The IP-International Center is hosting a Spring Fair to celebrate the end of the semester, graduation, and the beginning of Spring! Come to the IP-International Center, CUB L46, on April 19 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for a great day of international food, music, games, conversation and fun! Highlights include an international baked goods potluck from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., giant pizzas at lunch time, and an Ice cream social from 2 – 4 p.m. featuring Ferdinands’ ice cream. The Center brings people and cultures together! Join us!
By Zahra Debbek, Office of International Programs
“The lifetime of rewards you get from your experience abroad are completely priceless and studying abroad has been a huge career boost. It improved the way I connect with people in the office and in building relationships with my suppliers overseas.” – Kelli Schmitz ’09
Washington State University alumna, Kelli Schmitz, who studied apparel merchandising, design, and textiles, is now the assistant product developer at the clothing company SanMar based in Seattle.
Growing up with both parents who are WSU graduates, Schmitz always knew that she was going to study in Pullman. She attended WSU in 2005 and earned her bachelor’s degree in 2009.
Schmitz had always been interested in fashion. As a child, she would draw, design, and create clothes and new outfits out of old scrap materials. Her inspiration comes from her grandmother who taught her how to sew and knit.
“Days at grandma’s house were spent learning to knit, sew, and playing dress-up with scarves, sequin dresses, and high heel shoes,” Schmitz recalled.
She ‘stumbled upon’ Global Learning study abroad table in the CUB and started looking into studying in Europe. In the fall of 2008, she traveled to Italy as part of the Italian Studies and Fashion program. She also traveled to France, Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, and Ireland.
Studying abroad has helped her broaden her knowledge about different textiles and garments from around the world.
Schmitz’s goal has always been to be able to travel while working in the fashion industry. Currently, she holds the position of sourcing and product development at SanMar.
As the assistant product developer, her job is “to determine where that garment will be made, the material, and help facilitating all the details that go into getting it into [the] warehouse,” she explained.
After receiving the designs from designers, Schmitz, alongside with her manager, decides what countries to source fabric from based on the fabric itself.
“For example, if we were handed a beaded top, I would look at India because the sewers are very good at embellishments and intricate details,” Schmitz said.
She has to travel to the places where the factories and fabric mills are located. She strongly believes that having the face-to-face connections make the working relationship stronger.
With the frequent change of fashion trends, Schmitz describes working in the fashion industry as “a roller-coaster.”
“It can be hard to predict where trends are coming from or going towards,” she said.
Schmitz is very grateful for her experience to study abroad, which allowed her to see a variety of styles, garments, design, and fashion trends from different countries. Studying abroad gave her the hands-on experience needed to go into the fashion industry.
By Zahra Debbek, Office of International Programs
“By studying abroad [I became] a much knowledgeable individual, and more marketable to graduate schools as well as employers due to the intangible skills [I acquired] along the way.” –Nam Nguyen
Nam Nguyen, a sophomore from Honors College at Washington State University, was the only WSU student in 2016, and one of 50 students nationwide, to receive a $10,000 grant from the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). The grant has allowed him to study abroad at the CIEE Global Institute in Rome, Berlin, and London for six weeks each during fall 2016.
Seven continents, one dream
“Culture is not just about languages, food, appearances, and personal habits. It can portray deep perceptions, beliefs, and values that influence one’s way of life and the way one views the world.” -Nam Nguyen
Visiting different countries and experiencing different cultures has always been a desire of Nguyen’s. By the young age of 16, he had traveled to multiple countries in the world’s largest continent. He spent time visiting countries throughout Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. Spending time in various countries drove Nguyen to chase his dream of traveling the world. From visiting a few countries in Asia, his dream grew to include reaching and traveling to all seven continents.
Originally from Vietnam, Nguyen never forgot about his goal to see the world when he came to WSU to pursue his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in both professional chemistry and international business. During his time at WSU, he learned about the study abroad programs offered by WSU’s Office of International Programs Department of Global Learning. With the help of his academic advisor, Sharon Ericsson, he set his sights on Europe and got the chance to study in several cities in Ireland during the summer of 2016 on a WSU Faculty-led program. After his exhilarating experience in Ireland, Nguyen did not stop there. He decided to spend the rest of his summer in different cities throughout Europe. Currently, Nguyen is studying in London and will be on his way to check off two more continents this year. First, he will be visiting Brazil followed by Australia.
With his plan to study abroad in Australia and setting foot in South America, Nguyen will have traveled to Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Australia by the spring of 2017. This leaves two more continents; for Nguyen this is a dream coming true. Unable to control his thirst for adventure, Nguyen has started forming plans to visit some countries in Africa in the near future. “I have always wanted to go to all continents, so my next goal is to go to some countries in Africa. I am really looking forward to experiencing the life of people in Africa,” Nguyen said. With the world in his sight, Nguyen has a few favorite countries that he wishes to visit: Japan, Taiwan, Argentina, Cuba, Kenya, Ghana, as well as Antarctica in hopes of conducting scientific research.
When Nguyen applied to study abroad, he was accepted into various programs. Some of the programs that made Nguyen realize his dream to see the world, mainly Europe, were the WSU Faculty-Led Ireland: Exploring the History, Culture, and Environment of Ireland, WSU Faculty-Led Italy: First Generation Abroad, and CIEE’s Global Institutes in Rome, Berlin, and London.
While WSU successfully provides its students with hands-on experiences on campus, it also serves its students overseas with more distinctive day-to-day opportunities, which gives students, like Nguyen, the chance to experience the countries in a genuine manner. “Attending classes overseas is mostly different because [we] mostly study on-site and go to the specific places related to the course [we] are studying,” he explained. If students were attending an art course, for example, they will be taken to a museum or an art gallery to study and look directly at the artwork they are analyzing. He also mentioned that in his business courses, students were taken to a company or a firm to directly communicate and conduct interviews with employers and their employees as part of the learning experience.
Two different majors to save the environment
At a first look, studying both professional chemistry and international business seems to be an unusual combination. To Nguyen, however, they are very relevant to each other. Obtaining a degree in both will help him find creative solutions in order to save the environment, something in which he always to be an active participant. To him, studying abroad and traveling the world fits within his academic studies and aligns with his interest in solving current global issues. Nguyen believes that many global issues relate to chemistry, such as climate change, polluted water, and air pollution. Obtaining a degree in professional chemistry, will allow him to go further in doing research about solutions to save our planet. His goal is to develop a scientific consulting firm that works to provide solutions for other companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google, working toward implementing eco-friendly technologies.
Great accomplishments and more to come
“Nam is a very special young man. In addition to his desire to see all parts of the globe, he is an artist, chemistry major, Honors College student, and one of the nicest, most generous students we have had the pleasure of getting to know!” –Christine Oakley, Director – Global Learning
Visiting and exploring new parts of the world while pursuing two majors and a minor in global studies, still does not stop Nguyen from furthering his academic career by obtaining two certificates: the Global Leadership Certificate and the Certificate of Global Competencies. With a busy schedule, he skillfully managed to keep a high GPA, and continues to be an honor student. Nguyen was recognized for his academic achievement by the WSU Undergraduate Education for earning a 3.9 GPA and was placed among the top seven percent of all freshmen at WSU in 2015. He never allowed his academic schedule to interfere with being involved in the community and outside of classroom extracurricular activities. While serving as the treasurer for the Vietnamese Student Association, he was part of the Student Entertainment Board (SEB) committee. He managed the Engage the World Program at the IP – International Center as an intern and was a member of Planned Parenthood Generation Action. He made the time to volunteer as a peer mentor with WSU IP – Global Services. In addition to his recognition and awards, Nguyen proudly received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Obama. He also received a letter of appreciation from the White House for his outstanding community service and his contributions to the WSU and Pullman community. Currently, Nguyen is a student ambassador for the WSU College of Arts and Sciences.
Upon his return to the WSU campus, Nguyen plans to start participating in undergraduate research with the WSU McNair Achievement Program, something he is deeply excited about. Following his graduation in 2019, he wishes to enroll in graduate school and earn his Ph.D. to further his education. He is also considering enrollment in the WSU MBA (Master of Business Administration) program.
“The best way to experience a culture is to live it, which is exactly what [students studying abroad] will be doing. Aside from gaining an understanding for cultures other than their own, they will also gain intangible skills. Independence, time management, organization skills, social skills and self-confidence.” – Nam Nguyen
Studying abroad has always been a way for students to learn about and from cultures first-hand, which helps them learn about subjects and matters from a whole new perspective. For Nguyen, studying abroad is not just about gaining new experiences, but an opportunity to allow one not only to restrict a single set of ideologies, but also to figure out a totally different style of ideologies. He believes that studying abroad has helped him learn more about himself as an individual and learn more about his own culture when seen in different lights. Nguyen’s one main advice for students intending to study abroad is not to have expectations. There’s so much more the world has to offer and he believes that expectations become limitations. He added that while abroad, every day is going to present a new and different set of opportunities, “It’s all going to unfold in a way you could have never expected.”
Discover how Christmas is celebrated around the world through different cultures and traditions.
Make your own gifts, decorations, and cards while enjoying coffee.
Join the Office of International Programs for our annual Thanksgiving Potluck. You are encouraged to bring a small dish to share. We will have small notecards with each dish listing the ingredients for noting any potential allergens or ingredients in your dish that guests may not be able to eat. All international students, scholars, dependents, Global Learning students, and IP volunteers are welcome to join.This is a great opportunity for us to gather as a department to share our appreciation for one another!
If you are planning to bring a dish, please sing up here.
Join the Sing Along Coffee Hour for a singing competition. You can sing in teams or perform individually with a karaoke. Bring your favorite song, share it, and introduce new songs from your home country.
Members from PERMIAS Indonesian Student Association will join the International Center to talk about traditional games in Indonesia. Join us to learn about traditional Indonesian games and participate to play!
As part of the celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, IP’s International Center invites you to join their Hispanic Cultures and Celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month Coffee Hour to learn more about Hispanic cultures and heritage.
During the Korean Culture Coffee Hour, the Korean Student Association (KSA) will share travel destinations to South Korea, the subculture of Korean youth including education, college life, and pop culture as well as the different cultures of South Korea.