Monthly Archives: December 2016

Celebrate Thanksgiving

Giving thanks.  Embracing friendship.  Sharing a thoughtful meal.  Telling stories.  Thanksgiving conjures images of extended families and friends gathered around a beautiful table, sharing a delicious meal, and expressing gratitude for what they have.  International students studying in the US during the holidays have a multitude of way to celebrate this quintessential American holiday.  We’ve put together four fantastic options for you to consider as many US students return “home for the holidays.”

1. If an American friend invites you, accept the invitation

Thanksgiving is about, well, being thankful for what you have.  This includes being thankful for new friendships.  An American friend invites you?  Accept.  It’s an invitation to be a part of the family, to share the tradition, to take a break from school, and maybe even to participate in the day after Thanksgiving—Black Friday—the day that many retail shops offer sales and discounts in preparation for December’s holidays.  How’d “Black Friday” get its name?  It’s the day that many retailers’ ledgers assure that they will end their fiscal year “in the black,” or showing a profit for the year.

2. Consider on-campus opportunities

Feel like staying on-campus during the Thanksgiving break?  Look for campus traditions at your school.  Some schools offer their own Thanksgiving celebrations for any students and faculty who opt to stay on campus, or who may not have options to travel.  Kansas’s Hesston College hosts an annual Thanksgiving weekend, with a dinner and a bevy of other activities, including art exhibits, concerts, talent shows, basketball tournaments, a benefit fun run, and other special events. At Ohio State University, any students, faculty, and staff who are not planning to head home are invited to attend an annual Thanksgiving feast—this year, the University expects over 1,600 attendees.  At Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, students and faculty spend the entire month of November learning about spirituality.  Several faculty at the University host international students at their homes on Thanksgiving Day—as an expression of gratitude for sharing their learning.

Philosophers on World

Why Does Philosophy Matter?

Why is philosophy so important that UNESCO designated this discipline with its very own day?  UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova explains, “Faced with the complexity of today’s world, philosophical reflection is above all a call to humility, to take a step back and engage in reasoned dialogue, to build together the solutions to challenges that are beyond our control. This is the best way to educate enlightened citizens, equipped to fight stupidity and prejudice. The greater the difficulties encountered the greater the need for philosophy to make sense of questions of peace and sustainable development.”

While we often think of philosophy as theoretical in nature, it not only has practical applications, but multidisciplinary ones.

Seven Influential Philosophers Across the Disciplines

Still think the musings of philosophers are more ethereal than earthly? Read on for a roundup of philosophers whose work directly shaped understanding in a particular field or area of study.

1. Michel Foucault

While largely regarded as a historian and philosopher, Foucault is also well known for his contributions the social sciences — particularly for his ideas about the link between knowledge, power and social control. His work has enlightening applications across a number of topics, ranging from socio-legal studies and the sociology of race to feminist and political theory.

2. Michel de Montaigne

While more of a statesman in his time, de Montaigne is now heralded as an author whose intellectually heady essay directly influenced writers from all over the world, including Descartes, Bacon, Pascal, Rousseau, Emerson, Nietzsche, Asimov and even Shakespeare. He’s also credited with the acceptance of the essay as a literary genre in its own right. His ideas about psychology — particularly as related to education, fear, motivation, happiness, and thought — also had a significant impact on psychology.