November, 2007

Traditional Kyoto

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Kyoto, well-known in Japan to have many traditional and historic sites. It is not uncommon to see women walking the streets dressed entirely in kimonos, and there are an abundant number of temples and shrines in the midst of the bustling city life. This clash of traditional Japan and gate1.jpgmodern Western lifestyle is something very unique to Japan in my opinion. Among the many temples we visited some of the more famous ones were Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), the bamboo forests and moss gardens of Arashiyama, and Fushimi Inari Taisha (tunnel-like red gates).

The interesting thing about Kinkaku-ji is that it is literally a golden temple, the outer surface is real gold. Resting alongside a large pond filled with carp and surrounded by Japanese-style gardens, this area felt very tranquil and peaceful. (more…)

Two Months in Spain!

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Hola Todos!

LIFE IN GRANADA:
There are some days when I get really homesick for no particular reason, but in general life in Granada has been very fun. I have made some very good friends. I have been hanging out with my roommate Rissy and her friends quite a bit. They often invite me out with them and we usually have a pretty good time. I also still hang out with my friend Oli. We usually watch sports together (soccer and rugby mostly). School is going very well. I like all of my teachers, and most of the time classes are very interesting and I learn a lot. I find that my Spanish is most fluent right after school, because I’ve just been listening and speaking it for 4-6 hours. It is kind of strange that I feel totally confident with my Spanish at those times, but there are other times when I just feel totally lost. All in all though, I feel like my Spanish skills have improved hugely, and they get better and better each week. It’s a nice feeling. I think I might get put in place very soon though, because we have midterms in most of my classes this next week and up until this point we haven’t really had any graded assignments or anything. So, it looks like I’ll be hitting the books this weekend. I still haven’t adapted to the Spanish daily routine – and I don’t think I ever will. I can’t get used to the meal times, siesta time, bar and club times, etc. Most dance clubs don’t open until 3 in the morning! Needless to say, I haven’t been to many dance clubs since I’ve been here. I was very disappointed to discover that Halloween is not widely celebrated in Spain. However, some of my American friends from school had their own Halloween party so I threw together a last minute costume and went with some friends to their house. I guess it was better than nothing. (more…)

Bordeaux

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Salut! The last few weeks here have gone really well! In the last month I have been to Bordeaux- which is famous for its wineries, an island called Noirmoutier- known for a particular type of salt called “fleur de sel,” Mont St. Michelle- an astounding chateau built on the top of this rocky island in the northern part of France, right between the borders of Bretagne et Normandie, and took a random day trip to Paris with the Dad in my host family who works there often during the week. (more…)

Sunny Santiago

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Hola from Chile! I am currently a CISB Spanish track member studying abroad in Santiago de Chile. Unlike a lot of the others from this blog, I have been here in Chile since July! I know, it’s crazy, I can hardly believe I am in the second half of my study abroad experience. Three months have passed since arriving, so I will just give a few highlights of my experience thus far.

santiago1.jpgI am attending Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) which is a very nice university with four campuses in four different parts of the city. Currently, there are about 500 exchange students attending PUC and I have met people from all over the world. My classes are a great mix of foreign and Chilean students, which I really like! Most of my classes are at the San Joaquin campus which is located about 25 minutes outside of the city center. Although it takes a while to get to campus, one cannot complain about the scenic views; the Andes Mountains loom over the campus making it an ideal place to take some photos and enjoy the impressive Chilean environment. (more…)