Friday, July 12, 2013

Good Advice from Our Students!

Our Advanced Reading Class at the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) began the summer session with a Chicago Tribune article by Mary Schmich titled "Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young." After reading the article, LIEP students wrote their own advice for young people. Here is what they said!

Angélica Aguirre of Ecuador
Don't worry about pimples. Your skin is only a shell.
The important part is inside.

Dalal Alokla of Saudi Arabia
 Take advantage of the experience of elders.

Felix Garmendia of Venezuela
 It's advisable to learn something new every day.

Emanuel Priva of Haiti
If you want to improve your English,
read daily at least 10 pages of any book
and do your best to be very familiar
with all unknown words you might see during your reading.

Sorapon "Gorn" Witchurungsee of Thailand
Be creative.
Think outside the box in a positive way.
If you want to distinguish yourself from others,
try to make your work creative.

Rosa Cevallos of Ecuador
The best things in the world are free
(sun, air, breeze, starry nights, a good nap),
so enjoy them!

Alaa Mufti of Ssaudi Arabia
TV eats too much time. Don't channel surf.
Know what you want to watch. Watch it.
Go do something else.
If you want to channel surf in order to find a new show,
read a TV Guide instead.

Many thanks to the Advanced Reading Class for these excellent pieces of advice--not only for young people, but for any age!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Writing Vivid Details: A Letter to Something I Love or Something I Hate

Writing in English requires attention to detail. Writing is considered far more interesting and lively when vivid details are included to help us see or hear or feel or experience what is being discussed.

LIEP Instructor Karen Greenstone
To encourage the use of greater and more vivid detail, LIEP instructor Karen Greenstone asked the members of the Advanced Writing class of the Loyola Intensive English Program to choose something they love or something they hate, and to write a letter to that loved or hated item, being very specific about why they feel so much love or hate. Karen credits her colleague Stephanie Ceraso, an instructor in the English Department of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania for the idea of this project.

The letters turned out to be so delightful and vivid that we want to share four of them with you! We hope that you will enjoy these imaginative and detailed letters as much as we have!

The four writers whose letters are featured in this post are pictured below.

Angélica Aguirre of Ecuador, Emmanuel Priva of Haiti, George Kawas of Honduras, and Rosa Cevallos of Ecuador
Angélica Aguirre of Ecuador

Angélica Aguirre of Ecuador is a professor of English at the Pontifcia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador (PUCE), or the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. She specializes in introducing beginning-level students to the English language. Here is her letter to something she loves.

My Beloved Chocolate,

How are you today? It has been a long time we have not been together. I would like to know why you have left me alone. Can you tell me what has happened? You have always promised to be with me everyday, but you are not here anymore. Why?

I have not liked your silence, and I have missed your presence. Have you forgotten our moments when I used to call you my Little Dark, my Little White? I wish you were here in any form: chips, tablet, bar, decorated or just plain.

I would like to close my eyes and imagine the pleasure to be with you, the delight to smell your fragrance and the satisfaction to taste your flavor. I have talked with everybody about you and all of them have known you pretty well so far. I supposed it was a nice relationship only between you and me, but I was wrong.   I have asked everybody if they have known something about you and all have answered me affirmatively. Besides, they have not only known you, but also, they have bought you, bitten you, tasted you.

As you see, you have been very famous: babies, children, teenagers, young adults, middle age adults and seniors love you. Furthermore, they have met you in different situations and conditions. In important events, you have been the principal guest: Christmas, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. You know that you have always been welcomed in any condition: in a cup of warm chocolate, in vanilla and chocolate ice cream, chocolate mousse, chocolate cake, fruit in chocolate dip.

My Sweet Chocolate, I want to be sincere with you.  It was a pleasure to meet you. I will never forget you.  You will always be in my mind. I would have never abandoned you if I had not had diabetes.


* * *

Rosa Cevallos of Ecuador
Rosa Cevallos of Ecuador is the Chief Financial Officer of the Pontifcia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador (PUCE), or the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. She has written a letter to something she hates!

Dear International Phonetic Alphabet,

I want to present you my respects. I believe that I need to explain to you why I do not call you by your nickname IPA, as you asked me the day we met. I do not have that familiarity with you; besides my letter will not be as nice as I wanted.

As you know, we met each other since only a couple of weeks ago, and, although it is a short time, I regret to confess that I cannot stand you.

I have really tried to understand that you are very useful and many people love you, because, obviously, your intentions are the best. What you intend is to build bridges to improve understanding and communication in foreign languages; you are looking for a good understanding of one of the most important parts of a culture: their language. I know all that, even though I cannot change my feelings towards you.

Please do not misunderstand me. You are not bad, but the circumstances of our first date have not been the best. The abrupt discovery of you changed my schemes, and the change was not pleasant. I had no idea that I would meet you that day, so I was not properly prepared. It was so surprising to see you there, with all those signs that are incomprehensible for me; some of them I can not even pronounce today. And, worst of all, is that I am obliged to use them, and I do not like doing things for obligation.

I believe that if, before the day we met, I had read some interesting article or essay about your life, I would understand you better, and our relationship could be more durable, but now I am not sure.

However, I think we should get a second chance; would you like to drink a coffee next week? So, we could talk and know each other better. I sincerely hope that you answer me positively.

Best regards,

* * *

Emmanuel Priva of Haiti
Emmanuel Priva of Haiti is a seminarian preparing for priesthood in the Catholic Church. His religious order is the Society of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, or the Josephites. This summer, Emmanuel is living and assisting at Saint David Catholic Church in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Here is Emmanuel's letter to something he loves.

Dear Workout,

I am very fascinated by writing you this small letter. I am so grateful because you have done and you are still doing a great job for me. You have been so helpful for me in the last few years; I have realized I am really unable to live without you. I never imagined that you should occupy this great place in my daily life.

My Dear Workout, I want to thank you because you are helping me to keep at a better level my hyperglycemia. Thanks to you, I don’t have any problems to sleep at night; I don’t get upset with anybody, I am not feeling tired at all, I have a strong appetite, I don’t feel any serious pain in my whole body, I am not feeling depressed, and I am feeling very equilibrated. This means you are doing a tremendous job in my life, my Beloved
Workout. Even though you are very demanding and rigorous with me, which means you want me to be with you every day for at least 3 hours, I still love you.

I will be very mad if something prevents me from being with you daily, which means a severe pain in my body. I hope you will continue to be very helpful for me, my Dearly Beloved Workout. Without you, my friend, nothing is really possible.

A few days ago, I saw my physician for a general check up, and he told me to continue to spend time visiting you. My physician saw a lot of improvements in my health, which means my heart is doing so well and my whole body is working well. My blood pressure and blood sugar are both under control. Because of you, my friend, I hope to have a long life.

Thanks so much and don’t forget you are always in my daily prayer.

God bless you and your own family.

With love, appreciation, and peace,

* * *

George Kawas of Honduras
George Kawas of Honduras is a civil lawyer. He plans to obtain his LL.M. degree from the College of Law at Loyola University New Orleans. Here is George's essay to something he loves.
Dear Poker,

I want to say that I love you. I admire how you can get inside people’s mind and control their deepest thoughts in an unconscious level. It is incredible the intensity and suspense you provoke between men, when we play this psychological game against each other. I have played you without knowing if I would be the winner, but you have always held my hand, leading me the on right way. Life would not be the same without you.

It is unbelievable how you can play mind tricks with people, making us believe that we have a winning hand, and realizing at the end your deception. But let’s not return to the past; you already promised not to do that again, and I promised to forgive you. Even though I have lost money playing you, I still love you and I know you love me back.

Thanks to you, I have developed the ability of reading my adversaries’ body language; if they twitch an eye, scratch a leg, or breathe heavily, I can perceive their bluff.

Additionally, you have helped me develop the ability of hiding emotional behaviors, by controlling my body’s spontaneous reflexes, and avoiding my rival’s opportunity to figurate out the cards I hold.

Since the beginning, you have been giving me courage to keep playing and raising bets. I am grateful for those moments of satisfaction you have given me, with the support of your son, Full House; your two daughters, Strait and Strait Flush; and especially your older son, his majesty Royal Flush. I could not live without any of them.

Thanks to you, I have learned to make blind decisions in my life. Just like in poker, if I do not risk anything, I would never know if I was right or wrong; if I achieved glory or ruin. If you ever leave, I will miss you, like the flower misses the sun.           

For all these reasons, I thank you and I will see you soon.

Always yours,

* * *

Thank you, Angélica, Rosa, Emmanuel, and George, for sharing your delightful, imaginative, and detailed letters with us, and to LIEP instructor Karen Greenstone, who initiated this project!

We end this post with two photos showing members of the Advanced Writing class sharing their letters in small reading groups.

Reading Group 1: Angélica Aguirre of Ecuador, George Kawas of Honduras, Gorn Witchurungsee of Thailand
Reading Group 2: Stéphane Baechler of France, Felix Garmendia of Venezuela, Rosa Cevallos of Ecuador, Emmanuel Priva of Haiti

Visit to the Louisiana Global Wildlife Center

On Friday, June 28, ten students and three instructors from the Loyola Intensive English Program boarded two Loyola University New Orleans vans for a trip to the Louisiana Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, Louisiana, about 60 miles northwest of New Orleans. The Louisiana Global Wildlife Center has over 900 acres where live many animals: deer, camels, giraffes, zebras, bison, elands, rhea birds, kangaroos, and more.

A long covered wagon took us on a "safari" through the 900 acres to see, feed, and learn about the animals who live there. Feeding the animals is a very enjoyable aspect of the tour! We had a bucketful of official food into which we could dip smaller cups from which to feed the animals, who came right up to the wagon to be fed. The animals have learned that the approach of the wagon means food--and they come running!

We would like to share with you some photos of our adventure at the Global Wildlife Center. Here we are in the long covered wagon, waiting to begin our "safari"!

Animals see the wagon approaching and come eagerly to be fed! Here you can see a camel, elands, and deer.

A deer and baby approach.

Faisal "Solee" Mouamenah of Saudi Arabia feeds a deer.

Lina Gonzalez of Colombia photographs the deer as they eat food that has been tossed to them.

In the photo above, you can also see a gray rhea bird among the deer. We learned that rhea birds can only walk forwards. They are incapable of walking backwards. This means that, each evening, the animals' caretakers must search the corners of the Global Wildlife Center to see if any rhea birds may be stuck in corners that they can't back out of. A rhea bird stuck in a corner must be physically lifted up and turned around; otherwise, the rhea bird can find itself abandoned in the corner, where it may die.

Below, LIEP instructor Karen Greenstone feeds an eager cow.

A zebra approaches the wagon.

We were cautioned not to touch the zebras, as they have an unfriendly disposition and are apt to bite. We also learned that a baby zebra and its mother spend time staring intently at one another to imprint one another's pattern of stripes on their brains. Each zebra has a unique pattern of stripes; no two zebra's stripes are alike.

A camel approaches the wagon.

Although giraffes are not pictured here, we saw several at a distance. We learned that giraffes spend their entire lives standing up. It is very rare for a giraffe to lie down. A giraffe standing still with its ears back is sleeping. Giraffes sleep for about 30 minutes a day in 5-minute increments.

Upon ending our "safari" at the Louisiana Global Wildlife Center, we drove back to New Orleans by way of Manchac, Louisiana, where we stopped at Middendorf's Restaurant, famous for thin fried catfish, to have an early dinner. Here we are at dinner at Middendorf's.

We hope you've enjoyed accompanying us on our adventure at the Louisiana Global Wildlife Center!

Our next post will feature a writing project of our Advanced Writing class, designed to encourage the use of vivid descriptive details.

Exemplary Analysis Essay II: The Uses and Users of Facebook

Sorapon "Gorn" Witchurungsee of Thailand
This post features a second exemplary analysis essay written by a student in the Advanced Writing class of the Loyola Intensive English Program. Sorapon Witchurungsee of Thailand, known to his friends as Gorn, has chosen to analyze the various uses and users of Facebook.

Gorn is a lawyer in Thailand. He is preparing to enter the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas this fall to begin his studies for the LL.M. degree. After completing his studies in the United States, Gorn plans to return to Thailand and to work there in the legal field.

Below is Gorn's essay.

* * *

Facebook Friends
By Sorapon Witchurungsee

Using Facebook surprises me because some of my friends behave differently on Facebook from in person.  For example, one of my friends talks too much on Facebook—considering how often she posts a day—but in person she seldom talks with others at all.

From my experience with Facebook, I categorize my friends into 5 categories.
  1. People who like showing off
  2. People who analyze situations and share information
  3. People who love describing their emotion
  4. People who do business
  5. People who want to keep contact with their friends

People who like showing off

I am not sure why people share their pictures on Facebook; I do not even know why I share my own pictures.  However, I assume that one reason is to show scenes of their lives with their family so that their parents can know how well they are doing.

People in this group always love taking photos—of themselves, their friends, tourist attractions, or whatever they think may become the best shots.  As soon as they have gotten the beautiful shots, they will upload them on Facebook—if they take photos with a camera rather than a cell phone, they will upload them later.

The consequence of showing pictures on Facebook is that friends will make comments and/or give a like on pictures. Showing photos is one of the best ways to keep in touch with friends because some pictures can be a good discussion topic, such as old high school pictures, or new pictures of an old hang-out.

People who analyze situations and share information

Some of my friends on Facebook belong to this category. They always analyze political or social issues and share the analyses on Facebook. Some are experts, such as the law school professors who illustrate issues and/or give opinions to their students and other people.  Some are amateurs who love to show their visions of problems.  Besides giving their own analyses, they like sharing the analyses of others whom they agree with. 

Sharing specific points of view may cause conflict with Facebook friends who hold opposing views.  However, people in this category also like to share helpful information, mottos, or encouraging statements to motivate their friends on Facebook.  In addition, they strive to make the world a better place by sharing pictures or statements for helping poor people.  For example, my friend Aoe shared a request for anyone with the rare AB-type blood to help someone in need, her own professor.  No matter what the result is, sharing this kind of information can make the world more beautiful. 

People who love describing their emotion

In the past few years, expressing emotions was limited to a few people: friends, parents, sisters, brothers, or anyone immediately involved.  However, now with technology like Facebook, people can express their emotion to a larger group than they did in the past.

Happiness, sadness, frustration, and excitement are examples of emotions people express through Facebook every single day.  It is good to share a happy moment or release an annoyance via Facebook because friends are supposed to stay together in every single moment whether happy or sad.  People can get encouragement and various solutions via Facebook whenever they face a problem.

However, even though you can make people happy by sharing a positive moment, or can find true friends standing up for you when you face a negative moment, the most important thing that you must be aware of is that sharing emotion too often makes you a complainer.

People who do business 

Marketing, increasing consumption to gain a massive amount of profit, is the key of success in business.  The more people know your products, the more successful you are; therefore, advertisement is crucial.

Technology changes people’s behaviors, that is, people play more on Facebook and spend less time on watching television and listening to the radio.  Therefore, my friends interested in setting up business choose Facebook to advertise their products for two main reasons: free and easy.  Not only my friends who begin to do business, but also the huge companies in the world—such as Apple, Microsoft, Toyota—use Facebook as one of their advertising strategies.

These users do their business by posting their commodities on their Facebook status.  Then, the advertisement will show on their friends’ feed.  Besides, sometimes they tag the picture of the advertisement to their friends so that the picture can appear on the feed of their friends’ friends.  Another way to advertise on Facebook is to create a Facebook page devoted to the product and convince people to be a member by giving a like.  This measure, in my opinion, is more polite than tagging an advertisement to other users because this measure depends on the willingness of the users, whether they want to give a like or not.

The people in this category sometimes irritate other users who are not interested in buying a commodity and want to use Facebook for other purposes.  Therefore, users in this classification should use Facebook with discretion, balancing between running their business and respecting other users.

People who want to keep contact with their friends

This group of my friends rarely has any movement in their Facebook, such as posting messages, sharing pictures and/or information, giving a comment or a like.  Most actions on their Facebook happen with specific purposes: keeping contact with their friends and tracing what is going on with their friends, such as who is about to get married, what their friends’ new jobs are, and when the reunion party will be.

For example, I belonged to this category of Facebook users when I became a monk for two weeks in November, 2012. (In Buddhist tradition, young men should be a monk to show their gratefulness toward their parents.)  Before entering the monastery, I used Facebook to announce my event to my friends as well as to ask them to forgive my former bad actions, for Buddhists believe that before becoming a monk, one should receive forgiveness from whomever one has wronged, whether through action, speech, or thought.  Many of my friends—both close and not close—got this news through Facebook.  They also congratulated and forgave me through this channel.  Without Facebook, it would have been hard to contact many of my friends under the limited time.

Posting messages, sharing pictures and/or information, or giving a comment or a like not only can keep friends in touch with each other but also can bring friends closer.  The reason is those kinds of actions can cause long intimate conversations between friends.


Even if these categories are distinct, a person can belong to more than one category.  From time to time, people can change from one category to another category.  Moreover, a new category may emerge.  Whatever category you belong to, using Facebook has both upsides and downsides; therefore, people should use Facebook with courtesy.

* * *

Thank you, Gorn Witchurungsee, for this excellent analysis of Facebook uses and users!

Our next post will take you with us on our most recent LIEP field trip to the Louisiana Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, Louisiana!