Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Video: Meet some of Virginia Tech's international students

Here are just a few reasons why the over 425 new international students felt that Virginia Tech was the best choice for them.

No matter your reason, know that you're in the right place and #YouAreWelcomeHere.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Photos: LCI welcomes 2nd cohort of Pakistani Fellows

The LCI hosted a welcome reception for our second cohort of remarkable Fellows from Pakistan.

They are participating in the six-week Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program for Pakistan.

See more photos on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

LCI welcomes CIS University Tour to campus

LCI Director Don Back welcomed participants from the Council of International Schools University Tour to campus on Monday evening with a picnic on Dietrick Lawn.

More than 30 representatives from schools around the world met with representatives from the Language and Culture Institute and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Among those participating in the (nearly rain-free) picnic were AdvantageVT Director Elsie Paredes, Associate Director Bryan Ducote, Interim IEP Director Pamela Smart-Smith, and Senior Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions Tyler Oxley.

On Tuesday, participants took part in a walking tour of campus and then held brief sessions at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Fairfax students take a trip to the money factory

Students and teachers from the LCI National Capital Region took a field trip recently to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. The BEP designs and prints billions of dollars in paper currency each year for delivery to the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank.

Below are essays written by several students, as well as photos from the trip.

Natalia Rodriguez

This was one of the most interesting places that I have visited in my life, because I could appreciate better how the money such as bills and are engraved, inked and printed.

We started to watch a video about the history of money, when the first engraving and printing was founded in 1862 just with six people. Then this company was growing with more people and it was totally formed in 1934. Since then the same company exists until now.

After we watched the video, the tourist guide showed us the steps how the bills are created and processed. The first step is they start to engrave the security marks on the bills and then they ink the bills with the colors green, yellow, black and blue. The second step is they print the bills with their denomination number, correlative serie and the year which it was created. This company changed the new design on the bills every seven or ten years. The people who design the new bills work in front of this company. Finally they package the bills in bricks. For example each brick has $80,000 in denomination of 20’s. In total the company produce from $900,000 to $1,200,000 per day.

One important data is the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Company has a customer that is The Federal Treasury Reserve (FTR). When the FTR receive the money it is distributed to all the national banks. 95% of all the produced money is exchanged for damaged money from the Federal Treasury Reserve, and just the 5% is placed in circulation, that it means “the national inflation” of The United States of America.

Victoria Cheng

This is my first time to see money printing out from machines. The tour guide said each type of notes will change their designs in 7 to 10 years. The water print designs are to make sure that notes are real. Those designs can not be easily reproduced. The paper used to print the notes is also special. Those trees are from the central of the United States. Moreover, notes are basically printed in green in the back and black in the front. Each notes print in different color. One dollar notes do not have special color. However, the rest of notes are printed in specific color. For example, ten dollar notes are printed with yellow and hundred notes are printed with blue.

Those machines used to print 1.5 billion dollars per day. Due to people who are changing their way to pay by credit card, now those machines reduce the amount to 900 million per day. The 95% of notes are used to replace the notes that are seriously damaged. The rest is used to keep the currency demand balancing. Before the notes are public to the market, the notes will check by machines to make sure the notes are correct. If there is an error, that note will be replaced with a special note whose number has a star. These notes for replacement are rare. If I get the note with a star, I will keep the note and do not use it. Meanwhile, I know there was a mistake happened. And this is what I have learned during the tour in Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

It is important to know how notes are being printed and how the government design notes to be protected. Also, I would like to know how people who work in Bureau feel because they company with million dollars. Even I just walked through in front of the window, I could smell the money.

Ayman Alhammad

Long time ago, money was important thing in our life. However, is not easy to have or to create it. Yesterday, I visited bureau of engraving and printing one of the effect place in global economy and take general idea about the dollar printing process.

Firstly, me and my friends take the metro from Dunng Louren to Smithsonian station that located on 14th St at DC, which the edifice at the there. It was old building.

Next, we walk up the stairs and it was surprised me that no unusual security pressure. After passed the check point. We sat at the lobby to watch a short film about the bureau.

After that, the guide women took us throw the corridors to explain how print money and how much the print every day. In addition the explanation was very deep and the questions that my friend asked our guide were smart.

In sum, I enjoy of the trip to bureau of engraving and printing. Absolutely it is a good place that any one will come to D.C have to visit. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Listen as Argentine students reflect on their time at Virginia Tech

Andy Morikawa, host of Trustees Without Borders and executive director emeritus of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley, talks with the visiting Argentine students about their time at Virginia Tech.

The students were part of the Friends of Fulbright Undergraduate Exchange Program hosted by the Language and Culture Institute this year.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Creating pathways to partnerships with Jordanian universities

Written by Patricia Parera

Patricia Parera, second from left, talks with the president of The Hashemite University in Jordan, Kamal Bani-Hani.
Virginia Tech was invited by the Eurasia Foundation (EF) to join a consortium of universities from the U.S. and Jordan. This consortium is being established under EF’s Creating Pathways to University Partnerships project with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Jordan. The project’s aim is to strengthen strategic and long-term institutional cooperation between U.S. and Jordanian universities and develop new mechanisms for bilateral cooperation that enhance the productivity and impact of university linkages.

Patricia Parera, associate director for partnerships at the Language and Culture Institute, was invited to participate in a mission to Jordan in March. She was accompanied by Venkataramana Sridhar, assistant professor of biological systems engineering in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering.

This visit marked a critical step in the formation of the network and helped to refine our priorities and strategic directions. In addition to research collaboration, we highlighted the need for joint capacity building and professional training to enhance the skills of faculty and staff to deepen and sustain international cooperation through collective action. We also acknowledged the need to diversify partnerships with key stakeholders in the community to elevate the visibility and impact of our work. We identified several concrete activities to advance these priorities as we continue to seek out opportunities for larger-scale funding and resources. 

In the pictures is our visit to one of the universities in the program. The Hashemite University (HU) is named after the Jordanian royal family — the Hashemites — and was established by a royal decree in June 1991. Over the past 20 years, HU has expanded its academic and research profile to reach 13 faculties and one institute with more than 225 laboratory in different colleges, all equipped with the latest technological equipment. Even more impressive is the university's increase in the number of admitted students, which has exceeds 26,000 students enrolled in 53 undergraduate programs and 27 master's programs at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.

HU’s comprehensive strategy for environmental management is directed toward a green campus and mitigating climate change. The university's environmental sustainability strategy is currently the leader in Jordan public- and private-sectors' institutions (especially in photovoltaics), and is one of the leaders in the region, with many of its expertise being transferred to several projects in Jordan and in the region.

Some of the areas for possible collaboration with Virginia Tech include renewable energy, arid lands, public health and nursing, and capacity building. HU’s focus on its students as ambassadors of change who can carry the message of environmental social responsibility in their careers and future jobs is very much aligned with Virginia Tech's motto, Ut Prosim, as a way of life and Virginia Tech's Destination Areas.
Sukaina Al-Zyoud, HU's dean of academic development and international outreach, who visited Virginia Tech in March as part of the State Department’s International Visitors’ Leadership Program, was our main host. She is a force behind the university internationalization effort. 

The Jordanian universities would be excellent partners for Virginia Tech and for the broader Consortium of universities. Initially, the Consortium has identified the following main research clusters:

  1. Water and natural resources.
  2. Infectious diseases and public health.
  3. Refugees.
  4. Food security.
  5. Education and market linkages.  
It is important to note that gender is a key constraint to achieving shared prosperity in Jordan. Gender disparities underlie a variety of issues, including poverty, inequality, and labor market dynamics. The U.S.-Jordan university consortium will strive to mainstream gender in its initiatives and propose solutions on key obstacles to women’s agency. In addition, a youth crosscutting theme will be incorporated in the consortium strategy. This could take the form of piloting a youth project; conduct analytical work on youth to inform policy dialogue, and foster youth inclusion.

Finally, we will continue to explore opportunities through Fulbright and other U.S. government programs to keep abreast of opening competitions in support of public diplomacy and leadership programs. The United States has few allies in the region, and Jordan is an island surrounded by many hostile nations to the U.S. in the region. Therefore, any effort that can promote broad-based engagement in research, professional and graduate training will go a long way.

Proposed initial collaboration with Virginia Tech and/or through the consortium of universities:

  1. Supporting strategic research and partnerships.  The University of Jordan’s Water, Energy & Environment Center (WEEC/UJ) and VT’s Center for International Research, Education, and Development (CIRED) are interested in research aiming at improving the livelihoods and raise standards of living in developing countries (i.e. refugees’ issues) in connection with water, energy, and food nexus.  WEEC/JU is interested in VT’s in the Graduate Certificate in Natural Resources (GCNR) offered by the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS). Such certificate program for students and professional seeking graduate-level education and training in environmental and natural resource management is of utmost importance for Jordan.  WEEC/UJ would like to participate in any executive training (certificate programs) to be offered to government policy and decision makers, NGO's officers and private sectors executives.
  2. Helping Jordan cope with the impact of refugee inflows.  According to a recently concluded census, the total number of Syrians refugees in Jordan has reached about 1.3 million, representing 19 percent of the population.   Twenty five percent of the Syrian youth [between 18 and 24 years old] were in higher education when the war started . We are eager to support the displaced and their host communities, working in complementary ways with the Consortium partners by conducting research that would contribute to Jordan’s development agenda.  There is an opportunity through research and eventually investment projects to design a multi-faceted response, helping Jordan cope with the impact of refugee inflows on its economic and social fabric and turning this shock into a development opportunity.  The Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) multi-disciplinary and multi-agency project on international refugee research  could be an ideal resource for this research cluster.    
  3. Train Jordanian faculty in data techniques, program evaluation, and randomized control trails. VT is in a position to organize short courses on these topics in Washington DC, by webinars or in country in partnership with the Department of Economics (Pamplin) and facilitated by the LCI.
  4. Equipping Jordanian youth and refugees with vocational skills is important for both economic and security reasons. The Department of Statistics of Jordan reports that 51 percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed in 2016.  In addition, women are over represented in higher education institutions, but underrepresented in the labor market.  Al-Hussein Bin Talal University (HTU) occupies a unique niche in Jordan’s higher education market – one that aligns the skills they teach with tangible employment opportunities in a more direct way than other institutions.  HTU pursues this goal by integrating employers, in the form of large corporations, into the fabric of the school and tailoring educational paths – from the two-year technical certification to an associate’s degree to a four-year bachelor’s degree. A partnership between HTU and VT’s TVET and positive youth development program designed and implemented by Virginia Tech’s Center for International Research, Development and Education (CIRED) could serve both Jordanian and refugees youth.  

Video: Creative Minds in the Grammar Class

Students in professor Monica Mulholland's Grammar, Listening, & Speaking 450 class in Fairfax showed off their work last term in this video: