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Learning While Living in Belfast

So I’ve been here in Belfast for about a month now and so far it’s been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I have found certain aspects of it challenging, simply because there are a few major differences between here and the U.S. First and foremost, for two English-speaking countries, you wouldn’t think that language would be one of these said differences, but that has not been my experience here at all. I have had entire conversations with my classmates, or flatmates, or just people I’ve met around town, without knowing what exactly what was said. In the beginning, it was the most disconcerting part of being here because I would have no idea what was going on around me; when people would speak to me, I would simply smile and nod like I knew what they had just said to me without really having a clue. It’s getting easier, though. My older brother, who also studied in Europe, gave me a good piece of advice, “Listen to what people are saying, not their accent.” Read more

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Cultural Differences: Positives & Negatives

This is “grandma’s brother” at a cultural excursion to a village that teaches people about traditions of villages in Botswana.

Dumela! I have already been in Botswana for almost two months now and I am so excited for the next few months to come. Although I feel like I will never be able to fully understand everything about the culture and Motswana people, I have learned such a great deal so far. The first most basic and obvious cultural difference is the food. I was hoping to come and and have the best food of my life and want to bring back different spices so I could make the food at home.. that is not happening at all. Most of the food here I do not like, especially at the refractory (Mogul) which is where I have my meal plan. They serve the same thing every day for lunch and dinner. Usually it is something like: pap (a traditional porridge like stable made from maize) or rice, then you choose chicken or beef (prepared the same way every day) and then carrots or a beat salad. Sometimes they have a couple different things, like some people eat fish from the special diet section but I dont like fish, or sometimes they have dumplings instead of pap which is a boiled bread, that I love. The other international students and I love going out to eat when we can afford to, there are so many placed to eat that serve delicious food from all different cultures, including a lot of American food. Read more

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, Turn and Face the Strain!

I have been in Ireland just about five weeks now and it feels as if I have stories that could last a life time! I always knew that studying in Ireland would be one of the greatest experiences of my life, and so far I’d say it is living up to my high expectations. I have considered myself very lucky to have encountered certain people on my journey, those including my housemates, their friends, and even my classmates. Through some of these people I have met many other students and they have exposed me to things that I could never find at home. And one of my new friends has even brought me to her home in Limerick where I have been treated with the utmost hospitality. I had assumed that the Irish were kind and welcoming people and the ones I have met so far a proving this assumption right! Not only have I met great people but I have already seen some magnificent locations in Ireland as well. In the first six weeks of my adventure abroad I have seen parts of Galway, the Aran Islands, Dublin, Limerick, Kerry, Clare, and obviously Cork as well. Each of these places held their own secrets, displayed their different histories, and presented their individual beauties. There were things that I saw and did that I will cherish forever in my heart and one day I hope to share some of the things I have seen with the people I love. Read more

How to Spot an American

 

Wearing raincoats and backpacks. Using a camera. Having a sunburn. Walking in groups of more than three. These are just a few of the things that immediately mark us as Americans on the UKZN campus in Pietermaritzburg. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been introduced to someone and the first words out of their mouth are, “Oh, you’re an American, right?” My go-to response is now, “Which gave it away, the sunburn or the backpack?” This is not to mention our accents. The professor of my Introduction to Zulu class made fun of how we pronounced a list of English words, saying if we don’t know how to speak English properly, how can we learn Zulu? Good question. Read more

Baby Stepping

Hello, outside world!

I’m currently reporting from my dorm room- (a clean little area overlooking a parking lot and garden outside), nursing a tiny headache (thank you, sun exposure) and waiting for my black tea to finish steeping so that I can begin to treat aforementioned headache.

So my time in Durban so far? Hot. The days have ranged from all-too-quick visits to water parks and sun-bleached beaches to seemingly endless hours spent waiting in registration lines and orientation meetings, waving paper fans and sipping from sweating bottles of water. Classes start next week, and so most of us are still walking around, supplying our dorm rooms with instant food, soap and FANS, and making baby steps towards figuring this city out. So, as a girl who is definitively still in the settling in phase, I humbly present the few tidbits we’ve picked up along the way. Read more

London Sightseeing – Off the Beaten Path

London is full of sights to see – Big Ben, Westminster, the London Eye, and the list goes on. On a recent trip to the city, I ventured out to a not-so-touristy tourist site in northwest London, Abbey Road. The site of Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles recorded most of their albums including the famous ‘Abbey Road’, is not well marked or full of the usual gift shops and tourist buses. In fact, the road is quite busy, making it hard to stage a copy of the iconic Beatles album cover. We tried our best though, and with the help of a little photo shop, here’s what we can up with.

Coleman, Resident Director, Britain and Ireland

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First Impressions – A Few Weeks In

The most accurate phrase I’ve heard used to describe London is “anything goes”. This place is so huge that you interact with every type of person you can imagine on the daily. Especially at Goldsmiths, which truly values and original thought, the phrase “anything goes” is even more accurate. As long as you put ample effort into an idea, then it is accepted with open arms – from a fashion statement to an academic perspective to an artistic display. Read more