All posts by kchipman

Sanook Mai? – Five Reasons You Should Study Abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand

by Suzi Nanthavong, class of 2017, Biochemistry major and Study Abroad Ambassador

“But I don’t have time”, is one of the excuses that I often hear my peers say when asked why they have not studied abroad. Believe me, I even told myself that. However, after extensive research, I finally found the right program Chiang Mai, Thailand. Before I knew it, I was on my way to Thailand, where I would have some of the most amazing experiences of my life. Here are five (out of many) reasons that you should study abroad in Thailand:

  1. First off, and most importantly, the food is DELICIOUS.

If you’re as big of a fan of Shadyside’s Noodlehead as I am, I promise that Thailand will not disappoint you. Visit Chiang Mai to experience pad thai or local Khao Soi (known as Chiang Mai Curry at Noodlehead), made with fresh noodles and spicy, delicious sauces. Not only is the food relatively cheap (you can often get an entire meal for less than $4USD), but also it is also fresh and often made to order. During my time in Chiang Mai, I tried various curries, rice dishes, noodles, fresh smoothies, mangoes with sticky rice, and tropical fruits like mangosteen and lychees!

Khao Soi, also known as Chiang Mai Curry
  1. New Religion

Many of the people in Thailand practice Theravada Buddhism as a religion. In Chiang Mai, visitors have easy access to the various old temples, known as wats. Some of these temples date back to the 1200s, and are all different shapes and sizes. You will probably end up visiting 10 (or 30) different temples while in Chiang Mai alone. As part of our program, we were able to informally chat with the younger monks at a temple called Wat Suan Dok, who were practicing their English.

  1. Great Location

 “Songthaews” or red trucks were the primary form of transportation in Chiang Mai. At about 20 baht (56 cents), you can travel anywhere in the city that is 20 minutes away. It is very easy and relatively cheap to travel to other parts of Southeast Asia too! I was able to travel to the island of Phuket, where I went snorkeling for the first time. I also spent some time in Vientiane and Vang Vieng Laos, where I explored caves and visited a temple called That Luang. Lastly, I traveled to Cambodia and got to spend time at Angkor Wat.

 

  1. Elephants

As a class, we took a day trip to the Elephant Nature Park in northern Chiang Mai. On our drive up, we watched a video describing the aims of the reserve, which aims give elephants that were rescued from horrendous situations their own sanctuary. We were able to get up close and personal with the elephants through feeding and bathing them in a river.

  1. You will meet some of the most amazing, and memorable people.

You are bound to make a lot of friends. From my lovely, outgoing Thai roommate, to the other students in the program, and lastly to the locals we met along the way, you will begin to understand why Thailand is known as “The Land of Smiles”.

The phrase of “sanook mai” in Thailand can roughly translate to “did you have fun?”, something locals were fond of asking. After experiencing Chiang Mai and all it had to offer, I can wholeheartedly say that I had the most fun, eye-opening experience during my time abroad.

When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options, scholarships and the study abroad process, please contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

Deadlines approaching for national study abroad scholarships

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Beyond the funding that is available to all Chatham undergraduates through the study abroad voucher ($1200) and to those students completing the International Certificate ($1800), there are other scholarship opportunities students can apply for.  Deadlines are coming up for the following national opportunities:

The Fund for Education Abroad’s 2017-2018 Scholarship Application for summer 2017, fall 2017 and spring 2018 study abroad students closes on January 11, 2017. This opportunity is open to US citizen and permanent resident undergraduate students participating in a credit bearing course abroad of at least 4 weeks in length. This scholarship is for up to $10,000 (Academic Year); $5,000 (fall/spring semester); prorated by no. of weeks, minimum $1,250 (summer). FEA also offers several dedicated scholarship opportunities.  http://fundforeducationabroad.org/apply/

The DAAD Scholarship is for study in Germany.  The deadline for applications is January 31.  The scholarship provides recipients a stipend of 650 Euro per month, health, accident and liability insurance, travel allowance.

Undergraduate Scholarship

The deadline for the Boren Scholarships is February 9. This is an initiative of the National Security Education Program, providing unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.  Scholarship amounts can range from $800 for summer programs up to $20,000 for an academic year.

https://www.borenawards.org/scholarships/how-apply/boren-scholarship-how-apply

The Gilman scholarship is for Federal Pell grant recipients. The Gilman supports summer, semester and year long study abroad. The summer 2017 application will open in mid-January.  Gilman scholarships of up to $5,000 will be awarded this academic year for U.S. citizen undergraduates to study or intern abroad. Award amounts will vary depending on the length of study and student need.

https://gilmanapplication.iie.org/Applicant/Default.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fApplicant%2f

The Pennsylvania Council for International Education Joint Scholarships are open to undergraduate, graduate or doctoral students who are attending a university or college in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.   These $2000 scholarships are for participation in a global learning experience in Asia.  The proposed experience can be short term, semester, full year, or internship.  The submissions must be submitted by March 1, 2017.  The Student Application Form can be found at this link.

When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options, scholarships and the study abroad process, please contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

 

Celebrate International Education Week 2016

Chatham University is pleased to celebrate International Education Week 2016.  The dates for International Education Week 2016 are November 14-18, 2016.

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International Education Week (IEW) 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 is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.

We invite you to join in this year’s IEW events:

Sunday, November 13, 6:30 pm, Working Through the Borders, a discussion of personal conservation efforts and global sustainability, Welker Room

 Monday, November 14, 7 pm, International Karaoke Night, Café Rachel

 Tuesday, November 15, 11:30am-2 pm, Office of International Affairs Open House, Falk and Coolidge, lower level.

 Wednesday, November 16, 12 noon, Lunch and Learn: Peace Corps, Carriage House

 Thursday, November 17, 7:30 pm – 8:45 pm, Global Focus Year of Canada All Campus Author Speaker:  Gayle Anne McKenzie, Chapel

 Friday, November 18, 11:30 am – late, Light Up Night, downtown Pittsburgh

For more information please contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

Living with a Cuban family by Juliet Casinelli

This past summer, through Chatham University and the Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Havana, Cuba. From the beautiful brush, to the 1950’s cars, the genuine and generous Cubans, and the delicious food, I spent weeks falling in love with a culture we know so little about. Cuba sits just 90 miles off the coast of Florida but has become a much more distant land to citizens of the United States because of political differences.

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Old Havana

While in Cuba, I studied five days a week at the Universidad de La Habana, where I attended intensive Spanish language courses and met students from around the world. Alongside school, I traveled up and down the country, attended salsa lessons, partook in cooking lessons, visited the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, met local artist and authors, and last but at the very least stayed with a host family who started as strangers and my second family. Though I am not fluent in Spanish, I used what I knew and was learning and built relationships I know will last a lifetime. Through this occasion I came to understand differences are only hindrances if you allow them to be.

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Juliet and her Cuban host family

The highlight of my trip was staying with a host family. I say this because through this opportunity, I could really delve into the Cuban culture and avoid being a tourist. My host family provided both breakfast and dinner for me and I was responsible for my own lunch. Sharing these meals allowed us to cook together and explore the differences our cultures have in food. Eating means cooking and because of this I learned how to make homemade mayonnaise and flan, both incredible and staples in Cuba. Meals were shared together and coffee was sipped out of china and not a plastic to-go cup, because meals in Cuba mean community. My host family and I explored the city of Havana and Malecon, where many people hang out, eat, fish and listen to music. My favorite nights however, were spent at our home where we stayed in talked about the history of Cuba, played card games, watched the Olympics and worked on both Spanish and English. My host family will forever be a part of my life, they truly are my second family, from taking care of me while I had an ear infection to teaching me how to use public transportation, they made my experience so great.  If you study abroad, stay with a host family, it is as much of an experience for them as it is for you.

Though I have since returned to the United States, my experience in Cuba left me with ideas to think about and emotions to try to understand. Right now, I am not sure how my time in Cuba will play a role in my career but I know this experience and traveling has helped me mature, grow more patient, and truly appreciate the opportunity for the education and lifestyle I have been raised in.

Chatham University is a very diverse university where we are encouraged to study and explore many different clubs, classes, and opportunities. With this support, especially through Chatham’s study abroad office, I went to Cuba with a mindset and attitude that allowed me to really make the most of my time abroad. I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to fall in with a beautiful nation.

When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options, scholarship opportunities or the study abroad process, please contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

International Certificates and up to $3000 in voucher funding

You may know that Chatham offers an undergraduate degree in International Studies through the Department of History, Political Science and International Studies.

Did you also know that students who are majoring in other subjects may earn an international regional certificate by taking the courses required for a regional concentration? The International Certificate is offered in five regions of the world: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

In addition to demonstrating that a student has studied the history, language, culture, politics and language of a region, the certificate requires firsthand experience studying and or interning in the region for 6 to 12 credits.

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Christin Cook completed a semester abroad in Thailand

The certificates consist of at least 18 credits and include language courses or proficiency, content courses including an introduction to the history of the region, and 6-12 credits of study abroad and/or internship abroad.

Students who complete 50% of the requirements are eligible for up to $3000 in study abroad vouchers toward their study or internship abroad. If students choose their study abroad program carefully, this voucher funding could go a long way toward covering study abroad tuition and expenses.

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Bethany Bookout, summer 2016 in Taiwan

Students can add an International Certificate to any major. For example, one could be a Biology major with an Africa Certificate or a Communication major with a Latin America Certificate. These are just examples of the many combinations of major/certificate you could choose.

When will you study abroad?  For more information on the International Certificate, please contact Dr. Lou Martin, lmartin3@chatham.edu.  For more information on study abroad options to fulfill your certificate requirements, please contact International Affairs, internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

The Visa – Not just a credit card

To travel outside the United States or your home country, you need a passport. Please see previous post on How to Get a Passport to Meet the Chatham Plan Graduation Requirement.

Sometimes, you also need an additional document called a Visa.  A visa is official permission from a country for you to visit. It is usually a stamp in your passport, but is also sometimes a piece of paper or electronic document that states how long you are allowed to stay in that country and in what capacity (tourist, study, business or other).

visa

Some of the countries that require US Citizens to have an entry visa currently include Brazil, China and Vietnam.  Other countries require a visa for study abroad if you will be in the country for a certain length of time, such as France, Italy and Spain.  Many countries require a visa if you will complete an internship while abroad, including the United Kingdom.

You should apply for a visa through the foreign country’s embassy in the United States several weeks or months in advance.  To apply for a visa, go to the country’s consulate website and find out the requirements, process of application and the fee.  Each country will have different requirements; however, countries usually require proof of funds to support the student while abroad, proof of enrollment, proof of travel, proof of housing in country, and sometimes fingerprints, or other biometrics.

Some countries may require a student to appear in person to obtain his or her visa. For some countries, students may be able to use a visa service that acts as a stand in for the student.  This visa service will charge the student an additional fee plus mailing charges.

Most study abroad providers have experience assisting their incoming students in the visa process.  Generally it is a good idea to find out about visa requirements and begin the visa application as soon as possible once you confirm your study abroad plans.

When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options or the study abroad process, please contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

Maymester 2017 Chatham Field Experiences

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Maymester 2016 field experience in Brazil

For students looking for an intensive travel experience and a  great introduction to study abroad, Chatham field experiences offer short term faculty-led study abroad programs during which students earn 3 credits.  Chatham field experiences are held during Maymester (May 1- May 19, 2017), though the exact travel dates of each field experience are not yet confirmed.  Each Chatham field experience is preceded by a 3 credit prerequisite spring semester 2017 course.

2017 field experiences:

  • Canada – Our Northern Neighbors (Dr. Sweet-Cushman and Dr. Cruger) spring 2017 prereq. POL 313: Special Topics: The Politics of Identity and Multiculturalism in the US and Canada
  • Japan – Kansai Cuisines (Dr. Kingsbury and Mr. Musick) spring 2017 prereq. FST/HIS 234: Asian Foodways or two semesters of Japanese language
  • Portugal – Empire, Dictatorship and Identity in Modern Europe (Dr. Rossbach and Dr. Rubin) spring 2017 prereq. POL 217: European Identities
  • Spain – Global Health Perspectives (Dr. Appasamy and Dr. Williams-Hatala) Prerequisites for undergraduate biology/health science, BIO143 and BIO144; for undergraduate nursing students, BIO116 and BIO 117. For students in other majors, prerequisites will be approved on a case by case basis. Health science graduate students have no prerequisite course.

To be eligible, full-time undergraduate students – first year, sophomores, juniors and seniors – must have completed 30 or more undergraduate credits as of time of travel, including at least 15 credits completed at Chatham at the time of travel. Students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher and good academic, judicial and financial standing.  Graduate students must have the approval of their academic advisor and the program leader of their chosen field experience.

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Maymester 2016 field experience in Taiwan

 

Eligible undergraduate students may use their $1200 study abroad voucher toward a Maymester field experience, which reduces the program fee for these programs.

At the application website, https://chatham.abroadoffice.net/, students create a user profile and then apply to the program of interest by completing the required forms.  The application deadline for the field experiences is October 14, 2016.  Acceptance decisions will be given to applicants by October 24, 2016. Registration for spring 2017/MM 2017 begins on November 1.

Once accepted to a program, students must submit a $100 deposit by November 9.  Students must read, initial each section, sign and return Contract for Participation in Maymester 2017 Field Experience by 4 PM on November 9, 2016.  In spring 2017, students must take (or must have already taken) the prerequisite course for the field experience and pass the course.  Students must attend and fulfill requirements of prerequisite course and attend all pre-departure meetings and orientations. Students must also have a passport with at least six months validity remaining after program return date.  Students who don’t have a passport or have a passport that is expiring this year should apply or renew now.

For more information on these programs, please review https://chatham.abroadoffice.net/ and contact the program leader or internatonalaffairs@chatham.edu with any questions.

 When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options, scholarships and the study abroad process, please contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

When will you study abroad? A study abroad checklist

OK, so you are interested and you’ve heard about some great programs overseas that you think might work for you. But just how do you make study abroad happen?

  • Talk to Chatham Study Abroad Ambassadors. Their photos are on the Study Abroad bulletin board outside the Copy Center (Falk lower level) and they are wearing the “I studied abroad t-shirts”  Study Abroad Ambassadors can provide tips for a smooth process and a first hand student account of the steps they took to study abroad.
I studied abroad
…Ask me where
study abroad board
Check out the Study Abroad Ambassador board in Falk lower level!
  • Come to the Study Abroad Fair. This year, the fair will be held on Tuesday, September 13 from 11 am – 2pm in Mellon Board Room. At the fair, you can find out more about Maymester programs, exchange programs, scholarships, provider programs and talk to returned study abroad students. Don’t miss it!
  • Visit the Study Abroad Library in Coolidge 025. This is a wonderful resource that you can use for inspiration in planning your study abroad experience.
  • Mention study abroad to your academic advisor and ask about the best timing for your major. There may be an ideal time for you study abroad. Don’t let it pass you by.
  • Schedule a meeting with the study abroad coordinator to discuss options and your next steps.  Once you’ve found the program that is right for you, submit your application.  You will also need to submit Chatham’s Study Abroad Application to make sure you are approved for the coursework you plan to take overseas.

Soon you’ll be on your way to an international experience that meets your academic needs

When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options, scholarships and the study abroad process, please contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

 

Visit the Study Abroad Library in Coolidge 025

Chatham has a new resource available – the Study Abroad Library in Coolidge 025 (located on the lower level of the Braun/ Falk/ Coolidge building).

Signs will direct you…

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Step in and look around. There is a lot to see.   There are photos from returned Chatham students.

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The shelves are packed with the colorful brochures of study abroad, internship and volunteer programs from all over the world.

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The Study Abroad Library is a great resource to inspire you on your next education abroad adventure.  Once you peruse the shelves and find a program you are interested in knowing more about, visit its website for more information. Find out about the program’s costs and any scholarship opportunities offered by the provider organization.

Make sure that the program fits in with your academic plan by discussing your proposed coursework with your academic advisor. Meet with Education Abroad if you have any questions about your options and about the study abroad process once you have selected a study abroad program.

When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options, scholarships and the study abroad process, please contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

The World is Calling: Come to the Study Abroad Fair

On Tuesday, September 13, from 11 am to 2 pm Chatham University will hold its annual Study Abroad Fair in Mellon Board Room.  All students, staff and faculty are encouraged to attend and learn more about education abroad.

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The world is calling!

This is a wonderful opportunity to talk to provider organizations about their study abroad programs including the locations, disciplines offered, coursework, costs, scholarship opportunities, excursions, and extracurricular activities.  There is literally a world of options available:  semester, summer, internships abroad and short term programs to meet a variety of interests and needs.

In addition, you can learn about Chatham exchange programs. Maymester and summer field experiences.

When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options, scholarships and the study abroad process, please contact internationalaffairs@chatham.edu or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.