Posted in Uncategorized |
I’m pleased to introduce you to WOU’s photoblog for students who are studying or interning abroad. I invite you to follow our students on their journeys from pre-departure preparation through the return home.
Photoblogging is a wonderful way for students to share what they are learning, observing, and discovering in their new environments. Enjoy the journey with them!
WOU’s photoblog is modeled on the Australian “Bringing the Learning Home” project developed by Jan Gothard, Greg Downey, Tonia Gray, and Linda Butcher, and with their permission, utilizes some of the materials from that project. http://ozstudentsabroad.com/
Posted in Uncategorized |
The first week has been great. I got to Querétaro, Mexico last Thursday morning and stayed in a hotel until Sunday. I got to my host family on Sunday and got all moved in. My host family has seven and almost eight people in it. There are the Grandparents, Isabel and Raúl, the two daughters Monique and Isabel. Monique is married to Martín and has two kids one is four and one is 10. Isabel has a boyfriend so maybe they will be getting married soon! My family has two dogs and a beautiful three story house.
I have already learned so much on my trip, my Spanish is improving quickly and starting Monday a couple girls and I are doing an all Spanish week. No speaking English allowed! This week was the first week of classes which have been hard because only one professor speaks English and the other two classes are a conversation class and composition class. The professors are more formal here and you have to treat them very respectfully, which is how it should be! I also learned you cannot eat or drink in class unless it is water.
One aspect of the Hispanic culture I have really had to get use to is the sense of time. Everyone here has their own schedule and their own time frame. A lot of times people just will not makes plans but then expect that you all are ready to do whatever. My friends and I always joke that speed limits and red lights are optional here because no one here really follows them. The traffic here is also insane. I have no clue how anyone drives in this place! I take the bus and taxi almost everywhere I go. It is very interesting because in the United States we have very strict schedules and rules and we follow them. Something I really love in the culture here is during the week the mom prepares meals when people are hungry and we usually eat La Comida together. However on Sundays everyone one eats La Comida together and this Sunday we had a BBQ outside with chorizo and carne asada.
I have seen a lot of the Centro area and Colonial areas of Querétaro and I am in love with every part of it! The streets are cobblestone and the buildings are older and colonial looking. After exploring the city we went on our first weekend trip and that was to Mt. Bernal. The elevation is 2510 m tall and I hiked all the way up with my group. The view from the top was breathtaking. Querétaro is so green and beautiful with rolling hills and small cities I could have stayed up there forever. After climbing the mountain we got to explore the city of Bernal and look in some local shops and get ice cream. Next weekend we are going to Mexico City and I am so excited!
Hasta Luego! el centro
Posted in Uncategorized |
Week 2 flew by and it was a blast. During the week the study abroad group went to a restaurant to watch one of the fútbol games and see the culture when there is a game going on. The restaurant was pretty full but nothing compared to when México was playing in the world cup. When México played people would fill the restaurants and then there would be people overflowing into the streets just trying to watch the game in the restaurants. In one of the plazas there was a TV set up and people were watching the game, setting off fireworks, playing music and having a great time. The scene was definitely really cool to see.
During the week I would usually stay home and do homework and I watched Harry Potter with my family one night. The professors definitely keep you busy with homework. I usually do homework from after Comida to when I go to bed. It’s crazy! There are some very culturally different things in México, aside from paying to use a bathroom, which is usually 5 pesos, there are also almost never toilet seats on the toilets! It’s just the toilet bowl. Also the men here are very forward with how they feel and sometimes it feels like they think they have a right to tell you what they think and if they want to dance with you they usually don’t take no for an answer.
For the weekend, the study abroad group went to México City and went to various museums and the Aztec Pyramids. I climbed to the top of the a smaller temple and was able to see some of the inside. I also climbed to the top of the Sun Temple. The altitude was huge and it was actually really challenging to climb however, there were grandmothers climbing up there just like me and some passed me!! We went to the museum of art and saw a Pablo Picasso exhibit along with art that told the history of México. We went to the museum of anthropology which was huge, we saw how humans evolved into the people we are today, we saw archeological sites which included underneath the now México city, before it was Tenochtitlán which was an Aztec city. When Tenochtitlán was conquered by the Spañards they built their building right on top of the Aztec houses and temples. As archeologists are discovering more of the city the citizens get to see a big part of their culture. We saw some underground burial chambers and we also saw where temples were being dug up in the city, which is cool because we only saw the tops of them because they are so far down. We also had the opportunity to see the sacrificial stone that people were sacrificed on. Another place that showed the history of México was the Plaza of Three Cultures. This plaza is in the middle of three major landmarks that are from different cultures and they had a lot to do with the revolution that took place. We got to see Chapultepec Castle which was turned into a museum telling the story of the royal people who lived in the castle before the revolution.
We also visited Xochimilco which is referred to as the Mexican Venice. There are beautifully decorated boats that you get on with a guide who takes your boat down the canals. The boats at Xochimilco are big party places and there were lots of celebrations happening when we went. People will also hop from boat to boat if they want to or see a girl they want to talk to! The culture there was wonderful, it is definitely a place people should go if they want to see some of the culture. The last place we went to was Frida Kahlo’s house. This was also turned into a museum and there were many cultural clues in the house. The house was bright blue on the outside and so colorful on the inside.
My Spanish has improved so much and now I understand why people go on study abroad trips! Week 2 flew by and I know week 3 will as well.
Posted in Spain | Tagged Andalusia, Big city life, España, Granada, Sierra Nevada, Spain, Study Abroad |
Hola, I’m back! Still soaking in the sights, reading, napping, eating, and doing a little studying on the side. Still in love with Barcelona, still missing home. I can’t believe its been over a month, time sure does fly when you’re having fun… it would seem I have a lot of catching up to do! Needless to say, a lot has happened since I last wrote. I think I’ll just try and take it one weekend at a time…
October 13-19 : There is a saying in Spain, “Si no has visto Granada, no has visto nada;” which means, if you have not seen Granada, you have not seen anything. I went with my program to Granada (17-19) and from the moment I stepped off the plane, I knew it was the truth. Back in October it was still quite hot and humid in Barcelona, Granada’s cool crisp morning air was a nice change of pace and reminded me of fall back home. I’m a mountain girl; I don’t snowboard or ski, but I sure can appreciate a good view and I’ve missed the snow capped mountains in Oregon. Granada’s view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (the original ones- no, Granada is not in California) did not disappoint! When the sun came up, it was a nice heat, one that warmed your skin without the sticky, sweaty heat you get in Barcelona. Granada is beautiful, I could spend hours telling you all about each and everything that makes it special; the unique street lamps, wide side walks, narrow alleys, fountains, parks, green grass (quite possibly my favorite thing about Granada!), old buildings, beautiful architecture, and the Alhambra – just to name a few. Not to mention the food was fantastic! I love that in Granada you can get a Menú del día for under 10 euros, I have grown accustomed to having a starter, main dish, dessert and coffee for lunch. While in Granada we took a tour of the Alhambra, several neighborhoods, and the cathedral, we saw a flamenco show, took a dip in the arabic baths, enjoyed a tapas dinner and had the most amazing arabic tea; and of course we did some shopping, you can’t leave Granada without getting a pair of harem pants!
I’m so glad that I got the chance to travel to the south of Spain, the culture is so different from that of Barcelona. The Arabic/Muslim influence is prominent in Granada, making it feel almost like an entirely different country! Also, in Andalucía (the southernmost autonomous community/region in Spain), when you order a drink at the bar you get free tapas! I wish I had more time to travel to every region in Spain, they’re all so different, each so unique. Though I absolutely loved Granada, I was glad to be back home in Barcelona on Sunday!
Big City Life: I’m going to take this moment to come back to the present because big city life is something new to me and funny things happen almost everyday – if I don’t share now I will probably forget later! My commute to school in the morning consists of walking, and taking the metro. Tuesdays and Thursdays I just take the metro two stops, get off and walk to school. However, Mondays and Wednesdays I have class at the Sant Pau campus and I need to change lines. Last week I forgot it was Monday and almost didn’t get off in time (I only transfer after one stop!). Today I remembered it was Monday when I got on the train but somehow forgot that I needed to transfer at Diagonal and completely missed it. Yes, I have been taking this same route to school for over two months now! This has happened before but last time I had a partner in crime and we had a good laugh, so did the ladies sitting across from us. Anyway, already running a little late because of this I finally make it to my final train and by the time I get on it’s so packed there is no room for me and the doors start to shut, but I made it! Close shave. One guy gave me a knowing smile because stuff like this happens all the time, crowded metros are nothing new. However, when I tried to turn around and face the doors, I realized that my hood and hair were trapped in the door! I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but I had a good laugh to myself and waited patiently for the doors to open at the next stop so I could be released.
Cambio y fuera,
Posted in England |
Apologies to having been here so long and not being able to post! My name wasn’t added to the system and when it was tried it took awhile before it would work. As well to add to the difficulties, the internet on this campus is rather shoddy and is not always dependable for heavy sites like blogs, facebook, skype, etc.
I arrived here in London, England on the 9th of September. To sum things up quickly, I have never felt so at home, yet entirely different in my entire life. The first week was exhilirating, the University of Roehampton had us doing activities for the first two weeks from the first day on arrival. I will make more posts about each indiviual trip and experiences but wanted to make this inital post.
Posted in Scotland | Tagged culture shock, edinburgh |
It took me a long time to adjust. The funny thing is that you don’t really notice that you’re still experiencing culture shock. I assumed that I actually wasn’t getting on here at all and that I never would. I couldn’t find the right store to get my groceries at, everything I ate made me feel ill, I didn’t think anyone liked me at all, the modules were near impossible to understand, and I was pretty sure I was going to have to hide away in my room all the time instead of socializing.
It wasn’t until I took the time to explore and make myself comfortable with my surroundings that I started to feel like I belonged. Not to mention I also got to see some amazing things:
I also started doing more things like the locals would instead of trying to capture a bit of Oregon here. That really helped. When I get on the double decker buses I ride on the lower floor where it seems more of the local population tends to ride instead of the younger rowdy crowd. I ask people at the grocery store if they can recommend how to cook something, what kind of medicine to take for that cough, or where the best place is to get kebabs (Derya in Dalry!!). If I don’t understand what someone says the first, second, or even the third time- they are always kind and repeat it. If I make a cultural error (happens a lot), then I apologize for it and explain that I’m still learning.
Coinstar at ASDA (like the UK Walmart) is amazing for international visitors that still don’t have the hang of all the different kinds of coins. You just stick them in there and it will shoot out a receipt that you take to the customer service window. There they will give you paper money. Fabulous!
I love how if you ask a local for help with something and you do it with the utmost kindness/sincerity, they will go out of their way to make sure you’ve got a handle on it. All you have to do is ask politely. I was absolutely lost on how to cook a certain curry. I stood in the aisle looking at this box for at least five minutes. An older woman stopped next to me and started to look too. I turned and asked her, “Ma’am, how do you make this?” She took a good three minutes explaining how she does it, a healthier way to do it, and where to get the ingredients. I thanked her profusely and we both agreed that’s what we were going to have to have for supper.
Usually, if you want to go somewhere in particular you can post on facebook and one of your classmates will shoot you a message saying they want to go too. If not, getting around Edinburgh by yourself is relatively easy and safe. All you have to do is go to http://lothianbuses.com/plan-a-journey/journey-planner and put in your two addresses. That will let you know which buses to take and when. It’ll even let you know when you’ll get there, so you can be on time! (Shops usually close around 7pm and the buses are extremely reliable.)
It can also be fun to walk around. That’s how I found Dean Gardens on Open Doors Day (once a year all the private areas are open to the public). I literally walked around in little neighborhoods, across bridges, and ended up following a couple with a golden retriever into the park. I was just looking for a place to eat my lunch. What I found was an adventure!
I’ve even been lucky enough to say that I have friends that live in Fife, Glasgow, and London from before I came here. We’re making plans to visit each other as soon as possible. Two of them have taken it upon themselves to be my ‘everything Scottish’ tutors. Before you know it I’ll be talking proper Scots (a language all it’s own.) Scots language video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cENbkHS3mnY
I’m finally fitting in here. It makes me so happy but it did take a long time. Culture shock is a real thing!
Posted in Spain | Tagged barcelona, Cementiri de Montjuïc, Cúpula las Arenas, Park Güell, Santa Caterina Market |
How is it possible that I have been in Barclona for six weeks already, and in Europe for over eight?!
This week, among other things, I visited the Santa Caterina Market (fish photo) with a group from my program. Having already seen Mercat de Sant Josep (La Boqueria), one of the most touristic places in all of Barcelona, it was fun to see a market where locals actually shop. We tried cured meat, olives, and cheese. It’s places like these were I truly feel like I’m in Spain. When I’m surround by locals talking about their day, what they’re making for dinner, and this strangely warm fall weather. You can buy almost any food item you need here, all as fresh as they come.
This last week I also visited Park Güell, Cementiri de Montjuïc and went to the top of Cúpula las Arenas. Park Güell, the photo of the mosaic salamander, is a park that was designed by Eusebi Güell and architect Antoni Gaudí as a sort of community. However unsuccessful as a housing development, it is now one of Barcelona’s many famous historic architectural sites and brings in many tourists year round. Cementiri de Montjuïc, photo of the grave, is a large cemetery in the south of Barcelona. It is the resting place of over one million people, most of which are in plots nestled in the rocky hills of Montjuïc. It opened over 130 years ago, and many graves are showing their age. It was amazing to see all of the large statues and monuments that represent the families buried there, or sometimes just a single person. Cúpula las Arenas, is an old bull fighting arena that was converted into a shopping mall since the outlaw of bull fighting in Catalonia. From the top you have a 360 view of most of Barcelona. Directly below you can see Plaça España and beyond that Font Màgica, and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.
Posted in Spain | Tagged barcelona, Oktoberfest |
While may students traveled to Germany over the last couple of weeks for Oktoberfest, I stayed in Barcelona and discovered our very own beer festival in town. Some friends and I joined in the festivities last weekend. I’ve never been to Oktoberfest in Germany but I imagine it would be somewhat the same, only much much bigger. I even saw many people dressed up in the traditional Dirndl dress or Lederhosen. We rode rides, drank beer, and I saw my fair share of completely hammered people, old and young. We even practiced our spanish a little with a group of kids from Barcelona, Argentina, and Ukraine. Our conversation was broken up frequently by the many spontaneous outbursts of song or by shattering glass as one of the many mug towers, being stacked by people too wasted to walk straight, crashed to the floor. Inside the beer garden tent, tables are filled with people drinking, dancing, and singing… and some pretzel eating. I had a great time, it was fun to see a German festival being celebrated by people from all over the world gathered in Spain!
Posted in Uncategorized |
This last weekend Peyton, Kylie and I went home with our friend Isha to Mumbai for the weekend. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision after canceling our initial plan to Goa because of the weather forecast being 100% chances of thunder and lightening storms. Turns out Goa had beautiful weather that weekend and Mumbai was pouring, often times flooding the streets. Regardless of the weather conditions I am so thankful we made the decision to travel home with Isha. We spent the weekend eating homemade food and exploring her city. From street shopping to seeing the “Gateway of India” we were able to get a slight taste of the city life which was a refreshing change after being surrounded by rural villages for a month.
Our mode of transportation for our 7 hour journey to Mumbai would be a sleeper bus. I have never really been on a public transit bus in the States, so you can only image my anxiety regarding a “sleeper” bus in India. Surprisingly it was great! Because all of my germ-a-phobe tendencies have gone out the door along time ago I didn’t mind the fact that the pillows and sheets were ready made (unclean) and the bus was set up as if every row were bunk beds. Isha and I were on the top and Kylie and Peyton were right below us. After talking with Ishas friends who were also going home for the weekend on one of their bunks we returned to our own to try and get some sleep before our big weekend in the city. I covered my pillow with my jacket, curled up with the shawl the Isha brought for me to sleep with and when I woke up we were in Mumbai. We left Loni at around 10:30pm on Friday and we arrived in Mumbai at around 5am tired and hungry. We took a rickshaw from the bus stop to Ishas home where we met her family and ate the best home cooked breakfast I’ve had in a very long time. Saturday was Ishas moms birthday we so we were able to celebrate with her and the rest of their family and later family friends.
The rest of the week consisted of good food, family time at home playing games and learning “Indian poker” and adventures in the city visiting the queens necklace on marine drive, the Gateway of India and one of the highlights of our trip street shopping. While street shopping Isha taught us the technique to bargaining which will hopefully come in handy our last week as we travel around India by ourselves.
The trip to the city to go street shopping was an experience in itself. We took the public railway which is so crowded it is easy to loose each other in the shuffle. When the reached the platform where we would be catching the train Isha told us to push our way on when the train comes. I didn’t really know what she meant by that until our train pulled up with people hanging out all sides. As the train was coming to a stop people were flooding out climbing over one another as other people were simultaneously pushing their way on. Literally pushing each other on or off. Now the train stops for maybe a few seconds before it takes off again so it was very chaotic to say the least. A little panicked we opted to wait for the next train. Now a little more prepared we waited and as the train came to a stop we pushed our way on, myself first, then Kylie, then Peyton as I looked back the train started moving with Ishas head no where in sight, after a few moments of shear panic I saw her smiling face. Instantly relieved we all made it on the train we found a seat and rode the train to Colaba Cauwsy.
Overall our weekend in Mumbai was the best one I’ve had here in India. I am so thankful to Isha and her family for taking us in and treating us so well. I felt so comfortable immediately after meeting her family, which made for a very enjoyable weekend. I was able to stay up late and talk with her parents as they shared stories and their family photo albums. If I’m ever in Mumbai again their home will be my first stop.
Posted in Uncategorized |
Our fifth week here in Loni consisted of labs, the ART (Anti Retroviral Therapy) department and another Friday SHAPE program. On Monday and Tuesday we were posted in three different lab departments.
We spent the morning in the biochemistry lab, the afternoon in the pathology lab and after lunch we observed what was being done in the microbiology lab. In biochemistry we were given an introduction to what all is done throughout the central lab. As you walk in there is a register in which the patient first checks in. Attached to the check in counter in the back is a room where blood is drawn and a patient number is given. This number will be attached to everything affiliated with the process of the blood sample from using the centrifuge to separate the blood to the blood smears. After the number is assigned the blood sample is sent to the necessary department. In the biochemistry lab we observed the lab technicians using the centrifuge and the processes of separating the serum from the blood making the sample more effective for testing and related purposes. Each lab technician had certain tools that would extract exactly the amount needed for each sample making less room for error.
Later in the morning we made our way to the pathology lab where we watched the lab technicians taking blood samples and creating slides. First the serum sample was placed on the slide and with a skillful swipe a smear was made across the glass in the shape of a thumb. From there the slide was taken to the sink and crystal violet dye was applied to stain the slides. After waiting for the dye to set the slide was given a wash, dried and taken to be mounted. The lab technician then placed glue one the slide, applied a cover and the preparation of the slide was completed. We then proceeded to work with microscopes and differentiating between red blood cells (erythrocytes), and the different kinds of white blood cells (leukocytes). The white blood cells have five different types each with their own function: neutrophils, monocytes, lymphocytes, eosinophils and basophils. All a general refresher of microbiology lab back home. We worked with the microscopes ourselves identifying each type, as well as watching the lab technicians while they counted how many of each were found taking a count out of 100 cells. This number of white blood cells counted could give an accurate depiction if something was off in the blood count, confirming that an illness or disease is present.
After taking lunch we met back at the lab and observed what is done in the microbiology department. After a brief overview of the department we went to another section of the hospital where practical classes were held. There we saw culture growth on blood agar plates of bacteria such as vibrio cholera. We later made our way to the microbiology museum where we saw preserved samples of bacteria, viruses, fungus and worms. We were also able to view slides of malaria, tapeworms and staphylococcus.
On Wednesday and Thursday we were posted in the ART department. This department is for patients who suffer from HIV/AIDS and other complications and diseases that follow caused by the suppressed immune system caused by the HIV/AIDS. We watched the medical interns as they saw each patient checking their medical records and prescribing the anti-retroviral medication. We were told the patients must come in once a month to receive their medication and update on the status of the disease and the progression of their symptoms. This was the first time I had been around and HIV/AIDS patients in a hospital setting and it was interesting to see all who were affected. The interns told us that they see around 30-40 patients a day which I thought was a surprisingly high number.
On Friday we joined the two interns from Drake University, Leonard and Rachel to participate in the SHAPE program in Bhandardara. We drove two hours, into the mountains to village in one of the most beautiful places we have been to so far. The green and mountainous landscape was gorgeous with waterfalls flowing from the side of the mountains in the distance. The program was conducted as is had been before when we observed the SHAPE program in the previous weeks. There were two nursing students, two dental students and one physiotherapy student. We sat in the classrooms as the interns explained proper care for your health to the children in Marathi (the local language). It was cute to see the children’s responses to us while we were there, lots of giggles and pointing.
Posted in Uncategorized |
We started our week in family medicine where we met Dr. Linge and the four medical interns that we would be posted with for the next two days, Varsha, Girish, and two girls named Sneha. Dr. Linge was full of knowledge on India’s healthcare. He explained the history of how years ago doctors were not just thought of as physicians but also as gurus or life coaches. Patients would come to see their physicians for not only healthcare but also counseling on issues ranging from marital problems, to purchasing a motorcycle. He seemed to be a very well respected doctor because had many people coming to him not just because he was a family medicine doctor but because he was well known for his personal relationships with his patients and expertise in medicine. We were told he has been seeing patients up to five generations back with many people traveling from as far as Mumbai (a six hour drive) just to be seen by him. Dr. Linge explained to us the five dimensions of wellness which parallel with what we are taught back in the US that health does not just consist of your physical health but also your emotional, spiritual, social and environmental. We were able to see patient check-ups and throughout the whole examination Dr. Linge would explain what the symptoms were, the medical history of the patient and then after his examination what his conclusion and referral would be.
The family medicine group! Peyton, Sneha, Sneha, Girish, Dr. Linge, Varsha, Myself and Kylie
The family medicine group!
Peyton, Sneha, Sneha, Girish, Dr. Linge, Varsha, Myself and Kylie
Wednesday through Friday we had very busy days with our morning and afternoon sessions being at different locations. In the mornings we were posted with a team who were surveying families in the surrounding rural villages with two or more girl children ages 13-25 for the “girl aspiration study”. The goal was to survey the families and narrow down candidates for finical assistance. There would be 100 girls chosen to be supported through this program paying for their education, or healthcare or anything else they may need. After being chosen PMT will take on the financial burden that these girls are facing. The day consisted for surveying the families asking questions such as their monthly income, how much land, livestock, crops and furniture was in the home. Other standard questions we also asked such as their name, cast, religion ect. As the team was surveying the families they would translate for us what was going on and the candidates responses.
After having lunch we started the second half of our day, meeting at the center for social medicine. There we joined the CSM staff and eight interns which we had met before at the yoga model day. We were told that the second half of our day would be spent surveying different health aspects in a local village. There will be a new rural clinic built for this village in the future so the information gathered would be used for baseline data to compare to after the rural clinic is built. We spent the day performing simple tests such as blood pressure, blood glucose level, height and weight. Standard questions were also asked such as their name, age, religion and cast. It was an amazing experience to watch the interaction between the people living in the village and the medical students. This is something that would not be seen in the states. I was even able to help in checking blood sugar levels as well as attempting to take blood pressure. The medical intern Peyton and I were “teamed” up with Murtaza was very patient and tried to teach me how it is done. Now I can say I learned how to take blood pressure in rural village in India (kind of, I still need practice). One thing that stood out to me was the fact that many people that we surveyed when asked their age, they had no idea. Because birthdays are a big celebration in the US I could not imagine someone not knowing what their age is. There were also a few diabetic individuals that we surveyed that were aware of their diabetes yet continued to eat high amounts of sugar and not take medication. Because of these cases it was encouraging to know that a health center would be available to this village in the future so that these people and the generations to follow can become educated on the importance of proper healthcare.