Cambodia, My Home

This week we are featuring another blog post from Pich K.! He discusses his home country, Cambodia, to share information about it and himself. Thanks Pich!

Before entering into a deep conversation with a new person, the first question that most people usually come up with is most likely about personal information and background. Every time I met new international friends, we simply started with a friendly greeting. Our first conversation went smoothly. But when we jumped to a question which was about our home countries or where we are from, I always felt sad with their next question. Ninety percent of them asked me: “Where is Cambodia?” Most of the people who ask me this are from Asian countries but they don’t know or have never heard about my country whereas I know where their countries are located. I am not jealous with my neighbor country, Thailand, which most of them have visited several times. I usually need to ask them whether they have visited this country or not and if they answered “yes”, then I can tell them where my country is. Most of them have visited Bangkok but not Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, which only takes 45mn from Bangkok by planes. I want to share some information about my country, so more people will know about it and about me.

Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia, bordered by Vietnam to the east, Thailand to the west, Laos to the north, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south. Its capital city is Phnom Penh and its official language is Khmer. It homes to over 15 million people. One of Cambodia’s most famous monument is Angkor Wat, the temple that is featured on the middle of the national flag.

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Picture of the Cambodian flag featuring Angkor Wat temple.

 

Angkor Wat is the biggest religious monument and ancient temple in the world, and the most Cambodia’s popular tourist destination. It is located in the northwest of the country (SiemReap province) was recognized as an important cultural site by UNESCO in 1992. This world heritage temple was built in the first half of the 12th century which means currently it is over 900 years old. Wow! It was my last trip in my country before I came to Seattle. Not only can you the temples in person, but you can see the internal architecture of Angokor Wat and the other temples virtually as well. I have never felt tired of going there. Undoubtedly, until now I have no idea about how my ancestors could build a such huge temple like this. In my opinion, it is the most amazing temple in the world.  Moreover, hundreds of temples and several sight-seeing sites in SiemReap made my trip more fabulous and unforgettable. In particular, the unique and delicious taste of fried chicken with Prahok (the most well-known Cambodian food) felt unique to region, and prepared in a way that I had never had before. It is very hard to describe how tasty it is because in my view, there is no better fried chicken than this.

 

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Angkor Wat

Another favorite region on mine is in the southwest of the country. It’s decorated by  white sand, beautiful and clean beaches, and blue sea. It is one of my Cambodian destinations. Usually, my family goes there at least twice per year. More interestingly, Koh Rong, the second largest island in Cambodia has made me feel that I lived in paradise. On December 31, 2016 my best friends and I went there to celebrate a New Year’s Eve. It was exciting, as we had to get there by speedboat from Sihanoukville province. It was my first time walking into the jungle and enjoying some adventure activities such as zip line, trekking and cycling. More than that, we also went fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling on this lovely, romantic and livable island. More importantly, we saw a real starry sky and light planktons at night. It was very beautiful, and I really want to see it again. Additionally, we could eat the fresh and delicious seafoods. My sadness and grief were taken away by the soft and little wave.

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Photoplankton on beaches

Traveling to Cambodia is like traveling around the world. Cambodia has a largest ancient temple in the northwest, blue sea, white sand and beautiful and clean beach in the southwest, and mountainous areas with astonishing views in the northeast. I’m fortunate and proud of being a Cambodian citizen.

A Mailbox and Five Steps

The following is a short story written by one of our students! Congratulations, Mohammed, for writing this story. We are honored to publish it.

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Photo from: http://www.flickriver.com

It has been 10 years since his life took a depressing turn. Jack was a normal man who did not have any unique thing in his life, except his wife. He lost his wife Mary due to a shocking accident. She was everything for him, she was the life. He has suffered for 10 years and tried to recover. However, he gave up and became a retiree when he was 62 years old.

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Photo from: 2 https://www.sunset.com

On July 31, 1975, Jack woke up early morning in Orlando. He washed his face trying to scrub away the depression! He went to Mary’s favourite place which was the kitchen. He prepared an American coffee in a sunny day by a wonderful machine that was a gift from Mary. He brought the golden-brown cup and started to cry when he saw one of many pictures that told how Mary was everything! It was taken in front of a rental villa on Miami Beach 20 years ago. That picture showed the unique piece that his whole life was based on, but it has collapsed since he lost her. However, he remembered how she always said to him that you should smile whenever you remember me! So, he stopped crying and went to his balcony to read the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.

After that, he started to read on his usual chair and drank slowly. On the first page, a lottery advertising was there with $1,000,000 as a prize. He read it three times and thought “Should I gamble? Yes Jack, they are just five steps toward a mailbox”, he said. He cut the part of that advertising and filled his information. After that, he went downstairs to the mailbox to send what he has filled in his lottery ticket.

 

 

The next day, he sat down on the balcony and read the newspaper as usual. He became shocked and said, “It is incredible, I am the winner!!” This was right, Jack won $1,000,000 in the lottery. Consequently, these five steps to the mailbox were his start to get rid of his pale face and start fresh!

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Photo from: http://nymag.com

 

In the afternoon, Jack went to the lottery company and received the prize. He went back to Mary’s pictures to think about a plan. After that, he decided his future and moved to Miami to buy the villa first that was behind Mary and him when they took the picture. He started his business which was Mary’s Resort on Miami Beach. He lived for 18 years more and died when he was 80 years old in 1993. Finally, they were just five steps, but worth it.

-Mohammed Alrajhi

First Time Studying Abroad

This blog post is written by Pich K., one of our IEP student council members. He discusses his first time studying abroad: what was exciting, challenging, and his hopes for the future. Thank you, Pich!

As a child who grew up in the countryside and moved to live in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia in the last 6 years, I had never thought that one day I could study abroad as other people did. Even currently I have been living in the United States, it still looks like a dream to me because it is unbelievable that now I am a student of the University of Washington, one of the top universities in the United States and the biggest and the best university in Washington State.

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Phnom Penh, Cambodia

After graduating from one of the universities in Phnom Penh in August 2017, I wanted to further my study by pursuing master’s degree in the United States. As English is not my first language and the English language proficiency requirements of each school is so high and I thought I couldn’t attain it, I decided to apply to the Intensive English Program University Track of the University of Washington in order to improve my English and meet the school’s requirement.

Photo by Katherine Turner. The Block W statue at the North entrance to the UW Seattle campus.

After receiving an email from IELP which stated that I was accepted to study in their program, I was both happy and sad because I had to leave my family for a few years. In mid-September 2017, I arrived at Seattle and my journey started. For the first few days in the school, I looked like a crazy guy who always said “WOW” and “WAHHH” during the time I was toured around the campus. It is very beautiful, and I had never seen this such big and gorgeous campus like this before. Each building has its own unique and attractive style. I spent the first two days walking around the campus, U-District and U-Village as well. There are many stores and international restaurants along the University Way which make me feel that I can live abroad for a few years because there are Asian restaurants as well and their dishes are quite good (I can only eat Asian foods), but little bit more expensive than in my country.

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University Ave, U-District

First day entering a classroom was extremely amazing. I knew no one and I think other students also did. The first two classmates that I knew are from Saudi Arabia. Then I knew many more friends and we are from different countries. I felt a bit sad because I’m the only Cambodian students in the school whereas other countries have at least two students. However, it is a good opportunity for me because I must speak English all the time, so I can improve my speaking skill gradually. After a week, I realized that this program is very helpful for me and I actually made a right decision. All teachers work hard in helping and correcting student’s mistake. As a result, my speaking, listening, reading and writing skills improve day by day. I do love this program and I’m pretty sure that after graduating from this program, I will be able to speak, read and write academically.

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A UW student throws up UW pride at a football game

However, I also met some difficulties. First, even though there are many Asian restaurants, I miss my mom’s dishes so much. To me, her cooking is the best. Second, I always feel homesick whenever I have nothing to do, especially at the weekend. When I feel this way, I really want to go back home. Last but not least, currently I’m waiting to hear a result from graduate schools that I applied. I don’t know whether I will get accepted or not and I’m very nervous. I love UW and I don’t want to move to other states either. I wish I would hear good news from them in couple months ahead.

 

Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service

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The Man Behind the Legacy

Monday, January 15th, is Martin Luther King Jr Day: a nationally recognized holiday in the United States. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was a famous Civil Rights Activist in the 1950’s and 1960’s, who advocated for the end of racial segregation and for racial equality in the United States. Dr. King was an executive member of the National Association of Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was an influential pastor who eventually became head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which was at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement during the 1960’s.

Dr. King is best remembered for his role in helping to organize multiple peaceful protests that ultimately led to de-segregation laws in the United States. These protests included the famous 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, of which Rosa Parks is famously remembered for refusing to give up her seat on a bus for a white woman. The boycott lasted 382 days, and Dr. King was threatened, his house was bombed and he was arrested during this time, but he refused to relent.

In 1963 March on Washington, DC, Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. This is one of the best remembered Civil Rights protests in United States history: 250,000 people marched on the National Mall for equal rights.

Dr. King also led the 1965 from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, the State Capitol. During this peaceful march, Dr. King and other civil rights leaders were faced with extreme violence from the local white citizens and police.

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Dr. King and fellow Civil Rights Leaders lead the Selma March.

Thanks to Dr Martin Luther King Jr, his partnership with the NAACP and other Civil Rights leaders of the 1960s, Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. While this was a huge achievement and brought the United States on step closer to equality, the need for Civil Rights action is still present.

In 2017, people across the United States took up MLK’s legacy of nonviolent marching and united in the Women’s March, which took place in Washington, DC, with sister marches occurring across the country and world. In Washington DC alone, somewhere between 440,000 to 500,000 people gathered, while it is estimated over 5 million people marched across the world.

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January 21st, 2017 saw the largest protest in U.S. history gather on the National Mall.

A Day of Service

While the 3rd Monday of every January is recognized as a holiday in honor of Dr. King, many people use the day off to volunteer. The MLK Day of Service honors Dr. King’s legacy of service and action, as volunteers use the holiday to give back, especially to communities of color and underserved communities.

The Carlson Leadership Center at the University of Washington helps organize projects for students to get involved every year with different projects around King County.

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Students volunteer on the MLK Day of Service. Photo courtesy of the Carlson Leadership Center

In 2017, nearly 3,000 people across King County came together to volunteer on MLK Day of Service, including IEP students!  Volunteering is a great way to give back and stay connected to the communities around us, especially since many of the students at the University of Washington are not from King County, but benefit from it’s resources and location . Projects include environmental clean up, shelter volunteer hours, advocacy projects, and repair and decoration projects. No service is too small to preform!

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A student helps to repaint during the MLK Day of Service. Photo courtesy of the Carlson Leadership Center.

If you’re interested in participating as a UW or IEP student, you can sign up through the Carlson Leadership Center and United Way.

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Volunteers High-five at the MLK Day of Service. Photo Courtesy of the Carlson Leadership Center.

 

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Seattle

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In a big city such as Seattle, there are many New Year’s Eve events that are expensive and require lots of advanced planning for you and your friends. For many students, this is unrealistic. Today’s blog post will highlight fun, inexpensive, all-ages events that will make you excited for 2018!

Where to watch fireworks (beginning at 12:00 AM, January 1):

  • Seattle Center: You can watch fireworks from the base of the Space Needle and other areas around Seattle Center! This prime location fills up quickly, so make sure to go early (around 10:00 PM) to find a spot. Take public transportation, as the area experiences a lot of traffic and closed streets on this day.
  • Gas Works Park: If you want to watch closer to UW, you can take a quick bus ride to Gas Works Park. The view of the Space Needle is partially obstructed, but it is still an excellent place to view fireworks.
  • Lake Union: Lake Union offers a stunning view of the fireworks, as well as plenty of close restaurants and bars.
  • Kerry Park: Kerry Park is the most infamous parks in Seattle. With a stunning view of Seattle Center, this is a prime location to watch fireworks. However, Kerry Park is relatively small, meaning it will fill up quickly.
  • Alki Beach Park: Alki Beach is a gorgeous location, close to water, and with a distant yet unobstructed view of the Space Needle. Take the King County Water Taxi over earlier in the day and enjoy an incredible view at midnight. Since it is by water, bring a blanket and take a place near one of the beach fires to stay warm.

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New Year’s Eve with Ivar’s: One of Seattle’s most famous restaurants, Ivar’s, has one restaurant on the pier. This means that you can enjoy food and a view until the fireworks begin. This is a wonderful way to enjoy a classic Seattle dish while welcoming the new year.

When: December 31, 9:00 PM

WhereIvar’s Salmon House on Northlake Way

Price: Free + cost of food

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Winterfest New Year’s Eve Celebration: Winterfest happens all winter long at Seattle Center, but there are special events for New Year’s Eve! There is live music, dance, and other fun activities for hours before the fireworks. Then, when it reaches 12:00 AM, you already have a great view of the fireworks.

When: December 31, 8:00 PM (Ring in the New Year at Seattle Center); 10:00 PM            (Dance Party at the Fountain)

Where: Seattle Center – the Armory and Fountain

Price: Free

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Bellevue Square Celebration Lane: Bellevue Square has a holiday-themed parade (named “Snowflake Lane”) leading up to Christmas, but they start “Celebration Lane” the day after. You can watch this New Year’s-themed parade anytime from the 26th to the 31st, and is sure to get you in the spirit for 2018!

When: December 26-31, 7:00 PM

Where: Bellevue Square

Price: Free

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First Night Tacoma: This event features live music, food, and activities for people of all ages. If you want to explore another city and ring in the new year with a large, energetic crowd, check out First Night Tacoma!

When: December 31, start time around 6:00 PM (view schedule online)

Where: Event is centralized around Pantages Theater. Route is within Broadway between S. 7th, and S. 11th

Price: Buy a button online or in-person. Prices vary depending on time of purchase.

Light Shows:

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One of the most enjoyable, inexpensive holiday experiences is a light show in a Seattle zoo or garden. These outdoor spaces are decorated with colorful lights along plants, fences, and pathways. This creates a beautiful, bright scene to stroll through. These light shows occur close to UW (Woodland Park Zoo), in Bellevue (Bellevue Botanical Gardens), or further away in Tacoma (Point Defiance Zoo), so you can check them out wherever you are.

Wildlights (Woodland Park Zoo)

When: November 24 – January 1 (closed December 24 & 25), 5:30-8:30 PM

Where: Woodland Park Zoo

Price: $11.95

Zoolights (Point Defiance Zoo)

When: November 24 – January 1 (closed December 24), 5:00-9:00 PM

Where: Point Defiance Zoo

Price: $10.00 at Front Gate, $8.50 online

Garden d’Lights (Bellevue Botanical Gardens)

When: November 25 – December 31; 4:30-9:00 PM

Where: Bellevue Botanical Gardens

Price: $5.00

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We hope you enjoy your Winter Break, and celebrate New Year’s Eve with family and friends. We wish a joyful 2018 to you, your family, and friends!

Photo credits: Lake Union Seattle, Pinterest, Red Tricycle,  Seattle Bloggers, Bellevue.com, Huffington Post

Snow in Seattle: Affordable Winter Fun

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While Seattle experiences mostly rain and wind during the winter months, there are beautiful, snow-covered mountains just a short distance away. For many students, winter sports are a great way to spend a weekend, and we are always looking for affordable options. This blog post will help you find the best deals for winter sports and other winter fun in the Seattle area. Have a great December, and stay warm!

Skiing/Snowboarding

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Stevens Pass

  • Learn-in-3 Guarantee: This deal is for beginners who want to learn to ski or snowboard, and is a great value if you are learning. Each visit while in the program includes a lesson, rental equipment, and helmet. After you “graduate” the program, you can access other deals and discounts.
  • College Season Pass: This season pass is the best value for college students, and is available to current, full-time students (IELP students, that means you)!

Crystal Mountain

  • 5-Pack Tickets: If you want to ski or snowboard more than a few times, or you want to go on the slopes with friends, this deal gives you 5 vouchers to use yourself or split between a group.

Snowshoeing

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The Summit at Snoqualmie:

  • You can rent snowshoes at the Summit and snowshoe on their trails! Snowshoeing is a more affordable option than skiing and snowboarding, and still allows you to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest mountains.

Crystal Mountain:

  • You can rent snowshoes and ride the gondola to trails for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Crystal Mountain has multiple lifts and the only gondola in Washington, meaning the ride to the trails is as wonderful as the journey down.

Hurricane Ridge:

  • Hurricane Ridge is a favorite spot for beginners. Although they do not rent snowshoes on-site, you can rent them from REI and bring them with you to the trail.

Tubing

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The Summit at Snoqualmie:

  • At the Summit, you can rent tubes and slide down one of their many tubing lanes. This is an affordable option that allows you to get out and enjoy the snow!

Suncadia Resort:

  • This resort offers a tubing hill AND a ice skating rink! For a low price, you can spend a few hours tubing, a few hours ice skating, and then warm up inside a restaurant at the resort.

Runs

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Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis:

  • If you enjoy races but are worried none are happening in the winter, Seattle has you covered! The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis is a charity run where you can raise money for arthritis and enjoy a brisk walk or run in Westlake Park, Seattle.

Curl up with Hot Cocoa

If you want to remain closer to Seattle and stay warm with a hot drink, we would suggest trying the best hot chocolate Seattle offers! If coffee is more your style, try out one of our many coffee shops around UW.

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Downtown:

  • The Chocolate Box offers delicious, unique hot chocolate drinks, and other delicacies. The location is right next to Pike Place Market, making it a fantastic stop during a fun day downtown.

Near UW:

  • The Chocolati Cafe has locations around Seattle, and the Wallingford location is a short bus ride away from UW. They offer interesting flavors in their hot cocoa, and it is a great place to study and enjoy some treats.
  • Fran’s Chocolate is conveniently located in University Village, and offers a delicious hot chocolate mix for sale. You can bring this back home and enjoy a rich chocolate drink while watching holiday movies!

Gingerbread Village

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  • Every year, the Sheraton Hotel hosts a Gingerbread Village, this year at City Centre. Seattle architecture firms, master builders, and culinary artists team up to create incredible gingerbread structures. This is a fun holiday event that keeps you warm and indoors on chilly, rainy Seattle days. You can view these from November 21 to January 1 at City Centre.

Polar Bear Plunge

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  • One strange Seattle tradition is the Polar Bear Plunge, where Seattle residents ring in the new year by running into the cold water of Matthews Beach Park on January 1st. The Meadowbrook Community Center writes “We jump in the water at ‘high noon’ as a ginormous group of revelers welcoming in the new year with a sense of rejuvenation and renewal as we emerge.” Participate in this Seattle tradition and enjoy one of Seattle’s beautiful parks!

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Photo Credits: National Park Service, Seattle Backpackers Magazine, Actively Northwest, Summit of Snoqualmie, Findwell Seattle, Bon Appetit, Curbed Seattle, Seattle Parks, Feasts of all Seasons.

IELP Student Coordinators: What We’re Thankful For

In the IELP office, the student coordinators are gearing up for Thanksgiving break. However we are spending our holiday, we are all excited to have a break from school and spend time with our friends and families. To get in the holiday spirit, each coordinator answered two questions: 1) What are you thankful for this holiday season? 2) What part of studying or traveling in another country are you most thankful for?

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Isaiah

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What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

I am thankful for music and having two quarters left at UW to spend with my great friends!

What part of studying or traveling in another country are you most thankful for?

I am thankful for the opportunity I had to study in Korea. Living in Korea taught me that the United States’ view of other countries isn’t always accurate, so I am thankful I was able to visit Korea and communicate with locals myself.

Phoebe

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What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

I am thankful for the opportunity to move to Seattle and study at UW. It is wonderful to live in a city I feel so at home in. I am also thankful for my network of friends!

What part of studying or traveling in another country are you most thankful for?

I am very thankful for all the different people I’ve met while traveling and studying abroad. It is incredibly valuable to befriend people from different backgrounds, so I am thankful for the friends I’ve made around the world!

Miranda

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What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

I’m thankful for little things like peanut M&Ms, spicy chai tea, and Friday night swing dancing—in short, all the little things that have kept me sane this quarter. I’m also thankful for my favorite Thanksgiving tradition where my mom and I make Thanksgiving dinner with scalloped potatoes and the green bean casserole.

What part of studying or traveling in another country are you most thankful for?

I am thankful for the opportunity I had to explore a new city in depth. On the last day of teaching an English class in Spain, our students took us out for a tour of their city. I loved seeing the city through a local’s point of view!

Laura

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What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

I am thankful for time to relax. This quarter has been very busy, so I am excited to spend Thanksgiving weekend cooking a delicious meal with my family!

What part of studying or traveling in another country are you most thankful for?

I went abroad for the first time this summer and I am thankful for cuisine from around the world! Food is such a vital part of culture, so I enjoyed getting to know parts of Italy and Germany by the traditional food.

Dana

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What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

I am thankful for people making our communities better in Seattle and across the country! I am also thankful for the opportunity to get a good education at UW and continue my learning.

What part of studying or traveling in another country are you most thankful for?

I am thankful for my time spent teaching in Russia and Azerbaijan because I was able to travel around the country. Instead of just visiting the big cities, I saw smaller towns and surrounding nature. Coming back and telling people about Russian and Azerbaijani culture was also very rewarding!

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Regardless of where you are in the world, we hope we have inspired you to think about what you are thankful for! Have a wonderful holiday season!

Photo credits: Simple Kinder, Dreamstime.com.

Bonus Post: International Education Week #IEW

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We at International & English Language Programs are excited to celebrate global competency during International Education Week! International Education Week (#IEW) is a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote programs that prepare students for a global environment. Here at IELP, we are passionate about helping future leaders learn and grow at the University of Washington. We are so excited to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide!

Keep up with our #IEW posts on Facebook and Twitter. This week, come to the 13th floor of the UW Tower to view a display by IELP staff and teachers saying what we admire, appreciate, and love about our students. Stop by and take a look!

Have a great International Education Week!

Favorite Korean Dishes

This quarter, we have been discussing our favorite dishes with our IELP students! No matter where we are from, we all have a dish that reminds us of our family and culture. This week, we are highlighting Korean dishes and sharing our student’s favorites. To learn more, continue reading below:

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Kimchi (Fermented Vegetables, 김치)

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Kimchi is a delicious mix of salted and fermented vegetables. It can be served as both a side and main dish, and there are a number of variations depending on the region, family, or personal preference. There are records of fermented vegetable dishes dating back to 37 BCE, and there was even a poem written about fermented radishes in the 13th century. Although kimchi has been a traditional dish in Korea for centuries, kimchi is now becoming more common in the United States. You can find kimchi in American health food stores, and it is lauded for it’s nutritional benefits.

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Bibimbap (Mixed Rice, 비빔밥)

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Bibimbap, literally translated as “mixed rice,” is a bowl of warm rice topped with vegetables, chili pepper paste, soy sauce, or fermented soybean paste. A raw or fried egg and sliced beef are common additions. The name “bibimbap” was adopted in the 20th century, although there are records to the dish dating back to the 16th century. The dish was traditionally served on the eve of the lunar new year, and was also a common dish for farmers during harvest season because it is an easy dish to make for a large number of people. The dish is also heavy with symbolism, with the colors representing different parts of Korea and human organs.

Bulgogi (“Fire Meat,” 불고기)

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Bulgogi, literally “fire meat,” is thin, marinated slices of beef or pork grilled on a barbecue or skillet. The dish originated in North Korea, but is very popular in South Korea. Today, you can find bulgogi in South Korea anywhere from a fancy restaurant to a ready-made dish at the grocery store. During the Joseon Dynasty, the dish was prepared for the wealthy and nobility. Today, you can find bulgogi-flavored hamburgers at fast-food restaurants in South Korea. McDonald’s in Korea even sold a bulgogi burger (pictured below) before it was removed due to a possible food-contamination case.

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Japchae (Stir-Fried Glass Noodles and Vegetables, 잡채)

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Japchae is a sweet and savory dish with a type of cellophane noodles, assorted vegetables, meat and mushrooms, and seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. Although it was once a royal dish, it is now a popular celebration dish served on weddings, birthdays, and holidays. According to historical records, the dish was first made in the 17th century for King Gwanghaegun’s palace banquet. The king liked the dish so much that he promoted the chef to a high-ranking position, and japchae became a fixture of Korean royal court cuisine.

Matang (Candied Sweet Potato, 마탕)

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Matang is chunks of fried sweet potato coated in hot brown syrup. It is sweet and crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and topped with black sesame seeds. Matang is a popular kid’s snack in Korea, and you can find it as a side in Korean restaurants. There are records of matang originating in China, but it is still a very popular snack in Korea.

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After exploring traditional Korean dishes, we reached out to Seattle locals and asked them if they have favorite Korean restaurants in Seattle. A lot of the best restaurants are a little outside of Seattle, so we suggest making a day trip to Lynnwood if you’re interested in eating at Ka Won. If you want to explore Korean food, or want to have a taste of home, check out these places:

  1. Ka Won, Lynnwood
  2. Trove, Downtown Seattle
  3. Chan, Downtown Seattle
  4. Bok a Bok Fried Chicken, South-West Seattle

Thank you to our Korean students for inspiring us to explore Korean dishes! This post only covers a small portion of traditional Korean dishes. We encourage you to explore different cultures, foods, and restaurants in Seattle, and find your own favorite Korean dishes!

Photo Credits: foodrepublic.com, Chowhound, Pinterest, How to Feed a Loon, Facebook.com, Kimchimari, Maangchi, Wikipedia.

Halloween in America: History and Traditions

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Halloween is a beloved holiday for many Americans. Children and adults alike love to dress up in costumes, go to parties or trick or treating, and eat sweets and snacks. With all of the decorations and hype around the holiday, many people do not know the history of the holiday in America. Furthermore, people visiting the United States may be unaware of our American traditions. Through photos and stories by IELP staff, we invite you to learn more about Halloween!

History

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A Halloween party in 1924.

The original American colonies were mostly Puritan, and were against celebrating Halloween due to it’s association with evil and mischief. However, an influx of immigrants in the late nineteenth century helped popularize Halloween.

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Trick-or-treating increased in popularity as Americans began to dress up and go door-to-door, asking for food and money. While the history of Halloween was traditionally tied with ghosts, tricks, and witchcraft, there was a movement by neighborhoods to make Halloween about community and celebration. This was followed by the removal of “frightening” or “grotesque” descriptions of Halloween by parents and in newspapers, which made the holiday lose most of its religious overtones by the twentieth century.

Modern Traditions

Some traditions have remained from the early days of Halloween, but there are new traditions that are popular, especially within American colleges.

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Dressing up for Halloween is popular among people of all ages. In American colleges, finding a costume and dressing up for Halloween parties is a fun activity for many students. As pictured above, our IELP students love to dress up in fun costumes for our Mid-Quarter party!

Popular costumes include classic spooky costumes (skeletons, pumpkins, witches, and scary characters), animals, fairy-tale characters (Little Red Riding Hood, princesses), and pop culture references. Some people dress up in simple costumes, and some people like to go all out!

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Many students love to spend a couple hours with friends or family and carve a jack o’ lantern! This popular Halloween activity is known around the world, and is very popular in America. In many homes, you can see jack o’ lanterns lit with candles on Halloween night!

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Another Halloween tradition that is emerging in some American homes is “the Teal Pumpkin Project.” Homes with a teal pumpkin outside the door mean that the home is giving away non-food items, or non-allergen treats. Although most college students do not go trick-or-treating since the activity is meant for children, it is fun to know why teal pumpkins are popping up around Seattle!

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It is not uncommon to find a house in America that has Halloween decorations. Although usually not as complex as the one pictured above, many houses will be decorated with fake cobwebs, pumpkins and gourds, and other spooky decorations. While many countries celebrate Halloween, America is distinctly extravagant with decorations.

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For adults, and especially college students, there is no better way to celebrate Halloween than watching scary and classic Halloween movies. Horror movies are popular in every country, and loved year-round, but Halloween is a great time to re-watch your favorites.

There are some American movies made for children and teens that are not scary, but have a spooky element and are popular viewing during October. If you are interested, here are some favorites of our IELP staff: Halloweentown, Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, and Casper.

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Whether you dress up, carve a jack o’ lantern, or watch Halloween movies, IELP wishes you a happy Halloween!

Photo credits: Pixabay, Pinterest, History by Zim, IELP, Wonderopolis, Anoka Halloween, Bustle.com