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Rapson Hall-College of Design

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Hello my dear friends,

I hope everyone's doing well. It is the end of semester, and I know you are all busy with finals and projects. However, I'm sure you've got some time to check out this video that I've made for you. I've shown you some photos from Ralph Rapson Hall, the College of Design building. I hope it gives you an overall idea about Rapson Hall and how the College of Design works.

Ambassador Program Movie Project- April 27,2012.m4v

Good luck with finals!

City of Lakes

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Hey all,

I hope you're all doing well with your studies and are enjoying a wonderful spring time :-)
Minneapolis is so warm and great this spring unlike the previous years that was cold and snowy at this time of the year. Here is how Minneapolis looked last year around this time compared to this year:

Minnesota 2012vs2011.jpg

Since we're experiencing such a pleasing weather, everyone longs to go for a walk or an outdoor picnic with friends and enjoy the freshness of the springtime breezes.
I love two seasons of Minneapolis, the fall and the spring. Minneapolis has a truly beautiful nature at these times of the year.
As you might know, Minnesota is known as the land of ten thousand lakes, so Minneapolis means the "City of Lakes".
Therefore, I think now it is a good time of the year to explore and enjoy the lakes of Minneapolis.
Lake Calhoun, Cedar Lake, Lake Harriet, and Lake of the Isles are four beautiful lakes in the district of "Chain of Lakes" in Minneapolis.

Lake Calhoun is in uptown and from some point around the lake you can have a view of the downtown's skyscrapers.

Lake Calhoun.jpg

Cedar Lake is north of Lake Calhoun and west of Lake of the Isles and is on the west side of Minneapolis.

Cedar Lake.jpg

Lake Harriet is south of Lake Calhoun on the southwest side of Minneapolis. Lake Harriet is also a beautiful lake that has the Minneapolis skyline in its background.

Lake Harriet.jpg

Finally, Lake of the Isles is on the southwest of downtown connected to Lake Calhoun and Cedar Lake.

Lake of the Isles.jpg

So, now that you know about these beautiful lakes of Minneapolis, you should visit them sometime and enjoy the beautiful nature of our city.

I wish you a wonderful springtime!


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Hello Everyone,

Happy Spring Break!! I know we're all so excited about the spring break, and we've all got a lot of plans for the upcoming week. I hope we all get some rest, have some fun, and do some homework as well! I, personally, have tons of homework to do, that are due right after the spring break.

Anyways, today I want to tell you a little bit about Norooz .
Have you ever heard of this term? Norooz is a Persian (Farsi) word meaning "New Day" (no= new and rooz= day). Norooz is the name of our New Year, which starts on the first day of spring. It is usually on March 20 or 21st. Norooz is our most important holiday and we celebrate it for thirteen days including the first day of spring. During this time we visit the elders of the family and have many gatherings, with a lot of food and gifts for kids. On the thirteenth day we picnic outdoors.

At the moment of Norooz, which happens at a different hour year to year, families gather around a table with the Haftseen on the table. Haftseen is the most important element of Norooz, and it stands for "the Seven S". We have seven items on this table that start with the letter "S", and each of them has a symbolic meaning. The Haftseen are:

Sabzeh: wheat growing in a dish
Somagh: sumac berries
Serkeh: vinegar
Sib: apple
Sir: garlic
Samanoo: a sweet pudding made from wheat germ
Senjed: dried fruit of oleaster tree

But we also include some other things such as:

The Holly Quraan
Sonbol: Hyacinth plant
Sekkeh: coin
Decorated eggs
Two live red fish
Lit candles

This is how a Haftseen would look like:

Haftseen 4.jpg

and here are some other variations of Haftseen:

Haftsee 2.jpg

Collored eggs for haftseen.jpg


So, now you know how excited I am, since it is the spring break, and even more importantly, it is our New Year!
Yaaaaaaaaaay I am so happy these days :-)

Have a great spring break everyone!


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Hi Everyone!

How's everything so far? We're only two weeks away from the Spring Break :-) isn't that so exciting?! I guess it's time to start planning for something fun.

Yesterday, the Ambassadors were holding a contact table at Coffman Union, which is basically like an information desk for the current international students. As we were talking with Michelle and Ricardo, I learned something interesting that I want to share with you today.


As you might know, in the U.S and mostly Western culture it is usual for the children to leave their families at the age of 18, when they go to college and university. As a result, they should work and earn money. They start working even before they go to college; perhaps as early as age 15. Thus, I always find Americans with so many years of job experience.
This is very different from Iranian culture. We don't leave our families, as long as we go to a college that is in the same city as our parents; and we do not work as long as we live with our families. Therefore, we are not as independent and experienced as Americans with our age.

This is a significant difference between Iranian and American culture. I always pay attention to these differences, and they are all interesting to me. But, I was even more interested yesterday, when Michelle and Ricardo told me that this is true in their countries as well. I was so fascinated, as I always thought even two neighbor countries do not have the same culture, but yesterday I learned that even three countries far apart from each other and from three different parts of the world may have some similarities in their cultures. I wonder how cultural practices could travel through time and space. That is true about food, art, and architecture of countries as well. So now, I try to look for similarities more than the differences between cultures.
And I wish you all a happy weekend!

Still Undecided?!

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Are you still not sure which major would be the best choice for you?
Are you still exploring majors?

If that is your concern, let me show you a glimpse of Architecture here at the U.
College of Design offers three different programs for architecture. You can either pursue the B.A program, the B.D.A. program, or the B.S. program. At your freshman year you are considered as a pre-architecture student, and by the end of the spring semester you should apply for the B.A or B.D.A programs. If you get admitted to the B.D.A program, you have the option to apply for the B.S by the end of the second year. The B.D.A and B.S. programs are very similar, except that you should take 9 extra credits if you pursue the B.S. degree, and that B.D.A offers workshops, while B.S. offers studios that work on long term projects. I am currently enrolled in the B.D.A program, and I yet have to decide whether I want to pursue the B.S. program or not. So, in that regard I have the same problem as you do ;-)

This was an overall explanation about the Architecture program at the University of Minnesota. Now let me tell you a little bit about the major itself.

Do you consider yourself a creative person?
Creativity is what you need to have, in order to be a successful designer. Our projects are all about creativity. The professors want you to think out of the box! That is, you have the opportunity to go crazy, but unlike what you expected you will be admired for what you've done! Isn't that so exciting?!
They give you instructions, but you are allowed to "BREAK THE RULES", as long as you have a good and reasonable explanation for what you've done. This is what I hear over and over again from my TAs at the reviews. By the way, just in case you don't know, a review is the session that you present you project and be critiqued for what you've done.
So, in my opinion, if you find yourself a rule follower, you might not like this major. As, I think rules prevent you from being creative. I believe designers will eventually reach a point that will need to break the rules, or perhaps they don't even have any instructions to follow. Therefore, you need to be capable of making design decisions on your own.

At the end, if you think you are a creative person, and perhaps a rule breaker that has the ability to independently make reasonable and creative design decisions, then architecture is probably the right fit for you.

Winter Life!

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Hey Everyone,

Yay!! We are only two more weeks away from winter break :-)
Isn't that so exciting? Though thinking about finals ruins the fun!
Now that winter break is not too far, I want to suggest some strategies to deal with the cold weather of Minneapolis and some ways to have fun as much as possible:

1. Escape from Minnesota!
You can always leave Minnesota and have a trip to the other states of the U.S. Not all states are as cold as here. So you can go to California or Texas to enjoy some warm weather and have fun with friends.

Sanfrancisco. va jadeye 1 dar california (6).JPG

2. Enjoy the winter!

Yes! There is also a lot fun here in Minnesota. You can enjoy winter sports, such as skiing, or you can go sledding with your dear friends.
If none of these excites you, try going to a nearby coffee shop and have a hot drink while you are watching the snowflakes painting the city chalk white. Read a book and enjoy your free time.

3. Do something!

Don't you ever sit at home and do nothing during the winter break. This makes you homesick and ruins your precious free time. Do whatever you can't do during the course of semester. Last winter break I almost did nothing and I still regret it. Since then, I promised myself to do something, even if that's baking and cooking foreign foods!

Why Did I Choose to Study in the U.S.?!

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Hey Everyone!

How are you doing so far? We're close to the end of semester with a whole lot of homework, papers, and exams. Though, it's good to know that we're only 4 more weeks away from winter break :-)

Today I'd like to share with you some of the reasons I chose to leave my beloved country and study here in the U.S.
• The first and most important reason was my Dad. He has also studied here in the US and has always talked about good old days that he had in California. He always says it's good to leave your family and country for new experiences in other countries. Since I love my Dad so much, I wanted to experience what he has experienced. After all he is like a role model to me, so I took his advice and decided to leave my country.

Thanks Dad.jpg

• The second reason was my own interest in becoming independent and experiencing a new country. I wanted to make new friends, and more important to live in a country with a different culture than mine. I wanted to learn new things and experience things that I could never experience without leaving my family and my people. I even loved to speak a foreign language other than my mother tongue. I sometimes used to speak English with my parents even when I was back at home.
• The other reason that I chose to study here is that I knew US has a good education system, and good universities to get a degree from.

With all that said, it was still hard to leave my family, friends, and country for a new world. But I did it and I am happy with what I did :-)

Is There Even a Single Fun Class in This World???

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Have you ever thought of a class as a fun class to take? Or have you ever longed to take a class because you thought you'd love it for sure? I think we usually take classes because they are required, and we really have no other options other than that or we wouldn't graduate from college.
Personally, I think classes that are out of one's major are most subject to this problem. However, the good news is that I finally found my favorite class, which is actually out of my major, but it is at the same time somehow related to my major, which is architecture. It is totally the most interesting class I have so far taken. It is my favorite class, and it is the beginning Sculpture.
We have so much fun in this class. We are encouraged to be creative and produce whatever we wish to. We use different materials, such as plaster, wood, and metal. We are not assigned to necessarily make a dog or a duck, as my professor always insist on saying! Therefore, everyone has a different project with a totally different subject and narrative to talk about. This is my second project that I have made with metal sheets. However, it is not yet complete.
Project 2, Fatemeh Serajzadeh
I think it is necessary for everyone to find their favorite class and take at least one fun class in their college studies. It will give you so much positive energy, and will help you to do your other homework as well.

Halloweeeeeen :D

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Hola Everyone,

Its Halloween again, and we're all excited to see each other's costumes. I was wondering if any one of you knows about the origins of Halloween and the history behind it. As you probably know, Halloween is celebrated on October 31. People curve pumpkins and wear weird costumes. Halloween.jpg

So do you wanna know more about its origins now? Halloween is the Witch's New Year. It is time to celebrate Gods, Goddesses and Spiritual beings. It is the day Pagans believed they can communicate with the dead. It is a time to celebrate death and re-birth. This is where giving food and candy to children come from as they would leave food for the Ghosts, Goblins and spirits supposedly on the loose that night.

With Christianity spreading in Europe, the Catholics tried to eliminate these traditions by trying to have a holiday on the same day known as All Saints day. With passage of time, elements of Pagan's festival were incorporated into the Christian festival of All Hallow's Eve, or Hallow-Even, the night preceding All Saint's (Hallows') Day, hence the name Halloween.
Isn't it even more interesting now that you know why people celebrate Halloween in the U.S.?
I also Have a suggestion for you, try going to "Screamtown" . Its sooooooooo scary :)

Are You Here or Still Back Home?!

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The more technology improves the more we get cool staff out of it. The more technology improves the more communication means we get. And finally, the more technology improves the smaller our world becomes. I guess what is more important for international students, is the communication part, of course! So, I want to introduce you to some of these cool communication tools that we've got here :

Facebook (on top of anything else)




I can't think of anything else at the moment!
So which one would you choose to communicate with your family back home? Obviously Facebook and Twitter belong to your devoted friends, so I'm not going to mess up with them. What about Skype and ooVoo?
I personally prefer Skyping with my family, just because I think Skype has a better sound and picture quality. But what matters now is the question of when and how often? I sometimes see my parents every day, or even twice a day. That's a lot!! You know we, Iranians, are very family oriented. That might be very odd to a Native American. But let me tell you something, what I just told you, is even odd for an Iranian! It is just as if I am still living in Iran. I know it shouldn't be like that. Maybe that's because I have missed them so much. But, the more you see them and talk to them, the more you miss them. I need somebody to tell me what I am telling you; limit your communications with you family, your are not any more living with them!

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