Tag Archives: education

Happy Winter Solstice!

22 Dec

In China, the shortest day of the year is a pretty big holiday full of yummy food, friends hanging out together, and lots of memories.

 It is especially important this year to my seniors.  College in China is arranged a little bit differently than in America, or at least the program here at SIAS is.  The seniors won’t really be returning next semester; they will spend their final time at college working on a major thesis and getting practical experience in the big wide world.  While many of them have decided to stay in the area, life is changing for them right now.  No more classes all together, no more busy dorms and exciting group activities await them.  Mostly its a time for timid dreams and future worries; a time when they are reminded of just how precious this 3.5 year period, and these wonderful friends, have actually been.  

For the past seven semesters, each set of students have lived together (dorms are divided by major and year), studied together (as freshman, they are divided by major and exam-score, so that each group of students has every class with the same students for the rest of the school career), played together (KTV, KTV, KTV!!!), and grown together.  They encourage and prod and love each other to death for this brief, but much beloved time. Then, as it does for all college students, it ends as quickly as it began.  Suddenly, they find themselves drifting in different directions, with this one headed to Shanghai, that one to Australia, and these two King’s College in England.  They are realizing just how scary that future is and trying to cling to as much of their time together as they can.

Thus, Winter Solstice, the last holiday before the semester ends in China, is an especially important one for my students this year.  According to tradition, people must get together and eat dumplings on the Winter Solstice; otherwise their ears will freeze in the coming winter and they will both fall off.  Supposedly, eating ear-shaped dumplings will help you keep your ears warm in the future. It’s a time for friends, fun, and storing up great memories for the present. A time to love and remember that you are loved.  

So, in honor of my much beloved, parting students; they would like me to wish you the same spirit of the season. We would like to wish you all a very happy Winter Solstice. May today’s dumplings be your best dumplings! May all of your friends be present! and May all of your Memories be Cherished.


Things that make my heart happy!

12 Dec

Things that make me happy: Asking a student what she plans to do after graduation and getting a passionate speech about how she wants to revolutionize the Teaching English industry by focusing on Communication and how she has the perfect job and she’s so excited and this is her lifetime dream.  Must admit, by the end I was almost as excited as she was. 🙂 ❤

What’s Your Motto?

1 Dec

As some of you know, I am a professor of Business and Professional Ethics, so we’ve talked a lot about morality and being a good person.  This morning, I asked my classes to write down their motto – the phrase that they want to live by.  Since I was asking it of them, I decided to write my own as well.  Here Goes!

“Four Seasons” by Spudzalot

“Remember Olivia, that in all things you value wisdom, virtue, and graciousness.  In all actions or words, uphold the proper manners and practice self-control.  Never speak without thinking, never act without consideration.  Put others first (and all equally), but never forget your own importance. Listen to the wisdom of others, but don’t give up when you know your heart and faith is true. Be Humble, but Confident; Cautious, but Brave;  Gentle, but Strong; Forgiving, but Unwavering. And most importantly, work hard, but remember the purpose of life is happiness.  Be practical, but follow your dreams. When hardships come, or questions arise, believe in the power of goodness and always look for the beauty.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, so enjoy it!

ESL Trouble

7 Nov

My students are all Senior’s in college, and as such are prepping for their big college entrance examinations / English proficiency exams.  Many of the come to me looking for help with their papers and writing practice, and I’ve been noticing a particular trend in their work.

They almost all have excellent understanding of noun, verb, adverb, adjective placement; however, two significant blocks for them are the Prepositions and the Articles (a, an, the).  The students simply don’t understand how those words fit in with everything else.

So I pulled together a brief list of practice worksheets I found on the internet.  Just in case someone else was interested, here they are!

“A preposition is a part of speech, just like a noun or a verb. It connects a noun or pronoun to another word in the sentence, showing us the relationship between them. Prepositions usually answer the questions where? or when?, telling us about a person or object’s location in either time or space.”
Articles (A, An, The)
http://esllibrary.weebly.com/uploads/2/1/7/8/2178024/articles.pdf (Helpful, but maybe confusing? ~ the rules)
Hope something here is useful!

Leaving Iowa

19 Aug

Hi everyone! Sorry for being such an absent friend recently.  Honestly, packing and preparing for the move was absolutely crazy ~ 6 weeks of garage sales and two weeks of all-nighters packing and cleaning and preparing items for storage.  Even so, I don’t think things actually got real until the girl walked away with my bed.  Then for the next week, I was living off the floor ~ sleeping on pillows and makeshift blankets. Between that and no internet since July 31, I was soooo ready to hit the road 🙂  It has been just mind and body-exhausting! 0_0  

We finally finished everything after 72 hours straight working on what was left and we headed out of Iowa City at 4:06 in the morning.  Lol, we were so exhausted we kept having to change drivers to keep ourselves awake. . . we were playing a question game and it took my mom 16 minutes to think through “What is your favorite flower” even though she’s worked with them all her life.  😛  

Then, after an 8 hour drive, we arrived yesterday in Fort Hays, Kansas at the local Sleep Inn.  It’s a lovely hotel, has a swimming pool, hot tub, and we even got a room with a lovely little sitting area ~ perfect for finishing up the last minute law and personal chores before leaving the country.  

2014-08-18 21.08.49

One of which includes finding out how to get my medication (got too busy to buy it before).  Anyone know whether you can buy Zantac (Ranitidine), Claritin (Loratidine) and Benedryl in China?  If not, I’ll just pick some up in Wal-Mart tomorrow or the next day. 🙂 

On a related note, you should see how much we brought with us still.  The pile is so enormous, I took a picture for posterity! 20140818_171517_resized


We finally moved down from a filled 3-bedroom home to a truck full coming from Iowa to Missouri. Then we met up with my aunt and further compacted everything into a jeep.  Now, I have to figure out how to narrow it all down to just two suitcases and a carry on. 

A little worried about the carry on, since we are flying with Air China which has a 11 lb limit on the carry on.  I’ll probably be over, but I’ve been told that they are not as rigid about that rule as long as you can pick it up and fit it into the overhead container.  Here’s to crossing our fingers. . . . 🙂

We were very happy to get our VISAs and Passports on time last week; several members of the team have yet to receive theirs and they are slowly panicking.  We’ve been told though that everything should work out.  Apparently, a whole bunch of people supposed to prepare and sign the papers for the VISAs went on vacation and it took a little longer than expected to get everything working again.  Still, mom and I have ours so we are ready and raring to go!

We leave Hays, Kansas on August 22 and take a bus down to Denver. Then our Flight Schedule is:

  • Denver to Washington DC (August 23, 8:18 am – August 23,1:40 pm) on United Airlines 1297.
  • Washington DC to Beijing (August 23, 5:00 pm – August 24, 6:40 pm) on Air China 818.
  • Beijing to Zhengzhou (August 24, 9:30 pm – August 24, 11:05 pm) on Air China 1331.

If you look at a flight map, you’ll see that our DC-Beijing flight actually goes over the Arctic!  Mom and I have tickets that are a little unique from the rest of the group since they ran out of space for four of us on the plane that the majority are taking on the evening of the 22nd.  So the four of us get to spend the night in a hotel and then start off early the next morning which should be pretty nice.  

Can’t wait for the exciting moment of stepping onto the plane!  I’ll post photos and keep everyone updated! 🙂



Book Review: “A Cheap Ticket For Student Travel”

21 May

“A Cheap Ticket for Student Travel”

by Gary Chen

A small little guide for the average college student on saving while they travel.

Gary Chen’s new book, “A Cheap Ticket for Student Travel” is a great, yet short, read for college/low income students interested in traveling (especially traveling abroad).  At only 23 pages (in PDF form), you can read through it pretty quickly, but it offers some great insights into how you can travel even on a college student’s budget.  

He opens with a pretty strong argument for traveling while you’re young ~ time, energy, and lack of ties.  This is something I wish a lot more students would keep in mind; by the time you have jobs, families, and other demands on your time and attention, traveling becomes less and less of a likelihood.  Since traveling can significantly add to both your accomplishments and the broadening of your experience, taking that awesome trip now is a pretty good idea.

Most of his advice officially starts in Chapter two, where he begins with the important saving tool – Planning.  This carries through the next two chapters during which he discusses how  even little things like grouping nearby locations together can save money on costs.  Chapter 5 is where he really gets into precise methods of saving as opposed to more general recommendations.  He also has a really great form on pages 17-18 that helps you list out your expected expenses and likely total.  I think filling this out is a great way of reminding yourself precisely how much this might cost you and what you need to save. Throughout the book, he offers some great means of saving and I like the main message he communicates — traveling doesn’t have to ruin you financially!

Writing style: Some of the writing could use some editing and there were a few choppy areas, but overall I found it to be a quick and easy read.  A great addition to the ebook is the number of internal links Chen offers his readers–he frequently links to relevant and interesting articles relating to the subject of discussion.  Particularly helpful are the links to discount sites and saving tools; I might even use a few of these!

If you are interested or thinking about traveling, I recommend checking his book out.  You can find it on Smashwords as a FREE E-book (I like the free part, it matches his theme 🙂 )


2015 Law School Rankings

11 Mar

The Rankings are out! 

US News & World Report has released it’s official list of the US Law Schools ranked in order.  . . Iowa made it out at #27 — a few spots lower than when I entered.  In-State Tuition is $28,047; while Out-Of-State tuition is $49,025.  There are currently 411 students at the school–I was one of those 411!  😛 I made it into a statistic.

All I care about though is that we made it out on top of Fordham.  I studied over the summer with those students, and got a ton of sh** about how “UIowa” was just less than and that I would never be able to work outside of the Mid-West.  Honest to God, one girl looked at me snidely in front of our internship boss (Samsung Head of Department) at a fish dinner and comments, “Well, you’re from like Iowa. . . . I mean, you probably don’t know what a lobster is.  You all eat like raccoon, right?  Lobster is this kind of fish from the sea.”  I kid you not. . . . I just about smacked her.   Anyway, YAY! we beat them in the rankings!



18 Things To Know Before You Leave Home (Boys Too!)

2 Feb

Stupid Young Adults.  We can calculate at what time two trains going the same direction from two different locations will meet in the middle, but we can’t boil an egg.  Here are eighteen USEFUL lessons you need to learn before leaving home.  For we are stupid and must be taught.

1. How to Read a Recipe

via "Silly and Serious"

via “Silly and Serious”

Step 2: Know what “add 1/3 tsp of egg yolk to 1/4 c of sifted flour, blend (not mix), and fold in the 2 cups of room temperature water” means.

2. How to Cook Basic Foods

via dreamingofsomethingbetter
via dreamingofsomethingbetter

We’re not talking Bouchée à la Reine  here people.  But at least know how to boil water, scramble an egg, and cook a box of macaroni!

3. How to Wash Dishes

via Pin n Tell

via Pin n Tell

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Understanding the Iowa Law School’s Tuition Change

5 Dec

Law School

It appears that the University of Iowa Board of Regents has just bypassed the Law School’s tuition recommendation. One step forward for the rights of law students anywhere!

They Thought We Were Stupid (We Weren’t)

Way back in October, the University of Iowa College of Law came forward with a tuition proposition that had the students in an uproar. They may not have been in the streets striking, but social media accounts lit up.  None of us understood how the Law School thought we would be okay with the proposal – did we look that stupid?  


After attending UIowa Law, I will owe nearly $200,000 in tuition. I owed less than $27,000 after undergrad.


According to reports, the Law School wanted to cut non-resident tuition by almost $8000 (with the cost dropping from $47,252 to $39,500 per year).  In order to prop up this cut in non-resident tuition, the College was going to raise resident tuition by approx. $500 (up to about $26,750 per year).  It sounded really good, especially when you consider the fact that resident applications have dropped drastically in recent years (actually all applications have dropped; law schools are just slow at admitting it). Since  2010, applications from Iowa Residents have fallen by nearly 50% (from 287 to 173).  So with more non-residents coming in, it sounds like a good idea to drop tuition for them right?  

The Students however saw the following problems –

  • First, the ratio of residents to non-residents is closer than one might think. Iowa has fairly studiously removed the statistics for the student body; however, as of 2011, 49% of the students were residents. (1) For them, tuition went up.  
  • Second, the number of non-residents paying resident tuition is pretty high. They often have  (and are hired first for) Research Assistantships (R.A. positions),  working for professors in exchange for certain benefits. The main benefit is resident tuition. That’s right, by second year – and if not then, definitely third year – many non-resident students are working for resident tuition.

So now, the resident tuition hike is hitting both the resident students and the non-residents who have R.A. positions.

Suffice to say, students were unhappy.

The Board of Regents Responds

Thank God for the wonderful UIowa Board of Regents who acknowledged the problems with the plan.  As Regent Katie Mulholland said,“If it is fair to lower nonresident tuition, then our resident students ought to have the same opportunity in terms of cost.”  (2)  The Board went on to state that they were “‘disappointed’ a tuition cut wasn’t proposed by the law school.” (2). Instead, the Board has proposed that, while the non-resident tuition drop will stand, there will also be a $4,464 drop in resident tuition (to $22,284 per year).  If the Board approves of the proposal, it will begin taking effect in 2014. Too late to help me, but hopefully it will be beneficial to those student in the future.  At least it’s a step in the right direction.

Additional Resources

Seoul International Book Fair

21 Jun

Seoul Book Fair

The 2013 Annual Seoul International Book Fair

Yes, all you English Majors in the world out there, be very, very jealous. For today, I was placed into a HUGE auditorium filled with books, and authors, and publishers, and it just keeps going! It was reader’s heaven!  So many books out there that I had never heard of (mostly because the vast majority were in foreign languages 😛 ).  

First opening in 1995, the Seoul International Book Fair has been going strong ever since.  Every year the Korea Publishers Assn.  hosts the event, which this year is at the COEX Exhibition Hall from June 19- June 23.  You can by your ticket at the ticket booth next to the exhibition hall, and then enter into a book-lover’s (and child’s) wonderland.


Instead of being one of those places where children with sticky Continue reading

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