Moravian College | Office of International Studies | April 2011 1

Moravian College | Office of International Studies | April 2011 | 1
Naomi Gal, Tim Smetana, Editors; Andrew Watson, Layout and Design
As we approach the end of the academic year we have the opportunity for reflection. We have
witnessed a shocking natural disaster in the form of a giant earthquake and tsunami that continues to
ravage Japan. We have rejoiced in the rescue of Chilean miners trapped for more than a month
underground. As a nation we have shown resilience in moving forward during these difficult economic
times. Now it is time to celebrate the achievements of all of you who will be graduating from Moravian
College this May. Your knowledge and the skills you have learned at Moravian will guide you forward.
The path may not appear right away, but your determination will result in achieving your goals. Thank
you for being part of the Moravian College community. We wish you well and hope that you will
remember us fondly as a happy and exciting time of your life.
- Kerry Sethi, Director of International Studies
Saying Goodbye to Moravian
By Ekaterina Ponomareva
Looking back at the four years of my college
career I must admit I would have never guessed it
would be the way it was. Moravian helped me grow
as an academic and a leader ever since I first stepped
onto this campus back in August 2007.
I remember my international student
orientation - back in the old Leadership Center. In front
of a group of ten overwhelmed exchange students,
Dean Skalnik was kindly explaining that in America
you should not stand close to or touch your professors
at any time. Great, I thought, it’s the same as in Russia;
teachers must also be quite evil and self-absorbed
people, nothing new here. The following first semester
of my studies here was full of what now seems to be
the silliest troubles. I had excellent knowledge of
calculus and other math courses, that’s when I understood the meaning of the saying: “math is an
international language” - thank God for these formulas and diagrams!
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Another challenge was my German course.
Right before my first class I happily bought a new
bright yellow dictionary; in class I realized that it
included, surprise-surprise, only German to English
translations. So as I could not always understand
the professor’s translations, I had to carry around
two sets of dictionaries, German-English and
English-Russian. But my biggest challenge was the
Writing 100 class, where I was horrified to find out
that nobody ever taught me how to write. Learning
was a struggle, and it took me some time to realize
that I would never master it to perfection; I continue
to improve myself to this day, with each paper,
report or article.
With every new semester I had new challenges, and each time they became more grave and
complicated. I saw many opportunities for self-improvement along the way, and I am glad I took
advantage of most of them. Liberal arts education forced me to take classes in unfamiliar subjects and
research unknown topics, but it broadened my knowledge and raised my awareness of current issues in the
world. I have enjoyed small classes and faculty’s personal approach to education; contrary to my initial
perceptions Moravian professors were very involved and caring, down-to-earth and friendly.
A highlight of the years spent in college was a semester abroad in Erfurt, Germany. Over the four
months I spent there l learned how to live a truly independent life, experienced a new culture, practiced a
language and made life-long connections with German natives and other exchange students. A year later
we already had our first reunion, this time on American
As much as I was looking forward to my last
semester of college, it has been the hardest one. I have
been pushed to the limit. Fortunately my efforts are
paying off - I recently defended my Honors Project on
East German privatization process, took part in
Inaugural German Studies Conference and Quinnipiac
Global Asset Management Education Forum, and
became a member of economics, foreign language and
mathematics’ national honor societies. I am looking
forward to graduating on May 14 and see my parents
in the crowd as I wave to them, my diploma in hand.
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Moravian College Experience
By Petra Gregorova and Anna Fuksova
After almost nine months in the United States, our ideas about people, culture and the educational
system are much changed.
Before coming to the U.S. we had no expectations or prejudices. We were average European
students who had never visited America before. But we were surrounded by American influences in the
media and through the language. We came to Moravian as open-minded observers.
Czech and American college life are different in many ways. In the Czech Republic the concept of
university education is much more independent, meaning that the students themselves are responsible for
any and all arrangements. For example, Czech universities do not provide work-study, or various other
school events. The Czech educational system is financed by taxes. Hence, Czech students do not have to
pay for studying at the university.
In our opinion, everything in the U.S is more or less about money. The standards and the level of
comfort are definitely higher here than in the Czech Republic. It seems to us that studying in the U.S. is
more effective and more comfortable. Moravian College provides all the technologies, equipment, brandnew textbooks, and everything we need for our studies. It seems as if we do not learn anything that is
useless or old-fashioned.
As for our classes, we can happily say that teachers at Moravian College made deep impressions
on both of us. Their incredible involvement in our studies here led us to the conclusion that they perceive
their profession more than just a job. They are always ready to answer your questions and to find time for
you. Their enthusiastic attitudes, knowledge, as well as their out of class involvement with students were
wonderful, and made us respect them much more. We would like to thank Professors Lalande, McKeown,
Kotsch, Faggioli, Olson, Leeds, and Gal in particular for their attention, assistance, advice, and inspiration
throughout the entire year. We were very impressed by their professionalism, but also by their ability to
connect with us on a personal level. Coming from a large university, this personal, individually based
attitude was amazing and unexpected. We were very impressed, and want to express our gratitude to all
of our professors.
We are both very grateful to the Chapmans, who gave us a lovely home in which we shared
meals with our international friends, and talked about our new experiences and cultural backgrounds. Their
support throughout our studies is deeply appreciated, and we would like to thank them for their continued
friendliness and care.
We have made many great friends. The community of full-time international students (Katia P., Jai
C., Sharad KC, Chris Y.) helped us a lot at the beginning of our stay here. They allowed us to get
acquainted with the Moravian community as well as the surrounding area. Also, involved American students
(Rachel K. and Alex S.) took the initiative to introduce us to the U.S. (D.C.), and their enthusiasm helped us
get better integrated into Moravian college life. Students in our programs of study (Kate B., Katie C.,
Adelle M., Mike O.) made us feel welcome in our classes, and helped us to get further involved in
Moravian College | Office of International Studies | April 2011 | 4
organizations on campus, as well as more involved in our classes in general. The International Poetry
festival in November gave us a chance to make friends from other areas, and additional trips, club
meetings and events, gave us further opportunities to do so, with the help of our new friends.
Concerning our work-study experience, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Media
Center (Craig Underwood) and Reeves Library (Linda LaPointe). We think that students’ participation
running campus services is an important chance to get involved, and it makes students more responsible in
both their jobs and their lives.
In addition, we would like to thank our personal translator and friend, Katie Consales, for all of
her help with the nuances of the language and our informal guide to unfamiliar American systems.
As far as traveling is concerned, we have seen all the major cities in the northeast region of the
country, and we enjoyed all of them. We spent different amounts of time in each, yet the time we spent
gave us different tastes of city life in the U.S. We visited New York City, Washington D.C., and
Philadelphia. We also traveled to South Carolina with Habitat.
As for food: American cuisine is very different from what we are used to. We must say that we
think American food is a little unhealthy and monotonous. For example, we do not understand why the
essential part of the American diet is based on fries, burgers and soda. However, we have always been
able to find what we like to eat, and we want to thank the college cafeteria and the Blue and Grey Cafe
for feeding us and for their great treatment and services throughout the school year.
Overall, our time at Moravian has been extremely positive and immensely enriching. Not only the
places, but in particular the people, have made this experience an unforgettable one. We will always
remember our time here, and can say that we will miss our friends (ok, teachers too!) dearly. We know that
we will benefit from this experience for the rest of our lives.
Back to London
By Lauren Smith
For some people the idea of studying abroad may seem like a daunting experience. Being over
three thousand miles away from home in a different country with different cultures and beliefs can be
intimidating. However, these are not the feelings that I felt when I was planning my semester abroad
because I have more of a unique situation. Currently, I have dual-citizenship: American and British.
I was born in London on July 16, 1988. When I was three years old, my family made the decision
to move to the states for my Dads’ job. However, while this move was exciting I was also leaving behind
my entire family: aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and even my sister. I always aspired to go back to
where I was born and be able to experience the culture in a different way and be closer to my family.
This is why I knew that I was going to study abroad in London during the fall semester of my senior year.
When I first got off of the airplane so many thoughts were going through my head. I was
extremely nervous about meeting new people and becoming accustomed to a new way of life. I felt as if I
was freshman in college again; having all of the same concerns I had three years ago. However, these
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concerns were irrelevant after the first week of living in London. There was a huge comfort level for me
being back in the area I was born. I was able to have the opportunity to see my family more in four
months than I ever have in my entire life.
Ultimately, I made new friends and even better experiences for myself than I could have ever
imagined. I was fortunate enough to travel to five different places while I was abroad. These included
Sicily, Wales, Dublin, Paris, and Barcelona. It enabled me to open my eyes to a completely different way
of life and meet some of the most interesting characters.
Student-Athlete Overseas
By Matthew Levine
In spring 2010, instead of partaking in my spring soccer season at Moravian, I chose to study
abroad. I was a little hesitant leaving, knowing that I would miss out on off-season training with the team.
Fortunately for me, the university where I was studying in Bangor, Wales had an open tryout, which
allowed me to join up. After the initial tryout I made the team. It was a unique experience because
university sports there are very different than they are here. Unlike Moravian, where there is only one
Varsity soccer team consisting of a little over 20 players, Bangor University has three teams with over 60
players. At Moravian the same players play game in and game out, but not there. The squad is continually
rotated to accommodate the vast roster to choose from.
I was fortunate to be able to train twice a week as well as the chance to play in one of the games.
Although I took part in a losing effort, it was definitely an interesting experience. Competing in a different
country was exciting for me as well as to play on a regular basis. It was fantastic. Although conditions
were not always ideal, the practice field being somewhat sub-standard, still I wouldn’t have traded those
practice days for anything.
Another aspect of being an athlete abroad was the opportunity to watch sports. I got a chance to
watch soccer players I have been watching on TV in person for the first time. The first time I stepped into
the Emirates Stadium, which is the home to Arsenal (my favorite team); it most certainly was a goose bump
type moment. I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to ever watch live games like that and to be
amongst fans that shared the same passion for the same team. The soccer game was truly special and
almost unreal. I got to see other stadiums and watch matches such as Old Trafford, the home of the team I
really despise in Manchester United. It was definitely interesting as I sat with one of my friends, who is a
United fan and tried to blend in with the home support. It was definitely hard for me not to openly root for
the opposing team, but it goes without saying that when I had to cheer for United I was subdued and very
low compared to the ravenous fans around me when goals were scored.
Another thing I witnessed, which intrigued me as an athlete from the United States was watching a
university basketball game since one of my housemates was on the team. In all honesty it was kind of
brutal for me as an American and as someone who played throughout high school. There was no quality to
the game. I feel like there are better quality pick-up games that I play here at Moravian than what I saw
Moravian College | Office of International Studies | April 2011 | 6
on the court that day. It made me wish that I could play because I felt I would have been much better than
a many of my peers.
Even though I missed the spring season while studying abroad I feel it didn’t impact me too much. I
still was able to play and stay in shape as well as further my education as a player watching professionals
in person. Also when I returned for preseason for the next year, it was as if I didn’t miss any time. I jumped
right back with my teammates as if I never left. Some of my teammates said that they should spend the
spring semester abroad rather than play in the spring season because of how positive of an experience it
was for me.
All in all I had a great time abroad. I feel I went into it with a different mentality being an athlete.
It was most certainly a great experience getting the chance to play and watch the sport I love in another
country. I can only hope that I would get another opportunity to return and watch more games because
there is nothing else like it.
France & Moi
By Anne Joseph
I was entering a world of unknown. France would be largely different from the United States, but I
was ready to take the biggest leap of my life.
After six hours flight to Paris, France, I passed through Customs. The security man knew I was
American, and decided to sing the song “American Girl.” He thought all Americans knew that song. This is
France, I thought, where French people sing American songs to you, thinking you must have heard it,
showing off their learned American pop-culture. Little
did I know that I was in for an adventurous ride.
It has been 90 days since I have set foot in
France and I can honestly say that I have made the
right choice. I like that Poitiers is not a big city, although
there are so many historic sites to see and numerous
cathedrals. This is really a city for students; there are
bars, clubs, parks, museums, adventure parks, the
countryside, and shopping centers. There are eager
French students who want to make international friends,
and of course to showcase and improve their English. It
is one of the points on the TGV (fast moving train) line
that makes it possible to visit Paris, Bordeaux, Tours,
Toulouse, Rennes, La Rochelle, and more.
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The university I attend, Université de
Poitiers, offers a variety of classes that exchange
students can choose from, whether it is a Masters
level or an undergraduate course. Classes meet
once or twice a week, but a class can run for four
hours. Also, their grading system is much different
than in the US, because everything is out of 20. It
is rare to get 20/20. I have noticed that there is
not a lot of class participation, except in the
translation classes I take. It seems that French
students do not want to be wrong; therefore they
do not raise their hand. But in America, teachers
feed off of participation and sometimes it is part of the final grade. We also say “there is no such thing as
a stupid question, or a stupid answer,” so in turn we encourage students to speak, even though the answer
might me wrong.
On a lighter note, I am having the time of my life and I will definitely miss Poitiers when I return. It
was a big stressful in the beginning getting everything situated, starting classes, and finding friends, but
now I am traveling, attending events, and exploring more of Poitiers! I have already traveled to Paris,
Bordeaux, Tours, and La Rochelle.
And my next destinations are Italy,
Netherlands, London and Barcelona.
This is really the best country to be in
for studying abroad. France has so
many surrounding countries, and its
means of transport is incredible
efficient and affordable.
I still have a little over a
month to enjoy being abroad. I
realize I am the guinea pig in this first
ever exchange program, but this has
been the best experience ever. It will
surely be bittersweet to come back
on the 28th of May, but who knows, I
may return to Poitiers for my Masters.
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London: A New Colour Palette
By Julia Damiani
The first few feelings were hard to put into
context. Was I scared? Anxious? Excited? Worried?
I could not tell. When I arrived at London Heathrow
Airport I could feel my stomach drop. I was excited to
be in London but I was alone and had to find my way
around for the first time by myself. Finding my way to
the residential hall was the easiest part. The difficulty
struck when it came to creating my own “niche” in a
culture that was vastly different from my own.
My first night in London I started to realize that
this was really happening. I was in London, miles and
miles across the ocean from my family and friends.
Tears fell from my eyes as I lay in bed listening to pure
silence and feeling more alone than ever. Then I
reminded myself that this was the time when I needed
to take control of everything and experience a world
beyond my expectations.
In the first week I started my internship
placement. I did not know what to expect. Questions
constantly rolled through my head… Was it going to
be a large office? Would my supervisor be nice?
Was I going to be able to understand their accents?
Will I succeed at my work and not look like a fool?
Was I going to get lost on my way to the office? My
brain was overloaded with constant worry and
anticipation. When I did finally arrive for my first day,
I quickly learned that the office was two rooms and
only three people, including myself. My first few
thoughts were that this was going to be interesting as I
worked solely in an office with two Irishmen whom I
could not understand. Their accents were so thick, that
for the first month I simply agreed with every word
they said. On most occasions this worked, until there
was a time when the questions required more than a
yes or no response.
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Trying to battle accents and vocabulary differences was the largest challenge I faced. Not only in
the office, but also at the university I attended. My university was filled with international students from all
around the globe. At times it was very difficult to participate in class discussions. I could not understand
what the students were trying to say, so I just sat there with a confused look on my face. I felt lost and had
a hard time relating to anyone. Although, as time passed I listened more intently and began to piece
together what they were saying. This was when I started to
find their methods of thinking and learning intriguing.
There were often debates about things considered to be
the “norm” in my psychology class. Some discussions were
extremely heated due to the cultural differences among us.
Many of the students came from societies that frown upon
people who wear vibrant colors, sing in public, or are
homosexual. Why would a culture shun its people for
choosing to be different? This is a question I still can’t
answer. It took time to be aware and accept that many
cultures do not leave room for free expression.
This acceptance and understanding led me to learn
a valuable lesson. I learned to be proud of who I am as
an individual. I respect and value the different cultures
and lifestyles that exist in our world. After all, they are
what make the world such an exciting place. I only wish
everyone could see that within every culture there are
those who are not afraid to stand out and they are the
brave ones. Even in London, there are people who are
braver than anyone could imagine.
London is a world of expression. Often seen as
foggy and gray, I saw it as colorful and lively. There was
sunshine on the foggiest days and beauty beneath every
cobblestone. It is a city with so many stories of the past,
the present, and the future. You could stay there for years
and still not explore or experience everything London has
to offer. It was my stepping-stone into life. I was pulled
from what I knew and thrown into a pool of diversity.
There I learned the value of individuality amongst an
assortment of creativity, passion, history, and existence. It
is true that “parting is such sweet sorrow” and all we can
do is to cherish the memories that live in our hearts.
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Globalyours, April 2011
Moravian College Office of International Studies
1200 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018