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 (http://exp.washington.edu/carlson)

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!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Daylight Savings

Sunday, November 2, Daylight Savings Ends! This means that everyone sets their clocks one hour back. 

One easy way to remember how Daylight Savings works is that in the spring, we "spring forward" and lose an hour, and in the fall, we "fall back" and gain an hour!

The purpose of DST is to extend the amount of daylight by an hour in the afternoons during spring, summer, and much of fall.

In order to make certain you don't oversleep and miss anything important, make certain to set your clocks back one hour the night before. For example, change your clock from 11:00pm to 10:00pm.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Halloween is celebrated in America every year on October 31. 

This is a fun holiday that is celebrated by people of all ages! It is typical  to dress up. People will dress up as witches, princesses, superheroes and more!

Little kids will dress up and walk around the neighborhood trick-or -treating. Trick-or-treating is when you ring on people's doorbells and say trick-or-treat to receive candy!

There are many Halloween themed parties complete with pumpkins, skeletons, witches and black cats.

Many people carve pumpkins. At night, people will put candles in them.

Corn mazes are also a classic way to celebrate Halloween. For those who like to be scared, there are haunted corn mazes!

Check out the nearby corn mazes and haunted houses in and around the Seattle area-

Scary Corn Mazes-
Looking to be scared? Come check out some of the areas best haunted corn mazes complete with chain saws, fake blood, and lots of screaming.

Stalker Farms-Located in Snohomish, this maze features the Field of Screams and Last Laugh Haunts.

Wild Waves Theme Park- Come visit Wild waves and prepare to be scared. Ride the attractions, but beware, there are monsters waiting to come out and scare you!

Kube 93 Haunted House- Located in a former morgue that was built more than 100 years ago, this haunted house is one of the scariest attractions around.

Corn Mazes
These mazes are done during the day. The goal is to find your way out of the maze. While you are there, pick up a pumpkin to take home to carve! This is a great activity for all ages.

Craven Farms- Located in Snohomish, this farm features a 15 acre corn maze, a pumpkin slinger, tractor rides, and more!

Fox Hallow Family Farms - Located in Issaquah, this farm has attractions that range from hay bale mazes, pony rides, mini tractors, and of course, a pumpkin patch!

Bob's Corn and Pumpkin Farm - Located in Snohomish, this farm features a 10 acre corn maze, hay rides, a pumpkin patch, and more!

Now the question is, how will you celebrate Halloween?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Difference between IELTS and TOEFL

Confused about the difference between IELTS and TOEFL? Below are some major differences between IELTS and TOEFL. 

  • TOEFL is internet based; that is, you will not talk to humans during the test, even during the speaking part. IELTS is paper based; that is, humans administer the test and you will have an interview with an examiner for the speaking part.
  • You need good typing skills for the TOEFL, but good and clear hand writing for the IELTS.
  • TOEFL take a bit longer than IELTS, but there is a 10 minute break. IELTS takes shorter, but has no break.
  • All parts of the TOEFL test are completed on the same day in the morning, but the speaking part of the IELTS could happen one day before the test day or in the afternoon of the test day.
  • TOEFL fee is a bit lower than the IELTS fee.
  • The speaking and writing parts of the TOEFL are integrated; that is, you should write/speak based on a reading or listening and add your opinion as well. The speaking and writing parts of the IELTS are generally a response to a question. 
It is recommended that you check the dates and location for both tests to see what is available and more convenient for you.

Thank you to Nasrin Nazemi, our Assessment Coordinator, for providing this information.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mid-Quarter Costume Party!

Come to the Mid-Quarter Costume Party on Friday, October 31st from 6-8p.m!

Dress up and enjoy lots of food and music with fellow IELP students and faculty.