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 …

First Impressions

It’s 75 degrees and sunny here in Sydney. March 1st was the first day of Autumn and I spent the afternoon at Bondi Beach avoiding surfers who strayed into the designated swimming section. I arrived two and a half weeks ago. What follows requires a bit of terminology: Uni: University, i.e. where one studies. Here, the University of Sydney, which is located in Camperdown, a suburb in Sydney’s Inner West. Photos of the quadrangle and parts of the law school …

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 …

First Impressions

Hello from the very far away town of Wellesley, Massachusetts! It’s my 5th week here at Wellesley, and I can’t believe it’s already Fall! The campus is surrounded by trees, and I’m really excited to see the leaves change color. On first impressions, Wellesley isn’t that different from Amherst. Class sizes are around 600 students. Majority of students live in residence halls. The major difference is that it’s all-women’s. But I don’t notice it as much as I thought I …

The First Nights

It’s weird how often things repeat themselves. A month ago, I experienced the bustle of Shanghai Pudong Airport for the second time. Three years have passed since my first encounter with the place, and the advertisements, people, and weather might be different, but there are always constants. Let’s take scale, for example. If I were to say that Shanghai is “big”, I feel like I’d be falling right into a cliché. It’s a city. It’s big. Duh. Clichés exist for …

Getting to Know København!

Hej from Copenhagen! I’m finally settling in after being here for about two weeks now. I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know this city a little bit more everyday. Somehow it’s cute and small, but also large and historic at the same time. I also hadn’t traveled very much before this so I am really enjoying living in and exploring somewhere I have never been before. We’ve had amazing weather the first few days here! Sunny and around 70 degrees, …

Are you staying for Carnival?

“Vôce vai ficar para Carnaval?”  Are you staying for Carnival? When I first arrived in Rio de Janeiro over a month ago this was always the second or third question people would ask me. Cariocas (people originally from Rio de Janeiro) would ask because they are used to having foreigners, both from other countries or other parts of Brazil, ambush their city during this pre-lent festivity. In fact, I learned a lot of cariocas try to leave their own city …

Smiles, Showers and the Shadow of Communism

        When I walk into a store, what do I say? Is it rude to say hello in the English Language? What about saying goodbye in English? What about ordering food?  “I’d like to have so and so.” Or I could try in Czech: “Dam si Smažený vepřový řízek s bramborovým salátem.” Whenever I try saying the actual words, the waiters don’t understand me. O.K., I say to myself, then I proceed to point at the thingy …

Leaning In: My First Take on Life in Mendoza

posted in: Sophie in Argentina | 3

My decision to study abroad in Latin America came from a desire for a challenge, my love for Spanish, and the need for something new. I took an intermediate Spanish class at Amherst my first semester of college, and waited until the spring semester of my sophomore year to continue with the language. Recently, I began to see study abroad as one of my few chances to practice a language extensively in preparation for its use in my professional career. …