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 .

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

Let’s Talk Friday!

You’re invited to sign up for a conversation hour with other international students and guest speakers almost every Friday at 9-10am US Eastern Time. There’s no session on July 3. Participants must be at least 16 years old to attend. Check this post for links to sign up for different meetings every week. Please email if you have questions.

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

Time: 9-10am, US Easter Time (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)


Description: What do you know about the history of racism in the U.S.? What do you know about the Black Lives Matter movement? Have you ever experienced being discriminated against because of your social identities? Have you ever experienced or noticed xenophobia in the U.S. or your country? Join Dr. Randi Congleton, Assistant Vice President for Diversity,  Equity, and Inclusion at Chatham University to talk about these issues. Participants must be at least 16 years old to attend. 

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

Time: 9-10am US Eastern Time (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Topic: Join Ms. Sylvia for a Zoom & Jeopardy game!

Register: Closed for this session as it has already occurred.

After you register, save the Zoom link. Click on the link at the event time to join it. You’ll get a confirmation email with meeting info.

Description: We’ll play 2-3 rounds of Jeopardy (based on the TV trivia game). As a backup plan, we’ll discuss life goals (at 20, 30, 40, & 50 y.o.) current news events, or travel.

To prepare: Consider your knowledge on topics such as Disney animations, beaches, vocabulary, & American culture. For American culture, topics could include famous US cities, films, food, art periods, slang, and animals/plants.

Let’s Talk Friday: June 19,  2020

Time: 9-10am US Eastern Time (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Topic: Food and Cuisine: What defines a culture’s cuisine?

Register: Closed for this session as it has already occurred.

After you register, save the Zoom link. Click on the link at the event time to join it. You’ll get a confirmation email with meeting info.

WOW Cards American Cuisine postcard (With images) | American ...

Description: What are your favorite foods? Are they from your culture or part of another? This week we’ll discuss food from around the world and how a culture can influence a cuisine.

After our discussion we will play a Kahoot Game about foods from around the world.

To prepare:

Make a list of foods from your culture. Also, make a list of your favorite foods (any culture). We’ll share and discuss these lists.

Let’s Talk Friday: June 12,  2020

We had a blast playing together!

Time: 9-10am US Eastern Time (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Topic: Join Ms. Sylvia in a Zoom/ event

Description: We’ll play 3 rounds of (~Pictionary). If we have over 11 participants, we’ll play Pictionary on the Zoom whiteboard or discuss life goals (at 20, 30, 40 years old), current news events, and travel plans.

After you register, save the Zoom link. Click on the link at the event time to join it. You’ll get a confirmation email with meeting info.

Register: Closed for this session as it has already occurred.

About 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!

To Prepare: Google and play a few games. Also familiarize yourself with the Zoom whiteboard. Watch people play on YouTube (or Pictionary on Zoom). Here’s an example:

How do I join a private game? Highlight the link sent to you in the Zoom chat, then copy & paste it to your URL bar. You may be directed to the main lobby first. You’ll have to make a name and avatar before joining the private room.

Let’s Talk Friday with Sue Finegold: June 5, 2020

Time: 9-10 US Eastern Time (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Topic: A conversation with Ms. Sue Finegold

Registration: Closed for this session as it has already occurred.

Let’s Talk Friday on June 5, 2020

After you register, please save Zoom link. Click on the link at the event time to join it.

Description: In this Let’s Talk Friday event, you will have the opportunity to hear from Ms. Sue Finegold, Chatham President’s wife and community Yoga instructor at Chatham. You will have an opportunity to talk to Sue and other participants in the event, do a short breathing exercise, and play a “party” game with one another. Instructions about the game will be posted here soon.

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

Time: 9-10am US Eastern Time (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA) (Please check your time zone)

Topic: Cities Around the World

Description: In Let’s Talk Friday event, you will get to visit the Chatham’s campuses virtually, research the city of Pittsburgh, and share information about your school or home city.

To prepare: Please do the following things before the session

  • Complete a virtual tour of Chatham’s campuses:
  • Read about the city of Pittsburgh:
  • Feel free to look at more pictures and find out the major attractions in Pittsburgh
  • Bring a picture of your school or home city to share with others
  • Be ready to talk about your school or home city. Make it interesting to other students.

At the end of the session, there will be a trivia game about Chatham and Pittsburgh on Kahoot.

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 ( or OIA Blog ( for more information about these programs. Email 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.

OIA Cooking lessons!

Join OIA for some cooking lessons during the break between spring and summer term!

Interested students should register on Mychatham happenings at least 2 days in advance for the lessons. You will need to purchase the ingredients for the recipe. We will send a list a few days before the lesson.

Lessons will be offered weekly. Last week May 8th, OIA hosted a grilled cheeses night! (Photos above) Many more fun recipes will come soon! Please register on Mychatham.

*Interested students must register for this event to receive the Zoom link. You will need to purchase the ingredients for the recipe. Registered students will receive the ingredient list a few days before the lesson. With any questions please contact

Check out the flyer below!

OIA Cooking Lesson

Chatham University

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