Friday, January 27, 2017

Meet two new Humphrey Fellowship staffers

The LCI is pleased to welcome two new employees who will help run this year's Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program.

Jon Dworin, a former instructor at the LCI, is returning as program coordinator. Sarah V. Liu will be a program aide.

Jon Dworin
For Dworin, it's deja vu all over again, he says. "It's great to be back at LCI, and I'm really excited to be serving in my new role with the Humphrey Fellows this year."

Dworin, his fiancee, Cathie, and their dog, Ama, moved to Blacksburg about five years ago. Before that, Dworin, who studied international relations and education and had been a middle school teacher in Maryland, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras and as a member of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps on the West Coast.

"I've been working on various entrepreneurial endeavors recently," Dworin says, "and I've developed a passion for community-building in low-impact development neighborhoods,"

In his spare time, he enjoys "all the natural beauty and adventure that the New River Valley has to offer." He also coaches a boys soccer team — "just for kicks."

Sarah V. Liu
Liu is a master's candidate in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, from which she also received her bachelor's degree.

She also volunteers 12 hours per week as an EMT with the Christiansburg Rescue Squad.

Liu, a second-generation immigrant, says her interest in working with the international community stems from living in the Residential Leadership Community during her freshman year as well as working in the former Office for Inclusion and Diversity, which exposed her to issues of social justice and diversity.

Outside of school, Liu's interests include weightlifting, roller-skating, cooking ethnic cuisines, traveling, and reading.

The Humphrey Fellowship program brings accomplished young and midcareer professionals from developing nations and emerging democracies to the U.S. for a year of professional ­development and related academic study.

The LCI provides the long-term English training program component of the Fellows' experience,

Monday, November 28, 2016

'Show me the money,' Fairfax students say

Students and faculty from the Language and Culture Institute in Fairfax recently toured the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which develops and produces U.S notes. During the tour, they saw millions of dollars being printed.

Below, some of the students share their thoughts about the field trip.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Students get their day in court

A group of LCI students and faculty members from the National Capital Region took a field trip recently to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Click below to read what some of the students had to say about their trip.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Students, staff saddle up and hit the trail

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.”
― William Shakespeare, Henry V
Lamya Almuhiza gets some advice. 
When students from the LCI visited Winterfrost Farm in Radford this month, they could certainly appreciate these words from Shakespeare regarding the horse by the time they had completed an hour trail ride.

It was the first time that Faisal Alhamdan, Abdulwahab Alzahrani, Ibrahim Hamdan, Junyuan Pang, and Dekai Yu had ridden a horse, but judging by the smiles on their faces, it will not be the last. Lamya Almuhiza is an experienced rider who went with the group.

Riding for the first time as an adult can be intimidating. A friend of Dekai Yu’s had warned him that people often fall from horses. Ibrahim Hamdan said he had no idea what to expect. Those thoughts may have been on the minds of other students as Sheila Palmer Miles, owner and operator of this horse rescue, greeted everyone with enthusiasm. She gave a brief lesson on mounting, guiding, and other tips to make the ride enjoyable and safe for both horse and rider. After students mounted up, they took a trial ride around the indoor arena before heading out on the trail.

Junyuan Pang on the trail.
The trail began in an open field with views of the surrounding mountains. Before heading into the woods, students faced an unusual obstacle in having to pass through a narrow gate with an overhead bar. The coolness of the woods rewarded all with its freshness. After meandering up and down hills, students were able to look out over the New River and see the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech on the other side. Faisal Alhamdan exclaimed, “Breathtaking!” when he recalled seeing the view.

As herd animals, horses like to stay together, so if a few fell behind, they moved into a quick trot to catch up. All of the LCI students, including first-time riders, were straight in the saddle as if they had been riding since childhood. As the group approached the barn on the final leg of the trail, everyone felt that the experience had ended too quickly. Students lingered a bit after dismounting to reward their horses with carrots. After bidding a reluctant farewell to horses and stable hands, the group headed back to Blacksburg.

Sondra Schreiber gets some tips.
With a few days to reflect on the experience of the trail ride, Ibrahim Hamdan stated that the ride was one of the best experiences he has had since he came to the LCI, and he looks forward to returning to Winterfrost Farm in the not too distant future. Abdulwahab Alzahrani was still smiling and enthusiastic about the opportunity for a trail ride. By the way, since Ibrahim, Abdulwahab and Faisal were in a group with the trail leaders, they have been affectionately named “The Three Amigos!”

A note about Winterfrost Farm: It is a horse rescue caring for abused horses that have been confiscated by Animal Control as well as horses whose owners can no longer afford to care for them or who no longer want them. Trail ride fees help provide feed, vaccinations, farrier work, and other needs of the horses. There are numerous volunteers who assist with the horses’ care and accompany riders on the trail. For more information, or to schedule a ride, check out their website.

The LCI group hits the trail.
Dekai Yu sits in the saddle as a volunteer checks the tightness of the girth.

Sheila Palmer Miles of Winterfrost Farm gives a demonstration. 

Ibrahim Hamdan

Abdulwahab Alzahrani

Faisal Alhamdan

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Students tour exhibit that shows Islamic world through women's eyes

LCI students tour the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Last week, students and faculty in Fairfax took a field trip to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. There, they saw an exhibition, "She Who Tells a Story."

This landmark exhibition of more than 80 photographs and a video installation challenges stereotypes surrounding the people, landscapes, and cultures of Iran and the Arab world. "She Who Tells a Story" refutes the conventional idea that Arab and Iranian women are oppressed or powerless, illuminating the fact that women are creating some of the most significant photographic work in the region today.

Their provocative works, most created within the past decade, include portraiture, documentary, and staged narratives. Many of the artists develop expansive series of images that create compelling narratives about feminine identity, war, occupation, and protest.

Below, read essays by two students on their reactions to the field trip.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Class welcomes special guests; student talks his way to the top

Guests included: (back row, from left) Jerry Sauter, Steve Bull, Bob Miller, Susan Miller, Pat Turner, (front row, from left) Ariel Hylton, Norma Bull, Erin Bull, and Bonnie Sumner.
The LCI's Advanced Studies Elective class in Blacksburg recently welcomed nine guests who were charged with evaluating students speaking to a prompt. Each student responded to five prompts with five different judges. All of the guests were former colleagues of instructors Bonnie Sumner and Pat Turner.

Says Bonnie: "The students seemed to enjoy the activity, and our guests were complimentary of the students they worked with."

A toast to the Toastmasters

In other news, students from LCI recently attended a Toastmasters meeting that convened in the annex.

Ibrahim Hamdan
Ibrahim Hamdan received first place for the Best Table Topic, an impromptu speech. Ibrahim's topic was to imagine he was a published author on a tour promoting a new book titled "The Body in the Kitchen."

Ibrahim adeptly took the topic from a murder mystery and segued to a commentary about how we seldom take time to notice all of the details around us in our daily lives.

In addition to winning first place in his category, he was the only person who did not have any "ah, um, you know, etc." in his speech. He was also the only LCI student to speak.

Congratulations, Ibrahim!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rihanna launches college scholarships for international students

By [1] - Rihanna, CC BY 2.0,
In a May 9 Instagram post, musician Rihanna announced the launch of a scholarship program to help citizens or natives of Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana, and Jamaica attend college in the United States.

Selected first-year students will receive between U.S. $5,000 and U.S. $50,000, with the ability to renew annually until the recipient has earned a bachelor's degree.

Read more at NPR.