Monday, March 26, 2012


New Year: 1391
Sale Naw Mobarak (Happy New Year). Nowruz is the first day of spring and it is celebrated by more than 300 million people worldwide on March 21, the day of the spring equinox, which marks the sun’s crossing of the Equator and the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.    As I know Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan celebrate Nowruz because they have similar cultures and traditions. Iranians celebrate Nowruz for thirteen days, which people go away from their hometown to different cities for visits and usually people go camping on the mountains, (Sizdah badar), and Afghanistan and Tajikistan celebrates for three days. Nowruz always comes on March but not always on the 21th because it differs every year depending upon the Sun crossing the Equator.
In Afghanistan, people prepares a week or two before the first day of Nowruz.On the first day of Nowruz families get together for breakfast and early in the morning whoever you see first, you do greetings saying “Nowruz Mobarak” with hugs and kisses on the chick and people even greet the people whom they have fought or never talked before because Nowruz is supposed to bring a change to people’s lives . People put Hinah on their hands and feet for decoration and children goes to their elders to get money for Eidi.
There would be all kinds of celebrations like Buzkashi and concerts. Buzkashi is a kind of game played by horsemen and it is supposed to be our National sport.
It seems that I am missing all of it because here people have no idea what Nowruz means and probably have never seen it. Here at Champlain in the U.S I have been only dressing up for Nowruz and some people have come and asked why I am dressed up today. I explain the whole thing about Nowruz and sometimes I give presentations in schools to share my culture so that we all know each other’s culture. I am interested in knowing people from different backgrounds and I am always happy to share my culture with you.

Sport is part of my life and I can’t live without it. Soccer (which other countries call it Football) is one of my favorite sports. I started playing soccer when I was nine and I have been playing it since I came to the U.S.

I am very glad that Champlain provides us with so many opportunities to play any sport. We have indoor Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, Floor Hockey and other recreational sports. With all these opportunities I have been able to attend the Volleyball club on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8:00P. We gather in the gym located in the IDX Student Life Center to play pick-up volleyball and our teams are based on how many students attend each week. I started attending juggling club and equestrian club which I like them a lot and I often work out in the gym too. Although I like soccer I have been either busy or too lazy to play it since I came to Champlain. One of my international friends Zig plays soccer and basketball every week.

Getting together and playing soccer or any kind of sport at Champlain makes you feel like you are at home, and even better you will stay healthy. I am enjoying it and I recommend anyone who likes sport or being outdoors to take advantage of their most gracious time.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Midterm Exam:

Taken from Google
          Midterm exam’s are the rush time for every student at Champlain College and it is time when work load comes all at once.

          Some professors assign papers and projects a week before finals which can be stressful because for some students it’s hard to manage their time to finish their papers and projects before its due. Students are scattered all over the places during the day and night; Champlain's library is always full of people working on papers or group projects and computer labs are full of game designers or programmers working on their game designs or programming projects. The pressure increases every day as professors emphasize the submission due dates every class to remind us and to make sure everyone completes their work

          Sometimes it’s funny though that people don’t realize the benefit of the work they do prior to exams but during this “rush time” everybody complains and if you see their Facebook profile status it says either “so ready to be done” or “ In the library studying”. I have seen many students freaked out and worried about their grades.

          Personally, I am not worried about my grades but I get nervous about exams because in my high school at Putney, VT we didn’t have exams but instead we focused on projects working with two teachers mentors on chosen topics.The pressure was there but different and not as intense as taking a college exam for the first time.

           My college classes went well this semester although I was nervous when I first arrived at Champlain. Fortunately, I have done well on exams both last semester and the midterm this semester in almost all of my classes. I’ve discovered taking exams and managing stress is a learning process and with each class project, quiz or presentation one becomes more confident and builds new skills. Fortunately, the professors at Champlain are always there to help you with ideas for your projects, paper or anything else you are struggling with.
Again, I am happy that I have made the right decision to attend Champlain.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The International Community:

         I am now living far from my family and my hometown, which are two communities that are important to me. Now that I live in the US, there are other communities I am part of, which are just as important. One of the communities I am part of is the international student group at Champlain College.

        The international student group at Champlain College has its own club called the Cultural Community Alliance (CCA). It is a student-run club which is sponsored by the Office of International Education. I am one of the board members of this group, and our mission is to provide opportunities for every member of the Champlain community to explore different cultures and perspectives in a safe environment. We also represent the diversity at the Champlain College, as well as are a good resource for social networking.

         Our social structure is one important point of our group and we highly recommend everyone at Champlain, from faculty to students, participate in our group. I believe that if we all get together we can make a difference in people’s lives. We teach people about the world through our cultures. There are about 10 cultures represented in our group, from Afghanistan to India to Liberia.

         We meet every other week, in one of the public areas on campus such as the library, to have discussions and to talk about our goals for the month ahead of us. In every meeting we  make plans to have events or social activities such as skiing, playing games, cooking, cultural coffeehouses and International Education Week. The key points to our social activities such as the coffeehouse and the International Education Week are to provide opportunities for every member to share their experiences and to display their cultural values that would help them to represent their cultures. These activities are very important to participate because we gain a lot of knowledge about the people and the world we live in.

      I have met a lot of friends through this group, learned a lot about different cultures and different Americans. I have been having so much fun, which is very good for people like me who have come a long way and just met new cool people. If having fun was not the focus of the club, all the international students would get homesick and would miss everything about their parents and their own communities. It is important to create a new environment and live with different people and eat different foods that we are not used to. If I was not part of this community, then people wouldn’t know much about me, my culture and my home country of Afghanistan.  It is the same for other people, and when we get together for anything we can actually make a difference in the community as a whole and we learn a lot from each other.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Dream

Champlain College Campus

Samuel de Champlain statue

      It is absolutely obvious that everybody has a dream in their life and every body’s dream is different. I had a dream when I was about 7 year-old and seven is the time when a child become skeptical and asks his/her mother why is he going to school every day or what is God.  

       I heard the word “Harvard” but I had no idea what it was and this word resonated in my mind until I studied about a scientist who graduated from Harvard. One of my dreams was to see Harvard and maybe study in Harvard. When I come to United States, in my senior year I visited Harvard but I said to myself that I would rather go to another Harvard which is now called Champlain.
      At Champlain my dreams will come true because at Champlain there are fascinating faculty, staff and young people like me who want to achieve their goals.  If you like to be independent and have a real experience, then Champlain is the right place to be because at Champlain people work as teams together to make this place as beautiful and comfortable as you can imagine.     

      The faculty work hard to help you in anything they can and to show you the right path. The Career Service team help you get an internship or find a real job, right in your freshman year, so that you can build your experience and these experiences prepares you to be self-efficient and lead your community.  

      There are offices like:  The office of international education which are very important for those who are like me; The financial aid team helps you with the billing process so you are able to pay your bills; The admission office is always there to help you with your registrations; The Residential life center is there to make this place home for you and there wonderful youth clubs like student government, CCA (Champlain College Cultural Community Alliance) and so many others that are all student run which gives you the opportunity to be a leader on campus.

       I think I am lucky that I found the place where I can achieve my goals and I can call this place home!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year

      Today is the start of 2012 and I would like to say Happy New Year to you my friends and I hope you all had a good start.

2011 has been a remarkable year of the last decade because during this year a list of evolutions and revolutions started in most Arab countries which is called the “Arab Spring”. 

While there is significant upheaval and conflict in the world there has also been much happening to promote stability and peace worldwide. NATO soldiers exiting Iraq, the death of Mohammar Gadhafi, and the killing of Osama Ben-e-Laden and so many other significant things happening to change the world but let us pray that this new year brings many opportunities your way, to explore every joy of life & may your resolutions for the days ahead stay firm, turning all your dreams into reality and all your efforts into great achievements. 

Happy New Year to you & your loved ones. Let us forget all the bad memories and start the year of 2012 with fresh memories, doing all the good things like helping the people in need, love each other and live in good health and peace. 

I know everybody set their goals on the first day of every year and my goals are to do well in my classes, stay healthy & active, make more friends and help others. I hope everybody's dream come true.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

        Thanksgiving is a part of American culture that people celebrate all across the country. In this holiday there are family gatherings which involve eating a lot of meat, especially turkey. People give thanks to their families.

I remember my first Thanksgiving with my host parents in Washington, Maine in 2008, and I remember watching what was going to happen. It was nothing big, but we were stuffed with turkey dinner with many friends and families.

My second Thanksgiving was in Putney, Vermont and what is interesting about Puntney is that there is a particular day called March of the Turkey Day which happens just before Thanksgiving break and all of the faculty members from the Putney School march with huge Turkeys in the dining hall to serve students food.

At Champlain College, Thanksgiving was quite nice because there were all sorts of events such as international impromptu night and the dining hall served turkeys and other kinds of food  just before break.  If you didn’t have any place to stay during the holidays the faculty helped you find a host family to stay with during break and also one of the dorms on campus was open for international students.  I am lucky that I have so many host families in the US that I can go and stay with at any time. 

Champlain is a nice community that is easy to get to know. Everyone from faculty to students are very friendly. You won’t feel homesick here at all. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

White Water Rafting

Our rafting group in ME
The international boat

This will be the last post for the Fall of 2011 and the rest will include the excitement of  winter in Vermont.

White-water Rafting is a fun thing to do, which I had never done before. While I was back home in Afghanistan during the summer of 2011 and my parents didn’t allow me to do any activity that has to do with water because we in a dry place and were not much exposed to the water. But again to be more adventurous and try new things I thought I should be participating in an adventurous activity such as river rafting.

On Saturday September 17, 2011 there were about 35 students from Champlain College heading to Maine on a big bus with a friendly driver for White Water Rafting.  Before we head out from the College early in the morning; A breakfast of turkey and salad sandwiches, bottles of Gatorade and chips were passed around for a quick breakfast around at 8 AM and we ate the same around 12:30 PM where we stopped somewhere half way between VT and Maine to have lunch. Our trip was almost 6 hours but everybody used the time to watch a movie, read a book, sleep or chat with their  friends which was more convenient because that’s how it is supposed to be while you are in a bus. 

We arrived in Maine about 3:30PM and set up our camps. The weather was good so we could play Volleyball, soccer and all sorts of games.  There were small tents for 8-10 people and everybody started to set up their tents with whoever they wanted to live with for the night. There was a good BBQ for dinner and after dinner there was a large bonfire to keep us warm and roast chocolate with marshmallows until midnight. The night was very cold but thank God nobody got sick and everybody seemed happy and enthusiastic in the morning.  We took our tents and then clean up our stuff early on Sunday morning to prepare for Rafting in the river, which was very exciting to everyone.

We were given brief instructions and then were divided into groups of 8-9 with an instructor leading us to launch a boat on the river. Somehow our boat was called the international boat because our boat included three new international students and the the other boats were US students. 

I sat at the front of the boat where the huge waves could hit me right on my face and really almost I could drip into the water. I couldn't believe that I could actually jump from the boat and swim because I was so nervous at the beginning but as I saw people were jumping to swim in front of the boat I was tempted to actually jump and swim. 

Although it was cold and far, it was so worth it and if I had the chance, I would do it again.
I strongly recommend this to everyone in the future to participate in these kinds of “adventurous” activities especially white-water rafting because it is a good way to have fun and make lots of friends.

Thanks to faculties and members that plan and provide such activities that is really enjoyment and bring us together to be all CHAMPS yahh!