Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Photos from the summer LCI picnic

Hunting for artistic treasure in Blacksburg

Instructor Cynthia Fields and her students took part recently in the Art Walk & Scavenger Hunt in downtown Blacksburg. In the scavenger hunt, participants had to answer questions about specific pieces of art in 15 gallery spaces.

Said student Ahmed Rabaan: "It was my first time to participate in a scavenger hunt. I have seen this activity on TV when I was a kid. ... I thought it was going to be just a game, but I learned a lot of new things. ...

"I noticed that Blacksburg is a place that loves art. In every shop you will find nice pieces of art. I have been in Blacksburg for a year, and I just learned that last weekend. In addition, we talked to some shop owners, and they gave us many valuable information about stuff that we can do around the town. This activity made me realize some stuff that I never thought about."

Rain Zhou also liked learning more about the town.

"We tried to find galleries in the downtown and use this experience to know more about Blacksburg. Through this activity, I looked at a lot of pictures and felt the charm of art. And what made me surprised is that although the downtown isn't a big area, there are still a lot of galleries. Maybe I can guess people living in Blacksburg like art very much."

If you want to take your own Art Walk, detailed brochures are available in downtown stores, the Virginia Tech Visitor's Center, and participating galleries.

The winning student received a Steppin' Out T-shirt.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

TOEFL Prep classes available in National Capital Region

The Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute has space available for people in the National Capital Region who want help preparing for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Starting July 22 and running through Aug. 28, the classes will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. at the institute’s new facility in the Merrifield neighborhood of Fairfax, Virginia. The location is just a block from the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station on the Orange Line. Get directions here.

The classes will include five hours per week of intensive classroom instruction and an hour per week of guided testing practice. Tuition is $639 and includes textbook, CD, and iTest interactive exam practice.

The TOEFL is the most widely respected English-language test in the world, recognized by more than 9,000 colleges, universities, and agencies in more than 130 countries.
Register now

For more information, or to register, call 703-205-2750 or email

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A visit to Smithfield Plantation

LCI student Ahmed Reda recounts a recent class field trip:

Yesterday we had an interesting and beneficial trip to the Smithfield Plantation, which was owned and managed by the Preston family through five generations before Virginia Tech managed it. The university took over the facility after the house had been turned into a chicken coop.

The house was built by William Preston, and he designed it to bring back people to the area of Southwest Virginia after an Indian massacre.

I learned about the plantation and the history of this area in Virginia. I learned some parts of American history, too. In addition, the tools and equipment in the house, especially in the kitchen, were my favorite parts of the trip.

Lastly, the weather was more than amazing.

(Photos provided by instructor Cynthia Fields.)