Monday, August 21, 2017


Virginia Tech is a dynamic and inclusive community that consists of students, scholars, faculty, staff, visitors, and neighbors from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. We recognize and value the diversity that is present within the Hokie Nation. We practice the Principles of Community as we appreciate differences and embrace the complexities of living in a multicultural, global society.

To members of the Virginia Tech community from countries throughout the world, know that we welcome your ideas and perspectives. We believe the collaboration of cultures brings forth greater creativity, innovation, understanding, and learning for everyone. Every student deserves to thrive, and a sense of belonging and wellbeing are crucial for academic, personal, and social success. We are dedicated to affirming our new community members, creating connections for them, and assuring an ongoing commitment to their development.

Welcome to Virginia Tech and to the Language and Culture Institute!

Photos from Virginia Tech's partnership with Shandong University

Xuhao, Siangtong, and Shubham work on a microphone array to record ultrasound from bats.
Our friend Liujun Zhang, at Shandong University, sent us some photos of Virginia Tech students working to unravel the intricacies of bats' remarkable sensing and flight skills.

The students are part of professor Rolf Mueller's lab at Shandong, part of a collaborative partnership between the two universities.

Andrew, Jonathan, Liujun, and Michael hike on Yellow Mountain in Anhui province.
"The VT students help us do experiments and analyze data," Liujun says. The students have had a busy summer but have found some time for activities such as hiking mountains in China.

See more photos in our Facebook gallery:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Are you ready to watch Monday's eclipse?

About 2:39 on Monday, Aug. 21, the shadow of the moon will cover the sun, and there will be an eclipse. In Blacksburg, the skies will darken (though it won't be pitch black) as about 90 percent of the sun is covered.

If you want to look at the eclipse, you MUST wear special glasses with special-purpose solar filters. Sunglasses are NOT good. If you look at the sun without special glasses, you can hurt your eyes forever. Special eclipse glasses may still be available at local retailers.

You can also get glasses provided by Virginia Tech Alumni Association, which is having a watch party from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday on the Holtzman Alumni Center Lawn. The party is free and open to the public, and pizza will be served. People are also encouraged to bring lunch.

Eclipse glasses will be given out by the Alumni Association.

Iraqi, Saudi governments honor LCI faculty

Language and Culture Institute Director Donald Back, second from right, receives a medal of appreciation from the Iraqi cultural attaché, Tahani Alsandook, second from left.
Adil Bentahar
Two Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute faculty members were recently honored by the governments of Iraq and Saudi Arabia for their efforts to help students from those countries.

The Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research awarded a medal of appreciation to Director Donald Back for his work building partnerships with Iraqi universities. Instructor Adil Bentahar, meanwhile, was recognized by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission for helping international students acclimate to studying here.

Read more about their honors at VT News.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Benefits of going outdoors with classmates and professors

An LCI student in Fairfax wrote the following essay after last week's (rainy) picnic adventure:

We are students at Virginia Tech, located in Virginia. The school administration agreed to organize a scientific and recreational trip by visiting Nottoway Park, located in Vienna. We were eager to learn about the beauty of this natural park. On the morning of Friday, July 28, we attended the park early, and each of us brought a small back bag. This bag contains some sandwiches, bottles of water and some other things that we need. This type of trip is not only for entertainment; it has many purposes, it is a very extensive activity. Such as strengthening interpersonal relationship, developing in skills, and identifying of different type of traditional foods.

Trips can assist to increase love and strengthen human relationships between students. In this context, trips may be an important way for establishing many new relationships. For example, I met my old friend who used to study with us in VT. I really missed her. And I was worried about my other friends if they can come because the weather was rainy. Moreover, I have learned many things about my friend May such as, her real name, I also realized that after three weeks of studying with her in one class she didn't know my name! That was so funny. This kind of picnic can make a significant change in student skills. For instance, increase self-confidence of the person, and develop in educational skills such as speaking and listening. For example, I think I have spoken with all students and professors without feeling of shame or worry to make some mistakes in speaking. That was a great experience.

It is always good to go out of doors. Going out of school can gain knowledge about traditional food from different countries. When the rain stopped Mr. Bratichko started preparing the lunch for us. Each of us brought something traditional. For example. I brought with me some dates, traditional sweet called camel’s eyes which has caramel inside, and Arabic coffee. And some of my friend brought drinks also the professors brought burgers and hot dogs so we could grill them. Others made sweets by themselves. This trip taught me that the traditional foods are almost the same but it has a different name. I was surprised that the camel’s eyes exists in Switzerland as Natalia side they have it in their country with the same taste and almost same shape.

A picnic is a beneficial change. It takes people away from boring days and routine, it produces effect to life. Life has not only existed for work, but it needs human balance, enjoyment. Trips can make some changes in people for example, strengthening relationships by talking with friends and know them very well, developing skills by listening carefully and catch a new vocabulary, and identify of different types of traditional foods. It is good to run away into the open air for a day when one has the time.        

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

LCI professor leads creativity seminar in Cuba

Monica Mulholland, a professor at the Language and Culture Institute in Fairfax, has returned from a week in Bayamo, Cuba, where she facilitated a seminar on creativity and multiple intelligences in collaboration with Ana Lado, a professor at Marymount University.

The video above features snapshots of the seminar, in which participants engaged in group work to debate, role-play, and use body language and art to express themselves in the target language.

Mulholland says it was a most rewarding and inspiring experience of intercultural exchange in the context of the “Escuelas de verano para educadores” (Summer School for teachers) carried out in several Cuban cities every year both in English and Spanish.

The workshop was attended by more than 30 enthusiastic English instructors and advanced students from the Granma province.

"It was my pleasure and honor to represent VT in Cuba," Mulholland says.