A Russian Ballet and the Peter and Paul Fortress (Русский Балет и Петропавловская Крепость)

Next Tuesday we leave for Kazan for several days, and then on to Moscow for another few days. After that we have a free week to travel wherever we want, within or outside of Russia. I will stay in Russia and go to my hometown, Pereslavl, to visit my sister and her family and hopefully some friends as well. But before this happens I have to get through some intimidating tests in Russian Grammar and Russian Conversation. So first of all, a couple weeks ago I got to see the […]

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“Wait. We don’t even know a single word of vietnamese”

Thank goodness for the King’s birthday giving us at Mahidol a day off of school. So what do I do with a 4-day weekend you ask? Go to Vietnam. Duh. After some fumbling to get visas, re-entry permits, etc. etc. WE FLEW TO NAM!! We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City late in the afternoon on Thursday and once we got through immigration and exchanged some baht into dong (the weirdest currency I’ve seen yet), we hopped in a cab to get to the train station. Or at least we […]

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Berlin- Long Study Tour pt. 2

Wednesday – Day 4 We started off our first full day in Berlin with a bike tour of the city. What better way could there be to introduce a new city to a bunch of students acclimated to the cycling lanes of Copenhagen? That all sounded fine and dandy… until the cold set in and the rain began to fall. I could feel my positive attitude being shaken off with every shiver and melting away with each raindrop. Despite a lack of enthusiasm from me and my classmates, our tour […]

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Poznan- Long Study Tour pt. 1

Long Study Tour this past week was exhausting in numerous dimensions. (In the best way possible, though!) At times while being led to academic visits, I felt like I had left my consciousness and sanity back in Copenhagen. However after getting a solid twelve hours of sleep the past two nights in a row, I think I am ready to share my experiences. This week was the second travel break at DIS, and I went to Poznan, Poland and Berlin, Germany with my core course Human Health and Disease. The […]

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Studying Abroad as a Black American: Shade #2 Who Speaks for Us…

So, concerning who speaks for black people like I wrote in my last shade, I have learned one interesting answer: white males. I was having a conversation with a member of the church I attend about his perspectives on black Americans: where he gets them from etc. He told me that usually he would hear about them through white missionaries who were visiting Kenya who shared perspectives like: – Black American women are rude and incorrigible. – Black people described as having a hidden anger because of unmet reparation for […]

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Just When I Though South Korea Couldn’t Get Any Better…

This country continues to surprise me with its ability to have something fun and exciting happen every week. There has not been one week here that has been a bore, I love it! This week was unexpectedly eventful. There was an concert thing that my friends and I wanted to go to called Mix & Match. We tried to buy tickets for the event online but you needed to apply to get a ticket and to apply you needed Korean citizenship. Also, you had to spend a certain amount of […]

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Diwali Vacation!

This past weekend was Diwali, the festival of lights, and the celebration of the victory of good over evil. It is usually celebrated with fireworks and loud celebration all night long, so we were urged to leave Bangalore and save our lungs from all the pollution! We left Bangalore on Tuesday night after class and headed to Hampi, a small town north of Bangalore. We were super excited to visit, since so many people, Indian and foreigners alike, had said it was their favorite place in India. And it didn’t […]

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What India Has Taught Me So Far

Make your own path, even if there’s a nicely painted lane for you to follow. It’s more fun going it your own way. Open up your heart and be vulnerable. The worst thing that can happen is someone staring at you blankly saying that they don’t speak English. Always be open to new ideas, but don’t forget the important things. Change should never replace culture and tradition, only supplement it. Don’t be afraid to make yourself heard. Celebrate out loud. Ask everyone to join in. Ask for what you want. […]

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Nafasi: Empty Cups and Developing Countries

Yesterday evening, I was provided with some incredible words of wisdom. Their source was neither a scholarly work nor a facebook status nor a presidential speech. Rather, they came in the form of a boot-legged, karate movie with Swahili subtitles. Though this seemed like yet another attempt at bad entertainment, one scene included a brilliant discourse of empty space. There’s something valuable about the empty spaces that somehow occupy our lives. As this movie addressed, a cup is not useful because it’s a cup, but because there’s empty space inside […]

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I am not a slum tourist and do not endorse the practice but encourage holistic learning and experiences. I traveled with a guide who was familiar in the area. When I walked through the streets and past the alley, into a deeper part of the compound a putrid stench hit me like a wave. To my right was a black stream running parallel to the shacks on my left – they are people’s homes. I couldn’t walk alone this far. Strangers to the community are easily noticed and often robbed […]

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Worship in Lutheran Evangelical Church in Kibera

Praise in Worship at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya took me back home for a minute reminding me of my beloved Pilgrim Baptist Church back in Minnesota. It felt different to be a visitor in church and I was proud to represent Pilgrim all the way in Nairobi. The sermon was in Kiswahili as was the Praise and Worship, but I didn’t need to speak the language to feel the passion and the spirit in that place. Everyone at the church was very welcoming and many thought that I […]

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A Moment of Reflection

As our classes come to an end, I’ve been reflecting on the past seven weeks I’ve spent here in Bangalore. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that there is no one right way to look at a country like India. But through interacting with all of these fabulous professors and dedicated activists, I’ve been forced to acknowledge that, when it comes to trusting that people can create change, I’ve been rather cynical about the state of the world. I’ve taken the easy way out here, without a doubt – cynicism is […]

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 So, going to Geneva was going to be my first trip that was “alone”. I didn’t travel alone, I traveled with 4 other friends, but for the first time we weren’t traveling with our school or any program directors. We were in charge of our own schedule and we were in charge of finding our own way in the city- and I’d say we did a pretty good job. Our flight left from Madrid at 9:50am and so we had to get up pretty early to make it to the […]

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Music and FOOD

Well, I am really sorry for being a HORRIBALE BLOGGER! I am new at this and with limited internet access and unlimited amount of homework I don’t post as much as I should. Yesterday our group went to celebrate 2 of the girl’s birthday. It was a BLAST! India is a full of opposites and contradictions. As conservative as it is, it’s also modernity, we went out to FENNY’s a beautiful- California style restaurant, serving all kind of western foods with a LIVE DJ! It was an amazing place with […]

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My Frist African Wedding (Harusi Kwanza ya Afrika)

By far, this must have been my best night yet in Tanzania. For my program, we have the most amazing Tanzanian woman, Mercy, who ensures we survive our time abroad. Not only have we been able to come to Mercy with our questions about cultural norms, classes and language translations, but I’ve had the opportunity to find a wonderful Tanzanian friend who I can learn from on a daily basis. Mercy’s sister got married this weekend and we (myself and another American student) had the great honor of attending this […]

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