Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What happens at Agnes, stays at Agnes a.k.a Scotties in Vegas

This year, spring semester goes by really fast! The snow days that left us out of school for a week (which Scotties didn't mind at all but rather took advantage of this rare weather condition to its fullest extend) and a bunch of activities that have been taking place for the past months kept us busy and will continue to do so for the next couple of weeks. Last week was particularly exciting with a number of events organized as a part of Spring Fling celebration.
Spring Fling happens every year in April and is meant to provide some fun time for our community, celebrating the beautiful weather and the last month of school. As we all know, finding balance between academics and other activities is extremely important to maintain a healthy college routine. Many organizations on campus worked hard to make sure that everyone would find something that they enjoyed doing. Programming Board (ProBo) took charge of most of the events and was very successful in organizing the Spring Fling party and the Spring Festival. ProBo is one of the biggest organizations at Agnes. Maybe after watching Amy Rahimpour's (class of 2015) video and learning what they do, you'll consider joining ProBo next year?

The theme of last week was "Las Vegas." A lot of activities and the Spring Fling Party in particular were organized around this theme.

Spring Fest
Have you ever celebrated or heard of Holi, a Hindu spring festival, also known as the festival of colors? This was definitely the messiest and most colorful activity during our Spring Fest. Photo credit: Alice Malkova (exchange student from Russia)

Spring Fling
Agnes style weekend plan: get a good group of friends, put on some fancy dresses and enjoy a great time in Vegas-like party. Photo credit: Celeste Whitman (class of 2016). 

5K run
Last week, Agnes hosted a 5K run. Running, walking, volunteering- any form of participation was welcomed.   

Jazz Ensemble and Word Percussion concert
The week closed of with something delightful for our ears. Two music groups at Agnes, Jazz Ensemble and Word Percussion performed a wonderful concert under the supervision of their instructor Emrah Kotan who happens to be a drummer of a famous American singer, India.Arie. Check out our website to read more about this faculty member...
...and enjoy a short extract of the event. 

I can't believe that we have only three more weeks of classes. Good luck to those of you who are also finishing the school  year or getting ready for the final exams. As promised in the previous post, I will soon publish a list of "must-haves for college." I hope this will be helpful once you start planning your arrival to college. Please, don't hesitate to contact me at my e-mail: globaladmission@agnesscott.edu. 

Karolina Klimczak '16
Office of Admission International Fellow
141 E. College Ave
Decatur GA

Friday, March 21, 2014

Walking on sunshine

Greetings full of sunshine ya'll! 
This is a post about, perhaps the most relaxing time for Scotties this semester, the Spring Break 2014. After taking a week off from classes and our regular school routine, we are back for the last part of this academic school year before summer kicks off. In case you are curious, the tradition originated more than 2,000 year ago in the Roman and Greek Empires (thank you great-great-great-...- grandparents). Just like today, they were celebrating the season of fertility. The first official Spring Breaks in the United States started in 1930s when a group of college students competed in a swimming championships in Florida. Today, many students take this opportunity to hang out with their friends, travel around or participate in a special kind of Spring Break, the Alternative Spring Break. Scotties experiences all of these options and were kind enough to share them with us.
My favorite place in U.S. is Washington, D.C.

After this Spring Break, I can officially say that my favorite place in the United States so far is Washington, D.C. First of all, my stay there was like a two-day-long history lesson. I visited so many memorials that honor victims of different wars. I learned about the history of some American presidents. I also went to see a ballet and the Air and Space Museum. The most interesting part of the trip though was learning that the Capitol (on the picture) with the Statue of Freedom on the top of it is the tallest building in the city, symbolizing the greatest value of the American society, freedom.  

Dildora Sharipova (exchange student from Uzbekistan): "My dream came true."
I've had an amazing time in California during Spring Break. Together with my two friends, I visited the best cities of the West Coast: San Francisco, LA, San Diego and Las Vegas. We went to so many places and learned a lot about people and culture in California. Besides, we made new friends with other travelers from different parts of the world like Russia, Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil. However, the highlight of our trip was the day trip to the Grand Canyon. I have always wanted to see it and this was absolutely a breathtaking experience. My dream came true!
"The view from our room was simply amazing," said Amy Rahimpour (class of 2015).
This year for Spring Break I went to Panama City Beach with a group of friends. I had a great time with them and we met a lot of new people, too. The view from our room overlooked the Gulf of Mexico and was simply amazing. It was really fun because we really got to know each other and had great conversations during our drive from campus to Florida. I also had some amazing seafood while I was there. There were so many delicious restaurants along the road where we also did some shopping. I had a great experience, and I can't wait for next year's Spring Break!

Tayla Burnett, class of 2016 (second from the left), with other participants of the Alternative Spring Break.
I had the privilege to participate in Alternative Spring Break. This program gives students the opportunity to give back to a local community during Spring Break. As a participant, you are required to participate in pre-departure meetings that will help build a sense of community within the group. These meetings were very helpful in producing dialogue around oppression and privilege and facilitated a free space to raise concerns freely. This year's location was Natchez, Mississippi. Natchez is a very quaint, historic city that is filled with wonderful people. Our main volunteer site was Natchez Children's Home. Here, we did yard work, cleaned and organized classroom space, participated in training on prevention of sexual abuse, and learned about their new initiatives toward working with children with mental health issues. We were able to interact with the locals from Natchez and hear about their stories and the impact the children's home have on their lives. The most exciting part of the trip was bonding with my fellow Alternative Spring Break Scotties. We shared laughs, cries, and created so many memories during our time in Natchez. I created a bond so strong that I will carry throughout the rest of my time here at Agnes. I would recommend this experience to anyone and can't wait to do it again, next year.                         
"There is always excitement in Atlanta," said Jasmine Howard (class of 2016).
I spent my Spring Break in Decatur, right at Agnes Scott! It wasn't lonely if that's what you are thinking. Yes, I spent a lot of quality time with, well, myself, and it was great! I watched movies every night with yummy snacks, and got a lot of rest, which was exactly what I needed in the middle of such a busy semester. My good friend Cara lives in Decatur, and we had a lot of fun together, grabbing bites to eat and going out on adventures. Toward the end of Spring Break we even went to a concert of Broken Bells (an indie hip-hop band) and they were amazing. So, even if you can't get out of Georgia for your Spring Break, there is always excitement in Atlanta! What can I say? Getting rest and going to adventures is best of both worlds!
First Day of Spring- only several weeks left to go.
Now, that the Spring Break is over, the Scotties are back to their busy school schedules. We have only six weeks left until the summer and another set of exciting experiences. I personally look so much forward to Orientation for the class of 2018 when I'll finally get to welcome all the new Scotties to our community. I wish you a lot of patience in awaiting the acceptance decision as well as courage to make your final choice. Let me know if I can help you in any way. As always, my e-mail is globaladmission@agnesscott.edu. Lastly, check out the blog in a couple of weeks to find tips on how to "pack your life" in a suitcase when getting ready for college.

Karolina Klimczak '16
Office of Admission International Fellow
141 E. College Ave
Decatur GA 30030

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sophomores gonna put a ring on it... joining the Black Ring Mafia

You are probably asking yourselves: "What is that mysteriously sounding Black Ring Mafia?" I can ensure you that it has nothing to do with an organized crime group or any illegal activity. Rather, it is a colloquial term by which Scotties refer to one of the greatest traditions at Agnes Scott - the Sophomore Ring Ceremony. Every year in February, second- year class (the sophomores) at Agnes Scott participate in this formal event. They invite their families and friends to join them in this celebration during which they officially become a part of Agnes Scott legacy. Black onyx rings became a symbol of this membership. In fact, this tradition has been present in our community for many years. It originated from a jewel, first awarded in 1929 as a way to recognize the contributions that Dean Nannette Hopkins had made to the college at that time. Later on, the jewel changed its form to the black onyx ring that we use today. Last week, on February 22, my very own class of 2016 joined the "Black Ring Mafia" and was welcomed to the circle of Agnes Scott women from the past, present and the future.
As you can imagine, a lot of organizing was involved for many weeks before the actual event. It must be that the class of 2016 is very hard working and has a big class spirit because everything turned out very successful. The Sophomore Ring Ceremony committee was formed with the supervision of Hiram Ramirez (director of the Center for Student Engagement) and Emaline Laney (the president of the sophomore class). We prepared a slide show, set up decorations, communicated with the rest of the class members - in short, there were many opportunities to a leadership role and to practice teamwork skills. 
Megha Patel, representing the creative part of our committee.

We spent many hours working on different projects.

One of our committee goals was to get the entire sophomore class excited. I think we succeeded.
Even though President Elizabeth Kiss didn't graduate from Agnes Scott, she is highly respected among Scotties and therefore she also proudly wears the Black Onyx ring. Photo credit: Lena Glowka

All the students and even their parents wanted to take a picture with President Kiss. Photo credit: Hannah Plank

Blue and purple dresses dominated during the ceremony, as they are the colors of our class and Agnes Scott, respectively. Photo credit: Celeste Whitman
I felt so honored to join the Black Ring Mafia. Photo credit: Lena Glowka

The traditions at Agnes Scott make me so proud to be a part of this
Photo credit: Nana Nimako
community. The Sophomore Ring Ceremony will forever remind me about the values that I am exploring during my education here. A lot of times we hear stories from Agnes alumna about their own rings and places all around the world where they were able to meet other Scotties because of this symbol on their fingers. I hope that one day a similar experience will happen to me or that someone asks me about the meaning of my ring. I know for sure that there will be a lot I would want to share with them about the impact Agnes had on me.

Karolina Klimczak '16
Office of Admission International Fellow
141 E. College Ave
Decatur GA 30030

Friday, February 21, 2014

Scotties LOVE Agnes Scott

Greetings from Decatur that, at last, is waking up from a long period of winter hibernation. We can finally enjoy days when jackets and boots are not necessary. All the Scotties look forward to the spring when everything starts to bloom and spending time outside is technically compulsory. 

This beautiful weather was a perfect opening to the event "Love Actually" hosted this week by the International Students Association. As the celebration of the February 14th Valentine's Day, we invited three students from Ghana, Japan and Mexico to talk about the relationships and marriages in their home countries. Our audience consisted of the international as well as the domestic students who enjoyed the presentations and were able to compare them with their own experiences. Our talented photographer, Alice Malkova, an exchange student from Russia, was so fantastic to document the event for us. 

Sarah Adams Inkoom (Class of 2014) told us that there are many tribes in Ghana and if your loved one comes from a different tribe than you, both families engage in intense talks about the possible marriage.

"Some Japanese couples like to match their clothes to look cute." - Rumiko Imai & Kaori Yamazaki (exchange students)

Did you know that singing serenades is still common in some parts of Mexico? In the picture: Karina Santamaria (Class of 2017)

The audience really enjoyed learning about customs in other cultures.

Some participants became so enthusiastic about the topic that they jumped up from the audience and told us the stories from their own countries. Here, an exchange student from Malaysia shares her story.

In fact, several students got inspired to share with us their experiences. Here, Varsha Thebo from Pakistan (Class of 2016) speaks of her country.

The organizers were happy for the successful event. Pictured above is Xiaofei Xue from China, Treasurer of the ISA (Class of 2016).

Love is actually celebrated all around the globe in one way or another. What about your country? Is Valentine's Day a common tradition?
I look forward to hearing from you on my e-mail: globaladmission@agnesscott.edu. Please, don't hesitate to ask me any questions about your application or share concerns regarding living and studying at Agnes Scott. 

Now, I am off for the preparations to one of the greatest traditions of Agnes Scott: the Sophomore Ring Ceremony. It's a time for my very own class of 2016 to join the Black Ring Mafia... more to come in the next post.

Karolina Klimczak '16
Office of Admission International Fellow
141 E. College Ave
Decatur GA 30030

Friday, February 7, 2014

A cup of hot chocolate with international students at Agnes Scott

Scottie Snow Day fun all day long
Warm greetings from a recently cold Decatur. You might have heard in the news that last week the Southern states experienced a "snowpocalypse" i.e. a very unusual snowstorm for this part of the U.S. Although the weather didn't seem too extreme to me and students who come from the parts of the world where winters are more severe, here snow is considered very abnormal and the cities are simply not able to cope with it. As a result, most of the institutions, including Agnes Scott, were closed, and Atlanta literally shut down. Scotties really enjoyed snow days running and playing in this crazy weather. It was so great to share the excitement with some people who have never seen snow before in their life.

In a cold weather like last week, there is nothing better than enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with friends. I used this opportunity to meet a bunch of international students at Agnes Scott and learn about their experience here. Hopefully, it will become a source of motivation for you as you wonder what it will be like once you become a Scottie.

Aine Sherry (on the left), exchange student from Ireland

How did you feel before coming to Agnes Scott? What were your expectations? What were you most worried about?

I was initially nervous as I had never visited US before. When I found out that I was going to all women's college in the South, I imagined a strict and conservative school. Soon I realized that Agnes Scott was far from my initial thoughts. The environment here is really open minded and it has given me a broader perspective of the world. I got my eyes opened, in a positive way. I had no other real worries about coming to Agnes except how would I deal with the hot weather.

What is your favorite this about Agnes Scott College?

My favorite part of Agnes Scott is the support network provided for students, like the Center for Writing and Speaking, tutoring hours for every class or the Center for Student Engagement. I also think the environment and atmosphere around the college is wonderful. I really enjoyed the college traditions like Black Cat Week- we really have nothing like that in Ireland. 

What has been the biggest challenge since you arrived to the United States?

Apart from being the only Irish person on campus and people not understanding my accent, the work load was hard to get used to at Agnes. It's like being in the secondary school for me, with regular readings and assignments. College life at home is much more relaxed. Students have bigger assignments but less often. However, I got used to the new routine after only couple of weeks. I realized that the workload made me actually motivated to achieve good grades.

What is the biggest change you have seen in yourself so far?

Motivation and independence. I used to think that these two particular aspects of my personality were already strong. However, I found out that moving a few thousand miles away from home and not being able to see my family whenever I want is actually very hard for me. By saying this, I mean that I became more independent and it benefited me a lot- I wouldn't change it for sure! I also started appreciating my upbringing, family and friends- they are a wonderful support system for me. Lastly, Agnes Scott really motives me into doing as much as I possibly can, which is great. I definitely push myself far more out here than I would do back at home. I am eternally grateful to have the opportunity of being a Scottie.   

Lulu Xiaoxuan Liu, transfer student from China

How did you feel before coming to Agnes Scott? What were your expectations?

I have already studied in a university in China for two and half years before I transferred to Agnes Scott. I decided to go to a medical school in the US and the requirement I had to meet was to get the U.S. undergraduate degree. I was looking for a school where I could focus on my preparation for the medical school. I didn't know much about Agnes Scott before but I was attracted by its small classes and the beautiful campus. I felt it was something for me.

What is your favorite thing about Agnes Scott College?

I love the professors here. I admire their knowledge and achievement and I appreciate that they are always willing to help their students. I visit their offices often and I always get a lot of inspiration from them. I remember once, I talked with a professor until 2 a.m. in her office about science. It was crazy, but I really enjoyed it.

What has been the biggest challenge since you arrived to the United States?

I went to a university in China before so it was very challenging to switch to a foreign language suddenly. 

What is the biggest change that you see in yourself so far?

I became more confident. Agnes Scott encourages me to chase my dreams. No matter what the students are interested in, as long as they devote themselves in it and work hard, the school will support it. Now I am more confirmed in my dreams of becoming a cardiologist. 

Bethel Wondwossen, first year student from Ethiopia

I was neutral before coming to Agnes Scott. I didn't know what to expect so I didn't have my hopes high or low. I was open-minded because I knew that change was inevitable. I found myself really like Agnes Scott because it is so easy to meet the professors on a regular basis and the environment on campus is conductive to success. I also appreciate the small size of Agnes Scott. I love the campus. It is the ideal place for me. 

However, I have also experienced some challenges. The first challenge was accepting people different than myself such as in their sexuality. In fact, I opened up more as year progressed. I can say that this challenge modeled me into a more compassionate, understanding and loving person. 

Can you empathize with any of the feelings shared by the Scotties? Please, feel free to share in the comments section your own concerns and expectations towards your arrival to the United States and Agnes Scott. As always, I am happy to correspond with you via e-mail (globaladmission@agnesscott.edu). Be on the look out for the next post about the Valentine's Panel, organized by the International Students Association for the next week, during which some students from different countries will give presentations about the norms in relationships and marriages in their home countries. I look forward to hearing from you.

Karolina Klimczak '16
Office of Admission International Fellow 
141 E. College Ave
Decatur GA 30030

Friday, January 24, 2014

Welcome to Decatur and Atlanta

Hello everyone,

Greetings for the first time in the new year 2014! The spring semester has just begun and all the Scotties seem very excited for the next couple of months. Personally, I am really looking forward to finding out about the new students that will join our community in August. Today, I would like to introduce you to the location of Agnes Scott College. Entertainment, history, nature, culture- there is just so much that Atlanta and Decatur have to offer visitors.

First, let me take you on a little tour around our beautiful campus:

Agnes Scott achieved the title of Tree Campus USA- "a national program created in 2008 to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals".

Center for Student Engagement brings organizations and clubs together, providing a variety of opportunities to get involved and keep Scotties busy.
I am proud to be a Scottie and hold on to our values.
Beautiful architecture at Agnes Scott
One of the walls in the Bullock Science Center captures "a portion of a DNA molecule with the nucleotide sequence of Agnes Scott's mitochondrial DNA".
The fall colors amused me so much. It's a good thing to always bring a camera with you.
Only a couple of months later, the weather changes completely and everything starts to bloom. Photo credits: Nagima Kulbaeva

This is only a tiny glance at our beautiful campus during different seasons of the year.  Now, let's move on to Downtown Decatur, which will take us no more than 5 minutes of walking.

Decatur is known for its great variety of restaurants. Studying during the weekend doesn't sound too bad when you get to enjoy a nice cup of coffee in one of our cozy cafes.

We are surrounded by different forms of arts.

... really surrounded

The writings underneath the statue say: "Imagine a world without limits, without boundaries, without prejudice and blame. Imagine an existence full of self-confidence, self-esteem and not only tolerance but love for others regardless of color, socio-economic or any other standing. To me that is what the future holds. That is what children represent and that is the type of world I would like to help others imagine can come to pass."

Our next trip will take us no more than 20 minutes to get to Downtown Atlanta and see some of the greatest attractions the city has to offer for us. It is easy to travel around by MARTA (Atlanta public transportation system) train and the station (pictured) is right next to the Decatur Square that we just visited.

The busy streets of Downtown Atlanta

Sometimes, the weather surprises me!

Interested in becoming a TV presenter? We've got the CNN headquarters right here.

At the World of Coca- Cola, they make sure that visitors don't leave thirsty for soda...
 John Pemberton might tell you the secret formula for Coca- Cola which he invented.

Centennial Olympic Park is a remnant of the 1996  Summer Olympics, held in Atlanta.
The Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world . Photo credits: Nagima Kulbaeva

My favorite view of the Atlanta skyline is from Piedmont Park. Photo credits: Ula Snigurska
Piedmont Park in the summer

The best burgers in Atlanta are found at Vortex.
Atlanta is proud to be the location for Martin Luther King Jr. National Site.
Every year, our dear President Kiss invites all Scotties for a hike to the top of Stone Mountain. The carvings on its wall are amusing!

Here ends our tour and we are back on campus. All the places that I showed you are on the top of my favorite locations around Decatur and Atlanta. Certainly, there are plenty more that I am excited to explore while being a Scottie. I am positive that once you arrive, you'll discover many of your own hot spots as well. What are some of the questions that you may have about Decatur or Atlanta? Feel free to leave them as comments under this post. 
I look forward to hearing from you at globaladmission@agnesscott.edu. 
Karolina Klimczak '16
Office of Admission International Fellow
Agnes Scott College