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Sarayu Adeni is a magazine journalism junior and is earning a certificate in international development. An insatiable bookworm and traveler, she is studying abroad in Valparaíso, Chile, during Spring 2009. When she’s not reading, globetrotting, writing furiously or being a Longhorn, Sarayu loves volunteering, Indian classical dance, being with family and eating dessert. Sarayu is originally from Chicago and has lived in Austin since 2001.
Sarah Smith is a senior English major who has recently been hit with a serious case of senioritis. Sarah studied abroad in Perugia, Italy, in Spring 2008, and her heart is still on the steps in il Centro next to a bottle of Peroni and some pistachio gelato. When she’s not working at the Study Abroad Office, you can usually find her scheming and dreaming up her next travel plans.
Leslie Esparza is a senior mechanical engineering student who has been working at the Study Abroad Office since her freshman year. She traveled to Argentina two summers ago, where she had a blast—minus the cold— and learned to take things one at a time. You can catch her rocking out, dancing, studying and talking (something else she picked up in Argentina). Chau!
Bryan Turnbough is a third year student majoring in International Business and Asian Studies. He has been to Taipei, Taiwan, and Seoul, Korea, for study abroad. Besides working on the website for Abroadly Speaking, he enjoys playing video games and studying Chinese, Korean and Japanese. In his senior year he is hoping to have an opportunity to go to Japan.
Lisa Khan is a junior in the I-MPA program. While she still has not gone abroad due to her fear of eating alone, she is happy to say there is a line of people vowing their companionship abroad. Perhaps if there were more people to depend on, she would be able to muster the courage? In the meantime, she works on promoting study abroad, hoping she’ll meet her true lunch buddy some day soon. Are you that someone?
Jazmine Ulloa is a magazine journalism senior who enjoys telling peoples’ stories and still finds hope to believe print newspapers will live, if only in her heart. She studied documentary-filmmaking in Prague and trekked through the Czech Republic in search of electronic dance music spots for her short film. At the Big Cheese, an indie rock music magazine in London, she reviewed CDs, books, movies, and ‘zines during a summer internship.
editor!s note !/0$#&12#3)45&(0&06$&7089:&!"#2(9&;/%<$&
5-.9&'5;&'=75'7'N,&5;%7.'7.:'9"IN"$.:-./' TO,"7:#6'*+&7M-./'-.'011D)'&:-4",'-.'9;-&N' =(>?)4$&@AA2(&'(:'&6$#&%4(A&5229&":$',,, The minute I saw the jovial little, old man steadily making his way toward me on the arm of a flight attendant, I knew I wasn’t going to spend the ride catching up my journal as I had intended. As I got up, moving back to allow him to slip his way into the seat next to mine, I caught a glimpse of the worn wooden cane he clutched in his right hand. It had the head of a falcon. This was going to be interesting, I thought. This man had stories to tell. His name was John Harvey. He had pale, wizened skin and small, purple patches on his arms and hands. He chuckled gleefully as he looked out his window at the young men struggling to fold his wheelchair and carry it unto the airplane. Then he turned around to tell me Dallas wasn’t his last stop. He had another flight to Memphis, where he was going to board a riverboat and ride it all the way to St. Louis. “Every three months, I just get up and go. I don’t hang around these senior citizens, I just go,” he said, pointing a dry, scaly hand out forward and giving it a little shake to put an extra emphasis on the “go.” “No, no; some of these folks just hang around the senior citizens home and play
cards. No, no, no.” He shook his head again and blew a raspberry while making a thumbs down. “That’s not for me. That’s not for me.” In that moment, I felt a bond to this man I had never before met—the bond of explorers, the bond of wanderlust. When I told Harvey my final destination was London, he felt it too. “Ah world traveler,” he gasped, and we shared stories about our travels the rest of the way out of El Paso into Dallas. It is peoples’ stories, such as Harvey’s, that inspire me to keep trekking the world. And it is such stories from students we’ve strived to capture in Abroadly Speaking, hoping to inspire more students to take up that sense of adventure—the spirit Harvey proves we can have at any age—and just go. Student interest in going abroad has grown immensely at the University of Texas since we founded the magazine in 2005. More employers today realize the importance of crosscultural communication skills in a globalized world and look to hire students with such experience gained in college. The Study Abroad Office on campus has also pushed its own efforts to boost the number
of students studying abroad. Now information on international programs and financial resources are more readily available online and all throughout campus (so is our magazine ). As I leave my post as editor, I am happy to see such an increase in popularity. But my farewell advice to students is not just: study abroad; it’s to do it well. Research your destination as much as possible before you get there—know its history and customs. Read books not only about the country and city you are traveling to but also by authors originally from those places. When you finally arrive, experience the culture. Get out and meet people. Don’t just cling yourself to other American students in your program, especially if you want to pick up the language. Make yourself comfortable in the world. It’s a beautiful, ever-changing place. “The graveyard is full of serious minded people; be a cook like me and you’ll live to be 80,” Harvey said to me after the plane had landed. “Enjoy life.” Those were his last words as I waved goodbye. They are mine, to you.
MOROCCO SPAIN PERU STUDY ABROAD AT UT PRICES Exchange programs can be the cheapest way to study abroad because you pay UT tuition. Experience the best way to learn a language or about another culture by fully immersing yourself in a foreign country for a semester or academic year. Some exchanges offer classes in English and donâ€™t require you to be fluent in a foreign language. Classes taken abroad fulfill in-residence credit and grades earned abroad count towards your GPA. Explore a new part of the world and make new friends, while studying and gaining a competitive edge over your peers. Let the Study Abroad Office help you prepare for the experience of a lifetime. www.utexas.edu/student/abroad
donâ€™t miss your bus, wake up in prague
get to class
tram or Metro
learn a little language
come up with idea for a documentary jsem david
film at the gypsy parade
Kelly Sloan Images and Sound Documentary Filmmaking in the Czech Republic
day in the life edit my documentary in the cafe
meet with a translator
go out on the town
explore the city
back to the dorm for bed
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Room number seven on the third floor of an old, red brick building on Holloway Road is a cramped office cluttered with magazines and CDs. It’s also where the “beer-drinking, smack-talking, punk rockin’ independent gods” run the fourth most circulated independent rock music magazine in London, Big Cheese. I had been hesitant about interning at an indie magazine, especially one with the likes of Big Cheese for a name. But upon entering the small office, I encountered fresh disarray. Ripped-out covers of past issues, band posters, plaques and stickers spilled across the walls. Magazines scattered the floor. More were messily piled on the shelves and desks along with dozens of CD cases and books. Large windows shed light on the deliberately confused jumble and I…well, I immediately fell in love, all to the sound of old Smashing Pumpkins blasting from a miniature stereo in the corner. I took the job. For two months I worked in the same, little office, just above a book binding company, getting a taste of the pressures of tight deadlines and tighter resources that characterize the indie mag world, but also expanding my world perspective, as I turned my American cultural conventions on their heads and relearned my English. In the office, I usually worked with only three co-workers. Eugene, known as “El Prez,” sat at the biggest desk as editor in chief. He managed everything from editorial matters to promotion. Via email and 9"%%$.-974&'79,"55'O",:&,5
the company telephone, usually just his cell phone, he communicated with 30 freelance writers and photographers he had out covering bands, concerts, music festivals, and other stories. Jim and Ian worked as editors and looked over design. Since I set up the internship through EUSA, a London-based educational organization that customizes European job placements, I simultaneously took a required class that taught me to analyze the magazine’s business structure. So, one day I asked my co-workers to describe the company to an outsider. Jim slightly chuckled.
“Shambolic,” he grinned. “Fun. Casual. Very casual…informal.” Eugene nodded, adding “Fun and rock and roll.” When I asked about the management hierarchy, they both burst into laughter. I laughed too, realizing I was applying such formal terms to such an informal workplace. But that was one thing about Eugene and his team—they didn’t like the idea of a massive corporate office. So they worked hard to keep their magazine independent. It was tricky financially, as they tightened deadlines, then felt the pressure of increasing sales under those deadlines, while they still worked to keep the flow of fresh ideas going. Despite it all, the atmosphere at the office was amazingly relaxed, and the corner stereo was always playing some kind of rock, hiphop or reggae. Plus, for Eugene, times had been tougher. He ran the entire operation by
himself for four and half years until Jim joined him in the late ‘90s. At that time, they worked in an even smaller office in Brixton, a shady part of London, with only one computer. At Big Cheese, however, I didn’t just sample the business’ organization and history. I learned about myself. Growing up, I identified more strongly with the Mexican in my Mexican American background. Never did I imagine that by working in London I’d recognize how I’ve been raised to think and act like an American. My task-driven ambition, my enthusiasm for work, and even my understanding of the English language all impressed employers back in the States. Yet in Britain, a country with a long tradition of disdain for work and that places higher emphasis on the ends in life, not the means—or the job—I often found myself muddled in miscommunication with my co-workers. It was more of a cultural challenge than I ever expected, but I learned to question the conventional truths ingrained in me from growing up in the United States and to adapt. As economic relationships among countries continue to become more interdependent, and as our worlds grow smaller through improved communication routes, now more than ever I value taking such a challenge and interning abroad.
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*9/H9=Q/UG$:/:G#/N9!:/#P8&:&'(/"$;:/9K/:G#/ ";9(;$NV/0G$:/N$%#!/&:/='&W=#V The Oxford Summer Program gives students the opportunity to study British Literature in the cultural and historical environment in which it was written. The Shakespeare course is one of the program’s cornerstones; students read the selected plays, visit relevant Shakespeare sites, and attend performances of the plays at the Globe and The Royal Shakespeare Company. We will be doing the same for Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf. I will be teaching the Woolf class abroad for the first time; it is one of my fairly regular classes here at UT. I really want to do a fun river punt in imitation of a scene in Jacob’s Room, one of Woolf’s early experimental novels, for our first reading assignment–but I will see if I get the students ready for that challenge! We will do a London Mrs. Dalloway walk and a tour of Bloomsbury; we will also be visiting two or three Woolf sites in Sussex. I am most excited about the London Mrs. Dalloway walk and Sussex tour of Woolf’s Monk’s House and her sister (the modernist painter) Vanessa Bell’s Charleston Farmhouse. Both of the houses contain great modernist painting, craftwork and decor. And Monk’s House, Woolf’s country retreat, also has some of her writings, photos and library collection. Being in the very house in which Woolf wrote some of her work can enhance the reader’s sense of her life and times. I remember how excited I felt to actually hold one of her letters to her niece Angelica, here at the HRC. The Oxford Program brings literature to life, whether a student is studying Austen, Shakespeare or Woolf. Oxford University is one of the oldest and greatest universities in the world; it is steeped with history and culture. It is an honor and unique privilege to be able to live and study there.
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At this backpacker’s adventure paradise, travelers can choose to stay in one of the 30 plus hostels for as little as $25 a night or camp for free. Surrounded by the Wet Tropics Rainforest and set upon the world famous Great Barrier Reef, Cairns offers a wide array of excursions – from skydiving to an overnight trip to the Outback– perfect for the backpacker’s bud-
Great Barrier Reef range
get. Day trips to the
from $60 to 120, depending on whether one wishes to snorkel or scuba dive—one can even get his or her scuba license. After checking out the underwater sights, backpackers can explore the biodiversity of the rainforest via car or raft. Using a car to explore the rainforest is much cheaper. Local car rental companies offer rentals for as little as $29 a day. If you’re
willing to splurge some—and yes it’s well worth it—white water raft trips are available for either full or half-day expeditions, ranging from $100 to 200. The adventure continues into the night with
endless choices of cultural restaurants. Designed specifically for tourists, Cairns offers a range of restaurants, cafes and to-go-food all within budget. Do not be surprised if Kangaroo is offered on the menu! The combination of beautiful scenery and cheap adventures, available both day and night, offer backpackers the ultimate experience.
If you have an interesting idea for a research project in another country but lack the dough to make it happen, consider applying to the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program, which sends 800 scholars and professionals each year to more than 140 countries. Scholars lecture or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. International programs adviser Laura Bayne says the selection committee is searching for applicants who have a clear yet flexible focus for what they want to study. While the program is highly competitive, students should apply even if they don’t have a perfect GPA, says Bayne; the committee “considers the strength of the applicant and the strength of what he or she wants to accomplish.” It’s also open to broad categories of research. To name a few of the projects: “Right now,” says Bayne, “we have a woman in Botswana researching the impala population, we have a painter in India studying women’s material culture, and we have someone in Bulgaria studying jazz music.”
In Cairns, the adventure never ends. ()*+(,-./012(3456/;
=",:'N,"%'O,7G-# U6'*4&N7.-&'L&O&, I felt a special energy in Salvador, Bahia, the third largest city in Brazil, the moment I left the airport. Everyone else must feel this energy too because people barely sleep–they go to bed late at night and start their days with the sunrise at 5 or 6 a.m. I found that people are more relaxed and friendly there, and time goes by much slower than time in Austin. It’s not that people are lazy–they’re relaxed. They work very hard but are able to enjoy life. People in the United States are much more stressed out. Something special about Salvador is to see street vendors everywhere, selling picoles (popsicles) and baked cheese with oregano on a skewer on the beach or tropical fruits and agua
de coco (coconut water) on the street. Salvador also has an amazing meal that you can find in almost the same form in Nigeria today, called Akaraje, and just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Enslaved Yoruba people of Nigeria brought it to Brazil, and the women have so many secrets about how to make it. They sell it on the streets from movable-kitchen carts. Compared to Austin, Salvador is a walking city, as most people cannot afford to have cars. My friends and I always walked to the beaches and spent most of our free time lying in the sun drinking capirinhas. But not everyone gets to have this experience. There is a lot of visible poverty and racism in Brazil—social problems our own country still faces.
O79M'-.'7$54-. U6'?"'F7G7,&44So much in Austin makes for a legendary trip–even small details, like the free refills at restaurants or the squirrels scuttling all over campus that make me feel like I’m in a Disney movie. Speaking of movies, the Alamo Ritz is a unique theater, playing everything from special “sing-along” screenings to YouTube videos. I’ve had some memorable times there, like Q&As with mob-movie legend Chazz Palminteri and horror queen Zelda Rubinstein. The Ritz is so cool it even makes bad movies fun to watch. But my number one memory of Austin will be Halloween downtown. Sixth Street was so packed with freaks, nut jobs and characters it took me half an hour to walk D:/01*456/9::;
four blocks. But it felt like five minutes. Who wouldn’t want to keep walking for hours when you’re rubbing shoulders with the likes of Betty Boop, the Joker, Hunter Thompson and Marilyn Monroe? My Brazilian hometown of Porto Alegre is famous for its movie theater circuit (with more than 60 screening rooms in 20 theaters), and we do get a few Halloween parties around the end of October but nothing like the effort people put into it here. I only wish Sixth Street bars wouldn’t shut down in unison at 2 a.m. (in Brazil it’s not hard to find bars and clubs open until sunrise). But the variety of Austin nightlife makes up for it. Beats London, too, by the way.
'9/"#$8# ,9<#;:/[$OI#MQ/T9'I9'/ Here in America we like to take pictures throwing up the peace sign backwards. We were taking pictures galore across London as soon as we got there, in front of Big Ben and Buckingham palace—until one of our tour guides stopped us and told us what the English interpretation of our hand signs was. During the Hundred Years’ War (13371453), French soldiers would cut the trigger finger of the captured English soldiers so they could not shoot. Well, then the French would throw their two fingers up to mock them—like “We still have our trigger finger.” We didn’t know we were insulting the English by throwing up the deuce!
O=!:/&'/:;$'!O$:&9' )9"G&$/\]/^G$9Q/F$;&! It’s impossible to live in France without thinking about the weird phenomenon that is the French Diet. They eat so much meat and butter yet they stay incredibly thin; it really has to be some sort of medical mystery. My fellow students and I loved to talk about this and we often theorized that it must be the lack of preservatives in almost any food. However, whenever we tried to talk about “les preservatives” in the food, we were met with wild laughter. It turns out the French word for preservative is “conservateur”; “preservatif,” conversely, actually means “condom.”
K99I/K#=I _$'&#/R$=!#HQ/,9N# “When I was in Rome, I stayed with a 50-year-old woman named Maria Teresa. She was such a typical Italian mother, especially when it came to food. Every night she would serve a four-course meal. I’m talking tons of food, and when I couldn’t finish eating she would get severely offended. This went on for a while until one night she couldn’t even look at me while we ate dinner—just because I couldn’t stuff my face! We ended up getting in a heated argument (all in Italian, of course). The sight of this woman screaming at me in Italian was hilarious!” !
9%'0%:;&$)"#*RG;&!!H/a&8G$#OQ/F$;&!/ “My roommates and I went to a five-euro wine night and met some French construction workers during our orientation. We were trying to speak French and when we left implied that we were going home, but the French/English barrier made everything confusing. They thought we meant going home with them, and administrators got mad at the boys with us, and the boys got mad at them and a fight broke out. Luckily, the French police are ubiquitous and popped up out of nowhere on mopeds. They ended up driving their scooters next to us like escorts all the way back to our dorms. We communicated a little more carefully after that.”!
0G$:/$;#/:G#/N$&'/I&KK#;#'8#!/H9=/G$J#/#P"#;&#'8#I/<#:U##'/7N#;&8$'/$'I/)"$'&!G/8=O:=;#!V/ !"#$%&$'%()*+,&$&-$"'.+#&/ One of the first differences I picked up is the Spaniards’ interaction with strangers. In the streets, I perceived people were just cold. But then I realized that here people don’t smile to people they don’t know. I found that Spaniards consider it strange or fake when a stranger smiles at you. However, when you get to know a Spaniard, they are extremely warm and kind hearted. “Mi casa es su casa” really describes how Spaniards are with their acquaintances and friends. 69U/$;#/H9=/I#$O&'(/U&:G/:G#/O$'(=$(#/<$;;&#;V/ If you were to ask me this the first month, I would have said through a dictionary and aspirin. For me, knowing hardly any Spanish, it was a difficult transition. I did discover along the way the importance of communication via hand signals. 7;#/H9=/O&J&'(/U&:G/$/G9!:/K$N&OH/9;/U&:G/9:G#;/7N#;&8$'/!:=I#':!V/69U/I9/H9=/:G&'%/H9=;/O&J&'(/!&:=$:&9'/G$!/ %01+20*2'$3-+4$-524",,$#&+'3$"64-"'$27824%20*2/$ On a day-to-day basis I discovered culture through Maiti and Thomas, my host parents, and with their help I saw how beautiful Spanish culture is. I think it is a disfavor to people who choose to live in a residency that inhibits immersion. Living with a family is an unparalleled opportunity to be surrounded by the culture and language, and I cannot begin to explain the impact of this experience. D9/01*456/9::;
While the reasons for studying abroad vary according to each student, they all boil down to one thing: discovery. But although some students go abroad to discover the unfamiliar, others go to where they can trace part of themselves. By Chelsea Marcum
hen graduate student Abrefi Assaire told her parents she wanted to study in Ghana, the country they left when she was a young girl, they didn’t think she was serious. “They weren’t sure I would survive,” she said, laughing. “They thought I would be complaining all the time.” But Assaire wanted to go to a country to which she could trace her family roots. She is what analysts at the Institute of International Education call a “heritage seeker,” a student drawn to study abroad in a particular country and culture “not because it is unfamiliar and new, but rather because it is somewhat familiar.” For Assaire, going to Africa meant visiting the place where her mother, Eunice, met her father, James, before they immigrated to Dallas. It meant visiting the place where she was born and never fully experienced. Her father had left Ghana first and worked odd jobs for four years in the States until he saved enough money to send for Assaire, her mother and her three sisters. Like Assaire, the majority of heritage seekers in study abroad tends to be first-generation Americans, or second-generation, says Lia Haisley, the advising coordinator for UT’s Study Abroad Office. “It’s not just academic,” she said of heritage seeking. “It’s very, very personal.” Junior Nicole Anderson, another heritage seeker, is the granddaughter of an exiled soldier. Immediately following World War II, Chinese citizens battled each other in a civil war, which lasted four years. The Chinese Nationalist Party, with the backing of the Western world, fought the country’s communist government but was eventually exiled to Taiwan. These displaced families rose a generation of children who would never see their homeland. “(My grandfather) was forced to flee to Taiwan and brought my
grandma with him,” Anderson said. While neither her grandparents nor her mother had been to China since, as a student in a language study abroad program, Anderson became the first in three generations to visit the once offlimits country. At the end of Anderson’s program, her mother, father and sister flew into China. “It was a very emotional day for my mom when she got to see everyone,” she said. “I had wanted this for my Mom for so long.” Perhaps the most unexpected part of Anderson’s summer in China, she says, was meeting someone she describes as a “twin:” her 23-year-old second cousin with whom she lived for three weeks in Beijing. “She is the ‘Asian version of me,’” she said. “Of course there was a language barrier because she couldn’t speak English and my Chinese struggles at times, so it was quite funny (communicating).” The two still keep up with each
other on a web cam, and next winter, her cousin plants to visit Texas to for Anderson’s graduation. Assaire also had the opportunity to reunite with old family. While her program toured major regions in Ghana, learning the arts and culture of each village, she also had a chance to spend more than a week with once-lost aunts, uncles and cousins. Her own relatives even became her homestay family when the group passed through Kumasi, her family’s hometown. Natalie Bartush, an assistant director for the Study Abroad Office, says heritage-seeking students more easily gain the linguistic and cultural competence of an adult in their country of study. This experience brings immeasurable value to their academic and future professional lives, she says. Although Ghana certainly felt like a foreign land, Assaire was more culturally prepared than her classmates, she says—especially with the food and language.
“All of us had home stay families and they were cooking us traditional Ghanaian food; they were told (by the program coordinators) to feed us whatever they were eating and to not make anything American,” Assaire said. “I was already exposed to the type of food at home (in the United States).” Contrary to her parents’ previous concerns, Assaire in fact found she had no reason to complain in Ghana. The summer gave her a greater understanding of the life her parents had before they immigrated to Texas. She saw people—her own relatives—living without modern comforts, such as electricity and running water, which seemed essentials in her daily life in the United States. Even more of an impact, she said, came from witnessing Ghanians who were in dire poverty, out of work and alone. “I want to do something about the poverty that I saw,” she says. “I want to go back soon.”
* Try to follow household rules.***Ask lots of questions, share photos,, or mention something that happened in class. to Practice the language *** Unplug or turn off electronics when you!re not using them to save electricity*** Be clear about your dietary or health needs before you arrive at your homestay*** Offer to help out with chores at home when your schoolwork is done.. Your family will appreciate the gesture*** Take quick/short showers.*** Bring an album of family photos to show your hosts.* Don!t let the water run while brushing your teeth.*** Talk as much as you can*** No overnight visitors** be observant & respectful***
some house rules
!"#$%&'(((()*+%), O6'57,76$'7:&.When she arrived in the southern Spanish city of Cádiz in the summer of 2008, Elizabeth Barajas only expected one thing from her stay with a host family: a chance to strengthen her language skills. “I heard from people how good of an experience it is,” she said. “You are totally immersed.” Barajas, a business and Plan II junior, joined the UT faculty-led program in Spain for the summer and stayed with host families in two different cities. But she soon discovered that homestays are more than just a place to live and practice speaking Spanish – they are a real family, supporting their foreign students in an often bewildering new environment. In addition to another UT student, Barajas’ family in Cádiz consisted of a 72-year-old woman named Antonía, who had two grown sons and had hosted students in her home for 14 years. Barajas fondly described homestay life with her señora as living with a grandmother. “It was cold the first night and she lent me her shawl,” Barajas said. “She woke us up every morning…she was totally involved.” An article in Interspectives Journal described homestays – the experience of living with a host family – as an effective tool in “experiential learning.” Simply, living with a local family in a foreign country, instead of in a dorm or hostel, accelerates language skill as well as intercultural competence. Barajas said her interactions with Antonía and with her second family in Santander – a mother with two grown daughters – helped build her confidence in the Spanish language and her knowledge of DG/01*456/9::;
culture. “Within the first week, we’d had so many conversations about policy in the U.S.,” she said. “We would watch TV and she’d iron.” Barajas would also go out in the afternoons with her Santander sisters and meet their friends and boyfriends. She got help on her Spanish essays while observing the country’s family dynamics. “It’s completely normal for 30-year-old men to live with their grandmothers,” she said. “It’s all about community,” said Tori Klem, a broadcast journalism senior. “Family is very, very central to them.” Klem, who studied in San Joaquín, Costa Rica, with Academic Programs International last spring, was excited to have three siblings in her host family. It turned out they were just as excited to meet her. “They never had a student that would talk to them,” Klem said. “I got to be the first that was integrated in their life.” Klem’s family included a mother, a grandmother, an aunt and three brothers. Two of them were still in school, young enough for her to relate to. They would take Klem for strolls through town or to the movies with friends. The family threw her a surprise birthday party and even accompanied her on one of her program excursions to the coast, riding along behind in two cars. Klem keeps in touch with her host family through phone and email. “I’m going back to visit this January,” she said, “and I’m staying in the same house.” It often depends on the study abroad program, but most host families are chosen through a screening process. The AFS Inter-
cultural Program, for example, selects host families through home interviews and community recommendations. Families that live close to academic program sites with ample living space and a safe, clean environment are selected. Homestay families can be anything from families with or without children to single parents and older couples, and will typically provide a room, two meals a day and possibly laundry service. Some academic programs, such as the School for International Training, offer rural homestays to expose the student to life in a village. So how do you decide whether a homestay is a good idea? First ask: do I want to learn the language head-on, surrounded by only native speakers? Do I want to make international friends? Do I want to experience customs and tradition firsthand? Can I adjust to living in a new family? If the answer is yes, then a homestay could be for you. The next step is to find a host family in the country of your choice. Although some students choose to make arrangements independently through online homestay bureaus, Peterson’s College Planner Online warns that not all study abroad programs offer the option, so living with a host family should be part of your search criteria when finding an academic program. During the application process for the program, there is also an accommodations section. In an article for Transitions Abroad magazine, writer Kathy Christiansen recommended that students consider the following: do I prefer smoking or non-smoking? Children in the house or none? Do I have food allergies or restrictions, such as vegetarianism? How close is it to school? How easy is it to change homes if I need to? When matching an applicant to a host family, most programs try hard to honor the requests made by the student and the host family. However, some don’t provide the student with the family’s name or address until they are in-country. And the family dynamic may differ – some homestay relationships have as much social interaction as a landlord and tenant would. It is up to the student to be proactive in finding a good experience. Most programs have orientation sessions to provide a brief overview of cultural norms, safety and howto’s that will assist in establishing a good relationship with homestay families. Barajas said that most families are lenient, as long as students make a sincere effort to live by the family rules. “I was free
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to do what I wanted,” she said. As Tori Klem suggests, monitoring how much water and electricity you use is considerate to your homestay family. Watch for small details like dinner table procedures and keeping shoes on or off in the house. “You just have to be really mindful,” Klem said. “It is a different culture.” College students run into the occasional communication problem with roommates in the U.S. During a homestay where the student is not fluent in the native language, communication is already an issue. “I’ve been humbled,” Elizabeth Barajas said. “When you live with another family, you learn that there are so many barriers other than language.” A 2005 study assessing the impact of year-long homestay programs showed that students had a more thorough knowledge of the host culture and language, more intercultural friendships and more time spent with people from other cultures upon their return home. Barajas and Klem achieved their primary goal of improving their Spanish language skills. “At first it was hard to be funny or sarcastic – to just be me in the language,” Klem
said. “But just talk and ask questions.” “I would constantly think in Spanish, talk in Spanish,” Barajas said. “If I had lived in a dorm with other American students, I would not have learned as much.” Upon her return from living with her Costa Rican brothers, Klem rekindled her relationship with her real brother, and even had her parents visit her homestay family. “My Costa Rican family didn’t speak English and my American family didn’t speak Spanish,” she said. “But my mom cried when she met my host mom, ‘Thank you for taking care of my baby.’” In addition to providing room and board, homestays fill an important gap for study abroad students. They are safe harbor for adventurous young people adrift in a new country. A host family creates a supportive environment, welcoming students into a new culture and ultimately offering a chance to reflect on their own cultures and families back home.
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ver the crest of the next hill, a scene worthy of an artist’s paintbrush emerges before Lindsay Jolley’s eyes. The aches of sitting in a saddle for six hours are suddenly forgotten.
Trees border the horizon as craggy, snowcapped peaks tower over them. Lower down, rolling hills and lakes add a sharp contrast, and with every step their horses take, new kinds of plants are spotted. This is Torres del Paine National Park, an ecotourism hotspot in the Chilean Patagonia. A protected UNESCO reserve since 1978, it made the perfect escape for Jolley and her four friends, who studied in Chile’s capital city Santiago last semester. “It’s got so many levels,” said Jolley, an international business and Spanish major at the University of Texas at Austin. “Like someone did a collage of ecosystems.” During her time abroad, Jolley and her friends took a self-arranged excursion to the park, 2500 kilometers away from Santiago. They read from Lonely Planet guidebooks and heard from word of mouth about the unusual beauty of the park and decided to tour by horseback. The actual Torres del Paine are the names of three tower-like granite blocks, favorites for rock climbers. But disregarding the level of outdoor experience, visitors can find a myriad of ways to explore this protected sanctuary. “If you love hiking, you can also do some hard-core backpacking,” Jolley said, recommending visiting around Easter or earlier, before the Chilean winter sets in. Jolley said animal life in the park is just as diverse as the landscape. In addition to seeing rabbits, alpacas and acunas, mountain lions, penguins and even flamingos can be seen. Torres del Paine is also known for its fields of glaciers, which transition to a glacier national park across the Argentine border. Visitors can get close enough to see the pure blue colors within them. “It literally looks like someone took a blue light and stuck it in the ice and just lit it somehow,” Jolley said. Since the closest city to the park is Puerto Natales, a three–hour bus ride away, most visitors to Torres del Paine opt to stay in hostels. Jolley said the hostel atmosphere forced them to use their Spanish and allowed them to meet other travelers. “You can get a really nice hostel for 20, 30 dollars,” she said. “And it’s good to have a mix of both Chilean and English speakers.” The vastness of the park and its untouched beauty give first-time visitors and seasoned travelers alike a taste of nature, Chilean-style. Jolley and her friends loved their horseback riding tour so much they did it again the next day. Jolley said the experience was not only a relaxing one in the middle of a busy semester, but was a humbling one as well. “I didn’t know you could fit all this in one place,” she said.
Think Woodstock for Tekno lovers. And that’s tekno with a “K,” as the real partygoers spell it to demonstrate the true free spirit of Czech Tek, one of the biggest open-air teknivals in the Czech Republic. Think 30 huge raves going on simultaneously. Think a bombardment of hard, jungle, industrial, drum and base, and any other kind of electronic dance music imaginable. Think massive underground party all in the open, fresh air. And there’s no entrance fee. Approximately 40,000 people from all over Europe gather each July for the weeklong celebration held at a location that tends to vary and used to remain undisclosed until only a day before the event. That was because the party was truly underground and illegal. But after the 2005 teknival ended in a bloody showdown between police (and their canines) and partygoers, party organizers have acquired permits for the events ever since. Despite the violence, the following year’s teknival was held at the same place as the last, Hradiste military fields. That summer, I was taking a documentary-filmmaking course in Prague and working on a short film about underground electronic music in the Czech Republic. I was completely unaware of the festival until Brian, a classmate helping me with the project, and I began interviewing partygoers at Cross Club, an independent underground club located in the cellar and floor of a house. Everyone we met there urged us: go! Two days later, we found ourselves making the trek to Hradiste, a wide expanse of grasslands surrounded by woods bordering Germany. To get there, we took several trains (some in the wrong direction), bused, walked, hitchhiked (it’s actually considered safe in the Czech Republic) and even split a cab with strangers we met while stranded
at a train station. Josh and Tomas, with whom we shared the cab, had trekked their own way from Holland for the festival and also let us stay in their tent when we arrived to the fields under pouring rain. After the rain cleared, Brian and I began filming around the site and talking to people. It was an amalgamation of cars and tents and sound systems all parked and set up haphazardly, wherever they wished, wherever there was space. Cars wove their way through the muddy roads filled with crowds and crowds of people, many carrying backpacks and blankets. Giant black speakers, TVs and other video screens were piled up high and wide to form stages and dance areas throughout the grassy fields. People danced in front of them all day and into the night. And, of course, there was an abundance of pivo (Czech for beer). But the teknival was not about the alcohol or the drugs. As all the people we met said—it was about listening to good music, about being surrounded by good people. Standing on one of the faraway hills overlooking the area, I tried to capture with my small video camera the wide spread of fields buzzing with so many different beats. Later at night, people were still arriving in droves and a stream of headlights wrapped around one of the hills. Brightly colored beams and rays flashed everywhere projected from the huge video screens, strobe lights and lasers set up on speakers and in tents all over the grounds. Many of the beer and food tent-stands had their own strobe lights and illuminated displays of art, such as scraps of metal formed into robotic bodies. Thin rays of white light cut across the night sky and across hundreds of bright, white stars. Check out the Czech Tek doc at the Abroadly Speaking Web site.
Brink In the stars section of Abroadly Speaking, we like to honor students who proved their mettle while studying abroad. This issue, weâ€™re featuring a little taste from Reporting in China, a journalism course taught by Tracy Dahlby, director of the College of Communication, in the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China. Defying language and cultural barriers, these students learned to report on an emerging economic power with nuance and depth, producing the multimedia Web site China on the Brink. For more of their work visit http://chinaonthebrink.com/. Z=-.5':$,-./' b?;-#:,&.a5'X76c'-.' U&-V-./)'?;-.7 1=+>+/)./I(>42/O(.20
<66$"0'$1-=>=;"&$ &!/9OI/<#89N#!/ ',$*>2*"7) '#U/$($&' O6'9;,-54"+;&,'57.9;&G “What is well-planted cannot be uprooted. What is well embraced cannot slip away. It will be honored from generation to generation.” - Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 54 Li Kisong, 23, sells incense and statues of the Buddha in an alley near Beijing’s Yonghe Lamasery, the most famous Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. He is not a Buddhist, but he says he’s seen how the religion can bring people together. “More and more teenagers are believing in Buddhism,” says Li. “It is a good religion because it is a part of Chinese culture.” Sun Dapeng, a philosophy professor at Zhejiang University of Technology, echoes that sentiment. “There are more young people who believe in religions,” says Sun, 36. “And you can see a lot more people who go to temples, every year.” Those young people, born within 30 years of China’s opening to the outside world and its introduction of economic and social reforms, have grown up in a very different country than the one their parents and grandparents knew. They connect to the Internet and study abroad. They consume foreign films, music and fashion. For a generation raised on MTV rather than Mao Zedong Thought, Buddhism, along with other traditional Chinese ideologies such as Confucianism and Taoism, offers young people a way to reconnect with their Chinese identity in the face of increasing globalization. “Buddhism has a long, complicated history in China,” says Sun. “Sometimes it is good; sometimes it’s not very popular.” Sun refers to the Cultural Revolution, the time period between the late 1960s and mid-1970s when the Communist Party tried to rid China of its old traditions, labeling them a product of superstition, bourgeois thought, foreign imperialism or all three. Temples were razed or converted to secular use, while intellectuals and monks were sent to the countryside to labor on farms. After Mao’s death in 1976 and Deng Xiaoping’s subsequent introduction of sweeping reform policies, interest in traditional Chinese culture and religion surged. “From the Buddhist point of view, it is normal,” says Sun. “It’s a relation between reasons and consequences. The popularity of Bud98/01*456/9::;
dhism now is the consequence of what the Chinese people have done in the past.” It’s also the result of China’s rediscovered commercial flair since religious tourism is a hot and lucrative market. At the Yonghe Lamasery, for example, local worshippers inevitably bump elbows with foreign tourists, and an audio tour guide can be rented to narrate your journey through the large temple’s many halls. A more authentic glimpse of the past lives on at Guanghua Temple in another part of Beijing, where the events of the 20th Century seem to have left the small neighborhood Buddhist establishment all but untouched. Located in an alley near the bar district of Houhai Lake, it stands in stark contrast to the Yonghe Lamasery. Yan Jun, 28, says his grandmother was a Buddhist, and so he grew up learning about the religion. There is something profound in the artwork, he says. “[The temple] is very near to my home,” says Yan. “It only takes 20 minutes, so I will come here with some friends if I have free time.” Wang Xianhua is from Shangdong, but he rents a house and sometimes works in Beijing. When he is in town, he frequently visits the temple to worship. “This… is a very holy place for the Chinese culture,” says Wang, who is 40. “It is very different from your Western culture.” But in a twist made possible by a climate more open toward religion, Wang, who also studies the Bible, goes on to make comparisons between Christianity and Buddhism. “The essence of Christianity and Buddhism is exactly the same – the expression of a good wish and good hope,” he says. “The difference just lies in the appearance.” Aside from being able to openly display holy images and visit temples, another way Chinese people are getting in touch with their cultural heritage is by putting a modern spin on old philosophies. One of China’s best-selling books of 2008 is a modern interpretation of the ancient Confucian Analects. Yu Dan explains the Analects, compiled from a popular series of televised lectures, has sold an estimated 10 million copies in less than two years since its release, more than J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, the second best-selling book in China. For the rest of this article visit http://chinaonthebrink.com/.
O6'M74-&';76&5 The old man with the red armband is easy to overlook when walking for the first time down the narrow, twisting alleyways of a hutong just north of the Forbidden City. The gray walls of the traditional Chinese homes overshadow his small frame, and the noise from shops and teahouses distract from his quiet demeanor. Each turn, leading deeper into the hutong, brings about a narrower alley, another set of eyes, another red armband signifying a neighborhood watchperson, and more questions about whether or how reporting in China can lead to meaningful answers. After it opened the earthquake zone in Sichuan to foreign and national journalists last month, the Chinese government is allowing an unusually large volume of information into the press. Reporting on an earthquake may not seem like a huge step toward freedom of the press to Westerners, but for one interpreter in Beijing, this is an important and positive move by the government. “I do not know when they started to report on things like this,” states the interpreter. “I am not happy for the event, but I am glad to see the change in the government.” In the past, she would rely on Western friends and news programs for information on politically sensitive issues like Darfur. “Our news didn’t say anything about Darfur,” she says. “My parents didn’t even know where Darfur was.”
Jocelyn Ford, an American freelance journalist working in Beijing, explains that while local journalists are still hesitant to tackle politically delicate topics, they are starting to develop a “news sense” and to pursue new issues. For a reporter trying to get a grasp on the cultural and political intricacies of a nation, the watchful eyes of the old man with the red armband guarding the entrance to the hutong behind the Forbidden City are a reminder that some stories about Chinese society are not yet ready to be reported.
For more articles, photos and audio slideshows visit http://chinaonthebrink.com/.
there!s always a moment
a memory to treasure
will you capture it?
knew immediately once I touched down in China that I would have a 0G#'/-/:99%/ Iwonderful experience as a journalism student. The stories came at me every angle, peaking my curiosity on topics ranging from the single:G&!/"G9:9]]] from child limit placed on couples to the mass migration from rural life to the cities by people in search of jobs.
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I became interested in the migration of the Chinese youth to the cities to find work in factories, stores or as salesmen on the street. While visiting a migrant village on the outskirts of Beijing, I documented residentsâ€™ living conditions. While visiting a small country village outside of Xiâ€™an, my story took a different turn. I came across two men talking in a field. I was curious about the farming conditions and thought an image of a motorcycle amidst the crops could be interesting. Through the assistance of a local translator, I learned that Ding Shijie, 22, (in mirror) left his family farm in Wei Zhuan after middle school to sell kabobs in Xian. His older brother Ding Zhijie is the only son of four who opted to stay and work the family farm. I found their story compelling, thinking of the struggle for the rural Chinese youth who chose to leave their families. With this in mind, I tried to capture the essence of the decision to either stay on the family farm or to leave for more opportunity in larger cities.
Saharan Camel” was a picture I took as a buddy and myself ven0G#'/-/:99%/ “The tured through the incredibly interesting country of Egypt in the spring of ‘08. Fresh off the plane, we headed to our hotel, checked in, then took off Giza to ride camels past the pyramids–all while sticking out like a sore :G&!/"G9:9]]] tothumb. Traveling through Europe there are ways to blend in, but not in Egypt. Everyone there knew we were American, or from some other welloff English–speaking country. Because we were Americans, it’s pretty typical that riding a camel would just be so cool for us. I was so stoaked, but then after about 10 minutes on that thing, my mind changed. FYI: camels are not comfortable.
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out. We took off into the Sahara, briefly stopping to take pictures of the pyramids, and then farther into the desert we went. Eventually we came upon a group of people who had a camp out in the middle of the Sahara. They were serving tea and bottled water all at a reasonable price. During this chill-out period, the sun began to set, causing a burning orange to rip across the sky. I jumped at the opportunity to not only capture the amazing sunset but also to capture that uncomfortable ride better known as a camel. Soon after, we headed back to the village, paid our guides and took off to have dinner on the Nile River. After it was all said-and-done, riding a camel into the Sahara was an amazing experience and was well worth every Egyptian Pound spent.
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Upon arriving in Singapore, I quickly realized that the city was the hub of Southeast Asia. The city itself has a diversity matched with Malaysia. I resided in campus dorms and quickly bonded with my neighbors on the basis of cultural exchange. The western façade of the city quickly faded to reveal a complex Asian society. I gained exposure to many Chinese dialects, Islamic ritual, and real Indian food. What I learned outside the classroom did not even compare to what I learned My curiosity first directed me to seek an exchange pro- within the lecture hall. As a hub, Singapore offers many gram. The engineering study abroad adviser helped me opportunities beyond its tiny borders. In between study decide on the National University of Singapore. Singa- breaks, I easily traveled by bus, ferry or plane to a mulpore, a small city-state was the perfect place to spend titude of places such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indomy spring semester last year. I was able to communicate nesia further expanding my experience in an Eastern with Singaporeans in English and enroll in upper di- world completely different from my own. vision engineering classes that transferred back to UT with no hassle.
My curiosity was at the helm, leading me through the streets of Malaysia’s capital—Kulala Lumpur. Dominating the skyline, the Petronas Towers is a flex of Malaysian muscle asking the world for recognition. Rightfully so. With an emerging economy, Malaysia is one of the most diverse countries in Asia, mixing Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures and running the gamut of religions, languages and, we must not forget—food!
SHORT TERM STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS Maymester Abroad courses are four- to five-week study abroad programs that take place immediately following the spring semester at an international location. The courses are intensive three- or four-credit hour courses taught by UT faculty members for in-residence credit. Since inception in 2004, Maymester Abroad courses have been offered throughout the world in countries such as Australia, Austria, China, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, and Spain.
Programs available in the following colleges: Engineering, Architecture, Social Work, Communication, Liberal Arts, Fine Arts, Education and Natural Science.
APPLICATION DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 1, 2009 For more information visit: http://www.utexas.edu/student/abroad/mm.html
Published on Jun 23, 2012
Published on Jun 23, 2012
I helped found Abroadly Speaking with three other students our first year at the University of Texas at Austin. The student-run magazine was...