International Conversation Hour


THURSDAYS, 11:30am-12:20pm

¨ share your experiences, stories, and cultures

¨ learn a few words and phrases in a different language

¨ participate in communicative and intercultural tasks

International Conversation Hour Summer 2017
Date Topics and Facilitators (May Change)
Sept. 7 Language and Culture

Dr. Linh Phung, ELP Director

Sept. 14 Student-Led Conversations
Sept. 21 Student-Led Conversations
Sept. 28 Student-Led Conversations
Oct. 5


Language and Gender

Ms. Oksana Moroz, ELP Lecturer

Oct. 19 Student-Led Conversations
Oct. 26 Student-Led Conversations
Nov. 2 Race Relations in the U.S.

Mr. David Williams, Chatham Graduate

Nov. 9 Student-Led Conversations
Nov. 16 Student-Led Conversations
Nov. 30 Student-Led Conversations
Dec. 7 Topic: TBD
International Conversation Hour Summer 2017


Become an International Student Ambassador

International Student Ambassadors, Spring 2017

The goal of International Student Ambassador Program is to promote the English Language Program and Chatham University to the world. Volunteers are committed to spending at least 8 hours a semester on different activities.

The activities you can do include:

  1. sending email about Chatham to your friends and family
  2. posting information about the ELP and Chatham on social media
  3. promoting the ELP Referral Program
  4. sharing pictures to be posted on the OIA’s Facebook page
  5. writing for the International Affairs blog
  6. meeting at least once a month to develop other ideas to promote the ELP and Chatham

The benefits to you include:

  1. opportunities to interact regularly with other students
  2. building your resume for future employment
  3. receiving money to organize events

In the spring 2017, 11 international student ambassadors created a wonderful video about Chatham. We also did many things together, including going to TEDxCMU.

Welcome and Welcome Back

August brought the end to the summer semester in the English Language Program and marked an exciting beginning of a new academic year for all. With a strong commitment to promoting global understanding, facilitating intercultural interactions, and creating opportunities for language learning, the Office of International Affairs is delighted to announce various programs for students and the Chatham community.

Some highlights include:

  1. A Conversation Partner Program: Apply for a conversation partner to practice your target language and exchange cultures.

2. Weekly International Conversation Hour on Thursdays: Come to Coolidge 037 to just talk and participate in communication tasks.

3. International Student Ambassador Program : Volunteer to be an international student ambassador. Email to volunteer.

4. Various field strips and events throughout the semester: Visit My Happenings for specific events.

5. International Student Success Series on Tuesdays : Email k.emory@chatham.eduf or more information.

6. Global Focus events throughout the year: Visit the Global Focus website.

7. Study abroad and international scholarships sessions: Email for more information.

8. ELP Referral Program: Refer a student and receive a $50 gift card

We wish you a productive and meaningful semester and academic year! If you have questions or comments, please write to or visit us in the ground floor of Falk and Coolidge.

Supporting International Student Success: Five Research-Based Recommendations

Linh Phung, English Language Program Director

Debra Wolf, Associate Professor of Nursing

International students studying abroad in the United States have been found to face numerous challenges, including linguistic, academic, social, and cultural challenges (Kuo, 2011, 2013; Wang, Andre, and Greenwood, 2015). While linguistic barriers have been well-documented, there is limited research exploring challenges associated with specific language skills and academic assignments. To better understand what challenges Chatham international graduate students faced with the English language, the strategies they used to overcome challenges, and what support services they found helpful, a mix-methods study was conducted to explore these areas.

Preliminary findings revealed that students found writing and listening the most difficult because of the linguistic demands of the writing and listening tasks and their unfamiliarity with the academic writing style. Reading was found the least challenging because of their prior exposure to reading and the time they could spend reading independently using various resources. Perceptions of speaking were mixed as speaking tasks and situations varied. Interestingly, speaking was found to be a source of quite a few mixed emotions: anxiety, shame, embarrassment, and also satisfaction and joy.

Strategies used to address the challenges varied. Notably, their use of social strategies (consulting peers, tutors, and professors) increased over time. Participants found many of the services offered at Chatham (English workshops, tutoring, and conversation hours) very useful, but recommended more speaking opportunities for future international students.

Based on the preliminary findings, the following recommendations are offered to support successful international programs and further improve student experiences.

  1. Organize opportunities for students to communicate with students from the U.S. These opportunities will not only help them improve their spoken English, but also contribute to positive feelings of success, satisfaction, and joy.
  2. Formalize opportunities to have ESL instruction as well as ESL and academic tutoring to develop students’ academic English skills and assist them with academic assignments during their first few weeks or first semester.
  3. When lecturing or talking to international students and non-native speakers, instructors, staff, and locals should consider the listening difficulties and the feelings of inadequacy that these students might have as a result of lack of understanding. We recommend speaking slowly and in short sentences/phrases so they can comprehend thoughts being communicated. Be patient and check comprehension before extending the conversation.
  4. Faculty should explain assignments, grading rubrics, and expectations clearly and explicitly with examples. What is clear to local students may not be clear to international students.
  5. Studying abroad in a cohort has its own advantages as the students have access to a supportive network of peers in their studies as well as in their daily life. Just as important is social support from faculty and university staff. Together with this support, students’ use of social strategies will assist in their transition to a new culture, a different academic environment, and life in a foreign country.

Global Focus Year of Indonesia: Ecological and Human Diversity

By Greg Galford

Global Focus Coordinator

Assistant Professor of Interior Architecture

The Global Focus country of the year for 2017-18 is Indonesia. This is due to the ongoing relationships that Chatham has had with the country for several years. Over the past few months, a series of activities have been planned for the upcoming year that should give students and faculty a basic understanding of the place. Indonesia is a country of 260 million people, making it the fourth largest country in the world. Being comprised of 17,000 islands and being the world’s most populous Muslim country attest to its importance. It is currently the sixteenth largest economy in the world and a major exporter of natural resources and manufactured goods.

The ENG 105 courses will be using the book, Supernova, by author Dee Lestari. She is a well-known singer and author within the country and her books are best sellers. This book presents unique characters outside the norms of traditional Indonesian society and is set within upscale modern Jakarta. Ms. Lestari will be visiting with Chatham students through a Skype discussion in November.

Global Focus will be presenting the film, The Peace Agency, by Sue Useem, in December as part of the Women’s Film Series. The director will be at Chatham that day to participate in a discussion about the film.

An event to showcase the music of Indonesia will include a presentation of the gamelan orchestra at the University of Pittsburgh. This event is currently being planned and a date and venue will be announced soon.

The Office of Student Activities is planning a badminton event for the fall or spring semester as it is the national sport of Indonesia.

Various faculty presentations regarding the history, culture, and art of the country are currently in the planning stages.

We hope to host the Indonesian ambassador on Chatham’s campus in the spring. Coordination is now under way for that event.

The Global Focus website is now current with Indonesia events. Please check that for further details