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 …

From Regret to Optimism: Finding Common Ground in a Foreign Institution

The overarching feeling I’ve had since my journey to London has been one of regret. Leading up to my departure, I was on campus working and observing the start of the Fall semester at Amherst as an outsider. I didn’t get to share my excitement or disdain for my upcoming classes with my peers or forge any relationships with the incoming class. I wanted so badly to talk about classes and exchange in the same getting-to-know-you conversations that are so …

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 …

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 …

A Brief History of Waste Management in Germany

Attempting to write a singular history of waste management in Germany is a flawed pursuit, as is any attempt to vie Germany’s history as just one story. A brief overview for those of you less familiar with German history: following World War II, Germany was split into two separate countries, the German Democratic Republic (eastern Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (western Germany). Waste management developed differently in the two countries due predominantly to their economic differences. For the …

Expectations and First Impressions

I would like to say that I arrived in Spain without fully-formed expectations, but that would not be entirely honest. Before arriving in Madrid I spent hours imagining what it would be like to walk down picturesque streets (such as the ones pictured below) and to eat traditional Spanish dishes like croquetas and paella. Once I decided to spend a semester in Spain, I began to feel a hunger: the need to make a checklist of “must-have” experiences that if …