Eternal City

Blog by Billeh Scego, Pre-Major, University for Foreigners Program in Perugia

Hello World,

It has only been three days into my stay in Italy and I already feel like part of the society. Thanks to my cousin who I am currently staying with in Rome before I leave to Perugia, I have learned how to take the bus and metro around the city. Stereo-typically Rome is known for having a slow transportation system but I have to disagree with this claim. I believe the whole point of travel is to live like a local so having the ability to interact with locals in a raw and natural state is always a moment to learn.

Not only is this moment to learn priceless but taking public transportation in Rome is cheap. Walk to your local corner store or the metro station and you can buy a ticket that allows you to use the bus and metro for 100 mins. This allowed me to get from cousin’s house in north Rome to the Colosseum numerous compared to taking a taxi which would have costed around 9 euros and I would have wasted a lot of time in traffic now that is highway robbery.

Visiting Casablanca

I had my first quiz on Friday and I did surprisingly better than I thought, but I have to wait to receive the grade on Monday. Today my group and I went to Casablanca to see the Hassan II Mosque, and then we went to the beach. After that, we checked out the Medina (old square) of the city and tried to find a restaurant to go to for ftour/iftar, but most of them were closed. We ended up splitting up to go to KFC and McDonalds near the train station. Even though these are American food chains, I was still curious about the menus. Although I didn’t go into KFC (and never have back home), the menu at McDonalds was nothing different, except that it was halal. I’ve also been dizzy for the past few days and I really hope it’s only dehydration, so I’ve been trying to drink more water. I think a part of it can be that I’m not getting enough rest and enough fresh air. I live in a riad, so my host family lives above another family, but because both families live in a riad, we hear everything from the bottom floor since there isn’t a wall or ceiling that keeps out the noise. On my homestay questionnaire, I said I was not okay with little kids, but the family below has around 5. I wake up every few hours because of all the noise or because it gets really hot in my room since I have to close it to keep out the cigarette smoke from the host father. I intend to ask him on Sunday to not smoke in the house because I’m very sensitive to chemical smells, and I think it’s partly why I get dizzy so much. At least I get my own room.

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Pre-Departure

Blog by Esther Wambui Ndungu, Pre-Major (Business), Critical Perspectives on Ecotourism in Tanzania

Esther IASA 2

As I was looking through the Study Abroad program countries listed on the school website, I knew I was interested in studying abroad in Africa, particular Kenya, where I am originally from. However, the program in Kenya had to do with medical work, something not in my field of my interest. So I looked for another Study Abroad opportunity in a different African county, Tanzania.

The name of the program I will be participating in is Critical Perspectives on Ecotourism in Tanzania. Although we will focus on Ecotourism implications on the Tanzania, we will also focus on Community Development. That is where my field of interest is. I am currently starting my sophomore year this summer quarter. My intended major in Business Administration. I want to focus on Community Development as a Social Entrepreneur. Study Abroad is a great way for me to travel and get insight on how people work to make the world a better place. During the program, we will be meeting with different grassroots organizations and leaders of the community. I will get an hands-on education, beyond the textbook. When I come back to US, I will continue getting hands-on learning through Community Based Learning.

Another valuable part of this Study Abroad experience is the fact that I will be able to experience a different culture and perspective on life. This is paramount in order of me to be a well rounded person. It will be so refreshing to be outside of US for a few weeks, about one and a half months. I will also be able to go back to my country Kenya before and after the program. Nairobi, Kenya is about four and a half hours bus ride away from Arusha, Tanzania. I plan on landing in Kenya five day before the program, spend time with family, then bus to Tanzania for the Study Abroad program, the bus back to Kenya, visit family for six days, then fly back to US. I am so exited to see my extended family again. Kenya will be so different than I had left it almost nine years ago. It is going to be wonderful! I get to travel to two different countries, that is a big plus! I will be back a day before school starts, I know I will be exhausted from the flight, but I don’t want to come back any earlier.

I will make friends with the Tanzanian host culture very well. I already know Swahili, because I am Kenyan, and so it will be much easier for me to connect with them at a deeper level. I do not have any fears or anxiety for participating in this Study Abroad program. I am looking forward to the trip of a lifetime!

Volunteering at the NGO

Yesterday was my first day at the NGO that I have to volunteer for to teach English. So far I enjoy it more than I thought I would because I have 2 students that I work with. One is 9 and the other is 10 years old and both of them have a strong basic knowledge of English. I’ve been using some French with them when I have to explain, and then try to translate it to English, and I’m still surprised by how much I’ve had to use it, even though my ability is pretty weak. I am supposed to get to the NGO by myself, so of course I had trouble getting there the first time and I was an hour and a half late, but today there wasn’t any problem. I still have to cross a lot of streets, and I don’t think I will ever stop feeling nervous about that. Anyway, after I volunteered and then had my Arabic class, I decided to go with a group member to Marjane, but within our group we call it the Moroccan Walmart. Instead of returning an hour later, we got home 4 hours later because there were no taxis going in our direction. In fact, there were very few cars at all, since it was around ftour. We ended up walking the whole way back, so now we must finally start homework and I’m worried about the quiz I have on Friday because I still don’t have the whole alphabet memorized. Overall, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed with what I have to know for the quiz and by the fact that it feels like there are too many things to do during the program than what I have time for. Every night I have been falling asleep doing homework and I feel tired all the time. I hope to manage my time better.

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Pre-departure Thoughts

I have wanted to study abroad ever since my freshman year of college. I would check the study abroad website a couple of time each quarter to see what they had to offer but none of them really drew my attention. I was in my junior year when I got an email from my Health Studies advisor about two different study abroad options; one of them being Sardinia, Italy. After carefully reading over the description of the program, I immediately applied! When I first was in search for a program, I cared mainly on what I would be learning and not where I was going to be learning it. I think that every place around the world has something to offer and you can’t be picky about where you are going to study but what.

The full title of the study abroad program is called CHID Sardinia: Island Migrations, Health, and Social Justice. What drew me to this program was the material and content that we would be learning. In the title of the program, those are the three main topics that we are going to be studying and also what I am very interesting in learning. When I first applied, I really wanted to get a different perspective on social justice and health around the world. I have been learning a lot about western culture and so little on others, that I wanted to add more diversity into my studies.

We are going to be collaborating and engaging with Romani migrants that have migrated to Italy in hoped for a better life. With migration, there comes discrimination. I would like to, personally, understand their culture and reasons for migration and get a sense of the daily struggles they have to deal with. For example, in America we have a problem with migrant farmers coming to work illegally and they have been discriminated against and misunderstood. Understanding, why they are doing this, why they are migrating and understanding their stories is a big part of this journey.

With intensive learning about Romani people and the engaging we are going to be doing when we arrive in Sardinia, I hope to develop skills that will help me be a better listener. I would like to learn how to better communicate and understand the different cultures and history of a person. I would like to have a better grasp on social justice and health and how the laws and policies can allow more people to have access to it. I have learned a lot about discrimination and stigma, but I would like to see how this is affects others especially in a different country and apply this back home.

This would be my first time studying abroad and my family won’t be able to come with me. The program is a month long and that is going to be very difficult for me. I have already thought of ways to communicate with them. I would most likely use an app that allows us to message each other but only if there is WIFI, and skype. Before, I applied to this trip my family was planning a trip to Spain around the same time my study abroad started. I had to make a difficult choice of going with them or studying abroad. It was a difficult choice but I knew that it would be beneficial in the future. The information that I will learn on this program, I can apply to my career to make laws and policies that fit more around different cultures that are more manageable for them.FullSizeRender (2)

Meeting My Host Family

Today was my second day of staying with my host family. They are pretty cool and they are able to speak English, which is very comforting to me, considering that I still only know a few words in Arabic. They live in a traditional Moroccan house, which is called a riad. The family is made up of a mother, father, 25 or so years-old daughter and the mother’s niece who is 18. Today was also my second day of Arabic class. I have to study Moroccan Arabic, called Darija, as well as standard Arabic, called Fus’ha. Both are difficult for me because it’s hard to get the alphabet and pronunciation. I have also ended up using the little French that I remember from high school, so I regret not brushing up on that before coming here. After class I came home and I hung out with the mother in the kitchen as she prepared for ftour (Darija)/ iftar (Fus’ha), or the breaking of fast. After we had dinner, I left to join my group and venture out into another part of Rabat, a rather sophisticated section. We took the tram, which is a train, and it goes through the city relatively fast. I will have to take it to the NGO starting Monday that I was matched with for the community service project. Something that makes me nervous about being here is crossing the streets, because they are wide, so I try to walk with a pace, even though I think I’m the only one in the group who gets this nervous. Sometimes I just walk with them without looking ahead. Oh well.

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First day in Morocco!

Blog by Helen Kapitonenko, Society, Ethics and Human Behavior, CIEE Summer Moroccan Studies

June 14 
I’m not sure how to describe my first day being in Morocco. Before the trip I still couldn’t believe that I was coming here, but now this realization is quickly setting in. My first day here has been overwhelming to say the least. As I was driven to the hotel, I noticed that lanes aren’t really used by drivers, they exist mostly as a guide for the general direction of traffic. The cars move in and out of each other’s lanes, and use their turn signals half the time and pedestrians cross heavy traffic without using crosswalks. This made me feel worried because it seemed so easy to get in a car accident, either with another car, or with a pedestrian. After I settled into my hotel room and was immediately escorted to the learning center a few blocks away, I faced a fear that I have had for a long time, which was getting lost in a completely different country. Sure enough, within about 2 hours of arriving to Rabat, I decided to explore the Medina (old square of the city) with another group member as the other students were taking their Arabic placement tests. Along the journey, we met 2 guys who arrived today and there were also from Seattle!  Anyway, I wasn’t alone, thankfully, but being lost for 2 hours and navigating through the crowded maze of streets of the outdoor market where motorcycles drive through pretty fast, expecting you to get out the of way definitely wore me out. That’s why I slept through an evening hangout with the group to go to a café. I have to wake up at 6:30 tomorrow morning, so I will continue to post updates and pictures of the trip, and here’s some pictures from today.

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Adventures through Sardinia, Italy

Blog by Brianna Nguyen, Health Studies, CHID Sardinia: Island Migrations, Health, and Social Justice.

Ciao and welcome to my blog! My name is Brianna Nguyen and on this site you’ll be going on a journey with me as I travel and study in Sardinia, Italy. A little information about me, I am a senior at UW Bothell majoring Health Studies with a minor in Business. I am working towards a career as a Hospital Administrator. I have a passion with helping patients and their experience as they visit the hospital. I enjoy learning about policies, leadership, ethics, social justice, narratives and culture which is the basis of this study abroad program. I am excited for what this journey has in store for me and to be a voice/Study Abroad Ambassador! Stay tuned for more posts about my journey and preparation through Sardinia, Italy. Arrivederci!

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