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.

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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!

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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.

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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!