Thursday, February 19, 2015

Studying Away While Studying Away??

If your an international student studying away at PLU you might be asking yourself if you can still study away through a PLU course. The answer is OF COURSE! Many international students study away during their time at here and go places they might not have been able to go previously.

I just returned from a month long trip to China and South Korea studying Business Culture (BUSA 496A). I was especially excited because not only was I able to visit a part of the world I had never been to before through an in-depth course, I was able to use the course to fulfill the final credits in my business minor!

The group was small, with nine students and one faculty member. I really enjoyed the small size as it allowed us to get really get to know each individual and there was no formation of cliques.

As part of the coursework each student was assigned days on which they would write about company visits, cultural sites, observations and comparisons of business practices in that country and the USA. Here are the links to my blog posts in three different cities:

Blog Post 1: Shanghai
Blog Post 2: Guangzhou
Blog Post 3:  Seoul

I also thought it would be easier to show my family my trip, than to only tell them in person or in writing. So I took a lot of footage, both picture-wise and video wise to use as visual aids when telling them about our adventures. I made a movie from each major city we visited, and you can watch them below!

If you have any questions regarding Study Away please feel free to message me or to go to the Study Away Website!

 Live Well. Eat Lots. Travel Often.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

The International Journey

What to Expect and how to Cope with your New Life.

Dear Friends,
Each year PLU welcomes around 150 international students from all over the world. This Spring Semester, we have been fortunate to welcome students from Norway, Denmark, India, and China.
                Welcome New International Lutes, Welcome! 

As we all know, the semester goes by extremely fast, and just after two weeks of classes, you might feel a little?

It’s totally fine!
This article is here for you!
From a personal experience, I intend to share with you, both new and prospective international students, a small insight about what to expect during your first weeks of school and how to adapt to your new life.

For many of you, leaving home for the United States, mainly for the purpose of studying, is an exciting experience: you will have the opportunity to meet and connect with people from different backgrounds, improve your language skills, and expand your career opportunities. However, small challenges might come along the way, impacting your personal growth. These challenges could be experienced from the core of your classrooms to your campus life. However, you may need to get used to different ways of doing things and find ways to adapt to this new situation.

during their first days of classes:

1-       Instructional Differences or Classroom challenges:

  It is totally fine that you find it different or more challenging than your home country. Here, classes are very interactive, indeed rigorous, and with so much to learn at the same time, and most of the time you are expected to be an independent learner. However, keep in mind that there are lots of resources that are here for you to help you succeed. I must say that most, if not all, professors are quite accessible and approachable, and the tutoring centers are also very helpful to facilitate your learning process.

2-      Language barrier: For some of you, English is not your first language. Yes, it could be challenging at first. Learning a new language always takes time, but hone your language skills by associating yourself with friends that can help you learn the language much quicker, once you are more immersed in the culture, this problem will go away.

3-      Culture shock:  At this stage, you might feel a little homesick: missing Food from back home, customs, traditions, climatic conditions, or even social atmospheres due to the differences. However, with time, this will also go away.

I honestly believe that all these challenges are part of the learning process and would help you understand how you, as an individual, would fit into this world.

As you go through these phases, here are (3) three ways to handle the challenges and enjoy your educational experience.

Be determined and focused in your goals!
Be sociable and outgoing!
But most important of all: Be Patient!

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”. -Helen Keller
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Lau Tzu
Let’s have a wonderful Semester Guys.
Welcome and enjoy your stay here!
Your Friend,
Pape Mathioro Samba

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Starting My Senior Year

First of all, welcome to all the new students who have joined us for the Spring 2015 semester! We kicked off our Spring 2015 orientation with the Superbowl, which was extremely exciting. Although orientation was very jam-packed and busy, it was great getting to meet the new students. I'm so excited to get to know this lovely group better throughout the Spring semester!

After completing J-term, I finally kick-started my senior year with two full semester left to go. This means that I will get to work on my senior Capstone project this semester. As a psychology major, I will be researching the effects of culture (specifically the difference between American and Japanese students) and gender on attachment transfer. I'm quite excited about doing this research, and I will talk about it more as I get into the semester! I am also taking two sociology classes to complete my sociology minor: Introduction to Sociology and Crime and Society. I'm especially excited about Crime and Society, since it will definitely be related to what I want to do with my future career. Although I will be finishing my time at PLU a bit quicker than I originally expected, I'm excited to make the best out of the time I have left here!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My First J-Term Experience

Hello beautiful people,

I hope that you're all resting well and taking good care of yourselves. The start of Spring Semester is quickly dawning upon us. In less than 24 hours, we would all find ourselves sitting in classrooms (again) while ferociously scribbling down notes. Our poor brains would have to readjust to 'school' mode. I also assume that most of our brains are thinking about Spring Break, or the weekend, dinner, lunch, my pet dog, his pet turtle and all of that good stuff.

Me studying 2 minutes before a test(

Sometimes your mind just blanks out in class

Alas! That is the life of a student. I think we PLU students have it good though, we have extremely helpful and nice professors, a friendly community (everyone here's just so nice) and tons of awesome resources.

Anyways, I want to tell you all about My First J-Term Experience. Ever. Now, before you continue reading, I just want to let ya'll know that I forgot to take pictures during J-Term. Ha ha, I know right. I mean, I do have a few pictures (like 3) but I was too caught up with life, moving homes, classes, etc. But not to fret, I have a few awesome tools right in front of me that will help me portray my experiences of J-Term perfectly. Google images, the internet, my lovely keyboard and mouse. Yes, I will be using some pictures  from elsewhere to describe my feelings and life during January. Wish me luck!

Soooooo, how do I begin... Oh yes, the biggest/most significant thing that happened for me was moving. I moved out of my old place and into this new place that I absolutely love. I actually do have some pictures moving process. I had to rent a U-Haul van to move my furniture cause I had so many big and bulky items. 

IMG 20150120 205530453
Elliot the Retriever
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My awesome housemates
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Messy room = start of moving in
Well, I'm so glad that's over. I'm settled in this new house and it's been great so far.

For J-Term, I took an exciting Communication class called Communicating the Brand (COMA 387) and it's a special topics class. It was really fun and engaging. Professor Amy Young is awesome! :)

We talked about analyzing brand image, brand strategy, looking at competitor brands etc.  For this class, we worked with Safe Streets, a non-profit organization that focuses on neighborhood safety. We did a brand audit for them and for our finals we gave a presentation on their brand image and provided some recommendations. You can learn more about Safe Streets here:

Burger King trolls McDonald's

I really learned a lot from this class. I'm also confident that I can put what I've learned to good use in the future. Thank you again, professor. 

Finally, right at the end of J-Term, we welcomed our NEW INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS!!! YAY! 


Well, before that, on February 1st, we had a Superbowl party at the diversity center. That also coincided with the move-in day for new international students so we were helping them move in and were watching the Superbowl when we had time. Some new international students had never watched football before and they were trying to grasp at the concept of grown adult men wrestling and fighting for a ball on a field. Honestly, I was the same when I first arrived in the U.S. in 2012. But now, I love football! It's really a fun game to watch (not so much the commercials though). 

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Our Superbowl party at the D-Center

Sadly, this year, the Seattle Seahawks lost to the New England Patriots 28 -24. However, the Seahawks played an awesome game and was unfortunate not to win. We 12s will never back down and I read somewhere on Facebook that the 12s bleed blue and green. YEAAAAHHHH!!! #GOHAWKS #SUPERBOWL50ISOURS

The next day, we had our official New Student Orientation (NSO) for the international students. It was fun meeting new people, making new friends and showing them life at PLU. A the end of the day, a few of the new students went for a shopping trip to get home essentials and stuff they needed.
Well, all in all, it was a great month. I really enjoyed my first ever J-Term.

Thank you for reading and take care always.


Joel Goh

Friday, January 9, 2015

Getting a Taste of Christmas Spirit in Seattle

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season, because I sure did. After a very hectic finals week,  I got to get away from Tacoma for a little more than a week. The first few days of Christmas break was a bit hectic because I got sick and had to go to the ER, but I got to enjoy a relaxing Christmas after I got better! I got to explore Seattle a bit and enjoy the Christmas spirit along with other cool and amazing things, and here are some activities that you all might be able to try if you are in the area next year during Christmas.

1. The Sheraton Seattle Gingerbread Village
When I was first told that I was going to see a gingerbread village, I imagined a group of small gingerbread houses. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the displays. These were very well-made works of art made from gingerbread and other yummy goodies. There was one which had famous buildings in Seattle and another which was Hawaiian themed. Even though the line to see the gingerbread village was really long, I highly recommend seeing this!

2. The Fairmont Teddy Bear Suite
There were teddy bears, teddy bears everywhere. This is also another Christmas event in Seattle, and it's absolutely adorable. The teddy bear suite is free admission (though you can donate to the Children's Hospital), and you get to walk around rooms with many teddy bears of different shapes and sizes. Taking pictures is highly recommended, especially with the giant teddy bears! You can find more information through their website:

3. Seattle Art Museum
If you go to the Seattle Art Museum, make sure you set aside a few hours, because there is a lot to see here. The Seattle Art Museum has different kinds of art: from Ancient Greek and Egyptian art to contemporary art. There are also many different art from different cultures. Right now, there is a special exhibition on American Pop Art, and I really enjoyed it. If you are familiar with Pop Art artists, the exhibition had some pieces by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, along with many other works of art. It's actually ending really soon, so if you haven't seen it, I recommend you go there right now!

4. REI
This store is for those outdoorsy people out there. REI has a lot of cool equipment if you're into camping, skiing, snowboarding, biking, etc. If you haven't done any outdoors activities in the Pacific Northwest, go to this store to get some ideas on what is out there! I've been to a few around Tacoma, but the one in Seattle is definitely bigger and more extravagant. There are some really cool sculptures and displays including the iron throne (for those Games of Thrones fans out there) made out of skies.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Where is Love?

Dear friends,

This is not an article about romantic love. In fact, I have never felt in love, so you won't get much advice from me.

But what I can tell you is that besides the autumn leaves, my other favorite thing to see as I walk across the campus is the different couples on campus.

They sit here and there, hold each other's hands, and they would just talk for a very long time. As I walk to class, I see some kissing each other goodbye, or when I am in the library, I see them studying right next to each other. You can be homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transgender, and nobody would care. This is what I love about PLU- always being accepting no matter how different you are from your peers.

You will find people smiling at you as they walk passed by;

You will find employers who are just like your grandparents who would offer you ice cream and tea after a long shift;

and supervisors who would prepare care package for you as final's week approaches;

You will find professors who would help you move out of your old apartment because you don't have a car, and professors who expect you to be good, encourage your to be good, and also inspire you to be good;
Photo by Amanda Brasgalla

You will find sweet greetings from front desk workers in each residential hall as you walk in and out throughout the day;

You will find people who are just like Olaf and give the warmest hugs;

You will find baristas working in the market who would break the rule just to satisfy your midnight craving for milk shake;

You will find janitors vacuuming and dusting and cleaning while the world is still dark and asleep;

You will find the university baker and her helpers baking at six in the morning so that you can get some warm and fresh baking goods when you are awake;

You will find delicious scones and cookies being offered in the library during the most dreadful final's week;

You will find RAs spending their own money to provide quality hand soap for you and your neighbors who live in the same wing;

You will find on a special Facebook page some heartwarming compliments, which come from those who are too shy to tell you ;

You will find friends who would cry with you, listen to you,

laugh with/at you,

sing for you,

go on adventures with you,
spend days and weeks with you,

and love you for who you are.

There are SO many more nice things you will find at PLU, so many more kind spirits you will meet at PLU, and so much more love you will feel at PLU. I just can't list them all. It is cliché, but love...

really is everywhere.

I will love you always,


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Music To My Ears

As I might have mentioned in a previous blog post before, I have been involved in music at PLU for the last two and a half years. In fact, music has played an important role throughout most of my life. I started taking piano lessons when I was 4, and have continued to take some type of music lessons. 17 years later, I'm so happy that PLU has helped me keep music a big part of life even though I am not a music major or minor.

Let me tell you about my involvement in music at PLU. First of all, to fulfill my requirement of receiving a music scholarship, I am required to take lessons and play in an ensemble. Lessons really help me develop my skills as an individual, while playing in the PLU Concert Band really allows me to play in a big group. Meanwhile, I also play in a saxophone quartet, and this is mainly for fun! I love playing in this small group and it's a lot of fun playing different types of music and experimenting with those.

PLU saxophone studio (taken by Erik Steigner)
Students who take music lessons are also required to participate in a studio class. This year, we had a very large studio class of 17 saxophone players! Our saxophone studio class plays in two concerts during the year. The first one in the Fall semester is the woodwind recital, usually in the beginning of December. The second one is a joint concert with the University of Puget Sound (another university in Tacoma) saxophone players, which is always a lot of fun! We take turns hosting the concert, and this year it is at PLU so you should come if you are in the area! Concert Band also has one concert per semester, and musicians work hard to prepare for this.

Unfortunately, since I will be busy doing research and working on my senior Capstone project, I will not be participating as much in music next semester. I'm really thankful for the opportunity that PLU has given me to continue playing music even through college, and I encouraging you to support the musicians at PLU whenever you get the chance to do so, because I personally think we have great instructors and musicians at PLU!

Enjoy the holiday season, and I will be back again in January!

With love,