Welcome to Belfast

Welcome to Belfast

Queen's University Belfast
Queen’s University main campus building

I have been living in Belfast for two weeks now, and I’ve been learning little by little how this city operates. Changing from a small campus like LVC and moving to a city-wide campus like Queen’s University of Belfast has been quite a change. With a large campus, I now have a fifteen minute walk to class, which means that I can’t wake up ten minutes before my class and still be early. Most of the time, it feels as if nothing has changed and I’m just going to class… until I walk outside and see century old buildings and double decker busses.

Belfast Gardens
The local Belfast Garden green house with the library in the background

Most of the time the it’s raining in Belfast, but on the rare occasion there is a little sun, and sometimes, like yesterday, even some snow. Out of all of the weather I’ve encountered, rain is my least favorite. I’m not much of a fan of snow, but I prefer Belfast snow to Belfast rain, simply because I’m not drenched from head to toe by the time I get to class. When they say it’s always raining in Belfast, they are not exaggerating. Belfast in the snow is beautiful though!All of the old buildings covered in a fresh layer of white. Belfast and most of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are not equipped for the snow and people mostly stay inside when it snows. The country does not have much salt for the snow and they do not have snow plows, so it’s hard for most people to navigate in the snow.

As for classes, I only have four classes, instead of five to six, and they meet less frequently, so I have a lot more free time on my hands. Classes only meet once a week for about two hours instead of two to three times a week for an hour.It will be nice when I finally venture out and explore more!


written by: Stefanie Davis

2017: A personal Reflection

2017: A personal Reflection

We can count only two days and the year is no longer 2017! But 2017, what a year ! It meant a lot to the person I am and yet to become. I feel compelled to provide the meaning of the year we are about to bid farewell from a personal level. 2017 had been the most unique year I ever faced in my entire life so far, it came with tremendous changes to the whole landscape of my life. I was forced to grow, to grow emotionally and intellectually . This growth was influenced by people, people who came in their different fashions in my life. I have a lot of people I can’t even start naming whose impact is nothing, but deserve my sincere appreciation.Hats off to you all!

I am eternally grateful to all those people who realized the potential in me when it was still vague to most people even to myself. Initially, some had no reason to associate with me but that could not stop them from coming into my life, I hope they continue infiltrating other people’s lives as they did to mine. I am a better person today than I were yesteryear or even yesterday. I have met some of the most amazing people with whom am humbled to be associated with, the  list of their names can be tedious. It is important to the self me to note that, at most instances during my 2017, with that great departure from the other of the world  to this other side of the world , changes and adjustments became inevitable which are are still occuring and will still take place .

Some amazing place , somewhere around the world is quietly watching me grow from somewhat a naive young man into a sound, responsible, informed  and wonderful man ready for the realities the world . 2017 had room for all this to culminate. I got exposed to the other side of the world, in biology this could be a different ecosystem that enables a creature to widen its foodweb . Like Apostle Paul in the Bible would question, “What shall we say  then” I will answer that as an expression of gratitude to Almighty God! The Lord has been merciful and good to me.Thank you Oh God!

It is in this year that I saw myself doing first snow sledding . My first trial on the sled board , I guess perhaps made cordination get off my body, I was just moving downhill with incoherent cordination, I could feel my lack of flexibility. I improved though with more trials.

I close my 2017 with some beautiful memories that I will take with me in my entire lifetime. These are memories made for myself.

I pray God provide a blessed  2018 to my family, relatives, friends ,beloved ones and myself!


My First Winter break is here!

My First Winter break is here!

The 14th of December marked the end of my first semester at LVC. It was an eventful semester indeed, and I wish to pen down a rough reflection of the entire semester. The last three weeks had not been funny though, finals were so much in sight and most of my classes had projects and presentations to be completed, and as I sit down to reflect today, I have a deep sense of satisfaction and relief that I saw myself through.

I must admit that in every sense, and virtually everyday of my entire semester, I saw myself attempting to acclimatize, of course it is an ongoing process. Nonetheless, I have grasped the very fundamental basics that I feel will see me thrive in my college career. I have tried to forge relationships with colleagues, faculty and staff here. Hats off to the Global Education Office, with Caitlin at the forefront, for the support, my transition could have never been better than this. I must admit that a lot and sometimes extra efforts were invested to make me, actually the entire group of my fellow International students feel welcome. There are struggles we go through as International students which are natural and inevitable, such struggles as food challenges and navigating social complexities, which with time would be overcomed. By now, most of us have developed a sense of belonging to the great LVC family. I am also glad, however, to note that I have not only gained insights in how to soundly manage my academics, but also across the diverse aspects of college life.

As usual, I have to make  updates of events after the previous blog, and this time I have two major updates. Thanksgiving holiday being the first, I got to go to New Jersey. New Jersey is where my roommate come from, as I said I one of the blogs, we have managed to establish a good relationship with my roommate, and hopefully, we are going to sustain it. As a result, his family invited me to their place over Thanksgiving Break. I spent five days in New Jersey, it had been a pleasure to learn the underlying traditions of Thanksgiving holiday with the Ford family. The exciting thing had been going down to the Atlantic Ocean, this is the beach, but I could not do any fun thing, no one can do this time of the year. It is cold.

As the norm, we have excursions every Saturday, and my last trip saw me in the heart of New York City, perhaps the best in the world. I thought it is massive and overwhelming. Life appears to be so fast in New York, it’s not surprising if one would not really want to spend their whole time living in there, I felt like it can be hard to contain the pressure of a busy life.

It seems like I do not miss anything from home, no I do, and with each passing day, the nostalgia grows. I must admit though, I barely had time during the semester to really spend hours thinking about things in Zimbabwe. This suggests that I haven’t been experiencing any chronic culture shocks, perhaps later or otherwise I will get away with it.

I had been receiving promises about a typical winter in PA literally from everyone I talked to, finally, it has just joined us and I am seeing it for myself. There is a definitely a  great departure from a usual  Zimbabwean winter, temperatures are extremely low. It snows! I had my first snow the weekend into my Finals, as if to mock me and bring finals. I was studying, but no way, and said wait, I have to spare some minutes to see exactly what’s happening. Having grown up in Zimbabwe , with subtropical climate, I had never experienced snow, the fist time was exciting ,to realize the other side of mother nature. Obviously, I have to offer my perspective, I think snow is amazing especially watching it from indoors but not it gets really cold just thought of freezing walking across the campus. I wonder if the temperatures would  better? It is unfortunate that  as of today I am yet to experiment with snow there hasn’t enough so far for slating, sledding, and the likes.

Just as I said in my very first blog, this is the campus that will watch me grow from a naive young man from the countryside of Zimbabwe into a complete and responsible citizen of the world, yes, I am gradually loosing the timidness of yesteryear. I haven’t learned a lot academically so far but I have started building a foundation of an enriched intellect.

I have tried to capture in words the entire semester, but before I put off my pen,  let me point out that it has also been interesting to me how most people have been finding it very captivting that I have found this campus all the way from Zimbabwe and I have had to answer on numerous occassions more or less of a question like ” How did you find or learn about LVC ?”  Maybe it was coincidence,serendipity, providence or rather a destiny or a fate, depends on the day I would always pick one of these words after a long explanation of how I developed an interest and started dreaming of ever getting an opportunity to join a robust US education, how US Embassy in Zimbabwe assisted me in navigating the processses associated with coming to the US for college and how finally LVC afforded the passionate me the opportunity.

Otherwise I am looking forward to Festive holidays, an I wish everyone wonderful Holidays!


Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving Break

November 30, 2017   Editor: Alex Wang   Year: Freshman  Major: IBS, CDS, GLB

Staying on campus over Thanksgiving break was different. The entire campus was quiet, which was not a bad thing, I was able to get a lot of work done without any distractions. The finals week is getting close, so I was glad that I had few days off to prepare for the upcoming tests.

I was invited to a Thanksgiving party; the Food was fantastic at the party. (I’ve attached few pictures to this post.)

The semester for me at LVC is about to end. I remember people asking me why I choose LVC; I wasn’t sure at the beginning of the year. After few month at LVC, I believe choosing LVC was a great decision.


Top 5 pictures of LVC

Top 5 pictures of LVC

These are the photos I took during my first 3 month at LVC.

LVC has an absolutely gorgeous campus. I am blessed to have chance to study here.

Here are the Top 5 pictures.

Path to the Sports Center.

UG Party


0430 in the afternoon.

0430 in the morning.


Student Worker Projects

Student Worker Projects

At LVC as a student worker, I was assigned to Raspberry Pi project earlier in the year. The plan is to get a Raspberry Pi video recording car moving. Putting the car together is easy. However, the programming part is somewhat confusing. I had to spend a lot of time on SSH commands and configurations.

Another the projects I’ve been working on is a 3d printing project. The goal of the project is to 3D print the entire school. Since no one has done it before, it is going to be quite challenging.

I have been given access to the Faculty Technology room that has an HP sprout system. It is the perfect system for designing and 3d printing projects. With that system, I can accomplish a lot of things that I usually can’t.

I am currently working with the school’s IT department as network support assistant. My job is to set up the internet (Ethernet port. Configuration, testing) for the new admissions building, and troubleshooting. I get to learn things such as tracking down people who violate the LVC internet policy and switch configuration. Also, I get to set up the server and install Windows system on a server.

Presenting at Global coffee hours

was a great experience. I get to do a presentation on my country and to answer various question about Chinese culture.
LVC provides us with a lot of opportunities to express ourselves. With the support of the faculties, I get to experience new things and develop new skills

Allwein Scholar

Allwein Scholar

 I am Mai Phan, an international student from Hanoi, Vietnam. I am majoring in Global Studies and Politics.

As I said in my previous blog, one of the reason that I choose LVC among twenty colleges that I applied to is  the generosity of the college. I am coming here as a Allwein recipient. John Bowman Allwein Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship that LVC offers for students. The scholarship not only covers for the student’s four undergraduate year, but also provides $2,500 stipend for each of four years for research, travel, or study expenses like studying abroad, collaborative research, internship, books. In addition, I have Dr. Jeff Robbins as my scholarship advisor.

First year of college, I used my stipend to study abroad in the Netherlands from mid-may to mid-june. It was a fantastic experience that I never forget. Besides accomplishing six credits from the multiculturalism and human rights class, I did travel to five different European countries. The trip has increased my knowledge about the world as well as people from other cultures.

Therefore, it is my honor to be an Allwein scholar. In the future, I will use the stipends to do some cool and constructive things!

Home is Where the Heart Is

Home is Where the Heart Is

It’s funny how traveling has opened my eyes and helped me realize what home truly is. I guess searching the world for adventures and experiences may lead you right back to where you began, which is okay. I left my home September 11th, 2017 to come to London. But what I didn’t realize was, I left my home to go to a new home. I have found home in Surbiton, a borough of London, but I still have a home in New Jersey and also a home in Annville, Pennsylvania. All three “homes” are actual places, but what my experiences have made me realize is that a home doesn’t just have to be a place, it can be anything. Home can be in a person, mine is where my relationship lies, or people, like my home in the arms of my parents.

While I always knew home “is where the heart is,” I never fully understood what that meant. But when I look at the underlying parallels of my homes, I realize home is much more than that. Home is the feeling of security, the feeling of unconditional love and acceptance. Home is the feeling of liberation and safety, where no one is judged or humiliated, just comforted. Home is the feeling of finally being able to take a breath and have your lungs completely fill with air, knowing your fears, even just momentarily, will dissipate. For me, wherever I have these feelings, that’s where my home is.

By this, traveling is an even more wonderful experience because I can find new homes all over the world. I have found a home in the Isle of Skye, I have found a home in Bath, and I have even found a home on the riverside, watching the sunset.  I can find “my home away from home” in a variety of cities or countries or situations or interactions which is a marvelous thing. While it’s easy to be homesick from one or various homes, it is important, especially for me, to remember I can still find a home wherever I am, and my previous homes are just patiently waiting for my return.

The campus

The campus

I am Mai Phan, from Hanoi, Vietnam. I am majoring in Global Studies and Politics, and currently a sophomore at Lebanon Valley College.

I just facetimed with my parents in Vietnam today. Normally when they call me, I’m always in my room but today I was in the library studying for the upcoming quiz. After showing them around the bookcases and study room, I did not forget about the view from the library window of the main campus. I know that I should not miss the chance to introduce them with the romantically beautiful and peaceful campus!

This is my second year in LVC but I never forget how amazed and excited I was when I first arrived on LVC campus. I instantly fell in love with the immense green grass, elegant color of flowers, every single tree, and especially Humanities building. It was the summertime when I first been here. Although summer here is not as hot as the summer in Vietnam, but the weather is perfect; it is warm and the sky is blue and clear. When students don’t have class, they are always hanging around, playing sports, and reading books. Compared to student life in Vietnam, this impresses me a lots because we spend most of out time staying indoor.

Then fall comes soon after several mid-term exams. Not sure why I always have the feeling that all the leaves suddenly turn to pumpkin orange after a night, maybe I focus too much on the exams that I ignore the change of nature. Even in Vietnam or in LVC, fall is the love season. It is the time of year when people fall in love with the nature, the weather, and with each other. In addition, people also celebrate Halloween during this time. Halloween decoration is everywhere around the campus. It is fun to laugh at myself when I freak out after seeing a witch puppet in a student apartment’s door.

Right now, just a few days after Halloween 2017, the weather is getting  colder. It is more challenging than ever to be on time for 8AM class. However, if I can make it, I really enjoy the feeling wake up early and walking to Mund for breakfast. It is the time when there is nobody in the campus to distract me. I just love the feeling the cold touching my cheeks, and walking on carpets made by leaves. Moreover, I remembered last year after winter break how magnificent is  the campus covering with snow. I can’t remember how many pictures I took with the pure whiteness of snow. The whole campus is like an elegant lady changing her orange costume to a charming white coat.

Last but not least, after winter is spring, probably the most rainy time in LVC. However, the blooming flowers all around campus extremely impressed me last year. All kinds of flowers including Japanese cherry and almond blossoms are racing to bloom after the cold winter. The whole campus changes its look 180 degrees from a lady to a lively girl. Also it is the time that I have to say goodbye to all of my friends to come back home for summer. Personally, spring to me is really beautiful but sad time of year. It is the time for me to wander around and sum up what I have done after a year in LVC.

When I come back to Vietnam, I think I will remember LVC as a palette with different colors. LVC has different looks every time in a year, but it is always home in America.

Mai Phan

“First Year Experience”

“First Year Experience”

I am currently a freshman at LVC. Since I’m an international student, it is a little difficult for me to understand all the application process, such as when to submit my medical history, and how to select medical care program.

I have received more than 20 very detailed emails during the summer, on how to prepare for the incoming freshman year and pre-departure instructions. From the introduction of the school to series of time management support.

LVC provides pick-up service for all international students.
Once we arrived, international affairs department provided us with temporary beddings, so we don’t have to worry about the night of departure.
We can purchase all the essentials we need from Walmart 2 days after the departure.
Culture shock presentation was effective. I lived in the US for four years, no one ever mentioned culture shock to me. As a result, I had to figure everything out myself. Personally, I believe that to be able to understand Culture Shock is one of the most important things for international students so that they can prevent depression or series of psychological issues.

LVC has provided me with a lot of support. From the beginning of this academic year, I was assigned a few peer mentors and faculty mentors. One of the faculty mentors was the Chief Information Officer of the school; he helped me get a job at the IT department as Network support assistant.

I am currently taking five classes, German 101, Crossing Borders, Microeconomics, Financial Statement Analysis, and a First-Year Experience class aka FYE. College can be challenging, especially the first few weeks of classes. Many students need some time to adapt to the new environment.
I struggled for few weeks. Luckily, I was able to get help from free peer tutors provided by the school.