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

Fall.

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.

Time is Flying!!

Time is Flying!!

It is surprising that we are in November already? It  just don’t cease  to appear like yesterday when I first stepped into the United States and this amazing campus, which is  fast turning to be my best second  home, and I am afraid with time it’s gonna be my favorite place! It is almost three months down the line since I have set for my college  career and so many experiences, events and things to tell are unfolding before my eyes, but I barely have time and space to tell it all!

Since my last blog post, academic pressure has been building up and I am  so absorbed into my books, keeping up with my Midterms, assignments, worksheets, quizzes,  discussions, and a lot more going on in my classes. Midterm grades were released some two weeks ago, it was kinda of a relief to see them and hear the faculty’s comments as I am trying to strike a balance with this great departure from familiar experiences. I am proud to note that it is working out. For my classes,  Analysis (MAS 111) is one of those class I owe much of my time and it challenges as such I am giving  much of my attention. This is the class that is  instructed by Professor Smith , and besides it being challenging,  after spending a couple of weeks in this class I realized Prof Smith had aroused in me an interest I had never harbored before, he has tapped in me  an interest to see and value using my mind effectively to interact with technical material like Mathematics. I did Math in High school and got best grades but I think it was on a more casual basis than it is now, it interests me to build enough logic and reason through stuff.  The American Dream, my First Year Experience(F Y E -06-01) class, has allowed me to explore issues surrounding family, education and technology in the American society,  and the articles and discussions we do are very engaging and exploratory. I can go on and on updating about my classes but time means everything here! But I have a Data class(CDS121), Financial Accounting(ACT151) and Introduction to Mathematical Thinking (MAS113), all I can say is I enjoy them all, and I find  so much value in them, I am allowing them to enrich my intellect. It is a pleasure to work with a very resourceful and supportive Faculty like ours here who have genuine interest for students to succeed. After all I still need to keep an eye on my social life and try to unplug myself from my academics for moments and experience diversity and places in the US.

The recent excursion from campus to Washington DC was incredible, I had awaited for it since the day I signed for it in the Redbook. The city is pretty! I really wanted to see the White House, thank goodness I did!! We visited a couple of Memorials and the Franklin D Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr are my favorite. I went to NorthWales near Philadelphia during the Fall break, it was awesome meeting a Zimbabwean family and eating sadza in two months had been exciting. I also went to Philadelphia Zoo, and I now have a long list  of animals I know as I added to the list  from Zimbabwe. Bob (my mentor) and his wife ,Deb, also invited me for dinner the Monday of Fall Break and cooking sadza with them was exciting. Not forgetting Halloween, it was so hilarious, I was in a Pirate costume, that won me the best costume prize. There are more experiences to talk about but space and time will always be our constraints!

JonnaLynn’s  visit to campus ,on September 27th, was a very humbling and thrilling experience for me.I owe her all due respect, her starting Almond Tree Scholarship Program is just beyond my comprehension, the impact is tremendous and I cannot capture in words my gratitude for this. I am eternally grateful, it has changed my life in a way I never imagined while growing up deep in the countryside of Zimbabwe. The Almond Tree Scholarship I hope will go forever. It was so humbling when she told me that all she can ever ask from me is that I do my best in my education and at least create opportunity for others in the future so that they can also achieve their own dreams.

I also wanted to say I am becoming familiar with my surroundings, I am now at least able to name a place in every direction from my campus. I am also coming face to face with new and sometimes strange perceptions ,values , beliefs, opinions and even phrases for example recently this phrase made my week “pain in the butt” . Lastly food remains the biggest challenge for me  as I am still very hesitant and avoiding many American  foods. But it suffices to say the journey started is very much promising!

 

 

Leadership at LVC

Leadership at LVC

I am involved in many different clubs here at LVC. My favorite ones are Soccer and Global Education Clubs. I am one of the founding members of Global Education Club. We started the Club in 2014 and currently, I am the president. In Global Education Club, besides socializing, we also learn about different cultures and religions from one another. It is easier to do so because of having a diverse membership, where many of us are from different cultural or religious background and many have done a study abroad. The main purpose of the club is to produce information for the LVC community about international experience and culture through innovative events. These events include cultural representations through food, music, art, personal experience, etc. These will help the individual to enhance the knowledge around LVC about culture and life outside of the American experience. Being in this club helps me to grow in understanding the viewpoint of other from their perspective, not only through talking but also through active engagement.

My favorite sport is soccer, I just simply love playing soccer. Playing soccer helps me to maintain my fitness. I made a lot of friends and everyone is friendly, which makes LVC feel like home. We celebrate this year Diwali Festival here at LVC. Though it was not a grand celebration, the food was very delicious and I also gave a presentation. I briefly talk about what is Diwali, why Hindu celebrate it, and what it meant to us. Overall, it was a great event. Involvement in Clubs and different events helps me to build and improve my leadership skills.