Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Let's Look Over the LIEP Tutoring Program by Dong-Joo Lee of Korea

Mr. Dong-Joo Lee of Korea
I am Dong-Joo Lee, an exchange student from Sogang University in Seoul, Korea. I am majoring in economics. A great deal of economics knowledge is written in English, so fluency in English is essential for studying economics. For upgrading my English, I am now taking two classes in the Pilot Program of the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP), as well as some courses in other fields at Loyola University New Orleans.

Students in the Loyola Intensive English Program have the opportunity for meeting their own tutor. As a student in the Loyola Intensive English Program, I have a tutor. Generally, I meet him twice a week for one hour each session, during which I get advice about writing essays and engage in English conversation with him. I certainly feel satisfied with this tutoring program, and I think it is one of the merits of the Loyola Intensive English Program. So I want to let students know about this tutoring program, and I decided to create this blog post. This post handles the LIEP tutoring program from top to toe, so that you will know the tutoring program better after reading it. I have done several interviews to investigate the LIEP tutoring program.

First, I met Ms. Jess Haley, who is the LIEP Academic Director. One of her tasks is to administer the tutoring program.

I: Can you briefly introduce what the tutoring program is?

Ms. Jess Haley,
LIEP Academic Director 
JESS: Of course! The tutoring program is a special characteristic of our Loyola Intensive English Program. Frequently, intensive English students have difficulty making friends with native English speakers and starting natural conversation with them. So we arrange for each LIEP student to work with a U.S. American who is a university student: either a graduate student or an undergraduate student. The tutors can help LIEP students with their homework assignments, but also they can help them culturally adapt to New Orleans. So LIEP tutors frequently become really good friends for LIEP students.

I: What benefits do you expect for LIEP students from this tutoring program?

JESS: I think that LIEP students can get a lot of benefits. They get a lot of realistic practice in a way that they cannot get in the class. They also have fun with tutors because it is not class and they do what they need. They can talk about U.S. American television, New Orleans culture, and Mardi-Gras. They can do that with tutors rather than with their teachers whom they can confront in the class. I think one of the most important things for LIEP students in tutoring is that they get to choose what they want to do during tutoring. So if students feel that they want to practice pronunciation more or they want to practice reading more, they can choose what they want in their tutoring. It is their choice. I think that’s important. They can have power in language learning.

I: I guess it will be demanding to select a nice tutor for this program. What kinds of qualities do you think are important for a tutor?

JESS: Oh, that’s an excellent question. I think the most important quality for tutoring that I look for when I interview with people is interest and diversity of culture—interest in knowing more about the world and how different people are. Also I would frequently like to choose tutors who have already traveled at least in two or three countries. Not only do they understand that culture is a diverse phenomenon but also they have experienced the same feeling as our LIEP students do—the feeling of being in a new place where you feel kind of alone and different from everyone around you. Our LIEP tutors have experienced that, too, because they have studied abroad and have been in other countries, so that they can be considerate toward their tutees.

According to Jess, there are six LIEP tutors, and each of them works with two to six LIEP students depending on their schedules. I found that Jess considers this tutoring program as a really special aspect of the Loyola Intensive English Program, and she feels proud that LIEP has this tutoring program.

Next, I wanted to hear a tutor’s thinking about this tutoring program. So I met with LIEP tutor Mr. Evan Davenport. Evan has grown up in a suburban New Orleans neighborhood. He teaches English in a U.S. American High school. He also teaches English at a church in a Vietnamese neighborhood. Evan has a B.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in teaching English. He wants to continue his education, planning to teach English in Vietnam.

I: Why did you apply for this tutoring job?

Mr. Evan Davenport,
LIEP Tutor
EVAN: Because it is a rare opportunity to teach students. If you want to be a teacher, you have to compete against hundreds of other people. There are very few teaching jobs. Most schools are not just saying, “Here are students. We want you to teach them.” But the Loyola Intensive English Program said, “We will give you some students for tutoring.” So I thought it was a great opportunity to practice teaching skills.

I: I guess you have definitely met students from diverse countries. How is it working with them?

EVAN: When you travel, you meet new people and experience new cultures. Well, I can stay in my room. But serving as a tutor, I have met people from new cultures. It is almost as good as traveling. Also, it really teaches me who I am.

I: What do you think is the fastest way to learn English on the basis of your experience?

EVAN: This is kind of theoretical, but I will give you an answer. If you are a student trying to learn English, I suggest you find a boyfriend or a girlfriend who only speaks English. I promise you that you will learn English so fast. And it doesn’t matter how much in your own country you read and listen to English; unless you are interacting, it’s not effective. If you want to learn English, go to an English-speaking country and don’t speak your own language. It will be difficult at first, but it will force your brain to adapt to English. If you are using English, you will learn it quickly. After that, watching U.S. American media would be better than nothing. All language only exists for interaction. Language is interaction. If we did not interact with anybody, there would be no sustainable language.

I: When you have a tutoring session with a student, what kinds of activities do you do?

EVAN: Well, it depends on the level of the student and the student’s ability. I will speak about LIEP students, because we are talking about the LIEP tutoring program. Every activity that we do requires reading, listening and speaking. Writing is a little bit more difficult for me to teach unless the student comes to me with writing already done. For example, if a student comes to me and has already written an essay, I can teach writing very well that way. When we are going to read an article together, I am going to read the article so that the student can hear me read it. We are going to talk about the article so the student has to speak to me and has to listen to my response. So reading, listening and speaking are key activities.

I: What kinds of qualities do you want to see in your tutees?

EVAN: I have some LIEP students, who, Instead of walking around campus and making U.S. American friends, stick to each other and go out to party with each other. Last year, I had some students who only spoke their own language because they hung out only with each other. This is not desirable. If you came here to learn English, you have to use English. Students want to go to parties on the weekends. They can do that. That’s great. Partying is a wonderful way to learn English, but you should use only English at the party.

I: Do you want to leave any words for students whom you have met and will meet?

EVAN: Yes. It is important that my students know that I do this not because it is glamorous and means getting money, but because I love to do it, I am okay with it and I am good at it. I might stop teaching them at the end of the year. Even though they might go back home, I am still going to be their friend and teacher. Just call me or e-mail me, so that I continue to teach them. It is just what I want to do.

It was nice to know a tutor’s attitude and mind toward the LIEP tutoring program. Next, I held interviews with three tutees:
  • Mr. Jérémie Ben Guigui of France is taking the intermediate LIEP course. He is learning English for employment because having command of English will guarantee a nice job in France.
  • Ms. Katya Dashkovskaya of Russia is also taking the intermediate LIEP course. She loves traveling around the world. She thinks that knowing English will make her travel easier since English is a vehicle language in the world.
  • Sister Theresa Le of Vietnam is taking the advanced LIEP course. She considers learning English necessary in adapting to the United States.

I: Is this tutoring program working well for you?

Mr. Jérémie Ben Guigui
of France
JEREMIE: Yes, totally. My tutor has introduced me to his friends. So with them, I can have conversation in English. This conversation helps me understand English easily. Since I have some U.S. American friends I can speak English with, I have learned some idioms and expressions, which I can’t learn in the class. Also, my tutor helps with my homework, and it is really nice. He is always here in Loyola whenever I need him because he is a Loyola student. So, I can readily ask him a favor about studying English.

Ms. Katya Dashkovskaya
of Russia
KATYA: Actually, yes! My tutor introduces me to interesting lessons. We usually listen to U.S. American songs and try to understand the meaning of the words. Also we read articles and books, and discuss them. These lessons are really interesting and fun for me. And I have usually tried to catch every opportunity for speaking with native English speakers. So before the start of the tutoring program, I wanted to speak a lot with a tutor who could fluently speak English. When I have tutoring sessions with my tutor, we have a long conversation and work on how I add words and sentences together. It is really helpful. Also, the tutoring program shows me two sides of English: formal and informal. In the university, professors try to use formal English. If you aren’t born here, you can’t know slang and informal English. By talking with tutors, I can tell the difference between informal and formal English.

Sister Theresa Le
of Vietnam
SISTER THERESA: Sure! Sure! I like to study English with my tutor. I usually ask her to help my writing, because writing in English is very different from writing in Vietnamese in the aspects of logic and word structure. And sometimes, I choose the topic we can focus on, and we talk a lot with each other on this topic. It helps me speak English and correct my pronunciation. Also when I don’t have time to ask my professor a question, I ask my tutor. Through those activities, I have been improving my English. In addition, I have learned how to be open to other people. When I lived in Vietnam, I just made some close friends, enough for me. In the United States, we need to make more friends. My tutor said that I needed to get more friends and be open to everybody. I think it is kind of the U.S. American culture, which I acquired through my tutor.

I: Still you have much time to spend with your tutor. What do you want to do with your tutor from now on?

JEREMIE: Maybe I will try to do special activities such as lager-tagger, and I want to discover good places to enjoy in the French Quarter.

KATYA: Deeper understanding about English and U.S. American culture. So I want to walk around some places with my tutor. It will be great for my tutor to introduce me to something interesting that can be a real example for understanding cultures. I guess it will be really hard for tutors to find some places and walk around. But if a tutor goes out with me once a month, it will be nice. I think it is a really good idea that I can do with my tutor. Surfing the Internet could be a substitute.

SISTER THERESA: What I did with my tutor is enough for me. I ask her something that I don’t understand about English, and she spends time explaining it to me. Tutoring is very helpful to me. I think my tutor is special about English because she is U.S. American. I don’t know many things regarding English, so I will ask my tutor those things.

I: Is there any word for tutors through this interview?

JEREMIE: My tutor is helpful for me. And I really thank him for this tutoring.

KATYA: Sometimes, conversation with my tutor is really hard. I don’t know how to say and explain some ideas. Nevertheless, my tutor is always considerate and thoughtful with me. And there is one thing that I wish my tutor to do. It will be great that my tutor prepares for some interesting topics or shows me something interesting because I am a new person in this country. I want to catch everything new for me and helpful for my family.

SISTER THERESA: I thank you, my tutor. You are very friendly, and I am very thankful for your kindness. I would like to strongly let you know that this tutoring is very good for me who chose to study English

Thanks to these three LIEP students’ cooperation with this interview, I could know about the real benefits that this tutoring program provides for them. I also found that students were quite satisfied with the LIEP tutoring program.

I deem the LIEP tutoring program very worthy for students who are learning English as a second, third, or fourth language. This program picks out adequate tutors who are qualified with a brilliant mind and excellent abilities in English. Also, the activities that LIEP students can do with their tutors are really beneficial for learning English. If there are students who hesitate whether to apply for this tutoring, I would like to encourage them to do it!

* * *

A huge thank-you to Mr. Dong-Joo Lee of Korea for presenting us with this excellent overview of the LIEP tutoring program from the point of view of our LIEP Academic Director, one of our LIEP tutors, and three of our LIEP students. Thank you, Dong-Joo!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Musical Tastes

Students in the Intermediate Listening/Speaking class of the Loyola Intensive English Program recently shared their varied tastes in music! Below, each student tells about a favorite kind of music and why he or she enjoys it.

Mr. Ahmed Taleb Elemine of Mauritania

The lyrics are about real life, real experience.

Ms. Daniela Silva

I listen at the gym. Electronic music gives me energy!

Mr. Dong-Joo Lee of Korea

I appreciate the sweet and nice lyrics, the soothing music,
and the way the melody is so easy to hum.

Mr. Jérémie Ben Guigui of France

I listen while I do my homework or ride my bike.
Hard rock gives me power, energy.

Ms. Katya Dashkovskaya of Russia

This music relaxes me, energizes me, and gives me inspiration.

Ms. Maria Clara Vega of Colombia

This is a kind of Colombian pop music,
where the accordion and drums predominate.
The lyrics come from real life and are often dedicated to love.

Ms. Wan-Chien Lee of Taiwan

This is a kind of country music with rock 'n roll.
The piano and acoustic guitar predominate.
I  like to listen while cooking, biking, and exercising.

Ms. Zilda Benjo of Brazil

This music is great for relaxing.
It is soft and often has the sounds of water.
 I sometimes use it in my psychotherapy practice.

Ms. Rui-Wen "Zoe" Lu of China

The strong rhythm makes me want to dance.
It helps me to feel good quickly and keeps me young.
For example, if I listen while in a traffic jam, I start to feel good!

Thank you to the members of the  LIEP Intermediate Listening/Speaking class for sharing with us their tastes in music!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Visiting with Authors George Bishop and Donna Glee Williams

Students in the Advanced Reading class of the Loyola Intensive English Program  (LIEP) recently had the wonderful experience of visiting with the author of a novel they had read. At the beginning of the semester, the class read and discussed a short story or an essay by George Bishop and by Donna Glee Williams. Then each student chose either The Night of the Comet by George Bishop or The Braided Path by Donna Glee Williams to read during the semester. Both novels are about the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

The students reading each novel met initially to decide upon  a reading schedule. They then continued to meet weekly to discuss the weekly chapters. Their final meeting was devoted to preparation for a visit with the author. On Thursday, November 13, each group met with their author to share impressions of the novel and to ask questions.

The Night of the Comet by George Bishop, set in 1973, is narrated by fourteen-year-old Alan Broussard, Jr., a book-loving boy whose father teaches science at the public high school in Terrebonne, a small town in the bayou country of southeast Louisiana. Junior, as he is called, feels embarrassment over his father's unsuccessful efforts to communicate his passion for science to his students, curiosity about the dissatisfaction he senses within his mother, puzzlement over his older sister's alienation, and yearning for the attractive and friendly Gabriela who has recently moved to Terrebonne and lives just across the bayou. Then, rumbling into the life of Terrebonne and the Broussard family comes Comet Kohoutek, shaking the town's complacency; enlivening Alan Broussard, Sr.'s science classes; upending the Broussards' routine family life; and forcing Junior, his sister Megan, his mother Lydia, and his father Alan to stretch and grow in unexpected ways.

The students who had read The Night of the Comet thoroughly enjoyed their visit with George Bishop. George Bishop told the students about the seed idea for his novel, his extensive research about comets, the perseverance required in writing a novel, and the ways he used his own life experiences in writing The Night of the Comet. Below, The Night of the Comet reading group is pictured with George Bishop.
Seated left to right: Ms. Ingrid Rodriguez-Fierro of Guatemala, Mr. George Bishop, Ms. Maria Paula Posada of Nicaragua. Standing left to right: Sister Theresa Le of Vietnam, Mr. Hikaru Yokoyama of Japan, and Sister Pauline Phan of Vietnam.

The Braided Path by Donna Glee Williams is a light fantasy that takes place in a vertical world, with one path along which are located many villages. One calls one's own village Home Village, while other villages are designated by their position above or below one's own, such as Second Village Up or Fifth Village Down. Becoming an adult involves finding one's upper and lower travel limits and choosing a profession based on one's natural gifts and passion, often involving the practice of a craft. Cam, a teenage boy, and Fox, a teenage girl, enjoy walking great distances from Home Village together and are developing a strong love for each other, but it is also apparent that Cam feels called to walk ever upward on the path, while Fox feels called to walk ever downward. Cam seems drawn to the profession of Far-Walker, while Fox remains unsure of her calling, though she does love to carve. Cam and Fox are torn between honoring their love and honoring their respective callings.

The students who had read The Braided Path greatly enjoyed their visit with Donna Glee Williams. Donna Glee Williams told the students about creating the world of The Braided Path, learning and practicing many of the crafts that appear in The Braided Path, finding meaningful symbols, and using elements of her own life experience to shape the story. Donna Glee Williams was especially impressed when the students shared insights that caused her to see her novel in new ways. Below, The Braided Path reading group is pictured with Donna Glee Williams.
Seated left to right: Ms Azusa Kurosawa of Japan, Dr. Donna Glee Williams, Mr. Ryota Kojima of Japan, Mr. Marco Frick of Switzerland. Standing left to right: Mr. Haotian "Lee" Li of China, Mr. Murtadha Almohammed of Saudi Arabia.

A huge thank-you to George Bishop and to Donna Glee Williams for sharing the experience of writing their novels with the students, and to the students of the LIEP Advanced Reading class for sharing their impressions, insights, and questions about The Night of the Comet and The Braided Path with the authors!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Loyola Jazz Band Concert: A Review

Azusa Kurosawa of Japan
In this post, Ms. Azusa Kurosawa of Japan reviews a recent Loyola Jazz Band Concert.

Azusa is an exchange student from Sophia University, a Jesuit university in Japan, where she is majoring in Cultural Psychology. This semester, as an exchange student at Loyola University New Orleans, Azusa is in the Pilot Program of the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP), where she takes two credit-bearing courses in English skills as well as two courses in other fields at Loyola.

Azusa's love for jazz is evident in her review, below.

* * *

The Loyola Jazz Band Concert
By Azusa Kurosawa

Since coming to New Orleans, I have been inspired by the wonderful music culture, especially Jazz. I had never been familiar with jazz in Japan, but here, a variety of music sounds come into my ears once I go outside, which always excites me. 

On Tuesday evening, November 11, the Loyola Jazz Band Concert was held at Roussel Hall of Loyola University New Orleans, and I attended it to see their performance. In the concert, the Loyola Jazz Band played 12 tunes, and each tune had its own characteristics: some were energetic with high tempo, some were peaceful ballad tastes, and some included a vocalist. Although the instruments were different from piece to piece, most tunes consisted of the piano, the bass, the drum, the trumpet, the saxophone and the trombone. All members of the Loyola Jazz Band played their own instruments confidently, and I received their strong passion that they really loved jazz.

My favorite tunes of the set were You Know I Care and Mr. Mayor. You Know I Care, composed by Duke Pearson, was slow, relaxing and also harmonic. This tune contained many saxophone solo parts, most of which were performed by one soloist, whose performance appeared to deserve a high quality. He never missed notes, his scaling was smooth, and his sound was deep and firm as well. The audience seemed to be attracted by the resonance and the lingering sound that the soloist created.

Unlike You Know I Care, Mr. Mayor by Matt Harris was a spirited and lively tune. In the very beginning of the piece, only a few instruments, including the drum, bass, and piano, were played. But shortly after, other instruments joined and the tune became energetic, the trumpeters gradually began to make their trumpets snarl, and a pianist began to perform the scale very fast. I would like to go into dancing, and this tune must have made other listeners excited as well.

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and historically, it was the ideal site for the birth of jazz because of its ethnic diversity. Many kinds of music, such as African American music, European music, and church music, were blended and formed the style of jazz that we can enjoy today. I feel very impressed when I imagine that many diverse historical people’s souls and passions are packed into today’s jazz music.

Thanks to the Loyola Jazz Band, the audience, including myself, spent a special evening. Loyola's College of Music and Fine Arts offers many opportunities for students, and of course all citizens, to listen to jazz as well as concert band, ensembles, and chorus. I strongly recommend that you join the concerts and listen to these amazing musical sounds!

* * *
Thank you, Azusa Kurosawa of Japan, for sharing your love of jazz and this Loyola Jazz Band Concert review with us!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Travel Topics

The Intermediate Listening/Speaking class of the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) has completed a unit on travel. The class has explored travel plans, tips for packing, pet peeves in traveling, travel danger zones, ways to overcome fear of flying, and even proper etiquette at the beach! Class members also gave presentations on interesting aspects of travel, including important travel advice. We would like to share four of these presentations with you!

Ms. Zilda Benjo of Brazil spoke about traveling with her three children, ages 5 years, 3 years, and 6 months. She recalled one especially relaxing flight when friendly travelers offered to hold and play with her children. Knowing that this was a safe environment - since everyone was enclosed within the walls of the airplane high in the sky - Zilda told us that she was able to relax and enjoy the flight, certain that her children were having fun with fellow travelers nearby! Zilda's advice:

Let willing friendly travelers help with your children!
The travelers will enjoy the children, the children will enjoy the attention,
and you will enjoy the relaxation!

Ms. Daniela Silva of Brazil told us about a recent sad news account of a man who fell to his death from a mountain trail near Rio de Janeiro. People enjoy taking this mountain trail, Daniela told us, because they can see a beautiful aerial view of Rio. This particular man, however, was not being careful: he was jumping from stone to stone along the path with his friends. Daniela's advice:

Wear appropriate shoes when hiking in the mountains.
Do not hike on mountain trails at night.
Take a good map with you.
Hike in a group of several people.
Carry sufficient water to stay well hydrated.
Carry sufficient food to maintain energy.

Ms. Wan-Chien Lee of Taiwan spoke about the benefits of staying at a hostel, particularly when traveling alone. First, Wan-Chien told us, it is very easy to make friends at a hostel, especially since rooms are often shared with four or six other people. Second, hostel travelers readily share very helpful travel information. Third, it is easy to acquire useful second-hand equipment from travelers who no longer need their items. Fourth, the host family often eats and visits with the travelers and can share excellent information about the local area. Wan-Chien's advice:

Consider staying in a hostel, especially if you are traveling alone.
But don't be overly trusting:
Remember to lock your belongings in the provided locker.

Ms. Maria Clara Vega of Colombia encouraged us to visit her home-town of Cartagena on the northern coast of Colombia. Maria Clara described the tropical climate, the interesting port, and the delicious seafood of Cartagena. She told us that the old historic central part of Cartagena is surrounded by a wall, for protection in former times, with the larger modern city of Cartagena outside the wall. Maria Clara's advice:

If you travel to Colombia, be sure to visit Cartagena!
But be prepared - it's expensive!

A huge thank-you to Ms. Zilda Benjo of Brazil, Ms. Daniela Silva of Brazil, Ms. Wan-Chien Lee of Taiwan, and Ms. Maria Clara Vega of Colombia for their excellent travel presentations and advice!

Left to right: Ms. Zilda Benjo of Brazil, Ms. Daniela Silva of Brazil, Ms. Wan-Chien Lee of Taiwan, and Ms. Maria Clara Vega of Colombia

Monday, November 3, 2014

Intercultural Conversation on the Topic of Risk

Mr. Hikaru Yokoyama of Japan
Our second intercultural conversation of Fall 2014, on the topic of risk, was held on Thursday, October 30. Our reporter for this second intercultural conversation is Mr. Hikaru Yokoyama, an exchange student from Sophia University in Japan with a major in international relations. This semester, as an exchange student at Loyola University New Orleans, Hikaru is in the Pilot Program of the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP), where he takes two credit-bearing courses in English skills as well as two courses in other fields at Loyola.

* * *

An Intercultural Conversation on Risk
By Hikaru Yokoyama

Recently, it is getting much colder than I had expected, which makes me feel that time actually flies. Over two months have passed since I began to study in the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP), and this is already the second time for me to attend an intercultural conversation, where we talk about specific subjects from our class readings and discussions with guests from various back grounds. The discussion was professionally led by Dr. David O'Donaghue, a philosopher, psychologist, and artist, and the founder and director of the New Orleans Lyceum and of Chautauqua New Orleans for life-long learning. Our guests were Ms. Dee Smith and Mr. Ed Wadsworth from New Orleans, who shared ideas with us and helped us with understanding the local cultural values.

This time, our intercultural conversation topic was risk. In class, we had read The Circle Harp by Donna Glee Williams and The Chinese Boy by George Bishop, two short stories about people who take important risks.

The discussion started with a question from Dr. David O'Donaghue. He asked about the risk that we are taking right now: the decision to study in a different environment. One LIEP student told us the story of her marriage. She came to the United States some years ago without enough skills of English, knowledge, and preparation, to marry a man who lives in the United States. Her parents objected, telling her the difficulties she would have in an unknown place without enough language skills and with an intercultural marriage, but she decided to go with her strong will. In her case, what moved her the most was love. Probably she knew what would happen. She would have difficulty communicating with the local people and suffer from cultural adjustment. Of course, she missed her country. Then, as time passed, she sometimes felt uncomfortable during visits to her own country, since her adjustment was in a transition phase between the two cultures. However, she did. She took the risk.

Another LIEP student told us about his risk in coming to the United States for a career change. He had a good job in his own country. He was in a good position at his office, but one day he quit his job to train in the United States as a life coach. He has now begun working as a life couch, who helps people seeking to make changes in their lives. Surprisingly, he said he didn’t feel so nervous when he quit his job, because he loves a challenge. He has changed his career and is ready to dive into a new world. He said that he has always felt pleasure in doing new things. His current work as a life coach is to help people to face the challenge of doing what they like to do. In terms of the subject of the discussion, he seems to enjoy the risk he takes. An interesting way of handling risk; to enjoy. It was a good lesson for me.

Sometimes, we tend to hesitate for a while in front of a risk. If I fail, it might cause problems; even if I succeed at first, no one promises a steady benefit from the risk I take. However, these two LIEP students who told their stories gave me one important thought: we can be simple about the decision. Of course, we have to take care of ourseves, we have to be circumspect, we have to make sure our plan is well matured, especially if it might involve our family or friends. After that, we can just be simple. I do it because I want to. I go there because I love the person. I change my work because I have found something more interesting. This is what I felt during the second intercultural conversation of this semester.

It is always interesting and informative to meet people whose backgrounds are unfamiliar. This sometimes makes me question my old values formed in my one specific culture. I look forward to the next intercultural conversation, which will be held close to Christmas, and to meeting new values and cultures.

* * *

Thank you, Mr. Hikaru Yokoyama, for your informative reporting on our intercultural conversation about risk!

Because this intercultural conversation took place on October 30, the day before Halloween, we enjoyed some delicious Halloween treats! Two enthusiastic students also came in costume!

We were served Halloween treats: black olives, orange cheddar cheese with black pepper crackers and herbed crackers, orange pumpkin bread, dark brown chocolate squares.
We enjoy our Halloween treats while getting acquainted in small groups before the Intercultural Conversation proper.
Two enthusiastic LIEP students came to the Intercultural Conversation in Halloween costumes! Mr. Tom Almeida of Brazil (left) came as Iron Man, and Ms. Ingrid Rogriguez-Fierro of Guatemala (right) came in her spider dress!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Country Fair 2014

The Country Fair
By Ryota Kojima

On Friday, October 24, 2014, the Center for International Education at Loyola University New Orleans sponsored a Country Fair on the Peace Quad. In this fair, many international students prepared a table to show other students their countries’ culture, food and music.

Students enjoying the Country Fair
I also participated in this fair with Mr. Hikaru Yokoyama and Ms. Azusa Kurosawa, representing Japan.

Mr. Hikaru Yokoyama, Mr. Ryota Kojima, and Ms. Azusa Kurosawa, who organized the Japanese table at the Country Fair
Hikaru, Azusa, and I made Japanese traditional noodles called SOBA. But we forgot the fact that noodles become soggy as time goes by. Therefore, when our Soba was eaten at the Country Fair, it had become very soggy. We wanted our fellow students to eat better soba. In spite of that, many students came to our table and said to us, “This is really good.” I think I can say that many students enjoyed our Japanese table as well as other countries’ tables. Also, some U.S. American students who are interested in studying in Japan helped us to cook soba and set the table. We really appreciated all their help.

I ate many countries’ food in the fair and that made me want to go to those countries to eat the real food there. In particular, the croissants served at the French table were very good. I suppose that those were better than the croissants that I ate in Paris last year. Also, many countries arranged a picture display at their tables to show various aspects of their country and culture. It was fun for me to see the pictures of festivals of every country. Those pictures made me think of participating in those festivals someday. Everyone who took part in the Country Fair seemed to enjoy learning about cultures with which they had not been very familiar.

At the end of the fair, samba dancers wearing showy costumes danced on a stage. That was the first time for me to see samba, and I was very surprised how swiftly they could move their bodies when they were dancing. Many students were facsinated by samba. I want to go to Brazil to see the real samba carnival.

Samba dancers at the Country Fair

By having participated in the Country Fair, I felt several things. First of all, many more people are interested in Japan than I thought. When we were serving Soba, some students came to us and said that they had been to Japan or that they would go there. Also, a U.S. American student who came to our Japanese table had Kendama, a traditional Japanese toy with a wooden handle, three shallow dishes, and a pointed tip that the player uses to catch a wooden ball. This student showed me that he could play Kendama very well. I was glad about it. This made me want to tell others about Japan more.

Secondly, all the international students take pride in their countries. For example, when I visited the Spanish table, a student told me that she had tried hard to make nice tortyilla because she loved Spain and wanted other students to like her country. Also, Brazilian students wore the unifrom of their national soccer team. This is because they love Brazil. I think this is a very good thing. I have not been proud of being Japanese very much, but I thought I should know Japan more and tell international students with confidence that Japan is a good country as well as their countries.

All the students who participated in the Country Fair seemed to enjoy themselves talking with international students, eating food they had not tasted before, seeing pictures of various countries, and watching samba. It was wonderful that people from different countries and cultures had a good time together, laughing.

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Mr. Ryota Kojima of Japan
Mr. Ryota Kojima is an exchange student from Sophia University, a Jesuit university in Japan, where he is majoring in international law. This semester, as an exchange student at Loyola University New Orleans. Ryota is in the Pilot Program of the Loyola Intensive English Program, where he takes two credit-bearing courses in English skills as well as two courses in other fields at Loyola,

Thank you, Ryota, for giving us this overview of the Country Fair!