What an incredible year it’s been here at Virginia International University! We hope it’s been equally exciting and rewarding for you and your loved ones, too.

Over the past year we have increased the strength of our institution and further improved the quality of the VIU education by launching new programs and concentrations in the fields of education, applied linguistics, computer information systems, project management, and accounting. We purchased a beautiful new campus building in Fairfax, Virginia which will boast 65,000 square feet of classroom, study, leisure, and administrative space for our university. We also launched University Magazine, which has already published several editions, and saw the establishment of VIU’s own Toastmasters Club. Further, our enrollment numbers continue to grow, the quality of our incoming students remains very strong, and we are serving a more diverse student body than ever!

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Kwanzaa (noun): “African-American and Pan-African celebration of family, community and culture, Dec. 26-Jan. 1.” (Associated Press, 2014).

 Figure 1. A picture of the kinara, a candle holder that is used in Kwanzaa celebrations in the United States. Adapted from Kinara at the 3rd Annual Black, Green, & Red Kwanzaa, 2011,

 Can you use Kwanzaa in a sentence? Send us your sentence using Kwanzaa and we will post it on our blog!

Want to learn more about sentence structure? Check out our page called “The APA Cheat Sheet.”


Associated Press. (2014, December 16). 2014 Holiday Style Guide. Retrieved December 16, 2014, from

Kinara at the 3rd Annual Black, Green, & Red Kwanzaa (2011). [Photograph]. Retrieved from

By Tamara Strupp

To all my fellow students, no matter if you are already at VIU or planning to go to VIU soon. I wanted to share my personal story, which might give you some thoughts or motivate your future success.

I am originally from Germany.  I came to the United States in 2008 as an au pair. I had a very interesting year with many ups and downs and decided I wanted to continue my life in the States as a student. Generally, I love to speak English; it is almost easier for me now than my own language. The first semester was a bit tough, since I had never gone to a university before and it was all new to me. After the second semester I started achieving straight A’s, of which I am very proud. I graduated in December 2011 with my Associates Degree in General Studies. I had mainly taken hospitality classes but wasn’t sure if that was what I wanted to pursue later on. In order to find out what I wanted to study, I applied for an OPT, which I pursued from January 2012 to December 2012. I worked at an animal hospital as a receptionist and nurse. I loved the experience. I learned how to draw blood, how to hold pets safely, and I followed the manager around learning her responsibilities. At the end of my year, I took over the manager’s responsibilities when she was not at work. I learned a lot, got more confident and professional and figured out what I wanted to study: International Business. With International Business I can basically work in any field, anywhere in the world. I applied and started studying at VIU in the spring of 2013.  I really like my experience at VIU. The teachers and students are very nice and I feel like they actually care about the students and not just the money as a non-profit university, which is the opposite of so many other universities.

My future goals are to travel the world, make enough money to live comfortably, find the love of my life and have a successful career. For now, I want to graduate from VIU with a high GPA and learn as much as I possibly can. I am thinking about maybe opening my own animal clinic or pet-friendly hotel one day. After I graduate, I would love to work for a German-American company like Audi or BMW. I would love to be a communications manager that is responsible for communication between Germany and the USA.

My family does not have that much money, they are helping me with what they have but I have always been independent and relied on myself. Most universities do not provide scholarships for international students, especially not from Germany. But VIU does. Prove you are worth being supported and show it with hard work and dedication. VIU believes that everybody deserves a fair chance no matter where they are from. It values students’ ethnicities and is proud to be an international university which supports their students financially and by assisting students like me. I received a scholarship for the Fall 2013 semester, which helps me to achieve my goals. Now I am so close to graduating, and I am proud of what I have achieved so far. I will continue showing how determined I am to be a successful student at my university, VIU.
I did it and so can you. It’s your turn!

From your friend,

                It is well-known that students feel more motivated when they are recognized for their effort and hard work, and as a result, they are more likely to be engaged in activities proposed by their professors and university. Thus, the question is: what is the best way for a university to acknowledge and promote student accomplishments and support students on their dreams at the same time? The answer is: SCHOLARSHIPS!
                Virginia International University has a history of supporting its students. Since it was founded, VIU has been awarding scholarships to full-time undergraduate and graduate students as a way to recognize students who have special talents, demonstrate academic excellence, or actively participate in on-campus activities. VIU has been offering different types of scholarships throughout the years, always expanding in order to benefit more students. Right now, there are seven types of scholarships which are available for eligible prospective and current students: fresh start (for transferring students); student activity (for students who are strongly engaged in on-campus activities); campus employment (for those students who work on campus); special achievement (for students who demonstrate a special talent); new horizon (for students who come from countries which face economic and political problems); and deans and presidential (for students with exceptional academic results). Scholarships are available for both on-campus and online students. Over the years, more and more students have been granted scholarships at VIU. When students receive scholarships, they tend to exceed their own expectations by putting more efforts into achieving their academic goals. And our students’ success is VIU’s success.
Scholarship Trends in US Higher Education
                For anyone considering a college degree from a school in the United States, the cost of tuition – and the means by which to pay tuition – is a primary concern. In our last issue, University Magazine examined the steady rise of the price tag on an American education. One of the best ways students can make college more affordable is by applying for financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants.
The Statistics
                Data available from the National Center for Education Statistics allows us to track financial aid trends over a number of years. In 2011-12, 59.1% of undergraduate students in the US received financial aid in the form of scholarships or grants. The average amount those students received was $6,200. In the same year, 37.7% of graduate students in the US received aid in the form of scholarships or grants. The average amount received by those students was $10,800. When compared with data collected about a decade ago, we see that the trend for this type of financial aid is improving, both in the percentage of students receiving aid and the amount of aid students are receiving.
                Paying for the rising cost of tuition will continue to be a concern for students attending colleges and universities in the United States, at least in the foreseeable future. While tuition assistance in the form of scholarships and grants has increased, it is not always rising quickly enough to match the astonishing speed at which tuition prices are increasing. However, statistics show there has been an increase in institutional grants to students. This is good news for American students, of course, but it is also good news for international students who may not have the same access to federal aid as US citizens.
                Scholarships are and will continue to be important to college students, especially in light of rising tuition costs. It is clear that scholarships are out there for the taking, but competition is fierce. A great source for identifying scholarship opportunities is your school; find out if your institution offers grants or scholarships, especially if you are an international student!
Do Your Research
  • There are search sites which pull scholarships from many sources. Find a site that you like and create an account! Check back often for new and updated scholarships.
  • Find out what department is responsible for scholarships at your school and become familiar with the scholarship offerings, requirements, and deadlines.
  • Never pay to apply for a scholarship. If you are asked to pay a fee in order to apply, it’s probably a scam!
Know What Makes You Unique
  • Find your niche and maximize on it; you would be surprised what types of scholarships are out there. What are your scholastic interests? What are your hobbies? Do you have a unique family situation? Have you overcome an obstacle? Use your experiences to your advantage!
Start Early
  • Do not procrastinate when you’re working on a scholarship application. Build plenty of time into your schedule to complete applications, write and revise essays, and meet deadlines!
  • Don’t give up! If you don’t receive one scholarship, keep trying for others.
Ali Iqbal Murshed, MBA in Global Logistics
                Never considering myself an “A” student, I always struggled with academics. However, since coming to VIU, the supportive learning environment has consistently inspired me to regain interest in learning, which has reflected in my recent academic successes. My professors were generous enough to write some excellent recommendations for me and my past experiences certainly did pay off by adding much needed credentials for the selection committee to consider. Receiving this scholarship has boosted my confidence to a whole new level and motivated me to continue to strive for excellence in the future. I must also mention that VIU has given considerable attention to providing financial support for international students whereas many other well known institutions surprisingly do not have such facilities.

Faria Islam, MBA in International Finance

                It came to me as a pleasant surprise when I realized that I was one of the proud recipients selected for the Special Achievement scholarship this year. As this was my first semester at VIU, I really did not expect to be awarded a scholarship.  As an international student I have gone through lots of challenges, one of them being financial challenges. This scholarship has really helped me by reducing some of the pressure. Moreover, this is the first time studying and staying outside of my country and I was expecting it to be tough. But with VIU, the transition has been very smooth, as I have been helped by the university at every step. Everyone has been a great support to me.

Grinch (noun): “Spoilsport who steals holiday fun, based on the title character in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” by Dr. Seuss” (Associated Press, 2014).

Figure 1: The Grinch from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” 1966)

Can you use grinch in a sentence? Send us your sentence using grinch and we will post it on our blog!

Want to learn more about sentence structure? Check out our page called “The APA Cheat Sheet.”


Associated Press. (2014, December 16). 2014 Holiday Style Guide. Retrieved December 16, 2014, from

Original Publication, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966). Retrieved 2014,  December 16 from