Mar 20 2017
March 20, 2017
On January 21, millions around the world marched to demand equal rights for minorities and underserved communities and to rebuke President Donald Trump’s remarks about women. With an estimated four million marchers in the United States alone, the Women’s Marches were hailed as the largest national protest ever organized. Despite the large number of attendees, not all women felt included. The march’s unity principles clearly advocate for “access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people.” Pro-life activists from New Wave Feminists were removed from the march’s list of partners after much backlash asserting that pro-life beliefs entirely contradict feminist beliefs.
Mar 17 2017
Harshita Nadimpalli March 17, 2017
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to tag along with my host mom and her friends as they attended a community Syrian refugee lunch. After signing up in advance, each person paid €15 at the door and entered a small kitchen nestled in Mouraria, Lisbon. We then sat down at community-style long benches and tables and had various traditional Syrian dishes, including hummus, tabbouleh, and za’atar on thin flatbread as appetizers; chicken and cooked vegetables with rice for the main course; and a few desserts, some that are traditionally Portuguese, such as salame de chocolate, and some that are traditionally Syrian, such as a rice pudding. There were about five or six Syrian refugees cooking for this lunch, including one family that had just arrived two months ago. The kids from that family mingled around the room and curiously looked at the Portuguese kids who came for the meal. The room quickly became so crowded that you couldn’t help but talk with the people you sat next to, even if you had just met them.
Mar 13 2017
March 13, 2017
On January 27, President Donald Trump issued an executive order barring immigration of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and refugees from Syria permanently. National and international protests have erupted in objection to what critics are calling a “Muslim ban,” and foreign governments, including affected nations Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Yemen as well as U.S. allies Great Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, Australia, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have spoken out against the order. Despite a number of legal challenges to the order, the White House has defended its actions as a matter of national security and has received support from European political leaders such as Nigel Farage and Geert Wilders.
Mar 13 2017
Taylor Bond March 13, 2017
I’m very used to being self-reliant, a trait that does not match well with my life in Japan. In America, I believed I was capable of accomplishing whatever I needed to get done, all on my own, safely wrapped in the security of my own ego. Here, I know absolutely nothing. I can’t read the scrawls of kanji (Chinese characters) that notate everything occurring around me—including what I order off of a menu, what I fill out on a form at the doctor’s office, and how I should follow the instructions on my homework. The conversation that surrounds me at all times, at a dizzyingly fast pace, is comprised of grammar and vocabulary that I struggle to understand. And, even at times when I am capable of understanding, I use my below-kindergarten level of speaking to spit out disconnected words and pray that someone can, somehow, muddle through my mess of the Japanese language and make out the meaning.
Mar 10 2017
Madeline Budman March 10, 2017
On February 27, I left my apartment before dawn to travel to the Old City of Jerusalem. In my backpack was my tallit, or prayer shawl, that I made myself five years ago. As the sun began to illuminate the golden rooftops of the city, I grew nervous. My friends and I were going to celebrate Rosh Chodesh, the holiday that signifies the start of each new month, at the Western Wall. Thousands of Jews pray at the wall every day, so it should not have been a problem that we were going to join them. However, we were going to pray with Women of the Wall, an organization that advocates for gender equality at the Western Wall.
Mar 10 2017
Alicia Kiley March 10, 2017
Have you ever thought about the way you take notes? If I had to take a guess, I would say you most likely take down bullet points. It has always been a no-brainer for me that everyone simply jots down bullet points in class, half paying attention to the teacher and half calculating a way to stealthily go on their phone. Even the word “jotted,” a word that I could come up with no translation for when I talked this over with one of my professors, feels strange in the Italian university context. “To jot something down” literally just means to write something down quickly and concisely, which in my mind is entirely the purpose of a note. Bullet points capture the main argument and allow a student to move on to new material quicker. But Italian students do not take bullet point notes.
Mar 10 2017
Briseida Valencia Soto March 10, 2017
Friday evening in 50 Amigos—Mexico City’s hip pizza joint—some friends and I make our way to the cashier. My male friends start dividing up the cost of the food. One female friend quietly tells the other girls, “We should pitch in too,” though she only says it out of courtesy, not willingness.
Mar 9 2017
Max Fiege March 9, 2017
Having made myself at home in Edinburgh, I am taking advantage of Western Europe’s relative proximity to travel outside the country and throughout the continent. Just a few weekends ago, I traveled to my birth country, Germany. I visited Hamburg, the country’s primary shipping hub for the North Sea, as well as its second most populous metropolitan area. Housed near the harbor’s northwestern fringes, the neighborhood I visited was quite removed from the gentrifying Elbphilharmonie area, or the cheap attractions in the St. Pauli district. Rather than stumble across the beer halls and Lutheran churches I was expecting, I found myself wandering past Arabic-speaking travel agencies, East African cafes, and even a towering green mosque. As I rounded a corner near the graffitied tracks of the Deutsche Bahn, I uncovered the neighborhood’s center of cultural gravity: a refugee housing compound, complete with chain link fencing and upturned earth. Facing the shipping container dormitories supported by alabaster columns, I could not help but feel alienated from their sterile facades and assumedly austere interiors.
Mar 6 2017
Alyssa Cadice March 6, 2017
I arrived to my homestay on my first day in Spain jetlagged and timid, nervous about my first interactions with the individuals that would become my family for the next five months. All my worries were quelled, however, by a blur of dos besos and firm hugs, a quick apartment tour, and a warm conversation over a dinner of potato tortillas. As I sat at the table surrounded by my host mother, her three daughters, and her own mother, I felt a sense of belonging and solidarity, empowered and content about joining this matriarchal family.
Mar 3 2017
Matthew Cullom March 3, 2017
I am a big believer in the benefits of listening to music when trying to learn a new language. If you find the right artists and songs, you can learn a lot about a new culture or subculture while picking up on slang and popular references. Thanks to Spotify and some good recommendations from friends here in Paris, I have become intrigued by French rap and its role in French society.