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Host Profile: Walt Cannon and Deb Slivinsky

Posted by Bea Chang at Jun 23, 2016 01:29 PM |
Our Host Profiles recognize and feature the wonderful hosts in our community whose generosity means the world to our students. Here's Walt and Deb, sharing their story of what hosting means to their family!

We love our homestay hosts and are proud to have a big and diverse hosting community! FIUTS hosts come from around the world, live all over the Puget Sound region, and range from first-time volunteers to hosts who have been welcoming students to their homes for decades.

Our Host Profiles recognize and feature the wonderful hosts in our community whose generosity means the world to our students. Here's Walt and Deb, sharing their story of what hosting means to their family!

Name: Walt Cannon and Deb Slivinsky

Location: Greenlake, Seattle

How long have you hosted students through FIUTS? First time was about 10 years ago

What countries have you hosted students from? France, Germany, Romania, Britain, and Holland

What made you decide to be a host? Deb and I have lived and worked overseas a couple of times and always counted on the kindness of locals to help us get settled in. Additionally, it is a great way to make continuing international connections.

"[Hosting] just continues to reinforce what we learned in our own living and travelling overseas….People the world over have a lot more in common than they do differences." - Walt Cannon

What’s your favorite local place to bring your host students? We love to take them for a walk around Greenlake on a nice day to see Seattleites of all persuasions out enjoying themselves.

What’s your favorite activity to do with your host students? I am a pilot and love to take them flying around the Puget Sound. Most have never been in a general aviation plane and are amazed by the beauty of our area.

Has a host student ever cooked a dish from their home country to share with you? If so, what did they make? Not really :)

What is your all-time favorite memory of hosting an international student? Taking a German student who was studying to be an airline pilot to a small country fly-in. They were delighted and could not believe the variety of private airplanes and freedom American pilots have.

What's your favorite part of U.S. culture to share with your host students? The freedom, opportunity, and diversity of thought that we have here in the US. Foreign students, if they have not traveled widely, might have a fairly narrow view of what the US is like. It may be heavily influenced by negative headline news and pop culture. Deb and I love showing them that though that is real, there are many other aspects of life in the US.

What’s the best thing you’ve learned from your hosting experience? It just continues to reinforce what we learned in our own living and travelling overseas….People the world over have a lot more in common than they do differences.

Have you stayed in touch with any of your host students long-term? Definitely…We have had an opportunity to both meet family members here in Seattle when our students returned and have had chances to visit them in their own country. At the moment we are making plans to visit our last Dutch student at his home when we are cycle touring there later in the summer.

Past Host Profiles:

Karene & Faylynn Busby
Dave Dittemore
Cathy Farrar
Martin Bickeboeller

Interested in a rewarding experience with international students this summer or fall? We are actively looking for hosts to welcome students into their homes for a short-term stay! Contact for more information or fill out an application today!

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Welcome, Summer Program Assistants

Posted by Ellen Frierson at Jun 13, 2016 01:50 PM |
Bennett and Qanani are the two newest members of the FIUTS summer programs team!

Though the University of Washington campus is quiet today now that the school year is officially over, things are as busy as ever in the FIUTS office! In addition to preparing for International Student Orientation in the fall, we're also working hard to get ready for our three summer visiting programs: the Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders (SUSI) in Journalism and New Media, the Seattle Language and Culture Institute, and the Youth Ambassador Program with the Caribbean.

We're excited to welcome two temporary staff members who will be with us this summer as part of our team for these programs. Meet our two new program assistants, Bennett and Qanani!


Name: Bennett Anderson
Hometown: Winfield, West Virginia
Year: Graduate Student
Major: Public Administration

About Me: I have been enthusiastic about international community building since I was a high school student studying Japanese. I went to Salem International University in Salem, West Virginia for my undergraduate degree and then served in Ukraine as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I have also visited Ireland twice and went to Kathmandu, Nepal for a week during my Peace Corps service. I love meeting people from different cultures and learning about different languages. I am also very dedicated to public service and will be starting a Nonprofit Management Certificate Program this fall. When not trying to spread international understanding and cooperation I love to make craft projects, grow plants, play tabletop games, and go look for adventure.

Bennett will be working with the SUSI and YAP Caribbean programs.


Qanani Kalil was born and raised in Ethiopia. She is a second-year graduate student at the University of Washington, studying higher education policy and leadership. She is currently a Graduate Student Assistant for Pipeline Project, a K-12 educational outreach program at UW. Qanani is really passionate about education and youth empowerment. She has worked with students as a tutor and a mentor for over three years and has always had a passion to motivate and empower young people to strive and succeed.

Qanani will be working with the SUSI program.

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Summer Opportunities for Students

Posted by Bea Chang at May 24, 2016 01:45 PM |
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FIUTS doesn't stop just because summer is here! In fact, there are a myriad of ways you can take part in our programs, stay connected to the community, and join the summer fun. Check out our great opportunities.

The school year is winding down, but FIUTS is gearing up for a busy and fun summer. We’ll be welcoming students to our visiting education programs (SUSI, SLCI, and YAP Caribbean) while preparing to welcome more than 2,000 new international students to the University of Washington in the fall. If you are planning to be in town to enjoy the fabulous Seattle summer (shhh…it’s our best-kept secret), join in on the FIUTS fun. Our great opportunities for involvement include:

Become a SUSI Ambassador (June 22-July 16)

The Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders in Journalism and New Media program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, brings 20 undergraduates from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Nepal to Seattle. SUSI Ambassadors are University of Washington students who volunteer for the FIUTS SUSI program and receive training and experience in leadership, planning, teamwork, and citizen diplomacy. SUSI Ambassadors join in amazing leadership and social activities (including a Mariners baseball game, a visit to the Space Needle, a service project, the closing ceremony, and more!) and become part of an incredible SUSI family. Apply now!

Be part of the Orientation Committee (All Summer)

FIUTS Fall International Student Orientation is a 10-day program designed to welcome and support new international students at the University of Washington in their transition to the campus and community. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of people and work to put on a program of this magnitude. The Orientation Committee will become experts on orientation events and help create a great environment for the team of facilitators who will be working throughout orientation. Email if you’re interested in being part of the committee.

Join the Facilitator family (Any Time)

Facilitators are the students who make the FIUTS magic happen. Facilitators help students build connections, foster international awareness, and share their culture, all while making new friends and building their leadership skills and resume. All it takes to become a facilitator is to fill out an application and attend a new facilitator orientation. New facilitator orientations happen every couple of weeks; watch the FIUTS calendar for the dates. Start facilitating this summer and you can be part of the fun at Fall International Student Orientation.

We look forward to seeing you around this summer!

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Facilitator Corner: Nail Hassairi

Posted by Bea Chang at May 17, 2016 10:34 AM |
"Sky was the limit. And it was." - Facilitator Nail Hassairi reflects on his experience in the FIUTS community, first as an exchange student and later when he returned as a graduate student.

FIUTS Facilitators are student leaders from all over the world who welcome new international visitors, help organize events, and lead activities for hundreds of students each quarter. Read on to find out more about the FIUTS facilitator experience from Nail Hassairi.

Name: Nail Hassairi
Country: Czechia
Major: Economics
Class: 2010
FIUTS Facilitator Since: 2014

Brief Introduction
An alien paying taxes. Addicted to American Dream. Foolhardy, foolish.

What does it mean to be a FIUTS facilitator?
To be a FIUTS facilitator is to be a gate-keeper, a bouncer, the bellboy, the waiter, a friend, a guide, a medium through which the values of mutual respect, tolerance, friendship are being offered to whoever steps in the door.

Favorite FIUTS anecdote as a facilitator
I'll break with the tradition and say something about the participant experience. In 2009 I arrived in Seattle, USA. I had traveled a bit before. Italy, Italy and some Italy. I had meting random people a bit before too. In college. Volunteering. There was something strangely seductive about landing far, far away and not having the slightest idea what will happen next. Half-Tunisian, half-Czech, I always felt a bit foreign pretty much everywhere. An Eastern European, huddled masses. I felt exuberant. I was a bit afraid, coming to US for one quarter (I was an exchange student) surely would have felt like taking the red pill and then having to go back to the Matrix. I spent much time preparing for this, mostly learning English and preparing academically. Socially, I was very much unprepared. Cataclysmic changes in the world order have hurled my country back into the open world and for everyone there was suddenly much catching up to do. I grew up on cultural artifacts that made it to my country 10-15 years after they debuted in the US. Fear, admiration and envy are the feelings of choice among my countrymen when it comes to the US. Cultural shock was an inevitability. I did not really expect one, I had thought that US and Western Europe are pretty much the same thing. Still, exuberance was the strongest feeling I had. First time flying more than 3 hours in a plane. First time spending more than 4 weeks away from home. First time living by myself. First time in an Anglophone country. First time crossing the Atlantic, first time leaving the Afro-European-west-Asian space. Sky was the limit. And it was. I met some wonderful people, Betty Voigt, Rosie Icban were among the best but there was a truck-load of awesome people. And vast majority of them were from FIUTS. FIUTS has almost monopolized my exchange student experience and I was lucky that was the case. The FIUTS community has no agenda except international peace and understanding. The FIUTS community is non-judgmental, low barrier. The FIUTS community is diverse and culturally rich. So much so that when I came back for my graduate program one year later and tried to branch out into the Seattle community proper I was very disappointed and dissatisfied. I realized I had been taking FIUTS for granted. That all these values, this warm embrace, unconditional love are not a naturally occurring phenomenon or aspect of Seattle culture but a product of hard work and much effort on the part of the FIUTS staff and community. The world outside of FIUTS was much harder to navigate. Parceled by religion, ethnicity, professional aspirations, the world outside of FIUTS moved with a much stronger sense of purpose, with business-like relationships, with agendas, open or hidden. Quid pro quo. The law of the jungle. The spirit of competition. The hard work. The sharp elbows. The practiced salesman's pitch. The painfully projected persona of confidence. The rat race. The insecure ignorance. The 'real' America felt a bit different than the stuff of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Beverly Hills 90210 that I grew up with. I still think that the US is the most fascinating country in the world and that's because whenever my experience felt a bit scary, whenever I was having the blues or the mean reds FIUTS was like a safe harbor where I was always welcome. Also, FIUTS is a truck-load of fun. Betty was like the most social person I have ever met and she took me to so many events and even if I felt a bit shy or self-conscious about being from Eastern Europe she helped me ease into it. This is me, one big paragraph and no story:)

Tips/comments for peer facilitators
I am the most impractical person, facilitating with FIUTS is made fool-proof easy by the FIUTS staff. It's also made fun by the participants. I was worried at first that people would judge me on whether I am doing a good job or not but everyone is relaxed, everyone is just trying to have fun and make the most of the amazing time.

Check out our past Facilitator Corners:

Sophia Chakalo, Bader AlfarhanPeirce KirkhamAlissa MustreAng LiWedward WeiTerry JungHassan AlmuzainiIsabella NingLucy DengNhung LeAbigail LimFerris MaghiKevin SanderJoey LiaoAnya RajMinhtu NguyenJianyang (Jane) ZhangJialu SunFleur Xuanlin LiSaleh Alwabel, Clara Jiayao Lu, Le (Juliet) Huang,David Veth, Yili (Jacky) Chen, Jonathan Cheng,Fah Thamsuwan,Charlie Warner, Katherine Li, Nabil Sutjipto, Jeremy SculleyAni AntonyanJaisang Sun

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Host Profile: Karene & Faylynn Busby

Posted by Bea Chang at May 05, 2016 11:15 AM |
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We love our homestay hosts and the time and space they volunteer to our international students! Here is Karene Busby, sharing her stories of why she became a host and why she continues to host students from all over the world!

We love our homestay hosts and are proud to have a big and diverse hosting community! FIUTS hosts come from around the world, live all over the Puget Sound region, and range from first-time volunteers to hosts who have been welcoming students to their homes for decades.

Our Host Profiles recognize and feature the wonderful hosts in our community whose generosity means the world to our students. Here's Karene Busby, sharing her story of what hosting means to her and her daughter!

Names: Karene and Faylynn Busby

Location: Redmond, WA.

How long have you hosted students through FIUTS? 3 or 4 years, but another 4 years with other exchange programs.

What countries have you hosted students from? Serbia, China, Vietnam, Philippines and Antigua.

What made you decide to become a host? We saw a road sign asking for host parents for incoming exchange students. Since we had an extra bedroom, I asked my daughter if we should give it a try.   Well, after 8 years, it seems we keep on “trying” every year or so.

What's your favorite local place to bring your students? Alkai Beach.

What's your favorite activity to do with your students? Search for starfish.

Has a host student ever cooked a dish from their home country to share with you? If so, what did they make? It’s a requirement at our house! I can’t remember what our Chinese boys made but I do remember that they CALLED one of their Grandmothers in China for help and then asked her to stay on the computer so they could continue getting directions.

What is your all-time favorite memory of hosting an international student? A couple of years ago, I received an e-mail from one of our first exchange students from China. He had clearly stated the date, flight arrival and hotel where he and his parents would be staying in for a few days. The problem was - I had NO IDEA that he had arranged their visit with my daughter. Hans wanted his parents to meet us and I really think he wanted to see my daughter! Our weekend plans were quickly changed and a new memory builder was formed.

What's your favorite part of U.S. culture to share with your host students? Having pets. Almost all of our students haven’t been around dogs - let alone dogs that are allowed to sleep in our beds.  Within a day or so the kids usually ask if they could take Xander out for a walk or if he could sleep on their beds too.

What's the best thing you’ve learned from your hosting experience? That I had no idea I had so many “adopted” sons/daughters in my life.

Have you stayed in touch with any of your host students long-term? Facebook is fantastic way to stay in touch. As I mentioned earlier, one of the kids came back to visit us from China with his parents for a weekend. I believe currently there are 3 or 4 of the kids attending different universities somewhere in the U.S. And we’ve been asked if we could visit them or we've invited them to stay with us. Also, there’s a good chance our “adopted” son from Philippines might attend UW and will stay with us!

Interested in a rewarding experience with international students this summer or fall? We are actively looking for hosts to welcome students into their homes for a short-term stay!. Contact for more information or if you're a new host, fill out an application today!

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GiveBIG to FIUTS on May 3rd!

Posted by Bea Chang at Apr 29, 2016 01:20 PM |
Check out what our students are saying about the our leadership development programs and how your donation can help us help them!

Last year, more than 3,000 University of Washington students and scholars from at least 50 countries took part in FIUTS programs. From meeting new friends on local excursions to volunteering in elementary schools to practicing leadership in a safe and challenging environment, FIUTS engages both American and international students in powerful experiences that promote dialogue, understanding, and peace between people.

The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG campaign is a one-day online giving event that FIUTS will be participating in again this year. A portion of every gift made on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 to this campaign is eligible to be "stretched" through partial matching funds by the Seattle Foundation and their partner sponsors. Schedule your GiveBIG donation today!

Your generous donation help support our programs and our students. Hear what some of our students have to say about their time at FIUTS!

"FIUTS has helped me grow and develop in many ways since I joined in the September of 2014. I have not only been given the amazing opportunity of meeting people from literally all around the world, but I have also learned how to be a better friend, a better team player, and a better leader through my work as a facilitator and in the Student Board. Why does it matter? All the learning and experiences I have been provided at FIUTS has helped me land an internship that will hopefully lead to a career in my field. If there's a part of UW I want to thank for my success, be sure that it is FIUTS." - Caro Mata, Ecuador.

"FIUTS has given me a stage to learn, reflect, and apply leadership principles as well as to advocate for my beliefs with international perspective and global understanding. It's inspiring to be able to work with such a dynamic group. My senior year would not be as colorful without FIUTS." - Allan Cai, China.

"Through FIUTS, I have made friends who will always hold a special place in my heart. FIUTS made my four-year stay in Seattle much more enjoyable than I would have ever imagined." - Bader AlFarhan, Kuwait.

"Had it not been for FIUTS, I wouldn't have met some of my best friends - or should I say FAMILY - from all over the world. This organization helped me become a culturally sensitive person that loves and appreciates diversity - not to mention, it also helped my father when he went to the UW in the 1980s!" - Alissa Mustre, Mexico.

Thank you so much for your generosity and support of FIUTS programs and our students! Please help us tell your friends about us and schedule your donation today!

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Voodoo. MAX. Powell’s.

Posted by Bea Chang at Apr 27, 2016 12:20 PM |
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Adventurous students took Oregon by storm during Spring Break! Check out their stories!

By Henry Milander, FIUTS Facilitator

Voodoo. MAX. Powell's. So would begin a normal conversation that I might have with a person who just returned from Oregon—oops, did I mean Portland? Well, it just so happens that Portland is but one cool city in our neighborly Beaver State. VoodooMaxPowell’s is a great version of Oregon, but with my FIUTS friends I globetrotted with, clearly it’s an abridged one at best. Our trip likely falls short of the complete version of the state, but with the fun we had, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got pretty darn close.

It was wet when we met at the Burke Museum, but with 5 hours of highway marauding ahead of us, we pointed our compasses towards Eugene, Oregon. But first, I was determined to spend as much of our money as possible in our consumer taxed state, so just short of the border we pulled into Vancouver for a lovely lunch. It was short-lived, since a Portlandia fever slowly overcame us, and urged us to saddle the horses and ride hard for Eugene Whiteaker International Hostel: a great (anti-)establishment if I ever hallucinated and thought I saw one. Piano riffs, group cooking and philosophizing are the abridged version of that first night—if you want the full one, find me and let’s go!

It was our first full day at the “commune,” and with that new challenges abounded. After the Herculean test of making a breakfast with varying degrees of success, some of us tightened our belts, others loosened theirs, but we all in the end left to hike at Mount Pisgah. At times the path was winding, at others it was steep, but with perspiration a sign of our perseverance, we made it to the summit. There were lovely benches, a compass rose, topographical map statue, and a biting, howling wind.

With those memories tucked in our heads, now crowned with a bird’s nest of hair, we felt like recouping at the “Dream Farm” before striking east to Cougar Hot Springs to hike or to take a dip on the whim.

What a drive. What a rainbow. What a downpour.

With tired minds, tired souls, tired eyes, and soaked clothes, we cranked the heat up as we dropped down the mountain, over the rushing river, and through the historic bridge that spanned it. On to the merry house did we go. That very night, the great innkeepers passed down to us the hallmark dessert recipe that any outdoor escapade must end with: s’mores. Okay, pay attention. First you take the graham. You stick the chocolate on the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. When the mallow’s flaming, you stick it on the chocolate. Then you cover it with the other end. Then, you stuff.

Alackaday! All good things come to an end. It was good, and it was good that if was good, but now it’s over. And that’s good too. With those bitter-sweet words for breakfast, we packed our belongings, and joined a caravan heading to the University of Oregon, and then on to Portland. It didn’t take long after settling in the Rose City for us to sally forth downtown and go to Powell’s books, Pioneer Square and the food trucks on SW 5th.


Ahhh, but I am forgetting the unmemorable: Voodoo donuts at the hour of the wolf. Midnight struck just as we left on a jaunty stroll down to Voodoo, and after a nice wait in line—accompanied by the caterwauling and harassment of our new friends on the street, the homeless and disenfranchised—we sunk our teeth into the goodness that is manifested in their heretical donuts.

Let there be light!

There were no grim faces today, for we all sprung out of bed and set out early that morning to the glens, dales, and bowers of Hoyt Arboretum. After getting the skinny on the best trails, we traveled to the Redwood platform and Winter Garden, enjoying the trees and natural beauty before reaching Pittock Mansion, a lovely piece of Portland’s pioneering history. After several more viewpoints along the trail, all a little too ‘westerly’ for our newly refined tastes, we returned to downtown for books, vintage clothing shops, and more food trucks.

That night, Ilene, hereafter referred to as Fearless, gathered a car full of brave souls and took them to ride the Aerial Tram, a dodgy gondola if I ever was the inspector. But the cables held, and the brave souls saw a great transportation system and sunset over Portland. As a nod to our “Dessert Club” tradition, we went to Portland’s greatest ice cream parlor, the Salt and Straw.

The next morning we forded the river and spent on Portland’s east side. In the early hours, Fearless Ilene took some to mooch around Lloyd Center, while I took others to walk around Mt. Tabor and Clinton Park.

After seeing their beautiful trails, reservoirs, and cherry trees, my forest friends and I walked down to District/Clinton area for some shopping in several vintage shops and a Tibetan activist store (not at all awkward for the three Chinese men with me).

After lunch, our one big family met at Tillicum Bridge, which some felt like we were taking a step into the future of sustainable urban development, or just a really pretty bridge for the rest of us! Fearless Ilene took people to Hawthorne and Belmont areas for more strolling while I took a group to visit the legendary Vanilla Bicycle Workshop, a famous custom bike shop shrouded in myth. After a sweet tour and getting to see the process start to finish of a high-end, custom road bike, we all met at Reed College for an afternoon stroll.

It didn’t take long for us to have a run-in with campus security, but it turned out for the best since he armed us with the history and geography of campus! Now with a cavalier attitude, we marched around campus, took their beautiful buildings by surprise, and cantered around their lawns and the river/park/nature reserve that somehow is part of Reed’s campus too.

Dinner for some consisted of Pok Pok Thai, a great, if not confusing place to order at, while others did us one better and went to the Salt and Straw again and to the William Tell House. Divided though we were, nearly everyone rallied and went to Voodoo Donuts, again. With donuts and ice cream in our tummies, we dreamt sweetly of our last day in Portland.

I always thought the saying, “the early bird gets the worm” involves a questionable incentive. Just so for our group; with a late start we bid the hostel adieu, and set course for St. John’s Bridge, and Cathedral Park, which is located directly underneath the saintly structure.

Many of us walked out to the middle of the bridge, while a few stayed below and explored the great park. Parks parks parks. After a successful detour to Multnomah Falls and its neighbor Wahkeena Falls, we finally crossed the border for home.

I am inclined to think, however, that we left part of our home in Oregon. Now that I have looked back at the places we stayed, the people we met, and the fun times that seemed so true to Oregonian spirit, I can’t help think that we now have a home in Eugene, at Cougar mountain falls, in Portland, in the line at Voodoos, and everywhere else that FIUTS took us.

But the greatest question of them all, and one that surely encapsulates everything and anything that is quintessentially Portland, is how is it that a shop that only sells beekeeping and bee-related wares possibly be-expanding!?! We love you, Portland.

Voodoo. MAX. Powell’s.

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Facilitator Corner: Sophia Chakalo

Posted by Bea Chang at Apr 18, 2016 12:45 PM |
Find out what Sophia Chakalo has learned from being a FIUTS facilitator, why she continues to volunteer and lead, and what she loves the most!

FIUTS Facilitators are student leaders from all over the world who welcome new international visitors, help organize events, and lead activities for hundreds of students each quarter. Read on to find out more about the FIUTS facilitator experience from Sophia Chakalo.

Name: Sophia Chakalo
Country: Bulgaria
Major: Biology-Physiology
Class: 2017
FIUTS Facilitator Since: Autumn 2014

Brief Introduction

My name is Sophia Chakalo and I come from a Bulgarian immigrant family. My parents and older brother emigrated to the U.S. in 1991 after years of trying to escape Bulgaria and fleeing to Greece. They moved across America looking for the best place to live and eventually found Seattle, where my sister and I were born. We moved a lot during my childhood and even spent a year in Montana. However, we found our way back to Washington and have been here ever since.

What does it mean to be a FIUTS facilitator?

To be a FIUTS facilitator is something that is so refreshing. It gives me the opportunity to connect with people from across the globe that I wouldn’t be able to meet in my daily life. It allows me to see the beauty of different cultures and the similarities that exist among them that show how everyone is so interconnected. It also gives me the chance to present my culture to elementary schools in the Seattle area which is such a rewarding experience because it allows them to learn about an unfamiliar country and it challenges me become a better speaker.

Favorite FIUTS anecdote as a facilitator

One of my favorite moments was probably during Global Ambassador Day last year. It was the first time I presented to a large class and for such a long period of time. I was incredibly nervous because I didn’t know whether the kids would be interested in learning about Bulgaria. However, once I began I was astonished by how many questions they were asking and how excited they were to participate in all the activities. The teacher even got involved and was actively participating with the kids. It is the moment that reassured me that being a FIUTS Facilitator is worth it.

Tips/comments for peer facilitators

Some advice I would give would be to make oneself uncomfortable and ask questions. If you are able to be curious and ask questions about what you don’t understand, rather than making assumptions, there is a lot you can learn about the world and yourself.

Sophia leading an activity with elementary school students and teaching them about Bulgarian culture!

Want to be a Global Ambassador like Sophia? Come to one of the upcoming information sessions (or contact

Monday April 18 | 3:00pm-4:00pm (HUB 238)

Friday April 22 | 11:00am-12:00pm (HUB 307)

Tuesday April 26 | 1:00pm-2:00pm (HUB 307)

Check out our past Facilitator Corners:

Bader AlfarhanPeirce KirkhamAlissa MustreAng LiWedward WeiTerry JungHassan AlmuzainiIsabella NingLucy DengNhung LeAbigail LimFerris MaghiKevin SanderJoey LiaoAnya RajMinhtu NguyenJianyang (Jane) ZhangJialu SunFleur Xuanlin LiSaleh Alwabel, Clara Jiayao Lu, Le (Juliet) Huang,David Veth, Yili (Jacky) Chen, Jonathan Cheng, Fah Thamsuwan,Charlie Warner, Katherine Li, Nabil Sutjipto, Jeremy SculleyAni AntonyanJaisang Sun

Learn about our facilitator program here!

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Welcome Spring Interns!

Posted by Bea Chang at Apr 14, 2016 12:00 PM |
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FIUTS is very excited to have three new friendly faces at the front desk! Read about their Taylor Swift obsessions, love for cooking, and why they're excited to be our Spring quarter interns!

FIUTS is very excited to have three new friendly faces at the front desk, returning emails, answering phone calls, working on events and activities, and greeting walk-ins. Alissa, Aimme, and Jiaojiao are our interns this quarter and you will see them around! Here they are, introducing themselves to our community:





Name: Alissa Mustre

Hometown: Mexico

Year: Sophomore

Major: Law, Societies, and Justice

About me: Hi! My name is Alissa and I'm an international student from the beautiful country of Mexico. My favorite things in life are eating, reading, exploring Seattle, feminism, peanut butter, and Taylor Swift. I'm also very passionate about human and animal rights, which is why I'm vegan and want to pursue a career as a human rights defender. My dream job is to work at the UN and Amnesty International. Some of my other dreams include travelling the world, which I feel like I can do here at FIUTS since I get to meet people from everywhere! Stop by the office and say hi! :)






Name: Yaxu “Aimme” Zhang

Hometown: Beijing, China

Year: Senior

Major: Psychology

About me: I am an 8th-year international student from Beijing, China. I first stepped into the U. S. as a high school student in 2008. After finishing high school in Oregon, I moved to Seattle in 2012 and started my undergraduate career at the University of Washington.

I have been a facilitator since freshman year and was an ambassador for SUSI last summer. In the past 4 years, FIUTS has provided me an enormous amount of opportunities to engage in local and global communities.

Through FIUTS, I have not only fostered countless meaningful relationships with students and scholars from all over the world, but have also obtained a more complete picture of what a respected leader looks like. FIUTS has helped me to understand that a good leader is someone who recognizes, appreciates, and learns from people who are different from them in values, culture, and background.

As I finish my last quarter here at the UW, I am excited to be challenged as an intern and continue to grow with FIUTS. More importantly, I am ready to have some fun and create life-long memories with everyone! So yeah, come by the office for all the exciting events that we have! I am excited to meet every one of you! :)

PS: I’m always down for hiking or cooking!


Name: Jiaojiao Zheng

Hometown: Chengdu, China

Year: Graduate Student

Major: Leadership in Higher Education

About me: My name is Jiaojiao Zheng, a second-year graduate student at the UW. I am an international student from China, and currently studying Leadership in Higher Education. Before I came to the U.S., I completed my bachelor's degree (Teaching Chinese as the second Language) in Beijing Normal University. During my undergraduate, I was selected to be a teaching assistant of Basic Chinese Language Course for foreign students in our university as well as a language partner for them. Working with the international students provided me with a sense of accomplishment and content, which drives me to become an intern in FIUTS, but the most important reason is that being involved in the activities and events at FIUTS last quarter gave me the opportunities to make new friends with different cultural background, which to a large extent, I hope to meet folks from different countries here in FIUTS office, and will do the best to serve both domestic students and international students with my enthusiasm and passion.

Traveling, cooking, and learning different languages are the top three things I'm passionate about in life (outside study and work). I came from Chengdu located in the southwest China, which is one of the most popular tourism cities in Asia. My hometown is known for Sichuan food, hotpot, home of panda, and so on. Another thing about me, I am a huge fan of cooking (no matter it's western or eastern food).

As a member of FIUTS office for this quarter, I am looking forward to meeting you here and seeing your smiling faces!

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Explore the World with Huan

Posted by Bea Chang at Apr 08, 2016 11:20 AM |
Filed under:
FIUTS volunteer, Huan Lu, shares her experience in a local classroom: painting masks with the children, tasting dim sum, and, ultimately, what shocked her and what she would remember the most!

Each week, as a part of our Explore the World Program, FIUTS volunteers deliver a lesson about their home culture in local elementary schools! Check out Huan's experience in the classroom: painting masks with the children, tasting dim sum, and, ultimately, what shocked her and what she would remember the most!

Name: Huan Lu

Country: China

Major: Curriculum and Instruction

Class: 2015 Master

Presented On: Introduction of two cities (Beijing & Shenzhen). Hello and Thanks in Mandarin and Cantonese. Color words. Painting Beijing Opera Masks. Tasting Chinese foods.

Brief Introduction

I am a first-year Master student enrolled in the Curriculum and Instruction Program of the College of Education. Before coming to the UW, I pursued a bachelor degree in English Language and Literatures in Beijing Foreign Studies University. Originally I am from Shenzhen, a coastal city sharing its Cantonese cultures with Hong Kong.

Why did you sign up for Explore the World?

As an international student studying education in the U.S., I have been wishing to enter an American classroom and to teach a lesson. So naturally, I didn’t hesitate to sign up when I learned that there is a chance to give a presentation on Chinese cultures.

What did you do with the students during your session?

I co-taught a lesson about two Chinese cities, Beijing and Shenzhen with another Chinese student. We introduced the history, geography, cultures and languages of the two cities. We also held several activities: painting the Beijing Opera facial masks, fighting for the colored pencils, answering quizzes for awards and tasting Chinese dim sum.

FIUTS students, including Huan, talks to Seattle students about China as a part of FIUTS's Explore the World Program.

What was one thing you really wanted the elementary students to learn about your region/country?

The thing that I wanted the children to learn about the most is that China is a huge country with diverse cultures. Different places have very distinct cultures, history and languages, and we should learn to be curious and respectful. It is my hope that the one class could plant a seed in the heart of those children, inspiring them to take a multicultural perspective when viewing the world.

What was your favorite part of, or memory from, your time in the classroom?

My favorite part was the facial mask painting section. I first taught the kids of how different colors represented different human characters in Being Opera, and then asked them to color a blank facial mask using the colors of representation. They were given the chance to imagine and envision the characters they wished to become. I was very much impressed by how creative and pure those kids were.

Would you recommend other international students to do join Explore the World program? Why?

I definitely recommend international students to join the program, especially for students from the College of Education. The program provides a great chance for us to take a glimpse of what real American classrooms is like, offering a unique perspective of the American cultures. For me, the biggest gain from this participation was that I got to learn the reality of education through my own eyes. Before, I could only learn through books, but now, with what I saw and noticed, some of the themes in the books became even more obvious and compelling.

Also, this is a wonderful platform for us, the international students, to present our countries/regions according to our own understandings. This is the charm of being the presenter, the teacher: we get to impart our knowledge, share our understandings and make our own voice heard.

Interested or want to find out more? Check out our classroom visits & programs HERE or contact

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