A Foreigner’s Guide: Surviving a Break on Campus

A Foreigner’s Guide: Surviving a Break on Campus

I am an international student. I am also a senior. That means that, at some point in my years here at Mount Union, I have spent some breaks on campus. Let me tell you this, it is quite an ordeal. There are also only a handful of things you can do at Mount Union during … Read more

Chapman

I am an international student. I am also a senior. That means that, at some point in my years here at Mount Union, I have spent some breaks on campus. Let me tell you this, it is quite an ordeal.

There are also only a handful of things you can do at Mount Union during the break. The gym has limited operating hours; shorter than that of the normal school days. The library hours are even more limited than the gym; making it hard for students to even make full use of it.

Don’t get me wrong, this is no rant. I am merely stating the living conditions for an international student during a break.

Just thinking about how to keep yourself well fed is another problem.

While the city of Alliance has an abundance of fast food restaurants, those surrounding the campus are only limited to Arby’s, Taco Bell, and Sheetz; three of which would not be the first choice for many students.

During breaks, long or short, the cafeteria closes. That would be acceptable if you really think about it. There will be very few students on campus and it would take more staff members to prepare the food than the number of people they are providing for. However, I strongly believe that the closure of the B&B Cafe during the break is very uncalled for.

Yes, this is the part where people try to tell me that there are many delivery services where I can get food delivered to my doorstep. That is true, but restaurants that deliver are basically pizza places and Chinese restaurants. Besides, wouldn’t you get bored eating fast food all week? Coming from a culture where most meals are home-made, seven days of fast food is equivalent to living on oatmeal.

While most students will be away, some remain; along with faculty members and staff. The B&B should be kept open to give students who choose to remain on campus an option. There are many places that students can go to get food in Alliance, but most international students do not have cars to take them there. I am one of the lucky few.

Here are some things an international student can do to survive the break (according to my experience before getting a car):

1. If you live in an apartment/townhouse, have a friend bring you grocery shopping.

- STOCK UP so that you can cook all break.

2. While you are essentially on break, operating hours for the gym and the library are limited.

- It is advisable to wake up before lunch so that you could get a nice workout or get some school work done in the library (if you need the books).

3. Start a project. Pick up some kind of activity to occupy your time.

- I made a dual-layer blanket. Other suggestions are knitting and a 10,000 piece puzzle.

4. Take a walk around campus with your camera.

- While not everyone will own a DSLR camera or have an interest in photography, realize that one day you will look back and realize that you did not take many pictures of our beautiful campus. Any camera, even your cell phone, will do. Create memories.

5. Find campus employment.

- There are several departments on campus that remain in operation throughout the break. If you are a communications student, the radio station in HPCC may have openings for you. Other places to look for employment are the library and the gym.

6. Find other students who are living on campus to hang out with.

- There may be other students on campus who did not go on a vacation during the break. Keep in touch with them and maybe plan something fun.

7. When all else fails, there is always studying class material to get ahead of the class.

It is becoming more common for international students these days to find a place to go to over the break. Some even have community friends or host families that take them away during the break. But if you find yourself stuck on campus during a break, go through numbers one to seven and see if anything works for you. They have worked for me and I am already a senior. That’s saying something!

Sicilian Surprises

Sicilian Surprises

The first word that comes to mind when I think of my trip to Sicily this weekend is: wet. We probably picked the worst weekend of the month to go as it was cold and raining nonstop (with some hail and unrelenting winds thrown in the mix) for the first three days of our trip. … Read more

The first word that comes to mind when I think of my trip to Sicily this weekend is: wet. We probably picked the worst weekend of the month to go as it was cold and raining nonstop (with some hail and unrelenting winds thrown in the mix) for the first three days of our trip. Unfortunately, my Italian language teacher said that Italy is experiencing a very unusual spring, the coldest and rainiest they have had in years.

garden

However, the second and third words that come to mind are: gorgeous and delicious. I came across many Sicilian surprises during my trip, such as the breathtaking views of the crystal clear water and to die for desserts. Regardless of the cold and rain, the views in Sicily were beautiful! The water along the coast was the prettiest teal color that I have ever seen. You couldn’t even attempt to paint or photograph the colors of Sicily and do it justice. The palm trees, cactus’ and tropical flowers also made me feel as if I was in a resort.

pizza

The food there was also my favorite I have had so far in all of Italy. I made sure to have a slice of thick crust, Sicilian style pizza since you can’t get that anywhere else in Italy. Throughout our days in Sicily, I also tried fried calamari, a calzone with ham and cheese and a delicious sandwich with potatoes that was seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon, a specialty in Sicily. It was very good. The desserts were also the best I’ve had. I made sure to try a Sicilian cannoli. Since I didn’t try a slice of Cassata cake, I got Cassata flavored gelato… but I found that I am not a fan.

cathedral

After arriving in Palermo we explored the city and got to see some of the major sites. While Kevin and Tyler went to a crypt, Henal and I decided to split up and go see two castles instead. The next morning we went to an open market where there were tons of dead, skinned animals (even goat heads!) and tons of smelly seafood. I strayed away from the fish and animals, but purchased a few blood red oranges, which are grown in Sicily. They were delicious, a lot sweeter and less sour than regular oranges. My favorite thing in Palermo was the cathedral. It was gorgeous inside and out.

market

Friday morning we woke up early to catch a bus to Catania. Although the first day was rainy and cold, Saturday we were lucky enough to have some sunshine! We went to an old greek theater, walked to some pretty cathedrals and saw the main gate to enter the city. Our hostel was right next to Castello Ursino, so we could see the castle at night from the terrace! Although Catania itself was pretty, my favorite thing may have been the two and a half hour bus ride to get from Palermo to Catania. The views of the coast, the mountains and green fields of Sicily are amazing.

cannoli

I may be returning from Sicily with a broken umbrella (it didn’t make it through the vicious hailstorm), sopping wet socks and shoes, and most likely a few extra pounds of weight, but I am also returning with fun memories from a beautiful place I won’t forget!

How did I end up here?

The story of how I ended up here at the University of Mount Union is unlike most of the others. Mount Union was never my first choice. In fact, it was not even an option when I was looking at schools to transfer to from my home of Penang, Malaysia. No offense. You see, Mount … Read more

The story of how I ended up here at the University of Mount Union is unlike most of the others.

Mount Union was never my first choice. In fact, it was not even an option when I was looking at schools to transfer to from my home of Penang, Malaysia. No offense. You see, Mount Union is a small, liberal arts college located in a little city called Alliance in the state of Ohio. That sentence alone was enough to drive away many students where I come from.

The problem is that, in Malaysia (and most Asian societies), we put too much emphasis on the name or brand of the school. We also think too much about the city and where it is at. Truth is, it doesn’t really matter.

It was already my sophomore year in college when I was searching for an American institution to transfer to. I studied in a program that allows us to take general education courses and then transfer to an American college to complete our education. The names that came up while I was looking for colleges were all big state institutions; names like the University of Kansas, West Virginia University and Ohio’s very own Ohio State University to name a few.

Eventually, after spending months sending out applications (and my horrible transcript), I had finally decided upon a school. I would have friends there, which was always going to be a good thing, but it was also a very big school that has a solid reputation. I was going to KU.

With my flights booked for Lawrence, Kansas, I had everything set and was excited to finally start my American college life. I had all my commitments in my hometown dealt with, and goodbyes prepared. But what I didn’t know was that two years later, I would not be in Kansas.

A couple of months before I was scheduled to leave, a recruit from an unknown college called University of Mount Union came to my home state of Penang. He had connections there. Being a small state, my parents happened to know the parents of an alumnus. Through their connections, the recruit and my parents met. I was not there to talk to him. After the discussion, it was agreed that I would give it a shot and apply for Mount Union. With little time left, it was uncertain as to whether I would even get accepted or if so, get it done in time.

I heard back from Mount Union a couple of weeks later and a pretty good offer was placed at my table. It was a difficult decision to make. I had my KU acceptance letter sitting in front of me while the offer from Mount Union sat next to it. Going to KU meant going to a big college and experiencing what we normally see on TV. Going to KU also meant that I had my friends from home there with me. Mount Union, being a small college in an unknown city, was a huge uncertainty that I wasn’t sure I was willing to gamble on.

Inevitably I had to make a decision. Mount Union was going to be more affordable than KU, but what it offered was way more than just financial. Mount Union would have smaller class sizes; no bigger than any class I have been in while I was still home. Mount Union was always going to have a better and more inclusive environment.

My flights to Kansas were changed. Canton-Akron Regional Airport was my new destination.

Here I am, two years later, blogging for the college that I had never heard of before; being a proud Purple Raider. I had the opportunity to play a season of soccer for the junior varsity team and train with the tennis team. Oh, not forgetting the fact that I was elected president for the Association of International Students.

Funny how things take a totally different course and change your life forever.

Travels to Siena & Pisa

Travels to Siena & Pisa

However exhausted I am left after a weekend of traveling, it is always beyond worth it. A total of 10 hours of train time in two days took me from Viterbo to Siena, Siena to Pisa and Pisa back to Viterbo. The trip started out a bit rocky as Dom, the friend I was traveling … Read more

However exhausted I am left after a weekend of traveling, it is always beyond worth it. A total of 10 hours of train time in two days took me from Viterbo to Siena, Siena to Pisa and Pisa back to Viterbo.

The trip started out a bit rocky as Dom, the friend I was traveling with, forgot his wallet on a train when we made a switch on the way to Siena. After about 15 minutes of panic and attempting to explain to the train officer his situation, he was then told that his wallet had been found and would be available for him to pick up in Orvieto. However, he was left without it for the remainder of our trip since the town was four hours in the opposite direction of our destination.

piazza del campo

Everything went much smoother from there. When arriving in Siena, we saw there was a chocolate festival right in the middle of Piazza del Campo! But in an attempt to be healthy, I purchased a cup of delicious, fresh strawberries. Ok, fine. A cup of delicious, fresh strawberries with chocolate drizzled all over them. It’s still fruit though, right?

strawberries

My favorite thing in Siena was the cathedral. You would think that after all of the cathedrals I’ve been to, at some point I would get bored, but I am always so impressed at how absolutely beautiful they are. The inside was incredible. With dark blue accents, lanterns with lit candles and a ceiling full of stars, I felt as though I stepped into a dream. Another amazing thing inside the cathedral was the “Libreria Piccolominea,” the most colorful room I have ever seen!

cathedral

After exploring Sienna, Dom and I went to dinner where I had my first gnocchi! My favorite blogger, Emily Schuman (writer of Cupcakes and Cashmere), raved about the gnocchi she had in Siena when she traveled to Italy, so I wanted to give it a try! I am glad I did because it was really good and now I can say that I had first gnocchi in Italy!

After dinner we walked around Piazza del Campo a few times, enjoying the lit up piazza, brisk weather and the much needed walk before dessert! We then purchased gelato (what else?) and walked around the city for a while longer before calling it a night.

pisa

Saturday morning we woke up, grabbed breakfast at a café and jumped on a train to Pisa! My favorite part of Pisa was the Leaning Tower – of course. Although many students say it’s “so touristy” to take the typical picture holding up or pushing down the tower, I was so excited to! It rained off and on but the weather was beautiful and the sun was trying it’s hardest for us, peeping out from behind the clouds from time to time.

leaning tower

I am so glad that I got to travel to Siena and Pisa this weekend and am already looking forward to my next trip in just three days. Next stop: Sicily! …but first, sleep!!!

Social Responsibility Trip to the DR!

Social Responsibility Trip to the DR!

This semester I am enrolled in Dr. Kramer’s Social Responsibility and Personal Well-Being course, one that I already highly recommend. We are reading several incredible books, like World on Edge, full of factoids on how to make the world a better place, and also find ourselves within deep conversation on achieving personal growth within our … Read more

This semester I am enrolled in Dr. Kramer’s Social Responsibility and Personal Well-Being course, one that I already highly recommend. We are reading several incredible books, like World on Edge, full of factoids on how to make the world a better place, and also find ourselves within deep conversation on achieving personal growth within our lives. One of the reasons I was drawn to the course in the first place as well was the spring break service trip to a Spanish speaking country.

Originally we planned to go to El Salvador, but due to a travel warning, we weren’t able to go and are now headed to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. In the DR, our class will be working with West Indies Christian Ministries participating in service for its school and working with kids at the site for the entire week. Although we leave on Saturday at 2:15 in the morning to catch an early flight out of Cleveland, I am stoked for the trip.

I have been itching to practice my Spanish more since returning from Spain, and am glad I can be immersed in another spanish speaking culture. I also plan to document the trip through photo and video, potentially making a digital short or documentary if you will. Who knows! I also am excited to pack as little as possible for this trip to really challenge and stretch myself. I am very excited for the trip, and will share many fotos upon our return!

Later, and have fun on your very own spring break trip! Hasta luego, y diviértete en su viaje de vacaciones de primavera!

CDC’s Go light

http://makinghealtheasier.org/golight

http://makinghealtheasier.org/golight

Game Change: Brain scans offer new view of NFL concussions

Reports have been linking concussions with a condition in the brain known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). A new technique allows scientists to peer into people’s brains and spot clumps of protein called tau. This can cause memory loss, impulse control and eventually dementia. Researchers used a technique and scanned brains of 5 former NFL … Read more

Reports have been linking concussions with a condition in the brain known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). A new technique allows scientists to peer into people’s brains and spot clumps of protein called tau. This can cause memory loss, impulse control and eventually dementia. Researchers used a technique and scanned brains of 5 former NFL players and 5 men who weren’t in the NFL. Each football player had 1 or more concussions. They all showed tau build up in their scans, whereas the men who didn’t play football, had none.

Researchers hope that the research will help them determine players who will have future brain damage so that they can cure it before it’s too late. Researchers don’t completely know how concussions and protein build up correlate with one another but they do know that one hit could lead to the accumulation of the protein. Some players can get hit thousands of times and never develop the disease; it just depends on the severity and person.

Some people believe that it’s genetic to have CTE. Most of the autopsied brains of NFL players have had CTE but they showed symptoms of the disease before their death. Football star Dave Duerson was a formal player who committed suicide 2 years ago. He left a note explaining that he shot himself in the chest and not the head because he wanted scientists to examine his brain. He wanted to know if they could explain the symptoms of his miserable life. Scientists hope that they can find early traces of inflammation before the tau can accumulate. They might have a chance to stop CTE from developing.

I thought that this article was very interesting. I believe that concussions lead to this disease based on what they found so far. I think it’s crazy that one hit could cause those problems later on in life. If players get hit more than once and are concussed, they just have that much more of a risk of having that protein build up and having it affect them later in life.

Trisha Widenmeyer, Class of 2015

Source
NBC News
http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/22/16646308-game-change-brain-scans-offer-new-view-of-nfl-concussions?lite

Stress!

Stress! We all have it at some point in our lives. It can vary in severity with each individual person of all different ages. Stress is the body’s reaction triggered by certain situations in one’s life. Anywhere from excelling in school, prepping for a big presentation at work or family matters. Never the less, it … Read more

Stress! We all have it at some point in our lives. It can vary in severity with each individual person of all different ages. Stress is the body’s reaction triggered by certain situations in one’s life. Anywhere from excelling in school, prepping for a big presentation at work or family matters. Never the less, it can take a toll on us emotionally and physically. There are many stress management tips, tricks and tools to get rid of some or all the stress:

  • A few deep breaths will help relieve the tension you are feeling.
  • Talking about what is stressing you out to someone you can confide in is a good way to get things off your chest.
  • Take a minute and reevaluate your values, goals and other personal life choices that might be causing the stress.
  • Go for a run, jog, walk or even join a yoga class to help relieve the tension.

Stress differs for every person in different situations. These techniques and many more can help bring down your stress level and make you an overall happier person.

In relation to college, there are a lot of responsibilities that get put on us that cause stress in many students. These responsibilities might include preparing for an exam, keeping organized, getting assignments done on time, taking care of one’s self in general and the list goes on and on. This can be a lot for one person to handle all at once and can be easily avoided by time management. Time management is everything. If you can make time for studies, sports, friends, etc., then you can beat the stress of being a college student.

Olivia Wuest, Class of 2015

Escape fire screening

Come see a Sundance film on America’s health care system! We’ll have snacks for the movie and a short panel discussion after the movie. It’s at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 1 in Chapman 110/111.


Come see a Sundance film on America’s health care system! We’ll have snacks for the movie and a short panel discussion after the movie. It’s at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 1 in Chapman 110/111.

Public health club Prom dress drive

Public health club Prom dress drive

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