Friday, October 11, 2019

LCI students get to see where the money gets made

Students and faculty from Northern Virginia recently toured the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. This agency is the nation’s sole producer of U.S. paper currency.

The BEP also advises other federal agencies on document security matters and also produces engraved documents such as military commissions and award certificates, and special security documents for a variety of government agencies.

Below, LCI students share their impressions of their tour.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Video: Picnic gives LCI students a taste of American culture

International students at the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute enjoy food, companionship, and some unique learning opportunities at the summer picnic in Blacksburg.

Monday, July 8, 2019

LCI students tour National Portrait Gallery in Washington

LCI students at the Northern Virginia Center took a field trip recently to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. See photos from the trip and some of the students' reactions below.

Bassam AlSulami                                                                                                                                     

On Jun 6, we went to National Portrait Gallery. It was one of the nicest trips in my life. First, we arrived in 10:15. Second, when we entered the museum, we met the displaced tourist. Third, we went to the presidential hall, and saw different of the presidents to the united states. Overall, we learned a lot of about American history.

Abdulrahman Alghamdi

We went on a trip to National Portrait Gallery on Friday 06-20-19 , It was a very beautiful trip. First we left at 9:30, Our teachers were with us. Second, I learned a lot about America's presidents, for example George Washington and Obama Thirdly I liked the place very much, for example the variety of ways of providing information. Finally the tour guide was treated very well and she told me a lot. I loved the place a lot and advised my friends to visit it

Omar Alghonaim

On Friday June 21,2019 my friends and I went to Washington D.C to visit The National Portrait Gallery. The sky was cloudy and the wind was perfect. We took the metro to metro center and walked to the gallery. The building was huge and full of pictures, sculptures and art work. The best thing in the gallery was the art work. There was a snake made of bottle caps. I didn’t see everything in the gallery because I want to come back and continue looking around. As I mentioned it is a huge building and it is free.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

At NAFSA conference, Virginia Tech lays the groundwork for new international partnerships

Don Back, director of the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute, talks with visitors at the university's booth at the NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C.
At the world’s largest gathering of professionals in international education — where almost two dozen faculty and staff members represented Virginia Tech — the university laid the groundwork for new international programs and partnerships.

“Being at an event such as NAFSA helps us tell Virginia Tech’s story,” Language and Culture Institute Director Don Back said.

For the first time, the university was an exhibitor at the annual conference for NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange.

“Virginia Tech is an internationally recognized land-grant university, and NAFSA attendees are a key audience invested in promoting international education,” Back said. “Through dozens of meetings at our booth and elsewhere at the convention, we strengthened relationships with existing partners while also laying valuable groundwork for new ones.”

Read more at VT News

Friday, April 19, 2019

LCI students tour Virginia Tech's 'home of the future'

Students in the LCI's 300 level and instructors Shelly Stoddard and Liz Bowles had an opportunity recently to tour Virginia Tech's FutureHAUS.

FutureHAUS won first place overall in the Solar Decathlon Middle East in November. Now, it's back from Dubai and on display on the Drillfield. The award-winning "home of the future" is open for public viewing and demonstrations daily, from noon to 6 p.m., through April 28.

After touring FutureHAUS, the LCI students wrote paragraphs describing what they learned and their overall impressions

Today, we visited the Future Haus, I had to say that it is amazing. Although I saw that house on television in our country, I still was amazed by the house when I saw it by my eyes today.
The house is really eco-friendly. The materials that was used for the house are not similar to the normal buildings. It used wood as foundation cement, and it has the battery to store electricity from solar energy and water recycling system, which can save a big number of resources.
I was surprised by the movable space. For example, we can alter the wall that is between living room and bedroom to control the size to space as we want. The most memorable part is the separated single unity. Each unit can be easily connected to the main brain of the house, and then the brain can concurrently control every unit. This is apparently thoughtful. If a person who is not married and living by himself wants to buy a house, he does not need too much space, so he can buy one bedroom, one bathroom and one living room. In that case, he does not have to spend extra money to get a big house, and it only takes a few weeks to build the house instead of years.
However, I am concerned about impending fire emergency because the material that the house was made of is not fire-proof. Maybe the designers are still improving the house. When this house is really implemented by humans. they can decorate it to make it more aesthetic.

Today, after I visited the FutureHAUS project launched by VT, I was full of expectations for the future house. The modular design of the house has fundamentally changed my mind about the house. This modular mechanism makes the construction and movement of the house very fast. At the same time, the administrative body of the house is managed by a separate module. If the house has water or electricity problems, it can be quickly solved by repairing this module, and daily maintenance is also more convenient. The interior design of the house is also full of surprises. The walls of the working area, the living room area, and the bedroom area can be adjusted. As an example, if I want to have a party at home, I can use the wall to compress the studio and bedroom space to get the most space in the living room. Many devices in the toilet and kitchen can adjust the height according to your height to ensure the user experience. It is worth mentioning that the bathing equipment has a water saving efficiency of up to 90%, which is an excellent invention for environmental protection. Finally, I am looking forward to seeing the effect of this house in the evening, because the excellent lighting design of this house will make the home more beautiful at night.

Joe Wheeler, architecture professor and lead faculty of FutureHAUS, explains the house's inner workings.

When I first saw the FUTUREHAUS, the circumstance is a little simple and crude, not as advanced as I am image before. To be honest, I was a little disappointed about that. I do not like its aesthetic. However, while the worker was taking us to visit the inside of the FUTUREHUAS, I changed my mind. There are plenty of furnitures which can automatically change. For example, in the restroom, toilet and sink can automatically change their heights depend on people’s heights. Thus, even children can do it by themselves without adults’ help. Moreover, in the bathroom, there is a movie screen on the glass. Therefore, people can watch movie when they are taking shower. That’s a really excited thing which I hope I can have it in my house one day. Additionally, in this FUTUREHUAS, the hot water can recycle when people are taking the shower. Undoubtedly, this function can save so much energy and protect the environment. Actually, this design can fundamentally solve the energy problem that people are facing. Of course it needs to be developed. Furthermore, the thing that most allures me is the light on the ceiling. It can automatically change its color depends on the different time in one day. That’s will help people to sleep better. And when the time is to wake up, the light may change to yellow or orange, so people can wake up naturally. It is really benefits for people’s health. To sum up, this FUTUREHUAS has already trumped most of the other normal houses. By visiting the FUTUREHUAS, I believe that people definitely can have a better life in the future.

The significant feature of the FutureHAUS is integrated technologies on the house, which can meet the various purpose of people. The integrated concept has altered conventional architecture because consumers can design houses by themselves using various functions of modules to assemble a complete structure. Furthermore, there are plenty of dashboards throughout the house. Additionally, they can recognize the user through voice and even height, and people can easily control applications autonomously by giving instructions to the system. The other essential function is that most furniture including toilet, shelf, sink, and mirror are adjustable height. With this strategic concept for a future house, it is convenient for tall and short persons. In addition, the water circulatory system in the bathroom can recycle clean wastewater and at a rate of 95%, which greatly reduces water consumption. Water shortage is going to be an impending problem in the future, so reusing clean wastewater becomes a popular topic. Moreover, the wall in FutureHAUS is removable, which uses automatic shifting devices. For this reason, people can adjust the size of the room. This type of design makes a home accommodate the needs of the homeowner and utilizes the most practical technologies to make living better and safer in the future.   

FutureHAUS is on display on the Drillfield.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Students are thinking pink during field trip to see Washington's cherry blossoms

Students and faculty from the Language and Culture Institute in Falls Church, Virginia, took a field trip recently to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Below, some of the students reflect on seeing the cherry blossom trees, the monuments, and other sights around D.C.

Omar Alghonian

What do you know about cherry blossom trees? last Monday my classmates and I went on a field trip to Washington, D.C. We visited The Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial and we saw the cherry blossom trees.

First, The Lincoln Memorial. It’s a big white building and inside is a 19-ft marble statue shaped as Abraham Lincoln. Second, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It’s statues of soldiers who died in service in Vietnam. And there’s a long black wall that has names of dead and missing soldiers. Last but not least, The Cherry Blossom trees. They are very beautiful and they are everywhere specially beside Martin Luther King, Jr’s Memorial.

Have you ever seen any of these places?

It’s very amazing to see new places and new things. So if you ever get to visit Washington, D.C., you should see these places.


Last Monday I went to Washington, D.C., to see the Cherry Blossom tree. It was an amazing trip. I enjoyed a lot. I take many pictures of the beautiful pink and white flowers. They are plumbing every year only one time in the spring. grow quickly, but they don't last very long. These flowers have an amazing story. In 1912, Japan sent 3000 from these trees to the U.S. as a gift to celebrates the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. Since that it's become a symbol for the spring in Washington, D.C. Every year there is a Cherry Blossom big festival in Washington, D.C. It's free and open to the public. Every year they welcome more than 1.5 million people to enjoy seeing the natural beauty, take pictures and enjoying the different activities there. I really like the place if you don't visit it before you must see it.

Alhumaid Abdulhamid

Have you ever visited the National Mall in Washington D.C at spring season? For the first time in my life I went there with my school. It was a really amazing experience, and I believe everyone enjoyed the trip even though the weather was quite windy. I have visited Washington many times, but that trip was the first time for me in spring and it was the best because I got to see many things that I have not seen before such as, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial.

The first station in our trip was to see Lincoln Memorial. As soon as we arrived there, we gathered in front of the Memorial to take a picture with our teachers, after that we explored the memorial for almost twenty minutes. The memorial was big and there was a huge statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting in a chair facing The Monument and there was an exhibit floor under the statue which has a lot of pictures talking about the American history and about the memorial. After we finished exploring Lincoln Memorial we head to our next station.

The second station was The Korean War Veterans Memorial, where we saw many soldiers’ statues that looked like they were in a middle of war. They were standing behind each other in a triangle position. Also, there were many curved pictures of soldiers in a big wall in front of the statues. We walked around the memorial and took pictures and read about the history of The Korean War Veterans. After almost fifteen minutes, we walked down to our next destination.

The third and last destination was Martin Luther King Memorial. It was located between the cherry blossom trees and facing The Tidal Basin. We took many pictures with our teachers with the statue of Martin Luther King and with the cherry blossom trees. This experience was extremely amazing even though the weather was cold. Finally, our trip ended, and we had the choice to stay at The National Mall or to go back to school with our teachers.

In conclusion, the trip was interesting we got to see the most attractive places such as the Statue of Abraham Lincoln, The Korean War Statues and the statue of Martin Luther King. All of those stations were awesome to see and explore. We really enjoyed every single thing in that trip from knowing about The American History to seeing the cherry blossom trees. I would like to thank all of our teachers and VT school for being with us and sharing all the information that they know about what we saw in the trip.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

LCI students see the big strides made by Virginia Tech robots

Students in the LCI's Reading and Writing 450 classes toured the Virginia Tech Terrestrial Robotics Engineering and Controls Lab in Goodwin Hall this week as a part of a unit on robotics.

The lab's director, Alexander Leonessa, introduced students to Darwin, Charlie, and Thor and explained the robots' applications. Thor, for example, was designed for the U.S. Navy to put out fires at sea.

Classes were also treated to a special trip to Ph.D. candidate Vinay Kamidi's robotic locomotion lab, where he is working on algorithms to provide a variety of locomotive gaits to two dog-like robots that may have future applications in search and rescue, in hazardous environments, and as electronic guide dogs. Students were able to see both "dogs" in motion.

Finally, the group was joined by Kaveh Hamed, who explained the potential uses of robotics in medical technology, such as in intelligent prosthesis and in exoskeletons for those with mobility impairments.

The LCI students will be using information the learned during the tour in upcoming research papers on the positive and negative aspects of artificial intelligence and robotics.