The East End of London is getting a lot of attention with the start of the 2012 Olympic Games. Famous soccer player (ehem, footballer) and East London native, David Beckham, made a grand entrance during the opening ceremonies showing his pride for the neighborhood he grew up in. As you probably have heard, in the not so recent past, the area was still in need of some “polishing”. Even before the arrival of the Olympics, the East End started to get a facelift, and locals would tell you the neighborhood is well past the “up and coming” phase. Parks, arenas, and new roadways transformed London‘s East End in preparation for the Games. To top it off, a new Eurorail station brings visitors in and out of the East End to and from Paris and Brussels. Read more
As London gears up to be on the World Stage of the 2012 Olympics, the country will be indeed flooded with tourists, athletes, and people from all corners of the globe. It goes without saying that the city is buzzing with anticipation and has a tangible energy that can only be brought forth from an event of this magnitude. The Olympic games are not simply about friendly competition, medal earning, or even national pride though. You could say they are a symbol, or even more so an example of the peaceful coexistence between cultures, regardless of the global conflicts and crises facing our world today. Read more
In just around a month’s time our students studying abroad in Britain, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland will touch down and begin their journeys. So, just as we did for the incoming South African students, we at Interstudy have constructed a new ‘Road Less Traveled’ Bucket List, this time focusing on the UK/Ireland region.
From music festivals, to carnivals, to delicious food, this list will ensure our students’ full immersion into this historic region. Again, this is a rough list highlighting just a fraction of what this part of the world has to offer. Definitely try to check off everything on this bucket list, but be sure to add more for yourselves. Cheers!
1. Take a ride on the London Eye and get a bird’s eye view of the city
One of the most fun aspects of traveling to a new country is learning the difference in language, specifically ‘slang’ types of words of which are not familiar to those entering a new land. South Africa is no different. In fact, with the eleven (yes, eleven) national languages of the nation one could argue that this foreign slang is epitomized in South Africa. So, in honor of our students finally arriving at their respective universities across the country, we at Interstudy thought it would be nice to provide them with a guide to some of the most popular local phrases. A keen study of this list and they will be convincing locals they have grown up in Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Durban etc. their whole lives! Read more
Somehow I’ve already been back in the U.S. for a month, and my memory of leaving South Africa feels like a very strange dream. I went through the motions of packing and saying goodbye to everyone I had grown so close with in 5 months, but it was really hard to wrap my brain around the thought that I was actually leaving the beautiful place that had been my home for a semester. When it finally did hit me sometime on the 15-hour flight from Johannesburg to New York (the TVs weren’t working so there was a lot of time to think about these things), I didn’t know how to feel. I was very excited to see my family and friends back at home, but just couldn’t believe that my time in Cape Town was over. In 5 months I had made some amazing friends, and had incredible experiences that I know I will never forget. Read more
When thinking about South Africa some of us (myself included) immediately envision the country’s beautiful national parks and sub-tropical climate. During the process of choosing to study in South Africa I had nearly no knowledge of the country’s political history, and barely even knew what Apartheid was. Scratch that. I didn’t know what Apartheid meant or was AT ALL.
Having now spent a year living, studying and traveling throughout Southern Africa I can say that I more fully understand the history of this incredibly beautiful and resilient, spirited region. This is why I am writing this post today, a day that is celebrated across South Africa and the African continent. Read more
About six months from now our students who studied abroad in Southern Africa will be boarding their planes to return home. Most of you will likely be doing so begrudgingly, kicking and screaming along the way, grabbing onto anything possible in order to stay put longer. Upon your return home there will be some culture shock, and you will likely be subjected to questions such as, ‘Were there elephants outside your door?’ ‘What was it like on Robben Island?’ ‘Did you hike to the top of Table Mountain?’
Anyone who has done their research on what to see in Southern Africa would ask these questions – but there is much more to explore in this beautiful region. This is why I have constructed a Southern Africa “Bucket List” for places to check out along the road less traveled. Following this list will fully immerse you into this great region. Just click on each item to read more. Be sure to do your own research too – there is still so much more to see beyond this list!
Enjoy a full-moon hike at Lion’s Head Mountain
Catch a concert at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Spend a night (or three) in Coffee Bay
I can picture myself at ten years old; surrounded in the savannah I had created in my head. One that consisted of a jungle of bed sheets and the company of a stuffed giraffe and elephant. It was in this kingdom where I held my own safaris, my own world without ever leaving my bedroom.
Perhaps this was what enticed me to travel to Cape Town: the vision of adventure still floating around in my mind. But now, that child has grown up. I want more than the adventure that thrilled my young heart. Now, I long for the insight.
Perhaps that is both the opportunity and the challenge that I foresee in this journey to Cape Town: the discovery of insight. It is the understanding that I both desire and cringe at the thought of. It is the fact I will go on this voyage to a place I don’t know, and undoubtedly find myself overwhelmed by the shock and the difference in location and culture. I will see the struggles and heartache of a new nation that will not only challenge me, but challenge what I have been taught and what I had previously understood.
At the same time, this new insight will offer me an opportunity to open my eyes to the vastness of this planet and appreciate in full what our world has to offer. I will experience beautiful things; things that can only be felt through experience, could only be understood through action. Then, I will leave Cape Town not only with the adventure in my soul, but also with the insight in my heart that will stay with me forever.
Six months ago I could barely tell you where Botswana was on a map, and now I am about to spend the next six months living in the Kalahari Desert, with heat I can not yet imagine, while studying at the University of Botswana. The African desert will be quite a change from my coastal California upbringing and the snowy winters I get while at school, the University of Denver.
Each time I answer the question, “Where will you be studying abroad?” I get a wide range of reactions: a blank stare from someone who has not a clue where Botswana is or a loud obnoxious gasp followed by the assumption that I will be tracking big game or “hanging out with Simba” from the Lion King (not opposed!. When deciding where I wanted to study abroad I knew I wanted an experience completely unlike anything I had ever had done before but also one that allowed me to connect and build relationships with local students. I hope to come back feeling a real connection with Botswana and having a new kind of confidence in myself that can only be gained by traveling and living for an extended amount of time in a completely foreign region where I don’t know anyone in the country, let alone on the entire continent! Read more
If I were a movie character, I would definitely be Dory of Finding Nemo. I can’t help but identify with her sense that there is always something more, her deep curiosity for the unfamiliar, and her zest for every adventure. While her cautious friend Marlin is always mentioning the dangers of their unfamiliar surroundings, Dory reminds him, “This is the ocean silly, we’re not the only two in here.” Read more