Holidays in April and How You Can Get Involved

We hope that you have been enjoying your courses and life so far at UW and in Seattle. As you are more introduced to American cultures during your study at UW, we want to introduce some April holidays and tell you how you can get involved!

1. EASTER

Date: Sunday, April 16, 2017.

WHAT IS IT? Easter starts as a Christian holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It is also now celebrated around the world to welcome the spring. The celebration always involves different activities with Easter bunny, Easter eggs, and other Springtime creatures and themes.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED?

  • “Beat the Bunny 5K Run & Walk” with your friends on Saturday, April 8th, 10am at Redmond Central Connector Park. Adults who are 15 or older need to pay $20
  • “2017 Bunny Party” on Saturday, April 8th, 11am to 6pm at Ugly Baby and La Ru (1430 Western Ave, Seattle). This is an egg hunt activity down Western Avenue. You can participate in sidewalk art, color pages, and pet bunnies. Cost: $5 to $10.easter-e1427190346683

2. EARTH DAY

Date: Saturday, April 22, 2017

WHAT IS IT? Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. In 1968, Morton Hilbert and the U.S. Public Health Services organized an environmental conference for students to hear from scientists about the effects of environmental degradation on human health. This was the beginning of Earth Day.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED? 

  • “RainWise 101 Workshop” on April 17, 2017 at 6-7:30pm at Montlake Library, 2401 24th Ave E, Seattle WA 98112. At this free workshop, you will learn about applying for a rebate from Seattle Public Utilities and King County for up to 100 percent of the cost of your rain garden or cistern.
  • “Wild and Scenic Film Festival” on April 20, 2017 at 5:30pm at 511 Queen Anne Ave N, Seattle, WA. You can enjoy multiple film sessions, happy hour, and a drawing activity at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, featuring environmental and adventure films (Cost is $30). 
  • You can find more interesting activities here

3. ARBOR DAY

Date: Friday, April 28, 2017

WHAT IS IT? Arbor Day is a holiday in which people are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Lots of countries around the world are celebrating this holiday to educate about the importance of trees.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED 

  • Plant a tree!!! You can go on Seattle.gov for instructions on how to start planting a tree.

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Besides these well-known April holidays, there are some “weird” and interesting holidays.

4. National Siblings Day 

Date: Monday, April 10, 2017

WHAT IS IT? It is a holiday recognized annually in some parts of the United States to honor the relationship of siblings.

5. Blah Blah Blah Day 

Date: Monday, April 17, 2017

WHAT IS IT? It is a day to do all the things everyone has been nagging you about!

For the complete April holiday calendar, check it out here. This calendar also includes some holidays in other countries.

Cover Photo: Credit to Dennis Wise.

April Events You Don’t Want to Miss

As a student living in Seattle, you never want to miss the most beautiful season of the year: the spring. You can go hiking in the national park, see the cherry blossoms on campus, and have a picnic with your friends at Gas Works Park. In addition, there are lots of interesting events and activities happening around Seattle in April with thousands of people participating. Let’s see what is happening in April and be part of the community!

1. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Time: April 1-30, 2017

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival was inaugurated in 1984 by the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce to attract more visitors to see the tulips in Skagit Valley. Today, the festival is composed of a variety of fun events including art shows, gala celebrations, concerts, tours of local shellfish, and cheese operations etc. Two major events during this period are Downtown Mount Vermon Street Fair and the Kiwainis Salmon Barbecue.  The tulips will bloom depending on their own schedule during the festival. Don’t worry if you can’t make it on the weekend when the tulips started blooming!

 

2. Seattle Restaurant Week

Time: April 2-6 and 9-13, 2017

Seattle Restaurant Week is a ten-day celebration of food in King County that always takes place in April and October. The dining celebration features over 165 restaurants in King County. All the participating restaurants will offer a three-course dinner for $32 (some restaurants even offer $18 deal) with an appetizer, entrée, and dessert with at least three options under each course. It is absolutely a great opportunity to have some awesome Seattle food!

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Seattle Restaurant Week, The Seattle Times

 

3. National Park Week

Time: April 15-16, and 22-23, 2017

National Park Week is America’s largest celebration of national heritage. As you have read from our previous posts, Washington State has lots of resources of national parks. So why don’t you take the advantage of the resources you have, discover and make connections with the nature? During these days, all National Park Services that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. The fee waiver will include entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees.

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Credit to Pinterest

 

4. Seattle Cheery Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival

Time: April 21-23, 2017

The Festival first started when Japan’s former Prime Minister, Takeo Miki, sent 1,000 cherry trees to Seattle on May 8, 1976 in commemoration of the long friendship between people of Japan and Washing State. The Festival is free with beautiful sakura, cherry tree, and traditional Japanese music and dances.

 

5. National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) 

Time: April 27-30, 2017

NFFTY is the world’s largest film festival for emerging directors. It is the premier showcase for young directors who are 24 and younger from all over the world to express their voices and their understanding of the world. The festival includes film screenings, filmmaking workshops, panels, concerts, and a gala opening night.

 

There are lots of events going on our campus as well. Make sure to check out our Campus Calendar regularly to keep updated about what is going on in our school! Go Huskies!

A Guide to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula

by Molly FitzMorris, IELP Student Coordinator

 

Did you know that there’s a huge beautiful rainforest just a few hours from Seattle?  The Olympic Peninsula, just west of the Puget Sound, is home to Olympic National Park and the Olympic Mountains.  It is also home to emerald moss-covered trees, rivers, lakes, and stunning waterfalls.  The Olympic Peninsula is one of my favorite places on Earth, and a spring weekend is the perfect time for a visit.  Below I’ll give you some tips and places to see should you decide to go.

 

My must-see spots on the Olympic Peninsula:

Below are my absolute favorite places on the Olympic Peninsula.  If you plan carefully and spend one night in a town like Sequim or Port Angeles, you can leave Seattle Saturday morning, see all five spots below, and be back in Seattle Sunday night!

 

  1. Lake Crescent

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East Beach, Lake Crescent, March 2017, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

Lake Crescent is a glacial lake, near the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula.  When the water is still, it reflects the mountains that surround it.  If the weather is warm, you can swim or rent a boat to explore the lake, and on cooler days, you can hike nearby.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.

 

  1. Hurricane Ridge

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Hurricane Ridge, photo courtesy of the National Park Service

 

Hurricane Ridge is nestled in the Olympic Mountain range.  You can drive about 17 miles from the town of Port Angeles up into the mountains to find the view pictured above (on a clear day, anyway).  You can look at the Hurricane Ridge webcam to see if the mountains are visible before driving up.  Be aware that you’ll need to pay to access Hurricane Ridge ($25 for a one-week pass, or $50 for a pass good for one year), and you’ll need to carry tire chains in your car if the road is snowy.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.

 

  1. Cape Flattery

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Cape Flattery, February 2017, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point in the 48 contiguous United States.  When visiting Cape Flattery, you can take a short, easy hike through a beautiful forest to several lookouts like the one shown above.  (I also highly recommend the nearby Makah Cultural and Research Center, a museum created by and about a local Native American tribe.  You can find more information about that here.)

 

 

  1. Lake Ozette

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Cape Alava and Tskawahyah Island, near Lake Ozette, February 2016, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

While Lake Ozette is undoubtedly beautiful, what I enjoyed most about this area was the Ozette Triangle Trail.  This hike takes you a few miles, from Lake Ozette through a stunning rainforest to a gorgeous Pacific Ocean beach.  Once you reach the beach, you can see Tskawahyah Island, pictured above, and some magnificent ocean stacks.  Check out the Washington Trails Association’s website for more information about this hike.

 

 

  1. Sol Duc Falls

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Sol Duc Falls, October 2014, photographed by Molly FitzMorris

 

Sol Duc Falls is one of my favorite waterfall hikes, and it’s not far from Lake Crescent!  You can drive a few miles from Highway 101 down Sol Duc Road to the trailhead.  From there, it’s a short and easy hike to the waterfall.  Unlike a lot of waterfall hikes, this hike takes you across the Sol Duc River, so you can view the waterfall from above, instead of from below.  Check out the National Park Service’s website for more information.

 

Other great spots:

  • Marymere Falls (info)

  • Hoh Rainforest (info)

  • Dungeness Spit (info)

  • Ruby Beach (info)

 

Be sure to check out all the relevant websites before going to the spots listed above, as sometimes roads can be unexpectedly closed or there might be a fee for parking or to visit certain spots.  Also, don’t forget to pack a rain jacket with a hood and comfortable waterproof shoes; it is usually very wet and rainy on the Peninsula!  Enjoy your trip to this nearby paradise, and take lots of pictures!

Top 5 Spring Break Activities

Spring break is coming! Time to pack your suitcase and go on a short journey with your friends around Seattle!

Don’t know where to go? No worries. We have listed top 5 spring break activities for you. Let’s check them out!

1. Visit one of Washington’s three National Parks!  

Washington State is well known for its three beautiful national parks: Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. You can go boating, fishing, camping, hiking, tidepooling, climbing, and see various wild animals in these parks. If you are a wilderness explorer, definitely check it out!

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Olympic National Park, Credit to RootsRated, Marmot

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North Cascades National Park, PHOTOGRAPH BY GREG VAUGHN, National Geographic 

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Mount Rainier National Park

2. Visit San Juan Island! 

San Juan Island is the second-largest and most populous island of the San Juan Islands. Originally served as the seasonal fishing island by Native Americans and local people, San Juan Island is now a popular tourist site. People usually visit San Juan Island for whale watching, kayaking, cycling, fishing, hiking, and enjoying local seafood.

3. Take the ferry to Victoria, British Columbia!

Victoria is internationally renowned as the “City of Gardens”. It is also the capital city of British Columbia in Canada. You can find heritage architecture, outdoor adventures, beautiful gardens, and local seasonal events in Victoria. And it is very convenient to take the 2.5-3 hour ferry between downtown Seattle and Victoria’s Inner Harbor.

4. Take a train down to Portland or up to Vancouver

If you can’t drive to Portland or Vancouver, it is a great idea to take the train: Amtrak Cascades. Amtrak Cascades connects Vancouver, British Columbia, Seattle, Portland and Eugene, Oregon. You can also see Mount St. Helens and the Columbia River Gorge during your trip. You will get a chance to see some of the best city views and natural attractions on your way.

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Amtrak Cascades, Credit to Dealmoon

5. Have some fun in Leavenworth!

Leavenworth is a city in Chelan County, WA. The entire town center is modeled on a Bavarian village. It is a good place to relax and enjoy some local food.

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Leavenworth, Credit to Pinterest

Have fun during spring break!

You are Welcome Here!

We welcomed almost 70 students to the IELP for Winter quarter. If there is a new student in your class, please give her or him a nice, warm welcome to Seattle.  We went high tech this quarter for the  Strategies for Success workshop at new student orientation. Students answered questions with text messages. These messages appeared live on-screen, so we learned a lot about each other.  I wanted to share the responses with everyone.  So here they are!

What are my goals?

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What do I want to try in Seattle?

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What am I good at?

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What questions do I have about classes?

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Tours in Seattle

In Seattle there are many ways to experience the rich culture and history behind many of our neighborhoods and sites. One way to do this is by tours. Tours are a fun way to learn more about a city, visit place you may have never noticed before, and have an opportunity to ask questions!

Below are some fun tours in Seattle, click on the title to learn more!

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Pike Place Market

Seattle Free Walking Tours

Tours in large cities like Seattle can be very expensive. Seattle Free Walking Tours does not charge a fee and a tip, instead they ask you to “pay what you feel”. This means that you can pay as little or as much as you’d like.

This company offers two tours:

  1. Market Experience Tour
  2. Seattle 101

The Market Tour focuses on Pike Place Market while Seattle 101 focuses on downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, and the waterfront. The Market Tour is a little over an hour long, and the Seattle 101 tour is about 2 hours long.

Washington Arboretum Tours

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IELP students on a tour at the arboretum

On Sundays at 1PM you can stop by the Graham Visitors Center to go on a tour at the Washington Arboretum! You can learn about plants, ask questions, and enjoy the park!

On the first Thursday of the month you can stop by the Graham Visitors Center at 11AM to go on a Tram Tour! However you do need to register online.

Both of these tours are free. See here to learn more!

Click here to read about when IELP students when to the arboretum!

Olympic Sculpture Park Tour

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The Olympic Sculpture Park

The Olympic Sculpture Park, an outdoor exhibit, is a great place to enjoy the weather and see some cool sculptures! The tour lasts about an hour and you can learn all about the history, landscape, and of course, the sculptures themselves!

Check out the calendar here for more specific dates and times!

Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

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IELP students and volunteers enjoying the free samples at Theo Chocolate

You can take a peek inside the factory of Seattle’s very own chocolate maker: Theo Chocolate! A typical tour is $10 per person, lasts about an hour, and includes chocolate sampling!

They also have fun events such as “Kids Ganache and Chocolate Bark Class” where you spend the day learning how to make chocolate ganache and bark. See here for more information.

On the first Thursday of the month starting August 2016 Theo Chocolate will begin offering 2 free tours that day. Make your reservations in advance!

You can book a tour here.

 

Underground Tour

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Here you can see glimpses of Seattle’s past

In 1889 there was a large fire in Seattle. When officials began rebuilding the city they actually built it on top of some of the older, burnt sections of Seattle! Now there are many passageways and basements underneath the Seattle we know.

The Underground Tour takes people down to the area beneath Pioneer Square. Tickets are $20 for adults, or $17 with your husky card!

Visit here to learn more.

 

 

Visit Bellevue

Bellevue is a neighboring city to Seattle, it is easy to get to by bus. Either the 271 from UW Seattle Campus or the 550 from Downtown Seattle can get you there in a jiffy!

Bellevue Square Mall

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Bellevue Square Mall, often referred to as “Bell Square” is a large shopping center with popular stores like ZARA, Macy’s, Nordstrom, UNIQLO, GAP, Lego, and more! Beecher’s Cheese, the popular cheese store in Pike Place recently opened a new location in Bellevue Square!

There is a skybridge that links Bell Square to Lincoln Square – where there is a movie theater, a bowling alley, and much more!

Bellevue Art Museum

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The Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM) is located right across the street from Bellevue Square Mall and Lincoln Square. They have many exiting exhibits, check them out here. Tickets are $10 for students with ID cards, $12 dollars for adults. However, each first Friday of the month is free!

Downtown Bellevue Park

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This park is also located close to Bellevue Square Mall. The 20 acre park is a great place to have a picnic, play frisbee, enjoy the sun, and much more!

During the 4th of July (Independence Day) the park is full of people enjoying food from food trucks and sweet lemonade. In the evening the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra plays music while fireworks are set off.

Bellevue Botanical Garden

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With 53 acres of land, the Bellevue Botanical Garden is a must-see. There is the Fuchsia Garden, the Native Discovery Garden, the Waterwise Garden and much more! Admission is free and you can even go on a tour – a tour begins each Saturday and Sunday at 2PM.

During the winter time the Botanical Garden hosts the Garden d’Lights. At the end of each year the garden lights up and creates lovely sights to see. While tickets are usually $5, there are some nights that are free! See here for more information.

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All About Halloween

Halloween is celebrated in America every year on October 31. 

This is a fun holiday that is celebrated by people of all ages! It is typical  to dress up. People will dress up as witches, princesses, superheroes and more!

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IELP Students dress up for the Mid Quarter Costume Party!

Little kids will dress up and walk around the neighborhood trick-or -treating. Trick-or-treating is when you ring on people’s doorbells and say trick-or-treat to receive candy.

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There are many Halloween themed parties complete with pumpkins, skeletons, witches and black cats.

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Many people carve pumpkins. At night, people will put candles in them. These are called Jack-O’-Lanterns. Sometime you will see them in front of people’s houses at night – there are even pumpkin carving contests! Many people will make funny faces, scary faces, or even realistic faces on the pumpkins!

halloween-hero-1-aHappy Halloween!

Visit “The Ave”

The Ave (although officially titled University Way) is a major street in University District. It has all sorts of places to eat and shop!

University Book Store

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The University Book Store has all sorts of University of Washington gear such as hats, clothing, water bottles etc. They also have a large number of textbooks for students and regular books! Be sure to check it out when you have time!

The University Book Store has locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Bothell, Tacoma, Mill Creek and in the HUB!

Visit their website here

Cafe Solstice

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While Starbucks is incredibly popular in Seattle there are many other cafes on the Ave to visit! Cafe Solstice is one of them. It is located right next to Shultzy’s a hot dog and burger place.

University District Farmers’ Market

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Open year round on Saturdays, the University District Farmers’ Market is a great way to get locally grown food! It is located on “the Ave” (University Way) and between 50th and 52nd street. Find out more about the U District Farmers’ Market and special events here!


Although not technically located on “The Ave” these places are some that you must visit!

Portage Bay Cafe

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Portage Bay Cafe is a super popular place to go for brunch. It has great, delicious food and a breakfast bar! Make sure to make a reservation before you go to make sure you won’t have to wait too long for a table.

Visit their website here

Guacano’s Tacos Pupuseria

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A pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish which is made from a corn tortilla with ingredients in the middle. This Salvadoran restaurant makes great food that is also affordable. Make sure to visit!

Visit their website here