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16. A Day in the Life of a VIU Student KOHEITA NAGAI

37. Experience MEETING OBAMA

46. Technology SMART GADGETS



Spring 2014


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Contents Rising Cost of Education With education prices soaring and new online programs starting daily what will happen to the cost of education?


Power of Logo

We know how much companies are worth, but what is the real value of the corporate logo?


Get a Mentor!



What’s the best career step you could possibly make? Choosing the right mentor

Manar Alhazmi

Read the inspiring story of a young Saudi Arabian girl who beat the odds to study in America

p25 Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



No Boundaries

Learn about VIU’s global network




EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Katherine Magalif

A Letter to My Friend



Scholarship student Tamara Strupp shares her story

MBA Purple Cow:

Emily Leighty



How to differentiate yourself from the pack and get hired!


Everything you ever wanted to know about VIU


Ariunaa Dashtsogt

John L. Bennett Dr. Michael Ross Dr. Mark Robinson Dr. Stephen Onu Dr. Johnson Kinyua Dr. Rebecca Sachs Niler Mutlu Qurat Zameer Connie Lee Claire Gimble

Lauren Pollard Shilpa Sainath Busanee Kithararak Yannal Rawashde Prashish Shrestha Kevin Martin Dr. Joseph Huber Christina L. Koonts Pornkamol Prinyaruk Alifuzzaman AHM



Ling Chich Lee Idris Ulas Piyawut Kidmungtangdee



11200 Waples Mill Rd Suite 360, Fairfax, VA, Phone: 703-591-7042 Fax: 703-591-7048 For advertising, please contact



The views expressed in the articles are the authors’ and not necessarily those of University Magazine or Virginia International University. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photo copy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission. Copyright © 2014 Virginia International University. All rights reserved.


University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

Printed in the U.S.A.



Dreams Made Possible Dear Readers, When I founded Virginia International University 15 years ago, it was with a goal to prepare young people to be global leaders by providing them with the highest level of excellence in education in a safe and diverse environment. I am so proud of the achievements of all of our students and alumni, and for the support of dedicated faculty, staff, colleagues and friends who made my dream possible.


Today, I am especially honored to present to you University Magazine, just in time for our 15 year anniversary. This special edition will show you a picture of VIU life, both inside and outside the classroom, as well as the latest hot topics in education, business, technology and international affairs. During the last year, I traveled to several Asian countries Taiwan, Mongolia and Japan to meet with educators and expand our collaborations with other institutions throughout the world. You may read more about VIU’s collaboration efforts in “VIU Goes Global” pg. 58. As I was traveling, one of the most common questions asked was what a student’s daily life is actually like in America. In this issue, you will get your answer in “A Day in the Life” pg. 16, where our team followed Koheita Nagai, a Japanese VIU student, as he went about his daily routine. Elsewhere in this issue, some of our leading professors share their views on HR strategy “Bad Apples” pg. 38, college education “Sustainable Success” pg. 6 and the latest technology “Smart Gadgets” pg. 46. One of my most rewarding experiences this semester was sitting down with one of our students who overcame great odds to continue her education; you can read all about her journey in “Overcoming Obstacles” pg. 44. Again, it is truly gratifying to see that achieving my dream of creating an excellent educational institution makes possible the dreams of so many of our students. I look forward to seeing what they will achieve and how VIU will grow in the next 15 years. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this first issue of University Magazine.


Dr. Isa Sarac President

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU




s a lifelong advocate of education and higher education and as a university professor and dean, when asked by students, friends, or anyone else if a college education is still necessary for achieving success, my answer is always a resounding YES! Although popular culture has disillusioned millions into thinking a college education is a thing of the past, and like any Kardashian, LeBron James, or even Bill Gates, it is possible to be widely successful without a college degree, what the media, television, and pop culture cannot reimage is how the success of these few individuals represents only a drop in the bucket in comparison to the number of individuals who have realized success because of their college education. Additionally, in spite of all their fame and fortune, too often individuals who gain meteoric success through their talent, notoriety, or infamy often experience greater difficulty maintaining their acquired, perhaps even unearned, success or effectively managing their success. Clear examples of this are lottery winners, child celebrities, or athletes who at one time accumulated great wealth and fame but were unable to maintain or manage the many trappings associated with the money or fame. Hence the old saying “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Though successful people who gained success through their educational endeavors are not immune to failure, because of their academic training and exposure to a comprehensive education inclusive of the humanities, arts, economics, and sciences, college-educated individuals are more equipped in handling the nuances of success. By Dr. Michael C. Ross


WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, YOU ARE ABLE TO DO BETTER. The ability to manage success and all its trappings because you are better equipped to do so can even be seen among those whose success may not be based on their education. Among professional athletes who have experienced great deals of financial success, those who manage to retire financially stable and to develop revenue streams other than their player earnings and avoid serious legal, financial, ethical, and moral issues are more likely to be college educated than not.

Is a college education still necessary for achieving success? 6

University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

VIU.EDU Dr. Ross is the Dean of the School of Business at VIU. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Prior to coming to VIU, Dr. Ross was with George Mason University.

REDEFINING SUCCESS Large salaries, expensive cars and homes, and other accessories typically associated with having money are only a few of the commonly accepted indicators of success. Others may consider being well known and having national and international notoriety as aspects of success. What few correlate with success is the aspect of sustainability—being able to maintain one’s existence, redevelop, and even redefine your existence as necessary. Unlike some of the other paths to success previously mentioned, success gained through a college education represents a truly sustainable form of success. The first message college graduates emit is their ability to be trained. Through earning a college degree, employers are aware of your malleability and that your talents and abilities can be used in many different ways. College graduates have demonstrated they possess a spectrum of knowledge and understanding. The breadth of knowledge achieved through earning a college degree affords college graduates an added advantage in the analysis, comprehension, and problem-solving of complex issues non-college graduates typically lack. The process of earning a college degree is as valuable as the knowledge gained from the process. In the U.S., having a college degree places graduates in the unique position of representing less than 27 percent of the entire population who are of age to be college educated. When examining the college- graduate trends among minorities and women, this percentage is commonly reduced to mid-range single digits. As with most rare and highly valued objects such as diamonds, gold, and oil, a college degree is a commodity that is not only rare but one which also improves the student holistically. And for those who are considering the odds and looking to place a safe bet, statistically speaking, earning a college degree is more likely to provide you with a lifetime of security than having your own reality TV show, marriage, or even hitting the lottery.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU







15 Years of Excellence




Preparing Global Leaders



15th Anniversary E





Global leaders possess an exceptional set of characteristics which make them stand out and enable them to succeed. Three key factors help educate young people and empower them to become future global leaders. First, it takes a special vision and a visionary who can guide those young people and all those impacting them. Second, it takes a unique environment that challenges students and feels safe at the same time. Finally, it takes a culture of success, in which leadership skills are nurtured in a practical way. VIU has been preparing students to be global leaders from its very founding 15 years ago. Here is the story of our accomplishments at a glance. THE VISIONARY VIU founder Dr. Isa Sarac, has been involved in the higher education field for most of his life. Holding multiple graduate-level degrees, Dr. Sarac has been a professor, a researcher, an education publisher and a university founder. Having already started a successful university in London, he wanted to replicate and improve on that experience in the United States. When Dr. Isa Sarac founded Virginia International University (VIU) in 1998, he did so with a set of core values that still serve as the foundation of VIU today. Those values of openness, diversity, innovation and peace-building come out of Dr. Sarac’s conviction that education is the main tool to build peace throughout the world. By founding an institution of higher education wherein students can come from diverse national, cultural, and social backgrounds and study alongside each other in the classroom, Dr. Sarac has truly made this vision a reality. Today, VIU is


VIU was granted authority to start an MBA Program by SCHEV.


VIU was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and received authorization to offer programs in business and computer science by SCHEV



University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

a place where there is real freedom to exchange ideas and grow together. THE GROWTH Since 1998, when VIU officially opened its doors and began achieving the goal of providing the highest quality of education, it has shown consistent growth. An institution that began with a handful of students in the Fall 1999 semester had 25 times more students by Fall 2005! In 2010, VIU’s students more than doubled again, representing more than 50 countries across the globe. In this same year, VIU opened the School of Online Education. Students can now enroll in, study, and earn a degree or certificate from all over the world, both here on our campus in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, and through our online classrooms. Many new in-demand programs have been launched along the way as numbers of students, faculty and staff increased.

VIU opened BBA and BCS undergraduate degree programs.


VIU was authorized by SCHEV to offer an MS in Information System.



Cover students with Dr. Isa Sarac, Founder and President of VIU (From the left: Taylor Harry, Anu Tsogtbayar, Dr. Isa Sarac, Laetitia Damase, Ali Dahmani)

THE COMMITMENT VIU is committed to providing a better education for a better world. Through a student-centered approach, we provide the most positive environment for learning available anywhere. Our programs are structured to allow students great flexibility in the design and direction of their own studies. As part of our commitment to give back to the community, students are encouraged to apply for a variety of scholarships and to work in the university as student representatives in their field. This provides them with practical, hands-on knowledge that they can take with them into the real world.

VIU held its first commencement ceremony.


VIU was granted accreditation by ACICS, which is recognized by the US Department of Education and CHEA.


THE GLOBAL SUCCESS Throughout their time at VIU, our students’ leadership skills are developed and nurtured, and they graduate fully prepared to make a positive difference in their communities as they enter the workforce. Our success can be seen in the success of our alumni: so many of them are leaders in their fields, some staying in the local area and others going back to make positive changes in their home countries. VIU alumni are leaders in many areas: several of them head various government agencies around the world, from leading communications in the embassy of a Middle Eastern country to strate-

The Virginia General Assembly presented the university with a letter “Commending Virginia International University on the occasion of its accreditation and 10th anniversary.”


VIU launched two new programs: Master of Arts in TESOL, and Graduate Certificate in TESOL.


Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU


AT A GLANCE gic planning at the Ministry of Mineral and Energy Resources of a Central Asian nation. Others work in large multinational corporations like Deloitte and Ernst & Young, in international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, or in large technology companies like IBM, Cisco and Google. Entrepreneurship also runs strong at VIU; after graduating with prestigious VIU MBAs, several alumni have started their own businesses: a school in the Far East, a textile mill in South Asia, a technology firm in Africa. And yet other alumni surprise us, becoming executives in fields as varied as American media and the European air and space industry. One thing remains certain: wherever our alumni end up, they are well equipped to lead with the preparation and practical experience they have gained at VIU.

VIU Growth 1999 - 2015

THE APPRECIATION The year 2013 marked an important milestone for VIU, as our doors have been open for 15 years. For 15 years we have been providing education to a diverse student body, making educational dreams come true, and building the future together. Our president Dr. Sarac would like to highlight many great people who have been instrumental in VIU’s growth and development. Starting with his own family, the initial investors in his dream, as well as Richard J. Ernst, Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, Jennifer Watts, Dr. Bishnu Poudel, Dr. Habib Khan, Mr. Tarik Celik, Mr. Hasan Karaburk, Dr. Laura Hills, Dr. Gail Whitaker, and Dr. Masha Vassilieva, and so many more individuals

School of Online Education established.

New TOEFL testing center opened.

2010 10 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014


whose contributions are unparalleled. We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to all the wonderful staff, current and former, alumni, students and friends and supporters that have helped VIU succeed. We have become more than we could have ever dreamed, because of them. THE BRIGHT FUTURE In the last 15 years, VIU has not only broadened its brand and global reach but expanded physically, growing to four campuses. VIU has also been a continuous innovator, providing superior education through faculty and staff who go to the latest conferences and participate in research in their fields as well as the latest technological advances, including the VIU mobile app and even an electronic textbased student alert system. As we look back on these 15 years of excellence, we see our alumni becoming successful global leaders in business, technology and education sectors and we see our current students excel in their fields. In looking toward the bright future, all of us here at VIU are excited to see what the next 15 years of excellence will hold for our institution, and we firmly believe that the best is yet to come.

ACICS formally approved all VIU Online programs.


New Student Center opened.


School of Education, School of Public and International Affairs and the Center for Democracy and International Affairs established.




a Worldwide Affair - Commencement Ceremony BY EMILY LEIGHTY

Commencement is a day of celebration, achievement, recognition, and emotion. After all of their hard work to complete assignments, projects, debates, and reports, students finally are able to enjoy all they have accomplished. Commencement at VIU is a high-spirited event organized by countless university staff, faculty, and student volunteers. Like all universities, VIU’s ceremony consists of traditions and rituals which make the day unique to the school and its community. IN 2012, VIU BEGAN PROVIDING A LIVE FEED OF THE CEREMONY VIA THE INTERNET FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO ATTEND THE EVENT IN PERSON. IN THIS RESPECT, VIU’S COMMENCEMENT HAS BECOME A TRULY WORLDWIDE AFFAIR.

VIU’s commencement celebrations have grown over time with its student body. The very first commencement ceremony was held at Fairfax County Country Club, with 20 graduates in attendance. Since then, commencement has been held every year, and the venue as well as the number of attendees grew with the number of graduates. One portion of the ceremony which has not fluctuated over the years has been the inclusion of distinguished speakers who give valuable advice to graduates. The university’s focus in bringing in speakers has been to encourage graduates with advice from leaders in the fields of education, politics, journalism, and business. Students have called the speakers “inspiring” and have described hearing from such eminent public figures as “an absolute pleasure.” Remarks from VIU’s president, Dr. Sarac, have been another constant. Dr. Sarac encourages graduates to continue growing and learning and reminds them not to forget their time at VIU or

El Mahdi Hajouji Idrissi, Morocco, MBA in International Business Management, is one of many graduating students reunited with their families.

the connections they’ve made as students of the university. One distinct pleasure for guests of the VIU commencement ceremony is the breathtaking display of diversity. A mere glance at the ceremony program book, where students’ countries are listed next to their names, is a testament to the diversity of the graduating class. With such a graduating class, it must follow that the guests of the VIU commencement ceremony are equally diverse. The overwhelming joy of the day is multiplied by the fact that many fortunate students are reunited with friends and family from overseas after as long as two or four years. Their shouts of excitement fill the room in an array of languages as graduates cross the stage to receive a diploma. In 2012, VIU began providing a live feed of the ceremony via the Internet for friends and family who are not able to attend the event in person. In this respect, VIU’s commencement has become a truly worldwide affair. Ask anyone in the university community and they will tell you that commencement is a day that feels distinctly like VIU. The work of staff, faculty, and administrators to foster creative and intellectual students who will make an impact on the global community culminates in this celebratory event. An outsider looking in on this gathering of friends and family from so many countries, cultures, and languages would see a picture of tolerance, peace, and even collaboration in our turbulent world. Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU


involved in every area of university life, from teaching to research and even in student clubs and activities! Students and alumni repeatedly comment on how engaging and dynamic the







Online learning teaches students the importance of communication and self-discipline. Despite living in different time zones around the globe, VIU Online students work together on group projects. I am so proud of their achievements; with many responsibilities at home, as parents, business people or military, they are still excellent students. VIU Online is very affordable, and several of my students are even scholarship recipients!

For many of our students, it is their dream to come to the U.S. and to earn an American university degree. For other students, it is their dream to improve their English so that they can take advantage of new opportunities. VIU is a school that knows how to dream big and to make those dreams come true. We believe that dreams are important, and we provide our students with all the support they need to make their dreams a reality.

The learning community offers an invigorating, vibrant, and highly collaborative environment that both challenges and immensely rewards its members. The VIU difference is one that is personal, tailored, and focused on student success. I find working with students in the School of Education to be very fulfilling. It is a distinct honor and pleasure to work with such a diverse student population at VIU.

Dr. Ranade received his Ph.D. in International Agricultural Development from Cornell University, his Master of Statistics in Econometrics and Planning from the Indian Statistical Institute and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University.

Ms. Gimble received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Communications from the University of Ottawa and her TESOL certification from Carleton University.

Professor Kevin Martin received his Master of Science in Theoretical Linguistics from Georgetown University, his Bachelor of Arts in French from the University of Dayton and his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Dayton.

faculty are and on their caring and warmth.

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I was immediately impressed with the quality of students that I have worked with and their absolute dedication to learning and self-improvement. They take nothing for granted and are dedicated to making their experience at VIU as fulfilling as possible. The variety and magnitude of student support offered by the school are also exemplary. Whether mock job interviews and resume reviews, cultural awareness exchanges, or simply counseling regarding schedules and post graduate work and education – the University is there for students.

Dr. Camden received his Master in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from Northeastern University, his Master in Accounting from George Mason University and his Education Doctorate from the School of Organization and Human Studies at George Washington University.



What attracted me to Virginia International University five years ago and has kept me inspired ever since is its strong sense of community and commitment to academic excellence. I deeply believe that teaching is an art and science in one. My role as a teacher educator is to facilitate, model, and promote the fusion of a firm knowledge base, multifarious pedagogical skills, and passion for teaching.

Joining VIU full time was a great decision for me and in fact, a privilege to be able to work in a multinational higher education environment, full of unique perspectives from around the world. From what I’ve seen so far, VIU students have sacrificed a lot to pursue higher education and become better global citizens. It is an honor to be a member of the VIU community and to serve our students. I look forward to the new challenges and learning experiences that lie ahead.

Dr. Bradinova received her Ph.D. in English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and earned her MA in English Linguistics and TESOL Certificate at George Mason University.

Dr. Ganjalizadeh received his Ph.D. in Information Technology from George Mason University and his M.S. in Management Science from the University of Tennessee.






It is so rewarding to work with such a diverse group of students especially in the field of International Relations and Public Policy. They constantly reference their own experiences, their family stories and their countries’ politics. We are so lucky to have this kind of international exchange of ideas here. They are also so beautifully amazed and intrigued by American politics that it’s a joy to provide them with firsthand experiences, like meeting President Obama.

Dr. Bilgin received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University and her MA in International Relations from the University of Delaware.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



message. The typical cost of hiring a professional design studio is between $40,000 and $50,000. Today, it is not uncommon to have a logo created for you by an Internet company in as little as 24 hours costing only $19! LOGO LAWSUITS BY DR. MARK ROBINSON

The Real Value of the Corporate Logo


t is often said that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and this statement also rings true when it comes to corporate logos. Who among us doesn’t recognize Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, or McDonald’s from just their logo? In their truest sense, corporate logos are a type of shorthand, allowing consumers to instantly recognize the company and its product. However, logos do not act alone but are part of a company’s visual brand identity program which includes the logo, the design, the colors used and the marketing message. As an example, consider the company that, in my opinion, is the most widely known company brand in the world: Coca Cola. From its inception more than 120 years ago, the Coca-Cola logo has used the stylistic handwriting of Frank Robinson – no relation to the author – as part of the logo. The wavy red letter writing over a silver background is instantly recognizable whether it is on a can of soda or the cardboard packaging. COLOR IS EVERYTHING So, what components make up a powerful logo? At their most basic, logos are made up of color and design. An image shown in vivid reds and oranges gives a completely different feel and meaning (excitement or anger) from the same image shown in pale blues and greens (restfulness and peace). Depending on the product, black typically indicates a premium product which allows the company to charge a higher price for the product when compared to competing brands that use a different color. CHOOSING THE LOGO Perhaps the most expensive activity in creating the logo is hiring a professional graphic studio. The studio can help in choosing the right colors, the right design, and the right marketing

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Wherever creativity is involved, lawsuits over logos, corporate trademarks, and other forms of intangible intellectual property are not far behind. One of the largest lawsuits involving logos involved Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) and Apple Corps (the holding company owned by the 1960s British rock group, the Beatles). Between 1978 and 2007 there were numerous legal disputes between the organizations over competing trademark rights: an apple.

1 3


4 In 1978, Apple Corps, the Beatles-founded holding company and owner of their record label, Apple Records, filed a lawsuit against Apple Computer for logo / trademark infringement which involved the use of an apple as a logo. The suit was settled in 1981 with an undisclosed amount being paid to Apple Corps. This amount had been estimated to be US$50–250 million. As a condition of the settlement, Apple Computer agreed not to enter the music business, and Apple Corps agreed not to enter the computer business. In 1991, another lawsuit and another settlement involving payment of US$26.5 million to Apple Corps were reached. Outlined in the legal settlement were each company’s respective trademark rights to the term “Apple.” Apple Corps held the right to use Apple on any “creative works whose principal content is music,” while Apple Computer held the right to use Apple on “goods or services ... used to reproduce, run, play or

VIU.EDU Dr. Mark Robinson serves as a Professor in the School of Business at Virginia International University.

Marketing 2.0:


otherwise deliver such content,” but not on content distributed on physical media. In other words, Apple Computer agreed that it would not package, sell or distribute physical music materials.

of Social

In 2010, the parties reached a final settlement that included the launch of the Beatles’ music catalog being made available on the iTunes platform. It is hard to believe that after almost 20 years of legal action, the central issue of the case involved the use of an apple as a corporate logo. This is why it is so important to protect one’s corporate logo through legal means.


S 5

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9 10 WHAT IS THE VALUE OF A CORPORATE BRAND LOGO? While it is difficult to separate out the actual monetary value the logo adds to the company’s profitability, Interbrand, the global brand consultancy, conducts an annual ranking of the value of the corporate brand, which includes logos. After excluding all of the company’s physical assets such as office space, real estate, manufacturing plants, etc., what is left over are the intangibles such as logos, trademarks, and other intellectual property. CONCLUSION Other than the mission, vision, and core values, the corporate logo is perhaps the most important weapon in a company’s visual identity arsenal, especially when the logo uses the appropriate design, color, and marketing message.

ocial media is significantly changing the world of marketing. Companies such as Facebook and Google inundate us with information about products and services. These social media networks extend the reach of company brands by improving brand awareness, increasing customer loyalty, and influencing potential markets. In fact, social media is quickly becoming an important part of most marketing strategies. According to DeMers (2013), Google+ will become a major factor as the second largest social media network, reaching 343 million monthly users behind Facebook’s 1.15 billion. In addition to brand recognition and brand positioning, social media networks also collect an incredible amount of useful data on potential consumer markets. But the data collected in its raw form is not very efficient. Only 36% of companies say they routinely use data-driven marketing to customize messages and offerings, and just 18% of marketers routinely have a single view of the customer across marketing channels (Teradata, 2013). These percentages would indicate room for improvement to use collected data in a systematic way. As debates rage on regarding the right to privacy, social media networks continue to collect valuable data. But utilizing social media to collect data comes at a cost. In 2010, 83% of consumers named “transparent and honest practices” as the most important element of brand trust (Advertising Age, 2012).This reveals that data used is less important to consumer relationships than the way it is collected. At any rate, data collected from social media will continue to change the marketing landscape into the future. Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



MONTHLY SPENDING I pay $525 for housing, $250 for groceries and dining out, $30 for transportation. I spend approximately $850-950 every month.



hen Koheita Nagai arrived in the USA from Japan in May 2013, the only English words he knew were “Hello” and “Good morning.” At first, life was difficult – no English, no friends, nowhere to settle down. However, after six months, his life in America has improved dramatically; he improved his English, found a great place to live and made friends from all over the world. As we followed Ko, as he is affectionately known, around for a day, we learned many more things about him and what it’s like to be a VIU student in the USA. So, get comfortable and ride along, as Ko shows us how he goes about his daily life.

“I SAVED MONEY TO STUDY IN AMERICA.” In Japan, I delivered pizzas on my motorbike to save money to come to America. It was my dream to study abroad in the USA and I worked very hard toward my goal. Life here is exciting because everything is new for me; even the things

16 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

that would not be special to me back in Japan are special to me here just because they are American! Finding a great school, especially the best ESL program, was one of my goals. A friend of mine suggested VIU to me because of its affordability and quality, and I am so glad I chose it.

“SOMETIMES MY ROOMMATES WAKE ME UP!” I used to live with an American host family to improve my English, but they were not around enough for me to improve much. Shortly after, I moved to another accommodation, provided for students by VIU. My roommates are from India and Ethiopia. I usually wake up at 7 am to prepare for school, but sometimes my roommates have to wake me up, to be honest. I take a bus from Fair Oaks Mall at 8:00 am and arrive school by 8:20 am. Class runs from at 8:45 am– 3:00 pm. During my short break time, I usually eat a sandwich, salad or pizza with my peers.

VIU.EDU “THE ESL PROGRAM HELPS ME ACHIEVE MY ACADEMIC GOALS.” The very first week, classes were kind of scary; I felt that my classmates’ English proficiency was better than mine. But, it got better because of the excellent instructors and my own efforts. The teachers always give good examples, answer questions thoroughly and help us speak English in class. I developed these skills and also practiced my English during ESL Club activities, such as the Hiking Club. All in all, I have found studying English in VIU’s ESL Program to be a helpful step toward achieving my academic goals.

“BOWLING WITH FRIENDS IS FUN!” I am not fan of staying at home; instead I love to explore new things. Playing billiard with my roommates at the apartment is one of the favorite things to do. When I was in Japan, I didn’t cook by myself. In contrast, here I often cook food like Japanese curry, a pizza called “Okonomiyaki” and other food that my Indian roommates taught me to make. We usually eat together while talking and watching TV, and do assignments afterwards. There is a gym in my apartment building where I go twice a week. On weekends, I usually wake up at 10:00 am if there are no school activities. We spend the weekend watching movies, listening to music and going bowling, which is fun!

“LIVING ALONE ABROAD HAS MADE ME MORE CONFIDENT.” VIU’s multinational students opened my eyes to the various cultures and religions of the world. Having all of us here gives us a chance to compare our cultural practices. For instance, whenever I meet people in the USA, I need to say “Hello, how are you” whereas in Japan, I would never say that to a stranger. Furthermore, it was very uncomfortable for me to keep my shoes on at home. I had to get used to them. I have gone everywhere by myself in the USA, which is good for me; it helped me gain confidence. Coming to VIU and the United States on my own made it possible for me to learn how to live alone and how important friends are!

Where Have All the Hours Gone? HOW WE SPEND OUR TIME

Today, the average American can expect to live 690,000 hours or 79 years. How do we spend this time? We spend almost 28 percent of it, or approximately 22 years, in bed. Work, a distant second, accounts for over 10 years of our life and we spend another half a year commuting to and from our jobs. Another five years are spent in the drudgery of housework. Almost 4.5 years are spent eating and over 1.5 years are spent in the bathroom.

How do we spend our leisure time? Not very productively. Typically we spend more than 50 percent of it, or nine years, sitting slack-jawed in front of the television and an additional five years on the Internet. Americans, especially, younger Americans, now spend more time using their electronic devices than watching TV. In contrast, we spend less than a year reading, about a year involved in sports, exercise, and recreation, and two years socializing with others.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



AWARD FOR INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE This past summer, VIU participated in the 47th Independence Day Parade in the City of Fairfax. Along with many other participants in colorful, creative, and fun costumes, VIU students, faculty, and staff marched while carrying a giant blue balloon alongside the VIU Tiger mascot. Everyone enjoyed being part of the celebration and hearing the cheers from community members gathered to watch the parade. Judges awarded VIU 2nd place!

STUDENT ACTIVITIES The Office of Student Affairs at VIU organizes Orientation for new students to prepare them to fit well into the VIU community. It also provides a wide variety of student activities designed to mold students into wellrounded individuals with unique skills and proficiencies gained through workshops, clubs, seminars, field trips, and other events. Student clubs at VIU stem from regions or cultures, academic interests, and extra-curricular interests.

Thrills and Chills: HALLOWEEN Student volunteers and university staff work hard each year to prepare a terrific, scary Halloween event which includes games, music, refreshments, and lots of opportunities for networking. The biggest thrill of the night is the Hall of Fear which features costumed staff and volunteers ready to spook and surprise guests.

Celebrating Our VIU Family: THE THANKSGIVING LUNCH Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to celebrate with family and friends and give thanks for the blessings of life. Since 2007, VIU has held an annual Thanksgiving lunch, complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin and apple pies and all the trimmings to celebrate our VIU family. Each year, students, staff, and faculty gather for a time of food, fun and laughter.

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Supporting Students: THE STUDENT UNION The main goal of the VIU Student Union is to support students. If students are having challenges with housing, healthcare or in other matters, the Student Union is there to help and guide them. The Student Union also supports all other student clubs and activities in organizing their events, working in conjunction with Student Affairs to help organize and volunteer for event set up. Their next big goal is to create a life coach system for students.

LET’S GO HIKING! The Hiking Club at VIU often hikes to Hemlock Overlook Park in Clifton and to Great Falls Park. Students love to see nature and refresh their minds.

CULTURE SHOW In a university setting ripe with diversity, culturebased events are favorites among the VIU community. Students especially love the Culture Show event as it gives them a platform to share their home countries’ music, food, and customs with their classmates and colleagues. This fun and educational forum fosters solidarity and understanding to create a community dedicated to promoting tolerance and peace. Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU




Are you a looking to develop public speaking and leadership skills? Ace a job interview? Ignite your career? If so, then you should consider becoming a member of the VIU Toastmasters Club. One of the critical communication and leadership skills necessary to advance a student’s career is the act of public speaking. Many people have a fear of public speaking, that is, standing in front of an audience, whether it be in a corporate setting or in the classroom. These skills are, in many cases, not taught in the classroom, nor are they part of academic programs. To learn these skills, join Toastmasters!



Students at VIU have many beneficial resources at their disposal, one of which is the Student Mentoring Program. Mentoring services, while focused on students new to the school, are available throughout a student’s term of study at the university. The driving goal of the program is to provides students with information and advice they may not receive from academic advisers or professors in areas related to day to day life as a student in the United States. Both students and staff enjoy the opportunities to get to know each other through the program. Most importantly, students benefit from the individual attention to their specific needs.

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VIU enjoys awarding scholarships to its students. To date, hundreds of students from over 50 countries have already received scholarships. We are happy to see our students happier and more motivated to study as a result of this tuition assistance. These students encourage their peers to study harder. To enable our students to succeed, scholarships are awarded for many reasons: for academic excellence, for career growth and for special achievements, among others. Also, student staff members receive special on campus scholarships while working. All students, both current and prospective, on campus and online may apply for VIU scholarships several times a year.

VIU.EDU The Writing, Research, and Media Center (WRMC) at VIU serves to enhance the success of students in support of their written work and communication skills. Students learn life-long skills that help them advance in their eventual careers and professional lives. The goals of the center are to promote and foster professionallevel communication in support of students’ academic preparation. The WRMC provides suggestions for students with their written work. Students can meet with a Writing Center Coach in 30 minute blocks to discuss any problems or questions that they might have.

VIU staff and students participated in a “feed the homeless” volunteer event at Bailey’s Crossroad Community Shelter in Falls Church, Virginia. To raise funds for the event, the Office of Student Affairs arranged a yard sale to which students, staff, faculty, and community members contributed clothes and other goods to be sold. Staff also collaborated with local restaurants to collect food donations. Participants in this event came away with the desire to do more volunteering of this kind. “Seeing the happiness of those we helped was priceless. We believe that happiness will increase more when you share,” a VIU student said while volunteering.








How to

Succeed on the



he TOEFL® is the epitome of a highstakes test, used for purposes ranging from college admissions to professional certifications to the satisfaction of visa language requirements. According to the website of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) (, it is recognized by over 9,000 universities and other institutions as a measure of the ability to “use and understand the English language as it is heard, spoken, read and written in the university classroom.” Hundreds of thousands of people take the TOEFL® every year at a cost of $160 to $250 each time. The ESL Program at VIU offers a variety of TOEFL® preparation courses. Recently, I sat down with two full-time instructors, Claire Gimble and Lauren Pollard, who kindly shared several pieces of triedand-

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true advice regarding how to succeed on this very important gatekeeper. Among the themes emphasized repeatedly by both was the centrality of quick thinking and strategic time management. In short, you may have an impressive level of English proficiency, but if you do not manage your time well enough to demonstrate it, you will not get credit for your ability. Here are some of their recommendations. 1. Repress the urge to understand every detail—be strategic. On the reading section, managing your time strategically may mean temporarily forgetting some of what you have learned about deep reading comprehension. You will likely find that it is simply not possible to read all of the texts on the

TOEFL® thoroughly; thus, even more so than usual, you will need to read with a clear purpose in mind. In many cases, it may help to skim a passage and take in its organization so that you will know where to look in order to answer the questions. With practice, you may realize that you can answer questions despite having grasped only the gist of large chunks of the text. 2. Limit your planning time. On the writing section, lightning-fast planning is of the essence. If you are given 30 minutes to write an essay, you should spend at least 20 minutes writing your answer and should devote 5 minutes at the end to editing your work. That leaves only a few minutes for initial planning. One way to streamline the planning process is to internalize the structure of a standard 5-paragraph essay. Having that organization in mind can make it very quick and straightforward to plug your ideas into a predetermined template.


3. Develop your ability to think— and type—quickly.

4. Do not worry too much about conveying your true opinions.

5. When practicing, simulate the testing circumstances as closely as possible.

For many students, common roadblocks on the TOEFL® include a lack of experience with impromptu speaking under time pressure and choppy, errorprone typing skills. To improve your ability to speak extemporaneously in a well-organized manner, have friends ask for your opinions on random, unexpected topics, and practice saying as much as you can in 45 seconds. Devoting 20 minutes a day to free writing on a computer can kill two birds with one stone, helping you to increase your typing speed while also becoming more comfortable with getting your ideas out as quickly as possible.

Being contemplative and insightful may have benefits in other areas of life, but on the TOEFL® these qualities take a back seat to communicating as much as you can as effectively as possible. The scorers do not care what you think; they care how you express it in English. Considered in a certain light, writing and speaking on the TOEFL® can be liberating! If you are asked to argue in favor of one of two options, identify which side would be easier to speak or write about, and choose that one, even if it contradicts your actual opinion. Your main goal should be to let your English proficiency shine.

Gain confidence by familiarizing yourself with all sections of the test, proactively planning out exactly how you will approach them, and enacting your plan until it becomes second nature. Decide how much time you will devote to thinking vs. writing vs. editing, for example, and be very strict about holding yourself to the designated restrictions so that you internalize a sense of what the various time limits feel like. Since the TOEFL® is internet-based, practice in front of a computer. The more you can simulate the exact testing circumstances, the better.

And last but not least, considering the cost of the TOEFL®, take the test when you are ready. There are many ways to practice in the meantime!

The Full

TOEFL Package

VIU helps students succeed on the TOEFL exam by providing superb TOEFL prep classes as well as having an onsite test center. As an ETS authorized TOEFL iBT® Test Center, VIU holds four to eight TOEFL iBT® test sessions in a month. Our Test Center can accommodate 19 students in each of our TOEFL iBT® test sessions. The test center is open to both VIU students and the general public. VIU’s ESL program also offers TOEFL iBT courses for those who need satisfac-

tory TOEFL scores to meet their academic and professional goals. Students who are in lower levels and select the TOEFL track may take intro TOEFL courses in which they learn the structure of the test and basic test-taking strategies. This is where they are exposed to different topics that often appear on the TOEFL. Those that have already demonstrated sufficient English proficiency to be in the two highest levels are allowed to take intensive TOEFL courses, two of which can be taken per term. However, for those who are interested in pursuing a degree at VIU without taking the TOEFL exam, VIU does not require standardized test scores such as TOEFL or IELTS for admission. Students can easily enroll in their courses after taking the English Placement Test provided by VIU. Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU




The END of Books? The Impact of the e-Reader


lectronic readers and apps are on the rise and brick-and-mortar bookstores are closing around the US, but does this really mean the end of the printed (on paper) word? And will books now be obsolete in colleges and universities? Our answer to both is a resounding no. While bookstores may be closing, this has more to do with the still struggling economy as well as the rise of internet giants like Amazon. Electronic readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook are quite popular, indeed, as are electronic books. The e-books are popular for several reasons – first, they tend to be less expensive than paper books, since many of the costs of both printing and publishing are eliminated. Second, a reader can store and access hundreds of books on a device. Finally, with many new apps and programs, these books can be accessed and read on a multitude of devices, including computers and phones,

while keeping place, highlighting sections and making notes. There is much to be said for being able to replace a suitcase-full of books with one small device as well as the instant gratification of buying or borrowing a new book at the touch of a button. However, readers still keep buying physical books, as well. For some, it is the feel, smell and look of the physical book which keeps them attracted. Others enjoy having favorite volumes in several media, both electronic and paper. As for books within universities, they will continue to be important. Of course, students are also assigned many journal articles to read, videos to watch and internet research to do, all of which are available online at the touch of a button. Nevertheless, professors continue to assign books on relevant subject matter as part of the reading materials. The only difference is that now college students can choose whether to read the books in hard copy or as e-books.


A review of Malcolm Gladwell’s David & Goliath





alcolm Gladwell’s latest book, David and Goliath, looks at the complex and intriguing ways in which the weak can defeat the strong, how the small can compete and win against the strong, and how our goals, orientation and socialization (often culturally determined) can affect and make a huge difference in our ultimate sense of success. David & Goliath is based on the Biblical story in which a shepherd boy defeated a mighty warrior with nothing more than a stone and a sling. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won and yet David did. How could this have happened? The overarching thesis of David and Goliath is that for the strong, “the same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness,” whereas for the weak, “the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty.” Drawing upon examples from the world of business, sports, culture, cutting-edge psychology and an array of unforgettable characters around the world, David and Goliath is in many ways the most insightful, practical and provocative book Malcolm Gladwell has ever written.

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VIU.EDU Dr. Stephen Onu holds a doctorate degree from the University of Phoenix, as well as the following certifications: PMP, Harvard Business Roundtable, System Test Engineer (CSTE), Quality Assurance (CQA) and CMMI.

development tool. Organizations are experiencing dramatic improvements in efficiency, productivity and retention through their mentoring programs.




here is a story of a king who had three sons. To determine his successor, he asked them this simple question: How do you avoid making a serious mistake? The first son answered, “by making the mistake at least twice and then learning from it,” but the king called him foolish. The second son answered that he would learn from making a mistake just once, yet the king also called him foolish. The third son answered that he would learn from others that have made mistakes before, so that he would not make the same mistake, and the king made him the prince. This is why you need a mentor; he/she prevents you from making the same mistakes that they have already made.

Most of us can look back on our lives and identify a person who had a significant and positive impact on us.

Mentorship is not only limited to your career; you could have a spiritual mentor, a relationship mentor, or a financial mentor. This person may have been a teacher, a boss, a spiritual leader, or a parent, and somewhere on our journey this person acted as a mentor. Not surprisingly, many companies are embracing the concept of mentoring as a professional

A mentor is an individual with more professional experience in your field who offers you career guidance, counsel, advice and assistance from a real point-of-view based on his/her lived experiences. Mentorship is not only limited to your career; you could have a spiritual mentor, a relationship mentor, or a financial mentor. An effective mentor is reflective, wise, understanding and willing to share his or her knowledge and experience in order to help you avoid mistakes and become successful. Having a mentor is like having a wonderful trusted ally to go to whenever you are feeling unsure or in need of support. A good mentor can also help you set and achieve career goals, make smart business decisions, overcome workplace challenges, learn new skills or simply offer an outside perception, network, discover new opportunities, as well as prepare you for an interview. Finding the right mentor is probably one of the best career decisions you will ever make. There are lots of ways to find a mentor. If you are already working at a company, check to see if your company has a mentoring program, and if you’re not working, ask your friends and family members to introduce you to potential mentors. Organizations like SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) has a database of retired executives from diverse industries and backgrounds who are willing to mentor. The easiest way to look for a mentor is to look around your workplace or your industry. Look for a person you admire and respect, a person whose insight, experience and perceptiveness you value. Most people are flattered to be asked to mentor, so go ahead and ask. When you are unsure of your decisions, when you need someone to simply encourage you, or to lean on – you need a mentor. Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



educate a Girl

educate a Nation M

uch has been said lately about women’s access to education around the world, especially in traditionally strict religious societies. The latest media frenzy has surrounded Malala, a young Pakistani girl who stood up to the Taliban to defend her right to learn. However, Malala is not alone – there are many young “Malalas” around the world who have little to no access to education and who face tremendous difficulties in getting education within their societies. As we sat down with several students, we learned that education is still denied in many areas due to poverty, early pregnancy, and political or economic concerns. Below are their stories. Qurat ul Ain Zameer:


ated to defame Pakistan to the rest of the world. Pakistan is a nation which actually supports women’s education in most areas. There are many good universities and colleges, but their fees are so high that many citizens can’t afford them. In rural areas, most girls are not allowed to go to school, but things are starting to change from the past decade. People are finally beginning to see the need for education, especially for girls. UM: People have lately been afraid to visit Pakistan because of Taliban activity. Is it really a scary place to live, with bombs and death threats?

Pakistanis are divided on the Malala issue. The ones who are pro-Malala know that she stood up for a good cause and got injured. The ones against Malala think that the story is just a hoax cre-

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Qurat: In some places, people go through this torture daily. They hear gunshots and bombs or find the dead bodies of their beloveds. No one knows who the bad people really are, what they

want or where they come from. I have actually experienced a bomb blast once, when I was in school. In the middle of class, we suddenly heard a loud noise that took our breath away. After it, there was a scary silence. My friends and I looked at each other, with our eyes full of tears, our hearts beating fast and thinking that this was the last day of our lives and we’d never get to see our parents again. We were so scared, but our teacher escorted us to the exit, and our parents came to get us. We all ran towards our parents, hugging them tightly. Whenever I recall this incident, I get goose bumps. I felt happy because we were safe but sad because other people got killed in this bad incident. I pray to God to show those people the right way and awake humanity in them.



Nancy Kugonza, MBA in HR Uganda is a very beautiful East African country also called the “Pearl of Africa.” Education for girls has come a long way, from way back over 40 years ago when only boys were sent to school leaving the girls back home to prepare for marriage at an early age. Girl child education now has many advocates, especially as a way to encourage more female graduates at Makerere University. In Kampala, one of the biggest universities in the East African region, each girl is given extra points to be able to qualify for admission. In general, Uganda is one of the very fortunate countries in the world where girls have equal rights as boys to be in school and follow their career paths. The government, alongside many Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) actively encourages even more girls to go to school especially in some communities (in rural parts of the country) that still possess the olden day biases of having only boys go to school. However, there are also many untold stories of lack of exposure or access to the government provisions or the services availed by NGOs that are helpful for girls or young women in general. Despite the availability of some free early/elementary education, many girls are not able to attend school because of

early pregnancies and lack of motivation due to inadequate exposure to success stories that some of the organizations offer. Being so far away from the main cities, and having not so many passionate representatives for these girls leaves them hopeless of ever having an education, and this is where I believe I can fit into the puzzle. My passion is to get in touch and work with organizations that share my dream and belief in the potential of these less-privileged young girls. I am a strong believer in the idea educate a woman, educate a nation because these girls are future mothers and if they are educated, they will pass on their knowledge and influence their children, creating a better world.


Anila Bindukar, BBA in Finance Modern education in Nepal began with the establishment of the first school in 1853 which was only for the members of the ruling families. Schooling was provided to the general public from 1951 after the Rana regime ended. The education system has progressed a lot; however it has remained limited to the urban areas and in rural parts of the country, girls are deprived of getting any kind of education. About 57 percent of Nepali women above age 15 were illiterate as of 2009, according to a Central Bureau of Statistics report. The problem exists because the coun-

try’s political problems overshadow other priorities, including education. Campaigns are being carried out to get girls enrolled in school, but beyond it nothing major has been done to keep them in school. The major reasons for this are cultural beliefs, child marriage, the belief that education for girls is unnecessary, the school environment, a lack of awareness and affordability, plus lack of motivation in parents to promote girls’ education.


Alex John Luketa, MBA In the early 90s, there was a tendency in some families in Tanzania to prefer to send their sons to school and leaving their daughters at home to take care of domestic activities, since it was believed that only sons can take care of the family while girls might end up married. Most girls were denied the opportunity of attending schools, while others finished school before being forced into marriage. Some even managed to attend university. Now, there are efforts made to end this myth which leads more women to continue their studies. Tanzania is facing a challenge in education whereby most of the citizens in rural areas and some from urban areas are failing to send their children to school due to poverty, which leads them to prefer to use their children to work so as to enable them to meet their daily basic needs.

Education Around the World As the world enters a new stage of development, education is becoming increasingly important around the globe. However, there are many countries still lagging behind in their literacy rates and school accessibility for children, especially those in poor and rural areas. Gender inequality is also still rampant around the world, with many girls unable to attend school due to societal demands and cultural norms. As part of the United Nations’ Millenium Development Goals, two major goals have been set to equalize access to education internationally. One of them states that governments should ensure that, by 2015,

children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. The other one aims to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015. Much has been accomplished in the last decade to bring societies worldwide closer to those goals, but should we actually expect these goals to be accomplished by 2015? We can only hope that with the combined efforts of governments and international organizations, there will be better and more equal access to education across the globe.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU




t is no secret to my family, friends, or colleagues that I am attached to my smartphone. That phone is practically an added body part. I know for myself that I do not leave the house without the phone, and frankly, sometimes don’t leave a room in the house without it. I love that I can have instant access to whatever news article or question pops into my head, or place an order for dinner, shoes, and even groceries without speaking to a single person. Mostly, I love the connectivity and sense of community I gain from things like my personal blog, and following along with my high school and college classmates on Facebook and Instagram. But when I sit back and really think about these “relationships” I am forging,

I realize that I am not forging a relationship at all. Sure, I am following along with the lives of others, exchanging similar experiences with other moms through my blog, and cheering on my one-time friends in all of their endeavors, but am I really interacting? I’m not shaking the hands of these people, engaging them in conversation about their latest conquest at work. I am not sharing experiences about parenting or writing and talking about how great it is to succeed at work when I click thumbs up button on a social media site. This all begs the question: are we really helping ourselves by being so connected, or are we missing out on the face-to-face contact that the world has been built on for so many decades?

Beyond all of the networking that we might actually be missing out on is what we miss out on at home. If I sit on my couch and browse Facebook all night, play some mindless game, and read the news, while I am next to my family, I am disconnecting from reality. All of this culminates in the fact that last night my very own two year old, Jackson, woke up at 2:30 AM – and instead of asking for water or to be read to, he asked to watch videos on the iPad. Now, I pledge that I will take a step back and unplug from all of the technology a little bit to share ideas and feelings with my family and friends instead of doling out a hundred thumbs up.

Information Overload! 3 Tips to Help You Cope Working on an iPad with the TV on in the background, while periodically checking a phone – sound familiar? This has become the lifestyle of millions of Americans. Not only does our technological multitasking overload us with information, but we are also constantly bombarded by information wherever we go. How can we deal with the information overload aside from dropping everything to hide in the woods à la Thoreau’s Walden? Here are three tips to help you deal with all that excess.

FOCUS Some research suggests that multitasking actually decreases productivity by as much as 40 percent. Instead of multitasking, try focusing on one task, with only one device turned on at one time. Likewise, try meditation! Are you having visions of monks sitting cross-legged on a mountaintop in Tibet? Have no fear! This meditation requires no extra effort. Just take some time to yourself in a space free from technological distractions.

SLEEP Everyone says it, from experts and researchers in top universities to your grandma in the village – you need to get enough sleep to be happy, healthy and wise. If you want to feel healthier, more energized and actually able to accomplish your tasks faster, sleep well!

INTERACT Taking a simple 20 minute walk every day while taking the time to look at the sights around you will calm your mind and refresh it from technological fatigue while getting your body in shape at the same time. Also, take the time for personal interaction – get together with friends and have a good laugh! Both laughing and in-person communication are known to decrease stress levels and boost immune response.

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Photo by Ali Caudill Photography



VIU.EDU Mila Ushakova is a current Masters of Arts in TESOL student at VIU. While pursuing her education, Mila also models for American companies.


hen Mila was 16 years old, she was noticed by a model agent in her native Siberia. She was thrilled to try modeling, especially since her very first photo session was for a jewelry company. “It is not a secret that girls love jewelry, and I am not an exception!” jokes Mila. The fact that she loved the product made her debut even easier, and, even though her childhood dream was to become a school teacher, Mila fell in love with modeling at first pose. However, Mila quickly learned that modeling is not just a fun hobby, but that it is hard work which takes a lot of time, energy, patience and creativity. For Mila, seeing that she managed to embody the photographers’ ideas in photos is the main reward. “We live in a time when women are capable of handling several professions simultaneously – I consider myself one of them,” she states. Mila’s latest project is shot at the Innovation Barn in Manassas, in which Mila features two different fall fashions. “I had so much fun chasing the sun as it set!” Mila gushes. The images are currently being used for both VivoPhoto and Studio Hair as advertisements for their services in America. Photo by: Denise 'Saca' Viveiros

Mila looks forward to other modeling opportunities in the area. However, no matter how much she loves fashion and modeling, Mila is still fond of linguistics and teaching. She plans to devote the next few years to her studies, graduating from VIU with a MA in TESOL and continuing on to do a PhD in Linguistics. Her dream is to teach English to children.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



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Inspired by the amazing diversity of our University, we created the first VIU International Calendar for the year 2014. The calendar features VIU students from countries all around the world posing in their traditional attire. Travel the world from the comfort of your living room as you join our students on their global adventure. Every month features a different country with fun facts and interesting descriptions of local food, dress and the best places to travel. Various VIU programs, schools and departments are also featured in the calendar, along with inspiring educational quotes and dates of holidays and National celebrations from around the globe. Many students and staff members worked on this innovative project and even shot a behindthe-scenes video of the process. Our models were thrilled to share their cultures with us. Khanittha Chombanphaeo told us the history of her

costume, initially worn by the Thai Royal Family as well as sharing Thailand’s nickname, “Land of Smiles.” Anastasia Sudarikova was proud of the diversity and sheer expanse of Russia, a country covering 9 different time zones. Ishita Sagar talked to us about the ancient Indian civilization and its beautiful architectural monuments, like the Taj Mahal. Jacobs Damilola and Chimeuma Opuwari were proud of Nigeria’s unity when over 300 different languages are spoken in the country. Hilary Kozikowski talked about her experience horseback riding when she was younger and loved the endless opportunities given to all who come to America. All the students who participated in the project were very excited to learn about other cultures and to share their own. Curious? Pick up your own copy of the 2014 VIU International Calendar and travel the world in one year!

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



France – Eylem Sel

Japan – Yoshimichi Ouchi

Germany – Agnes Nawalaniec

Brazil – Camilla Tashira

Korea – Kim Taegue

Ethiopia - Hamdia Mohammed

Vietnam – Trang k Huynh

Egypt – Ahmed El Dahmy

The VIU Global Network extends to all the above countries, and counting!


NO BOUNDARIES VIU students and alumni come from all over the world, from Brazil to Japan and from France to Nigeria – over 70 different countries! With the many different cultures, ethnicities and viewpoints Angola – Ana Karina Silva

represented, all VIU students and alumni agree that no matter where they come from, they immediately feel welcomed into the VIU family. Even after graduation, when alumni travel across boundaries and settle in different countries around the world, they keep in touch with this global network of VIU friends and colleagues, which continues to welcome and support them.

Italy – Rossella Vitiello

Studying in France is a bit different from here, where there is a clear distance between student and professor. At VIU, we have more chances to interact with our professors in a very personal way. At VIU, I met many people from other nationalities that I had never imagined. We can have nice conversations about our different cultures and get our minds even more open to the world, which is amazing! Eylem Sel, France

Studying at VIU made my experience even more meaningful in the United States. I found best friends from every continent of the world and I communicate with them constantly! In my university, I didn’t only learn English, but I also learned about various cultures, diversity, and the meaning of everlasting friendship, of which I am proud. Rossella Vitiello, Italy Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



America is truly a nation of immigrants with over 99 percent of the population being immigrants or descendants of immigrants. The first immigrants arrived in the United States in 1565 when Spain founded St. Augustine, Florida and they have continued to arrive – in recent years at the rate of over a million immigrants per year.

Immigrants have come to North America for many reasons – in search of land and economic opportunity, to escape hunger, in search of religious freedom, or to flee racial or ethnic discrimination. In 1492, the year Columbus arrived in the New World, there were perhaps 10 million Native Americans in what is today the United States. However, up to 90 percent of these people died from Old World diseases, against which they had no resistance. Over the subsequent centuries, many more died or were displaced in violent conflicts with the colonists. This left a huge landmass largely empty of people and accounts, in large part, for the fact that the U.S. is a nation of immigrants. The earliest European colonists in North American were from England and Spain. The first English settlements were on the East Coast while Spanish settlements were established in Florida and the Southwest. In addition to England, a number of other European countries – France, The Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden – established colonies in Eastern and Central North America. For example, the Dutch founded what is today New York City. However, the Dutch, Danish and Swedish colonies were taken over by the British by 1674. The Spanish and French colonies in North America, while enormous, never attracted the large number of colonists that the English colonies did.

a History of American Immigrants BY JOHN L. BENNETT

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Following American independence, a steady stream of immigrants, mainly from the British Isle and Western Europe continued to arrive. However, the great period of immigration was the period 1850 to 1950 when 50 million people from all parts of Europe settled in the U.S. Immigration from Ireland reached its peak in the 1850s when almost a million Irish immigrated to the U.S., largely as a result of the Potato Famine that killed more than a million people in Ireland. In the same decade almost a million German immigrants arrived, many fleeing political persecution after the Revolution of 1848. However, German immigration peaked in the 1880s when almost 1.5 million arrived. During the first decade of the 20th Century, around two million Italian immigrants arrived, most fleeing poverty. During this same period, large numbers of immigrants also arrived from France, Scandinavia, Russia, Poland, and Greece among other countries.

VIU.EDU John L. Bennett, M.L.S, is the Director of Library and Associate Vice President of Learning Services at VIU.

The 19th Century also saw a significant amount of non-European immigration. Numbers of Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. in the 19th century to work in railroad construction. The 19th Century also saw the first substantial immigration from Asia when Chinese began to arrive in the 1840s as laborers. In the second half of the 20th century, patterns of immigration to the U.S. changed radically – immigration from Europe slowed while immigration from the rest of the world grew rapidly. Of the eight million Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and other Asian immigrants to the U.S., more than 75 percent have arrived since 1950. Similarly, 80 to 90 percent of the millions of immigrants from Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, and South America have arrived during the same time period.

Today, the U.S. still attracts large numbers of immigrants though most are from Latin America and Asia. According to the 2010 Census, approximately 40 million Americans, or 13 percent of the population, were born overseas. Of these, almost 12 million were from Mexico. Another seven countries each accounted for more than one million immigrants. It’s clear that the U.S. will continue to be a country of immigrants for the foreseeable future.

Statue of Liberty, NY

The greatest number of immigrants has entered the U.S. through New York City, and, with the exception of California, more immigrants have settled in New York State than anywhere in the U.S. Immigrants arriving in New York City since 1886 have been greeted by the Statue of Liberty. A plaque in the museum at the base of the Statue contains these famous lines “Give me your tired, your poor, [y]our huddled masses yearning to breathe free …”. From 1892 until 1954, over 12 million immigrants entered the U.S. through the immigrant inspection station on Ellis Island in New York Harbor less than a mile north of the Statue of Liberty. Today Ellis Island is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and features a museum of immigration.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU


EXPERIENCE “VIU believes that everybody deserves a fair chance no matter where they are from.”

A Letter To My Friend

By Tamara Strupp, a scholarship student To all my fellow students, no matter if you are already at VIU or planning to go to VIU soon. I wanted to share my personal story, which might give you some thoughts or motivate your future success. I am originally from Germany. I came to the United States in 2008 as an au pair. I had a very interesting year with many ups and downs and decided I wanted to continue my life in the States as a student. Generally, I love to speak English; it is almost easier for me now than my own language. The first semester was a bit tough, since I had never gone to a university before and it was all new to me. After the second semester I started achieving straight As, of which I am very proud. I graduated in December 2011 with my Associates Degree in General Studies. I had mainly taken hospitality classes but wasn’t sure if that was what I wanted to pursue later on. In order to find out what I wanted to study, I applied for an OPT, which I pursued from January 2012 to December 2012. I worked at an animal hospital as a receptionist and nurse. I loved the experience. I learned how to draw blood, how to hold pets safely, and I followed the manager around learning her responsibilities. At the end of my year, I took over the manager’s responsibilities when she was not at work. I learned a lot, got more confident and professional and figured out what I wanted to study: International Business. With International Business I can basically work in any field, anywhere in the world. I applied and started studying at VIU in the Spring of 2013. I really like my experience at VIU. The teachers and students are very nice and I feel like they actually care about the students and not just the money as a non-profit university, which is the opposite of so many other universities. My future goals are to travel the world, make enough money to live comfortably, find the love of my life and have a successful career. For now, I want to graduate from VIU with a high GPA and learn as much as I possibly can. I am thinking about maybe opening my own animal clinic or pet-friendly hotel one day. After I graduate, I would love to work for a German-American company like Audi or BMW. I would love to be a communications manager that is responsible for communication between Germany and the USA. My family does not have that much money. They are helping me with what they have but I have always been independent and relied on myself. Most universities do not provide scholarships for international students, especially not from Germany. But VIU does. Prove you are worth being supported and show it with hard work and dedication. VIU believes that everybody deserves a fair chance no matter where they are from. They value students’ ethnicities and are proud to be an international university which supports their students financially and by assisting students like me. I received a scholarship for the Fall 2013 semester, which helps me to achieve my goals. Now I am so close to graduating, and I am proud of what I have achieved so far. I will continue showing how determined I am to be a successful student at my university, VIU.

I did it and so can you. It’s your turn! From your friend, Tamara 36 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014


Met Superstar Player






here were many people waiting for President Barack Obama’s speech, and I was one of those lucky people. It was a great moment for me, as well as my fellow students who study at Virginia International University (VIU). After passing through the tight security measures, we entered the building. There were media and journalists everywhere, and the auditorium was full of Democrat supporters, and everyone was waiting for Obama. Immediately, the atmosphere changed with President Obama’s entry, and he received a huge round of applause and cheers. He praised Terry McAuliffe, Democratic candidate for Virginia Governor, and Obama wanted people to support Terry McAuliffe. It was exciting for me not only to meet the American President but also to understand the prevalent political issues and hear the expert perspectives on the current situation in the USA. Outside, Republicans were protesting against Obama and others. For me, it was a new experience to see the way in which they expressed their opinions, with no aggression! In my view, all the countries in the world should adopt a focused approach towards solving social, economic and political issues; an approach which is currently practiced by the US political system.

VIU MBA student Ibrahim Elnems had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to volunteer at the FIFA World Cup 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. “It was so amazing to be there with all the play-

Ibrahim Elnems

ers, journalists, visitors and other volunteers!” gushed Elnems, excitement in his eyes. “I worked in the Media Center checking press credentials, interacting with journalists and photographers and making sure everyone knew where to go on match days.” As one of the most active volunteers, Elnems got a chance to participate in the closing ceremony




rehearsal, In October 2013, I participated in the National Model United Nations conference with a delegation of 650 fellow participants from all over the world. Every single issue in the conference was decided by vote. This is where students’ presentation, communication and leadership skills were tested. As it was my first Model United Nations conference, I was sometimes overwhelmed by the process and by the proficiency of many of the delegates present. I noticed that each and every delegate took the conference very seriously, acting like real diplomats, which made me feel like I was sitting with future world leaders. International students at VIU have such chances to improve their skills by participating in world class events, as I did.

where he even got to hold the World Cup itself – 14 kilos of pure gold! When asked about his favorite moments, he responds that meeting superstar players Cannavaro (Italy), Messi (Argentina) and Ronaldo (Portugal) and especially getting to hold the actual trophy were the most incredible experiences. Elnems is now in the process of interviewing to be a volunteer for FIFA 2014 in Brazil.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU





Every employer’s ultimate goal is to attract and retain valuable employees in their workforce through acquisition of the right talents that would help them attain their strategic objectives. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some employees may end up exhibiting counterproductive behavior, which could hinder the company’s productivity as well as interfere with interpersonal relationships with fellow employees. So what should an HR Manager do in such a situation?

TYPES OF DIFFICULT EMPLOYEES: - The hostile worker, who is verbally abusive and destructive - The whiner, who complains just about everything - The pessimist, who never believes there will be any good outcome and as such can affect others with his negativity - The sniper, who constantly criticizes others - The impatient, who doesn’t care about policies and procedures - The know-it-all, very smart and an expert in his field but can be very exasperating - The arrogant worker, who will never admit that he doesn’t really know anything - The indecisive worker takes too long to make a decision, thereby causing unnecessary delay in productivity - The silent employee takes an offensive position and simply does not contribute to any decision - The “yes” worker that will agree to anything without really intending to carry it out

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If you look at this list, you would agree that some of them may appear to be difficult depending on the circumstances. Since dealing with difficult employees is not as simple as it sounds, we would need to look at several factors, which will help us shed some light on steps that will result in a positive outcome for the company, the employee, and the co-workers. ADDRESS THE SITUATION USING THE FOLLOWING STEPS:


Open a line of communication with the employee to investigate fully the nature of the problem. At this point, the policies of the organization will be revisited to ensure that the employee is on the same page with acceptable behavior, rules and regulations, as well as the strategic goal of the company. Employees may become unhappy if they are not linking their responsibilities to the goals of the organization and also their responsibilities are not challenging or their talents not fully uti-


VIU.EDU Dr. Victoria Ashiru has been a member of the VIU Advisory Doctorate Committee since 2010. She has over 20 years’ experience working with international organizations in several capacities.

lized. This may result in boredom and we know that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. Should such a situation arise, the HR Manager should address it right away so that it doesn’t get out of hand. It would be good to have a one-on-one with the employee. Also, the employee may prefer to discuss the issue with their own peers, and there has been proven success in engaging a respected co-worker to speak to a difficult employee.


Plan a course of action based on the findings in the first step. One of the actions would be to assign a mentor to the employee that seems to be struggling with work or interactions with his/her team members. A mentor should also be able to assist the employee with both personal and company goals. An employee may engage in counterproductive behavior due to inadequate knowledge and experience required to successfully complete their daily tasks. If this is the case, the employee should be assigned to take appropriate training programs to enhance their skills and competencies. The HR Manager would need to properly look into the circumstances surrounding the situation and address them, making sure to separate opinion from actual behavior.


Reach a positive outcome/resolution that will benefit the company, the employee, and co-workers. The decision has to be closely monitored to ensure desired results. If after applying the interventions mentioned in step #2 above the problem still persists, disciplinary action may be considered. If the employee’s misconduct is considered serious in nature, it may lead to immediate discharge. Otherwise for minor offenses, HR may impose several levels of penalties as follows: - First offense—oral warning - Second offense—written warning - Third offense—second written warning and suspension without pay - Fourth offense—termination In summary, the key is not only to address the person’s behavior but also what may have contributed to the employee acting in an unfavorable manner. Often times the so-called “difficult employee” may actually be the most creative in the company. Companies want to retain their most valuable employees, and employees, on the other hand, do not wish to lose their jobs.



ersonal growth at my workplace was amazing; in the past 9 years, I have grown so much at VIU! I learned from eminent professors, worked with amazing colleagues, met thousands of bright students and traveled to many countries to help hundreds of students study in the US. I had great experiences in each position I held at VIU, progressively improving over the years. My colleagues and family have also been excited to see my growth. I consider myself lucky to have been one of the VIU alumni offered a position by VIU, which has become my second

family. VIU President Dr. Sarac has given me such great opportunities over the years, of which I am proud, including traveling abroad to attend seminars, workshops and help potential students who want to study at my university. I especially enjoyed Indonesia, for its kind and friendly people, Thailand for its delicious green curries, and Morocco, for its beautiful architecture. Currently, in my role as Associate Dean of the School of Online Education (VIU Online), I am able to combine all of my experiences as a student, a designer, a marketing professional and an administrator to

better serve our students. Working alongside my colleagues, specialists in their fields who are all so passionate about education, I am thankful for the opportunity to compete with and learn from them. Here in the US, opportunities abound, and everyone, both American and international, works hard. It is a priceless experience to have been able to participate in the growth of VIU alongside my own. I look forward to seeing VIU continue to expand its programming and be able to give other students the same life-changing experiences I had.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU


SPOTLIGHT ON MBA GRADUATES Dr. Stephen Onu is a Professor at the VIU School of Business. He is currently working on his next book.


ccording to the Digest of Education Statistics, more than 250,000 students are currently enrolled in MBA programs and about 157,000 MBA degrees are awarded annually, thus making MBA graduates one of the most competitive conferred classes in the marketplace.


How do you stand out amongst the vast numbers of MBAs? How do you get potential employers to notice you over others? You need to be remarkable and unique. Being good is, well, not good enough. You need to be the purple cow. Imagine going home on Route 66 East heading towards Washington D.C, you suddenly noticed 20 cows and one of them happens to be purple. (Cows are normally black, brown, white or mixed colors). What would you do? Let me guess – you will take a second and look again just to be sure you’re not hallucinating, you will probably take out your phone and snap some pictures, and you may even post the picture on your Facebook, rush home and tell your friends. Why? I assume it is not because you have never seen cows before but because you have just seen a unique cow – a purple cow. Yes, the purple cow is not like its brethren, though a cow; it is a remarkable, unique and different cow. The uniqueness (purple color) is the magnet that attracts attention and gets this cow noticed from the rest. You must be a purple cow MBA to be noticed in the marketplace. So, how do you become an MBA purple cow? First, recognize that you’re uniquely different, there is no one like you and identify what makes you unique. Maybe you have a style, a way of perceiving ideas; it could your background, or your experiences. Whatever it is that sets you apart must be identified. You can’t present yourself as remarkable and innovative if you’re eating the grass like other cows or mimicking what other people are doing. Second, leverage your uniqueness by using this formula: YOU + Other person + The Situation = Uniqueness. Successful MBAs are those that take advantage of the opportunity the first time. In most cases, it’s the combination of your interaction with a recruiter or a potential client and how you handle the encounter (situation) is what makes the experience remarkable. Common interests, a shared sense of humor, a way of connecting emotionally – the more you can capitalize on your uniqueness, the more memorable you will be. I remember, once, at Booz Allen Hamilton, we had invited about 25 new MBAs for project management positions for our London Office. None of these MBAs has less than 3.5 GPA, and all of them knew how to apply SWOT, cost/benefit analysis, competitive analysis and all that, but one student was remarkable – Mohammad Abere. Mohammad knew all the soccer teams in England, all their historical scores and standings, and he knew the championship history of the English premier clubs. The Booz interviewing team hired Mohammad because of his uniqueness that had the potential of increasing the firm’s market share. The Booz consulting business is relationship based, and nothing builds better relationship in London than football.

How to Get Noticed by Employers

40 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

Third, let your uniqueness to be an asset. Gone are the days when corporations would hire you and train you - no more. Many organizations expect you to be ready on the first day to contribute to organizational growth. The most effective way to be an asset is to know the organizational problems and propose solutions. Companies hire because there is a problem that needs some degree of solution. If you don’t know the problem, you can’t solve it and therefore you’re not an asset. One of our MBA graduates was recently hired by BlueCross as an Operational Manager because he successfully identified some of the problems in the billing department and showed how his unique experience would help speed the billing cycle. In reality, being a purple cow is not a one-time activity; rather it is a constant way of thinking creatively about the individual interactions you have every day. So what are you reading? What are you thinking? The only way to become remarkably different from other MBAs is for you to know your uniqueness, leverage your uniqueness and turn that uniqueness into an asset.






After my graduation from Virginia International University and spending several years in the States, I returned to my homeland, Thailand. Here, I opened a language center for young learners using the experience and knowledge that I acquired at VIU. Today I am a business lady, thanks to VIU.

Non Permpoontaweesap, a 2012 VIU alumna, earned her Master of Science in Information Systems degree. Since Thailand participates in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), she believes it essential for the new Thai generation to learn English. By her work, she would like to empower Thai children to achieve a more prosperous future by learning English.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU






riendship built at VIU is incredible. The test that it is put through is difficult to describe, but the multiple benefits that you get out of it are even harder to comprehend. I have met my absolute best friends at VIU. They are literally from all over the world: Democratic Republic of Congo, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Russia, India, Germany, Thailand, Angola, Brazil, Morocco, Nigeria, Poland, the United States, Turkey, Eretria, Japan, Egypt, Algeria – the list goes on! Two years may not seem a long enough time to make these amazing friendships, but not for international students. My friends are all a part of me; thanks to them, I am who I am today! They had an enormous influence on me. They are my strength, my support, people in whom I have unshakeable trust. They are also my best teachers. Our friendship is built on a different level of appreciation for each other. Because we are so different, our friendship is now strong, I think. We were able to bond despite the common dissimilarities. It feels as if you just look through the person and find the points that you relate to. It is hard, at times, to comprehend that we met at VIU. It feels as if I have known them all my life! We had amazing times together during studies and created unforgettable memories outside the classroom. We celebrated holidays, travelled, participated in events, drove planes, skydived, prepared for interviews, moved, cooked, organized events, surprised each other, made jokes, danced, sang, laughed until we had tears in our eyes,

cried until we fell asleep, supported each other through the happiest and the saddest moments of our lives, argued, but made peace fast. They are the ones you share everything with. Our friendship ties are still strong even today. Most of my friends have graduated and left the States. This is hard to deal with, but we keep in touch. We are a part of something bigger than friendship; I would dare to call it family! Those of them who stayed are doing very well in the country; some are building careers, others build families, have children, are married. Not a day goes by when I don’t have images of all those special moments flooding my mind when I pass classrooms or drive through the familiar streets that once felt like home. Being away from each other now feels gloomy, but at the same time, there is a pride in knowing that distance does not stand between us! We may not see each other as often and talk less, but we are always in each other’s hearts. We all know that we can always count on one another.

We may not see each other as often, talk less, but we are always in each other’s hearts.

42 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

VIU teaches us to embrace friendship. Moreover, the environment we are exposed to creates an invisible prism through which you are not able to see anything but a human’s soul. This is where the connection happens; the strongest friendships become possible. My friends brought out the best in me! Jess C. Scott said, “Friends are the family you choose,” and I owe Virginia International University for the best family of which I could only have dreamt.




fter studying in Malaysia, I wanted to continue to improve my English in another English-speaking country. Fortunately, in 2009, I got a chance to come to the USA, a leading country in the world. Time flies so quickly; now that I am an alumna, it is hard to imagine myself speechless and overwhelmed with joy on those first days at VIU. Students from all over the world surrounded me, and there were so many exciting activities and opportunities, which is probably why the time passed so quickly! Every student was going through same thing when it came to the language barrier, but we always helped each other. VIU has not only impacted my world views, my education and my career, but also my personal life! I met my lovely husband, Manduul, here at my university. We have been together for four years and will hopefully live happily ever after. I’m not going to lie that it was love at first sight or anything. But it was real love and still is. This made my life at VIU much more interesting as my love was blossoming (still is). It started out slowly – often, I had some language problem with which Manduul would help me. He had been in the States longer than me and his English was better. As we spent more time together and got to know each other, we realized we were compatible in so many different ways. He also gave me the most beautiful gift ever – our son! By the time I graduated, I was also married and a mother! I always tell myself how blessed I am, and I could not ask for more. In these last four years, my life has completely changed. From an international student who tried to learn English to opening the door to motherhood. I am very proud to say I graduated from Virginia International University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 2013. I am very happy and appreciative of everything that VIU has done for me. I truly believe that VIU is one of the best universities; it is very dear to me and has impacted my life in so many ways, especially in starting this new life chapter!

By the time I graduated, I was also married and a mother! I always tell myself how blessed I am, and I could not ask for more. Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU


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Overcoming Obstacles:

Manar Alhazmi W

e recently sat down with one of our students, Manar Alhazmi, who is currently completing the elementary level of VIU’s ESL program. Her talent, determination, and personal story have made her family, teachers, and peers admire her, and I was eager to meet her myself. As a genuinely open person, Manar is strong enough to share her life with us, and she hopes that her story will inspire and motivate others. It’s not Manar’s first time in America; in fact, when she was seven, her family lived in Los Angeles for nine months. By the time she went home to Saudi Arabia, Manar had already fallen in love with America, its people and environment. Her favorite aspect is everyone’s friendly smiles and greetings. Manar is now back with a big vision: to improve her English and earn her MBA degree in Healthcare Management. Manar’s longtime dream has been to become a hospital manager, and she continues to overcome many obstacles to reach it. At the age of 10, Manar suffered from a serious illness and fell into a coma, staying in a hospital for many months. Although Manar’s loved ones were next to her and she had excellent medical care, she was still shocked at the sudden change in her life. Because she could no longer take care of herself, Manar started to give up hope of ever being a “normal” person able to walk, run, work or even hang out with friends. I was curious as to her turning point and how she came from that low point at the hospital to being a healthy, energetic student in America. Manar credits her parents for her incredible improvement, and her “second chance at life.” When Manar was in the coma, “it was a very rough time for her parents to see her staying in bed day and night.” After six months, Manar finally left the hospital to continue her treatments at home. Her dad demanded that she continue her studies and stay strong and to “battle the disease in order to become a healthy


and successful girl.” Manar completed high school and received her Bachelor’s degree from a university in Saudi Arabia. “Now I can do everything with my walker and my wheelchair,” she says. “I am always thankful to my parents for holding my hand and teaching me to fight for life. Without them, I would not be here today.” Her eyes turn tearful when she talks about her mother, Hanan Al Ahmadi, and her father, Faisal Al Hazmi, a policeman who works tirelessly for his family of seven. Her passion is helping children who suffer from illness. To make that dream come true, Manar pushes herself harder than ever. “I want to make new things which I didn’t find when I was in the hospital. It was very boring, and I had a hard time. Even though parents and friends come to visit you, something is still missing there. No matter how sick children are, they need time to play. There are no activities to make children happy!” For Manar, learning from her VIU professors means not only speaking English better but having more confidence in herself. “I was very shy when I first spoke, but today, because of my great teachers, I love to interact with others. VIU is helping my dreams come true!” Manar also enjoys the wheelchair access available on campus at VIU, on the streets and even on buses which, she says makes it easy for her to get around. “Some people beg for food or money in the street. They are healthy, they can walk, run, and work. They can do anything they want, earn enough to buy food or even a house,” Manar says seriously, from the bottom of her heart. “Right before I came to the USA, I worked at a hospital as a receptionist. The manager told me to study and come back, that I will be the hospital manager, and I will do it!” Manar is so positive and motivated that her attitude is contagious “In the near future, I will walk without a walker, run, even travel all over the world. Nothing is impossible. I will make it happen.”

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



Smart Gadgets I n n o v a t i o n s i n I n f o r m a t i o n Te c h n o l o g y


he computing discipline has always been a very exciting and rapidly developing technological field, and phenomenal developments in the field continue to take place. These developments have been translated into products and services in the real world that have made work more efficient, decreased the need to travel, reduced costs, improved the quality of life, improved manufacturing processes, created smart offices, given birth to many smart gadgets and increased connectivity. In the near future we shall have all devices at home and in the office and connect to the Internet, the so-called “Internet of Things”. The consequence of all these developments has been a proliferation of technology buzzwords, the creation of inno-

THE TRAKDOT The Trakdot knows which airport is holding your misplaced luggage. It is a distressingly common scenario: you have successfully landed at your port of call but your luggage cannot be found because it ended up somewhere else. Trakdot is a tracking device that aims to make the stress more bearable by knowing where your luggage ended up. The black and orange, GSM-equipped gadget is slightly larger than a deck of playing cards and powered by AA batteries. It is programmed to power down once the airplane it is on reaches certain speeds, but once on the ground, users can check their bags’ location via an app, text message or email. BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES Panasonic bone-conduction TV headphones connect to a TV via the Bluetooth wireless standard and attach to your head like a normal set of headphones. But instead of using your ears, the headphones work like hearing aids by transmitting sound waves through your skull. YOUM The bendable ‘Youm’ OLED display of Samsung uses thin plastic instead of glass, thereby making it unbreakable.

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vative smart gadgets and connectivity anytime and anywhere as discussed in the following sections. There are many new technology buzzwords that have emerged and some common buzzwords include iPhone, cyberbullying, googling, hacker, spyware, botnet, botnet Herder, cloud computing, blog, wiki, cyber-terrorism and e-learning. Innovations in information technology have resulted in the development of many smart gadgets which can be found almost everywhere: at home, in the office, in businesses, in cars, and even on planes and ships.

GOOGLE GLASS Google Glass is a real-time GPS, a video camera, and Internet browser. The unit is perched on the bridge of the user’s nose like eyeglasses. The user just says “OK, Glass” or gestures with hands and Google Glass responds instantly, showing the results in a small display that floats just above the right eye. Google Glass isn’t even on the market yet, but smart glasses like Google Glass are already expected to bring major changes to the workplace. Smart glasses have the potential to improve workplace efficiency in numerous industries. For example smart glasses in field services will bring about big savings from diagnosing and fixing problems more quickly and without needing to bring additional experts to remote sites. If used in manufacturing and other heavy industries, the glasses could be used for tasks like on-the-job training or assisting with repairs. The impact on industries like retail and healthcare is also expected to be significant. Those industries would use the smart glasses mostly for looking up information, for example searching the inventory.

VIU.EDU Johnson Kinyua, PhD is the Dean of the School of Computer Information Systems at VIU. He has been published widely in peer-reviewed journals and international conferences.

OCULUS RIFT Rift is a head-mounted, virtual-reality device designed specifically with gaming in mind. The idea behind the gogglesand-headphones style contraption is to immerse players in a 3D world that is as close as possible to the real one. Rift could be a real-world step toward the Star Trek “Holodeck;” a chamber which could simulate any environment. SOCCKET ENERGY BALL The Soccket may look like a soccer ball, but it is an energy source. Kick it around for 30 minutes and the kinetic energy is converted to about three hours’ worth of electricity by some internal mechanisms, enough to charge a basic cell phone. A full charge,

72 hours, can be realized after 16 hours of play. The idea is to bring electricity and light to parts of the world that are power-poor and often make do with toxic, fume-producing kerosene lamps. BOUNCE IMAGING EXPLORER This gadget is intended to save lives. The Bounce Imaging Explorer contains six cameras in a rubber ball the size of a baseball, along with a WiFi transmitter and sensors to detect things like temperature and air quality. It also includes a microphone to transmit audio. The design of this gadget allows users such as firefighters, soldiers and the police to throw it into a hazardous area that they would not ordinarily enter for safety reasons. The data it picks up can be beamed back to the user via a smartphone or tablet. For example, soldiers in battle or police in pursuit of an armed suspect could use it to scout out an enclosed space before getting in harm’s way. Disaster responders can toss it into earthquake rubble to look for survivors. Firefighters could find out how hot or smoke-filled a building is before they enter.

In Fall 2012, VIU created the VIU App to enhance students’ learning experience. The goal of the app was to make it easy for students to access all relevant VIU information from their mobile devices. It is available on both Apple and Android devices. Through the VIU Mobile App, students are able to access their VIU Email, the event calendar, pictures, health insurance, financial information and even check the VIU Facebook page. Students can access their accounts in the Student Portal and learn and complete class assignments on Moodle. They can also access the Career Center and Library databases. The VIU App is an easy and fast way to access information on the go from anywhere. As we want to provide our students and faculty with the latest technological innovations, all VIU websites are also fully mobile compatible. To download the VIU Mobile App, search “Go VIU” in the Apple Store or Google Play.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



DIVERSITY in my DIVERSITY HAS NO “THEM” AND “US” UNDERSTANDING Coming from mono-cultural societies, it is challenging and exciting for many of our students to be immersed in all the different ethnicities, religions and diverse viewpoints present at VIU and the United States as a whole. At VIU, students are educated not only academically, but also socially, learning and sharing cultures with other students who do not always share the same views. However, the focus at VIU is always on finding common values and celebrating the differences our students have. As a result of VIU’s respectful “mini-United Nations” environment, students learn patience and tolerance and acquire a new appreciation for other cultures.

While living in Russia I never thought about diversity, even though it does exist. There are lots of different ethnicities that adopted Russian culture and behavior. Lately, people of different ethnicities, races and religions started entering the country and relations between them and us seem to be more complicated. Here in the United States, and at VIU in particular, I got a chance to learn how to live a meaningful life by accepting people the way they are. It wasn’t easy in the beginning; I’d say it was quite a challenge. And I’m sure there are even more aspects to explore. VIU helped me to understand that there is much more in the world than I could ever imagine. I wish everyone would understand that diversity is the norm, not a problem, and then people wouldn’t divide into groups like “them” and “us” but see a completely new diverse world. Liubov Rom, Russia


Ever since I was in college, we were taught that we should respect and understand other nationalities’ cultures and religions. But it wasn’t until I started studying in VIU that I encountered a very diverse environment. It is very exciting to talk to someone who comes from a country you have only read about or seen on TV. All of us coming from different backgrounds and cultures, we learn to respect and understand each other’s beliefs. Ana Maylin Dy, Philippines


When I was enrolling in VIU, the mix of different cultures impressed me. Students, faculty, and staff of different nationalities can exchange experiences, points of view and share stories. At VIU we celebrate the holidays of different countries and religions such as Muslim Eid al-Fitr, Hindu Diwali or Christian Christmas. It helps us learn and gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience and take part in all those celebrations. Each of us is different, but at the same time, we have a lot in common. Agnieszka Kowalewska, Poland

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I came to the USA from Korea, not an ethnically diverse country, to study and travel. At first, I was a little bit afraid of meeting people from different cultures because I only had been around people of my own ethnicity for my entire life. Now, I am grateful for the dynamic and colorful cultural experiences that the DC/ Metro area and VIU offer. I am also happy to share my Korean culture with my fellow VIU students! An Young, Korea


When I first came, I had to take English classes for several months with students from all over the world. It was how I experienced different cultures without having to travel to each and every single country. I was very glad to find that people here in America are very multicultural and strive to understand each other. They move beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual, and the cultural differences are respected and even encouraged. Enkhzaya Jigjidsuren, Mongolia



VIU TESOL prepares the

best educators in the market

By Rebecca Sachs

“English is the most commonly taught foreign language in the world, with over 10 million teachers, according to the British Council. At least 375 million people speak English natively, and an even larger number speak it as an additional language, with estimates ranging from 470 million to over a billion depending on how proficiency is defined.”

Students in VIU’s MA in TESOL program hail from countries all over the world, including Bangladesh, Bolivia, Greece, Iraq, Mongolia, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and many more. They are quite a multilingual group, speaking a wide variety of languages in addition

to their native tongues and English, and they range in age from their early 20s to their late 60s. As undergraduates, some majored in areas related to TESOL, such as English literature and applied linguistics, but others have backgrounds in fields as diverse as law, library science, computer science, and

media. What brings them all together is a desire to teach English as an additional language. Other reasons for choosing a career in TESOL are more personal. Many love languages and are drawn to language teaching for the opportunities it presents to travel the world, broaden their horizons, and immerse themselves in different cultures. Others, looking for new challenges, see TESOL as a way of making positive contributions to people’s lives and decide to pursue it as a career change. Still others want to gain exposure to different styles of pedagogy so that they can help to improve how languages are taught in their countries of origin. It can be argued that some of TESOL’s greatest strengths as a dynamic and thriving field derive from the diverse experiences of the people who decide to become TESOL professionals. These are some of the many reasons why VIU established its superb MA in TESOL program, which prepares some of the best educators in the market.

Center For Democracy & International Affairs VI R GI NIA IN TE R N ATION A L U N IV E R S IT Y

New VIU Center Draws International Attention The VIU Center for Democracy and International Affairs (CDIA) operates with a mission to promote global understanding of democratic governance as well as to establish an international dialogue for cultural, political and economic exchange to aid in resolution of current international challenges. The CDIA offers programs and seminars on global

democracy, international affairs, and intercultural dialogue. The founding events of the Center in the Fall 2013 semester were very successful. The first Democracy in Action event centered on political campaign organization and featured Evan Feinman, Policy Director of the winning Terry McAuliffe for Governor Campaign, VA. Another event brought Dr. Ali-

cia Campi, expert on MongolianAmerican diplomatic relations, to talk about Mongolia’s development strategy as a landlocked Eurasian nation. Finally, the CDIA’s first major research project on Russia’s role in APEC garnered international media attention, being featured in eight different international media outlets within three days of publication. Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU




ver the last decade, there has been a tangible shift in education towards online programs. While online programs have not replaced the on-campus experience, they have come a long way from their beginnings, both in terms of technology and culture.


What's next in O n li n e


50 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

In the early days of online or distance education, students would read some material, send in their coursework via email, and visit a local testing center for their exams. Despite the recent rise and popularization of distance learning, it is not new – it has been around for several decades, with mail-in courses and lectures on VHS tapes that long-time professionals in the field still remember sending to their students. The recent rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), however, has prompted major research universities around the world to quickly increase their numbers of online offerings and has led to a cultural change in the way that society now views online learning. While online learning is still not as widely accepted as regular on-campus education, attitudes are changing for the better – after all, if Harvard has online courses, it must be okay, right?

MOOCs: What, Where and Why? Now, what are these MOOCs that have education leaders worried? MOOCs stands for “Massive Open Online Courses” and they are just that – online courses that are open to all, which usually makes for a very high number of registered students. These courses are usually free, which provides the access to all, with occasional option to pay for an extra certificate. In the past few years, several large companies and non-profits such as Coursera, EdX and Udacity, have arisen, making MOOCs even more popular and accessible, offering interesting courses in various fields from professors at top world institutions. These courses are user-friendly and can be attended by

anyone from anywhere, as long as they have a good internet connection. To give an idea of just how massive these courses (and companies) have become, we can look at Coursera alone, which boasts 5,592,076 students, 543 courses and 107 partners. And this is what has the traditional education community worried – that students will now opt for free MOOCs instead of the traditional college degree. However, the MOOCs do not actually provide college degrees! And the vast majority of people taking these individual courses are doing so only for their own professional development or amusement. There is no need to fear MOOCs; in fact, they actually serve the entire field of distance learning in popularizing online education and making it more mainstream and, therefore, acceptable, as well as in forcing institutions to spend more time, money and effort on their online classes ensuring the continued high quality of online education. I am not alone in my view; at the 19th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning, which took place in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on November 20-23, 2013, Daphne Koller, Co-founder of Coursera, stated that most “Courserians” are taking courses to further their own professional development. “I don’t know about your field, but a lot has changed in my field of computer science since I received my degree,” Koller joked.

ONLINE EDUCATION GROWTH So, if the MOOCs will not take over online education, what will happen? Well, there is a lot of great news. First, it has shown consistent growth over the last ten years. According the 2012 Survey of Online Learning, conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group, over 6.7 million students are now taking at least one online course, and 32% of higher education students now take at least one course online. Finally, while individual faculty members and members of the


public are still unsure of the quality of online higher education as compared to on-campus, according to the same Babson survey, 77% of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or even superior to those in face-to-face classes.

ONLINE EDUCATION IN PRACTICE Having experienced online education from all angles, as a student, a professor and administrator and even a marketer, I can state from personal experience that online education is a very practical and cost-effective way to study and earn a degree. In fact, in several recent unofficial student surveys, online education was rated as having the best value. In speaking to online students here at Virginia International University, most comment on how convenient it is. Because the classes are so flexible, they can accommodate any schedule, leaving students in all time zones able to work, maintain family responsibilities and study at times convenient to them. Most students cite an initial fear of online courses, as they are unused to them and not sure what to expect; and then, without exception, all are pleasantly surprised by how interactive the courses are and how much support and feedback they receive from their VIU Online professors. In conclusion, recent technological developments and adoption of online learning by leading educational institutions has made it easier for online learning to enter the mainstream. With competition created by the propagation of online learning, also spurred on by MOOCs, now is the absolute best time to enroll in an online degree program to take advantage of the latest advances and gain the best value.


Katherine Magalif is the Director of the Center for Democracy and International Affairs at VIU. She received her MA in Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies from Georgetown University.

THE VIU LIBRARY While VIU maintains a traditional library on its campus, the university also caters to its online students by providing them with the latest and best digital resources. VIU provides information services to its residential and online students and faculty by maintaining an on-campus library with approximately 6,600 book and 50 periodical titles and by providing access to two online research databases. The library website provides access to the library’s electronic catalog, its two online research databases, and links to over 240 websites relevant to the curriculum. Students and faculty can also contact the library staff through the library website. VIU subscribes to LIRN and e.brary, two online research databases. LIRN provides access to the full-text of millions of articles from thousands of periodicals, many of them peer reviewed. e.brary, on the other hand, provides access to the fulltexts of over 85,000 current academic books.


and can

e.brary be



any computer with an Internet connection.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU




Go On

a New Adventure

Although VIU students study hard during the semester, they also love to travel and experience all sorts of new and exciting activities, from skydiving to American football! Here are just a few cool things our students have done recently. Feeling inspired? Then go on a new adventure!

VIU students love to travel and explore America. From New York City to Hollywood and from Niagara Falls to Miami, they’ve traveled all over the United States. Of course, the best place to start is right next to VIU. In Washington, DC you can visit the White House, the United States Capitol, the botanical gardens, the zoo and, of course, the many museums! Laetitia Damase, a VIU student from France, is one of our adventure-loving students. “One of my favorite hobbies is to travel and see new places. I love trying new experiences and look back and say to myself, ‘Wow I can’t believe I made it!’ I went to 17 cities and 10 states in 5 months, did skydiving, explored the shooting range, held a baby alligator, and swam with dolphins in the Bahamas and so much more. I am thankful to study during the week, which leaves me totally free to travel on the weekends. You should see what the world has to offer to you while studying!”

Prashish Shrestha, Nepal “In this fast-paced world, I never have time to spend with my friends. Going whitewater rafting was an excellent way to stop the clock and have fun.”

Veronica Enriquez Cujar, Colombia “I saw snow for the first time when I went skiing in Maryland! Even though I fell down a few times, learning to ski was a magical experience.”

Stephane Victorino, Brazil “Skydiving was on my “To Do” list ever since I came to the US. The idea of jumping out of a plane can be scary, but nothing can describe the feeling of freedom as you free fall!” Baatardash Baldandorj, Mongolia “Learning to fly a helicopter in Daytona Beach, Florida was amazing! Flying 1500 meters above sea level, with just the sky and the ocean, was scary and wonderful.” Laryssa Saud, Brazil “Since I came to the US, I was curious about American football. Going to a Washington Redskins game was incredible. I especially liked the festive atmosphere.”

52 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

Laetitia Damase


Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU





Cost of

Education E

ducation costs more than ever before in America, and yet more people than ever are earning degrees; what will happen to the cost of education – will it keep rising or taper off? How will online education affect the costs? While education costs have been steadily rising both with inflation and as a percentage of income, the number of college graduates has dramatically increased over the last five decades. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 1960, the annual cost of tuition, room and board accounted for 2% to 30% (state vs. private universities) of annual median income, yet only 7% of the American population had graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher. In 2012, the annual cost of tuition, room and board accounted for 16% to 96% (state vs. private universities) of annual median income, and yet, over 30% of the American population had graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

54 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

With the significantly rising costs of education as well as the overall rise in unemployment, recent graduates have been finding themselves in debt at the very start of their careers. Due to this shift, there had been a lot of discussion on the future of education costs. Both Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), which do not actually provide degrees, and online education in general, which tends to be less expensive, are forcing colleges and universities to look at their cost structures to see what they can cut. And yet, due to high salaries and maintenance costs to keep up expensive campuses, institutions are finding it impossible to lower prices. As a result, many of them are expanding their online programming, in which associated costs are minimal. However, it seems that tuition costs will continue to rise, and the continual demand for higher education will allow them to do so.


ASIA CONTRIBUTES THE LARGEST NUMBER OF STUDENTS TO THE U.S. Studying overseas has become increasingly popular for students all over the world. For American students, the United Kingdom has been a favorite destination, drawing the largest group of students, closely followed by Italy, Spain and France during the last two years. Almost 60% of students studied abroad for eight weeks or less and took courses mainly in the social sciences, business and humanities. In turn, the United States hosts many international students from around the world. According to Fast Facts, 2012 saw an increase of 7% in international students in the US, a record high of almost 820 thousand students. China contributed the largest number of students, about 236 thousand. There was drop of nearly 4% of students from India; however, it is still the second largest group, equal to about half of Chinese students. Several countries, including Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia, have shown a marked rise in the number of students they send to the US by at least 25%. Nonetheless the largest group remains Chinese students. A similar trend is in play at VIU, although not necessarily with the same countries. VIU receives the most inquiries from interested foreign students in Asia, followed closely by Africa.

MOST POPULAR PROGRAMS Among international students studying in the United States, MBA degrees are the most popular, yet, engineering, math and computer science, social sciences and physical and life sciences are beginning to catch up. At VIU, the trend reflects that in the rest of the United States, with business programs being the most popular, followed closely by ESL programs and computer and technology programs.

“Innovations at the Intersection of Language, Learning, & Culture”

April 11-12, 2014 FEATURING • Dr. Terrence G. Wiley, President and CEO of the Center for Applied Linguistics, on the multilingual heritage and contemporary linguistic diversity in the US • Dr. Shelley Wong, Professor at George Mason University and past TESOL President, on student advocacy and empowerment • Dr. Ken Petersen, Technical Director of Online Learning & Assessment for American Councils for International Education, on innovations in technology for the modern classroom

Join the conference to discuss the latest developments in Language Learning and Development, Pedagogical Considerations, Program Evaluation and Policy & Language in Society. For more information on abstract submission, registration, event schedule, and more, visit the School of Education website: Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



Coming to North America was a very fun experience for me, especially seeing the enormous buildings and the change of language! But I really miss the small-town feel of everyone knowing each other and celebrating the holidays together in the streets that I had back in Colombia. Also in Columbia, when they call you by your name, it means they are mad at you. Here in the US, people just call you by your name after you meet them. I think the most remarkable difference is in the order and progress that exists here in the US. I felt so intimidated and did not want to leave my house for the first two months! Also, using public transportation was a difficult adjustment, because the schedules here are fixed. The biggest shock for me was where to shop for food. At home, I never had to worry about what I could eat, but here, I have to take more time to do it.

I did not experience as much culture shock. Here, I am with my brother and we support each other. However, I still miss everything back home, especially around the holidays. My friends here are great, and VIU has so many activities for us. I did have to learn to be on time here in the US though!

Anybody who has lived in a foreign country may experience differences in what their new culture considers important as well as the different values of that nation. I learned to make my own decisions without being reliant on my parents. Moreover, I made a lot of friends who helped me alleviate homesickness and improved my communication skills.

The huge food portions, Americans’ everyday routines, and the wide roads - everything had a very different vibe about it. I was really amazed by the way Americans lived their lives, which was very organized. Punctuality was a huge issue that I had to deal with when I came study as a freshman. Back in Nepal, we are never expected to be on time no matter what the appointment or the meetings are. Here, it was totally different. I missed my dinner twice in the cafeteria because I was two minutes late. I was amazed by the fact that part of our grades were based on being on time and attending class. It took a while to adjust, but eventually it became a norm of life. When I look back, it makes me feel grateful because it has shaped who I am today.

56 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014




I am currently studying Small Business Administration at VIU. I enjoyed the variety of trips and special social functions on campus. During course projects, I could see that my classmates are very knowledgeable about American subjects. It makes me proud as an American to see how international students take advantage of our great education system and how well they adapt to our customs.


Brenda Callahan selected VIU to learn in a small classroom environment with other students that wanted to learn about the importance of an American education. At first, she wondered if she would fit in at VIU and whether she would be accepted by the other students, but she found that the university is well-managed and open to international and American students.

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



VIU goesGlobal VIU has partnered with univer-

among others, even offer the

a speech about VIU, the Ameri-

sities around the world to col-

option of getting a dual degree.

can education system, and the

laborate on student and fac-

And that’s not all! Many exciting

benefits of student exchange. His

ulty exchange, research and to

new collaborations are on the

final stop was Taipei, in Taiwan,

give students in universities on

way with universities in countries

where Dr. Sarac met with the Di-

different continents an oppor-

like Brazil, Germany, Romania

rectors of the Taiwanese Turkish

tunity to continue their studies

and Tanzania. As part of VIU’s

Center to discuss collaboration

in the United States. Currently,

effort to promote collaboration,

opportunities. Our president’s trip

VIU collaborates with universities

VIU President Dr. Sarac recently

to Asia was both fascinating and

throughout Europe, Asia, Africa

visited Tokyo and Kyoto where

productive. It expanded col-

and South America. Some of our

he met with representatives from

laborations and assured that VIU

longest-standing collaborations

EducationUSA. After four days

students are receiving the best

with universities in Mongolia, Rus-

in Japan, Dr. Sarac headed to

online and on-campus educa-

sia, Kyrgyzstan and Macedonia,

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to give

tional experience possible.

EVERYDAY OPPORTUNITIES Student employees contribute significantly to both the academic and administrative areas of the university while gaining valuable experience in their fields. Currently, VIU students work in Marketing, Student Affairs, the Bookstore, Library, President’s Office, IT and Academic Departments. When student employment po-

58 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

sitions open, all students receive notification through their VIU campus email. Competition is tough as we strive to employ those with the greatest skill set and prior experience for each position. We encourage students to volunteer in a department for which they would like to work to learn more about it.



With the advent of social media, our students and alumni are able


Professional development is a priority for VIU faculty and staff. They are encouraged to attend conferences and conventions to keep abreast of the latest developments in their fields. In the past few months, VIU faculty and staff have attended several cutting-edge conferences. • Laura Coker and Smita Maskey from the Office of International Students attended the Virginia International Educators (VIE) Fall Conference in Richmond, Virginia. • Martha Huaman and Stephan Shelley of the Admissions Office attended Against All Odds: Advancing International Education Conference, organized by the Association of International Educators NAFSA in Atlantic City, NJ. • Idris Ulas and Smita Maskey attended the NAFSA Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. • Dr. Rebecca Sachs, a professor in VIU’s School of Education, attended three conferences in October: the Fall Convention of the WashingtonArea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Association (WATESOL), a conference on Improving Quantitative Reasoning in Second Language Research at Georgetown University, and the Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) in Provo, Utah. • Connie Lee, ESL Program Director, and Claire Gimble, ESL instructor, presented at the Fall 2013 Conference for the Washington, DC Area Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages Association (WATESOL) in Bethesda, MD • John L. Bennett, Director of Library, attended the Virginia Library Association (VLA) Annual Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. • Yoko Uchida Gursen, University Registrar, attended the Foreign Educational Credentials Analysis workshop organized by NAFSA and the CAMS Connect Annual Users Conference. • Dr. Michael C. Ross, Dr. Mark Robinson, and Dr. Joseph Huber (School of Business) presented at the National Association of Multicultural Education 2013 Annual Conference. Their presentation focused on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of international millennial students and the process of teaching them to be collaborative and reflective.

to instantly read, see, hear and

Social Media Buzz

share their news, thoughts and opinions with the tap of a finger or the click of a mouse. Here are some of the great things they had to say about VIU:

Agnieszka Gryska I love living in such a safe environment, close to Washington, DC. Farida Mammadova Thank goodness for payment plans! Now I don’t have to take out loans to afford my education. Hamdu Sweet So many great internship opportunities to choose from in the DC area!

@ZinebH My classmates were so #diverse. Surrounded by #Russians, #Indians, #Brazilians, #Tanzanians! @KenP My professor just took us to lunch at the #IMF! @viuintluniversit @Verena Awesome! I just got a #scholarship from #VIU! @BaskaG Love my #flexible schedule at @weareVIUOnline! Lets me work and study.

Niler Mutlu: Taking on-campus and online classes this semester. Less time commuting = happy student! Said Sani Nababa: Small classes make VIU awesome. Just talked to my professor for an hour about entrepreneurship!

Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU




WHERE are they


VIU takes great care of its students, providing them with hands-on internship, CPT and OPT opportunities and introducing them to the world’s leading companies. But what happens when our students graduate? We are always thrilled to hear about their exciting career and personal life changes and are so proud of them. VIU alumni are currently employed by top US and global agencies and corporations such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department

Atlanta, USA

St. Petersburg, Russia

Beijing, China

As an assistant librarian at VIU, I was lucky enough to gain hands-on knowledge which I am implementing now in real life. Atlanta is cool. The work environment here is certainly amazing! I am currently a Software Build Engineer at Ernst and Young. Finding out that I was selected after the interview was one of the most exciting moments in my life! At the time, I was working at Intel Corporation after my graduation on a project maintaining source code. Even though I have met a lot of new friends here at work, I still keep in touch with all my VIU friends, who are now working in multinational companies.

I successfully graduated from VIU with honors in 2013. At VIU, I learned not only from books, (which are amazing compared to the ones I read in my home country doing my undergraduate degree), I also learned so much from VIU professors. After my graduation and life in America, I became wiser and stronger without doubt. It seems to me that I traveled around the world during the two years of my MBA Program because I made so many friends from around the world. I plan to start my international career and try to contribute to the Russian Economy and development and build a family.

The quality of education at VIU was excellent and I am proud to have found great friends there. Today, my life in China is awesome! After graduation, I got a cool job with a chance to travel, but I really do miss VIU and always care about what it going on with my VIU “family.” I love that VIU continues to keep in touch, sending messages and caring how my life is going. Thanks so much VIU. I will never forget my life there, and I wish to come back one day to visit my warm-hearted VIU family!

Tarun Reddy Guduru, MCS

Anastasia Listopadova, MBA

60 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014

Lei Ding, Certificate in International Business

Tips from the of Energy, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, World Resource Institute, Hewlett Packard, Google, PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, Ernst and Young and many more.


Most VIU alumni stay in touch with each other, often expanding personal connections gained at VIU into global business networks! We had a chance to catch up with some of our recent alumni. Below, you can see what they have done since graduating from VIU.

To a Successful Job Interview Job interviews are nightmares for many people. The best way to minimize your nervousness prior to an interview is to be well prepared. Here are some tips that can help you in the interview: 1. Research and Practice

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia VIU’s School of Business provided me with efficient and intensive training. My professors were dynamic experienced professionals who based their classes on practical methods, which is very useful for a business environment. Several months after my internship at Grameen Foundation, where I worked after graduation, I was hired by IFC, World Bank Group as an Investment Analyst. There are a lot of people at VIU whom I respect and whom I thank for all the opportunities they have given me.

Bolor Chimednamjil, MBA

Researching a company and the position make you stand out in an interview. Additionally, practicing what you will say out loud before your interview will help you sound more polished, concise and less nervous in the actual interview.

2. Dress Well In an interview, first impressions do matter. The best way to ensure a good first impression is to dress smart. If you are interviewing for a job in an office, it is usually best to wear a dark-colored, conservative suit (for both men and women).

3. Be conscious of your appearance Be on time for your interview. This is, perhaps, the most important. Employers expect employees to arrive on time to work. Be aware of your body language.

When shaking hands, make sure your grip is firm and confident. Have good posture, but avoid appearing stiff. Keep the interview positive. Avoid making negative remarks about any previous jobs or employers.

4. Be prepared to ask the interviewer questions This is where your research comes in. Employers want to know if you’re truly interested in the position. They also want to know that you have all the information you need to make a decision, if offered the job.

5. Thank-you note Make sure you let the interviewer know how pleased you were to have the chance to interview with him or her. Immediately after the interview, send the interviewer a thank-you note, thanking him or her for taking time to interview you. Spring 2014 University Magazine, VIU



Frequently Asked Questions

As a popular international university, VIU gets lots of questions from interested students all over the world. Below, we answer some of the most common questions we get. Have a question that’s not answered here? Please visit our website at to get more detailed information.

How do I apply to VIU?

First, choose your program of study on the VIU website, Then, fill out the online application form. Finally, pay the application fee and upload required documents. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@ or , or by live chat where we are happy to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What are the expenses?

VIU offers a competitive tuition rate, much lower than most other universities, while still maintaining excellent quality of education and the best learning experience. Tuition rates differ according to program; to get the most current information on tuition, please visit the “Tuition” page on our website under the “Admissions” menu.

Does VIU help international students get a student visa?

As an international school, VIU is always keen on assisting students in getting F1 visas. The school assists students by providing the supporting documents that are needed to get a student visa (for example: I-20 and acceptance letter to those who are qualified). The Office of International Student Services at VIU assists students in immigration policies and procedures. Please keep in mind that the US embassy in your country makes the final decision as to whether you are given a visa or not.

Can students work while studying?

VIU offers on-campus employment opportunities to its students. Any student can apply for open positions once admitted to VIU. Students may also apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). This allows them to work outside of campus at jobs which relate to their program of study.

New Live Chat System Helps Students

We are so excited to announce that we have launched a new VIU live chat system. The new system was first implemented at VIU Online, and will be implemented to support on-campus program inquiries. The new system allows us to assist our current and prospective students from anywhere in the world. With around the clock support, anytime a student has a question, VIU is there to help!

CONTACT US Mailing address:

11200 WAPLES MILL ROAD, #360 FAIRFAX, VA 22030 PHONE: 703-591-7042 / 1800-51-GO-VIU FAX: 703-591-7048

62 University Magazine, VIU Spring 2014



PROGRAMS OFFERED (Academic Year 2014-2015) School of Business

School of Computer Information Systems

■ Master of Business Administration (MBA) in: • International Business • Marketing Management • International Finance • Global Logistics • Accounting • Health Care Administration • Human Resources Management • Hospitality and Tourism Management

■ Master of Science in Information Systems (MIS)

■ Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in: • Finance • International Business • Marketing

■ Graduate Certificate in IT Audit and Compliance

■ Certificate Programs: • International Business • Small Business Management

School Public and International Affairs ■ Master of Science in International Relations (MIR) in: • International Economic Development • International Business ■ Master of Public Administration (MPA) in: • Public Management • Information Systems • Health Care Administration & Public Health

School of Education ■ Masters of Education (M.Ed.) ■ Master of Arts in TESOL ■ Graduate Certificate of Education ■ Graduate Certificate in TESOL ■ Master of Science in Applied Linguistics (MSAPL)

School of English Language Studies ■ English as a Second Language Program (ESL)

School of Continuing Education ■ Professional Development Programs ■ Workshops / Seminars ■ Adult English Language Evening Classes

All graduate and undergraduate programs are also available online.

■ Master of Science in Computer Science (MCS) ■ Master of Science in Information Systems Management (MISM) ■ Master of Science in Information Technology (MIT) ■ Master of Science in Software Engineering (MSE) ■ Bachelor of Computer Science (BCS) ■ Graduate Certificate in Business Intelligence ■ Graduate Certificate in Information Systems ■ Graduate Certificate in Information Systems Management

In addition to its excellent programs in business, technology, and English, VIU has opened several high-demand programs in education, public policy and international affairs. With so many great programs to choose from, a warm, supportive environment, exciting student activities, amazing professors and lifetime friendships. VIU is truly my kind of university!


11200 Waples Mill Rd, Suite 360, Fairfax, VA 22030 1.800.514.6848 -

University Magazine Issue 1