Kazan (Казань)

Two weeks ago my two-week Russian adventure began in Kazan, where my exchange group spent three days. Kazan is located about 450 miles Southeast of Moscow and is the eighth most populous city in Russia with just over a million people. Kazan is located at the junction of the Volga and the Kazanka rivers and is considered part of European Russia, though it is often seen as a crossroads between Europe and Asia. It is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, with about half the population ethnic Tatars and […]

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Youth Empowerment, Social Development, Rural Development in ACTION

Children’s day in India is celebrated on Jawaharla l Nehru, the first prime minister of India because of his love and belief of what youth can do for change. All the students dressed up and felt empowered. There was a small ceremony for the students! The 8th-10th standard (grade) students went to the near by village, to protest for a cleaner environment and to advocate for sanitation. They did a peaceful protest and then cleaned the village for 2 hours! All of them worked hard and I felt that they […]

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Week 6

Week 6 – a.k.a. MY FAMILY IS COMING TO SEE ME!!!!! I was so excited! I didn’t really think that I would miss them as much as I had, I’ve actually gone longer without seeing them before, but boy did I miss them! So yeah, I was pretty dang excited for them to come visit! And as an extra bonus, I didn’t have class on Thursday or Friday because of something going on at the University. Or at least I thought we didn’t. Turns out we did, but I don’t […]

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Danish Class in Dyrehaven

As a field study for my Intermediate Danish class this past Wednesday, I journeyed to Klampenborg, north of Copenhagen, to see Dyrehaven. Meaning “the deer park” in Danish, Dyrehaven is a forested area of more than 10 square kilometers filled with a huge population of deer. The history of the park dates back to the 1500s when Kirsten Piil discovered a water spring in the area (known as Kirsten Piils Kilde) thought to have supernatural healing properties. People would travel from all over Denmark to drink from the spring and […]

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Who Needs NGOs?

The other day, I was on the bus with a friend of mine who’s been taking me around to visit different slums as part of my research. We got around to talking about our goals for the future, realized that both of us have a passion for nonprofits and NGOs. As we talked about our future goals, she turned to me and asked, “But you live in the US. Who needs NGOs?” As I was explaining to her the many issues that we face in the US, such as systemic […]

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Someone just pointed out to me that I haven’t yet posted anything about my internship yet. So, now that I’ve only got two weeks left there, I figured it was about time to get around to that. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a research project on public housing under the guidance of an organization called ActionAid. While I wasn’t expecting to work on research, language barriers made it hard for me to do much else in my area of interest, and I’ve found my project to […]

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Hygge in the Homestay

A cup of coffee and a bite of something sweet. If you know me at all, you know there is no easier way into my guarded little heart than offering me either of these. Luckily for me, I was placed with some pretty wonderful host parents this semester who do just that. Some nights after dinner as I sit in my room doing readings for class the next day (or maybe just reading my Twitter feed if we’re being completely honest), I’ll hear footsteps shuffling through the door. I look […]

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Friday-pisa/florence The leaning tower was the main focus of pisa, but it was hilarious to watch the tourist take photos. That night we went to the piazzale michelangelo, it was an incredible view of the city and it was really cool to see the david statue in real life. Saturday-Florence/Rome Saturday consisted of walking around florence then traveling to rome and walking around there. Sunday-rome/pisa The most eventful day was sunday when we were in rome. The best idea we had all day was taking the hop-on, hop-off tour bus. […]

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Four More Weeks

Just four more weeks lie between now and the day I set foot on American soil once again. Spending the past few months so far away from friends and family has been difficult. Reading about what they were up to over the course of the week via Facebook message rather than being there experiencing it with them like usual gives me a strange disconnected feeling. I want to share a meal with my parents. I want to get sushi on a whim with my friends. I want to hold my […]

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Fun in the Fjords

As the bitter winter winds roll in toward the end of the year, and the sunlight makes itself scarce, many people begin dreaming of vacationing in the tropics. There must be something sadistically satisfying about spending the day on the beach enjoying a special winter dose of vitamin D while imagining friends at home shivering miserably in the darkness. While some of my friends spent the third travel break this week in such places as Lisbon, Portugal or Athens, Greece, I was not one of those people. Instead, I snugly […]

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Gyeongju Excursion

This weekend on Saturday I got the privilege to spend the day in Gyeongju which is about a five hour drive from Seoul. Gyeongju really close to Busan and is known for it’s historical artifacts, so of course that’s what we spent a lot of the day sight seeing. It was nice to get out of the crazy city life of Seoul for a day and relax. The drive there took about five hours and the first stop we made was for some lunch and then we headed Bulkugsa Temple. […]

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150 Cows

Good news, I got like my 20th marriage proposal. However, this one may forever take the cake. My dowry is 150 cows. So in a village in Karatu I found myself only speaking Swahili and surprisingly faring pretty well. In case you’re wondering, there’s nothing as charming to a Maasai man as a conservatively dressed white girl attempting to converse in Swahili. He told me if I married him, the dowry would be 150 cows. Fifty cows for my long hair. Forty cows for a neck like a giraffe. Another […]

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Mom’s Visit

Thursday After leaving for the airport at 8am, public transportation took over 2 hours to get to the airport. Once i was there i waiting for a while then decided to check baggage claim and see if she was there. She was, but there had been a mishap between new york and madrid, so she would be without her suitcase until the weekend. After that, we went to dinner at one of my favorite places in toledo then to my host family’s house to pick up some clothes for the […]

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Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany

So I’ve had a pretty exciting past couple of weeks. I visited 5 countries within a week. I also have no stamps in my passport to prove it. Some might call it lucky to get to avoid customs as I travel with no checked luggage and have nothing within my backpack that needs to be claimed- I get waved through every time. Without a stamp. I have pictures to prove I have been to these countries but no stamps. My passport has just the lone stamp from Spain that I […]

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New Home

I am starting to feel that I belong in the community. The best learning experience thus far is living in the hostel and interacting with the students during break times and after school; I am learning so much from them. I have developed good relationships with the students in the hostel, which helps me teach in class because they are there, and they understand me more than the rest of the students. Since my future work is with youth and women, I feel that this internship is effective, and I […]

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Pereslavl: Real Russia

As promised, this last post of my two-week break is about my week I spent in Pereslavl, where I was born and lived for nine years. Pereslavl — full name Pereslavl-Zalessky — is about two to three hours Northeast of Moscow, depending on traffic, and is a town of about 40,000, which is small by Russian standards. The city is part of what is known as the Golden Ring, which is several cities that form a ring shape to the NE of Moscow and are known for being ancient towns […]

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