High Achievement

High Achievement

By Kirari Ii, ELP Student

Summer 2021

Kirari in the performance

I can’t forget that moment―the view from the stage, generous applause from the audience and that sense of accomplishment.

It was the summer of my first year at university.

“Prrrr…Prrrr…” My phone rang. It was from Mr. Nakamoto who was a representative of a community-based group for local revitalization. The group is working to boost the development of my hometown and get more people to know about my hometown through performances, such as musicals based on its history, place and people. I was a member of the group when I was in high school, but I left the group at after my graduation. I was so surprised to receive his call, and what he said surprised me even more.

“Could you join this summer’s stage to as a performer?”

He told me that the person who had planned to play one of the leading characters couldn’t join this play suddenly for various reasons so he was looking for someone who could take the role.

“There is no one but you,” he added.

I was so confused because I had never heard that graduates could join the stage. In addition, there was only one month left before the performance. Usually, we started practicing for a play for half a year, so I was not confident to get it done in a month. I played the role once when I was a high school student, but everything had changed such as the story, script, and choreography. However, I also really wanted to help him because I was very grateful to him and above all I loved this group and activity. After much agonizing, I finally decided to accept his request.

My big challenge started. I lived far from my hometown to go to university, and I had to go to school every day. Also, I was so busy with many part-time jobs and school assignments, so I couldn’t participate in most of practice sessions. There were only three sessions, including the rehearsal, left for me before the real stage. I couldn’t practice with other group members, so I practiced as well as I could at home. I practiced the choreography using video I received from the group and tried to memorize the script very hard every day. Finally, I managed to join the first practice session three weeks before the scheduled performance. However, I didn’t know anything such as stage’s overall flow and the timing of my appearance. I felt so miserable for my situation because other members, who were much younger than me, knew everything and was progressing with the practice session confidently and steadily. I lost my confidence to perform, and I was crushed by anxiety and fear. At that time, Mr. Nakamoto said to me, “I know you can definitely do it. I asked you because I thought so.”

I was determined to make the stage successful after hearing his encouragement. I did my best for the performance for a month. I think that period was one of the hardest ones in my life because of the tight schedule and considerable pressure.

On the day of the stage, I felt a little anxious but couldn’t hold down my excitement. This feeling made me remember the days before graduation. I knew I could do well because I prepared as much as possible for the day. As I expected, the seats for the performance were full, and I did it! I finished the performance! As the curtains closed, we received a thunderous applause from the audience. I was full of sense of accomplishment that I had never felt before, and the view of the audience’s smile and generous applause were greater for me than any other past stages. Many people came to me and complimented my performance.

Performance Day

“You have done well.” “Good show!” “I love your acting and dance.”

Then, Mr. Nakamoto came and said to me, “I’m proud of you, Kirari. Thank you.”

Tears fell from my eyes.

Finally, I was free from the anxiety and fear, and I felt that my effort bore fruit. I gained more self-confidence than ever before through this experience, making this one of the most precious memories in my life.

Kirari (second left) with her classmates this 2021 Halloween season

Stranger is Not Danger

Stranger is not danger

By Najd Alagl, ELP Student, Summer 2021

“Miss, Miss are you okay?” shrieked a stranger.

I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me. I was staring at his face, thinking, “Are you talking in understandable language or did something messed up just happen?” In that moment, I wasn’t sure of anything. I mumbled, “I’m fine.”

In one of Toronto’s summer mornings, on the intersection between two streets whose names I can’t even mention without wobbling, I was going to my school. I got off the car as my husband saying, “See you later. Take care.” I dragged myself out of the car as if I was thirty-six weeks pregnant, which I was, then I smiled and waved.

I was on my swollen feet, trying to picture myself hopping on the clouds like a silly cartoon. It was a perfect day with a light drizzle, and a lot of puffy clouds. Finally, as the red light turned to green, I started marching my thoughts. I turned my music on and tried to rid my pale face and wear a full-of-life one. I could feel the fragrance of freshly grounded coffee, the fragrance that forces humanity to line up for hours to enjoy it for minutes. People were bolting around as if life was depending on them. But what if life was really depending on us? I shook my head to stop my mind from drifting away.

I was wandering around, rolling my eyes, contemplating the purpose of life. Suddenly a woman tapped on my shoulder. She was saying something, but I couldn’t hear it, not only because of her crazy mad face which I was distracted by, but also because of my loud music. In a second, I raised my hand to pull out one of my headphones. I smiled, thinking she was one of many girls who were going to the same school or some tourist going to ask me for directions. Then I thought to myself, “Hmm, I must appear as if I belonged here or as if I was some expert tourist who knows everything.”

She was blondie, skinny, and furious. Her face was covered in sun burns, and her eyes were extremely insane. She was standing a foot away from me, and then out of the blue she punched my face as if it was a punching bag, or if I killed her precious dog. Then she kicked me the way you kick something to blow off some steam. People around me were shouting and cursing, but not me! I wasn’t sure what really happened. Then another stranger, or I may say an angel, rushed to checking on me with his concerned eyes. He asked, “Miss, Miss are you okay?”

I was gawking at him. Then I smiled and laughed in creepy way. I murmured, “I’m fine.”

He smiled at me, then walked away. I walked, then stopped, then walked again, then stopped, and leaned on some wall. I felt like I couldn’t hold myself. Then I burst into tears. Lucky me – it was only one wave of it. I tried to pull it together, whispering to myself “I’m okay, I’m okay, everything is fine.”

I was on my way again. I could hear my heartbeats. I felt vulnerable. I kept scanning people. Surprisingly, the angel was back. He asked, “Are you sure you’re okay? I’m sorry that happened to you”.

He insisted on escorting me while he kept rambling about what happened. I was looking at him very closely while we were traveling together, trying to remind myself how much I love chitchatting with strangers. I paid no attention to what he said. Then, with my frozen face, finally, I spoke up, “This is where I was heading.”

He smiled and apologized over and over as if what she did was his fault. I smiled back. Then he faded away. I remember their faces as if they were pictures printed in my memories. It’s funny that one random incident with two completely different strangers: One was an angel, and the other was, I don’t know If I can say a devil, but I think anyone in my shoes would say so. People say when they had a terrifying accident, they felt as they were moving in slow motions. I felt the opposite. I blinked, and she appeared, I blinked again, and she was gone. Maybe she was a ghost, but I didn’t believe in ghosts. Maybe I do now.

Summer 2021 BBQ

Fully Funded Summer 2022 Study Abroad – CLS Program

The application is now open for the 2022 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program. The CLS Program is a fully funded study abroad program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State that provides intensive overseas language and cultural immersion and is open to U.S. students enrolled in all degree programs at Chatham. The deadline to apply is November 16, 2021.

Through CLS, students spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying one of 15 critical languages and earn academic credit for their work. The scholarship includes travel expenses, coursework, group excursions, and even a small stipend to cover your daily living expenses. Most languages offered by the CLS Program do not require applicants to have any experience studying critical languages.

The CLS Program seeks participants with diverse interests, and from a wide range of fields of study and career paths; students from all academic disciplines, including business, engineering, law, medicine, science, social sciences, arts, and humanities are encouraged to apply.

Please take a look at the recorded CLS information sessions, including sessions specific to the 15 separate language programs and a session for beginners who may not know where to begin when selecting a language for their application. Recordings of these webinars are available here.

Our office is here to support you in applying for this and other international opportunities! Please reach out to set up an appointment if you’re interested in more information, or want help brainstorming how learning a language could benefit your future career.  Contact us! Office of International Affairs, internationalaffairs@chatham.edu.