Does your international student know about the Super Bowl?

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Does your international student know about the Super Bowl?

In less than one week, the most-watched TV event in the United States will kick off.

Conversations all week have been about football. With all of the hype surrounding the game, your international student may be in a bit of culture shock, asking “Just what is all of the fuss about?”

The Super Bowl is a huge part of American culture, but to someone who is new to this country, the attention placed on the Super Bowl can be a bit overwhelming.

What better way to get the conversation going between you and your student than by teaching them about the importance of the Super Bowl in American culture?

Here is some background information you can share with your student:

As the championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the premier American football league in the world, the Super Bowl is the largest, most-watched spectacle in American sports.

According to Nielsen, in 2015, the Super Bowl 49 audience peaked at 120.8 million people (the largest TV audience ever) and more than 70,000 people were in the stands.

The game itself is exciting, but much of the thrill for Americans comes from events surrounding the play on the field.

As you may have already experienced, the week leading up to the Super Bowl is filled with conversation and predictions about the game. You would be hard-pressed to find a sports channel not focused it.

The sports media hosts “media sessions” throughout the week where players will talk about the game, their opponents and anything else relevant to the championship. Many NFL players dream of playing in a Super Bowl from the time they are children, and want nothing more than to win the prize they’ve focused on their entire lives.

As for the fans, many American families will host friends and families in their homes and watch the game with company. These Super Bowl parties typically involve “grilling out,” where families will fire up the grill and cook hamburgers and hot dogs. The game presents an opportunity for fans to reconnect with old friends to watch football and enjoy American food.

Not a football fan? Don’t worry! Many folks who aren’t avid football fans attend Super Bowl parties for the company, food, fun, and of course—the commercials.

Companies will spend millions of dollars for very brief ads during the Super Bowl. An international student may not realize the significance of these advertisements. Almost as many fans watch the Super Bowl for the commercials that do for the actual game. This has become a tradition in itself, as you can actually watch every commercial that aired, the next day on YouTube.

Hopefully you can give your student a better understanding about the big game and its tradition in American culture.

Super Bowl 50

Who: The Denver Broncos vs. The Carolina Panthers

When: Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: The game is played in San Francisco, but can be watched on CBS


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From Charlotte to Cuba: A trip of Thanksgiving



From November 20-28, Andy Gong, a senior at Charlotte Country Day School, Sharon Qian, a sophomore at Charlotte Country Day School, and 20 of their peers traveled to Cuba on a journey of service and cultural exchange.

The student-initiated trip took place during the students’ Thanksgiving break, and gave students the chance to experience authentic Cuban life while giving back to the community.

Andy served on the team of students who planned the trip, deciding where to visit and which activities to attend. He was inspired to make the trip happen, and worked to draft student applications and vetted applicants.

So, “why Cuba,” you may ask?

“(Cuba) is so close, but so far,” Gong said.

“Traveling to Cuba feels like traveling back in time – old fashion cars; no 4G network or PlayStation; primarily an agriculture society; go to bed with the lamp and get up with the lark— With the opening of Cuba as a reformation and the normalization of the U.S. – Cuban relationship, we may never be able to see what Cuba is like today if (big western businesses) like Starbucks and Papa John’s get into the Cuban market. We wanted to spot the authentic Cuba before it becomes an ordinary Caribbean resort country.”

DSC_4707During the trip, the students visited an organic garden and a textbook printing shop, where they were able to act in service, interact and help out members of the local community.

When they weren’t giving back to the community, they were able to visit a local high school, discuss economics with a Cuban professor, take dance lessons and play a baseball game with the locals. They were even able to spend a little bit of time on the beach and enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with Cuban ingredients in Trinidad.

“We engaged in many cultural activities—visiting medical clinics, art galleries, and even a club! By doing so, we got to talk to the locals about their lifestyles and learned the authentic Cuban culture and customs and its own people and their passion and dreams,” Gong said.

“When we had the conversation with Cuban high school students – regardless of nationalities and differences, our passions on music (and) sports, (and our) eagerness to learn about a different culture instantly brought us close together to have peer-to-peer engagement.”

Dan Brown, homestay regional manager, served as the New Oasis student coordinator for the Charlotte area last year, and worked closely with Andy and Sharon.

“Andy is an exceptionally driven student who forges his own path.  He takes every opportunity that comes his way and creates his own if they don’t,” Brown said.

“He has the kind of positive, humorous attitude that builds a near instant rapport.  I look forward to reading about Andy in a few years, as he begins to find his place in the world.”

Brown said Sharon is also an academically-focused student.DSC_4658

“Sharon is an eager student who takes her work seriously.  Her academic power is wonderfully at odds with her humble, mild manner.  She is truly making the most of this study experience and has a promising academic career ahead of her at Charlotte Country Day.”

A complete recap of the story, including photos and updates, can be found at

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Giving back: New Oasis, the Virginia Beach community and the Morrills

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HERNDON, VA. — In June of 2012, Kristy Morrill, Virginia Beach student coordinator for New Oasis International Education, learned that her sister, Kendra Atherton, was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of unknown primary site (ACUPS), a life-threatening cancer.

After her diagnosis, Atherton started her battle with vengeance. A personal trainer by trade, she continued to eat healthy and inspire others as a positive role model. A devoted mother and friend, Atherton always tried to be there for everyone.

Atherton passed away on November 24, 2012.

A year later, Morrill and her family created an event, “K5K: A Run for Kendra,” to honor Athernon’s legacy, while giving back to the community and helping those who are also overcoming losses to cancer. The event raises funds for students at local high schools who have lost family members to cancer.

According to the K5K official website, since the founding of the run, it has raised more than $25,000 to support students in the Virginia Beach community.

Now, three years later, in 2015, the event is an annual occurrence in the Virginia Beach area. When New Oasis staff learned about the event from a casual conversation with Morrill, they immediately decided to form a team and sponsor the event.

On Saturday, Nov. 21, a team of staff from New Oasis will join Kristy and her family in running the 5K along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk to lift up one of its own in the spirit of community.

“I can’t tell you how much it means that New Oasis is sponsoring the event,” Morrill said.

Morrill works for New Oasis as a student coordinator in the Virginia Beach area where she assists international students at Cape Henry Collegiate School with their immersion into an American education system.

“Morrill is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet,” said Tammy Becker, homestay regional manager for New Oasis.

“She is always putting others first, and goes out of her way to provide nurturing care to every one of her students. When we were presented with the opportunity to assist a new staff member, we didn’t hesitate to act.”

New Oasis was founded in 2008 and partners with the most competitive private high schools in the United States. For more information about New Oasis or the 5K, contact Mike Atkinson at or 703-870-7260.