Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sharing Thanksgiving Traditions

   This Thanksgiving turned out to be very interesting as I brought my Japanese friend Rui home with me to experience the American holiday with a "typical" American family.  I believe that since the international students are here to learn from experiences, they should get as many different cultural experiences as possible.  It was also a really cool way for me to get to know Rui better and learn about her culture as well.
   The experience was definitely worth it, and I am really happy I got to share my family's traditions with her.  We did everything from make hand turkeys and make apple pie from scratch to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and have a home-cooked family Thanksgiving dinner.  She also got to meet some of my family members and friends at home, and I think that enriched the experience even more.  I was able to teach her about American culture as well as teach her some common phrases.  We were both saying "Hey man" and "thanks man" by the end of the weekend.  My friends taught her about Taco Bell and American fast food restaurants in general.  I was also able to learn some words in Japanese and about her family and school in Japan as well as about some of the different customs.
   I only described about a fifth of the whole experience, but I think every student should try to get to know the international students on campus.  It enriches their experience as well as improves their English, and the native speaking students can get a taste of another culture and learn about different customs and traditions.  It's a really interesting experience, and you can end up making a friend for life.  This was my favorite Thanksgiving yet.
We made hand turkeys! 

Rui with peeled apples while making apple pies.

A finished pie.

From left, my brother John, me, Rui, and my sister Katie.

Rui with my parents on our last night at home.

Rui and I played on photobooth! 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me (, tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on Formspring (lizmurray3).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Journalism is a Lifestyle, Not Just a Major

   So I thought I'd give a little update on what I've been up to lately in the journalism world (aka Bergeron).  Last Tuesday, our staff put out our 8th issue out of 9 total.  I can't believe it's almost over!  It was our best issue yet - and I'm not just saying that because I happened to have a front-page article.  We truly worked our butts off on this issue and produced a great product.
   The issue contained one of the biggest articles I've ever worked on/written.  It involved 8 interviews, a survey, and 17 pages of quotes (single-spaced).  I wrote it about studying abroad and some of the different aspects that accompany it - culture shock, drinking culture, making friends, and difficulty of classes.  It was very interesting to both write and report.  At one point, I was concerned for the accuracy of the story because I was not sure some of my sources were being completely truthful with me about some parts of their stories.  However, it worked out because the statistics were able to balance out what people said.  I ended up having a lot more information than I needed, so I had plenty to work with while I wrote.  The hardest part of writing my story was actually weaving all the different parts together.  I'm really proud of the way it came out and SO excited it landed on the front page!
   The issue as a whole was really well-balanced and the stories were expertly reported.  It was the best product we've produced so far.  I'm bringing about four copies home during Thanksgiving break to show... well, everyone!
Me with this week's issue of The Defender!

   Now, you may wonder what we Defender staffers do every Sunday before an issue is printed.  Everyone spends from 10 a.m. until about 5 p.m. in Bergeron laying out the paper, toning pictures, editing pages, listening to Pandora ambient music station and more.  Time flies by as each page is completed, looked over, edited, corrected on screen, and printed for the managing and executive editors to edit after everyone else has gone home.  The best part is we get Leonardo's pizza at 3 p.m.  We have a deal with Leonardo's that if we put an ad in our paper, we get free pizza.  By that time, everyone is usually done with the first drafts of his or her pages, and the pages are printed and edited while everyone eats pizza.   It's a very long, but worthwhile day.  I can't help but say Defender has become my life during this semester, which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing.  I genuinely love writing and reporting stories, and working on The Defender has increased this love tenfold.
   If you have any questions about working on The Defender or the journalism in general, please don't hesitate to contact me via email (, Twitter (@LittleLizzie33) or Formspring (lizmurray3).

To view this week's issue of The Defender online, click here.
To view an online PDF of this week's issue, click here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The International Festival

Sorry for the lack of blog posts in the past few weeks! My schedule has been super busy and I've had projects galore.  One thing I did manage to go to on Saturday was the International Festival.  This festival is put on every year by the Applied Linguistics Department and the Diversity Coalition.  It's really awesome because you get to sample foods from different cultures (cooked by many international students) as well as watch performances by various student groups, like the Celtic Knights, and other multicultural groups from around Vermont.  It's a pretty well-attended event, as many professors bring their children and people from around the area as well as St. Michael's students all come to enjoy what is our own taste of the global world.  Below are some pictures from the festival.  I hope you enjoy them!!
My friend Mary Jo, of the Celtic Knights (the Irish Step Dancing group on campus) waits for her turn to perform.

Hard-shoe Irish steppers!

The line of food containers - so delicious!

An Indian dancer who performed at the festival.

A martial arts drumming group.  They had some really intense drumming.

One of the Akoma drummers at St. Michael's.

The Akoma drummers under the direction of Joss Price, a fine arts professor at St. Michael's. 

A woman takes a picture of a performer on her iPad.  Check out the technology!