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

Lunar New Year

Come celebrate the Lunar New Year in Seattle’s International District! 

Have the opportunity to watch traditional dragon and lion dances, Japanese Taiko Drumming, martial arts and other cultural performances!

Also, don’t forget about the 5th annual food walk! 

Saturday, February 21st from 11-4pm

Hing Hay Park

Getting Involved in Seattle

Ways to Get Involved

  • Volunteer your time
  • Go to IELP Activities
  • FIUTS activities
  • Attend events on UW Main Campus
  • Go to Information Sessions
  • Make friends outside the IELP
Why get involved?
  • It benefits others.
  • It benefits you. 
  • Good way to make friends
  • Practice your English
  • Can check out new places in Seattle
  • Builds your resume
  • Learn new skills
  • Do something you enjoy!
  • It’s fun!

What are your goals?

  • Get good grades
  • Make friends
  • Get involved in Seattle
  • Learn English
  • Volunteer

Where can I find how to get involved?

  • IELP Information Sessions
  • UW website
    • Experimental College
    • Registered Student Organizations
    • FIUTS
    • Departmental Website
  • Google
  • Seattle Public Libraries
  • Seattle Parks & Recreation

What is volunteering? 
(Information from UW Carlson Center)

  • Volunteer work is service for an organization without pay, usually for the benefit of a community or natural 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. 

Most common opportunities in Seattle

  • Natural Restoration (Planting trees, cleaning parks, removing weeds)
  • Homeless Shelters/Food Banks (Serving meals, donation collections, holiday events)
  • Run/Walks (Supplies, event set-up, clean-up)
  • Libraries (Stocking shelves, reading to kids, sorting books)

Commitment: One-time vs. Long-Term

  • Some positions require an on-going commitment. Ex:
    • Serving meals at homeless organizations on weekends
    • Sorting and shelving books each week at the library
  • Others are on a one-time basis only. Ex:
    • Helping staff at an annual fundraising auction
    • Handing out water at a marathon
Choose what works best for you!
Applying to Colleges

  • Admission officers look for volunteer experience
  • Graduate schools look for relevant experiences in the field
  • Find opportunities specific to your future career or the graduate school program/research
  • A good way to get practical experience without having a job

Volunteering and F-1 Visas

  •  F-1 students can do volunteer work!
  • F-1 students can’t receive compensation for their work
    • Compensation may include money, credit, awards, gifts

Volunteer Opportunities

  • There are many volunteer organizations that make it easy to search for volunteer opportunities online.
  • Examples:
    • United Way of King County
    • Seattle Works
    • City of Seattle
    • Earth Corps
    • One Brick
    • UW Carlson Center

If you volunteer….

  • Please tell us!
  • We want to hear from you!
  • Email Marissa, Suzy, Nicole or Ethan to tell us about your experience.
  • You can also choose if you want to give us permission to share your experiences with other students in future Volunteer Information Sessions or on our Facebook page and blog

Thank you to Suzy Cowgill, Nicole Minkoff, and Ethan DeCoster for compiling this information!