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Volume 10, Edition 3 November 2010

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Diwali Night '10

On the evening of Sunday, November 7, the first ever YUVA Indian cultural event at UNCG celebrated one of the most vibrant and spectacular festivals of India—Diwali, the festival of lights. Diwali is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India. It celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over Evil and his return from his fourteen years of exile in the Hindu tradition.

The celebration, hosted by the YUVA India Student’s Organization, was sponsored in part by the UNCG International Students Association (ISA), the result of a contest of international student organizations who submitted applications to receive a sponsorship from the ISA in order to promote diversity on campus. The other major sponsor of the event was Kronsys Technology Company.

The Diwali night featured various cultural performances, including traditional Indian dances, classical Indian music performances, a comedic skit, fashion show, and a famous Bollywood dance. Dr. Penelope Pynes was invited as the chief guest for the evening. “It was an honor and a treat to be chosen as the chief guest for Diwali night,” said Dr. Pynes. “The Yuva organization did a great job of showing the community the significance of the festival in an enjoyable and interactive way. I hope this will the first celebration of a long tradition.”

Many Indian students came out to take part in the festivities. One of IPC’s staff members, Kavita Gosai, is originally from India. She really enjoyed the Diwali night because, “It was the first time since I’ve been in the US that I really felt like it was Diwali,” she said. “Diwali night was a great celebration to bring together people in the Indian community and share it with others.” Kavita is from the Gujarat state of India and so she also celebrated the Gujarati New Year this weekend, though she missed the fireworks from home. IPC wishes Kavita and other Gujarati students, Saal Mubarak!

A student employee at IPC, Deepthi Kurapati, also took part in the Diwali festivities. Originally from the Andhra Pradesh state in India, Deepthi said that Diwali for her is about “meeting friends, which reminds me of my good old days in India. Life is so busy so it’s nice to take time to get together.” Deepthi also said that the Diwali tradition of lighting candles in the darkness “gives us hope that everything will be bright in the future.”

YUVA President Rahul Maram and the organization committee recognized Dr. Promod Pratap, the faculty advisor for their organization, and Michael Elliott, Director of International Students and Scholar Services, for his support.

To learn more about YUVA, click HERE to visit their website.

Faculty & Staff

IPC’s Tip for Community Building

On the last Friday of every month, the International Programs Center staff gets together for a community building exercise. Staff members from the Lloyd International Honors College and INTERLINK also participate. This month's community building included recognition of all staff who had a birthday in October, which included music, food and refreshments, and an informal social atmosphere where staff members had the opportunity to get to know each other.

The Halloween theme was complete with balloons, streamers, creepy spiders, skeletons, and pumpkin spice lattes. Everyone enjoyed the relaxed atmostphere and had a great time discussing Halloween plans, traditions, and costume ideas.

IPC Staff attend NCAIE Fall Professional Workshop by Kaitlin Ritchie

On October 8 several staff members from IPC traveled to Meredith College to attend the North Carolina Association of International Educators (NCAIE) Fall Professional Development Workshops.  As I recently joined the IPC team, this workshop was my first opportunity for professional development as the Incoming Exchange Coordinator. Other staff members who embraced their first professional workshop are Kavita Gosai, Rebecca Conley, and Techeeyaw Anderson. Tom Martinek, Jr., Lindsay Armistead, Logan Stanfield, and Christina Thompson also attended the workshop.

The workshops covered information on international exchange student and degree-seeking student non-immigration documents. By attending the J-1 Workshop, I was able to broaden my understanding of the international programs field and international exchange student requirements. This experience also opened up opportunities to meet and collaborate with other international education professionals from many college campuses across North Carolina. I thank IPC for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference!

International Students

My Adventure to Washington, D.C. by Caitlyn Affleck*

It was early morning on Saturday when fifty or so international students from across the world emerged from Phillips-Hawkins Residence Hall and boarded onto a bus. We were embarking on the second trip arranged for the fall break by the International Programs Centre (IPC). This particular trip’s destination was Washington D.C.

After a seven or so hour bus ride we arrived in Virginia and checked into the Holiday Inn. Room assignments were arranged in groups and this allowed us to really get to know people who we may have not have had the opportunity to.

That evening we all walked to Georgetown and ate at various trendy pubs and restaurants, strolled around the area and of course did the all essential shopping. Many were excited to see brands that we recognised from home such as H&M and Zara.

After all meeting back at the hotel later that night we were ready to see what the night life had to offer. Once again we followed our friendly I-Fellows down town. Although, after much walking it was decided that if you are under 21, Georgetown isn’t really the place to go! Nonetheless, we got our exercise that evening as we took in the old style streets and buildings. And the night ended sweetly when we stumbled across a delicious Haagen-Dazs ice cream store. It’s amazing that somehow it tastes even better at 2 in the morning!

*Caitlyn is an exchange student from the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australia, and is here for the fall semester.

UNCG students in nearly every major can study abroad at USQ. Set up a meeting with a study abroad advisor for more information!

After a nice sleep in, everyone was checked out of the hotel by 11 and on their way to explore what the city had to offer. Those who I was with caught the metro (something I had never heard of, let alone been on) to D.C. During the day we walked around the Mall with our cameras on standby and saw the White House, Washington Monument, Reflecting Pool, Jefferson memorial, Lincoln Memorial.... The list goes on. It was so interesting to see and be in the place where many influential moments have taken place.

By the end of the day everyone was exhausted. There were just so many things to do and see and so little time to do it! So here is my advice for future travellers: take very comfortable shoes as you will be doing a lot of walking!

After eating dinner in China Town we saw the Capital Building by night! This was very picturesque as the lights reflected off the pool. That evening we changed accommodation and stayed in a hostel close to the Mall. This was the first time I had ever had this experience and was happy to be sharing it with new friends.

On Monday, we spent a few hours in the International Spy Museum which was very informative and interactive. This was skipped by many students as it is a little pricy, but overall those who went believed it was worthwhile. We spent the rest of the day wandering around the Mall and had a picnic in the park and fed the squirrels. (This may seem like an unexciting fact, but coming from a country where these little animals don’t exist, I find them very adorable!) That afternoon we checked out the Library of Congress, the Natural History Museum and the Court House.

Even though we only had a little free time during the morning on Tuesday, we were fortunate to be staying next to where sets from Transformers 2 were being stored, so we checked out the trucks and took many photos (which made many friends at home pang with jealousy). After this, we all boarded the bus for our journey home. Overall, I had a really enjoyable time and would definitely recommend the trip to future exchange students!

Study Abroad Nominations

The International Programs Center would like to congratulate all the students who were selected to participate on an exchange program for the spring semester—Congratulations! After completing their applications, submitting all required documents to the Study Abroad & Exchange office, and undergoing a group interview with staff and faculty members, these students have truly earned their spot on the nominations list. These students also participated in an all-day Outgoing Orientation program either on Saturday, October 23 if they are going on a UNCG program or on Saturday, November 6 for UNC Exchange Programs.

UNCG students going to Japan group together for a Q&A with Japanese students

Special Programs

South African students visit UNCG from the University of the Free State

On Tuesday, October 5, the International Programs Center welcomed ten students from the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa who are part of a leadership program aimed at helping to promote diversity on their university campus. These students were hosted by Appalachian State University for 10 days before coming to UNCG:

Kamogelo Dithebe
Portia Lehasa
Pashy Matlala
Phumudzo Rammbwa
Elne Rix
Geoff Seale
Zine Steenkamp
Sibussio Tshabalala
Meye van Wyk
Reon Visser

Led by Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, Associate Vice Chancellor of International Education and Development at Appalachian State, the group began their day at UNCG by attending an African Art History class, taught by Dr. Elizabeth Perrill, Assistant Professor of Art History. In the class, our guests discussed various issues with the art students, such as the meanings, connotations, and some of the heated debates in Africa of words like “tribe” and “native.” They were very engaged with the class and had a lot of valuable and interesting information to share with the UNCG students. Everyone seemed to appreciate their participation in the discussion.

The group then went on to meet with a panel of students and staff who are involved with various support services and student groups on campus. The discussion was led by Denise Bellamy, Director of Study Abroad and Exchanges, and centered on student groups and organizations, how to create and operate these groups, reach out to students, and foster inclusiveness in the university community. The representatives on the panel were Michael Elliott, Director of International Student and Scholar Services; Dr. Mark Villacorta, Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs; Dr. Tara Green, Director of African American Studies; Harri Huusko, an international exchange student from Finland; Nicole Griffin, President of Youth Taking Charge; and Rahul Reddy Maram, President of the Indian Student Association.

With the South African students, the panel discussed the importance of student organizations on campus because they allow students to connect with people who share their experiences, provide them a safe space to be validated, and give them a place in the greater community. The students were particularly interested in how to recognize students’ unique identities within a group or organization without excluding others in the community.

The students then had lunch at UNCG’s Spartan Restaurant with the panel members and some students from Dr. Perrill’s class before making their way to downtown Greensboro to visit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, where they were given a guided tour. The Museum certainly had an impact on them and they shared their responses during a meeting with Mr. Bamidele Demerson, Executive Director of the museum. As a group, the students decided on one word for the museum exhibits: awesome. It certainly gave them a new perspective on the role Greensboro played in the Civil Rights movement. They were especially interested to learn that the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission is based on similar efforts in South Africa.

Overall, the day was a great success as the ten students from South Africa learned a lot about diversity and inclusiveness, and how to bring about change at their home university. They are an enthusiastic and energetic group, with many great ideas. The International Programs Center wishes them the best of luck and hopes their leadership and the knowledge they learned in the U.S. will bring about positive change for their future.  

Student Highlights

My experience on a Summer ISEP program to Savoie University in France by Lisa Lowe

When I returned to University last summer after thirty years, I had no idea I would find myself studying in Southern France as part of a Study Abroad program at UNCG.  Studying abroad opened my eyes to a greater sense of a world community. While UNCG has shown me great opportunities to learn about diversity on campus, nothing will compare to the appreciation I now have for humanity in general because of my experiences in Chambéry, France. Day to day living reveals many things in a foreign setting that one cannot learn through books alone, and there were several experiences I never would have pictured myself participating in (especially at 47 years old).

I never thought I would leap 12 meters off a cliff into a roaring rapid, never considered Salsa dancing, never thought I would discuss World War II with an elderly French veteran over coffee, never thought I would climb a mountain, never considered discussing the French perspective of ADHD with a French mother, never thought I'd be photographed for a French Newspaper during the Tour de France, never thought I’d live without an oven, and never thought I would be accepted so completely by so many young, fellow students. All this and more I experienced while developing my French language skills and building a strong appreciation of the French culture.

Studying abroad allows one the opportunity to observe and integrate habits and behaviors of the host culture. For me, I definitely integrated the concept of conservation.  Also, I learned how to be more efficient with my resources and my time. Walking everywhere and taking time out of the afternoon to relax in a park were two of the things I enjoyed most that I picked up from the French quotidienne. Just taking the time out of your day to pick up a random conversation with someone in the park or at the market adds so much to the experience.

I was also able to establish relationships with the people I came in contact with each day. On my way to school, a twenty-five minute walk up a mountain, I always passed the same merchants setting up for the day. After mustering the confidence to try and speak, I found they were more than willing to talk and to correct my French! Surprisingly for me, I learned they were as curious about America and our ways as we are of other cultures. I looked forward each day to seeing the “basket lady”, the bread baker, the retired couple tending their garden, and the older gentleman walking his dog. They made my experience that much richer.

So, would I recommend a Study Abroad program to other UNCG students? Absolutely. Study Abroad when you are young. It will open your eyes to a bigger world than our own here in the United States. As an Adult Student, STUDY ABROAD!!! You will learn so much about yourself, and so much is available to learn from your fellow younger students. The world is a bigger place than we older adults remember. When you`re young, the world seems so big. As an adult, it somehow shrinks into tiny compartments of "us and them." By studying abroad, you remember the world of your youth. It`s a great, big, beautiful place full of wonderful people and adventure! Even if you’re not studying a foreign language for a degree, consider studying abroad in your field of study. You may find that what your mind and your heart see are entirely different from what your eyes see. There’s no textbook that will ever teach you that difference.

Stateside and ISA to present at the NC International Student Leadership Conference

Two student groups from UNCG (with staff advisors from IPC) will present at the North Carolina Association for International Educators (NCAIE) International Leadership Conference on November 13-14, 2010. Stateside, a group for former study abroad/exchange students will attend and present, as well as representatives from the International Student Association (ISA).

The ISA will be sending several of their board members to this conference, including the president Blane Stanaland, Truc Trinh, Amanda Headley, Mary Hutchens and Stephen Qualls. They will give a presentation titled “Breaking Barriers: United Student Groups and Embracing Diversity”. Also attending the conference will be Yuva Indian Student Association president Maram Rahul Reddy and members OmPrakash Eleti and Vivek Sama

The primary purpose of the conference, which will be held this year at High Point University, is to promote cross-cultural exchanges and foster friendships between international students from various colleges and universities in North Carolina. The target audience for this conference is international students and also American students returning from a study abroad experience, planning a study abroad experience, or advocating for international students.

This conference is designed to enhance participant leadership skills, cultural understanding, and build social networks to sustain upon return to their respective institutions. The conference will include a service project and key note speaker Lori Timm with the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro. An international dance mixer will round out Saturday's activities.

(information drawn from the NCAIE website)

Visitors & Visiting Scholars

Visitors from Konstanz, Germany

From October 4-7, IPC along with the Conflict Studies & Dispute Resolution Program faculty welcomed two visitors from Universität Konstanz, Germany: Professor Wolfgang Seibel of the Department of Politics and Management, and Daniel Kirchner, coordinator of the Masters program in International Administration and Conflict Management at Konstanz. The two began their site visit at breakfast with Drs. Cathie Witty, Director of Conflict Studies & Dispute Resolution Program, and Cathryne Schmitz, followed by a meeting with UNCG’s Conflict Studies faculty, including Drs. Sherrill W. Hayes and Tom Matyók.

On the second day of their visit to Greensboro, IPC hosted our Konstanz visitors as they met with Denise Bellamy, Director of Study Abroad & Exchanges, and were taken on a campus tour by Logan Stanfield, Study Abroad Coordinator. After having lunch with Drs. Penelope Pynes and Jerry Pubantz, Dean of Lloyd International Honors College, Professors Seibel and Kirchner took a tour of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum with the Conflict Studies faculty.

The University of Konstanz is one of our state-to-state partners as part of the NC/ Baden-Württemberg program and this visit was a first step in developing collaborative efforts towards a dual degree program.


FAE Centro Universitario, Brazil

Gilberto de Oliveira Souza, Director of Graduate Programs at the FAE Centro Universitario in Curitiba, Brazil, visited UNCG on October 21 to meet with Bryan Business School faculty and International Programs Center staff in order to discuss 1-4 week summer programs in Curitiba, Brazil. This program expands upon the success of the MBA program to Curitiba last offered in fall 2008. He began by meeting with Dr. C.K. Kwai, Director of UNC Exchange Programs, followed by a meeting with Dr. Penelope Pynes.

Afterwards, Gilberto met with Bryan School faculty, including Drs. Don McCrickard, Joy Bhadury, Vidyaranya Gargeya, and Moses Acquaah to further discuss the details of a short term summer program to Curitiba, Brazil.

Visit from Ecole de Management de Normandie


On October 21-22, IPC welcomed Lucie Grieu, the Deputy Director of the Ecole de Management de Normandie in France. Lucie met with Tom Martinek, Jr., Assistant Director of Study Abroad and Exchanges, and Denise Bellamy, Director of Study Abroad and Exchanges. She also met Dr. Vidyaranya Gargeya, Director of the Bryan MBA Program.

Following lunch with Logan Stanfield, Study Abroad Coordinator, and Lindsay Armistead, Transfer Credit Advisor, Lindsay took Lucie on a tour of UNCG’s beautiful campus, bright and fresh with the changing colors of the leaves. In the afternoon, Kaitlin Ritchie, Incoming Exchange Coordinator, brought our guest to Friday Fest, where students from Germany and Belgium presented their countries. On Saturday, Lucie was able to attend the UNCG outgoing study abroad student orientation before heading off to her next destination.

Faculty Corner

Home Cooking with Dr. Jody Natalle

An international evening of cooking took place at the home of Dr. Jody Natalle, where students gathered to cook and get to know each other better. The menu included tapas, pasta al forno, and crepes salidou.  

Pictured left to right are: Kelsey Maher (studied in Estonia), Celia Scerbo (studied in Sweden), and French exchange students Anastasia Philippe and Sophie Laborieux.


INTERLINK Graduation Ceremony

The INTERLINK Language Center at UNCG recognized graduates at a formal ceremony on the evening of Thursday, October 14, at the College Park Baptist Church fellowship hall.

The graduates, who completed level five of the English-language program, were Ali Al Rebh (Saudi Arabia), Omar Doudou Salou (Niger), and Fatma Efil (Turkey). Other students were likewise recognized during the ceremony, specifically those who had achieved perfect attendance, those who were voted “hardest-working” by their peers, and those who would be leaving the program.

The formal ceremony was followed by an end-of-term celebration, which included a potluck dinner, music, and entertainment. The two hour event was almost entirely planned and executed by INTERLINK students under the supervision of their teachers.

The guest speaker was Dr. Penelope Pynes, Associate Provost for International Programs at UNCG, who congratulated students for daring to step out of their comfort zones and pursue study in a non-familiar cultural and linguistic setting.

Recent staff changes at INTERLINK

Dr. Brad Teague became Center Director at INTERLINK at the start of the Fall 2010 term. A recent graduate of a Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University who joined INTERLINK in July, Dr. Teague studied, taught, and lived in Mexico for several years prior to his five years in Nashville.

Dr. David Parsons has become INTERLINK's Executive Director, with responsibilities in faculty development and oversight, alumni relations, and recruitment at all of INTERLINK's centers. He plans to use UNCG as the home base for these activities since the UNCG language center has considerable growth potential.

Sarah Gulley recently joined the INTERLINK teaching staff after recent experience working in Lebanon. A graduate of UNCG (’02) and of the School for International Training in Vermont, Sarah participated in a UNCG study abroad program in Argentina and also taught in South Africa.

Upcoming events

For more events, visit the International Programs Center Events Calendar.


Nov 6                UNCEP Pre-Departure Orientation
Nov 15-19        International Education Week (IEW)
Nov 24-28        ISA New York City trip
Nov 24-26        Thanksgiving Holiday (classes dismissed)
Nov 25-26        Offices Closed (Thanksgiving Holiday)




Dec 3                 IPC Holiday Party                
Dec 3                 ISA Semi-Formal
Dec 6                 Last Day of Classes
Dec 8-15           Final Exams
Dec 16              Commencement
Dec 24-Jan 2   Winter Holiday (Offices Closed)

Pre-International Education Week Event: Reading Tolstoy

UNCG’s Russian Language Society is hosting a 24 hour cover-to-cover reading of Tolstoy's War and Peace on Friday-Saturday, November 12-13 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Tolstoy's death. This is part of the Russian department’s celebration of 40 years of Russian Studies at UNCG, which is sponsored in part by the International Programs Center’s Kohler fund. We will begin the reading at 1:00pm on the lawn in front of the EUC (near the Minerva statue) and will continue through the night in the parlor of the LIHC. We hope to conclude by early afternoon on Saturday.

We will be lining up volunteers to read during the event and we would like to invite you to participate! Shifts can be as short as a page or two! It will be loads of fun and a memorable experience! And YES...this can be done! We have done some research and we believe that all 1358 pages (600,000 plus words) can be read in about 24 hours!

Join us in celebrating International Education Week, November 15-19!

The International Programs Center is excited to announce UNCG's celebration of International Education Week (IEW), November 15-19, 2010. IEW is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education and is promoted all over the world. The IPC, in conjunction with other campus departments and organizations, has planned an engaging schedule of international and intercultural activities, one of the highlights being our Study Abroad Photo Contest, where the UNCG community can come out and vote for their favorite photos. Check our website for more information.

To test your global IQ in an online quiz, visit the Official IEW website.
Click here for more ideas about how to celebrate IEW!

Stateside presents a Film and Picnic!

Join international students and former study abroad students for a picnic and film! On Wednesday, December 1, 5:00-8:00pm in the Faculty Center, Stateside will sponsor a picnic for students, followed by a viewing of the French film starring Audrey Tautou, The Spanish Apartment, which tells the story of international exchange students sharing an apartment in Barcelona.

Previous editions:

Volume 10, Edition 2, October 2010

Volume 10, Edition 1, September 2010

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