The Fall semester was full of events and activities for Chatham student. The Office of International Affairs organized activities to bring students together across cultures and nationalities, and to introduce different aspects of American Culture. Following are some highlights from this past term:
Global Mixer Kick-off
The first event of the semester, the Global Mixer welcomes students to Chatham, and welcomes back returning students. Students, from a variety of countries and cultures are encouraged to mix and mingle as they learn from each other.
East Liberty Presbyterian Church Tour and Tower Climb:
The tour of the East Liberty Presbyterian Church was not for the faint of heart. After receiving a brief overview of the Gothic Architecture and seeing the nave of the beautiful church, the group of almost 20 students started our journey climbing the steps to the tower. After passing through main staircases and a series of winding pathways in the walls of the church, there were several final small spiral staircases to climb. The final leg of the climb was ascending a small ladder onto the highest balcony that only about 4 students could share at a time. We had a 360* view of the city of Pittsburgh and a great breeze hitting our faces to cap off the satisfaction of our journey. After planting our feet firmly back on the ground, students headed to Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream for a sweet
Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center (COTRAIC) 40th Annual Three Rivers Pow Wow.
Students from the United States, Japan, China, and South Korea attended the Pow Wow and engaged with Native Peoples from all over the US. The Pow Wow, held each September, is open to the public.
Simmons Farm- Fall Activities Field Trip
Simmons Farm was a day of sunshine, pumpkins, apples, and fall flowers. The group of 16 headed out to Simmons Farm on one of the warmest days of Fall and enjoyed the activities it had to offer. After a quick hayride, students split into two groups and found their way through the corn maze. Students then chose a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch and enjoyed some of the cider provided to the group from the Farm. There were fields of beautiful flowers and delicious festival food to snack on. The farm even included a petting zoo with some lazy goats and hungry chickens!
Kennywood: Phantom Fright Nights!
As part of the fall semester long weekend, OIA took students to Kennywood. Kennywood, a local amusement park in operation since 1898, has thrilled generations of visitors. Located a few miles from Pittsburgh, it has roller coasters, a midway, arcade games, and classic American fare. In October, the park is transformed into one big haunted house for Phantom Fright Nights. Open late (6pm-midnight) and full of spooky costumes and decor, it’s a screaming good time. Students from Brazil, Austria, Japan, South Korea, the US, and France, were able to enjoy a classic American amusement park, and Haunted attraction on a foggy spooky night!
End of Term party!
Students celebrated the end of the semester, and for many the end of their studies at Chatham University, during OIA’s End of Term party.
International Education week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education promotes programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences.
Students, international and domestic, are encouraged to participate in the events scheduled during this week. At the events, international and domestic students can communicate with one another and learn facets of one another’s’ culture and make new friends.
On Monday November 12th, the Office of International Affairs partnered with the Chatham University Modern Language Department for “International Karaoke.” Offered each semester, this popular events brings together students to sing in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, as well as other languages.
Students in the Modern Language classes are able to practice by singing in their target languages. With well over 100 in attendance, International Education Week started on a high note.
On November 13th, students were invited to the international conversation hour, in the Mellon solarium. The international conversation hour provides topics for students to discuss in order to develop understanding of each other’s cultures.
Later that evening, the Chatham University Vira Heinz Scholars presented on “American Abroad: Social Identity and Positionality in a Global and Domestic Environment.” Students, Miranda Boyden (studied in Italy), Janelle Moore (Costa Rica), Erion Morton (Japan) and Kaylee Spitak (Japan) studied in the summer of 2018 with support from the Vira I Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership. The VIH program “prepares women for tomorrow’s global challenges by offering a unique opportunity for international experiences, leadership development and community service.” Students receive $5000+ scholarship for an international educational experience.
The Chatham 2018 CEE, American Abroad: Social Identity and Positionality in a Global and Domestic Environment involved roundtable discussions around social identity and its impact on students’ experiences at home and abroad.
Thursday November 14th was a cold and rainy day for trivia! OIA hosted the International Jeopardy contest in the Carriage House, and tested students’ knowledge of world history, geography, and global facts.
With quite of few interested in playing, students played in teams of three to pool their knowledge. With challenging questions, such as “Which country lists internet access as a human right?”, students played through five categories. Though last coming into final Jeopardy, Team Brazil, won with a high bet, and the correct answer. Students Dylan Jacquard, Vinni Muniz, and Mana Soda claimed the title of International Jeopardy Champs!
The final event for International Education week was a welcome respite from biting cold. On the day of the first snow of Fall 2018, the staff of the Office of International Affairs met students both local and international to celebrate diversity with a hot cup of tea. The International tea party included flavors from the strong and bitter Irish breakfast to the mellow sweetness of tropical mango and chocolate. This helped warming the attendees and made the conversation flow, everything from food, to internships, to study abroad, to difference between the United States and other countries was discussed.
Many students coming and going from class also stopped by to join conversation and enjoy a hot beverage.
Over the course of IEW, Chatham students across campus were able to engage in international and intercultural learning.
A large screen glows in the pitch-dark classroom. It is eerily quiet.
Someone yells, “Don’t go in there!”
Others frantically chime in.
I peek around the screen on my podium to see 23 transfixed students, wide-eyed and hands covering mouths.
On the screen, the ceiling explodes. An alien tumbles onto the floor as scientists and soldiers scream as they scramble for safety.
Screams ricochet in our room, followed by nervous laughter.
This is US Culture and Cinema, a 100-level culture-based course that students take to learn about American culture, values, traditions and so much more through the lens of top ten classic American films.
Pre-reading activities include summaries, background information handouts and short video clips.
For each film, post-reading entails heavy discussions and a set of carefully crafted handouts designed to get students to reflect and synthesize information they’ve learned. Each handout builds upon their understanding and skills, starting with formulating their opinion, close critical reading, and summary honing. Film synopses are gapfill with word banks, giving students a chance to understand the story while they learn practical academic and technical vocab. Another handout doles out juicy film trivia followed by lively discussions in which they justify their favorite items. Same for quotes and film excerpts—with these they explain the humor, or infer why the character says something, and they act out parts of scenes as intoned in the film. There is a vocab match with words, phrases, and idioms and images. The Best Summaries has them choose the best summary out of 5 or 6 similar film genre summaries, specific character names removed.
While they actively watch the film, they follow along while completing questions with multiple choice answers. Questions are kept as simple as possible to prevent students from missing important moments. Images of the main characters are shown on this handout, along with images and maps of ideas or places at the end. The While You Watch questions and answers are designed to help students follow along with ease an otherwise potentially confusing film.
Each week, I send short video clips related to the film, director, film theory, and technical elements such as angles & shots and sound used in the film for them to watch and take notes for discussion. They then discuss the ideas they found most interesting and explain why. Class participation is typically very lively.
I have 3 criteria for choosing films. It should reflect American culture, values, traditions, and/or social issues. The film should also be a little older so that there is less chance of students having seen it. And finally, it should be in the top 10 or 20 for its genre.
This semester we watched Kramer vs Kramer (Drama), Singin’ in the Rain (Musical), Rear Window (Thriller), The Shining (Horror), The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Western), Aliens (Sci-fi/Action), Big (Comedy).
by: Sylvia Shipp, English Language Program Lecturer & Student Advisor
Traveling over winter break? Be prepared!
Study in the States, the official website for international students in the US has released their tips for students planning to travel over winter break. This information is helpful for international travel, regardless on when you go.
- Meet with your designated school official (DSO).
The DSO will confirm your student status and sign your I-20 for Travel authorization. They will confirm your current address, contact information, and enrollment.
- Don’t forget all the required documents for travel!
Remember to take your passport, valid student visa, and your form I-20 when you travel. Make sure these documents are kept close at hand, and not put in checked baggage. It may also be a good idea to bring a copy of your enrollment verification- which you can print from your MyChatham account.
- What if you receive a Form I-515A?
First, don’t panic! The Form I-515A is issued by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) if you are missing required documentation. It allows you to entire the US for 30-days in order to obtain and submit the missing documentation. If you receive a Form I-515A, contact your DSO immediately.
Read the full article at Study in the States .
On October 27, eleven people were killed as they worshiped at the Synagogue.
The Tree of Life Synagogue is just across the street from Chatham’s south entrance. The killings have forever changed Pittsburgh and the Squirrel Hill communities. Grief and sadness still permeate.
“Stronger than Hate” signs are in front of people’s houses. Students stoically wear “Chatham is stronger than hate” t-shirts. A sticker with the same message is on my office door.
Doing weekend shopping, I drove past the synagogue a couple of times.
Gone are the outdoor memorials. They have been moved indoors to create a permanent place of remembrance at the Tree of Life.
People are still gathering at the Synagogue. Some stand on the street corner, heads bowed in silent prayer. Others are taking pictures of the building. A stillness can still be felt in the area.
Deterring hatred. The work we do as international educators is important, I might even say vital.
Through international education and exchange, participating students learn a lot about their host country. They learn about their own countries as seen and understood by outsiders. They learn about themselves—their values, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses. Students who participate in study abroad programs teach their hosts about their home countries.
Through international exchange, we come to learn about the range of human differences. We learn about race, ethnicity, gender identity, physical abilities, national origins, political beliefs, and religious and ethical values systems.
People-to-people diplomacy, learning about yourself and others, deters hatred. Makes us stronger than hate.
Written by AVP Chris Musick, International Affairs
On Saturday March 24, students joined the OIA (Office of International Affairs) for the Spring Neighborhood Tour. Each semester, the OIA takes students to a different Pittsburgh neighborhood to showcase local culture and activities, and to encourage students to explore the city on their own.
Students met at the Chatham Chapel, and we took the city bus to Wood Street in Downtown. From there students boarded the “T”- Pittsburgh’s own light rail system. The T is free within the downtown area, and can be used to travel to PNC Park, Heinz Field, and the Carnegie Science Center. The group walked along the Allegheny River from PNC Park to the Fred Rogers Memorial. Mr. Rogers is one of the most famous Pittsburghers, known for the children’s program “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood”.
From there, we made our way to Allegheny Commons Park, and to the Mexican War Streets area of the North Shore. This area is full of Victorian-era row homes, gardens, and alleyways. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The tour ended at the Mattress Factory, the premier museum in Pittsburgh for contemporary art. Students had the option to tour the Mattress Factory or go off on their own. One group made its way to Randyland, located around the block form the Mattress Factory to explore the quirky artists’ welcoming space.
Interested in Pittsburgh? Let the OIA know which neighborhood you want to explore! Our next adventure will take place in Summer 2018.
Contact us at InternationalAffairs@chatham.edu
The International Exchange club is an opportunity for International and American students to come together and learn about each other’s culture while creating friendships. The club held a kick-off dance on March 23rd with a “beach party” theme. Club members were asked to submit their favorite songs from around the world, and the dance featured music in many languages.
Interested in joining the IEC? Contact InternationalAffairs@chatham.edu
The Department of Homeland Security launched the “Study in the States” website over a year ago. The goal of the site is to provide innovated information for the many different shareholders for international students in the United States. This includes updates and information from: the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The main site can be found at: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/
The Office of International Affairs encourages prospective, current, and former Chatham University students to visit the site frequently to keep updated on immigration matters.
Recently, Study in the States updated their blog with some good information for Chatham Students:
Students: Passing Final Exams Helps You Maintain Status
With winter break approaching and academic terms ending, many students are preparing for their final exams. As an international student, it’s important to understand that studying for and passing your final exams helps you maintain your status.
Maintaining status means following the rules and regulations that govern studying in the United States, and these rules require that you enroll in a full course of study and pass all your classes. Since your performance on a final exam contributes to your overall grade in a course, it’s important to do well on the exams to pass your classes. Following these study tips can help you prepare:
- Do not simply re-read your notes. Focus on the meaning of what you’ve written.
- Ask yourself a lot of questions.
- Connect new information to something you already know.
- Draw out information in a visual form (e.g., diagrams and illustrations).
- Use flashcards to help you memorize information.
- Do not wait until the last minute to study.
If you have questions about maintaining status or concerns about passing your classes, talk with your designated school official (DSO) immediately. Your DSO is the best person to help you navigate your options while ensuring you properly maintain your status.
(At Chatham University, the Primary Designated School Official is Ms. Kate Emory. She can be contacted at K.Emory@chatham.edu or by phone at 412-365-1267)
The original blog post can be found at: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2016/11/students-passing-final-exams-helps-you-maintain-status