Category: Student Life
International Education Week (IEW) is a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education and is celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide. IEW is meant to generate enthusiasm, broaden horizons, spark new dialogues, and encourage new ideas to expand international perspectives. Boston University’s Global Programs celebrated IEW from November 12th through the 22nd by holding different events around campus.
On November 18th, BU Global Programs, CELOP, Study Abroad, ISSO and Marsh Chapel joined together to host the “Cultural Exchange: Ideas, Questions and Stories from Around the World” event. The event was well attended by many students and held in BU’s George Sherman Union.
The event was a cross between an information fair and speed-dating. The activities were designed to introduce international exchange students, including CELOP students, here on campus to those who are preparing to study abroad or take part in an exchange program. Students walking into the event were treated to a language exchange from native speakers from Lebanon, Japan, China and Germany. Students then rotated from one table to the next in order to learn about the culture from the different countries represented at each table.
The cultural exchange was indeed a university-wide celebration of BU’s global engagement.
CELOP welcomed hundreds of students from over 35 countries for the Fall 2013 Semester. A majority of the students checked-in over two days on September 18th and 19th. The check-in process started with the Admissions staff checking immigration information and making sure each students was registered for their preferred program. As students checked-in, they also met with CELOP faculty and advisors to get help and advice on their classes. However, it wasn’t all about class as CELOP’s Student Life Coordinator was there to tell students about exciting activities and tours around Boston and Boston University.
Many students also showed up for the Welcome Party on Friday, September 20th. There was food, music and even games. Students were given an “ice-breaker” game that encouraged them to introduce themselves and speak with someone they had not met yet. Prizes, including CELOP t-shirts, were given out to students that won the game.
CELOP welcomes all our new and continuing students and we hope you have a great fall semester!
The arrival of new CELOP students was celebrated at a welcome party, after the students participated in a hard but exhilarating scavenger hunt that helped them learn more about Boston University’s campus. The party included food items like sushi, cheese, fruit, and sandwiches. Some CELOP faculty and staff were introduced to the students, and students got to know one another by playing a bingo game. “Do you speak more than three languages?” and “Do you have 20 cousins or more?” were some questions students asked of one another as they learned more about each other.
This activity and others like it can build a sense of “home away from home” for students. Jasim Alsaifi, a new CELOP student from Kuwait, talked about this. “It’s friendly. I don’t feel like I am away from my home. I feel like I am at home. Everyone cooperates with me and helps me – students, teachers, or staff. Everyone is happy with this activity.” Judging from the comfortable smiles and laughter shared at the party, Jasim was right.
Students checked in to CELOP began their classes this week to start their 6 week and 12 week summer programs.
The Kazakh New Year, called Nauryz, is celebrated on the day of the Spring equinox. It marks reconciling the old, and celebrating new life promised by the oncoming spring season. As the weather warms in Boston, and trees begin to bud, Kazakh students at CELOP and their classmates had their own Nauryz celebration in the CELOP lobby one recent afternoon. We asked some members of the CELOP community to share their impressions with us.
“I liked the tug of war,” commented CELOP Senior Program Coordinator Spencer Hitchner. “I did participate and win, but I was glad that they were including audience members in the festival.” Spencer said that the audience participation made the event particularly memorable.
“I liked the dances. It was very well executed,” remarked CELOP Front Desk staff Mia Ballan. “The deejays were also very good.”
“I liked seeing the Kazakh families that came to the event with their young children,” said Melanie Greitzer, CELOP Academic Programs Manager. “They brought a nice sense of community and family to the event.”
“Before I came here, I didn’t know about Kazakhstan. I just know the name,” commented Sonoka Ishikawa, a CELOP student from Ryukoku University in Japan. “It’s a good opportunity to learn about Kazakhstan.”
CELOP Student Life Coordinator Shelley Bertolino played a small advisory role to the Kazakh students who organized the event. “It was a really successful short cultural capsule. In that short amount of time, we got a very good taste of Kazakhstan. We got to learn about their traditions, we got to see a wedding ceremony, singing, dancing, and the tug of war.” Shelley was very impressed with the students’ preparations for the event, and commented that the execution was “organized”, and “polished”.
Nauryz is celebrated annually on March 22nd. According to the Kazakh embassy website, Nauryz celebrations today include a mixture of old and new, ranging from traditional events to rock concerts. “Anything goes in marking Nauryz…the more festive, the better”1.
“Some of you know him as a CELOP student, but being a CELOP student is just one of his roles,” said CELOP staff Shelley Bertolino introducing renowned Chinese instrumentalist Yazhi Guo. Guo gave a performance recently in the CELOP lobby to an audience of CELOP students, faculty and staff.
Guo was charismatic and engaging during his performance of traditional Chinese instruments. “He made me laugh,” said staff member Sarah Okubo, “he was very charming.” Guo began his performance by playing the suona instrument over a jazz recording. He then proceeded to demonstrate a variety of Chinese instruments, and exclaimed “I can play everything!” To prove the point, a leaf was brought to him, on which he played an elaborate song. Guo finished his performance by saying “my English teacher, she’s a nice teacher. I think CELOP, all the teachers are nice. I love you!” He finished by playing the guanzi instrument to the James Bond song “Skyfall”. “That was the most interesting part,” said CELOP student, Carlos Bravo. “He brings what he knows, and plays it with something we all know, that’s what I liked.”
Yazhi Guo has been a member of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra since 1999. He graduated with distinction from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and has won many awards and national recognitions including the grand prize at New York’s International Pro Musicis in 1998. He’s performed with many orchestras around the world including Orhcestre de la Suisse Switzerland, South Korea Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra, Belgium’s Flanders Symphony Orchestra, Malaysia Chinese Orchestra, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, and National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan. Recently Yazhi has begun studying Jazz at the Berkeley School of Music. He has also lectured at Harvard University.
“This is my dream!” Guo said to the audience about playing in international settings. “My dream is coming true!”
CELOP students, faculty, and staff recently celebrated the Kuwaiti National Day with music, a question and answer session, and cupcakes and gifts. Not only was the lobby decorated with Kuwaiti flags and colors, but students and staff wore scarves, lapels, and makeup with Kuwaiti colors, and some adorned t-shirts proclaiming “Proud to be Kuwaiti”, “Smile! I’m Kuwaiti” and “I’m not crazy! I’m Kuwaiti”. It was a festive and lively atmosphere. Shelley Bertolino, CELOP’s Student Life Coordinator, said about the event “It was great fun. It’s always nice when students share their culture with classmates of other countries.”
Kuwaiti National Day and Liberation Day are celebrated every 25th and 26th day of February.