Beads and Things: The Treasure Trove of Athens, Ohio

The light that filters in through the windows refracts through the crystals hanging from the windowsills, casting a rainbow onto a few small baskets of gemstones. Tea brews in the back room, and the wooden planks of the floor welcome each step.

Baskets of different beads, gemstones and amulets fill the main floor of the tiny house off North Shafer Street dubbed Beads and Things. Phillip Berry and Jo Merkle started the small store, and together they have traveled the world to bring back pieces of culture to sell bead by bead. With each item is a label telling where it came from, ranging from the Czech Republic to Turkey to China.

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Mexican figures of dragons, unicorns and other creatures guard the shop from a top shelf with their bright colors. The items are free to touch and show off textures from polished rose quartz to soft suede scraps to the more ragged dinosaur tooth. The store is a haven for the senses.

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It’s easy to get distracted in the shop, not to mention convince yourself that you can spare a bit of cash for a small project. One wall holds thread and clasps, which aid any urge to create any combination of beads. Soon enough, one strand of thread could hold an amulet from Turkey between beads from Thailand.

All of the different cultures brought back with the different beads rest in this small shop in Athens, Ohio. A conversation with the owners can easily unravel the history the items that they hand picked during their travels. Each basket of beads (and other things) hold a story to be told, connected to people around the world.

A New Way of Life for International Graduate Students

Living in a foreign country can be difficult in itself. Studying in graduate school at the same time brings about a whole other challenge. Knowing what to expect can help students be prepared for life as a graduate student in a foreign country. The following includes a range of experiences and tips from current international graduate students who have been at Ohio University for at least two semesters.

After one is finished celebrating for getting accepted to graduate school (and receiving a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019) at a foreign institution, the first step is to apply for a visa at one’s United States Embassy or Consulate. When one goes to the visa interview, it is important to bring proof of funding (for example, a scholarship award letter from OHIO, a bank letter showing personal funds or a bank letter from one’s sponsor), one’s SEVIS receipt and one’s Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.

“The visa process can be annoying, but after that it’s a lot less complicated once you get to the U.S.,” communications and development master’s student, Triwik Kurniasari, said.

The International Student Union (ISU) oversees more than 30 organizations on campus
There are 117 countries represented by OHIO students and staff.

Kurniasari, who is the programming director for the International Student Union (ISU) and a student advisor for International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS), said students should make sure in advance that they have a ride to Athens from Columbus’ airport.

“I first arrived on a Sunday when there wasn’t a bus running for some reason. I just landed from a long 24-hour flight and I was struggling to find a means of transportation to get to Athens,” she said.

Otherwise, she said there are a few options, including GoBus and the airport shuttle that OHIO provides at the beginning and end of each semester.

When one finally arrives, Kurniasari said one should check in at the Office of ISFS, where they take care of copying international documents (passport, visa, etc.) and provide information on how to apply for a Social Security number or an on-campus job.

Of course, incoming international students must attend orientation, which usually lasts at least a week.

Journalism master’s student, Jing Fu, said orientation is a fun time where one can schedule classes, as well as meet classmates and other newcomers.

“You get introduced to a number of campus organizations, they show you how to get around town and teach you about academic culture in the United States,” Fu said. “They also offer social activities at orientation, such as a welcome picnic, ice cream social and a movie night.”

Journalism master’s student, Sisi Zhao, said one initial annoyance can be taking the Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE) courses.

“Ohio University forces international graduate students who score under 100 on the TOEFL to take OPIE classes until they are proficient enough in English,” Zhao said via e-mail. “More so for undergrads (who need at least a 74), it can be a long way to go before they can start taking regular courses.”

Kurniasari said ISFS can help with on-campus or off-campus housing arrangements before or during orientation, but she recommends contacting them before one’s arrival on campus.

“I looked at University Commons, Summit at Coates Run’s, and River Park since those were a few places that already came furnished, which made sense since I couldn’t lug furniture on the plane,” she said.

International Student Union programming directors, Triwik Kurniasari and Alena Kilmas, working in their office
International Student Union programming directors, Alena Kilmas (left) and Triwik Kurniasari (right), working in their office.

Living off-campus, Fu said it can be hard without a car in Athens.

“The public transportation is lacking in the United States. Buses aren’t running at all hours or on Sunday’s, but I usually manage to get around,” Fu said.

Fu said she often carpools with a classmate for groceries and evening events.

Political science master’s student, Essam Mikhail, recommends driver’s ed (driving school) for international students who do not have much driving experience.

Previously living in a city of 12 million people, Kurniasari was surprised by the small-town size of Athens. Nonetheless, she said there are many events and organizations where students can get involved.

“I found out from ISFS, resource fair, friends and announcement boards that there are many events, organizations and volunteering opportunities on campus,” Kurniasari said. “Since I like meeting people and wanted to know about other cultures, I went to many events and joined multiple organizations.”

She said ISU oversees more than 30 organizations and holds many events, such as international dinners, a fashion show, soccer tournaments and the International Street Fair.

Mechanical engineering master’s student, Prashant Kumar, said being involved in clubs like ISU and the India Student Association makes him feel more at home.

Kumar said the hardest part about living in a foreign country is being away from family and friends.

“When I miss my family and friends, I usually chat with them through Skype and social media,” he said.

Kumar said he heard about OHIO through word-of-mouth, including some of those friends and family, as well as international recruiting efforts by the University.

Of course, Kurniasari said it took her time to adjust to culture differences.

“In Indonesia, the professor will talk and talk, while the students only sit and listen. There is a saying that the teacher is always right,” Kurniasari said. “In the U.S., students are encouraged to be active and share their thoughts, and it is okay to have different opinions from your professors.”

Kurniasari said the dress code is different as well, such that students can wear t-shirts, shorts, miniskirts and flip-flops here.

“It can be challenging to adjust to a new lifestyle, but the education and people at OHIO are worth it,” she said.

CNN: Curation Nation Network

News near you

CURATED BY CAROLINE PIRCHNER

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As of mid February, the hike of New Year’s Resolution Ping goers has been going up alongside pre-spring break Ping goers, according to an interesting chart in The Post’s article by Julia Fair. Regular gym goers have been trying avoid the rush. The assistant director of Ping says that working out can not only help you achieve a weight loss goal but a less stressful state of mind.

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GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! Troop 1406 is selling them for $4 a box at the top of Baker from 3:30-6 p.m. on Tuesday and 4-6 p.m. on Thursday. What better place to sell than on a college campus? Grab a couple boxes of some thin mints and get not so thin while benefiting good causes.

OU – UNDER CONSTRUCTION SINCE 1804

OU has always seemed to have been “under construction” in many areas on campus. It actually happens to be part of a “10 year plan” to renovate the university. The major goals of this operation include actions such as finally getting rid of all the South Green dorms and making campus more walking and biking friendly. The Athens News has the full story. 

Prez McD and Mayor Wiehl sent out a letter to students who live off campus regarding Athen’s expectations on laws that have probably, no, DEFINITELY been broken in the past. Traffic patterns, being too loud, outdoor fires, and of course alcohol is mentioned.

 

Athens Culture

CURATED BY KAYLA BEARD

Local elementary school students learn the importance of sustainability. A new exhibit at the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery allows students to explore the benefits and practices of ecological sustainability. 

Local DJ Brandon Thompson is calling for the city to close Palmer Street and High Street specifically for fest season. Thompson, who regularly performs at the fests, is pushing a petition that would close the streets during fests and has proposed a system where students fundraise to cover the cost of extra police.

Athens Middle School will be hosting a band concert next Tuesday. 

Starting this Friday in Athens’ neighboring city, Nelsonville, a theatrical production of The Little Mermaid will be playing at Stuart’s Opera House.

Fest season is upon us, friends. The Athens News had this good guideline of things to keep in mind over the next few weeks.

Ohio Sports

CURATED BY CHRISTOPHER MILLER

Men’s Basketball: Three Ohio players earn conference honors

Luke O’Roark – Sports Editor

Summary: The Ohio men’s basketball team was rewarded with a #2 seed and a first-round bye in this year’s MAC Tournament. Ohio also saw three Bobcats get rewarded for their stellar individual efforts earlier this week as well. Forward, Antonio Campbell was named first team All-MAC. Jaaron Simmons was a second team All-MAC selection. Jordan Dartis was named to the MAC All-Freshman roster. The Bobcats will most certainly look for strong performances from the three All-MAC honorees to make their way through a tough conference tournament this coming weekend.

MBB Notebook: Your complete guide to the MAC Tournament, Ohio version

Luke O’Roark – Sports Editor

Summary: Things are looking up for Ohio men’s basketball. After finishing with a win over rival Miami, the ‘Cats (20-10, 11-7 MAC) were able to secure a #2 seed and ultimately a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Additionally, they find themselves on the favorable side of the bracket, having went (8-1) during the regular season against the teams on their side of this year’s bracket.   The Bobcats are schedule to see their first action of the MAC Tournament Thursday night where they will face the winner of #7 Northern Illinois vs. #10 Western Michigan.  

Women’s Basketball: Ohio upset by Buffalo in MAC Tournament

Charlie Hatch – Sports Editor

Summary: Buffalo proved problematic for Ohio during the regular season. The Bulls emerged victorious over the Bobcats on both occasions. The trend continued during the MAC Tournament as well. Ohio’s first, and only game in the MAC Tournament, was a 72-60 loss to Buffalo. For the third time this season, Buffalo upset Ohio. Ohio will play in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) next week.

Wrestling: Ohio places third in Mid-American Conference Championships, sends five wrestlers to NCAA Championships

Cameron Fields – Staff Writer  

Summary: Ohio wrestling (13-3, 5-3 MAC) placed third in the MAC Tournament this past weekend behind Central Michigan and Missouri. For Missouri the win marks their fourth-consecutive MAC title. With the help of the 41 At-Large bids announced earlier in the week, Ohio will now send a program record seven wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament. Freshmen Shakur Laney, Cameron Kelly, and Austin Reese will be joining redshirt seniors Spartak Chino, Cody Walters, Andrew Romanchik, and Phil Wellington in New York City this weekend for the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships at Madison Square Garden.  

Your guide to the 2016 presidential race

CURATED BY KAYLA WOOD

Trump’s hands and…other body parts

Presidential hopeful Donald Trump keeps talking about Donald Jr. in response to comments Marco Rubio has made about the size of Trump’s hands. The New Political has the update for you here.

The Republican race has essentially become a contest of who is the biggest bully

After Marco Rubio began stooping to Donald Trump’s level of bullying and verbal harassment, Cynthia Lednor Garza of The Atlantic wrote a feature piece about how Trump is a real-life, playground-like bully. Bullying and parenting expert Barbara Coloroso agrees with this statement, even though Trump is not in elementary school or middle school like most other bullies; he is 69-years-old.

Black Lives Matter, but Sanders may have alienated white voters while trying to overcompensate for that fact

At the Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, Bernie Sanders was quoted saying that white people don’t know what it’s like to live in poverty or the ghetto. Louis Jacobson of Politifact explains how this was a misstatement on Sanders’s part.

Want a really easy way to see who is in the lead for the presidential race? Look no further!

Wilson Andrews, Kitty Bennett and Alicia Parlapiano of The New York Times put together a few different easy-to-read graphs that show exactly where each of the candidates are in terms of delegates and states won thus far in the election. They also added in a calendar of all remaining primaries and caucuses before the general election in November.

Stay up-to-date on everything the remaining candidates are doing in primary season with The New Political

Ohio University’s on-campus political publication, The New Political, has a website specifically for voters on campus to remain in the know about each of the candidates for the 2016 presidential election. Each candidate’s profile is updated twice a week to reflect the most important things he or she has done over that three-to-four-day timespan.

*ALL SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS CURATED BY ELIZABETH BACKO

How a student at OU plans on using his degree to see the world

Zach wants to learn different languages and cultures. He is a freshman that studies both Spanish and Japanese. A lot of his inspiration for learning different languages came from his theatre experiences in high school. “In acting, when you learn a certain language it’s like you learn the words to a play. When you learn about a culture you have that character,” says Zach. Zach had a role in a high school play as a Russian character and had to learn an accent. From there he started to study Russian, tried to learn how to read Russian and picked up a few phrases. Zach then went on to say “Привет, меня зовут Zach, как ты?” which in Russian means “Hello, my name is Zach, how are you?” Zach’s fascination with language also grew when he started learning Spanish in high school, and ever since then has had a fascination with other countries’ languages and cultures. He wants to work in the state department, travel, see different places and have different experiences. “I want to speak 7 languages or more. For each language there is a fascinating culture behind it” Zach then began discussing the differences in cultures, like how we have words to describe certain things that other people don’t, and vice versa. “The way you look at the world broadens each time you learn more about a culture and a language,” Zach says as he creates a hole with both of his hands and expands it. Zach will travel to France this summer with the Marching 110. #planetathens

A photo posted by Michael Slevin (@michaelslevin7) on

Here’s one place that’ll reel you away from OU’s party atmosphere

If all of Athens’ entertainment venues were at a party, The Athena would be a wallflower; it might not have the party atmosphere that the college town is famous for, but it’s still an interesting — and underappreciated — aspect of Athens culture.

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The Athena is known in the Athens area for its unique Art Deco style

Located on Court Street, the Athena opened in 1915, making it one of the oldest movie theaters in the country. Ohio University purchased the theater in 2001, restoring it with an Art Deco-style interior.

The Athena’s distinction from many other theaters in the area is its unique movie selection. The theatre hosts many independent films, and has hosted the premises for many major movies such as Aaron Sorkin’s Jobs and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit. Many film classes here at Ohio University take place in the Athena, and its three theaters can even be rented out for private events.

During weekdays, movie goers can access many deals. On Tuesdays, all tickets cost only 4 dollars. On Wednesdays, one small popcorn is free with the purchase of a ticket. Additionally, any show before 6 P.M. is only 5 dollars.

The Athena is a great resource for Athenians to experience great film. It provides students a great way to spend their weekend, and is a suitable alternative to the college party atmosphere.