“Yeah, Africa! Camel dance!”

In the beginning of October I was able to travel to the Sahara! Since my arrival, I had wondered when this excursion would happen and I when I learned it would be so soon, I was ecstatic. I was ready for camels, sand and sun; I got all three of the things I wanted, of course. My first camel friend was the cutest, though a little stubborn to pick up the pace. I named him Aziz! We all rode camels for two hours on Saturday (October 4) until we reached […]

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Studying while studying abroad?

I have to be honest. When I first looked into studying abroad, I didn’t look for somewhere that has world-class academics and a great program for my major (although coincidentally UL has both). I looked for somewhere that I thought I would enjoy the culture and people. So I ended up in Ireland, and I love it! With all this traveling and exploring new places, I forgot half the reason why I came here. To study. It’s in the name, study abroad, but when I first looked into it, my eyes […]

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Speaking Like An Australian

In your best American accent, I want you to say these three words: good eye might. Now say them a little faster. And faster. Blend them together. Faster again! Faster and forget about annunciation! Andddddd…. I believe you just said G’day mate. Right? See, you’re well on your way to sounding just like an Aussie! Once more, I want you to see these three words: raise up lights. Now say them faster, and faster, and faster, and faster! It should sound like you’re saying “razor blades” with an Aussie accent! Alright, mates, […]

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Day One

Directed Research started today. My project is to conduct personal interviews on how climate change affects local livelihoods and biodiversity, but that’s not important. What’s important is the events that unfolded today to give one of the best reasons we are advised to stay flexible during our research. 16 November 2015 6:30 AM- My banda mates wake up to prepare for their DR. They are making final preparations for a six-day camping trip in the remote Yaeda Valley, which means a third of the students will be gone. I roll […]

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HiroDai Matsuri and More

Greetings! I see that once again it’s been a while since my last post, so I figure now is as good a time as any to share my latest endeavors.  This past weekend (Nov. 7th and 8th) I had the opportunity to participate in the Hiroshima University (HiroDai) festival or go to a homestay a few towns over. Seeing that I’ve already done four different homestays in Japan, I decided that I wanted to see what a Japanese college festival was like. The festival was somewhat similar to homecoming, but […]

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Endless Possibilities

In this busy time it is often hard for me to find a moment to myself, not to mention space to myself as well. As finals week is upon me and the promise of directed research to follow suit I have been one giant bundle of stress. However, I like to take the moment to set aside time and reflect on my journey. I feel like this picture above portrays this moment perfectly. This picture was taken while we were in Manu National Park. Here I was standing elevated to […]

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During our week-long fall break, I decided to visit one of my best friends from high school who goes to school at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. It was my first time traveling all by myself since coming to Europe, so I was a little bit nervous about getting there. I had to take a train to Spain in order to catch a flight to Germany to meet her, and I made it just in time for every connection I needed. I can’t even tell you how grateful I was […]

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Before coming to Straya (Australia) I had no idea what I was going to encounter. I knew some of the stereotypes associated with Australia, so I had some vague expectations. But in reality, a lot of my expectations have turned out to be just plain wrong! I’m going to go over my top 10 expectations that I had coming to Australia and answer whether or not I’ve found them to be true. Hopefully this will help you if you ever wondered what the Land Down Under is actually like! 1. […]

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Another of our scheduled day trips through the program was an excursion to the ancient fortified city of Carcassonne. Only about two hours away by car, Carcassonne is a city filled with history. We only toured the Cite de Carcassonne, which is the fortified city within the greater city of Carcassonne. We learned all about the history of the city and got a tour of both the city and the castle within the fortified walls. While we were exploring the beautiful cathedral in the city with its stained glass windows […]

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Fall Goes Fast When You’re Having Fun

Halloween So Halloween was a lot of fun. I was invited to a party by a friend of mine who is currently studying at Normal University through CET. The two of us were Chinese classmates at the University of Minnesota for the past two years so it’s been pretty crazy to meet up again on the other side of the Earth. I wish I had taken some pictures of the party but alas I was too busy having fun to remember! The Summer Palace Yeah yeah I know, I’ve said before and I’ll […]

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A Small Bit of Knowledge is Dangerous

As a short preface, it is good to note the origin of the phrase, “A little bit of knowledge is dangerous.” On two separate occasions, my mom said it about a neighbor that has just enough gardening and landscaping knowledge to be dangerous. First, it is good to note that too much fertilizer can actually kill off most of the grass in your lawn. Second, keep in mind to not burn leaves too close to a tree, otherwise the tree may also burn down (in general, don’t burn leaves but […]

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I will start out this post by apologizing to those who have been waiting for a month for me to update (Mom). I am going to now post four different updates on my last four weekends here in Europe, starting with a day trip to Sète, France. Sète is a small fishing town about 15 minutes away from Montpellier by train. Everywhere you look in Sète, you see the Mediterranean spread out in front of you, and it is incredible. Only six of us went on this particular trip, which was perfect. […]

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The French Crutch

There’s a downside to being in a multilingual country and knowing one of them (aside from the one that is being learned). While it’s easy for me to speak in French rather than Arabic, I must avoid French like the plague. By speaking French with my first host family, I harmed my Arabic speaking skills; to learn a language it is necessary to use it at every opportunity. Despite the fact that I knew how to best learn to speak a new language, I let my nervousness with Arabic overcome […]

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During the time I’ve been in Ireland, I’ve noticed that the culture here is very similar to the culture in the US, but a lot of things are just slightly different. Here are some things that struck me as odd when I saw them: Roads Cars drive on the left side of the road, which I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around. Most Irish people even walk on the left side of paths, so I always have to stop myself from walking on the right. Buildings In […]

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Zoo and the Great Barrier Reef

After living somewhere for a while, you can really begin to spot tourists. This is especially true in Sydney, where they are seemingly everywhere. After I did a lot of touristy things in the beginning of my trip, I’ve been trying out places that locals go to so that I can get a taste of what Sydney is like from that perspective. Some people who travel or study abroad may look down upon doing some of the touristy things after a while, arguing that you aren’t a tourist anymore. Sometimes […]

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