Thursday, November 6, 2014

International Education Week!

Hey everyone! I hope you're all feeling awesome today.

You might begin to realize that:

1) We are already past midway through the semester 
2) The leaves around us are all falling and changing colors beautifully.
3) Thanksgiving's just around the corner!

However, you might not realize that we have some cool things going on at PLU in the next few weeks. I want to HIGHLIGHT one particular event which is going to be amazing!

International Education Week!!!

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International Education Week is an opportunity for the PLU campus to celebrate the benefits of international education to our community. This event will be held from November 17th to the 21st and different offices and departments at PLU are hosting events throughout the week.

Monday, Nov. 17th

1) Taste of Tacoma 

Explore Japanese cuisine and embrace insightful conversations about foreign cuisine in Tacoma!
Bring  around $12-$20 for food. Transportation is also available upon reservation at
Hosted by the Diversity Center.

Tuesday, Nov. 18th

1) A film titled "Speaking in Tongues" 

Runs from 7:00 PM-8:15 PM at the PLU Language Center. 
Hosted by Language Resource Center.

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2) BUSA Abroad

These programs have been handpicked for you by the Wang Center for Global Education and are supported by the School of Business, so there is bound to be an option that caters to your academic needs. This is an informal event, and light refreshments will be provided.
BUSA Abroad will be held between 7:00 PM-8:00 PM in Morken 103.
Hosted by Wang Center for Global Education and School of Business. 

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Wednesday, Nov. 19th

1) Around the World

Travel the world without leaving the PLU campus! PLU international students and students who have studied away will host country-themed tables full of displays, hands-on activities and mini-lectures. Countries represented will include Norway, China, Mexico, Thailand and more! 
Hosted by International Student Services from 6:00 PM-8:00 PM at Hong International Hall.
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2) Study Away 101 

If you want to learn more about studying away, come speak to the Wang Center Sojourner Advocates about program options, funding and credits.
Event will be held on November 19, 2014, from 6:00 PM-7:00 PM at AUC 201.
Hosted by the Wang Center for Global Education.

Thursday, Nov. 20th

1) Student Mixer 

Come to meet and talk with other students at PLU. Join everyone on campus to share stories and experiences with students from all over the world while enjoying desserts and hot beverages.
Hosted by Hong International Hall

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Friday, Nov. 21st

1) Global Getdown

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Global Getdown will be held at the Cave from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM. Event is hosted by the Diversity Center.

2) Hong Discotea

Right after the Global Getdown event, we will have the Hong Discotea from 8:30 PM - 11:00PM at The CAVE!
This year's theme is Masquerade. Get ready to mingle with masked students from all over campus while enjoying foreign music and tasty refreshments. There will also be a photo booth to capture fun moments and prizes for best costumes.
Hosted by Hong International Hall.

On Campus Events

Tuesday, Nov. 18th - "Speaking in Tongues" & BUSA Abroad

Wednesday, Nov. 19th - Around the World & Study Away 101

Thursday, Nov. 20th - Student Mixer

Friday, Nov. 21st - Global Getdown & Hong Discotea

Off Campus Event

Monday, Nov. 17th - Taste of Tacoma

Credits to the Wang Center for all the beautiful pictures and information. I'm just sharing this with all of you so you're not left in the dark!

International Education Week will be full of fun so be sure to show up at the events listed above! If you want more details, visit

I hope to see some of you at these events. Have a great rest of the week and take care!

Yours truly,

Joel Goh.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Psychology of Horror: A Psi Chi Event

This year I am the Vice President for the Psychology Honors Association PSI CHI and was able to plan and create an event that would get students ready for Halloween and also discuss the Psychology around fear and horror.
Psi Chi, Psychology Staff and Fall 2014 Inductees
Growing up I have seen a lot of horror movies. I love watching them, but always end up regretting my decision right before bedtime when I cannot sleep or have horrible dreams. However, I take full responsibility for my viewing preferences. I wondered why even though people are terrified during horror movies, haunted houses or simulations they still choose experience this again. I decided to do some research on the topic and present it to fellow students as a fun informational event.

I had expected about 10-20 students to attend my event, but with the support of my Psi Chi officers, advisers, previous professors and friends the turnout was unbelievable. We even had to change rooms the day before as we started to realize that more than 40 people were interested in coming to hear me speak. I get nervous when talking in front of large groups and hearing the excitement about my event was wonderful but also daunting. This was a great learning experience and opportunity to develop my public speaking skills.
Attendees and their "scared" face! That's me in the front!

On the night of the event students were already waiting in the room a half hour ahead of time and kept coming in until we had filled every seat and a few extra chairs. We reached the maximum capacity and fire code of the room, 80 people, before introducing our Psi Chi chapter and an overview of my presentation. My presentation consisted of some lecture coupled with various video clips that went along with theories of appeal mentioned. During the showing of video clips, the lights were off to create the most ideal atmosphere. Attendees were extremely responsive to various video clips and the presentation itself, which added to the fun of the event. They were laughing, screaming and some even fell of their seats during scary parts of the video.

I brought in an international aspect to my presentation as we discussed differences in horror across cultures, to allow the audience to see how the psychology behind the fear is similar across the globe, but also acknowledging some differences and cultural factors that come into play. Examples came from China and Norway.

Students were very interested in asking questions after the event, about the video clips that I presented and certain movies I had seen. Others also connected the presentation to other course work and had suggestions for future films or texts to read about this topic.

As students were forced to sit randomly due to the room sitting arrangement and limitation of the chairs, the circumstance provided an opportunity for students to connect with others who may not be from the same discipline or standing. All class levels and 17 majors were represented. Friendships were formed on the common ground of eagerness to understand the psychology behind horror, despite various differences present among the 80 attendees. Friendships between first-years and current senior Psi Chi member were formed as well as they discussed the nature of Psi Chi as an organization and ways to navigate the department of psychology and college as a whole in their upcoming years.

I hope to plan more such events in the future with Psi Chi on different topics that may also be of interests to the whole student population in which we can promote the science of psychology to provide better understanding of the discipline and allowed students to see how widely impacting this discipline is in every aspect of their lives. The support and encouragement I received from my PLU community to fallow through with this event really helped me understand how happy I am to have chosen a smaller university where I truly can make things happen.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Life After Midterm: What's Next?

Dear all,

If this is your first time studying in the U.S, and also first semester ever, the chances are you might be overwhelmed by loads! of reading assignments, exams, presentations, group projects, papers, and etc. I can totally whine about how much I have had in the past two weeks and how much I have left till the end of the this semester. But I am not about to complain. We've all learned to deal with different events in life. So whether it is to swallow a spoon full of wasabi or a jar of honey, we know what college life is like and what we are getting ourselves into.There is no surprises.

As November approaches, it began to drizzle. The autumn colors kicked in a little late this year, but to me, seeing the leaves change color from freshly green to yellow, burnt orange, or ruby red is the most precious moment in fall. And when we are about to get to the end of November, there will be a short break for Thanksgiving. What have you planned on doing? I only have a little to share.

Option #1
Each year international students are invited to a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by President Krise at the Gonyea house. Students who went always returned with warm feelings. It is a nice tradition for those of us who are temporarily "homeless" in America. Keep you eyes open for the invitation and RSVP if needed.

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Gonyea House. Photo credit: David Chen

Option #2
Make friends with the Americans NOW and follow them home! Just kidding. I am sure you have already made many friends whose families are in the U.S. It is not a bad idea to celebrate Thanksgiving with your friends' families. Most of them would really appreciate your presence and that they can share dinner with you. "The more the merrier," as my American mom would always say.

Photo from our Thanksgiving from last year
Option #3
If you really don't want to get your stomach filled up with Turkey or like me, you are a Vegan, going on a road trip with some good friends is what you want. Take a short break from Parkland and drive to somewhere far away. Taking a train to Oregon-- I heard it has a beautiful view along the way. Or you may want to go to Canada, cross the boarder, and do some amazing things. Don't forget to bring your I-20, passport, and traveling signature if you are going. Pick a place and be on your way!
PLU Golf Course, Sept 24

Sunrise Point, Mt. Rainier National Park, Aug 24

Or simply, relax and stay local to re-balance your life and to re-charge.

Option #4
Don't make any plans so there is no need to worry about anything at all. Pay less attention to Facebook, and so you leave some room for yourself. Read a book in a coffee shop; cook some delicious soup in a rainy day; listen to some old CDs and get lost in your favorite songs; pick a day to sleep in and wake up with a cup of warm milk or hot steaming tea; flee away from the campus and wander in downtown Tacoma by the waterfront; or maybe you'd rather stay cozy in bed and spend hours pondering the meaning of life. Who cares?

Tacoma waterfront, May 18
Have fun you all. And be safe.

Warm hugs,


Monday, October 20, 2014

A Halloween Story: ISS Trip to the Haunted Woods

     The weather is getting colder and the leaves are changing color on-campus. This means one's Halloween season! To get into the spirit, ISS (International Student Services) organized a trip to the Maris Farm Haunted Woods, organized by our dedicated International Peer Advisor, Vu Dao. Ten students signed up for the trip, and we had a very fun, loud and enthusiastic group!

The enthusiastic group before going to the Haunted Woods! (Photo: Shunying Wang)
 We got there around 7pm, right when it was dark and spooky. A man on stilts dressed up as a ghost greeted us at the entrance. The lines were long and it was extremely packed, so we had a lot of time to talked to each other and catch up while we were in line. After being in line for an hour, it was finally time to go through the woods/maze. It was very well-done with so many different aspects: people in full costume jumping out, different props were used to scare people, and each part of the maze was based on different themes (there was a section based on clowns!). I was very creeped out when one of the people dressed as a ghost blocked me from walking past him and breathed in my face! Overall, it was a very fun experience, and I am very excited to see the events that ISS will be hosting this year!

The creepy man on stilts that greeted us at the entrance.
Group picture after the Haunted Woods! (Photo: Othmane Marhaben)

Monday, October 13, 2014

PLU Homecoming 2014

Homecoming is the tradition of welcoming back alumni of a school. It is a tradition in many universities, colleges and highschools in the United States. Here at PLU homecoming usually includes a concert, a pep-rally, a football game and a dance spread over one weekend in the Fall. There are many activities for current student and alumni that come back to visit.

PLU Lutes took on the Linfield Wildcats at Sparks Stadium with a huge crowd of former Lutes, current Lutes and future Lutes in black and gold cheering them on. The atmosphere at home games is something I encourage all international students to experience. The Alumni Office provided hot mulled cider and football cookies. The Homecoming Concert featured Seattle artist Kris Orlowski before Lutes got ready for the dance later that evening.

Four Norwegian fans! (Photo: Hilde Marie Kjorsvik)
This year I decided to participate in my first ever and last Homecoming Dance. It is an event that is set up by ASPLU, the student government at PLU. The dance was hosted at the Point Defiance Aquarium. There was a DJ playing great music, people were dancing like no one was watching and great catering. 

My roommates and I! (Photo: Stine Smeby)
My favorite part of this dance was the location. The dancefloor and food was wrapped around a huge open aquarium and I spent a lot of time looking down into the water at the many different fish. There were huge flounders, sharks and fish in all sizes and colors. For those that were 21+ there was a cash bar on the lower level under the aquarium with great views of the fish from below the surface.

Although many people do come with a date to homecoming it is very acceptable to go with your friends or roommates (like I did). We had a great girls night together, getting dressed up, dancing our heels off and singing at the top of our lungs. I would say that my first homecoming dance was a great success. It was an awesome night that I will not soon forget!

A big thank you to the Alumni Office and to ASPLU for arranging this weekend. 


Friday, October 3, 2014

5 Things You Don't Know about PLU

1. W.M. Keck Observatory

Located on lower campus by the soccer field, there is a humble building sitting on the pavement. This small building with a cupola is the W.M. Keck Observatory, mainly used by PLU students in the Introductory Astronomy course and sometimes for public viewing. I didn't discover this place until this summer following the Jazz Under the Stars summer concerts. It was a beautiful night, and I got to peek through a telescope the first time at the Keck Observatory.

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2. Bike Co-op

Sitting in the basement of Harstad Hall, you will find the PLU Bike group. Serveries they provide include tune-ups, repairs, tools and an air compressor for use as well as tubes and other basic parts for sale. Apparently you can also rent a bike, which costs $50 per semester.

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3. Cup Credits at OMM

Just in case you haven't heard, PLU is working hard to be sustainable. So I think you all need to join the gang to protect our one and only planet. If you identify yourself as a coffee addict, why not investing in a coffee cup? Because every time you bring in your own cup to buy coffee, you get 25 cents off of your total charge. It is not like you will soon become a millionaire by saving these money, but do you know that one paper cup per day will produce 23 lbs of waste into a landfill a year. On this note, please bring your own cup next time to save some $$$ and show your love to mother earth.

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4. Movie collections in the library

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. My personal favorite? I'd say Inception. Look it up today and see what you can find!

Photo Credit: Shunying Wang

5. KPLU Station owned by PLU

Again, if you are new to PLU, you might want to know that PLU owns KPLU-FM (88.5 MHz), a popular radio station that provides National Public Radio programmings, local news and jazz. Nothing more I can expand on this simple fact, but it is something that you, as Lutes, can be proud of.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Experiencing Psychology Outside PLU

On September 26th, I got the opportunity to present my psychology research poster with my research group at the Race and Pedagogy National Conference held at University of Puget Sound. This conference was held from September 25th-27th, and famous speakers such as Angela Davis (civil rights activist), Winona LaDuke (indigenous and environmental rights activist),  Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. (director of W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research), and Dr. Eduardo  Bonilla-Silva (sociologist) were there at the conference as keynote speakers. It was a great opportunity for both my research partner and I since we had been working on our study since last April, and had turned in our research proposal last May hoping to present our poster. We studied the effects of family closeness and responsibility and how it effected different aspects of immigrant children's lives: with academics, depressions, and adjusting to American culture.

Many people stopped by our poster and listened to us explain our study, the results, and its possible implications or effects this could have on education. We also answered questions that educators, program directors, and students had about our study. We even got to interact with a few PLU professors as well! Overall, I enjoyed the experience a lot. I am really looking forward to more opportunities where I'd get to do more poster presentations!