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Student Health Services, Graduation, and Summer Health Fees

Congratulations to all graduating students!

The Student Health Fee for Spring Semester 2015 EXPIRES at 5:00 pm on Friday, May 15th. This means that all Duke students who have paid the Spring Fee can continue to utilize Student Health Services (SHS) through May 15th. Depending on your status at Duke, there are different rules that apply after that date. If you are:

Graduating on May 10th – After May 15th, you can no longer be seen as a patient at the SHC. You must find another source for health care. The only exception to this is if your SHC provider requests that you follow up for a condition for which you were seen prior to May 15th.

Taking summer classes at Duke – Students who are taking summer classes pay the Summer Health Fee each term.

            Summer Term I                        May 13 – June 25                    $121.00

            Summer Term II                      June 29 – August 9                  $121.00

            Summer Term I and II             May 13 – August 9                  $242.00

If you are taking classes for the first term or both terms, you can continue to utilize SHS uninterrupted. If you are taking classes during the second term only, you must elect to pay the first term health fee to be allowed to utilize SHS between May 15th and the start of the second summer term. Likewise, if you are only taking classes during the first term, you must elect to pay the second term health fee to continue to utilize SHS throughout the whole summer.

Not taking classes, but staying in the area – Students who will return to Duke for the Fall 2015 Semester but are not taking summer classes can elect to pay the Summer Health Fee, utilizing SHS uninterrupted between Spring and Fall Semesters.

Prescriptions, Refills:

Prescriptions can be renewed at the discretion of the prescribing provider for up to 30 days after graduation (e.g. June 10, 2015). After June 10th, only returning students can have prescriptions written or phoned in by SHS providers.

Medical Records:

Students may request that copies of their records be forwarded to other providers. Appropriate release will be required. For more information, visit our website:  http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth, click on Forms & Policies and look under the “Clinical Forms” section. Alternatively, you may call 919-681-9355 and press menu option 6.


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CLG workshop at IHouse - Employment/Immigration Visa Issues

F, H, I, J, L, O are not just letters of the English alphabet but also the different types of non-immigrant visas issued by the United States (US). As a student, scholar, researcher you may have a lot of questions about how to maintain your current legal status and what options are available in the future regarding employment, change of status and possibly, permanent residency. In this week’s CLG Workshop hosted by Dr. Li-Chen Chin, IHouse, Lisa T. Felix of Klasko Immigration and Nationality Law covered all these and more.

Visa and Status
Non-immigrant ‘visas’ are issued for a specific – purpose, employer / institution, period of time and are required to enter the country. When the visa holder enters the country, she acquires ‘Status’ (I-94) which determines the period of stay and permissible activities during that time.

H-1B Visa
Students (F-1) and scholars (J-1) who are offered employment may change to H-1B visa. For this, the job has to qualify as ‘specialty occupation’ and the employer has to make the application. But this visa is subject to a CAP / quota and the general trend for the last several years shows that the quota is gone by April itself. Don’t lose heart though – universities, non-profits affiliated to universities, non-profit research organizations and government research organizations are exempt from this quota.

Alternatives to H-1B
If you are not able to make it in the H-1 race, you still have certain alternatives like:
L-1 – Intra-company transfer for executives, managers, ‘special knowledge’
E – For nationals from treaty countries
TN – For citizens of Canada and Mexico (NAFTA)
I – Journalists
O – Artists with distinction, Scientists with extraordinary ability
E-3 – For Australians only
Dependent on spouse visa

Permanent Residence
Till now we have been looking at non-immigrant visas that provide permission to stay and study / work in the US for a limited period of time. Form I-551, more popularly known as the ‘Green Card’ provides authorization to live and work indefinitely in the US. This is an immigrant visa, which is subject to quotas. Applications can be made on the basis of: family, investment, asylum, employment, DV lottery. Allocation is based on preference categories. Employment based preference categories are:

First preference (EB-1): Extraordinary ability, Outstanding researcher, Multinational Executive
Second preference (EB-2): Advanced degree professionals, Equivalent – Bachelors + 5 years experience,
 exceptional ability.
Third preference (EB-3): Skilled worker, Bachelor’s degree (2+ years experience)
Fifth preference (EB-5): $500,000 - $1 million investment in the US

While applying for permanent residency it is important to weigh different options like, employer-sponsored or self-sponsored, labor certification or extraordinary / NIW and consider filing under multiple, different categories.

The presentation familiarized us with the A-Z of visas and immigration. It was a packed house and Lisa deftly answered the volley of questions from the participants. If you require more information, go here.


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IHouse 50th Anniversary - World Music Night

I hesitated at the threshold wondering, ‘Is this the right place?’ Then a group of smiling faces greeted me and I was welcomed into the Duke International House family. That was four years ago, at the IHouse Intl Spouse / Partner Orientation. As I was reminiscing thus, SangHee’s voice brought me to the present with a ‘Hello everyone, Good evening!’ It was World Music Night, part of the 50th anniversary celebration of IHouse, where we were treated to eight wonderful performances and (you guessed it!) a quiz.

‘To me, music is like breathing’ – Huda Asfour, (postdoc, Biomedical Engineering department) got the show started with an Arabic song accompanied by the rich notes of the Oud (Arabic instrument) that she played. Next performance was her own composition that conveyed the feeling of ‘being unsettled’. You can listen to more of her songs here.











‘To me, music is a means of expressing my thoughts and emotions’ – Bryan Somaiah, (undergraduate, Trinity College) got the attention of the audience with his sweet voice, simple lyrics and soft notes of the acoustic guitar.
‘Music is energy for life’ – Duke Dhoom (dance team of undergrads and grads) took to the dance floor with a spring in their step. Their performance was so energetic and lively that we had to grip our seats to stop ourselves from getting up and dancing.

World Music Quiz – Lisa Giragosian (IHouse) tested the audience on their knowledge (in my case, ignorance) of world music by playing songs from different countries. Needless to say, the closest I got was identifying the continent from which the music came. So, no prizes for me.

‘To me, music is happiness’ – Pratiksha Sharma (Undergraduate ’18) sang a Nepalese song about unrequited love, in her soothing voice.

IHouse Divas – Annette Moore, Li-Chen Chin held the audience spellbound with their mellifluous rendering of ‘The Round of Leprechauns’ and ‘Tap Dancer’ on the flute and clarinet.

‘To me, music is the Food for Soul’ – Rimli Sengupta (spouse of Duke postdoc), in keeping with the season, harmonized a melody about the onset of spring, followed by an emotional English song ‘Leaving on a jet plane’. Her voice touched us gently like a breath of fresh air.

‘Music is happiness and passion’ - Devil’s Reject (undergraduates) had the audience clapping to their A Capella singing of popular songs like ‘Are you coming to the tree’ and ‘I’m Yours’.

Racemates – Duke Indie Rock and Progressive Folk band played some great music for us. Check out their facebook page for more info. Special thanks are due to them for managing the sound system, the entire evening.

Thank you IHouse, for the musical jamboree and for reminding us that: ‘Music is the universal language of mankind’ – H W Longfellow.


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Speaking Up for Yourself - IHouse CLG workshop

“What does it mean?” asked one of the participants at the CLG Workshop on Speaking Up for Yourself hosted by Seun Bello Olamosu, IHouse where Dr. Gary Glass and Brandon Knettel, Intern, from CAPS made a presentation about communication strategies.

When somebody ‘steps on your toes’ do you just grin and bear it?

Why do you hesitate to speak up?
Cultural Differences and Gender Influences
In American culture, the concept of “self” is valued. People like to talk about their accomplishments, express their emotions and they may not hesitate to challenge authority or just ask for what they need. But other cultures may place more value on humility, being less expressive and respect for authority. Further, lack of clarity about gender roles can make it more complicated.

Racial and Ethnic Discrimination
Sometimes, people may treat you differently because of your racial or ethnic background. Is it “discrimination” based on bias or because they respect differences and want to put you at ease.

If speaking up is difficult, writing could be more so because there are so many things to think of like grammar, spelling mistakes and striking the right balance between sounding passive and assertive.

How can you overcome your inhibitions and speak up?
Understanding Conflict
Conflict can be “A Tool used to improve Relationships”. There is a saying in my country – “Fire can be used to light a lamp or burn down the house”. This is true of conflict too. If it is not used the right way, it can end up hurting everybody.

“The enjoyment of what you KNOW to be TRUE about YOU”. And, using that knowledge about you, to manage different situations at work and home.

How Do You Speak Up for Yourself – Effectively / Respectfully?
1.    Assess whether to assert yourself: Evaluate the situation - Is this the right time? What would be the consequences of speaking up or not speaking up?
2.    Identify what you want to assert: Figure out what is wrong with the situation and what is to be done to change it.
3.    Confidence Cycle: Rehearse, Implement, Evaluate, Correct or Adjust as Needed.

Communicate Your Needs
Express your needs using “I” statements like, “I would like it if you” rather than blaming the other person like, “You never do”.

Conflict is a Tool
Use conflict effectively to understand the other person and to help them understand you better.

Coming back to the question asked at the beginning of the workshop, I realized that Dr. Glass had not only answered it but in the process, he had given us a practice lesson in speaking up for ourselves.

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American Common Courtesy - CLG workshop at IHouse

When I am introduced to someone in the US, often I do not know what to do – Say Namaste with my hands pressed together in the traditional Indian way or Say Hi with a tentative wave of my hand or just go forward and shake hands with them. SangHee Jeong at IHouse hosted a workshop on American Common Courtesy, and Duke student Ashley Gibbs, with some help from Ilana Weisman, shared with us the appropriate manners and levels of courtesy in the US.

Okay, let’s start at the beginning. When someone greets you, ”Hi, how are you?” , just say “Good” (don’t start explaining about your stiff back, unless it is your doctor).  When you are introduced to someone, you could give a firm handshake or a hug (I like the sideways hug demonstrated by Ashley and Ilana), depending on the setting and how well you know the person. If you are in a group, remember to introduce them too.

Around Americans, you better watch your mouth – yawning, chewing with your mouth wide open, coughing / sneezing without covering your mouth, talking loudly on the phone, are all considered rude.  When you are talking to someone, respect their personal space and maintain a few feet distance and also, maintain eye contact. During a conversation, do not ask people their weight or salary and definitely don’t ask a woman her age. It is considered impolite if you don’t hold the door when there is someone a few feet behind you.

While punctuality is important, do not show up early to a party. Men do not wear hats indoors but women can wear church hats or fashionable hats. Cutting in line, laughing loudly and staring at strangers are considered inappropriate. While walking, if someone wants to walk past you, please make way for them. With Professors / superiors, play it safe by using Professor / Doctor / Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. / Sir / Ma’am. If they want to be on first name basis, they will tell you.

People in the South like to be friendly. So while passing strangers, if they smile, be polite and return their smile. Do not interrupt them while speaking and when you want something to be done, ask questions (ending with ‘please’) rather than giving orders. But in the North, life is more fast-paced. People do not commonly smile or make eye contact with strangers. They tend to speak fast and do not mind being interrupted.

One thing common to all Americans is they prefer to be direct. So if they offer you something and you want it, then go for it. If you are trying to be polite and say no, you may not get another chance. Now, about eating out, if someone says, “Let’s get a meal together”, it means you are going to split the bill. But if someone says, “I’ll treat you to lunch”, it means they will pay for you too.

As the Berenstain Bears say “Please and Thank you can make your day; they are as nice to hear as they are to say”.


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Black Popular Music - CLG workshop at IHouse

February is Black History Month. It was created to understand the history of African-Americans from the time they were displaced from their homeland, the hardships they faced and their ongoing struggle to make this land their home. Their resilience and rebellion found expression in the form of music. In celebration of Black History Month, IHouse offered a workshop last Thursday about “Black Popular Music from Spirituals to Hip-Hop”, hosted by Lisa Giragosian, with a presentation by Alec Greenwald, Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.

The origins of Black music can be traced from the historical context. When people were brought as slaves, they lost their identity and tried to keep their culture alive through music. Their musical traditions began as a form of communication - call and response and their artistic creativity came to the fore when they made musical instruments like the banjos and drums from gourds and hollow tree trunks/ animal skin. The theme of early Black music was mostly coded messages seeking freedom from slavery, conveyed through simple lyrics (“Follow the Drinking Gourd”).

Alec took us on a historical journey through various genres that evolved under the secular traditions of Black music – from the melancholy notes of the blues to the vibrant and energetic beats of hip-hop.

  • Game Song / Play Song: Created by children, involving distinctive imagery and complex dance steps
  • Work Song / Field Call: Lifted spirits, offered encouragement, coordinated the movements of workers
  • Rural Blues: Three phrases performed in simple harmonic foundation, expressing feelings of sadness
  • Boogie Woogie: Evolved in barrelhouses, railroad camps inspired by rhythmic clacking of steam locomotives
  • Urban Blues (Electric Blues): Amplified form of Rural blues that evolved in urban areas
  • Rock ‘N’ Roll: Filled with teenage sense of rebellion, independence, and an aggressive beat
  • Soul: Gospel influenced music with passionate vocalizing, powerful rhythms and honest lyrics appealing to the younger generation
  • Disco: Dance music (soul, Latin-soul, funk) played by mobile DJs in discotheques; recordings exceeded the standard three minute length to keep the dancers moving
  • Funk: Instrumental, vocal dance music based on jazz, blues, R&B, soul; the rhythm helped them dance
  • R&B: Dance music incorporating various styles like jazz, blues; encompassing all types of popular Black music other than hip-hop
  • Hip-hop: Original poetry based on range of experiences and world views sung in rhythm and rhyme; four essential elements are – DJ, rapper, dancer and graffiti artist

Just reading or talking about music may not be that interesting. But Alec kept it lively by playing some music (on the laptop), humming tunes and dancing a few steps. In order to fully appreciate and enjoy Black music, it is important to understand their history and culture. As Lisa nicely summed up, the presentation was not only about music but a combination of history, geography, anthropology, sociology, culture, dance etc.

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Amercian Football 101 with Former Duke Football Players - Connect.Learn.Grow workshop series at IHouse

In Basketball, you shoot a ball through a hoop or basket to score; In Baseball, you hit the ball with a bat and score runs by moving around a series of bases; In Football, you score by kicking the ball into the opposing goal; In American Football, you score points by um… uh… well, let’s just say it is a different ball game altogether.

With the Super Bowl coming up this Sunday, I did not want sit through another experience of trying to figure out why they were playing in fits and starts and what kept the scoreboard ticking. So, I headed to the CLG Workshop, American Football 101 hosted by SangHee Jeong, IHouse, where former Duke Football players, Lex Butler, Patrick Kurunwune and Quan Stevenson made a presentation, with Byron Turner, CMA acting as Moderator. While the participants were chatting with the players and admiring their ACC Coastal Division title rings, Byron got the presentation started with the kickoff (not literally).

<Former Duke Football Players explaining the rules of American Football>

Football is played between two teams. Each team has three units – offense, defense and special teams.

The team in possession of the ball is the offense. They advance the ball to the other team’s end zone by running, passing or kicking and score a field goal or touchdown. They get four downs (chances) to advance the ball by 10 yards. Various positions of the offense are:
Offensive Line (Center, Guard, Tackle) – Snap ball to Quarterback, block and make way for Running back
Quarterback - Leads offense by receiving the ball, handing it to Running back or passing it to Receiver
Fullback – Runs, blocks to make way for Running back
Wide Receiver – Catches the ball, runs towards the end zone
Tight End – Hybrid position that requires blocking or being the Wide Receiver

The defense tries to prevent the other team from advancing the ball towards end zone by tackling. They score points by intercepting the ball or by blocking field goals. Defensive positions are:
Defensive Line (Defensive End, Nose Tackle, Defensive Tackle) – Tackle the ball carrier
Linebackers (Outside, Middle) – Tackle Running backs, Tight Ends or any ball carrier
Defensive Backs (Cornerbacks, Safeties) - Intercept the pass, tackle Wide Receivers

Special Teams come on the field during kick-off / return, punt / return, Field Goal / Block.

And, there is a whole set of rules about penalties against the offense and defense.

<From left: Bryon, Quan, Patrick, Lex with the blogger Triveni>

Initially, none of this made any sense to us.  Then, we huddled (again, not literally) and came up with a strategy to tackle the situation. The participants kept tossing questions at the presenters and they patiently explained, sometimes even giving us a demo with the ball. It was nice to see players who are tough on the field, being friendly and unassuming off the field. Finally, words like kickoff, down, snap, pass, punt, block, tackle, touchdown and field goal took on new meanings. I guess, now I am ready for Super Bowl Sunday!



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Love Is A Verb, a screening and discussion

Love Is A Verb is an examination of a social movement of Sufi inspired Sunni Muslims that began in Turkey in the l960s and now reaches across the globe. The group is called Hizmet, the Turkish word for service or The Gulen Movement after its inspiration, leader and beloved teacher Fethullah Gulen, a man that Time Magazine named as one of the most influential leaders in the world in 2013.

Kenneth Hunter, Executive Producer and Hakan Berberoglu, Co-Producer will be present for a screening and Q&A for this new documentary on the Gulen Movement on ​Tuesday, January 13th @6:00pm at Duke Bryan Center, Griffith Theater.

Presented by the Center for Muslim Life at Duke.

Read more about this documentary at www.loveisaverbmovie.com.

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Transition to Duke

We spoke to Gerald Tan, a Trinity freshman from Singapore, about his transition to Duke and the United States. The Economics student has a great sense of humor and loves all things food.

1. Where have you lived or traveled?
I have only lived in Singapore. But my Mum was born in Malaysia, so I would often head there to visit my relatives.  It’s a 3-hour drive away.

2. Why did you come to Duke?
Many reasons: the liberal arts education, the community of friends, the weather, the over-aggressive squirrels. But most important of all - to explore. My mum left her hometown, alone, when she was barely 16, to seek a new life in a foreign country. Coming to Duke is, in some way, my lesser emulation of that immense courage and entrepreneurship she had.

3. What are you planning on studying while you are at Duke?
I want to study Economics. I am also interested in Philosophy – Philosophy 101 is an excellent course to take!

4. What are you involved in outside of the classroom?
I am on the Duke Debate team. Over weekends, I would travel out with the team to other schools, like Yale [University] and [University of] Vermont, to compete in inter-varsity tournaments. I am also in Duke Consulting Club: I write for the Duke Consulting Review and work closely with a Durham start-up, Ripcog, under the community-consulting program. Ripcog is a platform that helps local businesses generate more referrals at a lowest cost. I have also most recently been preparing for the regional Federal Reserve Challenge.
During my free time (if there is even such a thing), I cook.  Pork Belly stews; caramelized chicken wings in Chinese cooking wine; Tangyuan – colored rice balls in sweetened ginger broth. I also play the viola.

5. How did you feel when you first came to United States? Were you surprised or were things similar to life in your home country?
It was almost dreamlike; partly because it was after a 24-hour flight, but mostly because the moment I had waited for 2 years finally arrived (I deferred my matriculation to Duke by 2 years to complete Singapore’s mandatory military service). I was most surprised to find strangers greeting me whenever they saw me, and blessing me whenever I sneezed.

6. What was the biggest adjustment you had to make to get immersed into the American culture?
To speak in an accent-neutral way that could be understood. People used to ask me what language I was conversing in, even when I was speaking in English.

7. Are there some parts of the American culture you haven’t gotten used to? If so, what are they?
The food. The food here is fantastic, but every so often, I miss authentic Chinese food (no offense to Panda Express).

8. How did your thoughts about the USA change after coming here?
As an international student, I was initially afraid that I would not be able to integrate into the Duke community. But the folks here are friendlier than I expected. Everywhere I go I bump into affection. 

9. Is there something you wish you had known about America before coming here?
How hot it really was in the first few weeks of Fall.

10. What do you miss the most about your home country?
My family, my old friends and food, glorious food.

11. What do you like the most about Duke?
The faculty. I am always amazed by how approachable (and humorous) many of the faculty members are. They really make learning more enjoyable. Earlier today, during my Economics lecture, Professor Zelder put on a woman’s scarf and began to shout in Italian. It was to demonstrate the effects of negative externalities.

12. What are your plans for this summer?
I haven’t really decided what I will do for this summer. But as of now, I am inclined to use that time to explore the States and to volunteer.


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Flag of the Week - Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is an Oceanian country that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby. The western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.
Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. 848 languages are listed for the country, of which 12 have no known living speakers. Most of the population of over 7 million people live in customary communities, which are as diverse as the languages. It is also one of the most rural, as only 18 per cent of its people live in urban centres. The country is one of the world's least explored, culturally and geographically, and many undiscovered species of plants and animals are thought to exist in the interior.

Strong growth in Papua New Guinea's mining and resource sector has led to the country's becoming the sixth fastest-growing economy in the world as of 2011. Many people in the country live in extreme poverty when measured in terms of money, with about one-third of the population living on less than US$1.25 per day.

At the local level, the majority of the population still live in strong customary societies and - while social life is overlaid with traditional religious cosmologies and modern practices, including conventional primary education - customary subsistence-based agriculture remains fundamental. These societies and clans are explicitly acknowledged within the nation's constitutional framework. The Papua New Guinea Constitution expresses the wish for "traditional villages and communities to remain as viable units of Papua New Guinean society" and for active steps to be taken in their continuing importance to local and national community life.

At the national level, after being ruled by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea established its sovereignty in 1975 following 70 years of Australian administration. It became a separate Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations in its own right.


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