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Summer International Programs

Chatham English Language Program is delighted to announce opportunities for international students to join our special courses and activities from May 26 to July 31 right from home. More information about how you can register for these will be updated in this post soon. Please check this post again if you’re interested.

  1. Learn English Through TV Shows

Sign up for 9 weekly workshops on Learning English Through TV Shows from May 29 to July 31. Students will watch several episodes from a TV show chosen by the instructor before each live workshop. During the workshop they will discuss the content, learn new idioms and expressions, and practice conversational skills. At the end of the course, they will perform a “show” that they create with other students. The workshop time will be every Friday, 8-8:50am US Eastern Time except Friday, July 3.

Cost to register for all 9 workshops: $100

Register and pay by credit card HERE.

2. Pronunciation and Public Speaking

Sign up for 9 weekly workshops on Pronunciation and Public Speaking from May 26 to July 31. Before each workshop, students will prepare a short speech to deliver in class and get feedback from peers and the instructor. The instructor will help the students to improve their speeches through more effective pronunciation and other delivery techniques. The workshop time will be every Friday, 9-9:50am, U.S. Eastern Time, except Friday, July 3.

Cost to register for 9 workshops: $100

Register and pay by credit card HERE.

3. Virtual International Conversations and Guest Speeches

We will offer free conversation hours and guest speeches every Friday from 10-11am, U.S. Eastern Time, except Friday, July 3. Students will have opportunities to hear from a guest speaker and engage in conversations with the speaker and other international students. There will also be online games and fun activities.

Cost: Free

Links to register for the conversation hours will be available later here.

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

By Olha Viun, Ugrad Student at Chatham, Spring 2020

April 2020

Olha wrote this essay for the English Language Program Writing Contest and received an honorable mention.

Experience has shown that the best stories are personal ones: tremendous achievements, unexpected surprises and little misfortunes – everything is touching if it produces a strong impression on a reader. Building on this, let us take a glimpse at my way of looking for happiness during hard times. Oh, I have almost forgotten: my name is Alexandra, I am from Norway, and I have never expected such an unforeseen twist and turns of events in my life connected with … Well, you will find out soon with what.

April, 2019. Norway

“The weather promises to be nice: it’s gonna be 70°F,” says the TV hostess cheerfully. I finally make up my mind to take a breath of fresh air, and unwind after all the hustle and bustle of the studying process. After a while, I went to park, and when my thoughts were far away from present-day reality, someone called me on the phone:

“WOW, WHAT, NO WAY!” was my first reaction when I found out that I would study in the USA in a year. It meant to be an opportunity of a lifetime. It meant. Meant.

March, 2020. USA

“We have the strongest COVID19 testing system!” says CNN.

“The world faces the biggest pandemic of all time!” rattle freaked journalists on Fox News.

“On the top of all that, even ‘Shrek’ isn’t on Netflix!” disappointedly says my roommate, who is obviously not in such authority as news channels but is right for 100%.

Death after death, COVID19, COVID19, COVID19 – STOP! I. want. To. Be. Happy. Right now. Right here. Isolation is not a big deal. Destiny is destiny, and if it is giving me a ‘welcoming’ present in the guise of global pandemic, I accept it.

“How to pave the way to happiness in this inevitable isolation?” was my first logical question. “What is my hobby? Right, studying!”. After a while I add, “And that’s awfully pathetic… But still, I can… I can gather all my friends and even teachers to study online together, take various courses and improve ourselves! Isn’t that great?” Well, it was one of the greatest ideas of mine. After this splendid thought, I figuratively started taking lemons and making lemonade: looking for online courses, writing to people who might be interested in self-education, and creating a motivational environment for myself.

Speaking of environment, it is fortunate that I can study online: no distractors, no noise and no pressure on me. However, time pressure is the only tension: deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Always having positive attitude to life and my passion for studying particularly, my motto is, “The stronger the wind blows, the tougher a tree has to be.” Therefore, if COVID quarantine gets harder, my time devoted to education increases as well. No time neither for procrastination nor sadness: just find your middle ground where you feel comfortable learning something new. On this positive note, I close my eyes, but when I wake up…

April, 2020. Norway

‘Whoosh, Alexandra, materialized here again, huh?’, at this moment I see myself as a NASA astronaut who jumps into the future and travels through time: after observing a classified virus that is threatening to all humankind, I return to my home country, safe and sound. The irony is that COVID19 is here as well. So, it was not time travel but a severe reality instead. In these difficult times, everyone needs remedy. I also need one. What is mine? Happiness. Happiness from my ability to study, to learn something new and develop in this worldwide imprisonment.

April, right now, 2020.

I have paved the way to happiness, have you?

The City of Cultural Diversity

By Saffanah T. Moualla, English Language Program Student

April 2020

Saffanah won the Third prize for this essay in the English Language Program Writing Contest. Students were encouraged to submit a writing that will give joy and happiness to the readers. They all wrote this in a very short period of time and did a wonderful job!

This picture means a lot to me. I took it in my first year in Pittsburgh during the fall, winter, and spring seasons. The summer in this city lasts usually for only two months or less, and I spent it back home with my family that year. That is why there is no part of summer for this tree in this picture.

I loved that tree so much, and I missed it since we moved to another house. It is a symbol of strength, pleasantness, and stability of all seasons. It was a very kind and loyal neighbor for me. In the morning, the birds’ sounds woke me up singing around the tree. In the afternoon, the tree swayed with lovely breezes. This airflow always pushes away the negativity and provides us a lot of pleasantness, warmness, and fragrance of nature. In the evening, it was full of calmness and kindness as a lovely mother carrying her son gently and looking at her other children from time to time until she gets assured that they are in a deep peaceful sleep.

My story with this tree is a small part of my story with Pittsburgh. This story began two years ago when my husband received a letter from Pittsburgh University stating that he had been admitted to the University. After celebrating and rejoicing, we decided to drive from Monroe, a small city in Louisiana state, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We arrived at night and it was the beginning of spring. The trees had not bloomed yet at that time. My first impression of Pittsburgh was strange and very complex. Those tall buildings and sparkling towers look like pieces of a mirror scattered in the sky. It was one of the most magnificent and majestic views that gives me a feeling of joy and prestige at the same time. On the other hand, I saw a lot of intertwined bare branches covering hills and plateaus, which exemplify most of the geographical composition of this city. We immediately started to look for a rental house. In the meantime, my husband contacted his adviser to ask her about good neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Her advice was to get

away from Pitt campus, Oakland, and the areas around them, as much as we could. She also suggested a couple neighborhoods such as Aspinwall and Mount Lebanon. We chose to live in Aspinwall, and we stayed there for a year, which was one of the most peaceful and quiet years that I have had in my life.

As the mother becomes more attached to her child over time, we became related to Pittsburgh. We love the contradictions in this city which is hard to find anywhere else. When you visit the city for the first time, you will get disturbed. How people from different religions and variable races, can live an equal and peaceful living. They coexist with each other wonderfully, representing humanity in its deepest sense. Curiously, I noticed a lot of breathtaking street graffiti. I am impressed how those graffiti are spread around the city, in different neighborhoods and districts of the city, demonstrating the positive diversity phenomenon in the city. I wish that I could have the opportunity to have an album that gathers all that wonderful graffitis. Finally, I will always remember how Pittsburgh had taught me how Art could combine different cultures together

Living Life

By Lila Usquiano, English Language Program Student

April 2020

Lila wrote this essay for the English Language Program Writing Contest. She received an honorable mention. 

I am constantly impressed with how life insists on sending us messages at the most unexpected moments and how if we manage to receive and digest them, they are capable of giving an interesting and extraordinary turnaround to our lives.

Particularly, the last two weeks of March were extremely stressful for me. I do not remember having, during the year, days with such tension, chaotic situations that slipped one after another without even warning, days where 24 hours was not enough to read the news, talk to my family, and do my homework.

And right on the cusp of those moments, where I only had to decide what to do and what to leave out, who to look good with and who to look bad with, who to support and who to disappoint because of my apparent lack of time, I heard the casual words of a friend who unknowingly not only changed my mood but also gave me a clear purpose to follow this year.

His words were something similar to “In these moments when stress invades you for what you must do and blames you for everything that does not give you a chance to do, my only recommendation is that you do what you do, give yourself completely to what you decided to do without feeling bad about what you didn’t do and what you could be doing instead. Because whatever you choose, that choice comes from your heart and deserves your own recognition and gratitude.”

And despite perhaps having heard those same words countless times in the past, this time, curiously I managed to feel and internalize them in each of my cells and as if by some magic I understood for the first time what it means to live the moment to the fullest without getting caught in the past or the future.

If you have to describe it in words I would say that if you put all your attention and all your intention into the moment you are living in; if  you pass every time a thought of guilt approaches under the table; if you manage to see the details that surround you: the colors, the smells, the flavors; if you manage not to be so aware of the time; and if you manage to smile even if you are alone; you will realize an internal force that is getting bigger and bigger, filling your chest until you feel that it does not fit inside you, lowering your pulsations, and flooding you with an unusual feeling called peace.

My wishes, for all people, are that they can have the opportunity and the privilege of feeling this spectacular sensation more frequently and that we really learn to live in the now and fully enjoy it because the only thing we build is our present and it is this same one that gives us the power to enjoy life while we are living.

My Fabulous Partner

By Miku Nishii, ELP Student

April 2020

Miku wrote this essay for the English Language Program Writing Contest to bring joy and happiness to the readers. She won the Second Prize in the contest. Congrats, Miku!

Who is your partner? I have a partner by my side right now because it is unusual in my case. He always stays with me, so I can feel relaxed in my room. One day we had a fateful encounter.

It was last summer when we met. I was not interested in him at first. However, I found that he was very attractive. He was so cute and lovely; however, he was my friend’s. I really wanted him after I was fascinated by him.

Last fall, I asked my friend to give him to me. She hesitated to give her answer. After a moment, she decided to give him to me because I was supposed to study abroad this year. She thought that if she gives him to me, I would not feel lonely even when I am in the US. I was glad to hear that.

Now, he plays an important role for me. He is always soft and fluffy. He always makes me smile. His name is Stitch, and actually, he is a stuffed animal. I am so happy he is close to me. Thank you, Stitch!

All and Nothing

By Size Li, Pittsburgh Pathways Student

April 2020

“Size wrote an essay that won the Second Prize in the English Language Program Writing Contest. The students in the program were encouraged to submit a writing that will bring joy and happiness to the readers. They all wrote theirs in a very short period of time and did a wonderful job!”

“Those who don’t have time for entertainment, their time will be spent on getting sick.”

—— John Wanamaker

My name is Size, so most people just call me [saɪz]. Actually, it is pronounced more like [si:zə], but I will not ask people to call me “Caesar” since I am neither an emperor nor an ape. As an international student, improving my English level is my main task, and expanding vocabulary is the most important part of it. However, many words look very similar: open the book: Contact; close the book: Contract? Contrast? Or Context?; open the book again: Oh, it is Contact, I got it. But during the exam: I am sure it is Contest. After I entered the US, I found it was easier than I thought: I only needed to take a flight and a nap; when I woke up, I had already arrived in the US. So what is the purpose to build a wall on the border of the country? I come from China; I am sure it is useless because nobody knows about the wall better than I do.

I made many friends on campus. They come from different countries, and they taught me many things: not every Japanese is bashful, not every Russian likes to drink, and not every Muslim is violent. My adviser also gave me many good proposals. She recommended me take the American politics class, which helped me to learn a lot: the core of politics and culture in America, the conflicts among different social classes, and the first “F” in my life. I used to think politics was easy because in China we only needed to remember: “Communist Party is the best.” However, I changed my mind after attending the American policy class. These are my Q&A in class:

Q: What is the First Amendment?

A: Is it the reason why people can discriminate against others online?

Q: What is the Second Amendment?

A: Is it the reason why people do not discriminate against others in reality?

I thought I answered pretty well, but unfortunately, the instructor did not think so.

There are many things that have happened since the COVID-19 has spread around the world: China was affected first, Britain adopted the appeasement policy, Germany plundered the surrounding countries, Japan postponed the Olympics and America is having an economic depression after World War II. Moreover, people need to make their choices: civil rights, or civil lives, that is the question. Whether it is nobler: in the mind to suffer the loneliness and emptiness of quarantine or to go out against a lockdown order? For now, both options are similar: go to a mental hospital or an ICU.

Despite most countries were chaotic right now, most universities are reliable because knowledge has no borders. 190 universities around the world have opened many distinctive and interesting courses free for people to study online. For example, MIT introduced Engineering the Space Shuttle, Keio University provided Exploring Japanese Avant-garde Art Through Butoh Dance, and Tsinghua University gave us a big present: Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New era. I am tired of socialism or Chinese characteristics, but if Harvard University opened a course named Trump’s Experience on Racism with American Characteristics, I would like to attend.

Now, I have a very nice family. Every time I go back to China, they will welcome me and say: “We miss you so much, sweetheart!” Moreover, when I return to America, my family will also “bless” me: “Get away and never come back you little buster!” At the beginning of the epidemic, they told me they were fine and did not worry about them. When the US began to have cases, they comforted me and sent me many supplies. After my air ticket was canceled and the situation in the US became worse, they did not say anything but shared with me this article: How to Arrange a Funeral in the US. How wonderful family they are!

In the end, what can you get from my writing? Nothing, indistinct complaints, experiences of an international student, criticisms of reality, or differences in the world. It does not matter right or wrong because there are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes. I just wrote all the things I wanted, and I hope they can bring you a little bit of entertainment under this difficult time.

This Too Shall Pass

By Bothainah Sharrofnah, English Language Program Student

April 2020

Beth wrote a winning essay for the English Language Program Writing Contest. Students in the program were encouraged to submit a writing to bring joy and happiness to the readers. They all wrote this in a very short period of time.

Spring 2020 Before Social Distancing

You wake up every day in the hope of getting good news. You check your phone. Your family is worried, and things are getting worse. You decide to make your favorite breakfast, but you notice that you don’t have all the ingredients for it. You compromise. Then, you wonder if you should go out to buy groceries. Should I risk getting sick or should I stay home until I desperately need groceries, you ask yourself. You want to do things and to accomplish things, but everything seems stressful. You miss the streets, your friends and somehow, you even miss school. Though, this too shall pass.

One day, you will again make plans to go out with your friends. You will wear your favorite outfit that you’ve been saving all these times. You will step out of your house and take a deep breath of fresh air. You deserve it. The sun is out and you’re feeling like the king of the world. The streets are busy. People are laughing, shaking their hands and hugging, even those who are not usually huggy people, just because they finally can. You finally see your friends again. They are all happy and excited to go to the same restaurants that you all used to be so sick of, but surprisingly, you all miss it so much. You miss the waiter that you didn’t like before. You miss the smell of the restaurant that you used to despise. You miss the tables that are slightly crooked and made you so angry before. But you miss it all, and you’re finally going to live all of that again. This too shall pass.

You’re finally stress-free again. Your family is safe. Your friends are safe. Most importantly, you are safe. You once again decide to work on your hobbies now that you have no stress. You feel a sense of euphoria. You got your control back. Everything is back to normal. You know that tomorrow is going to be a great day. You know that you can visit your grandma who you haven’t seen for a long time. She’s safe and healthy. You can finally give her a hug with zero worries. You feel the warmth. This too shall pass.

You open your eyes, and all of this is a distant memory, vague. Everything is back to normal. Everybody is back to their jobs and schools. You wake up and make your favorite breakfast as usual. The streets are too loud that you miss the quiet again. You rest your eyes and wonder: did that all happen or was it all a dream? You smile and get ready to live your uneventful life that you appreciate so much. This too shall pass.

Virtual Conversation Hour with Dr. Natasha Garrett

Please join a Virtual Conversation Hour hosted by Chatham English Language Program to discuss the topics of gardening, food, family life, and finding a “Common Ground” with Dr. Natasha Garrett.

Speaker: Dr. Natasha Garrett, Writer, Translator, Director of International Student Services at La Roche University

Host: Dr. Linh Phung, Director of the English Language and Pathways Programs at Chatham University

Topic: Common Ground: Gardening, Food, and Family

Date: Friday, April 10, 2020

Time: 9am-10am US Eastern Standard Time

Registration link: https://chatham.zoom.us/meeting/register/upErduqpqzgiQBagSG4VmNxwg1nvEH-Lqg

Description: If you ask an immigrant what they miss most about home, they will likely say: the food! In this interactive session, Natasha will discuss her essay Common Ground, in which she writes how gardening connected her with her own family members and her ancestral roots. It will also give participants a sneak peek into everyday life in the U.S. and share about theirs. Participants are encouraged to read her essay Common Ground published in her Motherlands book before the session: https://www.gravelmag.com/natasha-garrett.html

Speaker’s bio: Natasha Garrett was born and raised in Macedonia and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She came to the U.S. as an international student. She is a writer and a translator whose work has appeared in numerous national and international publications. She works at La Roche University as a director of international student services and an adjunct professor.

Apple pie