Saturday, March 26, 2016

My first concert symphony!

~ Hello everyone! Long time no see.  It’s finally Spring Break now T^T 珞 I hope you all did well on the mid-term exams, and no matter what happened, good job!

     Back to the topic, this week I want to talk about the concert symphony experience in Pantages Theatre (Downtown Tacoma). On Sunday afternoon, I was required to go the Water Passion after St. Matthew symphony by composer Tan Dun for my Music 101 class.

     First off, here is some information that some of you may consider interesting before I tell you more about my impression of the concert: ⏯

#1. The composer of the piece, Tan Dun, is Chinese. His religion and the religion that he had known of or lived with through out his lifetime is Buddhism. However, he was requested to compose this piece for Christianity.  In an interview, he said that this was one of the biggest challenges in his composing carrier, and he thought it would be something alluring to work with. Because the piece also represents a perspective from another religion, many critics assess this to be an intriguing composition.

#2. Tan Dun’s childhood was surrounded by water, in which later on became his inspiration to write this cantata. On the other words, water is used as percussion instrument in the performance. Because the story is about Jesus’ s death and resurrection, Tan Dun then demonstrates water as beginning and the end. Water is essential in our life; it has its own cycle that symbolizes the revival of Jesus.

#3. If you’re fan of Chinese Kung Fu movies, you may have heard or watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by director Ang Lee. And guess what : Tan Dun is the composer for this movie soundtrack  Isn’t that cool?? 

Okay, now I will talk about what I think of the performance. To be honest, it was kind of dissonant to me. Like it was interesting to hear, but not what I would want to hear again. Nevertheless, this performance is the first symphony I have ever gone in my life!! So it’s still my favorite  It’s a little bit funny to realize that I haven’t been to any symphony in Vietnam before even though I have lived there for nearly my whole life. Anyway, here is the bonus picture for the symphony theatre in Hanoi, Vietnam 

Have a great Spring Break guys/girls!

~ Van Nguyen (Cloud) ~ ☁

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Job Search for Intl’s in the U.S.

            Being a college student always involves uncertainty. Will I be admitted to my first choice college? Am I going to succeed academically? Will I be able to find new friends and, if so can I attach to them as good as I could to my high school friends? Those are obviously uncertainties one faces in means of starting a college education. The greatest uncertainty is still outstanding. What will I do after college? How will I find a job? Where will that job be? To me, those uncertainties are the greatest I have ever had to face in my life. One has to cope with those uncertainties and work out a way to conquer them. During the last few months I have been job hunting all over the place and I would like to share my experiences with all of you.

            First off, I would recommend to any international student to widen the sources in means of looking for a job. The ones that were most useful to me were LinkedIn, the Careers Opportunities Board,, and One should also think about widening the span of countries one is applying to. is a great resource to find jobs in the Middle East for example. Moreover, keeping an open mind to network in any possible situation is also more than advisable. Utilize the PLU resources, attend the job fair, be involved on campus, often even your peers are able to guide you in the right direction! 

            Now I would like to focus on my main source of job hunting, LinkedIn, and explain some features that are critical to it. One should definitely put as much as effort, if not even more, in creating a LinkedIn account as in creating your resume. In fact, LinkedIn often will serve as your resume! There are great resources and workshops offered at PLU to shape your profile in the right direction as well. If this is done, the job search can begin. Look for your major, special capabilities that you bring in (often language for international students), and qualities you look for in specifying your job search. But do not just focus on looking for actual jobs, try to seek out individuals in the industry you can relate to and try to establish a common ground. You can often gain insightful advice from these individuals and they are often more than willing to help you out. Join professional groups of your interest and contribute to discussion if you feel that you have the knowledge to back up your arguments. The whole job search can also work reversed, where employers will actually contact you!

            Last but not least, there is one resource people tend to forget about… It is the PLU Alumni database. You are allowed to contact 5 Alumni a month that very well will give you advice or even support you in your job search. This is not the time to be shy. You have to put yourself out there and explore every possibility there is. Remember it is for you to get a foot in the door and gather experience, you might not land a job with you prioritized company in the first place, but it can definitely prepare you to land that job later on in your career.
            I hope that I was able to share some of my experiences that could be helpful to all of you. Keep your head up and do not get frustrated when you receive a denial. Persevere and you will be rewarded in the end. If you have any questions related to this article feel free to contact me. I wish best of luck to all of you!

Yannik Pierre Ilgert

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Difference between a Community College and a University

My very first month at PLU is officially  done, and I am starting to see the differences between a community college in the US and a university. If you're, just like me, a transfer student, knowing about these differences can really help you to get prepared for the life after community college.

Expectation from professors
One of the first things I noticed in my very first university class, communication 101, was the difference in expectations at university compared to community college. Teachers expect you to go to club meetings, and expect you to go to performances on campus. Besides those expectations, they expect you to do a lot more readings, and to actually have prepared them before class started. I was amazed by the amount of input that was given from my classmates during class discussions.

Type of assignments
A lot of readings is required, which is not much different from community college, but besides readings from a textbook, I've been assigned to read a book. YES, A REAL BOOK! We're challenged to read at least one book that is written by someone working in the vocation we would like to pursue a degree in about the work they are doing. This is mainly to make you think of what you're doing and to show future employers that you're enriching yourself to think different. I also got a research assignment with a real life situation. I need to observe a local pizza company and write a paper about what they can do to increase their sales. All these assignments help you prepare for the real life world.

It's no longer about what school you could transfer to, but about how to prepare for your career
The most significant point I've noticed is the difference in focus of education. Every class reminds you that what you're learning is for a future career. What internship are you going to do? What is your final research about? What can you do now to make employers see you're interested in their company? I like this shift of focus a lot because it makes me really aware of what lies in front of me and it really helps me shape an idea of my future career. My teachers keep telling us to aim high, and have high standards to increase the chances to reach the level you want to be at.

It's hard to be an outstanding student
Whatever you've done at Community College doesn't matter anymore. During my time at my Community College, I was in charge of a club, worked two on campus jobs and was very well known over campus. I started here from nothing again, which is really different from what I'm used to. It will take a while again to be back at a well known level again, especially because juggling classes, the new environment and making friends can be hard. But, don't give up on trying.

Even though it is hard to start as a transfer student, a good old "transfer shock" will happen anywhere you go. The only thing you can do about it is to get out there and try to meet new people.