FIUTS is very lucky to have a new friendly face in the office! Erika is our newest intern from Japan and will be helping out with orientation this fall. Say hi to her when you see her around! Here she is, introducing herself to the FIUTS community:
Name: Erika Suzuki
Year: Junior at Tokyo International University
About me: Hello! My name is Erika Suzuki. I am from Yokohama in Japan. The scenery in my hometown is kind of similar to Seattle, so I am comfortable to be in Seattle. Last year I had been studying for 10 months in Oregon, then I came to Seattle for a vacation. It was fun so I love Seattle. I like traveling, watching movies, going shopping, and playing basketball. I am very happy to have an opportunity which I work outside of my country and help international students. I am always welcome to talk so come to say hi when you see me.
FIUTS students kicked off the summer with a camping trip to Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest! Read on to hear more about the experiences of 3 FIUTS facilitators!
You never know exactly what you’re going to see when you go camping. Like every other American style camp, I enjoyed the campfire and barbecue and games, but at midnight, many of us decided to go down by the river and see the stars. Well, it wasn’t easy to navigate our way over rocks in the dark to get there, but we made it. I personally didn’t know that I could see many different stars than I am used to seeing just because we are in the North West. I couldn’t stop looking at the sky with everyone else. Every once a while, a comet would cut a pretty line through the tapestry of stars. All of us were trying to get pictures, but I gave up. I thought no picture would be as amazing as seeing the stars in such a dark place away from the city lights.
The next day we drove to the hiking location. In the car, I started asking a few riddles and everyone in the car was trying to solve them. They were really good; they spent whole time trying to solve the riddles. It was like a competition. I should admit that they also asked some riddles and some of them were difficult to me.
Hiking in the snow is always fun for me when the weather is sunny. Although it sometimes makes it a bit harder to hike, the snow is very beautiful. I couldn’t imagine how beautiful the view of Cascades would be at the top until we got there. It was really gorgeous. And among the beautiful mountains, the perimeter of the Hidden Lake could be seen. I guess we spent about one hour there just enjoying the pretty landscapes. One of the main things that makes me want to go back to Hidden Lake Lookout is sliding over the snow. On our way back down, we slid over the snow on our backs. I would never have thought about that when we started the trip.
“No one will die from stick germs!” I told them, “I’ve been roasting marshmallows with sticks off the ground all my life. Hasn’t killed nobody yet.” Like every other FIUTS trip I’d ever facilitated, I’d forgotten the skewers. I feel like it’s a pretty American thing to roast with sticks. I mean, just the week before I was on a rafting trip that included a fireside BBQ, they didn’t bring skewers, but nobody hesitated to grab sticks when it came time for s’mores. So bringing the skewers is just one of those things that I fail to think of every time, but never fails to cause irritation. Hesitant at first, everyone soon found a suitable stem with which to roast and nothing more was made of it. I still should have brought the skewers, but a part of me is glad that I didn’t. I don’t want to impose, but at least I was pushing people outside their comfort zones, right?
I’ve probably spent too much time thinking about that moment, but I really think it represents a careful balance one must strike as a facilitator on such a trip. On one hand, I want to share my culture and push people to try new things while they are here. On the other, I don’t want to force anyone to do something that they really don’t want to, or present my way of doing things as better than theirs. It’s a dilemma I’ve run into a lot. I can’t possibly know how to handle every possible situation perfectly, but the aforementioned incident helped me think up a useful rule of thumb: always encourage people to try roasting with a stick, but don’t forget to bring the skewers.
If you have not done american camping than you should try this at least once. I was facilitating this event, but I was also a firsttime American camper. Part of being a firsttimer is that you will be very enthusiastic and ready to face new situations and adventures. I was really amazed by the way American forest department and people maintain the camp sites. It was really close to river and best part is shallow cold white water (almost melted ice) the best for relieving your stresses after a long drive. I have never dived in such cold water other than once (in the Ganga [Ganges] river Holy river for Indians I did it as a religious ritual), but me and Kevin decided to make it an adventure. This experience was unforgettable and remarkable.
If you know how to make Indian tea, especially when you are camping (chill air, light sunlight, nice people), tea time will make morning golden for you. I made enough for 40 people, still we finished it among 22 (except for Kevin who was so impressed with the cold water dive that he missed the tea for a morning swim!). Tea helped us all wake up in the early morning after a late night of games and star watching and prepared us for the for best hike at Hidden Lake.
Friends and memories are what I got from this camping trip. Only student life can give you these moments, so don't miss opportunities and build stories for the future.
Join FIUTS in our events throughout the year! Check out our Calendar of Events. See you soon!
This week, we are saying goodbye to Danika, Student Programs Coordinator, who is off to a new adventure in New Zealand! Over the past 2 years, she has worked with hundreds of students, training new facilitators, managing interns, planning and leading programs and activities, and much much more! To say goodbye and thank you, we asked these students to write messages to her. THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK, DANIKA!
Danika is such a nice, friendly, warm lady that I feel I'm encouraged to share my experience with. I attend so many of the events that she planned. This summer, I attended almost all of the Friday events that she arranged for us. They are fun, and also gave me a change to meet so many wonderful people. Facilitating these events with the support of you guys let me feel the joy for sharing. -Ang Li
Through the past two years, I received so much help from you and I changed a lot through all the opportunities you created for us! I really appreciate how you always trust all the facilitators and advocate for us and create new opportunities for us. I have to say, the best part of facilitating for FIUTS is that I got to work with people like you who can always make a positive impact in one's life. I hope you have a great trip to New Zealand, Danika! -Jane Zhang
Danika, you are amazing! You and FIUTS will for sure be part of my most cherished college memories. I wish you well as you start your new adventures in New Zealand. -Ian He
I am sad that you will not be with us next year. Although I have known you for only a year, you and FIUTS have become my family at UW. I will miss you a lot! I am also glad that you decided to go on a new journey. I hope that you will enjoy your adventures in New Zealand, and have tons of fun and memories there. Don't forget to take a lot of photos and share with us. If you find something interesting, let me know. Last but not least, keep in touch! We all will miss you so so so so so so so so so so much ! And Thank you for everything! :) -Tiffany Le
Thanks for everything, Danika! You're the bee's knees! -Fatih Thompson
Danika was one of the first people I met a FIUTS and she has the most incredible communication skills of any person I've ever met. Her ability to get people talking and create meaningful discussions makes her so special in this world! She inspired me to have more patience and ask people really good questions. I've always felt so comfortable coming up to her in the office and saying hello. We had many fun chats each time we talked. Danika is genuinely kind and was such an amazing member of the FIUTS community. Even though I've graduated, she is one of the leaders I will always remember from my university experience. -Masha Demyashkevich
Hi Danika, thank you for all the wonderful work at FIUTS! We are so grateful to have you as our leader and colleague! I am extremely honored to get to know you at my first facilitator training. Your passion and devotion brought so much positive energy to the organization! Wish you the very best with your new journey! -Wenjie Li
Danika, you were the first person I met at UW even before I started my classes there, and you have been since then an inspiration to me! I always wonder how you can be so energetic and amazing :) You are always there, welcoming with a bright smile to help anyone. It has been great being a facilitator and working with you. I wish you all the best in your next journey, and hope to stay in touch! -Jessica Pal
Thank you for being so much fun to work with! I really appreciate your help and support. Good luck for your new adventures! -(Leo) Wanxiang Cai
Danika, thank you for always being so helpful and having such positive energy with FIUTS! Good luck on your epic adventures! -Joslyn Cal
Hey Danika, It is really hard to believe you are leaving FIUTS. It was a great pleasure for me to know you and every single member of FIUTS family. I really enjoyed a lot participating and working with FIUTS. This is because of the great jobs you guys are doing and specially you. I don’t remember any event you haven’t been involved with the most positive attitude, motivation and planning. Thanks for being such a great program coordinator. Although it’s really sad to say goodbye, but I hope wherever you are, you’ll always be happy. -Kamal Ahmed
Danika! Can't believe you are leaving! I really enjoyed your bright smile and your positive attitude. Now matter what you decide to do I believe it will be a good choice for you. You will be awesome no matter where you go. Keep in contact and maybe I will visit you in New Zealand one day!! :) -Yunqian (Waterlily) Huang
It has been great two years since I got to work with you. You are such a passionate and considerate person. Always have our backs and you are the best! Have a great time in NZ and hope to see you again soon! Thank you for all your help! -Lucy Deng
I have no words to describe how you will be missed, especially those warms HI at the office and the messages in Spanish! -Michel Riquelme Sanderson
Danika, it's been such a pleasure working with you these past two years. You will truly be missed by the FIUTS community! I will miss your positivity and unwavering sense of humor. I wish you all the best in your next chapter. May our paths cross again. -Bader Alfarhan
There are 1,025,110 words in the English language (according to Google), and I cannot find the words to express my gratitude for all you've done for FIUTS and our beautiful world. I'm proud to call you my mentor and friend. We will all miss you so, very much! Keep changing the world!!!!! -Alissa Mustre
Thank you so much for everything you've done for FIUTS. All of your hard work has brought thousands of students together, so thank you for welcoming me and many others into the FIUTS family! We will miss you! -Sarah Duncan
Thanks for all your effort Danika. You managed an organization that brings international students from all background together in unity for a wonderful experience and I'm very grateful to have met you and worked with you because you are truly an awesome person. I pray that you continue to achieve success in all you do, Amen. -Ginika Anozie
Hi Danika! I just wanted to say thanks! FIUTS is great is because you inspired people to try new things, it was one of the reasons why I kept coming back to FIUTS. I still have many memories of FIUTS because of you, and even though I wasn't able to volunteer with you one last time, I hope you enjoy your adventures abroad in your new life. I had a lot of fun getting to know you. Bye!!! -Terry Jung
You are my best boss!! Thanks to your advice and help, I got great experience and confidence. I'll miss you when I visit FIUTS office, but I'm glad that you have new adventures:) -Yurie Noda
I hope you enjoy New Zealand as much as so many international students have enjoyed the US thanks to you and your pals at FIUTS :) -Nail Hassairi
Hi Danika! Thank you for all the wonderful work you did during your time at UW FIUTS. Your efforts behind the scenes made sure all the participants had a wonderful time at the events. The enthusiasm and guidance you provided us facilitators have always been like a glue that kept the facilitator community together like a family. If I was even a slightly good and fun facilitator, it was thanks to the coaching you have provided us during the facilitator orientation and meetings. You will be missed, and your work here will surely continue to make a positive impact on this community after you leave. Have fun in New Zealand! Please visit the Shire for me :) -Furkan Ozunal
Thank you for all that you've done for FIUTS and the students in the past couple years. Your dedication and passion in creating an inclusive and cohesive community for students have truly inspired me to become more caring and supportive for all that are around me. Have a blast in New Zealand and keep impacting others around you! Can't wait to see and hear about this exciting journey ahead of you! -Aimme Zhang
I remember you were one of the first people I met in FIUTS when I first came around! It will be hard to imaging FIUTS without you now, but I am so excited and wishing you all the best for your new adventures in New Zealand! -Peirce Kirkham
By Kamal Ahmad, FIUTS Facilitator
At the end of May our international students took a trip to San Juan Island through FIUTS. Here's our facilitator, Kamal's, reflection on the Global Getaway!
One thing I always remember from any FIUTS trip is that at the end, I have a lot of new friends. But it is different from making friends that you see and hang out with all the time. Together, you explore a small piece of the world with people from different cultures and perspectives. It’s as if our destination takes on a little bit of the beauty of each participant's homeland just by their presence. When we started San Juan Island Global Getaway, everyone was a stranger to me. It only took us the time we spent in the car to get to know each other and enjoy being together. In fact, some of us started a series of camping and hiking and hang outs together after this trip and even today we see each other a lot.
"Together, you explore a small piece of the world with people from different cultures and perspectives."
The beauty of San Juan Island was only eclipsed by the fun we had together. We spent a lot of time waiting for Orcas, but we weren’t lucky enough to see any. However, no one paid a lot of attention to this since there was much more to see on this amazing island. We traveled to American Camp and British Camp, learning about the disputed history of the island. In Roche Harbor we explored a sculpture garden and watched bald eagles. And at South Beach, we enjoyed sunset and cooked dinner over a campfire. We could even spot Mt Rainier in the distance from our spot on the beach. Throughout the island, wildlife like deer, seals, and birds made the environment come alive. So many aspects of this trip live in my memory, that it is hard to recount them all. But I will never forget the people that I was with and how they made it all so worthwhile.
Join FIUTS for Global Getaways! Check the calendar for more information or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We are so thankful for our hosting community at 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. This summer, we had two short-term hosting opportunities for visiting programs, Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders in Journalism and New Media (SUSI) and Seattle Language and Culture Institute (SLCI). Both participants and hosts had unforgettable weekends and have so many stories and photos to share!
Take a look at the weekends our local hosts and international participants spent together all over the Puget Sound and join our hosting community today!
They spent time outdoors..
Learned new games...
...And developed new and lasting friendships from all over the world!
Here's what home stay participants and hosts had to say about their experiences!
"Questions and curiosity of how an American family is gave way to fun and satisfaction once I entered Lanaya and Zach's lovely home. With two dogs, three cats and two adorable little boys - Eli and Ike, their home was filled with happiness, laughter and glee. Lanaya and Zach were hosting for the first time, I heard, but I couldn’t believe so. They were very warm, welcoming and accommodative and shared so many insights about American culture, education, politics and everything. A hearty thanks to them for an unforgettable and enriching experience" - Ananya, participant from Chennai, India
"We loved hosting Upakar. We learned about Nepal and some of the customs there. More importantly, I gained hope that with intelligent, caring young leaders like Upakar, our world will be a better place for future generations. Upakar wants to go back to Nepal to help his country, countering the trend of "brain drain." On top of that, he was a delight to have around and as a role model for our son" -Barbara, homestay host
"Sarika and Shail shared many stories about life in their countries. This gave us a new perspective on every day life in Southeast Asia. They brought us hope that their generation will make the world a better place. We now have two more wonderful family members who we can love and follow for the rest of our lives. THANK YOU!" -Stuart, homestay host
Interested in a rewarding experience with international students this August and September? We are actively looking for hosts to welcome students into their homes for a short-term stay! Contact email@example.com for more information or if you're a new host, fill out an application today!
Every quarter, FIUTS is lucky enough to have interns and work study students who help us with all kinds of tasks in our office while having an opportunity to meet people, gain work experience, and learn about international education. We are lucky to have Aleassa and Catherine with us this summer working on orientation and visiting programs! Say hi when you see them around! Read on to learn more about them:
Name: Aleassa Wren
Hometown: Chehalis, WA
Major: Socio-cultural Anthropology
About me: I am a senior at University of Washington studying Socio-cultural Anthropology. Upon completion of my bachelors degree I hope to work with refugee resettlement or with immigration reform. In my free time I like to play tennis, hike and watch "The Office" . I decided to join FIUTS because I love to meet people and learn more about various cultures.
Name: Catherine Rock
Hometown: Short Hills, NJ
Year: Graduate Student
Major: International Education
About Me: Hi, my name is Catherine and I am a graduate student at SIT Graduate Institute studying International Education. I grew up in New Jersey and went to college in Baltimore at Loyola University Maryland. There I studied abroad for a semester in Ghana. In my free time, I like reading, watching Netflix, watching baseball, and hanging out with my friends. I love working with international students and meeting new people so I am very excited to be working with FIUTS this year and I can't wait to explore more of Seattle!
Every quarter, FIUTS is lucky enough to have student interns who help us with all kinds of tasks in our office while having an opportunity to meet people, gain work experience, and learn about international education. Cece and Keiki are two of our summer interns. Say hi when you see them around! Here they are, introducing themselves to our community:
Name: Xiruo (Cece) Zhang
Hometown: Tianjin, China
About me: Hi there! My name is Xiruo, go by Cece if you don't know how to pronounce my Chinese name-- a lot of people don't so no worries ;) I'm a senior student at UW, major in Applied Physics, and minor in Mathematics. I've joined FIUTS as a facilitator for almost 2 years, and I learned a lot more than just leadership. FIUTS provides a great chance meeting new friends from all over the world, it's such an amazing experience knowing people that have similar interests as you but with a completely different background. During free time I like to stay outside when the weather is nice, exploring new places and food around Seattle area. However if it's raining, which happens quite a lot, I like to watch anime at home and play online games like League or Overwatch with friends.
Name: Keiki Hatsuiwa
Year: Junior at Japanese University (came to Seattle last September)
Major: International Business/Marketing
About me: Keiki is an international student at Bellevue college and studying international business there. He is from Japan and came to Seattle last September. This is his first time studying broad, so it is a big fun and challenge for him. He wants to communicate with many people from all over the world and learn their cultures, which is why he decided to join FIUTS. In his free time, he likes playing/watching sports, especially basketball. He went to Los Angeles to watch Kobe's game on last winter vacation. He also likes watching TV shows and movies and eating food.
Thanks to our awesome interns for supporting FIUTS with all your hard work!
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or fill out an application today!
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.
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 email@example.com 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!