Friday, January 16, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Monday, January 19th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Many of you may have heard of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, if for no other reason than that there is no class that day! However, many are often unaware of who this man was and why we celebrate his birthday every year. 

Dr. King was a minister, activist, and leader of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s. At that time in the U.S., African Americans were commonly treated as second class citizens. Dr. King was a leader in trying to gain equality for all people. He was famous for preaching non-violence, and his "I have a dream" speech remains one of the most recognizable speeches made in our history. To see and listen to the speech, click here:

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is celebrated in America on December 31. 

There are many ways people celebrate this holiday! One of the most common ways is to stay up till midnight to welcome in the New Year with friends and family. Fireworks are often lit off at midnight. 

Most people in America make New Year's resolutions. A resolution is a promise to yourself to work on something you have been meaning to fix. Common resolutions include  improving one's grades, eating healthier, or saving money.

Here’s some advice about how to succeed with your new year’s resolution:
1. Set reasonable goals. Be very specific about your resolution. Don't say: "I want to do better in class." Do say: "I will study every day for one hour for each class" or “I will talk with one person I don’t know every day.” Make realistic, measurable goals and write them down.
2.  Limit the number of resolutions you make. It's better to do one thing well than several things poorly (or not at all).
3.  Post your list in a visible place to serve as a reminder and encouragement to yourself. It will also allow other people to see your resolutions and provide support. If you want to keep your resolutions private, record them in a journal.
4.   Enlist the support of your friends and family. If you're lucky, they'll have similar goals and you can work on your resolutions together. Encourage people to be helpful and supportive.
5.  Take action immediately. Make important appointments with a doctor, dietitian, advisor or counselor. Sign up for a new activity. Make an appointment with someone you have not met before.
6.  Practice new behaviors that encourage success. If you want to stop smoking, don't hang out in smoke-filled bars or casinos. If you want to lose weight, don't bring desserts, junk food, candy or ice cream into the house. Limit your exposure to people who are likely to encourage resolution-breaking. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you.
7.   Set incremental (step-by-step) goals and reward yourself for partial successes. If you're working on studying more, for example, reward yourself with a small splurge after you do this for a week. Celebrate and go out for coffee or tea!
8.   Substitute a good habit for the bad one you want to break. If your goal is to eat less junk food, find a healthy food you love. If you want to spend more time studying, make a calendar with designated times to study (and to take a break!) on it.

Read more: How to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions |

We hope everyone has a wonderful new year, and we look forward to seeing everyone on January 5!

Friday, December 26, 2014

CIEP End of Quarter Ceremony Speeches

Missed the CIEP End of Quarter Ceremony? If yes, check out the three speeches below given by current and recently graduated CIEP students! 

1.       This speech was given by graduating student Jawaher Alotaibi at the Autumn Quarter 2014 Campus Intensive English Program End of Quarter Ceremony at the University of Washington.

2.       This speech was given by student Nan Cheng at the Autumn Quarter 2014 Campus Intensive English Program End of Quarter Ceremony at the University of Washington.

3.       This speech was given by student Yuta Taniguchi at the Autumn Quarter 2014 Campus Intensive English Program End of Quarter Ceremony at the University of Washington.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Teacher Reflections

Dear International Students,

I am speaking to you today not as a teacher but as a witness—a person who sees what is happening and who speaks about what he sees.

I would like to tell you what I see now, what I have seen this quarter, and what I see every quarter when I look at the people in this program and in my classroom.

Here’s what I see:

I see men and women who have traveled thousands of miles to live in a foreign country.

I see women and men who struggle every day trying to communicate in this crazy language called English.

I see people who run from building to building to be on time, and then have the grace and the patience to listen attentively while a teacher challenges them to understand.
I see young women and men who for the first time in their lives are living away from their parents, who for the first time have to pay the bills, do the shopping, do the cooking, and the cleaning.

I see students who endure the daily confusion of living in a country that seems to have many, many rules and sometimes no rules at all.

I see those who are going just a little bit crazy trying to figure out what each teacher wants, what that store clerk just said, and why complete strangers talk to you at the bus stop.

I see husbands and wives who never realized that living overseas would challenge them to love each other even more and whose children would learn English much, much faster than they would.

I see people who share with us their dreams of the future, who share the precious hope of becoming who they truly want to be.

I see risk takers who are gambling that the time, money, and energy they invest today will result in the future pay off of a better life.

I see children who carry the hopes and dreams of their parents, and who know that failure is not an option.

I see a group of people who seem very, very different from one another, and from their American teachers. But I know that underneath the surface differences of culture and gender, we human beings are 99.9% genetically identical. We humans, for all intents and purposes, are the same person repeated 7 billion times.

It is because of this amazing similarity that we know what you feel and share in your dreams and feel honored to participate in helping you make those dreams come true. And so we, the instructors in the Campus IEP, would like to bear witness to all that you do for us and to say thank you for how much you enrich our lives.

Thank you so much, dear students. You are truly wonderful to work with. 

Speech written by Richard Alishio, IELP Instructor

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Volunteering in Seattle

What is Volunteering?
  • 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. 
  • The level of skills and training required vary with position.
  • Volunteering usually involves reciprocal benefits for those serving and being served.
  • Source: UW Carlson Center (

Why Volunteer?
  • Benefits others.
  • Benefits you.
  • Make friends and practice English
  • Build your resume
  • Learn new skills
  • Do something you enjoy
  • It's fun!

Volunteering & F-1 Visas
  • Can F-1 students do volunteer work?  Yes!
  • Can F-1 students receive compensation for volunteer work?  No!
    • Compensation includes: money, credit, awards, gifts

Finding Volunteer Opportunities
There are many organizations that make it easy to search for volunteer opportunities online.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 27!

The first Thanksgiving took place in 1621. The Pilgrims (early European settlers) shared a feast with the Native Americans to give thanks for the years harvest.

Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated as a day to remember all the things in life we have that we are grateful for. It is a time to give thanks.

Thanksgiving is normally celebrated with family and friends and includes a large meal.

The most commonly eaten meal on Thanksgiving is turkey. Common side dishes include mashed potatoes, yams, rolls, and pumpkin pie!

The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. It is the biggest shopping day of the year.

Stores will have huge sales. Many people will line up outside the store before they have opened to make certain they get the best deals.

Please remember there will no classes November 27 or 28. We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving break!