By TuongVy Le, International Student Ambassador, ELP Scholarship Recipient
I never once thought I would be able to study abroad or study in the US, but Chatham University offered me an International Student Ambassador Scholarship from from the English Language Program. It was the best experience ever for me. Before attending the program, I was a very shy speaker, but everything changed thanks to the program at Chatham, and my English-speaking skill has improved ever since.
Studying in my hometown does not include going on field trips, so the program was such an eye-opening experience for me. History was never my favorite subject, but the U.S Culture class was so interesting, and that’s what I love the most about this program. It was the best summer I’ve ever had; I’ve grown a lot from this experience. I am so grateful for the friends I’ve made during the time at Chatham.
Even though it was the first time studying in a different country, I never felt lonely or helpless at Chatham. Everyone there is super friendly, you can always get the help you need anytime. I only studied in Chatham for approximately three months, but Chatham felt like my second home. Chatham University offers the best environment for you to study and grow as a person, you will never regret going to Chatham!
BEAUTIFUL CAMPUS, ENTHUSIASTIC TEACHERS, AND AMAZING FRIENDS AT CHATHAM UNIVERSITY
Ngoc Pham, International Student Ambassador, 2019 ELP Scholarship Recipient
In the past, I never thought that I could go to the US for an overseas education, but Chatham University gave me a great chance through the English Language Program International Student Ambassador Scholarship. During the 10 weeks at Chatham University, I learned a lot of things. Through the English Language Program at Chatham, you are cannot only improve your English language skill, but also explore US culture and form new relationships with other international students. I have changed a lot, from a person who is always shy to speak English to a confident communicator, from a family-dependent to independent person, and from a passive to now a more lively person. All of these changes occurred during my three months in the U.S. To me, Chatham is not only the university to study, but also the place to discover myself and the environment to grow.
At Chatham University, you will be able to receive full support from enthusiastic teachers, experience well-designed learning programs, and interact with amazing friends, and study in a place where you always feel comfortable like a second family.
Chatham University is one of the best choices for your education, you will never feel regret when making that choice!
Tôi chưa bao giờ nghĩ mình sẽ có cơ hội được học tập tại Mỹ dù là trong một chương trình ngắn hạn. Đại học Chatham đã cho tôi một cơ hội đáng quý và thật may mắn hơn cả là tôi đã nhận được học bổng Đại sứ Sinh viên Quốc tế từ chương trình Ngôn ngữ tiếng Anh tại đây. Trong suốt gần 3 tháng ở Mỹ nói chung và đại học Chatham nói riêng, tôi đã có cho mình rất nhiều những trải nghiệm đáng giá và đã học được rất nhiều điều. Thông qua chương trình Ngôn ngữ Anh tại đại học Chatham, tôi không chỉ cải thiện được các kỹ năng tiếng Anh của mình mà còn được tìm hiểu thêm về văn hoá Mỹ, gặp gỡ các bạn sinh viên quốc tế đến từ nhiều quốc gia khác nhau để có cái nhìn toàn diện hơn về thế giới bên ngoài. Đại học Chatham đã giúp cho tôi có điều kiện để tự khám phá bản thân, thay đổi chính mình. Những giảng viên tâm huyết, những người bạn quốc tế tài năng, những bài giảng thực tế, môi trường học chủ động, khuôn viên trường cổ kính và còn vô vàn những điều thú vị khác bạn sẽ có thể khám phá tại Chatham.
Đại học Chatham là một sự lựa chọn mà tôi không hề cảm thấy hối hận và tôi tin bạn cũng sẽ cảm thấy như vậy!
As part of the English Language Program, the Pittsburgh Pathways allows students to take a combination of ESL and other academic courses before full matriculation into a degree program. Credit-bearing courses will be transferred to the students’ degree program, saving students time in completing their college education. The addition of the program truly provides students with numerous pathways to fulfill their American education dream.
One of the students, Yushi Zhang, introduces herself and her educational goals here.
“My name is YuShi Zhang. I’m from China. Unlike most of the Chinese people, I’m a member in Sui, one of the fifty-five minority groups in China. I chose Chatham because it offers me numerous paths and opportunities both in the present and future. For instance, I want to go to Carnegie Mellon as a graduate student, and Chatham offers me a great opportunity to do so. I want to achieve good grades in Chatham in order to fulfill my dream as well as spreading my unique culture along the way.”
The students spent part of their classroom time on Chatham’s campus and the remaining part of it at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church. When not in the classroom, students accompanied three English Language Program instructors ALL over Pittsburgh, exploring popular museums, local restaurants, ballparks, historical landmarks, shopping hotspots and much more. Some highlights of the tours have been visiting Mayor Peduto’s office, riding the new Steel Curtain roller coaster in Kennywood, having a tour of the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill, and camping at Chatham’s Eden Hall campus to name a few.
During their time as Chatham students, they stayed with host families arranged through Global Pittsburgh. This proved to be a wonderful experience for all people to meet and enjoy learning from one another.
The students were proud to be Chatham students for the month, and we thank everyone from Chatham who helped in welcoming them to Pittsburgh and our university.
Dr. Jennifer Zhang (Student Chaperone) said this about the program:
“For most of the students, this is their first time in US. Many experiences are brand new to them. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to get to know the world outside their home country. The students are having a wonderful time here in Chatham and in Pittsburgh. No matter their host family or the strangers they meet in the streets or buses, people offer all the help and hospitality they are able to. It makes the students feel at home. We do appreciate the devoted efforts Chatham faculties have put into this program.”
As you plan for your semester, academic year, and time at Chatham University, we encourage you to be more iEngaged (i.e., Engaged in more International activities) to expand your global thinking and skills and gain a competitive edge in the job market.
There’s an “edge effect,” which boosts creativity and innovation, when differences come into contact – Listen to this NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast to find out more.
Twelve English courses, nine field trips, 21 participants in the Conversation Partner Program, 28 short-term students, and 103 study abroad students are some statistics that describe the work of the Office of International Affairs, English Language Program, and affiliated departments in this summer 2019 semester. Despite the current uncertainties and turbulence in the international education field, we continued our commitment to running excellent programs and creating optimal learning opportunities to students.
As a final project for the Academic Lectures course, students worked in groups to create proposals to make Chatham a better place for everyone. They then presented their posters at the End-of-Term Celebration. Their poster presentations offered great recommendations to improving international programs and student experience, including:
Making Chatham cooler by creating “green curtains” from ivy plants and pergolas
Using the Carriage House as the Global Community Room where domestic and international students gather for conversations and activities – This emphasizes the importance of turning a space into a “place to be” for certain activities
Making Chatham attractive to international students by improving student experience, building more partnerships that work, and creating “friendlier” websites. The goal is to promote intercultural understanding, valuable experience, and a more diverse learning environment – a promise that Chatham is working hard on delivering
Providing international students with more opportunities to socialize and use English through “big events,” “small events,” day trips, and holiday parties – things that Chatham does much better in the fall and spring semester, but is lacking in the summer term
Students highlighted the importance of creating a social event in a relaxing environment at the beginning of the semester so that they could bond with others. Students reported forming closer friendships and doing more things together after the BBQ Party at Mr. Musick’s house.
Below are pictures of the highlights of these programs, followed by pictures of students’ posters, illustrating the suggestions students made.
The German classes that I took with Dr. Martina Wells from the Modern Languages Program at Chatham University have been my favorite classes. This summer I was lucky enough to spend two and a half months studying abroad in Germany. I stayed in a small town, Lohr am Main, situated about 50 minutes east of Frankfurt. The people I stayed with have been my family’s friends for all my life, but I hadn’t seen them in quite a few years. They have two sons, Max and Felix, who became my ‘adopted’ brothers for the summer. Max is my age, so he was kind enough to introduce me to all of his university friends! Over the eleven weeks, I made so many great friends who provided me with memories that I’ll never forget.
The class that I took was German History from 1900 to 1970 and was held at the University of Wuerzburg. We met once a week on Tuesdays, but the class also offered optional extracurricular events like wine tastings and historical tours of the city. I really enjoyed the class despite it not being a part of my major, but I found that most of my learning occurred outside the classroom. My main reason for visiting Germany was to practice and improve my German speaking skills. I was able to do this on an everyday basis, whether it be ordering food or asking a passerby for directions. And while I did do my fair share of touring around (I was able to visit France, Luxembourg, and Belgium), I found that my favorite things to do revolved around whatever the locals did on a daily basis! In finding out that they, too, enjoy spending a day outdoors and then grilling hamburgers amongst friends, I realized that despite distance and language, we are all the same at our core.
• Went to a Champion’s League soccer game
• Visited the Cologne Cathedral and even heard someone playing the organ inside it
• Toured the Residenz in Wuerzburg, which contains the largest ceiling fresco painting in the world
• Toured Luxembourg city and a castle in the country regions of Luxembourg
• Visited the World War I Memorial at the Battle of Verdun
• Enjoyed walks in the woods where I would stumble upon either a herd of goats or beautiful secluded church
• Became a surprise guest in a primary school’s English classroom
• Toured the European Parliament Building in Brussels, Belgium
• Watched the first two stages of the Tour de France in Belgium
• Ate the most wonderful Belgian waffle off of a street vendor, mmmm
• Tried seven different white wines native to Wuerzburg. Wuerzburg has Germany’s second, third, and fourth largest vineyards and specializes in white wines. The wine cellar underneath the Residenz holds up to 700,000 liters of wine!
• Watched people surf on the river Isar in Munich
• Stayed at a youth hostel and made some friends from the UK and Australia
• Visited the World War II Labor Camp Dachau
This study abroad experience pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to grow as a person. I would highly recommend anyone to study abroad if they get the chance!
The Office of International Affairs would like to congratulate many international students on completing their degree and their study abroad experience at Chatham this April. We also congratulate students on their international awards and accomplishments.
Congratulate English Language Program graduates, Zainab Bin Abbas and Kubra Bahcivanci, for moving on to their MA studies in Physical Therapy and MBA, respectively.
Talking about her experience with the English Language Program, Zainab Bin Abbas wrote:
“It is my last day in Chatham University English Language Program. It is hard to say good bye, but everything has to come to an end. I am really thankful for my teachers. In only one semester, I learned a lot about American history and culture. I love the fact that classes in the program were not about grammar, reading, speaking and writing, but instead they focused on helping us to use what we have already learned by reading real books and discussing academic content. Also, we watched a lot of classic movies and learned about different movie genres. For me, the English Language Program at Chatham University is a strong course of study that greatly boosted by English knowledge and skills. Chatham University is a small university, so not many international students and English language learners know about it, but the program is just as strong as any program offers by bigger universities.”
We’d also like to congratulate Dylan Jacquard on completing the Chatham International Program after a successful internship at Cemoi/Chris’ Candies.
Also, big congrats to the following students on their international awards:
Vira I Heinz Program in Global Leadership for Women: Skylar Houck (Nepal), Sierra McCullough (Spain) and Terra Teets (Germany)
Glenda Rich DeBroff ’60 Memorial Scholarship: Hunter Yedlowski (Ireland)
Theo Colburn-Rachel Carson Scholarship Award and Lorin Maazel-Rachel Carson Award for Environmental Studies: Elena Woodworth (Panama)
Sally Mercke Heym ’63 Memorial Award for Cross Cultural Studies: Kaitlyn Salmon (Rwanda) and Katarina Trask (Spain)
International Advocate Award: Melanie Landsittel. Melanie has been an excellent student worker at the OIA for a few years. After her graduation this year, she will begin teaching English in Prague! Big congrats and thanks to Melanie!
Linh Phung, Director of English Language and Pathways Programs
Martina Wells, Coordinator of Modern Languages Program
One core mission of Chatham University is to promote global thinking among its students. Fulfilling the mission requires the work of all departments, offices, and stakeholders from the University. Over the years, the Office of International Affairs, the English Language Program, and the Modern Languages Program have forged close partnerships, resulting in multiple programs and events for linguistic and cultural exchanges as well as the celebration of languages. Viewing multilingualism and multiculturalism as an asset, we have been capitalizing on diverse languages cultures of our international and domestic students in such initiatives as the Conversation Partner Program, International Karaoke Nights, and International Dessert Nights. As a result, many language learning opportunities have been created, friendships formed, compelling stories told, and insights gained.
Conversation Partner Program
The Conversation Partner Program pairs or groups students of different linguistic backgrounds. After the grouping, students set up their own conversations and outings throughout the semester. Over the years, the program has grouped 26-79 students from up to 10 countries together. Students have opportunities to use English, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, and so on in these conversations. While the demand for Spanish, French, and German often exceeds the presence of native speakers of those languages, success has been specially noted in interactions among students from Japan and students of Japanese thanks in part to the presence of about 20 students from Japan at Chatham every year.
Despite some challenges of running the program, the rewards to students make it all worth it. In survey responses (usually 30% of the applicants) after each semester, students have described their partnerships as “a lot of fun,” “awesome,” and “fantastic.” One said, “it’s a great way to interact with international students and to create a stronger sense of community on campus.” Students reported doing things together, including going to restaurants, inviting their partners to spend time with their family over holidays, and exploring Pittsburgh together. Many have formed close friendships that outlast the study period of international students at Chatham. From a language learning perspective, students have more opportunities to use English and their target language, which undoubtedly contribute to their language development.
International Karaoke Night
This fun event is held once per semester in the evening, usually in the Carriage House. All the students from the language classes (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish) participate. International students also join in. International Karaoke Night is a venue for showcasing languages through music and performance. Students appreciate the opportunity to sing in their target language and have an audience to cheer them on. Not only does this make an entertaining and community-building night, but importantly, by making direct comparisons, students gain insights into other cultures and languages. As one student put it: “taking a universal concept such as Karaoke, but hearing it in a multiplicity of languages allowed me the opportunity to glimpse into other cultures in an enjoyable manner.”
International Dessert Night / Holidays Around the World Dinner
At the end of each semester, Modern Languages Program (MLP), together with the Office of International Affairs and the English Language Program (ELP), hosts the “Holidays-Around-the-World Dinner” (December) and the “International Dessert Night” (April). The gathering is held on campus in a comfortable living-room setting. Instructors prepare a dish that represents their target culture, supplemented by food that is catered. The evening starts out with games to connect students with each other and engage them in an interactive challenge to find out about various holiday traditions. Winners are awarded small prizes. Again, the goal is to get students to use their target language with each other and to apply it in a new context. Students love tasting new dishes and compare different traditions associated with the foods. Having the international students there gives a very authentic dimension to the evening and enhances the experience for our MLP students
Successful Interdepartmental Partnership
The collaboration has been a happy and successful one, and factors that contribute to this successful partnership include the overlapping goals among the ELP, MLP, and OIA. In addition, the leaders of these departments/ programs take ownership of and responsibility for different initiatives and events. The responsible person is proactive in distributing information about their program in different formats: emails, flyers, social media, and face-to-face communication with their faculty and students. Incorporating certain events into a class (such as the Lab course attached to each three-credit language course from MLP) and making announcements in the classroom is one of the most effective ways to increase student participation. Apart from emails, the organizers occasionally stop by one another’s office for conversations and discussions. This helps to not only effectively plan for the programs, but also strengthen the commitment to working together. The reward is seeing various languages and cultures come together and become alive through authentic conversations, exchanges, and celebrations.
Office of International Affairs, Chatham University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.chatham.edu/academics/international