Adaptation out of Necessity: Grocery Shopping

Adaptation. A fantastic characteristic to have, as well as an esoteric, indie Nicolas Cage movie. The former being a necessary skill to have when abroad, and the latter being a nice thing to have while abroad. This skill becomes especially important while transitioning between cultures, and particularly between America and Japan. I don’t think that many people expect for grocery shopping to be a difficult thing when going abroad. Language, cultural customs, financial difficulties — sure! These are the things …

Konbini- A Glimpse into Food Culture through Convenience Stores

こびに (Konbini): the convenience store. The holy trinity of Japan: 7-11, Lawson’s, and Family Mart. They’re inescapable, rounding every street corner (sometimes two right across the street from one another) of every city in Japan. Introduced in 1969, they have quickly become a staple of the Japanese diet, serving students, businessmen, and families — all different walks of Japanese life. They’re everywhere. Imagine the popularity and numbers of Starbucks, McDonalds, and CVS combined, and that is the amount of konbini …

Examining Access to Higher Education through Study Abroad

As I am writing my first blog post, I am still in Amherst, surrounded by all the familiar faces and places I’ve come to know, care for, and love in my past two years. I’m just one day away from the beginning of my fall semester and the beginning of my travels to a whole other country for the first time in my life. Within this day alone I’ve felt so much excitement, sadness, optimism, and genuine fear. Upon disclosing …

My Carbon Footprint in Svalbard

Hi again! I left Svalbard about two weeks ago, so I am now writing this fourth and final blog post from a hotel in Wyoming, as I make a pilgrimage across the country in a caravan of other geology students from around the US. I’ve been launched back into the readjustment processes of non-Arctic life; however, while driving through Yellowstone National park today we saw about an inch of snow accumulation and balmy temperature at freezing— so maybe home isn’t …

Home

It is hard to put into words the many changes I have gone through since the start of my semester in Madrid. I do feel that leaving the Amherst “bubble” has been good for my own personal growth. I was constantly challenged to adapt and step outside of my comfort zone. After two years at Amherst, I am guilty of falling into a predictable routine. The semester in Madrid gave me a chance to shake things up and live more …

Public Parks in Madrid

Parks provide a haven for wildlife and allow people to connect with nature. They perform an essential role in both our ecosystems and our communities. During my semester in Spain I sought to expand my perspective on public parks in the United States through a comparison between parks in Spain and parks in the United States. My hope was that experiences abroad would inform my understanding of the creation, use, and management of parks. This coming fall, I will be …

Immersion

In addition to academics and access to my major requirements, cultural immersion was one of my top priorities when I planned my semester abroad. I did extensive research and decided the best way to meet and become friends with Australian students was to live on campus, even though most Australian students live at home or in off-campus housing.  In off-campus student accommodation easily accessible to international students, I probably would have been around very few local students. At College, I …

Food Supplies in the Arctic

Greetings again from the far north! I’m now down to about one month left on Svalbard, so classes are wrapping up and we’re moving into the project and exam period. The sun is shining lots and the snow is still sticking around, but the lack of blooming flora (or basically any flora for that matter) makes it feel like a rather untraditional spring. My last few blog posts have been fairly broad explorations of sustainability here on Svalbard, so the …

Biases within Directed Research

One of my professors mentioned the importance of knowing one’s position in their environment. Throughout our time in Bhutan, the group of students I studied with discussed this at length. One of the questions we tried to answer was that of whether or not we were tourists. We never reached a solid conclusion, partly because of time, but many of the students fell into one of the two categories: 1) yes, we are, because three and a half months is …

Mid-Semester Break and USyd Academics

It’s mid-semester break and I am in Queensland (The Sunshine State), three hours north of Sydney by plane.  I spent the beginning of the break enjoying Easter in Sydney, which included the Sydney Royal Easter Show, a massive fair with carnival rides, livestock competitions, woodcutting, and showbags (bags of candy and themed souvenirs at low prices).  The Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales runs the Easter Show to raise funds to invest in agricultural programs in rural NSW.  Here …

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