Photos around Campus

A Taste of Europe: Euro Night

One afternoon last semester started with unexpected disorder for a group of  Hampden-Sydney students.  These gentlemen, who were supposed to have already departed the campus to reach an event at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C, dubbed “Euro Night,” were just scrambling their way to the entrance of Graham Hall.  It was late afternoon, and disorganization reigned.

As soon as everyone assembled, however, the evening progressed smoothly.  By 4:30 we left campus with the hope of not missing too much of the event which was scheduled to start at 6:30.  The event was a showcase of the European Union nations’ attractions — culinary specialties, styles of entertainment, exquisite liquors, dances, music, and the like.  The event was attended for the second consecutive year by members of the International Club.

We arrived in D.C. at sunset, and the consensus was that everyone should park where he could, and we would take the Metro to the embassy.  For some, the Metro ride was a new experience. On the Metro, conversations of past experiences in native countries flowed.  Students even chatted with other passengers on the train.  Within a short time, the train came to a stop in Georgetown.  We walked for about ten minutes, and as we entered the gates of the French embassy and approached La Maison Française hall, we were overwhelmed by the atmosphere.

Inside the hall was an expectant crowd that moved from table to table in order to obtain their preferred European memorabilia. Our bunch instantly went to the counters that had food — we were hungry from the long trip. Then we all dispersed through the gathering.

Each country offered memorabilia, travel guides, wrist bands, souvenirs, and stationery. In addition, Germany offered appetizing sausages; Spain distributed its delectable paella maesco; Greece provided samples of its wines, and Finland gave out a succulent soup. Other nations from small Malta to middle-sized Lithuania to large Poland did not fail to surpass our expectations.  For instance, the highlight of the night was Swedish hip-hop artist Adam Tensta who rocked the audience, and the gentlemen from Sydney made sure we were not left out, mingling with with European attendees, participating in conversations and dances.

After more than three hours of cultural immersion, everyone was trying to muster some energy. The event ended and, satisfied that we have had enough for one night, we decided only to go to nearby restaurants to satisfy our churning stomachs. After that, we had another drama-filled ride on the train to where we had parked our vehicles.

The outing was a fun and enriching experience.  Euro Night presented a grand opportunity for international students to be in U.S. capital and for all the club members — foreign and American — to explore the attractions of Europe.  Indeed, the diverse and lively surrounding at La Maison Française at the French embassy truly lived up to the International Club’s motto: “To foster relations through cultural awareness.”

A Semester in China

On Thursday, April 16, Tan Ngoc Duy Le, Class of 2010, from Vietnam gave a presentation on his one-semester study-abroad experience in China.  The presentation was sponsored by the Hampden-Sydney International Club, and it was held at the Parents & Friends Lounge.  About 30 people attended.

Tan Le studied in Beijing, China, during the fall semester of the 2008-2009 academic year under the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES).  IES’s main goals are to provide students with intensive language training and opportunities to study contemporary issues in China.  One intensive Chinese course under IES is equivalent to three semesters of Chinese at an American university or college.  Also, IES provides students with area studies courses in art, economics, film, government, history, international business, literature, management, the media, philosophy, sociology as well as internships.  All of these area studies courses are taught in Chinese.

In addition to the intensive academic courses, special features of the IES program are housing, the language-use requirement, and field trips.  Students are housed either with a Chinese host family or with a Chinese roommate.  Students must speak Chinese all the time while in the IES building.  According to Tan, IES’s housing and language requirement helped him in a short period efficiently to learn the Chinese language and about Chinese culture .

The most exciting parts of the IES program are the field trips, including a two-week-long trip and several weekend excursions.  In Beijing, Tan visited many famous tourist sites such as the “Bird Nest” stadium, the Water Cube, the Great Wall, Tian An Men Square, the Forbidden City (right), and Mao Zedong’s Mausoleum.

He also traveled to Shanghai.  There he met Professor Guo, who taught at Hampden-Sydney during the 2007-2008 academic year, and Ryan Eu ’10 (left in picture), who was studying abroad in Shanghai.

For the two-week trip, Tan traveled along the famous Silk Road.  Along the way, he visited the Terra Cotta Warriors site in Xi An (left),  Qinghai Lake in Qinghai, and Dunhuang City in Gansu.  He also visited the Flaming Mountains and Kanas Lake in Xinjiang.  In Xinjiang, Tan played soccer with the local children.  His two-week trip ended in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang.

Tan stated that study abroad in China was a life changing experience due to the language exposure, cultural learning, travel, friendship, and career opportunities. During his stay in China, he also was able to make friends with Chinese and non-Chinese people.  At the conclusion of his presentation, he encouraged every Hampden-Sydney student to take the opportunity to study abroad.

Tan’s presentation inspired both American and international students. One of them was Tian Shihao, Class of 2012, from China.  Tian said that after hearing Tan’s experience, he had decided to travel around more of his own country this summer.

Hampden-Sydney is well-known for its study-abroad programs which cover over 100 programs in 25 countries.  These international programs expose Hampden-Sydney students to other parts of the world and help students to learn about diverse international cultures and to become true global citizens.

Burma: Cultural Learning Experience

On Tuesday, April 14th, I gave a presentation on my home country, Myanmar (Burma).  The name of the presentation was “Burma: Cultural Learning Experience for Make Benefit Glorious Hampden-Sydney.”  The program was sponsored by the International Club, and it attracted a good turnout of about 40 students, faculty, and staff including Ciaran Buckley, International Visiting Scholar; Eric Dinmore, Assistant Professor of History (Asian); and Frank Hong Liang Li, the Fulbright Scholar from China.

First, I explained the confusion about the country’s name: “Burma” or “Myanmar.”  “Burma” was the name given by the British, and to most people it represented the major ethnicity in the country, Bamar.  “Burma” also represents both the enslaved colonial era and the prosperous post-independence democratic days.  On the other hand, the name “Myanmar” was given by the current military regime, and it supposedly represents the country as a whole.  However, many individuals and nations refuse to recognize the new name as they consider the current regime unlawful.

Myanmar is in Southeast Asia.  It is surrounded by Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand.  The country is almost as big as Texas, and the population is about 50 million.  The capital is Nay Pyi Daw.  Myanmar has diverse ethnicities, and the major ethnic groups are Bamar, Kachin, Kayar, Karen, Chin, Mon, Rakhine, and Shan.  The country is made up of seven states, dominated by the Bamar majority, and seven divisions, each dominated by a major ethnic group.  The major exports are gems, timber, and natural gas, and the per capita income in 2008 is estimated to be about $1200 .

I explained about the ancient kingdoms of Myanmar, the colonization by the British in 1885, and the struggle towards independence.  I also told the audience about Myanmar in the democratic days before the military coup in 1962 and the country’s politics since then.  Aung San Su Kyi, the opposition leader to the current military regime and the Nobel Peace Prize winner, was also mentioned. The audience was moved by her bravery and persistence.

In Myanmar there are many fascinating places and sites for travelers; most of them are closely related to Buddhism.  These pilgrimage sites include the 322 foot high Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Yangon, which is considered the most sacred pagoda in Myanmar; the 328 foot high Mingun Pagoda which is a massive unfinished pagoda begun by King Bodawpaya; the divine Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda that sits on the edge of a cliff; and the city of Pagan which has over 2000 pagodas in total.  Apart from these religious sites, Myanmar also has much to offer to tourists.  For example, the city of Yangon has the greatest number of colonial buildings in Southeast Asia.  The Royal Palace (above), in which the last king of Myanmar resided, still exists in the city of Mandalay.  Moreover, not far away from Mandalay is the 1.2km long U Bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world, and near the Mingun Pagoda stands the Mingun Bell which weighs 90 tons and is the largest functioning bell in the world.

In addition, I explained to the audience about unique Myanmar cultures and traditions.  There is no first or last name in the Myanmar naming system.  Men and women alike wear Longyis, which is equivalent to skirts.  The Longyis that men wear are called Pasos, and those for women are called Htamains. Moreover, people wear Thanakhas (left) which is a traditional cosmetic made by grinding the Thanakha wood with a small amount of water. Myanmar foods are also unique.  National foods are Monhinga (fish soup with rice vermicelli) and Laphat (pickled tea leaves).

In the Burmese language, there are 33 letters and 10 numerals.  Traditional Myanmar music consists of Sine Wine (orchestra) and Saung (harp).  As for the traditional festivals, the most famous and the most important one is Thingyan (Water Festival and New Year) which normally lasts for four days in April.  The idea of this water festival is to wash away the sins and impurities from the previous year.

At the end of my presentation, I showed the audience some video clips about Myanmar, such as Aung San Su Kyi, Myanmar music, and Thingyan songs.

At Hampden-Sydney, programs like this are sponsored by the International Club and aim to bring cultural and global awareness to the campus.

2009 Chinese New Year at the International House

International Club Celebrates Chinese New Year
January 28,2009

by Nay Min Oo ’12
On Wednesday, January 28, 2009, Hampden-Sydney College celebrated the Chinese New Year at the International House.  The event was organized by Frank Li, the Chinese Fulbright Scholar and professor of Chinese, and was sponsored by the Hampden-Sydney International Club and the Modern Languages Department.

More than ninety students, faculty, and staff participated in this celebration.  Four Chinese residents of Farmville and nine Chinese students from Longwood University also came to celebrate.  The purpose of this program was to foster inter-cultural exchange and global awareness at Hampden-Sydney.

The celebration started at 5 PM.  At the front door, the guests were greeted by an inflatable toy, the God of Wealth, who brings good luck and wealth for the New Year.  Red couplets decorated the door, the windows, and the walls.  As the guests entered the house, they were greeted with “Xin Nian Kuai Le” (Happy New Year) and “Gong Xi Fa Cai” (Wish you prosperity) by Ciaran Buckley, International Visiting Scholar of Government and Foreign Affairs, and Mary Cooper, Director of International Studies.  The house was filled with an atmosphere of joy and excitement plus the alluring aroma of the delicious Chinese food.

A wide variety of Chinese food was served in that evening including dumplings, a quintessential Chinese New Year dish.  Also, Kung Pao chicken, cabbage Tofu, cucumber and scrambled eggs, and fried rice were prepared by the Chinese community in Farmville. Everyone enjoyed tasty and authentic Chinese food, and it was gone in a short time.

The program started with the introduction to the Chinese New Year festival.  A student from Professor Li’s Chinese class talked about the origins and the traditions of the festival.  Then he explained about the Chinese zodiac, which consists of Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.  He also taught the guests how to identify their zodiac signs.  This year, 2009, is the year of Ox.

After the introduction, the students from the Chinese class sang a Chinese song, “Dui Mian De Nu Hai, Kan Guo Lai” (Throw me a glance, the girl in front).  After the students finished singing, Tian Shi Hao ’12, from China, presented another essential tradition for Chinese New Year—Lion Dancing.  A brightly decorated Lion came into the parlor and danced to energetic drum beats and lively music.  Watching the Lion Dance, children were thrilled and started to play with the lion.

Following the Lion Dance was another song, excerpted from Huang Mei, Chinese opera .  The name of the song was “Fu Qi Shuang Shuang Ba Jia Huan” (Together to home, the couple goes).  Justin Smith ’11 and Nay Min Oo ’12 performed the short song.  This performance received applause from the audience.

To conclude the program, Professor Li arranged a musical chair game.  The last three survivors in the game were each given a “Hong Bao” (red envelope).  It is a tradition at the New Year for elders  to give their juniors pocket money in a red envelope.  After the game, the guests and the performers talked freely about the Chinese culture.  The program ended about 8 PM.

At Hampden-Sydney, programs like this are frequently sponsored by the International Club. These programs expose Hampden-Sydney students to different cultures and increase their understanding of the world.

The First International Festival 2008

International Festival 2008
by Benjamin M. Brown ’10
Vice President, International Club

Though the weather was dreary outside, the atmosphere inside Crawley Forum on Thursday, April 3, was alive with the sounds, sights, and smells of the International Club’s first International Festival. In partnership with Sweet Briar’s Nations United, the two-hour-long event was designed to promote international awareness on campus as well as to encourage donations to underprivileged children in Honduras. Ten countries were represented at the festival including Chile, China, Ecuador, France, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Nepal, Peru, and Vietnam. Guests were invited to peruse the different tables representing each nation and to indulge themselves in the cultural offerings.

From flags to Indian sweets, there was a wide array of internationally themed trinkets and presentations. At the China table, FulbrightScholar Ran Guo (right) painted calligraphy representing the Chinese symbol for whatever word visitors requested. Video slideshows through the landscapes of East Asian countries gave guests a vivid view into the homeland of Bikash Acharya ’09 and Chetan Rupaketi ’09 who hail from Nepal. Andrew McLeod ’08 and Basil Panton ’11 showed the Jamaican culture through picture displays as did Donal Mullan, an exchange student from Northern Ireland with the British Education Initiative, at his Ireland table.

After guests ate and browsed the international tables, the much anticipated performances began after a brief introduction from International Club President Achhunna Mali ’08. Professor Kevin Dunn played the bagpipes as guests watched his march across the balcony on the second floor. Achhunna and Bikash combined their musical talents to play classical Nepalese music followed by a solo by Achhunna playing The Jimi Henrix Experience’s title song, which has and continues to influence Nepalese musicians. Basil read a poem and talked about the origin of Jamaican Patois. Miguel Mogollon ’10 danced meringue with Tania Salas Platt of Nations United. Uma Mayer of the University of Virginia performed a breathtaking traditional Indian dance as the last performance of the night. All together, the performances were dazzling, each impressive in its own respect.

The International Club thanks everyone who participated and especially those who came to the event and donated to a wonderful cause. The earlier Honduras Clothes Drive was also a success thanks to contributions from very gracious individuals including those at the festival. As the club continues to organize more humanitarian efforts, it encourages others to get involved as well.

International and French Clubs Taste Europe

International and French Clubs Taste Europe
Monday, September 22, 2008
by Nay Min Oo ’12

On Friday, 19th September, a group of nineteen Hampden-Sydney students along with two professors went on a half-day trip to Washington D.C. for European Night held at the Embassy of France.  The trip was organized and sponsored by the International Club and the French Club.  The purpose of the trip was to experience European food and culture.  We enjoyed a great evening in D.C. and came back familiar with various European cultures.
The group left from the International House at 2:30 in the afternoon and included Bikash Acharya, President of the International Club; Renee Severin, Associate Professor of Modern Languages: and Ciaran Buckley, International Visiting Scholar of Government and Foreign Affairs, and members of the two clubs.  After three hours of driving, we finally arrived in Washington D.C.  It is a really beautiful city with the Potomac River flowing by it. Along the road, we saw many historical sites such as the Pentagon and the Washington Monument. Especially for international freshman students, it was very exciting because none of them had been to Washington before. 
It was 6 PM when we arrived at the Embassy of France. With our empty stomachs growling at us, we went straight into the food stands located in the main hall of the Embassy.  The hall was packed with guests and visitors.  Many of them seemed to be diplomats.  Out in the garden, a group of young boys and girls were dancing traditional Irish dances. Inside the hall, a band of musicians was playing lively music.  Many people, including our two professors, were really inspired and began to dance with the music.  The atmosphere was very energetic and happy.
The very first stand we ran into as we entered the hall was the European Union stand.  On the table, many gifts and souvenirs were available such as notepads, notebooks, and bags, all with the flag of European Union printed on them.  The presenter explained to us about the history and formation of Europe and thoroughly answered our questions.  There were French, Italian, German, Spanish, Swedish,and Romanian stands, just to name a few.  The French stand was packed with people who wanted to get a taste of the famous French wines.  The German stand served delicious German sausages.  The Belgian stand with its well-known beer, attracted many beer lovers.  From a variety of food served in different stands, we came to know the specialties of European countries. The combination of great music and great food, what more could we ask for? The stands not only offered food and refreshment but many materials such as informational booklets, DVDs, and travel guides. We learned about many small countries such as Malta and Cyprus, two beautiful countries in the Mediterranean Sea.

The most important knowledge we gained from the trip was about the diversity of the various European countries.  Many people might have the idea that most of the European cultures are the same. We were surprised, however, to find out that each country had its own culture and traditions.  If Europe is anything at all, it is diverse.  This made us wonder that if we could see such a huge diversity on this trip alone, how much more there would be for us to explore.  From this trip, we also realized that only through cultural exchange and communication, people from one side of the world can understand the cultures of the other side.
After the event, we walked around the Georgetown area and came back to the campus around three in the morning. Even though we all were very tired after the trip, everyone was delighted because the trip was very meaningful. We hope that there will be more trips like this in the future.

List of events in chronological order for Fall Semester 2008

List of events in chronological order for Fall Semester 2008
(Subject to Change)

Thursday 11th of September – Seminar
5:30 PM at parents and friends
Talk by Ben Brown and Brett Chonko
Nay volunteered for writing article, Mohit responsible for pictures

Monday 15th of September – Trip to sweet Briar
Carpooling with Ben, Alex, and Will Thomas

Tuesday 16th of September – Chinese moon festival
To be held in the International House
Nay volunteered to write article.

Friday 19th of September – Euro Tour
Leaving campus around 3:00
Starts at 6:30 and ends around 9:30
Potentially spending time around DC after that and coming back later

Thursday 9th of October – Seminar
Basil and Osric talking about Jamaica
Time-potentially 5:00
Alex Burner volunteered to write article

Thursday 16th of October – Film and Food Festival
Mira Nair’s The Namesake – The Greatest Journeys Are The Ones That Bring You Home!

Friday 17th of October/ Saturday 18th of October – Festival of India
Trip to Richmond
Lots of Indian food
All day event

Thursday 13th of November – Seminar
Nay talking about Myanmar (Burma)
Week of 10th – 15th November – Fundraiser
Up for discussion
Thanksgiving party to be hosted by Prof. Buckley

December 1st to 10th – Shoes and Sandles Drive
To benefit the children in Honduras
ROW trip to assist in transporting the proceedings

If you all have any wishes or ideas as to any speaker that you would like to bring, please talk about it to us.

If you find any errors, or need to add any thing, please let any one of the executive members. Members know. Thank you all for the support.

Mr. Bikash Acharya

The International Film & Food Festival 2007

The International Film & Food Festival
Saturday, October 27, 2007
By Benjamin M. Brown ‘10

On Friday, October 26th, the International Club held its annual “Film & Food Festival”. The event was highly anticipated by club members and guests alike. Though the weather was dreary and the night seemingly quiet, the event was in no way dampened. With a warm welcome from the International Club President, Achhunna Mali ‘08, the guests helped themselves to the club’s themed entrées. The banquet consisted of Basmati Rice, Chicken Curry (Indian delicacy), and Causa Rellena con Verdures (Peruvian vegetable dish). The scent from these delectable culinary masterpieces filled the room with a spirited atmosphere that was a considerably inviting contrast to the rain outside.
However, the rain was not all in vain because it complemented the New Delhi setting of the movie Monsoon Wedding (2001). This movie presented a romantic and masterful view into the culture of a family caught between the celebration of tradition and the stark transition to changes in the world at large. The characters in the film are burdened by individual struggles with obligation, class boundaries, and morality amid a common theme of love. However, liberation finds everyone in the end when, under the cooling torrent of the monsoons, all the burdens are washed away inspiring everyone to dance and celebrate the union of two embodiments of the new and different generation.
This film was a truly profound representation of the community life here at Hampden-Sydney. We are all in one way or another weighed down by the stresses of everyday life, but thanks to events like the “Film & Food Festival” we can all unite and relieve ourselves of the weight college life imposes. The International Club thanks all those who attended the event and encourages others to find their way to future events so that we can all learn about and be inspired by the many different aspects of the world’s various cultures.

The International Club Attends Indian Festival

The International Club Attends Indian Festival
Sunday, October 7, 2007
by Achhunna Mali ‘08

While the rest of the campus was off on fall break, some members of the International Club made a trip to Richmond on Sunday, October 7, to attend the 26th Annual Festival of India. I was among the attendees, and we were accompanied by Professor Ciaran Buckley and Professor Angelo Rodriguez.

We left for Richmond early Sunday morning. The hour-and-a-half travel was lively; a few of us engaged in discussions while some found pleasure in a nap. We were all glad to leave the College bounds for a while. Upon arriving at Richmond, we had difficulty locating the venue since we were unaccustomed to the city, but it did not take long before we spotted the site of the festival.

The festival took place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. We were welcomed by traditional Indian music, and the aroma of the Indian delicacies being served made my mouth water. I suggested that we have lunch before taking part in the celebration. Most of us picked a curry-chicken and rice dish along with Indian milkshake and Mango Lassi, an Indian beverage. We also got to have some Paan, a breath-freshener made up of Betel leaf, although some did not enjoy its mouth-numbing effect, which is an acquired taste.

The place was filled with people, most of whom were from the Indian subcontinents. Aside from the food stalls, the festival also hosted a variety of shops that sold anything from Bollywood film DVDs to traditional Indian clothes. A stage was positioned at the center of the hall to accommodate dance programs. After one of the dance performances, Governor Tim Kaine praised the event organizing committee for having successfully hosted the festival every year. He also posed for pictures with attendees at the festival.

Experiencing different cultures is part of learning. The Festival of India was an opportunity to be submerged into Indian culture; I am glad we were able to attend the event.

Tea’ing off the Semester

Tea’ing off the Semester
Friday, September 21, 2007
by Benjamin M. Brown ’10

On Friday, September 21, the International Club started off the semester with a very successful chai tea reception. Several members helped to prepare the tea by boiling loose leaves with water and milk along with a few key spices for taste. The menu also consisted of other Indian hors d’œuvres such as Samosa (vegetable patties) and Barfi (traditional Indian sweet).

After a brief greeting from club President Achhunna Mali ‘08 the event officially started. With a backdrop of soft classical Indian music and carefully placed decorations, a welcome mix of students and faculty enjoyed the warm tea and choice dishes. Several conversations could be heard throughout the reception between International Club members and guests. As visitors roamed in and out of the reception, the atmosphere remained lively with fresh tea being poured constantly and frequent exclamations of how spicy the cuisine was. Between the friendly conversations and the tears from overwhelmingly hot mouthfuls, no person walked away with unanswered questions or an empty stomach.