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Global Village: Le Village Francophone Rocks!

One of the most exciting aspect of my second year at Juniata has been my involvement with the global village (GV), particularly the Francophone Village as its programming coordinator. The global village is a learning and living community centered around language and intercultural learning. It is made up of Intercultural Floor, El Rincón Hispánico, Haus Wanderlust, Le Village Francophone and the Chinese Village. The language houses formerly used to be off campus with their own individual buildings. This year however, the GV has been relocated into the Tussey and Terrace (TnT) dorm, and the lounge has been renovated and turned into the global commons with a dining room added! Some language houses have changed their named, including the Francophone Village (previously known as le Village Français). The name change was initiated by the residents and me to make the village more inclusive as most of us were French speakers but not French.

Figure 1I (on the far right) and my fellow French speakers at the Francophone Village open house: Perrine Lesage, Pia Dubar, Justine Delloye, Omar Zniber, Taha Barkaoui and Charles-Elie Latawiec
Figure 1: I (on the far right) and my fellow French speakers at the Francophone Village open house: Perrine Lesage, Pia Dubar, Justine Delloye, Omar Zniber, Taha Barkaoui and Charles-Elie Latawiec

As a programming coordinator, I am responsible for several things, including coordinating monthly dinners and activities. The best part of being a coordinator is making those dinner because, for me, FOOD=LIFE! I really enjoy cooking, and I believe that one way to have an effective cross-cultural communication is by sharing food. As a result, twice a week, my residents and I pull our efforts together to make delicious meals from the Francophone world. The most recent dinner, last Friday, featured the famous poutine dish– French fries topped with cheese and gravy–from Québec. Since I went on fall break trip to Quebec with the French club, it seemed only appropriate to do a dish from that region. In addition to the regular potatoes, we made some sweet potato poutine, inspired from the menu of Cinko, my favorite restaurant in Montréal! While we ate, a slideshow our adventures in Quebec was playing on the screen, and we had the great time.

Figure 2The original Poutine from Cinko!
Figure 2: The original Poutine from Cinko!

At previous dinners, we made food from Côte d’Ivoire (Aloco-fried plantains-and fried rice), Tunisia (Tunisian coucous), France (Quiche) and Québec (Poutine). These dishes represented the countries and regions of the French speakers that Juniata had, which shows the affluence of the francophone cultures on campus. In order to promote the village, I organized an open house and invited President Troha and Provost Bowen. They were happy with our work and loved the food! In the near future, we will be making food from Niger Senegal and Guadeloupe and continue to invite various members of the Juniata community.

Figure 3: Ivorian fried rice and Tunisian coucous mixed
Figure 3: Ivorian fried rice and Tunisian coucous mixed

As a global citizen, I am proud to be involved in pioneering GV in the newly renovated Global Commons; My co-coordinators and I, with the support our advisors and generous contributors, do our best to set the stage for the future global residents. GV still has a long way to go—we still need a kitchen of our own, which requires donations and skillful marketing skills–, but I believe in the importance of language learning and global citizenship. And indeed, we are on the right track.

 

Photo Credit to: Haruka Kamegaya

Week Before Finals

When I tried to remember what I’ve been doing for the past week, this is the list I came up with, in the order that I thought of:

1) This past Friday, I ventured

up to the peace chapel with three of my closest friends. It was a much-needed break from staring at textbooks and computer screens, and the perfect day for enjoying some sun and relaxing.

At the Peace Chapel.  Photo Credit: Jessica Matlack
At the Peace Chapel. Photo Credit: Jessica Matlack

2) The Global Village was hosting an end of the year barbeque on Saturday, and my housemates and I spent hours that morning making shrimp shishkabobs and a pesto-pasta salad. All of the language houses made something for everyone to share, and oh my, was it all delicious.

3) On Sunday night, two of my friends and I took a study break and made homemade no-bakes.

4) The weather this week has been lovely, and I’ve spent a decent amount of time doing some work (…and sometimes taking a nap) with my equally as lovely housemates on the lawn outside of our house.

5) Laughter.

6) Yesterday, I went to lunch with one of my good friends and housemates at Standing Stone. We sat outside and ate our delicious Panini’s and sipped our smoothies, just enjoying the sun and people walking by.

7) Schoolwork.

If you’d asked me in person, I probably would have said something along the lines of “oh, a ton of work, you know.” This is not to say that I haven’t been working like a crazy person to finish everything that needs to be done, but I’ve realized that the people around me have made this week one of the best of my year, and it’s the week before finals!

The last few weeks of the semester are always rough. Anywhere you look, students are frantically trying to finish those last two papers, study like crazy for the coming exams, or desperately working to perfect end-of-the-year presentations. But the moments that I’ve spent with the people that I love here has made every painfully-late night of work more than worth it. These are the memories that I’ll look back on, seeing my friend’s faces mid-laughter, or remembering something especially amusing that they said. A good college experience has so much to do with the people  you surround yourself with, and I’d say I’m pretty lucky.

An International Campus Community

Me with my friends from France and ThailandOne of the few disadvantages that I saw myself potentially facing as a Juniata student was a lack of immersion with the French language and culture that I had come to love. As diverse as the Juniata student body was for its size, I did not expect to have much of a chance to experience the Francophone way of life, or meet French students, simply because of the location.

However, I have been proven 100% wrong.

A somewhat new initiative on campus, Juniata’s Global Village now offers language-specific housing for anyone hoping to kick their fluency level up a few notches and live with international roommates from areas of the world where the language is spoken. The Global Village is made up of two different entities:

1)      The Intercultural Floor- Currently located in our dorm Terrace, the Intercultural Floor houses students who wish to experience living in a non-location-specific international community. I lived here during my freshman year and met people from all around the world. My roommate from that year is Jamaican, but I also got to know people from France, Nigeria, Japan, and Bulgaria, for example.

2)      Language-Specific Houses- These ‘living and learning’ communities are set in campus-owned houses. We currently have a Spanish House (La Casa Hispánica), French House (Le Village Français), and the German House (Haus Wanderlust). I currently live in Le Village Français as the Event Program Coordinator, and choosing to apply to the house is the best decision I think I have made during my time here.

I could go on for hours and hours about how much I’ve loved living in Le Village Français and what I’ve learned from my housemates, but I will try to be somewhat concise. French student life, social patterns, cooking, and travel are only a few of the subjects that I’ve been able to hear so much of from students who have lived their whole lives in France. I have had the chance to become particularly close friends with 4 French students who all go to school in Lille. If you’ve read my profile, you know that I will be spending my next academic year in Lille, France. This means that when I arrive at the airport to start my whole year abroad, most likely exhausted and scared out of my mind, there will be friendly faces waiting for me as soon as I walk off of the plane. I cannot put into words how much I appreciate knowing that these people will be there to help me get on my feet. I have also gotten to know 3 of my housemates who are going to Lille with me next year, and they are the most wonderful people I could hope to set off on this experience with. To me, the friends that I have made because of living in this French House are invaluable, and I would not have gotten to know them if I had not lived in the Global Village.

If you take one thing from this, let it be that you will not be disappointed if you are willing to open your mind and heart to the international students that reside within the Juniata community. If you love a language, live with students who will speak it with you. I have made lifelong friends from all over the world during these past two years. And no matter what part of the world that they are from, these friends always inspire me to be my best, see the world, and make the most of this Earth we have been given.

Au revoir!

(Which literally means “until we meet again.” Those French romantics!)

Washington, D.C. Shenanigans = New Friends and Fun

I live on the Intercultural Floor, meaning that I am part of the Global Village – a living/learning community all about international interests and experiences. Some of us have studied abroad or intend to, some are international students, and some are interested in global perspectives. This past weekend the International Office sponsored an overnight trip to Washington, D.C. A number of us on my floor jumped at the chance to go because who doesn’t love D.C.? Or any field trip really. Plus, it gave us the opportunity to spend time together outside of Juniata and get to know each other as more than just a face in class.

To be honest, I was a little hesitant about going on the trip. I was familiar with the girls on my floor, but not super tight with any of them so I was unsure of how the weekend would go. Who would I hang out with? Would it be awkward? But after debating with myself I decided to quit whining and just do it! After all, college is about trying new things, making new friends. And let me tell you, it was worth it. Right away we realized that we all were feeling the same way and the awkwardness completely disappeared. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in a long time.

We managed to pack a TON of sights and museums into two days. For most of the American students the monuments and museums weren’t anything new. It was really fun, though, to show the international students our nation’s capital and explain a little of our history to them. My inner history nerd was on big displayMarilyn's DC Trip. The group also went to see a production of the Broadway musical Fela while we were there. I was super excited because the theater was right across from the Verizon Center where the Washington Capitals play and on the Sunday we were there, the Penguins were in town! Our timing could not have been better. As we were heading to find lunch, some of the international students got to witness my hockey fandom as I cheered on every Penguins fan I saw going into the Verizon Center. I probably looked like a crazy person, but how much more American can you get? At least stereotypically.

I think one of my favorite things about my freshman year at Juniata was the floor I lived on in Sherwood. I met a lot of great friends on that floor and it was such an awesome sense of community that we shared. We even made t-shirts for our floor (I still have mine) with silly inside jokes and our room numbers on the back like our own Sherwood jerseys. After this past weekend, our first floor of Terrace has really become like that third floor of Sherwood. This hall feels more like its own little family than just a dorm hallway. We share our own stupid jokes, cook dinner together, and have movie nights. All because of a trip to D.C. And to think I almost didn’t go because I thought it would be awkward… Silly me.