Saying Goodbye and Redefining Home

  As I enter my last two weeks of the semester, I feel a mix of emotions. Even though I’m sure I will still be processing this fact after I leave, I realized the other day that I have lived in Cuba for an entire academic year. That also means I have lived in one of the most restricted countries for U.S. citizens, and spent a year forming roots that might not be easily accessible in the future. Though I …

How to Be a Yuma

After nearly two semesters studying in Cuba, I’ve been fortunate enough to learn about and take part in many amazing aspects of Cuban culture. While two semesters is not nearly enough to fully understand a different space and context, it has given me a more detailed snapshot than I would have had otherwise. One of the most interesting experiences I’ve had this past academic year is having been able to observe the relationship between Cuban nationals and foreign tourists. As …

Engolindo Sapos

As I begin to write this I imagine what this post would have looked like if the murder had not happened. I would have probably focused on writing about the silly activities underclassmen are subjected to during the first weeks of college–like using buckets as backpacks. I might have written about the oddities of young Brazilians’ vernacular, where every sentence includes either the word cara (face) or tipo (like). I would have probably detailed the homecoming festivities in the villas, …

What is an IHP Program Really?

I knew study abroad would be a great opportunity for me to learn how to admit and recognize all the things I don’t know. What I wasn’t expecting was that I would get lots of great practice learning to say “I don’t know” before I even departed for my program. After learning about my admission to the IHP Rethinking Food Security Program, I found myself constantly fumbling when trying to explain the complexity of what I would be doing for …

What Do You See? What Do you Feel? What Can I say?

    In a recent excursion with my program we went to Kraków, Poland. During my stay I didn’t venture that for from the town center, which is actually at least a mile long from the north to the south end. The space is packed with tourists, some locals, food shops, history, old churches and architecture. When I first got to the city, I was a bit worried about the recent face of Nationalism that has publicly risen, and how …

What it is Like to Return

Written by Ruth Manzanares ’18 The date is January 4th, 2017. It’s 4 in the morning and I can’t sleep. I don’t know if it’s from nervousness, excitement, or a combination of the two. All I know is that I’m about to embark on the journey of my life. In just a few hours I will be on a plane to Spain, a longtime dream of mine. I could not tell you when this dream began only that it was …

Exploring Identity Through the Cuban Market

It’s weird to think that this is about the time that Amherst students have their spring break. I’m eagerly awaiting mine which comes in the middle of April; apparently we are going on a cross-country trip to Santiago de Cuba! Until then, I’ve been finding little ways to make my semester full of new experiences. Recently, I have taken to visiting different fruit and street markets in order to buy daily produce and household food staples, such as plantains, vegetables, …

Transition, Translation, The Mind, and Nothing

  Though I do miss me a good ol’ American breakfast with things like eggs and bacon and toast with butter and jam and maybe pancakes and breakfast sausage or perhaps oatmeal with some raisins along with some butter and brown sugar or an omelette (which actually I usually don’t like) or some French toast…mmm…the yummness of French toast does not ever subside from my mind. Where was I? Though I do miss me a good ol’ American breakfast, I …

Experiences with Cuban Piropo Culture

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already March; I feel like time has been slipping away since the start of the semester. I definitely feel more socially and academically acclimated than I did after my first post. The workload feels a lot more similar to Amherst, but perhaps more difficult since everything is in Spanish. A year ago, I would have never thought I would be able to read and write in Spanish like I am now! I’m excited that I …

When Global Means Staying Home, Too

Written by Rachael Hanley, Director of Social and New Media in the Amherst College Office of Communications (Originally published on the Amherst College website, 27 February 2018)     When Rebecca Houedjissi ’18 decided to take a semester away from Amherst College, international study was an option—but not the only one. After considering a range of choices, Houedjissi decided to try a semester at Howard University, a historically black college that she had once considered attending full time. Howard offered …

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