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The Open-Ended Issue »


For this issue, we asked our Language Assistants to choose a topic that interested them and gave them free reign to write about it. This has made for some of our most interesting and diverse articles yet! From German conspiracy theories to Russian TV culture, we’re sure you can find something in this issue that strikes your interest.

We hope you enjoy!

The WWN Team

/!\Please note: the statements made in these articles do not reflect the view of Willamette University or the countries of the respective contributors./!\

What to Watch on Russian TV (with a bonus list of Russian TV series with English subtitles at Hatfield Library) »

By Mariia Ulibegova

If you find yourself in Russia and want to have a pleasant evening with a slice of pizza in one hand and a remote control in the other, what do you do? For a really long time now Russian television has been used as a platform to push the ‘official’ political agenda in all of the talk shows and news broadcasts. The fact that major TV networks are state-owned probably has something to do with that. Many game shows and series are copies of foreign (mostly American and British) originals. Some earn impressive countrywide success and steady long-standing viewership, like “The Voice” (“Голос”) and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” (“Кто хочет стать миллионером?”); some are just pathetic attempts to copy something that should’ve been left untouched (like a remake of “How I Met Your Mother” ⎼ “Как я встретил вашу маму”. You want to cut your eyes out two minutes in). Read the rest

Mate: More Than Just Tea »

By Fernanda Oliver

Ooh, mate, my faithful companion.

For this last issue of the Willamette World News, I was asked to write about something that was deeply related to my country’s culture. If I had to choose one element that is linked to Argentine culture, history, traditions, people, and basically everything, it all comes down to a humble and simple device: El MATE. Read the rest

“Das gibt es doch gar nicht!“ The Bielefeld Conspiracy »

By Stina Köster

I have to be honest with you – writing this article might be dangerous for me. But I think it is time for me to speak up! Although I might be attracting THEIR attention…

What I would like to write about today is Bielefeld. If you ask Germans what Bielefeld is, you will probably get the answer that Bielefeld is a city in Nordrhein-Westfalen with about 330,000 inhabitants. And maybe they are going to show you its exact position on a map of Germany. And of course, it is marked on that map. Naturally, THEY were clever enough to manipulate the cartographers. However, there will be some brave people who will answer your question with a whispered “Das gibt es doch gar nicht!” (That does not exist!). Read the rest

Nicaragua: A Hidden Paradise to Discover »

By Julia M. Robleto Flores

In the heart of the American continent, a land of lakes and volcanoes emerges known as Nicaragua, a country with old colonial cities, lonely beaches, impressive lakes and lagoons, many volcanoes, bodies of water, wild jungle, and breathtaking mountains with 70 different exotic ecosystems. It’s hard to believe that there are so many things to do in this country. I invite you to learn more about what is now one of the top tourist destinations in Latin America.

Read the rest

Hip-Hop Dance Culture in Japan »

By Shotaro Kumano

I don’t know if everyone knows, but the hip-hop dance is lately very popular in Japan. Especially in colleges and high schools. Most schools have dance teams and do various types of dancing which are originally from the U.S. It’s can be hard to identify the name of the dance but it’s generally divided three types: Old school (70s), Middle school (80s), and New school (90s). Read the rest

Education Around the World »


Have you ever wondered how your education compared to students around the world? Well, look no further, because the Willamette University Language Assistants from Argentina, Nicaragua, Japan, Germany, France, and Russia recount some of their experiences in this issue on “Education Around the World.”

As a special edition to this issue, check out this video to see how accurate the representations of school lunches around the world really are…


The WWN Editorial Team

/!\Please note: the statement made in these articles do not reflect the view of Willamette University or the countries of the respective contributors./!\

Japanese Education: Outside of Class »

By Shotaro Kumano

Japan has some unique educational customs in the school. Of course, in the class there are some strategical methods to education, but I’m going to focus on education at outside of class. Outside of the class is very significant for building a responsibility, bond, and roll in the group. Read the rest

Initial Thoughts About Access to Education »

By Julia M. Robleto Flores

In a quote, Gandhi says, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” From that point of view, I believe that from any perspective, whether it be historical, theoretical, theological, social or psychological, education can be perceived as a central axis of human development. It is the foundation of our values, philosophies, beliefs, and conditions; a process that prepares us for the challenges of life and for interacting with individuals who hold different perspectives. Read the rest

Public Education Rules! »

By Norma Fernanda Oliver

Education sets us free, education is a universal key to infinite doors.

In Argentina, the obligatory education starts at the age of 5; however, I started attending school at the young age of two. Both of my parents worked and there was not child care or nurseries where I lived, so they had to leave me under the care of my grandparents. I spent most of my childhood at school where my grandmother was the principal (la directora). So, while my parents were at work my grandmother left me in the school kindergarten with the 5-year-olds to draw, play, or share whatever they were doing. Then, when I turned 5 years old and I had to attend kindergarten officially, my family was living in a farm that was 40 kilometers away from the nearest public school. Read the rest

One Girl’s Stories About the Educational System in Russia »

By Mariia Ulibegova

In this article I will try to recall my most vivid memories and most distinguishing features of all the levels of Russian education I’ve been through, from learning how to write to learning how to write a thesis. Read the rest

Work, work, work, work, work: Vocational Education and Training in Germany! »

By Stina Koster

Those of you who have already talked with us language assistants before might have noticed that most of us share a common characteristic: Many language assistants want to become teachers when they are back in their respective countries. This is my dream, too. However, I am going to be a teacher at a very distinct school – a vocational school. Read the rest

International Perspectives on Trump’s Election »


In light of Trump’s recent inauguration, we have asked the current Willamette University Language Assistants from Argentina, Nicaragua, Japan, Germany, France, and Russia to weigh in on their perspectives of the election. With varying insight into how an election such as this one can affect one’s nation to predictions of how the election will impact the world, these articles are a fascinating read!

Please keep in mind that each of these individuals is writing from their own personal perspective and their opinions cannot be taken as a wholesome representations on their nation’s views on this issue.


The WWN Editorial Team

/!\Please note: the statement made in these articles do not reflect the view of Willamette University or the countries of the respective contributors./!\

America First, France Second? »

By Julie Dine, French Language Assistant

Living in the U.S. during the latest elections was a deeply upsetting experience. Many people were shocked from the results, myself included. One could say Oregon filled with a very open-minded, tolerant, and caring population. So, naturally, it was a hard time for our university. People were obviously down, and some lost their trust in the system. All around campus, a place of celebration of intellectualism, very few wanted to accept this man as their president. Read the rest

Does Russia Love Trump? Yes, No, Maybe So »

By Mariia Ulibegova, Russian Language Assistant

In this article I want to present various views on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election that individuals and certain media hold in Russia. Is Trump good or bad for Russia? Opinions differ. I want to show how they differ and why. I also tried to incorporate these opinions into a bigger socio-historical context. Read the rest

Trump’s Victory: An Omen for the German Elections in 2017? »

By Stina Koster, German Language Assistant

When I was asked to write an article about the reaction in Germany to the election of the new President of the United States of America, I definitely had problems with starting to write it.

Where was I supposed to start? I remember talking to friends before I left Germany to spend two semesters as the German language assistant here at Willamette. Some were curious about the election and discussed it with me. Read the rest

Japanese See Nation Changing for the Worse Under Trump »

By Shotaro Kumano, Japanese Language Assistant

On election day, I was on campus watching the ballots being counted on TV with my friends. I still remember what the atmosphere was like after the President of the United States was decided. Many of the people had feelings of fear, sadness, anger at that time. And, at that moment, I realized that I also had a similar feeling. Everyone had a different reaction to the election results and I was not an exception to this outcome. I was thinking that the other side would win, not Trump. However, what happened, happened. Read the rest

Nicaraguans after The United States Elections »

By Julia Flores-Robleto, Spanish Language Assistant

November 8th was a historic day in the United States of America. The world is holding its breath after the results of the election. Trump is a man with radical ideas and holds an anti-immigrant position fueled by xenophobia. Despite this, he managed to receive millions of votes. Donald Trump became the President of the United States of America.

What are the reactions of countries around the world? Read the rest

If America Throws You Lemons, Make Argentinian Lemonade »

By Fernanda Oliver, Spanish Language Assistant

*The following article is based on my sole opinion and does not aim at tokenizing Argentinian people.*

It is a well-known fact that politics and soccer are hot topics in Argentina, so most people try to avoid them. Yet more often than not, we see a Boca vs River¹ or Peronistas vs Radicales².

Similar to the United States, Argentinians choose a president every four years. Thus, for a couple of months we see candidates in and out of public debates, news about their strengths and weaknesses all over the media, until one day we are summoned to make a final decision; it all comes down to the act of suffrage, and it was not until our last elections that Argentinian people learned the importance of their votes. Read the rest

Reflections and Farewells »


We hope you’ve had a fun and relaxing summer break so far!

For the final Willamette World News issue of this academic year, we interviewed our contributors, giving them a chance to reflect on their time here at Willamette not only as international students and language assistants, but also as our peers. We hope that these videos give you a brief window into what spending a year abroad may be like, as well as a final chance to hear the farewells of some of the members of our beloved international community.



Lara, Brie, and Kazu

The WWN Editorial Team

/!\Please note: the statement made in these articles do not reflect the view of Willamette University or the countries of the respective contributors./!\

Emmanuelle Schoppe »

Anne Schwobe »

Shotaro Kumano »

Guadalupe Torres »

Brie Li »