Stuart in Madrid, Spain

Hello! My name is Stuart Robbins and I am an American Studies major at Amherst. This semester, I will be seeking to develop a more nuanced and global perspective through my studies at Syracuse University in Madrid, Spain. I am most excited to increase my Spanish language skills and immerse myself in Spanish culture. During the semester I will be navigating the roller coaster of emotions that comes from living in a new culture. I love cooking, exploring the outdoors, …

Now What?? A Few Things I Learned While Abroad and What Happens Next

Hi everyone! I’ve been back home in the US for about two weeks now. I will admit that I did have a bit of reverse culture shock when I first came back. Instead of cobblestone streets and my yellow bike, I was back to driving my van in the suburbs. Instead of my favorite Danish coffee shop and pastries, I was back in my favorite pizza place because, after all, nothing beats New York pizza. I was reunited with a …

Final Blog

I did not prepare myself for my return home especially the emotions I am experiencing now. I had to say goodbye to my life of travels, to the friends I made, to the city I had come to appreciate and love. I sit at home now watching Netflix or occasionally going out to see my friends and family. When I am asked about my travels abroad, I get excited and nostalgic and then frustrated when I do not see the …

My Identities Abroad

Now that my time is ending in Spain, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about my various identities and traveling abroad in Spain and other countries in Europe. I will discuss my black, American, and New York City identities in hope to show how each one shifts my power and privilege in different contexts. Let’s start with my black identity. I must admit that it was difficult to be black in Europe. I remember the first week …

Attending Wellesley, an All-Women’s College

Seeing the Stars Imagine you go outside after you’ve left your well-lit house. You look up and all you see is a black sky. However, your eyes start to adjust to the lack of surrounding light and your vision starts to change. Slowly, you observe these specks of light that become brighter as you stay outside. And finally, after a while, you see innumerable stars brightly speckling the dark canvas of the night. I think this phenomenon aptly describes my …

The Balance

  I said it in my first post, but this city really becomes something else at night. This might be my own biases coming out though. Some of my favorite memories from Shanghai will be associated with its nighttime, and the people I met while exploring the streets. That’s one of the most important parts of my experience, now that I’ve had some time to reflect on it. The people are what kept me so interested and curious about the …

Feeding Myself Abroad

When many students go abroad I think there are a few things that they would typically be nervous about. They might ask things like, how will I adapt in a new culture and environment? Will I like my classes? Will there be a language barrier? Will I make friends? For me, however, and I bet a for a few other students as well, the main question I wanted answered was, what will I eat?? Many study abroad programs have a …

Old Towns in Yunnan

Let’s talk a bit more about this authenticity thing. This is something I touched on in my last blog post, but the questions authenticity creates have surrounded me daily while studying abroad in China. Take, for example, my most recent trip to Yunnan province. It’s pretty far from Shanghai, bordering a number of Southeast Asian countries and home to a number of minority ethnic groups. Yunnan is a space that profits a lot off of its culture and history. The …

Possessing Language

“No way, I can’t go to the store by myself! My Spanish is not that good…no one will understand me! Please come with me!” I blurted this out to my friend Zaq in my hotel room before heading out to get some more toothpaste. He gave me a rosy smile and said “No, I know you can do it.” I shook my head. I put on my shoes. I made my way towards the door after sucking my teeth. I …

The Jante Law and a Look at Academics at DIS

More than halfway through the semester, my new life in Copenhagen is in full swing. With so many new things happening to me every day—eating new food, trying new types of transportation and activities, and new things to see—it does feel nice to have a set school routine with classes four days a week (and not to mention, classes that I am really enjoying). While I have loved my academic experience at Amherst so far, my academic experience in Copenhagen …

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