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By juliareinholdgw

This weekend I had the amazing opportunity to visit one of China’s most beautiful cities, Suzhou. Suzhou is like a giant, more metropolized water town. Nestled among the cities large buildings are beautiful canals with old ancient buildings and serene stone bridges.

One of the sites that we saw while in Suzhou was the Lingering Garden. The Lingering Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a classical Chinese garden.

...continue reading "SuZhou, A Heavenly Paradise"

By amberherrle

After visiting Petra, my program took us to the desert. Wadi Rum more closely resembles Mars than it does Earth. It is no wonder that the film, Martian was filmed here. The Sahara offers expansive views of dunes upon dunes upon dunes. But Wadi Rum offers something different. I had heard from so many Jordanian friends that Wadi Rum is their favorite spot in Jordan but I didn’t quite understand. Now I do. Pictures certainly do not do this place justice.

We spent the afternoon driving through the desert, stopping only to race up the sand hills. The pick-up truck beds had been converted into benches that bounced with the dunes. Rolling across the desert, you feel like you are in space. The large mounts above you remind me of drip castles. I would go as far to say that Wadi Rum reminds me of the earth’s day out at the beach. I know, it sounds crazy but everyone in my truck agreed!


Aqaba is the only port in Jordan. This bustling multicultural beach town is a perfect spot for travelers coming to Jordan from Egypt or Israel. In fact, you can see both Egypt and Israel from most points in Aqaba. Our program took us out on a large yacht for the first afternoon we were in Aqaba.

Aqaba sits on the red sea, after driving the boat out about 30 minutes we arrived on the most beautiful reef I have had the pleasure of seeing. The area that we snorkeled in is nick-named the Japanese Garden and it is no wonder why. The beautiful reef is covered in green and blue choral of all shapes. The water was the most beautiful shade of turquoise making visibility ideal.

...continue reading "Wadi Rum, Aqaba and ISP"

By lrich522

This is a blog post about food in Dakar, Senegal.


  • Breakfast: chocopain (chocolate spread) and bread with kinkileba tea
  • Lunch: Sandwich omelette frites at CIEE study center – This is literally just eggs and fries with ketchup and mayo in a massive sandwich and I LOVE it (500 CFA = 82 cents)
  • Dinner: Doorat which is an entire grilled fish with fries, mayo, and yassa (an onion sauce)



  • Breakfast: bread and chocolate
  • Lunch: Ceebujën (this means rice and fish in Wolof)
  • Snack: biscrème cookies (100CFA at all of the nearby boutiques = 16 cents)
  • Dinner: ndambe which is pretty much just a massive plate of beans with more bread



  • Breakfast: surprise surprise more bread, chocolate, and tea (I don’t hate it tho)
  • Lunch: yassa poisson which is a fish with the yassa onion sauce, and white rice. This was the plat du jour at CIEE (1000 CFA = $1.63)
  • Dinner: Spaghetti with an onion and meat sauce

...continue reading "What’s in my stomach??"

By jcapobia

Let’s be honest. There are some people in this world that we could never get along with no matter how hard we tried. It’s really no one’s fault, but there are just some people who you don’t click with. Maybe you have clashing personalities, different interests, or just genuinely don't like each other.

And this usually isn’t too big of a problem, given that there’s almost 7.2 billion people in the world. As mentioned in previous blogs, people usually seek out like minded individuals and wall themselves off. Sure, may not be the greatest way to live your life, but there's some sense in it. It is genuinely hard to relate to people that don’t share your interests, your experiences, or your views.

Here in Spain, I’ve kind of felt trapped in the sense that meeting different kinds of people has been a struggle. I haven’t had the patience or time to actually maintain some of my earlier friendships, and this has led to the dissolution of many relationships. Additionally, as I’ve gone through my adventures in Spain, I’ve found that being an American restricts you in a way that makes you not quite “exotic” (for lack of a better word). Through the omnipresence of American media, foreigners will always know much, much more about the United States than you expect. And I think this kind of takes away from the cultural exchange aspect of studying abroad because I have no culture to exchange; Hollywood, Kanye West, and The New York Times are already spreading it around the world.

...continue reading "How to Make Friends Abroad"

By riakkim

After months of quite cold weather, spring has finally arrived in Seoul. While the nights are still chilly and the weather is still fickle, the moods of everyone seemed to have brightened with the better weather. Springs songs abound, and popular spring songs such as Busker Busker's Cherry Blossom Ending, HIGH4&IU's Not Spring, Cherry Blossoms, or Love, and Roy Kim's Spring Spring Spring are making their yearly rounds.

The winter jackets have been stowed away as lighter clothes take their place, and its lovely to see pastels, florals, skirts and dresses take their place. And then there are couples, which can be seen even more frequently than before, wearing their matching outfits. And much like cuffing season in the US, there is much talk floating around about who has started dating with the start of spring.

좌천로망스다리 / Yeojwa Cheonro Romance Path

I spent the past weekend in Jinhae, a part of Changwon, located in the very southernmost part of Korea along the shoreline. It's the most famous area in Korea for Cherry Blossoms, and it has many areas filled with Cherry Blossoms and accompanying festivals. We went to the 여좌천로망스다리 (Yeojwa Cheonro Romance Path), the 경화역 벚꽃길 (Gyeonghwa Station Cherry Blossom Road), and 제황산공원 (Jehwangsan Park). Each one was filled with not only cherry blossoms, but stalls upon stalls of food, gifts, and vendors, while the path was full of visitors, all taking pictures, eating, or buying food.

...continue reading "Spring, Spring, Spring"

By juliareinholdgw

The Chinese school system is entirely different from the US school system. From a very young age, Chinese students are put in a competitive and stressful academic environment both at home and in school. In contrast, American kids are taught about sharing, creativity, and given a fun, playful environment during their earliest school years.

The Chinese teaching method is all about memorization. This method is ancient, stemming all the way back from the teachings of Laozi, a Confucian-Daoist scholar. Ancient China’s entire political and educational system revolved around memorizing Confucian Teachings. Although today Chinese students still learn through memorization, they learn all different subjects like Chinese, Math, Science, History, and English.

...continue reading "The Life of a Chinese College Student vs. Life of an American College Student"

This week was relatively chill as I am feeling more and more at home here in Santiago. So without anything big or drastic to comment on I figured I could write a blog to answer the question all my family members ask when they call, “what are they feeding you”. So today I will treat you all to my personal review of  the food I have had hear in Chile so far and how this differs from American food. Before coming to Chile, I did not have a specific opinion on Chilean food.

I thought it should be similar to other Latin American foods, like Mexican food or Peruvian. I assumed there would be a lot of chicken and rice and the typical Chilean foods like choclo, empanadas and carne a lo pobre. I was hoping that Chileans would like spicy food and hot sauce (like the country’s name suggests) because, I love spicy and flavorful food. Based on Chile’s geography I assumed that the Chileans eat a lot of fish because it is a country with so much access to the sea and the fishing industry. Also, I thought Chile had meat as good as Argentina's very famous meat. But since my arrival here in Chile my perception has changed a lot.

First I want to say something, I do not hate Chilean food, it is not terrible and could be much worse. Above all, I'm very lucky because my host mother is a very good cook. She is retired and takes great pride in cooking delicious and healthy foods and cooking with lots of variety. I understand that this is not very common because in some of the other student homes their host parents make the same food almost every day. It can be especially difficult for vegetarians, as vegetarianism is not very common in Chile and they often don’t know what to make of it.

...continue reading "Comida Chilena"

By emilycreighton

This past week my abroad program took us on a field trip to the second largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki. It's known as a young vibrant area with many college students living there. It's situated in northern Greece near the water with archaeological museums next door to bars.

It also happened to be my favorite field trip so far. We spent five days exploring the area- often on our own. Every morning our program took us to various historical sites from churches (in which several students were not allowed in due to their shorts), to tombs and castle ruins.

One of my favorite spots was the tomb of Phillip II. Located in ancient Macedonia, this complex of four tombs held various kings (though, no one really knows who). The site was rather interesting in which the excavation site is located indoors with dark lighting. In fact, the painting on the tombs is so well preserved, the museum does not allow photos even without the flash.

...continue reading "Thessaloniki and the land of Alexander the Great"

By bmlee18

Berlin has always been a city that I've wanted to visit. As an elementary student, I first learned about World War II and the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. I remember taking great interest in this dark history of the 20th century and wanting to expand my knowledge on the subject, thus taking up lots of reading on the matter.

Last year at GW, I took a course on German history before and after reunification, which was one of the most fascinating courses I've ever taken. The class not only focused on the Nazi era, but also the period of divided East and West Germany and the subsequent reunification upon the "fall" of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It could be said that Berlin was at the forefront of the battle between the East and the West - a symbol of the split between the communist/autocratic and capitalist/democratic halves of the world during the Cold War (another era of history that I've taken a great interest in).

So to finally be in Berlin and to see for myself some of the sites that my professor had spoken about, from the infamous Berlin Wall to the various memorials reminding Berliners of the city and the country's past so as to never repeat them again, was truly powerful. Unfortunately, I had less than 24 hours to spend in this intriguing city, as it was a short layover during my journey from Prague to Milan. Despite this, I was able to see from the exterior some of Berlin's main sites and to hear a local's perspective on the city through a walking tour. With another friend who was visiting Berlin, we joined a group of around 15 people from various English speaking countries and traversed the city on foot.

Our tour guide had previously studied history in school, and we certainly benefited from his extensive knowledge on the city's past, from the powerful Prussian Empire to Hitler's rise to the division of the city into quarters - with the French, British, and American sectors eventually coalesced together as West Germany and the Soviet sector forming East Germany. Our guide was also able to share some personal family stories, as his parents had been East Berliners before the Wall came down.

...continue reading "Where past and present blends immaculately – Berlin"

By amberherrle

Wow! I am so lucky to have visited Petra this past week. I cannot begin to describe just how beautiful the red sandstone is, and how immaculate the entire landscape is. Petra is one of the new wonders of the world – and it’s NO WONDER why. Despite being over two thousand years old, the site has features that look like they were crafted yesterday.

Driving towards Petra, you are struck by the archaic landscape. Large boulder mounds break the landscape into pieces and the dark red sand looks endless. I would equate the experience with driving into the Flinstones.

After walking through mounds of rock, you eventually come upon al Siq. This 1200-meter-long gorge winds its way through the colorful sandstone. The walls form mosaics, straight lines and images with their colorful displays. You can even see ancient art carved into the stone when you walk through the gorge. One of the more impressive pieces is the life-size carving of a camel and its keeper along the gorge wall. One of my initial remarks was that the gorge looked different every time I walked through it. I was happy every opportunity I had to look back and admire al Siq from a different angle.

When you eventually make your way out of al Siq, you see the treasury. This is the monument that is commonly associated with Petra and Jordan. This large sandstone building stands tall in all of its glory. I was most impressed by the details that can be seen on the treasury. After two thousand years, the treasury has truly withstood the test of time.

...continue reading "Petra! Otherwise known as: the most beautiful place on Earth!"