Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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


Snow in Seattle: Affordable Winter Fun


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!



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.



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.



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.



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.



  • 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


  • 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


  • 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!


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.

Bonus Post: International Education Week #IEW


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!

Celebrate 4th of July this Summer!

Independence Day is one of the biggest American holidays during the summer. Traditional activities include having a BBQ, eating apple pie, watching fireworks, and wearing red white and blue. Even if you don’t identify as American, it’s a fun and easy holiday to celebrate, and there are so many ways to get involved around Seattle! Here are some of the many activities going on in Seattle this July 4th.

1.Seafair Summer Fourth

This free, family-friendly fair takes place at Gasworks Park, only about a 20 minute walk from West campus! There will be food vendors, live entertainment, and “All-American games” such as pie-eating contests and sack-races during the day, with a spectacular firework show after the sun sets over Lake Union.

Event Website:


2. Family Fourth of July, Seatac 

This festival takes place all day at Angle Lake Park and features a free water spray park with spray nozzles for children to run through, carnival rides and bouncers, and a fantastic firework show at night.

For more Info:

3. Burien’s Fourth of July Parade

This parade is one of the oldest and most highly attended in King County! Beginning at 3pm and running for about 2 hours, this parade features floats, pirates, marching bands, and so much more! For more information on how to get involved, visit their website:

Image result for burien independence day parade

4. Kent Fourth of July Splash

This unique festival features traditional American games from noon-5pm such as pie-eating contests and T-Bird puck and shoot. Kent also provides free shuttle transportation and parking close to Lake Meridian, and of course, no Fourth of July would be complete without a fireworks finale!

Event website:

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!


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.


  • “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


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.


  • “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


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.


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


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!


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.


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!

Seattle Museums to Visit for Free!

On the first Thursday of the month many museums in Seattle are FREE!

Here is a list of some museums you can visit in Seattle! Click on the museum to see more.

Seattle Art Museum:

This museum is free every first Thursday from 10AM to 9PM – although special exhibits may still charge a fee for a ticket.

Important: Kids 12 years old and younger are FREE always!


Seattle Asian Art Museum:

This museum is free every first Thursday AND first Saturday from 10AM to 5PM – although special collections or installations may still charge a fee for a ticket.

If those two free days are still not enough for you the museum is also free every SECOND Thursday from 5PM to 9PM.

Important: Kids 12 years old and younger are FREE always!

Seattle Art Museum Exteriors

The Asian Art Museum can be found in Volunteer Park


IELP students viewing a Chinese painting of foods during the Autumn Quarter 2015 visit


Students pose with the camel statue outside the museum on an IELP Activity visit

Olympic Sculpture Park:

If it’s a warm and sunny day why not visit the sculpture park? This is a great outdoor exhibit close to Pike Place Market!


The Sculpture Park is a perfect place for a picnic!

This park is FREE 365 days of the year (every single day)!

Frye Art Museum:

Located in First Hill, Seattle, the Frye Art Museum houses a collection of 19th, 20th, and 21st century art. Admission to this museum is always free. It is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11AM to 5PM and Thursday from 11AM -7PM.


The Frye Art Museum is always free for visitors!

Museum of Flight:

Located at Boeing Field this museum is free on the first Thursday of every month from 5PM to 9PM. This is a very cool museum which is one of the largest private air and space museums in the world! It has several aircrafts on display, World War 1 and World War 2 exhibits, and many more space and flight related displays.


The Museum of Flight has several airplanes to admire!

Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI):

Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry houses a large collection of artifacts and exhibits to show Seattle’s history and innovation. Iconic objects such as the pink “Toe Truck” and photos of Seattle can be found throughout the museum.

The Museum is open every day from 10AM to 5PM, except Thursdays when it is open 10AM to 8PM.


MOHAI is also located next to the Center for Wooden Boats!


Students view the special hip hop exhibit at MOHAI during Autumn Quarter 2015 (The tiger coat in the display was worn by Macklemore during one of his music video shoots!)


Your IELP Activity Assistants and a Student Council member pose outside the museum during this IELP Activity (Their smiling faces say “Join us on more IELP activities!”)

See here for more museums to visit for free!

Click here to look at more museums to visit around Seattle!

Volunteer in Seattle

On Monday, January 18th it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is a holiday to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., a very influential leader of American Civil Rights. On Monday many of IELP Students worked with UW students and other volunteers from the public to help clean up Magnuson Park!


Student worker Joyce and IELP Students volunteering at Magnuson Park

Volunteer work is service for an organization without pay, usually to benefit a community or the environment. Many organizations, such as non-profit organizations, depend on volunteers to assist with day-to-day operations and to carry out the mission of the organization. Some volunteer positions require experience, skill, or training in a specific area, while others do not!

Volunteering is very popular in America. Many high schools require their students to volunteer at least 40 hours over the course of four years – but many students volunteer much more than that! Volunteering can teach people new skills and is incredibly helpful to the community. It is also a great opportunity to meet new people with similar interests! It can supplement your resume, university application, and be rewarding and fulfilling.20160118_112731

While F-1 visa holders are restricted from working outside of the University of Washington, volunteering means that you will not receive any compensation, which include money, awards, credit, or gifts; making this an excellent opportunity for F-1 visa holders to gain experience and perhaps find a new hobby!

Some volunteer positions require a long-term commitment; however others are simply a onetime activity. Some volunteer websites like Seattle works require you to make an online account, but once you do it is easy to look at an updated list of upcoming volunteering opportunities!

Below are some volunteer opportunities in Seattle:

If you’re interested in Animal Welfare:


Seattle Humane Society:

If you’re interested in Education, the Environment, or Health:

Seattle Public Library:

Seattle Parks and Recreation:

One Brick:

Lifelong AIDS Alliance:

Nature Consortium:

Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS):


ROOTS Young Adult Shelter:


If you’re interested in working with a Food Bank:

Food Lifeline:

University District Food Bank:

Rainier Valley Food Bank:

West Seattle Food Bank:

If you’re not sure what you’re interested in:

Carlson Center at UW:

Seattle Works:

United Way:

Volunteer Match:

If you have any questions ask your DSO! Our DSOs here at IELP are Suzy and Marissa and Ethan (for Downtown)!

If you need help filing out a volunteer application send us an email or make an appointment to meet with us. We are here to help!

Let us know about your experiences volunteering in Seattle!

My trip to Victoria B.C

This blog is submitted by Misa Kim, a current student in our Fundamentals of Project Management program.

I had great time in Victoria last weekend. I want to share my experience with you if you are planning on going to Victoria. I went to Victoria for 2days with 3 other friends and visited many beautiful places.

1 2#How to go to Victoria

There are 3 ways to go to Victoria. First way is driving to Vancouver and taking the Ferry from there. Second way is taking a Ferry from Seattle. Third way is taking a ferry from Anacortes to Sidney and drive to Victoria. We chose to go to Anacortes and take ferry there because we wanted to take our car to Victoria

# Things to do in Victoria

We arrived at Sidney port around 11am. It was still early to check in so we head to fisherman’s wharf. Fisherman’s wharf is a very romantic place where there are a lot of cafes which offer delicious seafood and ice cream. It’s a must go place as it is like a movie set.


The whole place floats on water. I enjoyed scenic view of the sea, mountains. After Having a sushi and crab there, we came back to downtown Victoria and visit one beautiful building which one of the most famous building is located. You will recognize this building. This building is British Columbia legislature. We couldn’t get into the building because we missed the tour time. There are free tours run by government so check the time schedule and make reservation when you go there. Our most exciting moment on the first day of Victoria was watching fireworks at the Butchart Gardens. It was a best Garden I’ve ever been to until now. I had really great time there.

We arrived there around 7 and stayed until 10 o clock. The garden is absolutely beautiful! Everything is well groomed and clean and all the flowers and plants and everything look amazing. Take your time to check out all the flowers and plants and don’t forget the fireworks on every Saturday. I strongly recommend you to go there on Saturday night. Next day, I spent most of time in shopping street. There are lots of interesting shops in downtown. I bought shea butter which is good for your dry skin. Some of my friends bought chocolate and tea.

5 6


Since it was a sudden trip we had hard time finding a hotel and ended up staying in Motor inn. It was not bad, very clean than I expected. But I recommended you booking a room earlier. You can save your money if you take your car to Victoria. If you take ferry from Seattle, It costs you around 16-18 dollars. If you take ferry from Anacortes with your car, it costs you around 60 dollars for round trip and it’s much easier to go to Butchart gardens and other places with car. Check the festival schedule before you go to Victoria because we missed big festival on second day.

10 Things to do over Spring Break!

Check out the top 10 places to see over Spring Break! List created by IELP teachers!
1. Volunteer at the St. Francis House of University Food Bank 
2. Visit the Skagit Tulip Festival
3. See the Ballard Locks and Fish ladder
4. Explore Volunteer Park and Arboretum
5. Take a Ferry Trip
6. Make a trip to Portland
7. Visit the MOHAI
8. Bird watch at Magnuson Park
9. Visit the Bank of America Tower and Seattle Library
10. See the Olympic Sculpture Park