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US Increasing Scholarships for International Students
“The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.”

This definition, according to Wikipedia, describes the myriad choices between the pathways toward success generated by the opportunistic environment in which Americans are born into unintentionally. International students crave this freedom and strive to penetrate the auspicious atmosphere in their educational pursuit of a more fulfilling life. To accommodate these devoted scholars, colleges are awarding more and more financial aid to help international students overcome monetary hurtles of hovering fees and towering tuition.

USC student Vasudha Goel, originally from India and featured on the International Student Stories page of Education USA, said that studying in the US has given her “access to all these resources and opportunities that you would not get elsewhere.” Benefits of college education in the US usually come at a high cost for international students, requiring out-of-state tuition fees which demand thousands of dollars more than in-state tuition, but some US colleges realize that steep prices deter valuable students in adjacent states and internationally from attending their schools and have adjusted their prices to allow these students to pay in-state tuition costs.

With the Academic and Cultural Sharing Scholarship and GPA standards met, St. Cloud University in Minnesota and Minut State University in North Dakota offer in-state tuition costs for international students. International students applying to Minnesota State at Moorhead and Mankato receive the in-state scholarship automatically upon admission for the first semester, but have to meet certain criteria to keep the scholarship funding. With the same Academic and Cultural Sharing Scholarship, North Dakota State University contributes by covering 50% of the non-resident tuition (a savings of $8,500). Other schools offer specific programs for international student admission, like the teaching assistant program at University of Utah, the Tuition Assistance for Mexican Students scholarship, and student sponsorship opportunities available at The University of Texas at Austin.

The progressive movement towards global understanding and education is underway because US colleges value international student contribution. If you are interested in comparing international student college tuition in the USA, Great Value Colleges has compiled a list of tuition costs and average awarded scholarships called The 50 Great Affordable Colleges for International Students.

Photo Credit: Ryan Tyler Smith

lrngo users in over 190 countries

Young male confident in red cape superhero
Learn to be More Confident and Meet People
A surprising percent of the global public in the technologically advanced world we live in feel deficient in one of the most basic social skills: how to meet people and get to know them, to interact with strangers on a day to day basis.

It sounds simple enough to step out and chat with others while on your way to work and back, while running errands or simply going about your weekly routine. But if you routinely freeze up when you attempt to meet people, whether they are total strangers or new work or social acquaintances with whom you need to develop a relationship, you are not alone.

Stumped about where to start to meet people? and other online social sites are not the only place.

A great way to begin is to jump out of your box and try to meet people outside of your regular routine. For example, on your next day off vow not to touch your computer, not to stay inside your usual hideaway, instead to go out and chat with others that you run into over the course of your day.

Or, make an effort to chat with others who you do commonly run into, but customarily avoid conversations with: work mates, the delivery person, an assistant at a shop you frequent, the manager of your favorite restaurant, etc. You’ll find many of them are also looking to meet people and you may find yourself meeting a lifelong friend or partner through a simple encounter.

Some find it helpful to take a class or buy a book on being assertive. This can greatly multiply the ways you meet people, even completely change your outlook and in turn your personality, stimulating your boldness to get out and meet people who may in turn significantly enhance your life.

Photo Credit: Chris & Karen Highland

lrngo users in over 190 countries

Early toilet paper from the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum, Worcester MA Essex boudoir paper brom
Who Invented Toilet Paper?
Nobody knows exactly who invented toilet paper, but its existence has been traced back to Chinese dynasties as early as the 6th century A.D. Although the Chinese were known to have paper as early as the 2nd century B.C., there was no mention of it being used as toilet paper until much later. A scholar in 589 A.D. wrote that he would not use paper with the works of Confucianism or the names of any sages written on them as toilet paper.

Many other cultures invented toilet paper and came up with other workable substitutes. The Romans were known to use sponges attached to sticks. These were kept in containers of salt water. The Greeks used clay pieces and stones. In many Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, the left hand was always used when wiping after defecating. This is why the left hand has become known as the unclean hand, and should not usually be used in these countries to shake hands with people or touch people.

An American named Joseph C. Gayetty of New York was the man who invented toilet paper in the basic form we know it today. In 1857 he produced a packaged flat toilet paper that was medicated with aloe. His name and brand was on every single sheet. Later, in the 1880s, the perforated toilet paper that comes on a roll was produced and distributed. The Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company and the Scott Paper Company are thought to be among the earliest manufacturers to produce toilet paper in the form most common today.

Be glad that you live in the modern era – it wasn't until 1935 that completely 'splinter-free' toilet paper was available. Up until then, you ran a slight risk of some damage every time you used it. There was no use blaming the people who invented toilet paper, though – would you want to use any of the alternatives? In 1942, two-ply toilet paper was introduced and things began to get even more comfortable down there. Toilet paper innovations have continued, with stronger and softer papers being created. Toilet tissue in the developed world has been designed to decompose in the sewage system, so it does not clog anything while still being strong enough to use.

Today, toilet paper has become almost an art form for some people. The people who invented toilet paper might be shocked to see some of the designs being used for novelty toilet paper today. Many of these are made to shock or amuse the user, such as toilet paper printed with barbed wire, sandpaper, or cactus skin. Other people get toilet paper printed with the names of their favorite (or least favorite) sports teams on them. Political toilet paper is always popular as well – depending on who the president is at a given time, the opposing political party can get toilet tissue emblazoned with the face of the commander in chief.

Well, now you know who invented toilet paper. What will you do with your new knowledge? Will you inform a friend? Invest in some quality bathroom products? You'll probably just flush it down the drain.

Photo Credit: Casey Bisson

lrngo users in over 190 countries

Female Friends laughing chatting girls
Have the Confidence to Meet and Chat with Others
Having the confidence to meet and chat with others is all about good communication. While many people think of communication as verbal speaking, which is important, much of communication that the brain recognizes between human is non-verbal gestures, facial expressions, and body posture. Improving both verbal and non-verbal communication can improve you confidence to chat with others, your love life, and even work to improve customer service.

One of the most important nonverbal signals people notice when they chat with others is eye contact. Looking someone in the eye while they are talking demonstrates your sincerity and interest in what they have to say. People who avoid eye contact while they chat with others, however, are viewed as sneaky and guilty. Also, it is surprising how many people chat with others and do not face the person they are talking to. This can have the same effect as eye contact, making the person believe you don’t respect or have time for them. These techniques are often taught at employee training as easy ways to improve customer service.

The obvious thing to pay attention to when trying to chat with others confidently is the verbal speaking part. Your nonverbal cues, while important, mean nothing if you can’t back them up with words. It is important to recognize that sentences all have key words that stand out. When you chat with others, try annunciating these words to better communicate your message. This is also used to improve customer service in businesses by avoiding misunderstanding between customers and employees.

Photo Credit: Pepe Pont

lrngo users in over 190 countries

Greetings and I Love You in Spanish French Italian Portuguese, books, romance languages
The Closest Related Foreign Languages
The four most widely spoken Romance languages are Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian. Despite these languages originating from different countries and cultures, this group of languages surprisingly shares many common similarities. The Romance languages are also referred to as the Latin languages since the roots of these languages all trace back to Latin. This article will describe each language, the commonalities between them, and the benefits that learning closely related foreign languages have to offer.

The origins of the Romance languages date back centuries ago. Spanish first appeared in the notes of Latin religious texts in the 9th century. Portuguese was first brought to the Iberian Peninsula by Roman soldiers all the way back in 216 BC. During the 17th to 20th century, French was the most used language for diplomatic and international relations. Italian first appeared in Latin documents and short texts in the 10th century. By the 15th century, Latin and Italian were being used for technical and scientific texts. Each of these languages began to appear around the same time and has clearly existed for quite a while now.

As old as these languages are, the top four Romance languages are still highly spoken world-wide by millions of people today. About 470 million people speak Spanish as a first or second language. Spanish, also known as Castilian, is predominantly spoken in Spain but also in 22 other countries mainly in the Central and South Americas. Portuguese, on the other hand, has approximately 220 million speakers. Portuguese, mainly spoken in Portugal and Brazil, is the most spoken language in South America and the second most spoken language in Latin America after Spanish. French, the third most spoken language in Europe, has over 338 million speakers. French is the official language of nearly 30 countries and, in addition to being spoken in Europe, is spoken in parts of Africa, North America, South America, Asia, and Oceania. Italian, mainly spoken in Italy, Switzerland, and Vatican City, is estimated to have 60 million speakers across the globe. Italian speaking communities can be found in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, the UK, and the USA.

These languages, spoken by millions of people in all different parts of the world, share multiple commonalities due to the fact that they are all derived from Latin. Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian are all orthographic languages meaning that words are written as they are pronounced. Similarities between the Romance languages have been found in conjugations, grammar, and vocabulary. For example, one common factor shared is having masculine and feminine nouns. Also, common rules include adjectives following the noun and having the sentence structure of subject-verb-object. The Romance languages also tend to have similar vocabulary. While Spanish and Italian have 85 percent vocabulary similarity, Spanish and Portuguese share 89 percent. For example, the phrase “to come” is “venir” in Spanish, “vir” in Portuguese, “venir” in French, and “venire” in Italian. The phrase “I love you” translates to “Te amo” in Spanish, “Eu te amo” in Portuguese, “Je t’aime” in French, and “Ti amo” in Italian. Differences between the languages tend to be phonetic rather than structural and lexical (vocabulary). Even though French has an 89 percent lexical similarity to Italian and 75 percent similarity to Spanish and Portuguese, non-French speakers have a hard time understanding spoken French. Studies, however, have shown that written communication between the Romance languages is easier to understand than spoken communication. These results suggest how similar these languages are grammatically.

There are many benefits of learning more than one language. If you want to become a polyglot, a person who knows and is able to use several languages, consider learning two or more of the top four Romance languages. Knowing these languages is ideal if you are thinking of moving or travelling to areas of the worlds where these languages are predominantly spoken. Knowing several languages opens the door to many job opportunities and is essential for having successful business. In addition, knowing how to speak multiple languages opens the means of communication with many people from different cultures. The great thing about this family of languages is that if you learn one, it is a great foundation to learn the others since they are in many ways similar. If you want to improve your knowledge and linguistic skills, learning the Romance languages would be the best place to start!

Photo Credit: Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon
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lrngo users in over 190 countries

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