Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dominican Unveils New Videos Page on myDU

Dominican has just premiered a brand new videos page on myDU. The site currently features a few short news story videos, including excerpts from lectures by Lund-Gill Chair Stephen Kinzer, a news story covering 2008 Academic Convocation and DU Fest, as well as a segment entitled "A Week in the Life of DU," which features clips from several events that occured the week of September 7-13.

According to the post on myDU announcing the start of the page, new videos covering campus events will be posted frequently.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lee Fair and the English Language School - we have the best!

Tuesday afternoon, Lee Fair met with my Intercultural Communications class to speak about all his endeavors with international issues, and told us about his life's journey from a lone white high school student on an all Native-American campus to being the Training Supervisor of all ELS teachers across the world, bringing the best of the best to Dominican University.

Fair, originally from Oklahoma, started his path to international affairs as a high school exchange student in New Mexico, with all Indian and Mexican students. It was government subsidized, and he couldn't eat at the cafeteria, and had to pay a lot extra for things he, as a white student, was not eligible for.

The culture was vastly different from the typical southern American life: "One of the first nights I was with my host family, I was taking a bath and my host mother walked right in, sat on the toilet, and started having a conversation with me!" he laughed, gesturing how he had sat up awkwardly in the tub, trying to cover himself. "I didn't know what to say, so I just responded, 'Si, como no?' to everything she said!" [Si, como no translates to "Sure, why not?" in English]

In the 1960s, after the assassination of President Kennedy, many young people were looking to make a difference in the world and promote peace. Fair, in his early 20s, decided to join the Peace Corps. He requested to go to an island nation, and was instead deployed to Afghanistan. He says the experience changed his life and he absolutely would do it again if he had to, falling in love with the Persian culture and lifestyle.

After his time in the middle east, became interested in library science and decided to pursue his Master's Degree. "I figure, I know nothing, but I can find everything," he told us, jokingly.

But then he realized that he could teach English to international students, got his degree certification at Concordia, and began working for the multi-national English Language Schools. Owned by a company called Berlitz, the ELS program is the largest English training school, "and the best in the world," Fair added. "There are 50 alone in the United States!"

He started the ELS program at Concordia, then brought it here to Dominican over 20 years ago--and the rest is history.

"We're not simply teaching English," Fair told my class. "We're teaching them communication, the nuances and semantics of language." It's so much more than just vocabulary.

Judging from my experiences with my international students from Colombia and Ecuador, the program is doing fantastic. And at $2500 per month, it better be! At times, I can hardly believe that my new friends have been here for only a few months--their English gets better every week I meet with them. My group is wonderful, and I'm so thankful for Lee Fair and the ELS program for giving us the opportunity to create meaningful relationships with people who are so different from me, yet very similar.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

See my pain...

I just wanted to follow-up to the last post with a visualization of the Mazzuchelli showers, so everyone can see my pain. This is what happens when you turn the hot water on in both of our two new showers. How is anyone supposed to shower here?

I should just shower in a sink.

I am a resident of Mazzuchelli Hall and we recently got new showers. I thought "Great! New, clean, unused showers", but I am sadly disappointed. We are better off with the old ones, as the water pressure is so terrible it just drips and drips out of the shower head. Horrible. My fellow residents couldn't agree more. As I showered yesterday resident Kelsy Holloway asked me over the wall, "Do you take long showers because this water is barely coming out." Too bad my shower had the same exact problem.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Study Abroad.....At Home!

DU is all about studying abroad. Many of the values this school was founded upon involve having an open mind to those of other cultures and religions. Because of this, we have many programs that can take student to Milan, London, Ghana, and......Montana?

Yes, even those who have a fear of flying can share in study abroad opportunities, well, perhaps study domestically would be more appropriate. As well as our over seas trips, Dominican also offers several service learning programs in the good ol' U.S. of A. Next semester, yours truly will be headed to Montana is conjunction with Theology 381, a Native American religion course. During the 15 day trip, we will be camping and helping out at several Native American reservations. At around $200 per student, this two week domestic study is a shorter, and cheaper, alternative to some of its foreign counterparts. Plus, it fufills both a theology and multicultural requirement. Not bad, huh?

So if you are moy malo at a foreign language or just can't seem to rack up the cash, look into a study abroad that may not be so abroad. It's bound to be just as educational and awesome as anything you can get by plane.