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Study Abroad


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A section devoted to study abroad experiences of college students.

Published in: Travel
  • Great presentation, thanks.
    On a sidenote, here’s what I do when studying abroad and fed up of being shut out of auctions because the seller does not ship to my temporary country. The same goes for online retailers who refuse to ship to my destination when moving around.
    When shopping using BPM, you get reception addresses all over the world. This makes it possible to buy where you want from whom you want, regardless of where the seller ships or not.
    They combine all your shopping and forward it to wherever you want. I’m sure there are other such services available, which you can google, but I’m pretty happy so far so I’ll stick to them. Their website is in case you’re interested.
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Study Abroad

  1. 1. Perspectives 2.4.10:Layout 1 2/16/10 5:24 PM Page 1 Strolling the streets of St. Petersburg 6 PERSPECTIVES February 4, 2010 G Mount Holyoke News BY MARIJA TESLA ’11 CONTRIBUTING WRITER he cultural capital of Russia, St. Petersburg, T was my home this past semester and is an in- credible place to call home. -– When I went abroad, I knew that my adventure would be life-changing, but I did not know exactly why it would be so transformative. I never thought that I was diving into a world I knew nothing about. I had walked the streets of St. Petersburg with Dostoevsky’s dilemma-struck Raskolnikov. I was there, through the triumphs and the tragedies of many Russian heroines and heroes as they negotiated their lives in and with this city. In Russian literature St. Petersburg is not just a setting. Instead, St. Petersburg is a fully developed, full-bodied character of its own. It is a city filled with beauty, kindness and brightness; yet at the same time it is a city filled with sadness, greed and ugliness. St. Petersburg’s dark winter days and summer white nights well illustrate the city’s ex- tremities—they depict a strong contrast, which con- stantly reminded me that things are never as simple as they may seem. As soon as my plane landed in Pulkovo II, I felt a con- nection with Russia and St. Petersburg. My semester started with a trip to the Museum of the Blockade in St. Petersburg, in which a tour guide talked about the 900-day siege of former Leningrad. The siege lasted from Sept. 8, 1941 to Jan. 27, 1944. I went in that museum not being able to understand 40 percent of what my tour guide was say- ing. I walked out having understood so much. This odd connection anchored me in St. Petersburg, whether I liked it or not. In front of the Church of the Spilt Blood At the opera Iolanta, Mariinsky Theatre Perhaps it was my own past that triggered this strong connection—my Slavic background that roots me to Croa- ing the streets Raskolnikov did. I visited the Hermitage, interacts with at home. I finally experienced migration tia and Serbia and my war-filled childhood. Perhaps it was the Russian Museum and the Church of the Spilt Blood from one country to another through choice and transcen- the painful sadness around me that erased all borders and where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated. I got to see dence instead of force, need for survival or a better life. I allowed me to understand the people of St. Petersburg Swan Lake at the Mikhailovsky Theatre and go to the was there to study Russian—which I did—but I also opera Iolanta at the Mariinsky Theatre, having missed learned much more. you simply on the basis that we are all human. Either way, I grasped why my host-grandmother and grandfather never Anna Netrebko’s performance by a few days. I experi- My time in Russia was anything but a fairytale, but I threw away food. enced the magic that is Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky over and am thankful for every single moment. My experience in While I was there I strolled the halls of many gold filled over again. St. Petersburg cannot be qualified on an emotional scale ideas palaces and saw the still-existing communal apartments I encountered the never-smiling Russian that one sees between “good” and “bad”—it is much more nuanced on my Crime and Punishment walk, this time really walk- on the street, and the warm ever-smiling Russian that one than that. Gift abroad Photos by Marija Tesla when study 1. 2. 3. 4. Russia U.K. Brazil Spain Nesting Umbrella Jewelry Wine doll from from from from Russia. London. Brazil. Spain. Russian nesting dolls, If you want to retain the Some of the most beauti- Here is a chance to retain also known as ma- memory of the rainy days ful handcrafted jewelry in the taste of Spain with the tryoshkas, make great you spent in London dur- the world is designed in textured flavors of the gifts for family and ing your study abroad, Brazil. If you are planning world’s most sophisti- friends waiting back buy an umbrella. Better to study abroad in this cated wines. Take home, home. They are usually yet, get yourself one that Latin American country, for instance, the Sherry, wooden female figures of carries images of the look for bamboo neck- which is produced in different sizes and city’s most popular scenic laces, stained glass ear- southern Spain. If you are dressed in sarafans. locales, views and motifs. rings, exotic beads and more of a champagne fan, Nowadays, matryoshkas Black-and-white umbrel- other ethnic jewelry. grab the sparkling Cava, can be modeled after well- las also make great gifts which comes from the known world political fig- for fashion-savvy individ- Catalonia region. ures and entertainers. uals.
  2. 2. Perspectives 2.4.10:Layout 1 2/16/10 5:25 PM Page 2 7 The many ways Budapest captivated me February 4, 2010 G Mount Holyoke News PERSPECTIVES BY SILVIYA VALEVA ’11 One of the many things I am going to miss from my home in the Budapest. Hungarians are used to having foreign students and tourists CONTRIBUTING WRITER last semester abroad is living in a big city. Budapest around, so one can get by with English almost everywhere. Knowing a few things in Hun- truly is one of the most beautiful European capitals, di- garian, however, can really help as locals appreciate one’s effort to learn their language. vided in two by the Danube river and colored by the eclectic architecture of bridges, cas- At first, we had to learn from experience whether a product on the shelf in the super- tles, parks and museums. market was yoghurt or sour cream. A few times when we were in a hurry, we inhaled hot In the fall, I joined the Budapest Semester in Mathematics coffee in the shop because we could not explain that we wanted As we found ourselves in a for- drinks and what to buy in the store, even though the neighbor- (BSM), a program designed especially for math undergraduates it “to go.” As we took the regular language class, however, things in a foreign country with a different culture and language, it eign country with a different cul- hood kids still laughed at us as we made silly mistakes trying to from the U.S. and Canada. The term had 69 students, most of fell more or less into place—we learned how to order food and whom had never been to Europe before. As we found ourselves was easy and fast to build friendships. We were rarely bored— ture and language, it was easy speak Hungarian. What’s more, the city’s location enabled us to travel around Eu- and fast to build friendships. weekends were full of sightseeing, traveling and partying. In school, classes were taught entirely in English. Most pro- fessors came from the Budapest Technical University and Renyi rope and see places like Prague, Vienna and Krakow. Institute for Mathematics with experience teaching in the U.S. We got a sense of both the historical heritage of the city Thus, the classroom experience wasn’t much different from what and its lively social character. Budapest has everything a young we knew. What made it exciting, though, was our group of math person might need from efficient public transportation, big shopping malls and restau- majors who held in-depth discussions and solved challenging assignments. rants to cute coffee shops and night clubs. International students, many of whom attend Budapest captured me with its low living expenses, historical heritage and vibrant the Central European University and the Budapest campus of McDaniel College, feel at social life. I will be sure to visit again. I made out with my hostmom At the Chain Bridge (Széchenyi lánchíd) overlooking the Danube River Buda Castle Photos by Silviya Valeva BY SIOBHAN ANDERSON ’11 went to plant one on my STAFF WRITER right cheek. Our lips met. Surprised, she Saying hello in France, pulled away quickly and depending on the size of the examined me head to toe. two parties meeting, can Disaster warnings were run- take up to fifteen minutes. ning through my head All over France there are like the tickers at the different rules bottom of news pro- that apply to grams. One catastrophe each region after the other, my that dictate stock with French soci- how many kisses ety plunging lower than the one should give or dollar. I could see myself try- receive when saying ing to explain the situation to hello. Here, in Montpel- my family later: my mother try- lier, the magic number ing to convince me that is three. it happened all When I arrived in the time, that Montpellier, ignorant French people in of both fact liked having French slang intimate contact and rather with people u n hyg i e n i c they’ve never met, greeting habits, no my Dad ignoring one informed me that I the situation en- would be receiving this con- tirely and asking stant wave of affection. Meet- me if she smelled ing my host mother was my like cigarettes or if first true experience with “les her house looked like bisous.” She entered the foyer of the the Moulin Rouge and my brother re- hotel I had been staying in with a rush peating over and over “I can’t believe of color, a certain smell of Chanel and you made out with your host mom!” oddly, Starbucks (I later discovered that She continued to examine me. this was because she took a weekly bath When I had finished my apologetic and in the coffee grinds accumulated certainly incoherent rant she smiled, throughout the week, and then would pulled me to her again and said, in bro- perfume herself with Coco’s Number ken English, “Zees is ow vee do eet een Nine). I recognized her from the photo France.” She took my head in her hands she had sent when she offered a large and proceeded to kiss me, one kiss for smile as she approached me. There was each cheek, done three times, turning no time to witness any expression on my head slowly, making sure I under- her face as she quickly grabbed me by stood. the shoulders, yanked me to her like a Now, six months later, saying hello policeman about to conduct a strip in France still eludes me occasionally, search and leaned in towards my face but I am better at predicting now who to with lips puckered like the pinched end kiss first, whether or not to kiss a girl of an apple. Shocked and scared, yet still and whether it is appropriate to hold wanting to be polite and cultivated (two someone’s hand while kissing. Needless things which I later learned, are not pos- to say, a simple handshake seems like a sible for Americans), I leaned in to pres- thing of the past. ent the left side of my face, just as she