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Our friend Homayoon has told us in the past that he hopes to study in the U.S. but worries “my dream to study in the U.S will never, ever become true.” But, far from giving up, Homayoon was in touch recently to ask a few questions, which are worth sharing because they’re probably fairly common. Our bloggers have some thorough answers for him, which we’ll post over the course of this week, and we’ll finish by sharing Homayoon’s own story about his quest to study in America.
Homayoon asked: ‘I plan to get MBA. I have taken TOEFL a couple of years ago but I got only 510 which was not enough than I was expected. I want to take it again, in coming October. Is the only obstacle to study in the US is TOEFL?’
Our bloggers responded:
The biggest obstacle for me is how to “market” myself in the required essays, like personal statements. You gotta be sort of aggressive in the writing because you need to get attention from the admission officer, but you can not be over-aggressive or brag. The balance is a little bit difficult. Plus you do not know what type of person they would like to get. As to TOEFL, if your score is a little bit lower than the school’s requirement, do not worry, the school will evaluate your application in a holistic way. Also, they may give you opportunities to take ESL (English as Second Language) classes before your official enrollment.
I would say the biggest obstacle for me was starting the process itself, getting to understand how all the bureaucratic businesses worked, and getting all the required paperwork. Translations, tests (including SATs and TOEFL), and others were the longest and most annoying part of applying. But luckily, there are English teaching organizations in my country that help people with those bureaucracies, hopefully, you can find one of those institutions in your country too, believe, they are a big help.
Anna is from Russia and currently studies at Mount Holyoke College
When I decided to apply to American schools, I knew I could only afford to study in the US if I was awarded financial aid almost equal to the cost of attendance. So the challenge was to find schools that offer need-based financial aid to international students, then narrow the list down to schools that offer need-based financial aid to international transfer students (there are much fewer such schools), and then select the ones that have the best combination of academic reputation, choice of courses in my major field, research opportunities, and location.
The biggest obstacle for me was going through all the dull and dreary paperwork. I had the advantage of knowing exactly where I wanted to study, in which specific program and the application process for that was relatively easy, as was the admission, so what remained was getting all the bureaucratic things in order. Pay attention to them, they are very important. More important, though, is to get a sense of what it is you want to study and where. Have you looked into all possible places? Have you tried checking out colleges that offer very general education so that, for one or two years, you get an idea of what a Western education is like before you decide on something in particular? Once you get to the States, your impressions, motivations, and intentions may change.
I got the opportunity to study in the US through YES (Youth Exchange and Study) program. This program gives one year of a full scholarship for highly selected students. When I heard about this program, first I talked with my family and asked them for their permission. My parents highly supported me to apply for this program. It was a challenge to get in because only 40 students both boys and girls were selected among 3000 students. Therefore, I had to pass about two tests and an interview. Fortunately, I did. The second thing that was a big obstacle especially for my family was my host family. I didn’t know who will be my host family, that is why both my family and I were worried and we were hoping that they will be nice people. I was lucky that I found a really nice host family, and this problem was solved. (VOA/JC)
Facebook must pay a $4.75 million fine and up to $9.5 million in back pay to eligible victims who say the company discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of foreign ones, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
The discrimination took place from at least January 1, 2018, until at least September 18, 2019.
The Justice Department said Facebook "routinely refused" to recruit or consider U.S. workers, including U.S. citizens and nationals, asylees, refugees and lawful permanent residents, in favor of temporary visa holders. Facebook also helped the visa holders get their green cards, which allowed them to work permanently
In a separate settlement, the company also agreed to train its employees in anti-discrimination rules and conduct wider searches to fill jobs.
The fines and back pay are the largest civil awards ever given by the DOJ's civil rights division in its 35-year history.
"Facebook is not above the law and must comply with our nation's civil rights laws," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke told reporters in a telephone conference.
"While we strongly believe we met the federal government's standards in our permanent labor certification [PERM] practices, we've reached agreements to end the ongoing litigation and move forward with our PERM program, which is an important part of our overall immigration program," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "These resolutions will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the U.S. and around the world and supporting our internal community of highly skilled visa holders who are seeking permanent residence." (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Facebook, Employment, Justice Dept., Recruitment
Tomatoes are a staple in the Indian diet, be it a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian dish. It has to be a part of each meal in some form. As puree, paste, flavour, or diced into the dal. This tangy, sweet, and juicy ingredient was not always Indian. In fact, it did not even grow in India until the British sanctioned it. It is a product of colonization and has come a long way to become part of our everyday meals.
Originally, the tomato was considered poison. Its actual native is debatable. Some say it is European while others argue that is came from indigenous parts of Spain and Portugal. Either way, it is a plant species that is associated with the legendary Nightshade. It looks very similar to this poisonous plant that tomatoes were not even harvested for a long time, for fear of picking Nightshade instead. It was believed that Nightshade caused the blood to turn to acid and that tomatoes had the same property. Later research proved that the plant itself may be poisonous but the fruit is not.
The fruit if the woody nightshade plant Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Tomato is considered a fruit instead of a vegetable because it is cooked. But this theory has an interesting tale behind it. in the United States, in 1887, a tax was levied on the transport of vegetables, but not on fruits. By then, tomatoes had become a huge part of the American diet and traders could not afford to pay the ten percent duty. So, they began to call the large loads they transported fruits, just to avoid the tax due. In time, this is how the tomato came to be regarded. Some scientists went even further and stated that it is a berry. Botanists claim that since it is a part that grows from the flower's ovary and contains seeds, it is a fruit and not a vegetable. But this is a debate that will never end.
Incorporating tomatoes into the Indian diet must have happened so long ago that people do not remember a time without tomatoes, considering how it is the fundamental ingredient of most cuisines. The tomato has a name in every language as well, so the trading between nations, the voyages that brought them to India, and the decoding of the fruit-vegetable must have taken place far earlier than our ancestors remember. Or, perhaps we liked it so much that we decided to use it everywhere and make it our own. Nonetheless, it has been a delightful addition.
Keywords: Tomato, Fruit, Vegetable, Nightshade, Voyage, Staple
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television