences.”
Sueng a Park Fine Art Seoul, S. Korea English, Korean “People have different cultures, which is they use different languages and lifestyles. It’s a little hard to understand but it is really interesting.”
Sydney Steven Biochemistry Pittsburgh English “Diversity is the variety in a group, it may be people or objects. It is what makes people unique and who they are.”
Sylvia Shipp Student Advisor/ ESL Lecturer Lived in 40-45 different places (20 cities) in the U.S and 2 countries overseas. Visited 40 cities abroad. English, Spanish, German, Arabic “Inclusion of many different groups with regard to race, religion, gender sexual orientation, socio-economic level, etc.”

 

Tae Matsuo ELP Japan Japanese and English “It means that everyone can communicate with others who have different personality (like religion, language, race) without bias and discrimination, with full of respect and smile :).”
Tarah Dunn ELP Lecturer Pittsburgh. Been to France, Italy, Spain, and Japan English, ASL, French “Diversity is infinite light that radiates a warmth to be felt each day.”
Trevor MacKenzie Mathematics Lancaster, PA English, German “Diversity is including people from various backgrounds and opinions. It’s about hearing multiple viewpoints and making sure no one is removed based on their character or characteristics.”
Victoria Vernail Biology Virginia English “Diversity means being surrounded by people that think differently and see the world in a different light. It is the ability to look at a situation from another perspective and share a multitude of ideas.”
Yazeed Feizo American Flights Academy I grew up in Saudi Arabia and I visited the United States. Arabic, English “Improvement and knowledge of languages”

 

Yeongbin Byeon Visual Arts S. Korea Korean, English Diversity means understand different cultures.”
Yue Gao ELP China Chinese, English “Good thing is we can learn a lot of culture, but sometimes I’m in the culture shock.”
Yundian Ying ELP China Chinese, English “Different kinds of experiences, backgrounds. I love to know lots of people who have various thoughts. That’s really broaden my horizon.”
Yuri Morii English Literature Japan Japanese, English “It is given us some ways of thinking.”
Yuri Mukai Linguistics/ Chatham Semester Japan Japanese, English “Diversity is the idea that various races and genders should be included and play an active part in a social community.”
Zauyah Waite Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Office of Student Affairs Lived in Alor Setar-Kedah; Petaling Jaya-Selangor; Malaysia; Kansas City-Missouri; Kansas City-Kansas; Toledo-Ohio; Pittsburgh-Pennsylvania Malay and English “For me, diversity means welcoming, including and respecting everyone particularly when they are not like me or have a different set of values than me.”

 

 

A Stranger in India

By Alina Volper, ELP Lecturer

As an American, I forget what it is like to be a complete foreigner and stranger in another country. The experience of feeling like a complete outsider occurred for the first time when I visited India in 2012 and 2015.

I went to India because my husband is from there and I wanted to visit his family and his country. While his family was extremely welcoming and embracing, I felt like an alien specimen in the country itself. People were constantly staring, pointing, and asking to take pictures with me and of me. I sensed that I was under a microscope and being examined and studied everywhere I went. This was a very difficult feeling that I had not experienced in any other nation. In addition, India is a country that overwhelms you with the sounds, smells, crowds, and colors that permeate every activity and interaction. While this was eye-opening and incredible, it was also a very exhausting experience. I had to learn to embrace being a stranger and subject of curiosity for people. Traveling to India has made me less self-conscious because I stopped wondering why people were gazing at me and began to ignore the looks as much as I could.  I started to enjoy the nonstop sensory overload that one can experience in this perplexing, bright, overpowering, and wondrous land.

If you are an international student at Chatham or an American thinking of studying abroad, I would advise you to embrace the experiences that you have, both positive and negative. It is normal to have a variety of occurrences when you are in a new place and the important aspect is not to let any undesirable experiences cast a shadow on the wonderful memories that you’ll surely have in the country. Don’t let any strange, bad, or unexpected situations ruin the amazing privilege and gift of studying abroad.

Viewing International Students as an Asset: Implications for Intercultural Communication, Effective Pedagogy, and Intergroup Dialogue

By Linh Phung, ELP and Pittsburgh Pathways Director

International Student Ambassadors, Spring 2017

One core mission of Chatham University is to promote “global understanding” of “world-ready” students. Fulfilling the mission requires the work of all departments, offices, and stakeholders from the University. The Office of International Affairs (OIA) has made various contributions to the mission. Over the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters, the Office served over 130 international students from nearly 30 countries through English language instruction, intercultural programming, ongoing orientation, immigration advising, academic advising, and other services. While conversations around international students sometimes heavily focus on the students’ ability to adjust to the new environment and culture, let us flip the coin and view the presence of international students as an asset to those who come into contact with them.

Interacting with international students helps to develop intercultural communication skills. The fact that international students speak English as an additional language provides their interlocutors the opportunity to use communications strategies, such as attentive listening, confirmation checks, comprehension checks, paraphrasing, circumlocution, and so on. These strategies will be useful for other intercultural interactions where cultural differences extend beyond differences in nationalities and languages to include differences in lived experiences, identities, social memberships, and so on. Teaching international students challenges instructors to implement culturally relevant pedagogies to maximize learning opportunities for all. Usually, instructional strategies that work for international students work for all. For example, errors that international students make may be obvious and even annoying, but making discursive practices in a particular field explicit can be empowering to both international and domestic students who are still learning to “talk the talk.”

Dialogue with international students has a tremendous potential to deepen understanding of different lived experiences and the consequences of those differences. I recently participated in the Intergroup Dialogue training workshop delivered by colleagues from the University of Michigan. I was fascinated by how much I learned from other participants by asking curious questions and listening to others to understand their experiences (i.e., listening to understand, not listening to respond). I realized how different my experiences growing up and studying in Vietnam were while listening to my interlocutors talk about their favorite holiday, their mom’s home remedy to treat cold, or artifacts in their cultural box that told their life stories. I felt as if my journey to learn about the U.S. culture and people around me just started then. It made me think about how to engage in and facilitate more dialogue, especially dialogue about critical issues, among international and domestic students to surface differences and foster better understanding, a first step in contributing to a more equitable world.

In short, international students are not merely “legal aliens,” nonnative English speakers, or the “other,” who need support and accommodation for success (which is, of course, also important). They also bring differences and resources that can be viewed as assets to the University community.

REFLECTING BACK AND SPRINGING FORWARD

The 2016-2017 academic year has been marked with exciting international events at Chatham. Here are a few highlights of events and programs that the Office of International Affairs (co)-organized.

International activities and programming

Global Mixer Spring 2017

Students and staff played the Fruit Basket game in Spring 2017 Global Mixer. There was so much fun and laughter. The event also kicked off the newly-created International Student Ambassador Program.

Fall 2016 Global Mixer featured students’ poster presentations about their countries, some of which included India, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Britain.

International Student Ambassadors, Arief, Bandar, Xinran (Echo), Issareeyaporn (Eve), Laura, Bholika, and Jing (Katherine) posed for a picture in front of the Chatham Pond. The #YouAreWelcomeHere video created by students reached thousands of people on Facebook. It was a timely message during the time of heightened anxiety among international students and parents after the election.

The Conversation Partner Program paired or grouped close to 100 students of different backgrounds in fall 2016 and spring 2017 for conversations and cultural exchanges. Many friendships were formed. In this picture are students participating in one of the Conversation Hours, organized by the English Language Program.

In this picture were students from the English Language Program and Chatham Semester during the Spring 2017 International End-of-Term Celebration. In the coming year, the OIA will capitalize on the English Language Program and Pittsburgh Pathways to attract more international students to Chatham and Pittsburgh. Also, congratulations to our 15 international students from 8 countries who graduate this term! Good luck to you all and please stay in touch with us!

Global Focus

The Global Focus Year of Canada culminated on Tuesday April 18 with the International Higher Education Summit, co-organized by the President’s Office and Global Focus. The Summit brought together university presidents, scientists, and leaders from Canada, Europe, and the U.S. In this picture, Chatham President David Finegold introduced the first panel discussion on the future of research and innovation with Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council; Subra Suresh, CMU President; Patrick Gallagher, Pitt Chancellor; and Chris Howard, Robert Morris University President.

Following the first panel, Professor Justine Cassell from CMU delivered an intriguing keynote speech, discussing some of the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid development of artificial intelligence.

Another highlight of the summit was when Chatham students Indigo Baloch, Diarra Clarke, Maria Duarte, and Maria Taylor spoke about their passionate involvements in civil society.

Emerging from the summit, a “Declaration of Cooperation” signed by all institutions promised to build partnerships likely to augment the education offered to students at Chatham. The upcoming Global Focus Year of Indonesia (2017-2018) will continue to offer a robust program to enhance students’ global understanding and deepen relations with Indonesian nationals in our region and Indonesian universities. Professor Greg Galford will be the new Global Focus Coordinator. Many thanks to Professor Jean-Jacques Sène for his wonderful contributions to Global Focus in the past years!

Study abroad

Chatham students in Brazil, Maymester, 2015

76 students will have studied abroad by the end of Maymester. Especially, 6 students will have studied abroad for a semester and 34 students will study abroad this summer. With the current momentum, Chatham is on the right track to achieve its goal of having 42% of undergraduate students study abroad by the time of they graduate in 2020.

On April 5, Chatham welcomed Jennifer Connor from the Institute for International Education (IIE) and Shayak Sengupta, a Fulbright grant alumnus, to present information on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Students interested in applying for a 2017-18 Fulbright Research/Study grant or English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) should contact the Office of International Affairs, internationalaffairs@chatham.edu for support.

International partnerships

Visitors from Kansai University, which plans to send 15 students to the English Language Program, starting in Spring 2018. These students will study at Chatham for 2.5 semesters as part of their degree requirements.

The University is also focusing on building strategic partnerships with universities overseas to allow students to study abroad for a longer term (one or several semesters) and create opportunities for joint research and joint degree offerings. Strategic partners will be identified among existing ones as well as new potential partners. These opportunities will provide students with rich international experiences and a comparative edge in the job market upon graduation.

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.

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 bschindler@chatham.edu or 412-365-2736 or 412-400-7717.

What Makes a Successful International Program?

By Debra Wolf, Associate Professor of Nursing, Assistant Director of Nursing Programs, Healthcare Informatics Coordinator

International MSN Students, 2016
International MSN Students, 2016

The success of any educational program begins with the visionary leader who plants the seed of exploring new opportunities and continues with dedicated faculty and staff who nurture the seed until life appears. The International Master in Nursing Program offered by the Nursing Department within the School of Health Sciences (SHS) at Chatham University has been very successful thanks to the vision and leadership of several individuals and departments at Chatham University. Visionary leaders such as Dr. Barazzone and Dr. Wenying Xu from administration who supported the idea from conception to implementation. Leaders such as Dr. Hunker and Dr. Spadaro from the nursing department who have been working endlessly to make the vision a reality. Finally, leadership from the Office of International Affairs, whose knowledge and experience in foreign affairs and English language instruction, has been instrumental in helping the students arrive safely and housed appropriately and receive the English support that they need during their advanced scientific study at Chatham.

In Fall of 2016, the nursing department admitted its third cohort of Chinese nurses from Shanghai into the Master of Science in Nursing Program. To date the department has successfully graduated 29 students from the program in the span of 2 years.

Collaborative interprofessional team work has been a critical aspect of the international program. The faculty and staff within the nursing program continue to support the program on a regular basis.  For example, faculty frequently guest lecture in the classroom, offering content focused on their scholarly work and expertise. Faculty meet 1:1 with students to further support them on an individual basis, offering detailed support if students’ interest is closely related to the faculty’s scholarly agenda. Faculty and staff have taken time out of their day to accompany the international nurses to campus events (during day, night and weekends), introducing them to our culture and celebrations.

Nursing faculty and staff collectively go out of their way to make the students feel comfortable and welcomed in America, for this is the first time most of the nurses have been to the United States. For example, one staff member’s son made personalized welcome signs illustrating the American and Chinese flags for each nurse. Another created poster boards illustrating their names and photos to welcome the students. Another faculty invited the entire cohort to spend the night at their camp and provided tents, sleeping bags and all the other necessities. Finally, the department sponsors a welcome and Chinese New Year reception for the students inviting other departments within the SHS.

As the program continues to grow so does the support from Chatham University, not only from faculty and staff, but also from our graduate students. Most recently a call for graduate students in the SHS to be part of a Peer Partnering Program, a program to match a Chinese nurse with a graduate student in the SHS for socialization, was initiated with great response and success.  Chinese nurses in past cohorts shared their need to socialize more with other American students to better understand our culture.  The peers meet independently on a weekly to biweekly basis or as time permits to explore each other’s culture. Seeds were planted and friendships are growing!

As the program continues to grow, the department is preparing for Cohort #4 in fall 2017, which will require additional revisions and changes. Although change is not easy, having dedicated individuals who are open to new ideas and willing to assist and go the extra mile is what has and will continue to make this program a success. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a University to graduate an international student.  Thanks to all the individuals and departments (not mentioned above) who have been a part of this program’s success. We could not have done it without you.