Hi! I’m Eliška and I’m from Czech Republic! I am a freshman at UI and I am studying Exercise Science and Health with an emphasis on Pre-Physical Therapy. This Spring Break I went on an Alternative Service Break (ASB) trip to Boise, Idaho. ASB is a program that allows students to come together to help communities across the United States and Internationally. In Boise, my group of 8, which also included international students from the Philippines, Vietnam, and China, volunteered at the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, a homeless shelter with three different sites in the city. We helped out in the garden, sorted through a number of donations, cleaned out an entire kitchen and pantry, served food in the cafeteria, built can castles on tv, and had the opportunity to talk to some of the homeless and hear their life stories. Also, my group was lucky enough to have an outdoor component to our trip at the end of the week. We were able to rent out gear from the outdoor program and go on a backpacking and camping trip. We stopped by a hot spring and enjoyed a natural hot tub which is something I had never done before. Then we hiked the River Rapids trail with our tents, sleeping bags, stoves, clothes, and everything else on our backs until we found a camp site where we stayed the night. The entire week was an awesome experience with really great people. I would definitely do it all again and I encourage all international students to go an ASB trip in the future!
Just two weeks ago, International Programs wrapped up a spectacular weekend in McCall for Winter Carnival. With a frozen lake to run around on, a Vandal hockey game, skiing, tubing, and fireworks, it sure was a fun-filled weekend. Even though some had never tried or skiing or snowboarding before, with the lessons they were given, they were able to hit the slopes on their own in no time! We hope the 60 students who attended had an amazing time! We can’t wait for next year!
Last week on February 12, 2015, we had another successful friendship families reception in which many new students met their families for the first time. It was an exciting night filled with great food, culturally unique performances, and lots of wonderful conversation.
Our friendship families program is a great way for students to get connected with community members and for local families to get to know about a different culture. Our students and families meet at least once a month to hang out, enjoy a meal, or participate in one of the many activities the Palouse has to offer.
We still have several students who have not been matched with a family but eagerly want one. If you are interested in being a friendship family, contact Elitza Kotzeva at Elitzak@uidaho.edu.
Here is a picture of Shao Duoli performing a traditional Chinese Folkdance.
I made most of my close friends through the Diversity Scholars program. We had a freshman/first-year seminar course that we all had to take for our scholarship program. During this course, we explored the different resources offered by the university, study skills, and socialized with the diversity scholars. I found this course beneficial as I made some of my closest friends in this course.
We also had a PACE Mentor program that essentially paired a first year students with an upperclassmen who would be a mentor for the entirety of the first year. Mentors and mentees were to meet at least once- two times per month, the meetings could consist of any activity that could build a bond between the two. Examples of meetings: play cards together, go to the gym, go to a school event, etc. My mentor and I had a nail polish social where we met up and painted our nails!
We had PACE socials as well, to name a few we had a chocolate tasting social, dodgeball social, movie night social, and a BBQ social. These socials gathered all mentors and mentees! My favorite was the chocolate tasting- of course- because I loved hearing the history of chocolate and tasting it afterwards.
After the chocolate tasting social, a group of us went back to the dorms and just had a night of happy conversation! This is a picture of how hyper we were after all the sugar we had!
It’s that time of the year again! The snow has fallen, winter coats and boots have been taken out of the back of the closet and we greet the winter with frosted noses and hot chocolate in mugs. With the holiday break only a couple weeks away, everyone is getting ready to take on finals and head home for the Holiday Break.
Walking around town during the nighttime, there is a certain energy in the air- a cheerful one! This is the time of the year where being thankful, giving, receiving and reflecting back on an incredible year are in the mix of snowflakes falling. Campus is adorned with festive lights and décor- the Commons looks like the scene from Harry Potter where the snow falls, but never quite makes it to the ground (nerd-alert!) and the Christmas tree has been put out to greet Santa Clause for holiday pictures. Last year my roommate and I decided to make it an annual thing to take picture with Santa- of course, it is themed! Last year was eskimo hats- I can’t wait to see what we come up with this year!
Living on campus is definitely one of my best experiences at the University of Idaho. I spent one year living in the Wallace Residence Center, and I got a chance to make a lot of different friends from different nationalities. The activities that we had in the residence hall are unforgettable memories in my college life. The ski trip we went as a group, the thanksgiving dinner that served by Bob’s and the Halloween party we had in the hall are all really memorable. I also created solid friendships with people in my hall, and I believe that is the most valuable thing that I got from my one year dorm life.
In my second year, I decided to rush for the fraternities on campus, and I believe that is the best decision I ever made. I became a member of Theta Chi fraternity and started the real “American college experience”. We do camp out pretty often, and also organize lots of different events and community services on campus. Surrounded by 46 brothers who have different goals but the same values. I feel that I’m so lucky to become a member of this big family. Fraternity life is the best, I call it the home on the other side of the earth.
Last Thursday, we had another International Conversation Table night at One World Café and like always, it was a blast! Over the weeks, I have seen huge progress in the students that come to practice their English, and it’s always awesome to make new friends. This week, we had an awesome group of people, students from Brazil, Iran, Kuwait, Spain, and even Venezuela as well!
Remember, you are always welcome to come join us at One World Café every Thursday from 7-9 p.m. Come make new friends and help others practice English in the process…a total win-win! For more information, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org