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  • Unofficial: What's it all about?

    By Amira Al Mutairi and Jennifer Avery

    As you walk down the street this Friday (3/7) through a crowd of partying college students, it may be hard to believe that the roots of their celebration can be found in a Christian holiday to commemorate the life of the best known patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, as well as the arrival of Christianity to Ireland.

    The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the United States dates back to the 18th century. Though the holiday’s origins were religious, celebrations in the USA have, since their inception, been focused primarily on the cultural aspect of the holiday. Many people show their holiday spirit by dressing in green, drinking green beverages, eating green food and watching parades that highlight Irish heritage and culture. In cities where there is a large Irish/Irish-American population, the celebrations are even more elaborate. Chicago, for example...

  • Homesickness and ways to cope

    ISSS collaborates with many campus units to better serve our student population. This week, we'd like to share a guest post from the Counseling Center.

    By The Counseling Center

    Feeling homesick can be very natural when someone experiences a sudden change in environment or routine. Living and studying in a country and culture other than your own can certainly cause that change and result in significant stress and isolation. Homesickness is a real issue and you are not alone. Many other students are feeling how you are feeling– it just might not be talked about openly and in depth, but that does not mean you are the only one experiencing it. Homesickness can include sadness...

  • Student Blogger: Balancing Work and Play

    By Bentic Sebastian

    Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

    Thomas Merton

    College life has sometimes been tough for me. At times, I frequently spent a large fraction of my time struggling to focus on my assignments and readings. In high school, after a tiring day in class, I would come back home, sit down at my upright piano, and play my favorite songs. Looking back, when I felt frustrated or stuck, I would use that negative energy to create new music at the piano. Things changed in college.

    At college, I couldn’t find a way to to play the piano regularly, because the opportunity to find an unoccupied piano was limited. There was a piano or two in the student halls, but I was always wary of playing so loudly that...

  • Thanksgiving

    By Sondra Schreiber

    As you probably know, Thanksgiving Break is coming up in just a week! But, besides a week off from classes, what does this holiday mean to Americans? The Thanksgiving holiday is unique to the United States and Canada. In the US, Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the third Thursday in November. The history of Thanksgiving is not exactly clear, but it is commonly traced back to a plentiful harvest in 1621 at Plymouth, which is in present day Massachusetts. Most children in the US are taught that at this first Thanksgiving the settlers (called pilgrims) and the Native Americans celebrated the bountiful harvest together by having a feast.

    Today, Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with family and food. It is seen as a time to be thankful for what we have. Food plays a major role in Thanksgiving, especially turkey. Traditionally...

  • Winter is Coming (Nah, No Game of Thrones References)!