International Voices

A Publication of Lehigh University

2022 Issue

Foreword by Elena Reiss

As I looked out of the airplane window approaching the US coast for the first time, I felt my skin tingling, my heart fluttering, my breath barely escaping my lips – but not from excitement. In the moment, I wasn’t sure if that was exhaustion from the 38-hour journey, anxiety about the plane landing, or just loneliness – being so far from my family for the first time in my life. Days passed before I realized that what I felt then was the fear setting in, and that this physical “fear-sickness” would stay with me for a long time…

Vivir Mi Vida

They said he couldn’t do it

A kid from the streets to college

Ain’t ever gonna quit

All he wanted was knowledge

They said he can’t afford it

A private institution, cost was high

No one taught him how to quit

Job after job, got the strength to defy


Every day at the same stage

I was walking to your heart

To your soul full of stars

Lighting the path in my life

Until the light? What became too bright? became too bright

Through Autumn

Oftentimes, the world focuses on two things: the beginning and the end. The middle is overlooked—it’s just how humans perceive the world. In nature, metamorphosis happens almost constantly, and we all know what a caterpillar is, and how beautiful butterflies can be, but how often does the world stop in between and admire the chrysalis? In showbusiness, theatre especially, the opening and closing acts are often the most grandiose, catching and retaining their audience like moths to a flame…

The Mystery of the Forest

The air pierces the lungs with thousands of ice needles. Fog and cold are the rulers of the morning forest. They cover the lonely tree stumps spreading till the eye can see. After the first sunrays mercilessly kill playful dews, the steps of the mushroom pickers wake up this sleepy kingdom.

Foggy Fall Festivities

It had rained the night before so the air is stuffy and the ground is still wet. The sun has yet to come all the way out. It’s stuck behind some clouds only making an appearance occasionally. The rain from the night before intensifies the smell of the freshly cut grass. The loud rustling of pots and pans from the kitchen wakes everyone in the house.

Fall Leaves

Every August anticipation begins to grow as the final days of summer finally pass as autumn finally arrives. The season seems to be enchanting, it’s magical essence gripping the landscape in a way nothing else does. Eventually though, the first day of fall would come with the autumn equinox as the ancient oak in the backyard began to finally drop its leaves. And once those leaves hit the ground, it meant the best time of the year had finally arrived.

Eco-feminism & the Consciousness Crisis

I feel with every fiber of my being that the climate crisis is actually a crisis of human consciousness. It is as much spiritual and emotional as it is physiological and ecological.

The same way a mother can hear her baby cry and know instinctively what they need, we too, can observe the irresponsible, disconnected behavior of humanity as a different form of crying and intuit where there is pain asking to be healed.

The Home in North Carolina

“Do you want to do the honors?” Jenn asked, holding the purple key with the little flower keychain out to her partner, Bianca. They were standing on the slightly slanted porch in front of their new (very old) home in North Carolina. The sky was gray, the ground was muddy, and one of the shutters was creaking, but the only thing that mattered to the two women was that they were about to step into their house for the first time since it officially became theirs.

Journey to a Beautiful Nowhere

There is nothing better than going for a drive on a bright day. No destination, only the journey. Driving for the enjoyment of their untouched surroundings, with no agenda or worries weighing on their shoulders. With the crisp breeze flowing through the open windows rich with the aroma of earth and pine, autumn has boldly made its arrival. Nothing can distract from its everlasting peace.


Arabic is the language of more than 466 million people
Arabic is one of the hardest languages in the world
Arabic has twenty eight letters
Arabic is written from right to left
Arabic has influenced many other languages
Arabic has sounds that are found in no other language
Arabic constructs words from a single root
Arabic words have many different synonyms
Arabic text is very detailed and descriptive

Spring is in the Air

It’s early April and mornings are still chilly. The days s t r e t c h for the sun, pulling in its warmth, like a cozy blanket, to grace the earth with afternoons in the 40’s or even 50’s. ‘They’ say it’s a cool spring. Perhaps. But I am grateful for it nonetheless.

Everywhere nature is determined to have its spring. Even on these not quite warm days and nights. Have ‘they’ noticed? I have.

The Symphony

Listen to the song of a nightingale
And touch the serenity of the summer evening
Never this moment will happen again
Grasp it in your thoughts and heartbeats
Unapologetically to carve the pictures in your memory
And no words will describe it
Glimpse the last ray of the sunshine
Ever this moment will happen again?


Lonely traveler on his road to pilgrimage,
Abandoned his former life and dreams.
Nobody could tell if there’s a destination for him,
Granted with a bright future, he struggles forward.
Ubiquitous taletellers whitewash his irresponsible acts,
Accompanied with undisguised intentions for coveted interests
“God bless you” they said,
Even though “God” is made up by them for the everlasting plunder of the weak.

Horrors of the Haunted Hayride

The eerie haunted house laid miles upon a never-ending field of corn, wheat, and hay. A glowing moon glimmers through the ominous darkness of the night. Screams of horror can be heard faintly through the stillness of the frigid air. A young boy anxiously waiting in line was enthusiastic about the haunted hayride. He stood alone, he had hastily snuck out of his home without his strict parents knowing. In the distance, the boy saw a well-worn out wagon that hauled dozens of soulless bodies at a time, through the indistinguishable path that was filled with distorted clowns, monsters, and skeletons. The haunted hayride brought fear to the innocent, young boy…

Almost Season

The mountain was dusted with snow and the blue sky was peering through the clouds that were blocking its view. Along the trail, there were patches of snow grasping to stay alive until reinforcements would arrive. The woman in the back was shivering and each breath was condensating before her eyes. She reluctantly trudged onward. The group’s elevation continued to increase as the mountains around seemed to level with them. What seemed like power lines were scattered all around the mountains, but they were lifeless….

Out in the Open

It really is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. As the seasons change, the entire world adapts around it. This change is inevitable, and as much as people usually despise change, sometimes it is welcome. Often, the coming of fall rolls in and takes hold like a warm blanket fresh out of the dryer. To the same effect, fall is often received with large, open arms. The seasonal tastes of cinnamon and pumpkin are joyous delights that cannot be resisted. Each breath taken as the months go on progressively gets colder, and feeling the crisp air nipping at exposed skin as everyone bundles up in their beanies and fur lined flannels is quite lovely…

The World We Live In

It was a humid, fervent summer in Douala. I had just boarded my flight to Paris, where I then will fly back to Shanghai. I came to Cameroon to investigate the local timber supply chain for my father’s company but was left with a deep burden. As the plane took off, the barren lands of Cameroon caught my eye, once again reminding me that this trip had changed my life. This journey reminds me of a vivid dream, recollecting the scent of the air, the noise from the streets, and the sight of the forests. Traveling, at least to me, is a process of receiving new experiences that ultimately lead to change in my perspective of the world…

I Don’t Have a Home

“Damn it!” I usually try to avoid curse words, but at that point, my patience was running out like the battery on the phone whenever you have to make that super-important-life-changing call. I have been sitting in my business classroom for the past 1.5 hours trying to teach myself how to use a sewing machine. It was probably not the most obvious activity to do in that room (and I would be much more confident writing a SWOT analysis), but there weren’t many accessible places at school outside of working hours. Frankly speaking, I hoped to be so much better at sewing…

Family Affair

The scream of five kids sounds like twenty as they play in the July heat. A drop of water, that can easily be mistaken as sweat, splashes my cheek as I pass by those five kids.Fire hydrants are only for emergencies not for children to be wasting the water on child’s play, I think to myself as I move my least piece of furniture into my new home. I was used to living in luxury, but I needed to do this volunteer work to seem as selfless as possible to my parents so they wouldn’t cut me off…

Epilogue by Dr. Henri Odi

The strategic impact of COVID-19 around the world for the past two years is something that no one had anticipated. A virus that indiscriminately and unfortunately took the lives of loved ones, young and old, locally, nationally, and internationally. An impact that will be felt for generations to come. As a result, the multiple communities at Lehigh University, particularly offices such as, Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, Student Affairs, International Affairs, and Library and Technology Services, stepped up to provide necessary support services for our students, faculty, and staff…

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