Although much of my experience in Perth, Western Australia consisted of the beach, studying, and being enveloped by my residence’s ominous planned activities, I was fortunate enough to embark on a ten-day road trip spanning from Perth all the way to Karinjini National Park, traveling roughly 1,500 km just one-way with twenty other international students. Read the rest
The picture below was taken a few days before we were to leave Argentina and return to the United States. We had gone from the jungles to the dessert, here we were at the Salinas the northern Salt Flats of Argentina. There are pools that are dug out all throughout the salinas, it is a tradition to jump over these pools, a leap of faith they say. My friend capture this image just after I had successfully landed on the other side of salt pool but right before I fell back into the freezing water. Abroad is a lot like this picture, a leap of faith. You’re not sure what you are going to find and it’s a little bit scary at times but at the end of it all every experience is worth it, even the salty ones.
This past semester I studied abroad at Duke University’s Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS) program in Rome. We stayed at the Centro, a four-story building in the Monteverde area of Rome that served as our dormitory, classrooms, and dining hall. I had many fantastic experiences while in Italy, but out of all the experiences, some of the ones that have had the greatest effect on me were my experiences with dogs. I had two very negative encounters with dogs in Italy that brought back some of my childhood fears and have changed how I interact with them. While I still love dogs, I tend to be wary around them now and I try to avoid walking too closely to ones that I haven’t met before. Read the rest
Mathematics is a special discipline in that one’s culture and upbringing rarely affects its content. A historical account can be shaped by your nationality, your interpretation of a novel can be affected by your race, and even the observations you make in a scientific experiment can be affected by your cultures (albeit fields like physics and chemistry don’t suffer that much from this). Read the rest
“Everybody has a backstory. For example, though I am currently living in France and adapting myself to the ways of the French, I still like listening to alt-j and watching Parks and Rec while I get ready to walk the half a mile to school each morning. Read the rest
During my very long winter break, I expressed a desire to my family to go on a hike, like we used to when we went on vacation. Once in Japan, I decided to act on this desire (just without my family) and had what was probably the single most enjoyable day on my entire trip (almost certainly the most beautiful). Read the rest
At the end of last month, my friend Mariah and I flew off to London for nine days of seriously, SERIOUSLY jam-packed exploring. We saw Buckingham Palace, celebrated the arrival of a very royal baby (free flags! old men dancing!), ate fish and chips, crossed Abbey Road, investigated (har, har) Baker Street, and did the grand viewing of The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben (as well as both Regent’s and Hyde Park) — I’m now confident I can navigate nearly any subway or metro system, regardless of language. Read the rest
The study abroad experience is often discussed between friends and strangers alike as the epitome of the college adventure. I landed in Prague with two guidebooks, and countless stories from UPCES alum about all the good times that were waiting for me in this post-iron curtain oasis. Though I headed into Prague with detailed instructions about where to find a decent burrito at 2am and a warning about my over friendly nature, I found myself running around Old Town like a chicken with my head cut off. Read the rest
I took this photo in Derry, a town in Northern Ireland which is still under British rule. Ireland has been effected by political troubles linked to a conflict between Irish nationalists who want their own free state (the Republic of Ireland) and British loyalists who want to remain under British rule (Northern Ireland). This conflict has persisted since Irish independence in the 1920s, though things have been mostly politically stable since the 1990s. There are still memorials and monuments dedicated to the conflict throughout Ireland, and finding these monuments in the Irish quarter of Derry was really striking. Read the rest
While in Ireland I had the privilege to visit a place called Inishmore, otherwise known as one of the Aran Islands. It is a remote island located near Galway, Ireland and while there I toured a medieval stone fort perched on the edge of a 100 meter high cliff. I took this photo while lying on my stomach, overlooking the edge of the cliff straight down to the water. During our tour of the island our tour guide told us that one year a German exchange student fell off that cliff and died. Read the rest
On May 22, 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. There are so many stories to tell about this event.
The date for the voting was announced in January or February. Initial polls showed a 74% approval rating for legalizing same sex marriage. If I remember correctly, these polls were of general public opinion, rather than just those registered to vote. This is because, in Ireland, very few people, especially people my age, are registered to vote. Read the rest
Very, very early on a January morning, all the international students and I took a bus to Lincoln for a day trip. Lincoln itself is a very small town, only known for it’s massive cathedral, which happens to be the third largest in all of the United Kingdom. After learning that the cathedral was built in the twelfth century I was particularly amazed by the incredible size of it, as well as the intricate architecture and stained glass that made up the building. For as large as the cathedral is, the inside is quite modest. Read the rest
I used to think that when I grew up I would want to live somewhere warm and tropical, near the equator, where it’s sunny all year round and most importantly, the days don’t get shorter in the winter. Given that, I still don’t quite know why I ended up boarding a plane to Finland, in the dead of winter, arriving to days of maybe 5 or 6 hours of sunlight and temperatures which stayed below freezing for a couple of months. But out of all my experiences there, seeing the transformation from winter to spring ended up being one of the most beautiful. I discovered that 20-hour days in May make the 5-hour days in January worth it, and seeing the nature come to life in spring is infinitely more beautiful after such a cold and stark (yet peaceful) winter. Needless to say, I don’t think I want to live anywhere near the equator anymore when I grow up.
I took these photos at the exact same spot in Nuuksio National Park, Espoo, Finland, on January 31 and May 19, 2015, and they represent to me the incredible change in seasons I saw take place over those 4 months. The photos were postprocessed and combined in Photoshop.
It was spring break. After spending two and a half months in Galway, Ireland, I set off to Berlin. I spent four days in the city before I stopped and looked more closely at the metallic stones I glanced dotting the street as I rushed to and from the tourist spots. I was stunned as I read the stones, realizing that all over the city small memorials dotted the streets, markers of those taken from their homes in the Holocaust. I immediately snapped a picture, and found myself taking dozens more as I took the time to stop and read everyone I stumbled across. The memorials were incredibly moving, and taking the moment to stop, to witness the significance of such a seemingly small thing, a cobble stone in the street, gave me an entire new way of seeing the city. Read the rest
Pre-study abroad I’d always considered myself to be a meticulous planner. I like to be able to have a plan before jumping into anything, which can be a good and a bad thing. The travel partners I met in Germany definitely changed that for the better. There were days where I would take the bus to the Hauptbahnhof and jump on a train because I was bored and get off at a stop that looked or sounded interesting and because I could. Read the rest