Let the Games begin!–Melanie D’Souza

29 Sep

A fun way of getting perfectly integrated into the Student Housing community.

A week-long international student orientation by KU’s International Student Services (ISS) bring us all together to begin our academic career well by dispelling fears and doubts and connecting us with the right number of connections and friends, but what happens when it’s all over? Like ants scurrying from a rolling object, we’re scattered to different pockets of the KU campus, to be immersed in our own fields of study, housing colonies, student organizations, and what not. And sometimes—well, most of the time–it is ideal that we integrate well with our own housing community, just because we all need that perfect home for our college lifestyle!


Some of us enjoy having people around all the time, some prefer swinging it alone, and some are in-between – like me. But whoever you are, particularly if you plan to enter KU at the undergraduate level, the scholarship halls are a great place to stay; it is my third year, and it looks like I may never leave…like the majority of my fellow residents.


So, last year, I gave you a glimpse into what living in a schol-hall is like.

Let me now introduce you to schol-hall land’s very own edition of Olympics – The Schol-Hall Olympics (SHO) and entertain you with snapshots from the same (2014). Designed to integrate new residents into schol-hall lifestyles, it is the perfect merger between the last days of summer and the first days of move-in, Hawk Week and first days of class, all for schol-hall residents. This year, it was run by our mastermind Will Kerschen, Orientation and Recruitment Chair at the All Scholarship Hall Council, encompassing all sorts on fun events from UNO tournaments and cookie decorating competitions to watermelon eating contests, 3-on-3 basketball, ping-pong, quiz bowl, Mario Kart tournaments, and our very own version of Assassins’ Creed!




So, here are a few reasons why SHO is a well-proven strategy for orientation at KU’s lovely schol-halls:

  • There’s everything for everybody. And everybody’s awkward. There’s baking and watermelon eating and Mario Kart and UNO tournaments for athletically challenged folks like me, and then there’s Ultimate Frisbee, basketball, ping-pong, etc for those who love to run and play in the sun.


  • It’s a way of just bringing down those intimidation levels for new residents who are entering into an already-active community, and it gets them plugged in, helping them understand this close-knit fabric of community life at schol-hall land.
  • It’s the time to cement those relationships with your Bigs and Littles, your new roomies, and your brother/sister hall and make friendships with older residents. They’ve all been through exactly what you’re going through, and they made it because of Olympics!
  • It’s also that moment in your life where you discover your strengths and passions. Where you may discover that you probably don’t like dancing all that much or where you’re secretly good at shooting hoops.

GAMES with themes? Who doesn’t love them?!

Scholarship Hall Olympics are just another reason why you may consider living in a scholarship hall during your time at KU. Instant friends, fun, academic foundations—these are ideal to your college lifestyle at KU–and the SHO can guarantee a smooth transition into such, if you do decide to become a schol-haller!

Feel free to shoot me any questions by commenting, no matter how silly they are.  I would love to help you out!

Melanie D’Souza is a junior from Muscat, Oman, majoring in Architecture at KU.  She loves travelling, writing, sketching and cycling. She is currently the Orientation Chair at Rieger Scholarship Hall Council and a fervent schol-haller and Riegerette.  She is also in the Honors Program and is a Student Ambassador for the Office of International Recruitment and Undergraduate Admissions.

Welcome (back)!–Anh Le Nhat

29 Sep

During the not-very-eventful (but still fun, regardless) summer in Lawrence, I was able to re-energize myself by working at a comfortable pace and enjoying one of the best World Cup tournaments.  Time flew by, and now I have been back in the fall semester for a month already!  As a junior–which is considered an upperclassman, though I do feel like I am still young and inexperienced–I have some food for thought for the new Jayhawks as well as my fellow returning students.

As a freshman, especially an international freshman, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the campus size, course structure, cultural differences, etc.  Believe me, I have been there before; I was not able to attend orientation and had to use the school map to navigate to classes during the first few weeks.  Here are a few tips I found particularly helpful for my freshman year:

1. Take advantage of all the resources the University offers you.  There are a lot of resources available to KU students, which is a good problem to have, but it can also be confusing, especially when you are new to everything new here.  ISS is the first resource I recommend new students reach out to; the staff in ISS are dedicated to helping international students be successful.  Furthermore, ISS also offers fun opportunities to explore Kansas, like Sporting KC games, trips to Kansas City, and the Clinton Lake BBQ.

2. You might have heard the phrase before, but getting involved really helped me during my first year.  Getting involved means you will have to put in extra effort outside the classroom, join an organization, or participate in intramural sports.  However, the efforts you put in will pay off, as you will discover your own passions and strengths, build friendships with people who have the same interests, and feel connected to KU.

3. Last but not least, just remember to go to class. Most international students come here without scholarships and have to pay out-of-state tuition (I am on the same page), which is a big financial investment.  Going to class will help you get a better understanding of the material, create friendships with classmates who share the same academic concern, and save time studying later.  Feeling unmotivated about making it to class or conversing with friends from a different time zone should not be your excuse, because after all, academic success is your priority.

For the returning international students, welcome back to KU! As a fellow returner, I hope that most of you have enjoyed and treasured your KU journey because it will not be long until we walk down the hill!  Here are some insights I want to share with you to make your KU experience more memorable:

1. Create a KU Bucket List.  I learned it from one of my American friends, who was able to check everything off before his graduation last summer.  Bucket List items can very according to your taste: the most popular ones are usually going to all the basketball games, sledding down the hill this winter, jumping into the Chi Omega fountain, and taking pictures with Big Jay and Baby Jay.  In a way, the Bucket List helps to make your KU experience become more memorable and exciting!

2. Study abroad.  Even though all of us are studying abroad in America, we still can take advantage of the study abroad opportunities KU provides to explore the world!  KU has partnered with many universities worldwide, which can help provide you a unique experience that combines exploring another culture and achieving a quality education. I was not able to plan for a trip abroad, but I have both American and international friends who went on these trips and had a great experience!  If you are interested, the Office of Study Abroad is a great place to start!

3. So you have been at the University for a couple years, and surprisingly, the only place you are familiar with is Lawrence.  College can be busy, and sometimes it is hard to take our time off and explore the beautiful state we are living in.  I strongly encourage us all to explore Kansas outside Lawrence and enjoy its beauties, whether they are the small towns and farmlands or the museums and halls in Topeka.  If you do not have a vehicle or limited time for travelling, you can always take advantage of ISS’s field trips.  Most of us will not be able to return to Kansas upon graduation, so take advantage of your time here!

These are the tings I want to share with our newcomers and returners, and I hope some of these will be helpful to you in your career at KU!  Until next time, peace.

Anh Le is a Jayhawk junior from Hanoi, Vietnam, majoring in Finance and Information Systems. He loves traveling, reading, playing sports and learning about business and technology. He is currently the Resident Assistant of Gertrude Sellards Pearson Residence Hall and a student in KU School Of Business. He is also in the Honors Program and is an International Student Ambassador for the Office of International Recruitment and Undergraduate Admissions.

My summer at KU–Anh Le Nhat

2 Jun

As my sophomore year extends to a summer term, and signs of constructions appear everywhere on campus, my first summer in Lawrence has officially begun. After two years working on my degree as a full-time student, I have made many interesting plans to relax, recharge, and explore this amazing college town.

My first plan this summer is to work as a summer Resident Assistant (RA) in Hashinger Hall.  Even though I worked as an RA during the school year, the summer position provides a much different experience, as most residents living on-campus in the summer are international students from Japan and Brazil.  As an international student, I understand the challenges that international students face, such as language barriers and cultural shocks, and I hope to provide an academically oriented environment and organize fun activities for my residents, so they can enjoy their KU experience. Working as a summer RA in a community full of international students is also a chance for me to show my Jayhawk spirit and learn about Japanese and Brazilian cultures.

Another plan that is on top of my list this summer is watching the World Cup 2014 with my friends and residents. World Cup 2014 is the biggest soccer tournament in the world which only happens once every four years, and as a soccer fan, I will be sure to enjoy the competition between top teams for the glorious trophy. While lots of my residents and friends can cheer for their respective countries in the World Cup, unfortunately, I will not be able to cheer for Vietnam, since our national soccer team still has a long way to go to qualify. That being said, I have been cheering for Spain these past few years in international tournaments, and I hope my team will win a second consecutive World Cup this summer.

Last but not least, I want to spend my free time this summer enjoying Lawrence by visiting places that I have not been able to experience during the school year. Notable examples on top of my list are Prairie Park Nature Center, Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center and Regal Southwind Stadium 12. Prairie Park Nature Center has a wide variety of native Kansas wildlife and offers walking trails and public fishing, which is ideal for a wildlife enthusiast like me. Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center, on the other hand, is the perfect solution for hot summer days, with water slides and fountains to escape the heat. As the upcoming summer is full of exciting blockbusters like Godzilla, Malecifient, 22 Jump Street, Transformers, and Dawn of The Planet of the Apes, Regal Southwind Stadium 12 will be where me and my friends hang out and enjoy the regular updated list of movies on the weekends.

Although doing well in summer classes will always remain my priority, summer provides me an opportunity to work at a comfortable pace and take breaks when I can, and I am excited to fulfill all my plans in my first summer in Lawrence! Until next time, peace.

Anh Le is a Jayhawk sophomore from Hanoi, Vietnam, majoring in Finance and Information Systems. He loves traveling, reading, playing sports and learning about business and technology. He is currently the Resident Assistant of Gertrude Sellards Pearson Residence Hall and a student in KU School Of Business. He is also in the Honors Program and is a Student Volunteer for the Office of International Recruitment and Undergraduate Admissions.

Sunshine days are here again!–Melanie D’Souza

2 Jun

For lack of a better title, yes.  It’s summer, laziness has hit me, and I couldn’t be more bothered! I have three glorious months ahead of me, and I’m sure my peers are spending it in various ways.  Some of have summer jobs, some are on KU Study Abroad, dispersed in international academic programs scattered across the latitudes, and some are on hiking/camping/road trips. Some are busy pursuing hobbies they don’t otherwise get to indulge in during the academic semesters.  Some take this time as an opportunity to work on important research paths with a KU professor of their choice.

Well, I have summer plans of my own, of course.  I shall be on an internship and summer school through KU.  I shall also be doing KU recruitment, just as I did last summer.  But the best part is that I am already home!  Home as in Muscat, Oman in the Middle East! And that’s just another thing I love about KU: the flexibility of academics.  I get to live at home, in the comfort of family, under the sweltering sun of the Omani summer, by the sea and the sand.

I’ll just be taking general education classes that are required for graduation but not necessarily related to my major.  This allows me to focus on more major-focused electives during the regular fall and spring terms.  But the one thing that I am most excited about this summer is the internship that I bagged with a reputed architectural engineering firm.  In order to fulfill one of my academic requirements, I need to document my internship experience through a blog: The Charrette Frame of Mind.  If you are able to take time out to follow my newly created professional blog, I’d be extremely grateful!  It is here, after all, at International Jayhawks, that I first experienced the joy of blogging messages to you all!  So yes, summer classes and an internship are going to keep me busy for two months of the summer, but being a workaholic, it’s probably what I want.  At the end of it all, a family trip overseas during the regional Eid holidays, would definitely seem suitable.

What does summer mean for you? For me, summer always means time away from Lawrence, KS, time with family, time at ease. The extreme heat, the perennial sunshine, the sweet seabreeze, catching up on Bollywood films and Arab food and all the good wine with family.  It’s always a beautiful time! So you should let me in on your summer plans too! Once you’re done reading this, please do comment on what you are up to during this wonderful summer of 2014!

Melanie D’Souza is a Jayhawk junior from Muscat, Oman, majoring in Architecture.  She loves travelling, writing and sketching. She is also in the Honors Program and is a Student Volunteer for the Office of International Recruitment and Undergraduate Admissions.

The unique cuisine in downtown Lawrence–Anh Le Nhat

29 Apr

As another semester is coming to an end, I am looking back on another year of college that is full of memorable experiences. I realize that I am almost half way to graduation, yet there are so many things in Lawrence that I have not experienced. Since I have a passion for different cuisines, I will introduce you to the eating experience in downtown Lawrence, because enjoying it more is one of my goals for the upcoming summer.

Since I am from Vietnam, I have a soft spot for Asian food, so I will introduce you to my experience of Asian restaurants.  On Mass Street, there are a variety of restaurants that offer dishes from China, India, Korea, and Japan.  I recommend Ramen Bowl.  KU alumni who came back from Hawaii just opened the restaurant last year.  I have been there a couple of times this year to try different kinds of ramen, and they have awesome broth, which will erase any stereotypical feelings associated with ramen noodles.  Another great place to try is Zen Zero, which is usually crowded on the weekends because they serve many great dishes from drunken noodles to soups and curry that can satisfy anyone’s appetite.

Of course Mass Street is not all about Asian food.  There are a lot of other national cuisines that appear here. One example is Aladdin Café, which is well-known for its tasty Greek and Mediterranean entrees. If you are curious about Latin American food, La Parrilla is definitely the place to go to (it offers tasty Brazilian steak!). There is also Genovese, which offers a pricey but decent Italian experience of antipasti and pastas. Furthermore, if you are not familiar with American food, you have to give Burger Stand a try.  Their burgers and fries are usually solid, and the variety of side sauces (which includes marshmallow sauce) is a great addition. Jefferson’s Restaurant is another great restaurant for American cuisines with diverse options for sandwiches and baskets.

Last but not least, there are always fast and convenient restaurants that satisfy the needs of the KU student body whenever we are hungry. Student favorites are Jimmy Johns, Chipotle, Quiznos, Pyramid Pizza, Tryyaki . . . the list goes on. There are many other places that offer mouth-watering cuisines around this area; unfortunately, due to a limit in my time and budget, I have not had the opportunity to try them all yet.  I think this is a unique aspect of Lawrence that students enjoy. If you are committed to KU, I strongly urge you to not miss out on this experience!! Until next time, peace.

Anh Le is a Jayhawk sophomore from Hanoi, Vietnam, majoring in Finance and Information Systems. He loves travelling, reading, playing sports and learning about business and technology. He is currently the Resident Assistant of Gertrude Sellards Pearson Residence Hall and a student in KU School of Business. He is also in the Honors Program and is a Student Volunteer for the Office of International Recruitment and Undergraduate Admissions.

Election Season–Melanie D’Souza

23 Apr

It is quite close to the end of the semester, so various campus organizations are in the midst of a leadership change.  In other words, each campus organization will elect a new executive board to manage the events, activities, and programs which create a greater presence and indelible image of itself on campus.

Executive board positions in these organizations develop leadership skills and serve as great resume-builders.  Students usually run for positions that involve their majors, as it helps them better their contacts with future employers and allows students to interact with their peers in the same major. For example, a photography major can involve himself in a design honors sorority, be part of the Photography Club, or become the photography chair for a Housing Council.  There are just so many things one can do!

One must remember not to be intimidated.  It is better to involve yourself with a club for at least a semester as a regular member before you run for a leadership position.  Once you get acclimated to club meetings, activities, and outreach to the point you benefit from it, and at the same time can contribute to the organization, you can then decide to take up a leadership role.

It is important to stay in a leadership position in one club rather than constantly test waters, as commitment to the club will not only bring invaluable leadership to it, but also make you look invaluable to prospective employers.  Also, it is important to give your very best in whatever responsibility you choose, as it shows your pluck and ability to perform well. More importantly, make sure to go beyond your constitutional duties to create new traditions for the club, as it will definitely display your initiative.

So do not be too intimidated to get yourself out there and lead!  Remember leadership comes with an expectation of service and great communication.  But it will only prepare you to step into the workplace and to extend your network. Thus in the spirit of election time at KU, be thinking of positions you wish to run for and clubs you want to participate in next year!

Good luck to you!

Melanie D’Souza

Melanie D’Souza is a Jayhawk sophomore from Muscat, Oman, majoring in Architecture.  She loves travelling, writing, sketching, cycling, and studying art history.  She is currently the Environment Chair of the All Scholarship Hall Council and a fervent schol-haller and Riegerette.  She is also in the Honors Program and is a Student Volunteer for the Office of International Recruitment and Undergraduate Admissions.

Allen Fieldhouse: The best college basketball experience

24 Mar

Many students at the University of Kansas love KU Basketball. Some people in Lawrence even boldly claim basketball is a religion, Allen Fieldhouse (AFH) is a church, and Bill Self is a preacher. I am not an exception, even though I did not come to KU because of basketball but just happened to fall in love with my school’s basketball team. March Madness reminds me of my first home game experience: the Sunflower Showdown in my freshman year.

The Sunflower Showdown was one of the most hyped games of 2013, as Kansas State’s basketball team, the Wildcats, were ranked higher than my Jayhawks and had an upper hand in winning the Big 12 Conference. The game contained a lot of passions from the student body, as KU has developed a rivalry against K-State after the Border War against Missouri officially ended.  Tickets were hard to find, and I ended up paying $50 for student admission! (Note: Always buy the sport package, it is a wise investment.)  Waiting in line and camping out for tickets was kind of extreme; however, from the start of the game, it seemed like all my efforts paid had off.  There were no empty seats in Allen Fieldhouse; the traditions like singing the alma mater, waving the newspaper, and throwing the confetti were carried out in an electric and raucous atmosphere, which represented the tradition and spirit of the Jayhawks.

The game was physical and intense, as both teams consisted of talented and competitive players who played the game that could directly decide who the Big 12 Champions would be. The fans, especially those who sat in the student section like me, almost never sat down during the entire game while cheering for our team.  It seemed like the spirit of the Phog, the passion of being a Jayhawk, was just all over the building, from the announcer, coach Self, and the cheerleaders to all the other sections in Allen Fieldhouse (except the K-State fans, of course). The team delivered a spectacular performance, as Kansas cruised over K-State with a 21-point difference, and freshman star Ben McLemore scored his career-high of 30 points on his 20th birthday night. I lost my voice cheering and celebrating with the crowd, and it was an unforgettable experience in my college career.

There is a reason why Allen Fieldhouse is called the best place to watch college basketball. To me, it was an entertaining and thrilling experience that makes the college experience become unforgettable, where a student can feel that he/she truly belongs to the KU community. Allen Fieldhouse also has the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, which is free to the public and contains the rich history of KU athletics that is definitely worth your time. If you decide to go to KU, try to attend a basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse, whether you are a basketball fan or not.  Until next time, peace!


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