Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Thanksgiving in the Minnesota

In my six years in the U.S. I have experienced many different Thanksgivings, from eating pizza to celebrating with a vegan meal. Coming from Spain, where we do not have Thanksgiving, I was excited to experience a “real” Thanksgiving with turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and lots of pecan and pumpkin pie. This year I got to have just such a Thanksgiving, as I celebrated this special day with a family in Northfield.
Although Erin, our host and master chef, had baked the cakes the day before and prepared all the ingredients and set the table, the cooking didn’t really begin until Thanksgiving Day, really early in the morning.

Erin woke up at 6 a.m. to put the turkey in the oven. We were planning to eat around noon, so she had to start cooking very early. Family members arrived at the house at 10 a.m. for a light breakfast before the big meal.
Eleanor, the youngest in the family, is always the queen of the party. She loves playing around, so we had some fun together. She wanted to take a “night-night nap” with her cousin Cristian, and she found a way to make it dark by hiding under the covers. While the food was being prepared, we also had time to paint her nails.

Little by little, the dishes started to come out, and everybody was getting really excited. All the food looked delicious. 

Cranberry sauce!

Fresh rolls!

Aunt Laura’s whipped cream salad (apple bites, snickers and whipped cream)!!

Chef Erin also prepared the sweet potatoes!

Finally, after six hours in the oven, the turkey was almost ready—19 pounds of it! Grandma Susie was in charge of making the gravy, while Uncle John was asked to carve the turkey.

When all the food was ready, we took a picture of Chef Erin. Everything was so good that we all ate too much, and some of us—like Jay—had to take naps.

Given that we had all gathered for the holiday, we decided to take some time to put up the Christmas tree, too.

I had such an amazing time spending Thanksgiving with this wonderful family.
Thank you, Casey and Erin, for being the best hosts. I am so thankful for this family.

Happy Holidays! - Sara '15

2014 Macalester Winter Ball

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lealtad-Suzuki Center: Xpressions: Self Image Gallery Project

The Self Image Gallery Project by the Department of Multicultural Life’s Xpressions program was intended to emphasize the importance of recognizing the beauty of all identities and capturing the art of self expression in the community.

The images, photographs, and videos were submitted by people around campus, with the option of remaining anonymous. We were hoping to allow students and the community to share their expressive art pieces in a variety of forms. We received several exceptional art mediums such as a self portrait collage and a self shot/self expression video. Since we got fewer submissions that intended, we also gave the community a different opportunity to express how they see themselves and how they want others to see them.  

As part of the display in the atrium space on the second floor of the Campus Center, we put up a blank canvas where people can draw or write their responses to the prompts, “how do you see yourself?” And “how do you want others to see you?” The display ran until the 31st of October. 

By Grace Zhu ‘16, Amy McMeeking ’16 , and Errol Phalo ‘17
Lealtad-Suzuki Center’s Program Assistants

Established in August 2002, the LSC is the programmatic arm of the Department of Multicultural Life (DML).   The LSC provides a range of services, including intentional multicultural education and campus programming; ongoing training and development opportunities for faculty, staff, and students; and personal consultations to discuss issues of identity exploration and cross-cultural communication.
LEARN MORE about the Department of Multicultural Life

Monday, November 10, 2014

Language Lessons Abroad

A few weeks ago, I told my coworker that I like wearing my horse on top of my head because of the heat in Santiago. 

She just looked at me blankly. With an uncertain smile, I pointed at my head, where my hair was piled up in the style I was trying to describe. Realization hit her and she burst out laughing and explained my mistake with a grin. Unfortunately for me, the Spanish words for hair and horse are very similar (cabello and caballo, respectively). I couldn’t help but chuckle as I hid my blushing cheeks in my hands.
Even after two years of Spanish classes, it still takes me a few tries to accurately convey my thoughts. As evidenced above, I frequently confuse words and meanings. Understanding what people are saying to me is not much easier than speaking to them. But I’m still trying my best to absorb everything that’s said to me throughout the day. After about three months here in la República Dominicana, I would say I understand about 68.3 percent of what I hear.

La bandera waving proudly in the nation’s capital, Santo Domingo
However, this still leaves at least a 31.7 percent margin of error (not allowing for distractions caused by the sweltering heat, the constant sunburn, or frequent bug bites). Sometimes it feels as if my time as an exchange student has been largely defined by moments of linguistic confusion.

The view of Santiago’s iconic El Monumento from my bedroom window.
Since August I have been living and breathing (and tripping all over) la cultura dominicana in my host city, Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic. As a student in the CIEE-Service Learning program, I spend my mornings in classes at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, located in the heart of Santiago. On the weekends—at least when I’m not doing homework—I explore the island of Hispaniola.

I’ve stopped by the capital, Santo Domingo:

Apparently, you have to specifically ask the street vendors not to put corn in your hair when you buy a bag of corn to feed the pigeons.

A few beautiful beaches:

The Caribbean sun is NOT messing around. Blancas like me MUST wear sunscreen at all times.

 And national parks on the coast and in the mountains:

Bug spray has become this girl’s best friend. No matter where I go the mosquitos find me! 
However, the best parts of my semester are every weekday afternoon. When classes are over for the day I head off to work with the local community organization Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (Dominican Childcare Foundation, FCID). There I meet up with a community healthcare worker (called a promotora) and we make our way to the poorest neighborhoods in the province of Santiago.

Walking through the neighborhood Parada Siete, named for a nearby bus stop, with my promotoras.

In these neighborhoods, we provide affordable rehabilitation services to children with disabilities and teach their families how to best support and care for these children. The program adapts its services to each child within a broad spectrum of disabilities that manifest physically or cognitively.

At times, my novice-level Spanish catches up with me. The horse/hair/head debacle is just one example of my daily blunders in the world of language immersion. Many visits with FCID put my fledgling Spanish skills to the test as I talk with children who have speech impediments or cognitive disabilities. The ensuing conversations usually end up being a test of vocabulary (for me) and patience (for the kid).

Giving homework help to Luis Eddy.

In these conversations, I’ve added some really useful words, such as oso, cordillas, and pinzas (bear, shoelaces, and tweezers) to my mental dictionary. I’ve also frantically searched my brain for a particular word that is always right on the tip of my tongue. Most importantly, I’ve learned the best coping mechanism for a language barrier is a smile.

When Spanish words fail me (which is more often than not), a smile can suffice as an hola, a gracias, a felicidades, an adiós, or an invitation to play.

I have a means of communication, even if I am sunburnt to a crisp,covered in bug bites, and my hair smells like pigeons and corn. A smile will almost always take the place of a sentence (especially when I can’t remember the difference between cabello and caballo).

- Hannah Currens '17

Friday, October 31, 2014

Coffee around Macalester

There are few things I love more than coffee. The taste, the smell, the energy boost it gives me: I don’t know how I would be able to function without it. Thankfully, I don’t seem to be alone in that front at Macalester. It’s not uncommon to see scores of people walking to their morning class with a tumbler or cup of coffee, and there are plenty of places right around campus where I can get a cup of coffee (or tea, if I’m in the mood.) The coffee shops around campus are amazing places to study, chat with a professor about a paper, or take a study break and catch up with a friend. And as I’ve slowly branched out and explored the Twin Cities beyond Macalester’s campus, I’ve found more and more places that have great cups of coffee. If you’re ever up visiting Macalester, walk around the neighborhood and pop into one of the se shops - you won’t be disappointed! 

Dunn Bros: This is my favorite place to grab a quick coffee on the way to class. Even though Dunn Bros is a Minnesota chain, this is the original location so it still has the feel of an independent coffee house. They roast all their beans in-house (which makes it smell amazing inside) and their coffee is very strong. It’s cheap, too — a 16-ounce cup only costs $2! I’ve had quite few meetings with professors here, and Garrison Keillor is known to frequent Dunn Bros. It’s also open until 10:00, and they have live music almost every night of the week. When it comes to coffee shops, Dunn Bros is hard to beat.

Caribou: Caribou is my go-to place if I know I need to hunker down and spend a few hours writing a paper or studying. Even though it is a chain, Caribou has a really cozy feel inside of it that makes it a great place to spend a few hours in. Their chairs are super cozy, the tables have plenty of room for spreading out, and there are plenty of power outlets which are great for plugging in your laptop. There’s plenty of chalkboards for you to scribble on, and they have a daily trivia question which, if you answer correctly, gives you 10 cents off. I tend to treat myself when I go there and get a specialty drink — check out the Mint Condition Mocha! It’s also located right across from campus, making it super easy to get to and they have pretty generous hours.

Grand Central: This coffee shop/restaurant is one of the newer additions to the neighborhood; it opened about a year and a half ago and has quickly become one of my favorite places on Grand. Everything feels very sleek and polished inside, and they recently started showing different professional photography collections on the walls. I love their coffee (their lattes are huge!) but they really stand apart from these other coffee shops because of their great menu. Try one of their crepes--they have plenty of different kinds and they’re all equally as filling. Throw a cup of coffee in there and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better lunch near campus.

Cahoots: By far my favorite coffee shop in St. Paul. It’s about a ten minute walk away, but if you’re willing to make the trek, it’s so worth it. It’s the coziest coffee shop I’ve been to here, and they have a beautiful patio that feels like it was plucked right out of Europe. This is the one coffee shop on the list where I refuse to do homework — I use this space solely to catch up with friends or get away and read for a few hours. My favorite drink here, by far, is the lavender mocha.

The Grille: Right in the Campus Center, it’s the only place I’m talking about that’s actually on campus. While I love the experience of hunkering down at a cozy coffee shop for a few hours, sometimes you just need that bare-bones cup of coffee to keep you going. That’s where the Grille comes in. If I’m working upstairs in the CC (my favorite place to study on campus), I’ll often pop downstairs and buy a quick coffee to fuel my studying for a few more hours. They also take flex and aux points, so paying for your coffee is incredibly easy here. Plus, for the true night owls out there, it’s open until midnight during the week!

-Joe Klein '15

Read more posts from Joe:
The Chuck Green Fellowship
Halfway to Graduation

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Global Ambassadors Outreach

Hi! I am Lutfe-E-Noor Rahman from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I am currently interested in bio-medical sciences and hope to major in a subject related to it. Besides offering excellent academic programs, Mac is a small community that values diversity, cultural differences and social justice and that is what drew me to Mac. Even before I stepped onto campus, International Students Program (ISP) mentors and staff have been helping me to make my transition into Mac a smooth one. I absolutely love my First Year Course called 'Bodies on Fire' and the professor who also happens to be my academic advisor. I am very excited to be an assistant ambassador for the Global Ambassadors Program at Mac. It will hopefully allow me to reach out to other international students and help them figure out how Mac could be perfect for the college experience they want!

Hello! My name is Eva Grutzner and I am a junior at Macalester from Madison, Wisconsin in the USA. I am studying Political Science, German, and Education. When I’m not studying, I busy myself with co-leading a student organization, Europa, spending time with my friends, working at the Twin Cities German Immersion School’s afterschool program, watching Packer football games, and working at the Global Ambassadors Program on campus. I was drawn to the Global Ambassadors position because it really exemplified my two favorite core pillars of Macalester’s academic mission—Internationalism and Multiculturalism. Global Ambassadors seeks to connect international alumni and current international students or students with significant international experience (like myself!) with prospective international students. We are run through the Admissions department, but we are, essentially, a tool prospective students could use in order to get more information about Macalester. We work to set up alumni interviews for international students who are unable to have an interview with a Mac Admissions officer. We field questions from the students about life and academics here at Mac and oftentimes pass them on to current Macalester students from the same countries as the prospective students. We also create social media outputs such as this one! I think the most essential part of our job, however, is just simply sharing our love for Mac and trying to convey that to prospective students. 

Learn more about the Global Ambassador Program 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Lealtad-Suzuki Center: Tapas Series and “Clicktivism”

The student leaders and staff of the Lealtad-Suzuki Center (LSC), the programmatic arm of the Department of Multicultural Life (DML).  
The Tapas Series had its first program on September 22nd in the Cultural House.  The topic of discussion was “Clicktivism: Social Media Activism.”  The event featured a social media gallery of posts from the ALS Ice bucket challenge, the Mike Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO, and the Don’t Buy Miss Saigon campaign. We gave attendees notecards to write their thoughts and feelings down about the gallery. CFD Post Doctoral Fellow Juliana Hu-Pegues presented on her own personal activist work on the Don’t Buy Miss Saigon campaign and how she used social media as a tool. We then split into smaller group discussions where we talked about the different uses of social media activism, pros and cons of using it, whether “slacktivism” is an issue or not, and how we could use social media activism in our lives and at Macalester. We reconvened to share what we discussed and brought up questions we had. Students were engaged and interested in the topic and Juliana Hu-Pegues’ work. The overall program was well attended and generated great discussion from the students, faculty, and staff members that attended.

- Kyla Martin '15, Emma Stout '15 and Vivian Liu '17

Established in August 2002, the LSC is the programmatic arm of the Department of Multicultural Life (DML).   The LSC provides a range of services, including intentional multicultural education and campus programming; ongoing training and development opportunities for faculty, staff, and students; and personal consultations to discuss issues of identity exploration and cross-cultural communication.