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

Favorite Japanese Dishes

Our IELP students come from all over the world, and our STEP 3 session has a large percentage of Japanese participants. Although I have tried basic types of (American=ized) sushi, edamame, and poke bowls, I wanted to learn more about the traditional cuisine. On our field trip to Seattle Center last Tuesday, I asked the students to share some of their favorites, and did some research to find out more about these dishes and their origins.

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Monjayaki

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Sakura Yamashita describes her favorite dish she calls “Monja” as a “hot plate mixed with vegetable and meat.”

Monjayaki is very popular in the Kantō region, and is one of Tokyo’s most famous dishes. Although often compared to okonomayaki, a similar dish made in the Kansai region, it is a lot wetter and cooks flat on one side, whereas okonomiyaki is drier, firmer and thicker. The ingredients also differ. Monja is created by frying the dry ingredients (usually some variation of cabbage, noodles, cod roe, mochi, and flour) in a circle, and filling said circle with a liquid batter after a few minutes. The result? A delicious savory pancake with the consistency of melted cheese!

Tonkatsu

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“I’m from Fukuoka so I like Tonkatsu” -Kazuhiro Fujiyama

Often simply called “katsu” in the States, this classic Japanese dish uses pork fillet or loin that is dipped in salt, pepper, flour, and beaten egg before being deep fried in a coat of “panko” or bread crumbs. It is usually served with cabbage or tsukemono (Japanese preserved vegetables), rice, and miso soup. In Korea, tonkatsu is known as don-gaseu (돈가스) or don-kkaseu (돈까스), which derived from a transliteration of the Japanese word. There are many variations of this dish, and tonkatsu is also popular as a sandwich filling (katsu sando) or served on Japanese curry (katsu karē).

Yamanashi Fruit

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Moemi Okamura explains that “peaces and grapes are the most famous in Yamanashi.”

Japan’s Yamanashi prefecture is dubbed the “kingdom of fruit,” and rightfully so! The reason lies in Yamanashi’s weather– low annual precipitation and extreme differences in heat and cold help to create sweet, juicy fruit year round. Not only is Yamanashi the biggest producer of peaches and grapes in Japan, but there are fruit picking facilities year-round boasting multiple varieties of cherries, plums, pears, strawberries, blueberries, and apples. People from all around the world flock to Yamanashi to admire their expansive orchards and to pick fresh, delicious produce.

Unagi

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 “My mom buys the eel in the supermarket but will make it at home.” -Chisa Tomono

Unagi is a cult summertime favorite among Japanese, but can cost up to 30 American dollars served in a restaurant. For this reason, many have incentive to make this delicacy at home. This calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron-rich treat is known to help combat the scorching summer heat. One student adds that July 25th is the designated “unagi day!” Intrigued, I did some research and discovered that the name of the period for eating Unagi is called ‘Doyo-no Ushi-no hi’. “Doyo” is an 18 day period between summer and autumn, mid July to early August, and is the hottest time of the year in Japan. “Ushi no hi” can be directly translated to Ox day, originating from the traditional Japanese calendar that uses the Chinese Zodiac system. Legend has it that a struggling eel restaurant owner during the Edo period began advertising unagi on the day of Ox, because both Ushi (Ox in Japanese) and Unagi begin with the letter ‘u’. This play on words worked well as a promotion, and eventually developed into a Japanese folklore that if you eat unagi on the day of ox, you will regain power!

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Obviously, this blog post does not scratch the surface of Japan’s rich culinary heritage. Other favorites frequently mentioned include sushi, nikujaga (boiled meat and potato), nattō (fermented soybeans), shabu-shabu (meat and vegetable hot pot), udon (thick wheat flour noodle), soba (thin buckwheat flour noodle), and wagashi (sweet snack often served with tea). However, I hope that this post could provide some insight into traditional Japanese cuisine and inspire you to try something new!

 

Your Friday Readings: Part 6

This is the last segment of Your Friday Readings. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed it!

Last Spring, students in Independent Writing (INDW 150) had to write a final persuasive essay to demonstrate their acquired skills in the class. The prompt was: Imagine that you work for the department of education in your country. You are assigned with selecting English schools abroad in which students could study. Would you have them choose IELP at the UW in Seattle? Why or why not? Try to persuade your reader.

This essay was written by Jia Song

Nowadays, English schools abroad have been known by Chinese people because both educational institutes and parents are willing to send students abroad to practice English. The quality of the English schools concerns school officials and parents, so the department of education investigates several English schools abroad. The IELP at the UW in Seattle is qualified for students to learn English because the IELP English Program has a variety of courses, responsible instructors, and intensive class schedule.

Initially, the IELP English Program possess a variety of courses which can be freely chosen by students. The IELP English Program have numerous academic courses. For example, the ARW 5 course teachers students how to write academic papers when they go to the US university. Researching academic sources and citing these sources by using APA style are the most important skills in the ARW 5 course. These two skills are widely applied in the US university, so the ARW 5 course is a good preparation for attending the US university. Moreover, the IELP English Program offers cultural courses in which students can understand American culture. These cultural courses are instrumental for students to practice English in living situation.

Additionally, the IELP English Program have responsible instructors. At the beginning of one quarter, the instructors will give students syllabus which can tell students the outline of the class, so that the students can have general ideas about the class. Furthermore, the instructors will ask what students want to study, so the instructors can teach this knowledge and skills in later classes.

Lastly, the IELP English Program has intensive class schedule. Intensive class schedule can give students more time to study in spare time. For instance, the class schedule that one student has just occupied 5 hours a day, so she does not need to go to school on the entire day.

The classrooms of the IELP English Program are distant, so students have to walk a long way to reach the classroom. However walking is good exercise for students without spending money and time going to the gym.

In conclusion, the IELP English Program is a qualified English school to choose because it possess various courses, responsible instructors, and intensive class schedule. Students who would like to practice and study English should attend the IELP English Program. After attending this program, they will benefit a great deal in the future.

Your Friday Readings: Part 5

For the next two weeks on Fridays, small essays written by IELP students will be posted!

Last Spring, students in Independent Writing (INDW 150) had to write a final persuasive essay to demonstrate their acquired skills in the class. The prompt was: Imagine that you work for the department of education in your country. You are assigned with selecting English schools abroad in which students could study. Would you have them choose IELP at the UW in Seattle? Why or why not? Try to persuade your reader.

Several students wrote amazing essays. Check back next week for another awesome essay.

This essay was written by an IEP student

I would recommend students who need improving their language skills to study in the IELP program, if I have to choose one of these programs for them. The reason why I prefer this program is because of its environment, its teachers, and its location.

I have been studying in IELP for over one year. I think the overall studying atmosphere here is very good. The interactions between students and teachers are efficient. Although the program is very intensive, I got a big improvement of my TOEFL test. Before I started IELP here, I only got 84 out of 120 in TOEFL with low scores in speaking and writing parts. However, now I get 93 out of 120 in TOEFL. What is more, my speaking and writing abilities are also improved.

Teachers in this program are also very good. All the teachers here have a master’s degree, some of them are doctors. Therefore, they are professional in the area of teaching English for people who are not from English speaking countries. What is more, teachers here are always willing to answer students’ questions, very kind and patient.

I always believe that the best way to learn a foreign language is living in the country which speaks that language. Seattle is a big international city, people here are open minded. Therefore, students will have more opportunities to communicate with native speakers and practice their English a lot comparing to some English institutions in China. Although they all guarantee to improve students’ English tests’ scores in a short time, I do not thing this is the best way to learn English.

In conclusion, if you want to study the most original English in the United States, you should choose IELP at UW, Seattle.

Your Friday Readings: Part 4

For the next three weeks on Fridays, small essays written by IELP students will be posted!

Last Spring, students in Independent Writing (INDW 150) had to write a final persuasive essay to demonstrate their acquired skills in the class. The prompt was: Imagine that you work for the department of education in your country. You are assigned with selecting English schools abroad in which students could study. Would you have them choose IELP at the UW in Seattle? Why or why not? Try to persuade your reader.

Several students wrote amazing essays. Check back next week for another awesome essay.

This essay was written by Alfie

Recently, parents tend to send their children to the US to study in order to get a better job in their future. However, choosing a city to go to study is the most important thing to consider because they have to think about many aspects such as schools, transportation, and convenience of living. In my opinion, I suggest students to choose the IELP at the UW for some reasons.

First, if students study at the UW they can take a direct flight from Taiwan, and it makes students have a round trip easily. Moreover, changing planes is an annoying thing for everyone, it takes time and students might feel tired when they have to fly from time to time. Thus, studying at the UW is a better choice for Taiwanese; they don’t have to waste time on changing planes.

Secondly, Seattle is a safe city; it doesn’t have any sever disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, and blizzards. Moreover, the crime rate in Seattle is lower than other big cities. Thus, if students study at the UW, parents don’t have to worry about if they will meet any dangerous situations.

Finally, in Seattle, there is no place that people can communicate by Chinese. Unlike Vancouver or LA, people can always speak Chinese in some places in those cities. Therefore, if students live in Seattle, their English will improve a lot in a short period.

In conclusion, studying English at the UW has many benefits. You don’t have to waste time on changing flights and Seattle is a safe city. The most important thing is that students must speak English all the time. It is the best way to learn a second language. Thus, I suggest students to choose the IELP at the UW, and it is the best choice for every Taiwanese.

Your Friday Readings: Part 3

For the next four weeks on Fridays, small essays written by IELP students will be posted!

Last Spring, students in Independent Writing (INDW 150) had to write a final persuasive essay to demonstrate their acquired skills in the class. The prompt was: Imagine that you work for the department of education in your country. You are assigned with selecting English schools abroad in which students could study. Would you have them choose IELP at the UW in Seattle? Why or why not? Try to persuade your reader.

Several students wrote amazing essays. Check back next week for another awesome essay.

This essay was written by Kai

In the 21st century, studying abroad is a trend in Taiwan. And yet, how to choose a university is significant. If students can be in the right track, they will develop their English effectively. Otherwise, it might waste a lot of money. If you ask me which program that I recommend, I would suggest the International English Language Program at the University of Washington.

First, the UW is located in Seattle which is one of the most famous city in the US. Seattle has a lot of beautiful views and convenient public transportation so that students who study in Seattle can enjoy their American life easily when they have free time. In addition, the security in Seattle is very good. As a result, the students who live in Seattle do not worry about their safety too much. Thereby, the UW is a good choice because of the convenience and safe life.

Second, almost all teachers in IELP at the UW are experienced and enthusiastic. An experienced teacher can explain English to students very clearly. It helps students to be able to improve their English efficiently. As for enthusiastic teachers, they are willing to spend their time for students. They usually think about how to help students when they do not have classes. Also, they meet students outside of the classes if students ask. Therefore, the high quality of teachers in the IELP at the UW makes students should consider it primarily.

Last but not least, the IELP at the UW has rich resources such as a great library and some useful activities. The library in the UW is not only offers a great many books from different areas but also offers a lot of computers for UW students. As to clubs, the UW has many great activities such as culture night and exchange partners.

In conclusion, the IELP at the UW is the best choice for students due to good location, great teachers, and useful resources. I would highly recommend students to study there.

Your Friday Readings: Part 2

For the next five weeks on Fridays, small essays written by IELP students will be posted!

Last Spring, students in Independent Writing (INDW 150) had to write a final persuasive essay to demonstrate their acquired skills in the class. The prompt was: Imagine that you work for the department of education in your country. You are assigned with selecting English schools abroad in which students could study. Would you have them choose IELP at the UW in Seattle? Why or why not? Try to persuade your reader.

Several students wrote amazing essays. Check back next week for another awesome essay.

This essay was written by Bess

Recently, English is significant in human’s life because people in different countries communicate with each other by using English language. Even though people can use another language to communicate but English is more worldwide. Therefore, many parents want their children to study English when they are young. However, there are many places to study English. The IELP at UW in Seattle is one of the best choices that you are looking for because the University of Washington is well-known, and teachers are high qualities, also the weather in Seattle is quite similar in Thailand.

There are many IELP in the US but if you search on the internet, you will see the University of Washington is the top 10 ranking in the world. That is because the UW is really well-known university. This university has a lot of smart students, so an environment can make you feel like you are one of these students. Moreover, you will be proud of yourself if someone asks you where you study because people will know at the first time.

Furthermore, there are many high quality teachers in the IELP at the UW. Most teachers have a high education, so you do not need to worry about their background. As a result of having a good background, that means teachers also have a lot of experience and knowledge, you will get more information from this school. Consequently students in one are not as many as some schools, so teachers can focus on each student.

Another reason is the weather. The weather in Seattle is quite the same in Thailand, so you do not need to adapt yourself a lot. In other words, you will get used to living in Seattle more easily than other countries or other cities. Also, if you’re concerned about food in Seattle, I can say you do not need to worry because there are many delicious food in this city. I am pretty sure you will gain weight after staying in Seattle.

In conclusion, studying in the IELP at the UW in Seattle has many advantages, for example, the UW is very famous university, and teachers have high education. Also, the weather is similar in Thailand. Therefore, I highly recommend students who are interested in studying English should go to the IELP at the UW in Seattle.

Your Friday Readings: Part 1

For the next six weeks on Fridays, small essays written by IELP students will be posted!

Last Spring, students in Independent Writing (INDW 150) had to write a final persuasive essay to demonstrate their acquired skills in the class. The prompt was: Imagine that you work for the department of education in your country. You are assigned with selecting English schools abroad in which students could study. Would you have them choose IELP at the UW in Seattle? Why or why not? Try to persuade your reader.

Several students wrote amazing essays. Check back next week for another awesome essay.

This essay was written by Thang Pham

Practicing using English continuously is the most effective way to improve English and thus, study English abroad in an English-speaking country such as the US should be encouraged. From my experience, the IELP program at the UW in Seattle should be considered as one of the best options while selecting a school to study. For not only its efficiency of designing specific tracks that align with students’ demand, but also other factors that support students to have the best outcome in their English.

The first reason to consider IELP at the UW as one of the best English courses is its specific tracks. There are many specific tracks available here, including University Track, Business track, Cultural Conversations. Students, depending on their purpose of learning English, either to get into American school or to use English in business, can always find a track that meets their needs. These tracks help student to focus more on a particular field that learners really need rather than to focus on English in general like in other ESL at other schools. For example, I have been taking the University Track for three quarter for my purpose of entering an American graduate school. I have learned too much from this program, especially the academic English and how to apply it to essay. Since I came from a different education system, this program has also helped to getting used to with the academic style that is used in college here. In short, not only has my English been improved, but my academic skills are getting better and more practical for the US’s colleges.

Yet another reason for choosing IELP at the UW is supporting factors, such as teachers, tutors, facilities, as well as activities to help boost students’ experience to the best. During my time studying here, I have got so much help from teachers and advisors, even outside the class, let alone in-class time. Most of my teachers have wide general knowledge or even major in some specific fields such as political science or anthropology. Therefore, as a student, I always receive my teachers’ bets help for matters that I care about. Also, there are many tutors and assistants that are always willing to help with any difficulties of learning English. It is needless to say, we, students at IELP at the UW, always received wholeheartedly help and support from teachers and facilitators here. In addition, many activities and events are frequently organized to help us have more chance to get to know other fellows in our program, as well as to introduce interesting things about Seattle to us, who just came to Seattle. These factors that mentioned truly boost my experience, both academic and lifestyle, much better than I had expected at the first place.

Some might argue that IELP at the UW is good but it is not good enough to worth the expensive cost that students have to pay. However, if doing an analysis for the cost IELP is only a little higher than the average of ESL program, unless facilities and other supporting factors do not count. Also, quantity and efficiency should be focused on for a good investment. In my opinion, with the outcome that studying in IELP at the UW brings to me, it is a good investment.

For those reasons mentioned above, IELP at the UW should be considered when choosing an English program to study abroad. From my experience, I highly recommend our Vietnamese students to experience the quality here once.

My Experience in the IELP Classes

This blog post was written by Ziaulrahman Mushkalamzai, a Campus IEP student.

The IELP Program of University of Washington is very effective program designed for international students. There are many English programs in the world, but, I say, this is a very well organized program. As an international student at the IELP program from Afghanistan, I would like to share my experiences with my friends (all of you) who have plan to improve or learn English.

When I came to the U.S for the first time, I was very curious and always thinking “How can I improve my English? Is IELP an appropriate program for me?”. When we took the placement test and started our classes,  I felt from the first day of the class that I can learn English here. As expected, my first quarter was full of achievements. I learned English as I hoped. I really improved my grammar, listening, speaking and reading skills. The instructors were very helpful and supportive in all classes and they inspired me and my classmates to learn English. If someone received poor grades, the teacher would always come to him and ask, “What is the problem? Was my method of teaching not helpful?” The teachers said that they would change their method because they emphasized that their purpose is the understanding of students.

The other method that was extremely useful was that every Monday we had different group discussions with lecturers where we were discussing various issues. That was the benefit of different methods that caused us to learn many things in a short time period. In this quarter, I took writing and grammar, listening and speaking, and reading classes. In these classes, I saw the effective teaching methods of teachers and they were able to transfer their knowledge to the students very easily.

In my grammar class, the handouts were very helpful and our instructors described things clearly and simply. In addition, we also had practical lessons, in which we learned how to describe things. In the listening and speaking class, every day the teacher was dividing us into groups and we had free discussion for around five minutes.

In the reading class, one day we had the vocabulary quiz. The teacher took the quiz and corrected our errors. Next day at class time, suddenly our teacher said, today we have the same quiz as yesterday, and I would like to know how much you remember your errors that I corrected yesterday. We were surprised and some students scored lower grades than the previous day. It was an interesting experience.

My dear friends and brothers there are many benefits to learning English in the foreign countries particularly at the University of Washington- IELP program.I can’t describe these benefits in just two pages and I think my office- LESPA- made the right decision  to enroll me at the University of Washington for learning English language to prepare me for the law school. I would not have the same opportunity if they chose somewhere else. I strongly recommend this program to everyone who is looking to learn English effectively.

 

Student Spotlight: Our Partner School, UW Tacoma

Taotao Li has accounting in her blood. She majored in accounting at Shanghai University (LIXIN). The president of her University is called the “Father of Modern Accounting” because he introduced accounting to China.  Taotao knew she wanted to continue her education, but the first time she applied to graduate school she was not accepted. So she hopped on a plane and came to Seattle to improve her English. And she is much closer to her goal now.

A few weeks ago Taotao learned that she was accepted into the Master of Accounting program at the UW Tacoma Milgard School of Business. She will begin in Fall quarter, after she completes University Track. I asked her what helped her achieve her goal. First, she made a lot of connections. “Don’t be shy!” she tells us. She talked to advisors and teachers in the program she wanted to go to. Second, in her application she had to successfully highlight her strengths and explain her weaknesses, which was challenging. Good luck in graduate school, Taotao!

If you are interested in learning about the UW Tacoma, come visit on Friday 7/29.  We will meet in the UW Tower Lobby at 11:45 and drive together to tour the campus and visit with an international advisor.

Taotao

Congrats Taotao!