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!
In celebration of Chatham’s 150th anniversary, the Office of International Affairs, with the kind guidance of the JKM Library Archives, has been putting together a display to showcase some of the ways that Chatham, its students and faculty have been international through the years.
Look for our display in the Flat Panel of the JKM Library vestibule starting in late September!
The bus ride from the Madrid airport to the city of Salamanca was quiet; the only sounds were snores. We had all been traveling for more than eighteen hours, and had little to no sleep. The “us” included myself and four other girls who attend Carroll University in Wisconsin. The five of us made up the Global Health Science (GHS) group, and we were together for the entire month. We arrived in Salamanca and were taken to our respective living arrangements. My “flat” came with three other students. As I walked in I was greeted with “Are you the American?” I was the only American in our apartment. Jacob was from the Netherlands, Alice from Taiwan, and Michelle from Germany. This was something I had not expected and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed living in a multi-country flat. My roommates were very inviting, happy, and interested in American life.
My flat was in the middle of beautiful Salamanca. The city was filled with shuffling of shoes on the narrow winding roads, laughter and chatter, and kisses on both cheeks. The city was overflowing with restaurants, cafes, markets, cathedrals and shops. It was breathtaking with old architecture, stone roads, parks, and lively people. My schedule while in Salamanca was class every day (M-F) and other activities four days a week (MWFSat). Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday were our independent days, in which I typically spent doing school work, exploring the city, or spending time with my roommates.
Some of the many things I did in Spain included:
Tour of tapas: we went to restaurants around Salamanca with a local and were given different tapas to experience Spanish food (one of the best things we did).
Traveled to Segovia and Avila. Segovia had a castle where Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand lived and aqueducts that were built in the year 98! Avila was a city surrounded by a large stone wall.
Learned Flamenco and Salsa dances.
Visited la Clerecía church towers which overlooked all of Salamanca and contained many stork nests!
Went to Málaga, Spain for a weekend visiting the beach on the Mediterranean Sea.
Visited the Old University of Salamanca founded in 1218, in which Christopher Columbus attended. It is also one of the oldest universities in the world.
Enjoyed churros with chocolate at Salamanca’s art deco museum.
Went to Madrid for the day. While in Madrid we went to two museums and a park. I liked Salamanca way more than Madrid.
Visited San Esteban Church as well as several other cathedrals.
Celebrated the week of Salamanca with fireworks over their river, and a light show on their major buildings.
I did these activities with my GHS group and I became good friends with all the girls We did hang out outside of school and our activities. We went to shops, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, the swimming pool, markets, and we would even hang out in my apartment. I was very thankful to have such supportive and fun girls to be with. My classes were Aspects of Public Health and Alternative Medicine. Both classes were taught by wonderful instructors and were very eye opening. Going to class while in Spain never felt like a chore, I was always very excited to learn something new. My time in Spain was quite lovely, and I will never forget this amazing experience.
When will you study abroad? Contact email@example.com with questions.
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.
By Victor Badillo, Graduate Student, Student Worker, Office of International Affairs
OIA is always there when it comes to help our international and exchange students, and this is another way we try to do so. The first months in a new country is hard, and it is good to have someone who can offer some guidance. This was the idea behind our Cross-Cultural Workshop Series. Throughout the semester, we met the students and had an informal discussion unlike a normal classroom. We shared our stories, strategies, and ideas about what to do in the face of this new and thrilling chapter of our lives: studying abroad.
With this workshop series, our approach intended to make learning collaborative and co-constructed by the participants rather than developed by the workshop leader. Our students came with great ideas, we tried to build upon the ideas and offer some help.
We discussed topics like getting to know Chatham, its community and the larger Pittsburgh community. “Surviving your first month” was a way to check how people were doing and also share some common advice. Of course, helping with school-related topics was one of our goals, and we spent some time talking about the US classroom culture, preparing for midterms, and strategies to study. But not everything is about school, and the OIA is aware that taking care of ourselves is a top priority for every student. In this spirit, we talked about home sickness, culture shock, and self-care. Dr. Elsa Arce from Chatham Counseling Center talked with us about signs of homesickness and gave us resources within our campus and in the Greater Pittsburgh area. We also learned about a few mindfulness techniques and how to improve our experience through relaxation and productive breaks.
At the OIA we are always trying to enhance the experience for all our students, and this series was a small effort with a big payback.
By Mai Nguyen, MBA Student, Graduate Assistant for the Office of International Affairs
It has been three months since I first took my first step in the States. I fell in love with the people and culture here right away! One of my friends who lived in Pittsburgh welcomed me with a very tight embrace which dispersed my exhaustion from such a long flight from Hanoi to Hong Kong to the U.S. Professor James Pierson, Director of Chatham MBA Program, was very helpful in giving me information about the program and my career prospects after graduation. Dr. Linh Phung, Mr. Chris Musick, Ms. Kate Emory and other graduate assistants at Office of International Affairs were my lovely supportive colleagues.
Working as a graduate assistant at Chatham is such a very interesting experience in my life. I was first assigned to conduct research about promising markets for studying abroad. I took Vietnam as my first challenge to overcome. The work is independent by reading annual reports and making contacts with agents. Furthermore, I can use my knowledge from my current MBA degree to facilitate my actual job. Especially, I have a chance to work directly with people in various positions at the university, which may not be common in other organizations.
If I have to point out a tiny disappointment, I have to confess that I wish Chatham would be a little bigger school with greater diversity of races and nationalities. However, the advantage of attending a not-so-big university is that I am highly engaged with the local communities and American culture. I feel that independence, discipline, teamwork, and punctuality are the core values in the work culture at Chatham that I fit well in.
While working part-time at Office of International Affairs, I am also a full-time MBA student. I really enjoy being occupied because to me when you work for your dreams, it is not a work anymore. I also admire another of American value: efficiency. I like the way my classmates routinely schedule every little group meeting or even a visit. They do not want to miss deadline. Also, I have found my professors to be very instructive and dedicated since they push us to go beyond our limitations and get out of our comfort zone to reach another accomplishment in our career path. I did not really have that experience anywhere else.
Work and study cannot take you away from indulgence where I can find peace by walking home in the snowy nostalgic street along ancient buildings and majestic churches that never appear in a tropical land where I come from. I know there are a lot of wonderful things ahead of me to discover here in Pittsburgh and the States.
Office of International Affairs, Chatham University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.chatham.edu/academics/international