Social Distancing Activities – Engage with OIA and each other- win prizes!

As we move into summer 2020- it may be challenging to engage with each other, while keeping up the necessary social distancing.

The Office of International Affairs has put together a list of fun, and interactive, activities to participate in- and possibly win some prizes!

Below is a list of (20) things that you can easily do while social distancing. When you complete a task, post a picture (tagging OIA) or share with us. Each level complete, will lead to fantastic Prizes!

Share your tasks by tagging us on Instagram (Chatham_OIA or #ChathamOIA), Facebook (ChathamOIA), or by emailing us at InternationalAffairs@chatham.edu .

A downloadable PDF can be accessed here:  OIA social distancing chart

Many of our activities will be listed on this blog, or on MyChatham Happenings!

Questions? Contact us at InternationalAffairs@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.

Chatham University

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