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Nature and Nightlife

This Saturday, I had the opportunity to experience some of the attractions that really define Belfast and Northern Ireland for me. First, Queens led an excursion to the highest peak in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard, and I was completely blown away by views. After seeing Giant’s Causeway and the Antrim Coast, I didn’t think this country could get anymore beautiful but even on a cloudy day, this hike served to epitomize the natural beauty of Northern Ireland. Read more

A Weekend Away

A few weekends ago, we went on our first all-Interstudy outing to the Touws River area. We spent most of our first day volunteering at an elementary school a couple hours away. We completely re-vamped their entire classroom setting – repainting the walls, cleaning the floors, and then putting everything back together again. When a break was due, we would go outside and play soccer or learn new handshakes with the adorable kids that went to school there. It was a very rewarding way to start the weekend away. Read more

Celebrating Human Rights

Today is Human Rights Day in South Africa. On this day, 51 years ago, 69 people were killed when police opened fire on a demonstration in Sharpeville, a township not far from Johannesburg. It was this event that motivated the start of an armed resistance in South Africa as well as world condemnation of the policies established during Apartheid. Read more

Sundays in Shoreditch

It’s hard to say this is my favorite thing about London, because I have so many favorite things, but there’s something really wonderful about all the open markets on weekends in various neighborhoods. It brings a sense of comradery back to the fast-paced city life. There are so many weekend markets, too. There’s Borough Market, the best for cheeses and specialty foods, the Camden Markets for vintage clothes and shoes, and Portobello Road market for antiques. Read more

What’s the Craic?

With St. Patrick’s festivities in full swing, there’s bound to be some craic around Ireland today. What is craic, you ask? No, it’s not a drug.

The term “craic” is derived from an old English word meaning fun, merriment, loud conversation and high spirited entertainment. All things that the Irish do best! Read more

R & R

The funny thing about studying abroad is how much it makes you think about home.

After all, to immerse yourself entirely in another culture, you’ve first got to clamber out of the pool of thoughts, norms and expectations that was your home, and boy, is the view different once you’re out of it.  As a girl who goes to a pretty competitive university in the United States of America, I can definitely say I’ve uttered a few of the expected “Woah, that’s not how they do things in the States”s while studying in the ultra-laid-back city that houses the University of KwaZulu Natal. This isn’t either a good or bad thing (usually,) just a different thing. I think to try to encompass every difference I’ve found here would just be too much for one little blog post (heck it might be too much for one little book,) so I’ll focus on one aspect of Durban culture that I’ve still not completely managed to wrap my head around: relaxation. Read more

White St. Patrick’s Day?

After the last two Christmases, the Irish are in no rush to start wishing for a white one ever again. It’s not so much that the snow was particularly severe, it’s simply that Ireland is not at all used to it (The Irish government purchased its first snow-plough only eighteen months ago).

Ireland‘s dominant weather system comes from the Gulf of Mexico which ensures that the winters never get that cold – snow is so rare that up to recently the kids use to get a day off school to play in the snow if there was even just an inch or maybe two. The climate is usually mild and it is not at all uncommon (verified by one of our Horticulture students last year) to have palm trees across the South Coast. Read more