Steps to get along in an international community.

Steps to get along in an international community.

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I’ve been here in the United States for just a little under two years. In my time here at the University of Mount Union, I have been actively involved with anything that pertains to the international committee. That means that I have met a lot of international students and teaching assistants. I guess this is my way of belonging. I wanted international students to not only get along with one another, but to build friendships with their American peers as well. We all know that this takes both sides to make it work.

In my short time here at Mount Union, I have seen friendships formed and sadly, alienation. Everything feels great when everyone gets along, but when it doesn’t, it really ruins the atmosphere. I think (and hope) that this can be fixed, or at least prevented in the near future.

There are certain things that one should take note of when trying to blend in with the students from different nationalities.

1.  Disregard all history between any nations.

I have seen, firsthand, foreign students who come here with a certain distaste for students from a particular nation due to the history between their nations. Honestly, I think that is just absolutely absurd. Things that had happened before you were born should not have an influence on you when you meet new people from different countries. Especially when we are all foreign students here in the USA. The world is, in many ways but not all, a better place now. Keep an open mind.

2.  What’s happening now, is just politics.

Even if there are some problems between the nations at the moment, being here in the USA is like being on neutral ground. Do not bring political tensions over here because that just makes situations worse. Regardless of what’s happening, bringing the argument here in the USA does not help situations back home in any case whatsoever. Keep an open mind.

3.  Stereotypes are bad… unless they’re true.

Do not take my title seriously. I have come to realize that there are just some stereotypes that are inevitably true. Even I admit to some stereotypes at times. However, one should always avoid using stereotypes to pick on people. Some may laugh it off, but some may be more sensitive to it than others. I think joking among friends is alright to a certain extent, but remember that once you take it too far, you are jeopardizing your relationship with that person. In any case, if someone says something stereotypical about you, laugh it off and be the better person. Keep an open mind.

4.   Realize that the world is much bigger than you.

Everyone is proud of their heritage and where they come from. But that does not mean that you should shove it down someone else’s throat. It is good that you are very proud of where you come from, but others may think the same of their own heritage. The world would be a better place and better friendships would come from it if only everyone could keep an open mind.

5.  Don’t spread the hate.

So you can’t get along with some people. Don’t go around trying to influence people. Don’t deliberately tell people about the conflicts so that people may take your side and turn on the other. Stay away but don’t spread the hate. Keep an open mind.

6.  When all fails, remove yourself from any undesirable situation.

If you really cannot get along, then do not put yourself in a situation where you would have to interact with them. As president of the Association of International Students, I strongly urge everyone to not resolve things with this step. But if it means having a more peaceful campus where American and foreign students coexist in harmony (like that melting pot people in USA and back home in my Malaysia speak of), then please just do not go looking for trouble. If you don’t like them, don’t see them. But keep an open mind.

These are just some of my thoughts from observing, for the past year or so, how international students interact with one another and with American students. Some may not see things to be as bad as I may have made it sound, but I am just very alert to relations and communications between people of different cultures and backgrounds. I am a communication student after all.

At the end of the day, the one most important thing for one to do to get along with people that are different from them is to keep an open mind.

Getting Involved

Getting Involved

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You might be wondering what students on campus do when they aren’t doing homework and studying. A lot of it has to do with what clubs that student is involved in. You might not think so, but being in a club can take up a lot of your time. I am in yearbook club, where I try to go to every event during the week to take pictures. I am also in Tom’s club and we have been planning a music festival to collect non-perishable food items for a month now. The festival is actually happening tonight! For my honors seminar I chose to do community service as my major project so I attend the events that the Regula Center puts on- usually during the weekends. Lastly, I am in a sorority- AXO. Some weeks there is a lot going on, others it’s not too busy. I definitely think most of what I do through the sorority is fun activities that I enjoy doing! Sometimes there is just too much going on though for me to attend. A few weekends ago I played in a volleyball tournament for five hours, but I loved it! I got to spend time with some girls in my sorority I didn’t really know before and it was a great afternoon. Those type of opportunities are what I love about being in Greek life. In a few weeks we have something called Greek Week, this past weekend we put on a Mr. UMU pageant, and we’ve taken several group trips to this country club called The Dusty. I’ve gotten to experience so much in my short two months here. My roommate is not a part of Greek Life and still has had fun here though- so don’t think it’s all about joining a sorority or fraternity! Getting involved in campus through clubs is mostly a great way to meet people who have similar interests to you. There are clubs for pretty much every major. Just make sure you manage your time well. I tried to be in two other clubs at the beginning of the year but with my school schedule I felt overwhelmed trying to attend all of them so I decided to only be in two this semester plus Greek life. Next semester I may try joining the psychology/neuroscience club if I can fit it into my schedule. Another way to get involved, if you are into athletics, is intramurals! For all of those high school athletes out there who aren’t continuing sports in college, this is your chance to play again! I’m on a sand volleyball team right now, and I know from experience there are some good legit teams that register every semester. It’s not a joke game like in gym class, you can create a great team and usually find some sort of competition. This is a great way to meet people on your floor/in your building with the same interests as you. I inspired someone on my floor to create a team and now there’s about five of us from my floor on a team together. If you like athletics, but aren’t looking for a specific sport to play, there’s raider robics. Raider robics is a group of classes that students/faculty from Mount run. This semester we have turbo kick, zumba (my favorite) and insanity. As you can see, there’s plenty going on here to keep you busy and having a great time! Your second day of orientation you will go to something called ‘Raiderfest’ where all the different clubs have tables set up and you can give your email to those you are interested in! Then you choose what works for you (: It’s simple to get involved here at Mount and definitely worth it! You’ll create even more memorable experiences.

 

Friday Five

Friday Five

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“Friday Five” is all about things that I am currently loving, inspired by, or things that simply make me smile. Throughout the week, I find that it is most often the small things that can make my day that much better…

“…If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” While doing the reading assignment for American Literature this week, I came across this quote by Thoreau. Instead of the boring read that I was expecting, I felt myself inspired to follow my dreams after reading his words.

Oreo milkshake = the perfect pick me up in the middle of the week. I especially needed this during my week full of studying, tests and group meetings! Homecoming Week is one of the craziest, yet most fun, weeks here at Mount Union!

One of the highlights of my week was a trip to the movie theater with the roomies. Sometimes you just need a little get-away. We took a trip to Canton this Wednesday night and caught a late showing of the movie “Pitch Perfect.” Here’s a tip: Wednesday night is student ID night at Cinemark Tinseltown, so you get a discount if you bring your Mount ID!

The constant reminders on Twitter that my favorite show EVER, The Vampire Diaries, was coming back for a fourth season made me so excited! I have really missed the Salvatore brothers, Damon and Stefan, played by Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley. The men of The Vampire Diaries are easily the most attractive men on television. Yay for season four!

Opening my campus mailbox to see that I got a package or envelope from home is always one of the best things.

Happy Friday, everyone!

A Glimpse of Me

A Glimpse of Me

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Hi everyone! I am so excited to begin blogging for Mount Union, but figured that I should start off with an introduction. I didn’t want to write a boring paragraph about myself, so that’s when my sister stepped in to interview me. Hopefully this will give you a glimpse into what makes me, me…

What is your favorite season?

I am a summer girl for sure. Ice cream (moose tracks & cookie dough = love), sun, the beach, my birthday, family picnics, fireworks, swimming… does it get any better?

What qualities do you consider make a good friend?

Someone who is loyal, genuine and honest. Someone I can be myself around, who is supportive of my goals and dreams, and will put up with my crazy OCD when it comes to cleaning and my unhealthy obsession with Justin Bieber.

What makes you angry?

Hmm.. those who intentionally hurt my friends and family, inconsiderate people, when the Ellen show gets interrupted for breaking news, and when Panera runs out of cinnamon crunch bagels. Oh and those scary, black squirrels on campus. They are up to something, I know it.

Why did you choose Mount Union? Out of every college campus I visited, Mount Union made me instantly feel at home. The environment was so friendly and I knew right away that this is where I wanted to spend the next four years. The delicious strawberry waffles offered at the cafeteria Saturday mornings didn’t hurt either…

What is your favorite spot on campus?

The campus lakes. Especially in the fall, Mount’s campus is so pretty.

What is your favorite quote?

“To me, fearless is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” – Miss Taylor Swift

What are some of your hopes and dreams?

  1. Travel the world (first stop: Italy!! I leave in January!)
  2. Obtain my dream job (involving journalism, design and event planning) and possibly own my own wedding and event planning business
  3. Find ‘the one’, my best friend, someone with the same morals and values as me, someone who loves God, someone who will always put God and his family above all else (or Justin Bieber.. that would be fine too. Sorry, Selena.)
  4. Be a mommy (a family complete with a golden retriever puppy, of course)
  5. Make at least one person smile each and every day

My Journey To Mount

My Journey To Mount

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As I mention in my bio, I live about six hours away from home. So naturally, people always ask me about how I ended up at Mount and how I even found this small school in Alliance, OH. It was actually quite a long process…

I started looking at colleges, with a possible intended major of Neuroscience, in June of the end of my junior year. Collegeboard was my best friend during this time. They have a college matchmaker where you answer questions about where, how much, how big, etc, to narrow down your choices to only the colleges that fit all of those criterion. My problem was I didn’t know what I wanted in a school. I knew I didn’t want a big school like Penn State because I had visited there the previous March and didn’t enjoy the vibe of that massive school. So all I knew for sure that I wanted was a small school (not sure how small though), I wanted to stay on the East Coast, and I thought I wanted the school to have Neuroscience. Luckily for me, only about 50 schools total on the East Coast even offer Neuroscience as a major for a bachelor degree. It’s usually found at the graduate level. I was happy I had narrowed it down so much though, it seemed like good progress. I then looked at the general information for the ones in PA or Virginia that I thought I might like- I didn’t think I wanted to travel out of state besides VA because I have family down there. I picked out six schools, five in PA and one in Virginia near D.C. The first two weeks of June, my dad and I took road trips to travel all across the country to tour my selected schools. I was lucky my parents were aware of the importance of visiting a campus. I immediately fell in love with a school about two hours from my house called Lafayette College and later in the summer became passionate about the school near D.C. called George Mason University. My parents were wary about all the schools I had visited up to that point though, because most were private liberal art schools and very expensive. So my dad went on to college board and found me another 20 schools they told me to look at and pick a few more to potentially visit. By this point I was starting my senior year of highsSchool and felt like I was getting down to the wire on picking which schools to apply for. I picked two schools in Ohio (BW and Mount) and two more in Virginia to visit from my dad’s list. I took the tours of BW and Mount in the same day, with BW first. Coming to Mount couldn’t even compare to BW though. I almost immediately fell in love with the campus. It was exactly what I had been searching for. It’s not in the middle of nowhere but the campus itself is excluded from the outside and doesn’t have much outside traffic running through it. The fact that the school’s main color is purple literally almost made me fall out of my chair in my meeting with one of the advisers. Walking through the buildings and seeing how new everything was impressed me a lot. I probably had my mouth open for half of the tour because I was in awe of everything. I told my dad in the car ride back home that if this college was as close to home as Lafayette it would be number one no doubt. The distance was a major pull back. I didn’t know if I could bring myself to leave all of my friends and family and only be able to come back during breaks. I still applied though and got accepted early! I also was up for a full ride scholarship, which was unbelievable. Unfortunately, I did not receive it but I still received a very generous scholarship. By January of my senior year, after applying and getting accepted to five schools, I had it narrowed it down to three: Mount, Lafayette and George Mason. In February I took another visit to Mount and stayed overnight, which pushed it up to first place on my list. In March I went to the accepted students day at George Mason and suddenly realized that was where I wanted to be the most. It wasn’t too far and I had a blast when I was there. There was a big discrepancy in the amount of financial aid each school was giving me though. This ended up being the deciding factor for me. I did not want to burden my parents with something they couldn’t handle, especially with my two sisters still living at home. So I agreed two days before May 1 to go to Mount Union. The rest of the year and summer though I wasn’t so happy about it. I had made so many more friends my senior year and I couldn’t imagine being so far and barely seeing them after that summer. Once I got here I was reminded why I fell in love with it in the first place and was more than excited to be here. I am happy to say that 98% of the time I’m actually not homesick. With only two weeks until fall break I am a little antsy to go back but that’s mostly because I have set up plans I’m super excited for and my mom keeps telling me all she is going to make for me! I do not regret my decision though, and am very happy where I ended up. It was the best decision I ever made to come here. I love Mount with all of my heart. Even though I had to leave all my friends and family, I know now that it’s wrong to base such an important decision on just that. I am a family person, but to be the best I can be I have to be here. They will still be there for me when I get back, and I realize that now-same with my friends. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

So if you’re a senior reading this and are in between schools, just trust your gut instinct. I had a feeling about this place since the day I got here, I was just being stubborn and didn’t want to admit it to myself. I was scared. But I turned out completely fine, better than I thought I would be. Part of one of my favorite poem goes as follows: “Trust your heart if the seas catch fire…” If you feel like you’re torn and your whole world is in this chaos just take a step back from it all, make some lists of positives and negatives for each school, and don’t silence your heart because it knows you best.

About Me

About Me

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This is something new. I have only read the Mount Union blog only a handful of times since coming here over a year ago, but when the opportunity for me to be a blogger came I just couldn’t resist. So I jumped on the opportunity and now I am on board. I have been blogging for many years now. I still blog at my personal site.

Here at the Mount Union blog, my aim is to bring an international student’s perspective into the fray. I want to share my experiences as a foreign student and also to give the international community a voice. I think the presence of the international students here on campus allows for a cultural exchange that could further bridge the gap between people from around the world.

I grew up on the island state of Penang in Malaysia. It’s a beautiful place that’s rich in history, culture and my personal obsession, food. There is so much to share about my home state itself, but let’s save that for some other time. I came to Mount Union as a transfer student. Currently majoring in media studies and minoring in Spanish, I hope that when I graduate, I will be able to get into the media business (leaning towards radio). I am a social network addict, I play a multitude of sports and I love taking pictures.

My position as President of Mount Union’s Association of International Students is partially what motivated me to blog here. I feel that I have a duty to all the international students to create a bridge that links the local community and the local students at Mount Union to the international community. I also host the International Hour every Thursdays at 9 p.m. on WRMU (shameless plug). I want to create a better understanding of our different cultures.

I think this is enough of an introduction. But before I go, there is something I have always wanted to do…

The name is Ng… Ivan Ng.

Okay so maybe that didn’t turn out as well as 007.

29 Ways to Stay Creative

29 Ways to Stay Creative

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Do you feel like things are melancholy? Are you looking for some sort of exhilarating change? Can you not think about a good topic for your next research paper? All of these things happen, maybe more than others, and I have definitely had experience in all three. This list may help spice up your day and improve productivity, and hopefully leads to some creativity. Maybe after watching this video you can choose two out of the list, or even print it off and post it to your wall. Albert Einstein said that “creativity is contagious,” so pass it on.
  1. Make lists.
  2. Carry a notebook everywhere.
  3. Try free writing.
  4. Get away from the computer.
  5. Quit beating yourself up.
  6. Take breaks.
  7. Sing in the shower.
  8. Drink coffee.
  9. Listen to new music.
  10. Be open.
  11. Surround yourself with creative people.
  12. Get feedback.
  13. Collaborate.
  14. Don’t give up.
  15. Practice, practice, practice.
  16. Allow yourself to make mistakes.
  17. Go somewhere new.
  18. Count your blessings.
  19. Get lots of rest.
  20. Take risks.
  21. Break the rules.
  22. Don’t force it.
  23. Read a page of the dictionary.
  24. Create a framework.
  25. Stop trying to be someone else’s perfect.
  26. Got an idea? Write it down.
  27. Clean your workspace.
  28. Have fun.
  29. Finish something.

Tampa Bay Times Forum

Tampa Bay Times Forum

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I have successfully completed four days of The Washington Center’s 2012 Republican National Convention Academic Seminar! The actual RNC does not officially kick-off until Monday so delegates will not start invading the Tampa Bay area until this weekend. Nevertheless during the “academic pre-game” The Washington Center has put on during the past four days a lot has been going on. Our official scheduled programming begins promptly at 8:45 a.m. each morning. Here all 144 students and 18 additional faculty leaders pile into the performing arts building on the Hillsborough Community College Ybor Campus and begin our day listening to lectures put on by selected speakers from The Washington Center. The short list includes former CNN anchorman Arron Brown, Congressman Mickey Edwards, Dr. Michael Genovese and Scholar on the presidency from Hofstra Meena Bose.

Today was super exciting. Two days ago the GOP revealed the stage inside of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Then today The Washington Center got to take a tour of the entire building including an up close look at the stage were Governor John Kasich, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney and others will all be speaking in just a few short days. The Tampa Bay Times Forum underwent a $40 million, privately funded renovation for this convention. I am looking forward to seeing the Forum again on Monday when it is ready for the eyes of 35 million people. Political conventions are the second most watched televised event in the world (just three million viewers behind the Olympics). When put into perspective, it is easy to see just how important this renovation is. Spending the afternoon at the Forum was a great experience. I can only imagine what it will be like in the upcoming days when its 19,000 seats are filled with the best of the GOP.

Mount Union vs. Universidad de Alicante

Mount Union vs. Universidad de Alicante

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Spanish life is very different from back home, there are many things I am going to miss, but also customs I wish I could take with me. When it comes to the two universities I have attended the past few years, they share this same perspective. I am going to give you a quick comparison of seasonal UMU and tropical UA. First and foremost the size of the campuses is much different, which is a change to me. Mount Union enrolls about 2,200 students on a rather small campus, whereas Alicante has approximately 25,000 students studying there (with more faculty than all students at UMU: 2,319), and sits on a one square kilometer modern campus. La Rabassa airfield was located on these lands until the opening of El Altet Airport in 1967, until the university opened. Alicante is bigger in both aspects but both campuses are rather modern.

One other things differentiating the two would obviously be the climate. Mount Union has very harsh, seasonal weather with surprise snowstorms and ice glazes whereas Alicante has many palm and pomegranate trees, and a warm but dry climate. I would say both campuses are beautiful just in a different aspect. On Alicante’s campus there are many more restaurants and cafes which would attribute to the size as well.

Both places have their respective sports too. Alicante has fútbol or soccer teams (outdoor and indoor – the women’s indoor team is nationally ranked), fencing, rowing, and more, whereas Mount has American sports like baseball and football, but no rowing or fencing. Lets just say we would dominate in a football match, but fútbol would be a close call.

A few things I haven’t noticed in Spain are greek life and school spirit. They have clubs and extracurriculars, not as many, and fraternities and sororities are nonexistent from what I know. Also, in the states it is very common to select a school because of its great reputation, and people are very proud to say that they are from Mount Union or Harvard or Princeton. So far, I haven’t really gotten the sense of this, school is more so just classes and the extracurriculars you enjoy.

Classes for me in Alicante are a little different because I am an exchange student, so I am just taking Spanish courses along with some culture ones like cooking and sailing. It is to my knowledge that Alicante has a rather strong engineering program, and offers many more majors than Mount since it enrolls more students like tourism, etc. In Ohio, I am used to waking up last minute before class and getting there right on time, but here it is a whole different story. To get to class at 9:30am I need to leave my house my 8:20 to catch a train, which connects to a bus, then walk about 10 minutes to class. If I forget something at home or wake up late, tough luck!

One last thing was trying to figure out the Spanish keyboard in the computer lab!¡!¡!¡! It was quité thè experience learñing all these néw symbols. Adios!

OAC Athletic Training Symposium

OAC Athletic Training Symposium

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In late March the OAC Athletic Training Symposium was held at Capital University in a room titled the Bridge of Learning. If only I had brought my pen of learning to write down everything I learned…

This symposium was similar to the Cavs night I had went to before, except this one was nearly all day and there were multiple presentations. All of the presenters were highly respected in the medical field, including Cleveland Indians, Browns and Indians team physicians and our very own professors.

As a student, these types of symposiums are priceless. The medical field is always learning more and more about what works and what doesn’t so there is never a time that any medical professional will know it all. They might know a lot, but not everything.

Clinicians are changing some of their protocols on concussions. Concussions are tricky because you can’t “see” the injury. With other injuries such as a fracture, a torn ACL or anything else along those lines, you can see those with the right tools, but with concussions, you can’t see anything wrong with the brain. Overall, if you have a concussion, you will not be going back in that game that day. There is something called Second Impact Syndrome, which basically results in death in less than 10 minutes.

This symposium was long, and it was also review on anatomy for my knee exam the next day, but every minute was worth it. I didn’t get the best amount of sleep the night before so trying to stay awake during all the presentations was a little hard, but I was so interested in everything being presented. It was worth it and now I have priceless knowledge. In the end, in the Bridge of Learning, I learned things from other great clinicians and physicians that they had to find out on their own.