Maria Bell | Exeter, England | Post 1

Maria Bell | Exeter, England | Post 1

Featured Image: Early morning in rural England While making plans to meet up with a friend from Vassar in London, it dawned on me that I was about to spend time with another American student for the first time since my first few days in Exeter. My study abroad experience has been a rather quirky one—I am not in a large metropolis, nor am I part of an established program of other Americans. Back at Vassar, I had my people…

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Tyler Boyle | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Post 3

Tyler Boyle | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Post 3

Featured Image: A canal that lines the Jordaan area, along with residential house boats where various families live Two months down.  Two and a half months to go. I’m currently writing this on my “fall break”, while sitting on a train, heading from London to Exeter, where my friend, Maria, is studying for the year.  And I cannot believe where the time has gone.  Again, as with any post, here are the updates from last time: My homestay mom, Dagmar, has…

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Chris McCann | Bologna, Italy | Post 3

Chris McCann | Bologna, Italy | Post 3

Featured Image: Building in which my neurobiology course it held. Last week I began a new phase in my abroad experience when I began my course at Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Thus far I have been taking various courses in the Italian ECCo program itself, but now I am in the midst of working through a course that is not only taught in Italian while being surrounded by Italian students, but at a university generally just far different…

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Evelyn Frick | St. Petersburg, Russia | Post 3

Evelyn Frick | St. Petersburg, Russia | Post 3

Featured Image: Henri Matisse’s famous paintings Music and Dance, currently on display in The Hermitage Museum. The version of Dance which is on display in New York’s MoMa was a study for the painting in St. Petersburg. Some Russian rat bastard stole my phone. In the past I have been to many big cities in the United States and Europe, and I always prided myself on never having been pickpocketed. About two weeks ago, that streak came to a tragic end. Allow me to illustrate:…

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Talya Phelps | Prague, Czech Republic | Post 3

Talya Phelps | Prague, Czech Republic | Post 3

Featured image: “Submergence” installation at Signal Festival. When I picked up a book on the Danish art of hygge for my parents last spring, I had no idea that, only a few months later, I would be experiencing it firsthand. Hygge is to Denmark what freedom is to America—it sort of defines who we are. Rather than being exemplified by screeching eagles or getting hammered and setting off illegal fireworks, though, it’s about being cozy. While there is no English…

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Kimberly Nguyen | Exeter, England | Post 2

Kimberly Nguyen | Exeter, England | Post 2

Featured image: Finally made it to Stonehenge after finding a field of cows instead. “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald My mother tried to teach me how to belong.  She taught me to compromise, to be silent to avoid conflict, to pick battles wisely or preferably not at all.  She said that sometimes we have to force…

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Chris McCann | Bologna, Italy | Post 2

Chris McCann | Bologna, Italy | Post 2

Venice. It’s that iconic city used as the setting of countless films and novels, whose panorama is depicted by painters from the venders on its streets all the way to Van Gogh. Because of its reputation, Venice stirred emotions and even some concerns during my little trip. I was met with feelings that were expected, and but also some that caused me to take a more realistic approach to the magical city. Upon my arrival in Venice, taking the train…

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Elena Schultz | Paris, France | Post 2

Elena Schultz | Paris, France | Post 2

Enshrouded in the quintessentially Parisian mélange of heavy post-rain air and cigarette smoke, I made my daily walk to the Jourdain metro station this morning to catch the train to my last class of the week. My route to school, whether at the Columbia-run international program at Reid Hall or the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, has become a daily variation on a theme. During the 10-minute walk (or six-minute run, depending on how late I am) from my home in a…

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Talya Phelps | Prague, Czech Republic | Post 2

Talya Phelps | Prague, Czech Republic | Post 2

Featured image: Prague Castle (Pražský hrad), St. Vitus Cathedral, and the iconic red roofs of the city viewed from the Petřín Lookout Tower Have you ever been minding your own business on your way to work or school, allowing the tide of commuters to buoy you along as you board the metro, when you suddenly experienced a total collapse of your subjective self-identity? Because I haven’t. In fact, I had no idea this was a normal thing for anyone to experience…

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Evelyn Frick | St. Petersburg, Russia | Post 2

Evelyn Frick | St. Petersburg, Russia | Post 2

Last week my Russian professor asked me if I own a gun. For anyone who knows me well, that question is a nonstarter. I abhor guns. I abhor what they stand for in American culture. And I abhor the idea that they make us safer. I responded with a scoff. “Не Конечно!” (“Of course not!” in English) But as she went around the table asking the other students the same question, I realized her inquisitiveness was not part of a…

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