Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring Visit Day 2015

On April 10th PLU again invited local international students from several community college in the area to visit campus and our current international students. This gave them the chance to see the campus for themselves, experience a real day as a student, meet students from their home country and even spend a night in the dorms.
Campus showing itself at it's best! (@brekkemo)
This year we had ten students join us from Green River College, Shoreline and Tacoma Community College. They received a campus tour and had a dinner social with current international students where they were given the opportunity to ask the important questions:

"What are classes like? How are the professors? What is there for students to do around campus? Should I live in a dorm or off campus?"
Visiting students and current students enjoying dinner in the Commons!
The students also went to the annual Dance Ensemble, which showcases talented PLU student dancers and choreographers, the PLU dance team, and professional choreography. Students of all technical dance levels can participate and it is a lot of fun! This is a huge campus event that everyone usually attends!
The Admissions interns at the Dance Ensemble
Some students chose to spend the night with hosts on campus, meaning that they could experience what PLU dorms are like and breakfast on campus. This could be a valuable experience when applying for housing to help decide which resident hall they would like to live in. 

All of the student volunteers and admissions interns had a great time with the visiting students and we hope to one day see them on campus! If you are interested in a campus visit you can request a visit here! See you on campus!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

I Have Never Dyed Easter Eggs

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Dear International Friends

I hope that you all guys had a nice and enjoyable Easter Break! 

Welcome back to the second and final round of the semester. It is definitely gonna go by fast, but let's just sit tight, I am sure we'll be fine!

Okay, let's talk about Easter! 

When I think about Easter, this is what first comes to my mind, 

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If you want to try, here is the recipe:

the dish is called "Ngalakh". I am not sure if you can pronounce it, but anyway it is usually made during Easter and shared with the community.

Being from Senegal, even though the majority of the population are not christians, Easter is still a big holiday for every family there. I could always feel that "Easter is on its way coming" due to the huge preparations. But more importantly, Easter symbolizes a day of sharing and community, where each christian family or community had to prepare this meal and share it with neighbors, relatives, and friends regardless of their religious background. And this is pretty much the way, each religious events are celebrated in my country. 

Different countries have different ways of celebrating holidays, so Easter might be celebrated in a different way in your country.

During the Easter break, I have had the chance to discover and learn a little more about how people celebrate Easter here in the U.S. through the help of some friends, housemates, and even coworkers. And today, I will share with you few things I have discovered. 

Here, in the U.S, as Easter approaches, families do a lot of activities. For instance, some people celebrate it at churches, some families organize Easter family dinners. But also many people hardboil eggs and dye them with brilliant colors to decorate their houses, these could be eaten later, but may also be model eggs made of plastic, chocolate, candy, or other materials. 
It is also common to organize easter eggs hunt. This is usually the most fun part as my friend, Madeleine, mentioned. Eggs of some sort are hidden by parents or a family member, and children then search for them. This is a popular Easter family game. 
Aside from the Easter Egg hunt, the White House Easter rolling is also a popular Easter game. 

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It is an egg roll race, held each year at the White house lawn, where children and parents push the eggs along through the grass with a long-handled spoon. 
All of these activities constitute Easter here in the U.S.

These are all I got for you today!
Best of luck for the rest of the semester.

Your friend, 
Pape Mathioro Samba

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Thirst for Adventure

Hi again!

Tacoma has been really sunny and it finally feels like spring. In this season where there have been a few breaks (Spring and Easter break) and the end of the school year is coming up, I'd like to write about traveling on a low budget. You might think that it's impossible for you to travel while you're studying at PLU, since buying a plane ticket would be too expensive and you might not have a car. However, since the Pacific Northwest is so diverse and unique, why not go to places that are close to PLU?

Over Spring Break, I took the train to Salem, Oregon to get away from Tacoma for a few days and spend some time at a friend's house. The perks of taking the train are: it's cheap and relaxing. I was able to get the train ticket for only $40 to go to Salem, and all I needed to do on the train was sit back and enjoy the ride. The scenery is absolutely stunning. While the train goes through urban and suburban areas, you also get a chance to see a lot of nature along the way. Even though I was planning to study during the five hour train ride, I instead ended up staring out of the window for a few hours and enjoying the view. During the few times that I have traveled by train, I have gotten to talk to some interesting people as well. There are a lot of friendly and interesting people who travel by train, so if you ever get the chance, I'd encourage you to talk to people!

The Amtrak trains go to areas in Washington, Oregon, California, and even Vancouver BC. If you are interested in knowing more about traveling by train, I'd be able to help you out and give you some advice. Happy traveling!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Break!

Hello everyone!

It's Joel again. As usual, I hope that everyone is doing amazingly well. The weather has recently changed and the air feels much warmer and cozier in my opinion. The sunshine is pretty nice as well! So, right smack in Spring Semester, we have Spring Break! The break which we were all yearning for.

I must say, Spring Break really rejuvenated me and gave me a boost to the first day back to school today. It was a well-deserved and well-needed break for sure.

You might be wondering what I was up to during the break. Honestly, I did nothing much and had more of a staycation. (I just learned this term from one of my classmates today). Really cool eh? A staycation. Pretty simple definition: A staying at home type of vacation. I mean, I wasn't at home 24/7 the whole week.

I spent a lot of time with my girlfriend, friends and did lots of cool stuff such as going bowling, going to malls and an arcade. I also managed to meet up my old friends from my previous school! They came up from California to pay a visit to beautiful Washington.

L to R: Myself, Yu, Yuki (GF) & Tian. Amazing friends that came from Cali!

So yeah! It was a pretty short break but it was really refreshing and enjoyable. Even though I did not do anything 'exotic', I had one of the best breaks ever as I was so occupied with friends and rest!

Short blog this time around. Hope to be blogging about some interesting things the next time around.

Take care always and have a great week.


Friday, March 20, 2015

2015 PLU International Student Photo Contest

PLU Campus Photo:@brekkemo
Are you interested in seeing photos from real life international students attending PLU? This year the International Admissions Office is holding a Photo Contest for current international students (2014-2015). To see photos submitted on Instagram and Facbook search for #PLUintlphotocontest or #PLUintl to see more pictures from our awesome international students!
If you are a current International Student here you can find the guidelines below!

Madeleine & The International Admissions Team

PLU Clock Tower Photo:@brekkemo

Submission Rules and Guidelines

  • Applicant must be a current international student at PLU(or Fall 2014 graduate).
  • Submissions must be original photographs taken by the applicant during his/her academic life at PLU from Fall 2014 through Spring 2015.
  • Contestants may submit one (1) photograph per category – For a total of three (3). Each submitted photo must include the required information (see above) or it will not be considered.
  • The PLU International Admissions Office reserves the right to reject photos that contain inappropriate content. Rejected photos will be discarded without penalty to the contestant's other submissions.
  • Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, with the final deadline of 5:00pm on Friday, May 1st 2015.

Campus Scenery: Qualifying photos for this category may include wildlife, plants, natural and urban
landscapes and landmarks around our campus. Must include a minimum of one student.
International Classroom: Qualifying photos for this category may depict student interaction with
academia. Examples may include students in the classroom, with faculty, involved in internship and
service projects, field study, culturally relevant activities or study groups, etc.
Lute Social: Qualifying photos for this category must include PLU students, faculty, and/or staff. Ideally, your photo should include international students interacting with domestic students, perhaps in a learning environment – even better if they are wearing Lute gear!
One winner will be selected from each of the categories and the winner will receive a $50 Gift Card to the Garfield Bookstore. As a partial prize qualified photos may become the cover of future international student brochures (subject to university approval)!
Contest participants will be notified of the results of the contest by Sunday,  May 10th 2015.
Please email photos to AND post them to either Instagram or Facebook (see below)
Photos will be accepted on a rolling basis with a final deadline of 5:00pm on Friday, May 1st, 2015.
Late entries will not be accepted.
Emailed Photos:
 Preferred format: .jpg or .tiff
 Preferable Size: minimum 1MB
Submitted photos must include:
o Category Title
o Name of Photographer
o Title of Photo
o Paragraph explaining the significance of the photo
o Approximate Location and Date
Instagram and Facebook submission:
The location set to “Pacific Lutheran University”
Include the hashtag: #PLUintlphotocontest
All submissions become the property of PLU, which will enjoy full rights of display and circulation (with attribution to the photographer). If you submit a photograph it is understood that you have granted this right.
Judging will be conducted by a panel of PLU faculty, staff and students.
Judging criteria:
o Originality/creativity
o Photographic quality and visual impact
o Effectiveness in conveying the international student experience

Friday, March 13, 2015

Exploring the Library

Dear International Friends,
We are again at that time of the year, where classes are more than overwhelming due to heavy loads. For some of you, assignments and projects are due within less than few hours, papers need to be turn in within the next twenty four hours, or even multiple exams scheduled for the following day.

Do not panic my friend! If you want to meet all of these deadlines, the only right place for you to ensure that actually everything is going well and smoothly is, of course, The Library! 
Photo Source: Pape
In this article, we’ll discuss some resources that are useful and important to know about the library, especially if you are new on campus, and how these might be of a great help.
Let’s explore the library guys! Let’s explore!

Photo Source: Pape
Did you know that Mortvedt Library’s resources classification system might be different than your library classification system back home?

Photo Source: Pape
The Mortvedt library uses the U.S. Library of Congress Classification System, which means that all materials are assigned with a letter and call number based on the subject areas. Most of the universities in the U.S. use this classification system, but some others usually mix it with the Dewey decimal classification. So, do you know what parts of the call number mean and how are call numbers arranged on the shelves? Learning to understand these classification systems and their differences could be very useful to help you identify the resources you need much quicker such as books that you so desperately need today to write that research paper, the right encyclopedia for that class project, or even your favorite book. You can learn to read these call numbers by asking a librarian! They are very nice and could work you through the process.

Did you know that we have the tutoring centers in the library?
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One of these is the Academic Assistance Center, located down the hall, just on your left side as you enter through the main doors of the library. Another one, the Writing Center is located on the second floor of the library. You can use these resources if you need help with a particular subject area, also if you need a feedback for your paper due tonight, some study tips for your next test, or even to join a foreign language conversation group. All these academic support services are free for the use of students, just make your appointment and go rock that exam, assignment, or even project!

Did you know that you can reserve a study room in the library?
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Oh Yes!  You can definitely reserve any type of study rooms, the size of the rooms vary from a 1-person study room to a larger group study rooms that can accommodate more than 6 to 14 people. And, the nice thing is that you can reserve it for any length of time you want depending on the availability schedule of the room provided.  

Did you know that you could reserve and use lockers, both to secure and protect your computer as well as your luggages in the library?

Photo Source: Pape
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Hey Bud! From now on, you do not really have to carry out all these items with you! You can certainly go for that break without fearing any losses, of course if you do not have somebody looking after your items. Reserve a locker my friend. The library provides lockers to students, and they are located on the third floor of the library, near the University Archives. Not only that, you could also keep your laptop secured by checking out a laptop lock from the library front desk.
Did you know that you can use other ways to copy and print your documents in the library?

Photo Source: Pape
Aside from using your lutecard or copycard to print or copy, there are several other ways you could use to copy or print your items! For instance, did you know that the photocopiers located down the hall just on your right as you enter through the main doors of the library can be used to scan and email printed documents for free? Also, have you even heard of the GoPrint Mobile app? Here is your chance to learn about it! With this app, you could print directly from your personal device to a selected GoPrint stations on campus. Stations have two locations on campus, Haley Computer lab in the Library, and Morken Center, open lab- room 114. With this app, no rushing anymore, you can print anytime. For more info about the GoPrint Mobile, you can follow these links:

Did you know that you can borrow movies, DVD’s, CD’s in the library?
Photo Source: Pape
“If you are new, you might not know that you may borrow movies from the movie racks located on the first floor of the library, by the circulation desk. The good news is they are not just some old films that don't spark your interests. [Her] personal favorite? [She]'d say Inception. Look it up today and see what you can find!” – As my friend Shishi advised. Well, enjoy the movie collections then my friend! In addition to the movie collections, you could also borrow a bunch of DVD’s and videos, or even CD’s.

Did you know the borrowing, returning, and renewing policies at the library?
They are different set of rules designed to ensure that all students have assessed to the resources at the library. Thus, these rules differ based on the type of items that are check out using a library card. For instance, books can be borrowed for lengthy period of 28 days, could be renewed twice for 14 days each. DVD’s, CD’s, and other desired resources have also their borrowing period and number of renewal. However, if you do not comply with these rules, there are some late fines for return. For more info about these rules, follow this link:  

My friend, I hope you've enjoyed exploring with me the Library, and I hope also that knowing about these resources would be of a great help!

Good luck on the heavy loads! 
Your friend, 
Pape Mathioro Samba

Friday, March 6, 2015

5 Tips for Living Off-Campus

I have been living off-campus for the last 9 months since June. Since I lived on-campus for my first two years at PLU, this was a big change. Here are some tips I have regarding living off-campus!

1. Find a friend who has a car.
If you are an international student who doesn't have a car, it's a good idea to find someone you can carpool with. This way, you don't have to worry about setting aside a big chunk of time to walk to the grocery store to buy food, or having to carry heavy bags back to your house. It really saves time and energy, and if you pitch in on gas, your friend will probably be more than willing to help you out!

2. Communicate with your landlord before and after you move in.
I have heard some of my friends talk about their landlords agreeing to pitch in on maintenance and cleaning fees, but had never followed through even after they moved into the house. Make sure you have your landlord's contact information so that you can contact them about these things, and it would be a good idea to establish your expectations with them and clear things out even before you sign the contract!

3. Pick one day out of the week for a big meal.
Pasta carbonara and salad I made for dinner one night!
When you get busy with school, it's hard to be able to cook a healthy meal everyday. It's a good idea to set aside one day in a week to cook a big meal, so that even if you are too busy to cook dinner that night you still have leftovers easily available! Also, getting together some easy recipes for quick meals is a really good idea! Here are some possible websites for some healthy and easy recipes:

4. Utilize the space you have.
Depending on the size of the house you live in, there are a lot of things you can do to make you house more interesting and fun. You can decorate your house according to a theme to give it a fun atmosphere. You can maybe go thrift shopping to find interesting a quirky things to give your house some character. Since my house has a spacious back yard, my housemates and I are currently growing tomatoes, mint, and pesto. Once these grow, we can use these for food, which will be really great!

5. If you have housemates, do some fun things together!
Chances are, you were either really good friends with your housemates before you moved in, or you didn't know them at all. Regardless of which it is, do things occasionally with them to spend time and get to know them better! You can schedule an occasional movie night and dinner or maybe think up some projects for the house. Make things fun in the house so you'd enjoy living there with your housemates! If you're comfortable with your housemates, it makes communication easier and you'd hopefully be able to figure out how to bring up uncomfortable issues with them without causing any conflicts.