I have done more in the first 11 days of living in London than I expected to do in the first month. I had hardly set my bags down before it was time to meet with Coleman and the other Interstudy students to receive our phones and get the basics of traveling around London (Yay, oystercards). Everyone was equally exhausted but we managed to stay awake for dinner, shopping, and the most incredible hot chocolate I have ever experienced (It’s more of an experience than a drink). We were encouraged to stay up until at least nine-thirty before we went to bed in order to avoid horrendous jet lag. I am proud to say I made it to ten thirty before face-planting onto my single bed with only a fitted sheet and two naked pillows (Hey, I’m trying to save money for more important things… i.e. souvenirs)
Two months in, there are still new experiences around every corner.
Two weeks ago, after much deliberation, the lecturers at UB finally elected to strike. Starting on a Tuesday, we suddenly had a whole week without class! Fortunately, we used our time well. Throwing my lot in with a few other international students, we embarked on a journey to visit the famous salt pans, the giant remains of dried-up Lake Makgadikgadi that stretch across the savanna to the north.
From Gaborone, we got up at four in the morning to catch a bus heading to Francistown. After a 5-hour journey, we switched buses and got on a bus to Maun. We knew that the village we were looking for, Gweta, was somewhere on the way but we didn’t know where. All we knew was to look for a giant anteater on the side of the road. Read more
With only five more weeks of classes left, I’m eagerly awaiting the end of my semester at the University of Cape Town. I am not very excited to return to the States, however. When I tell this to my friends back home, they are confused. They equate the school and the country as the same experience, and find it interesting that my love of South Africa is so starkly contrasted with my dislike for UCT.
Back home, I attend Bowdoin College, which I can proudly say is ranked 6th in the nation for liberal arts colleges. Needless to say, I am used to a heavy workload filled with hundreds of pages of reading, long essays and rough tests. Coming to UCT, I expected slightly less work, but was aware that UCT would not be easy – as it is the top university in Africa.
Unfortunately, I was in for an unpleasant surprise. The workload is twice as much as Bowdoin, but at the same time I feel like the assignments are not as mentally challenging as the ones I receive at Bowdoin. For example, the essay topics are quite broad, such as “Describe the events of the Cold War,” as oppose to the more complex topics I received at Bowdoin. Read more
It is now officially one week since I’ve landed on the Emerald Isle and what a jewel it really is. To be frank, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place quite like this- a culture shock indeed. My journey began with my departure from home. Dad, Lucia, Nikki, and Brendin accompanied me to Boston’s Logan International Airport and we said our teary-eyed goodbyes at the security gate. I am very surprised at how well I handled myself in all my traveling, despite a few more tears on the flight while listening to a music playlist I had made for my father. I must say the excitement as the plane slowly landed on the runway in Dublin was extremely thrilling. There, I met Coleman (my Interstudy advisor) and Christine (another America student studying at NUIM). The three of us quickly bonded while we tried to strategically fit 6 over-sized suitcases, 1 heavy duffle bag, 1 rubbermaid storage container, and 2 larger carry-ons into Coleman’s tiny car. If not for my conveniently tiny size and ability to squeeze into small spaces, I might still be at the airport. Upon our arrival on campus, Coleman guided us around the beautiful south campus and traditionally modern north campus of NUIM. Unfortunately, meanwhile, the immediate change was a bit too much for my body to handle- as the first couple of days, I saw more of the apartment as I would have liked to due to some jet lag and nerves. Luckily, with a bit of rest and some fresh air while sight-seeing, I was able to quickly recuperate. It is then that we met up with Coleman and an Interstudy student studying at Trinity for a bite to eat and some browsing in Dublin. Read more
Spring Break has (already) come and gone at UCT, and I must say that I earned every minute of my incredible get away. The week before we left, I shut down the library nearly every night working on not one, not two, but three research papers for my courses. Luckily, several of my friends were in the same boat, so we turned what we call “that week” into the most enjoyable experience possible, keeping each other laughing throughout the all-nighters. I love how even the most painful experiences can become cherished memories. Despite the acquired inside jokes from that week, we’re already planning ahead so we NEVER have to go through that again—gotta embrace those learning experiences. Read more
Last Sunday saw the climax of this year’s All-Ireland Hurling Championship and pitted two of the country’s oldest and most bitter rivals against each other. Tipperary beat Kilkenny 4.17 (29 points) to 1.18 (21 points). What made this victory special is not only that fact that Tipperary, the county commonly known as ‘The Home of Hurling’, had not won the championship for nine years, but that Kilkenny were hoping to win their fifth straight title. A five-in-a-row had never been achieved before and Kilkenny are regularly referred to as the greatest team ever. Read more
If you have a free afternoon in London and are interested in food, you absolutely must make a visit to Borough Market. The market is based in the general area of London Bridge and Borough Underground stations. There have been markets held on or very near to the site since at least 1014. The market settled into its current location in 1755. Read more