China Underground by Zachary Mexico was the third book I purchased on Semester at Sea. The book comprises a series of anecdotes of various Chinese citizens, whom the author met and interviewed while in China. These include sex workers, minority groups such as the Uighurs (a Chinese Muslim minority), art lovers, film makers, drug dealers (and users) and more. Their commonality is that they are outsiders, and that each sees their country and the world through a distinct lens.
The book is almost like a collection of short stories that can be picked up at any point and any time. There is something for everybody, although I would of course suggest reading the whole book. Continue reading
I was walking through my home suburb (read:village) with my brother the other day. We went to the local library, sampled some books (slim pickings) and as we walked home, I asked about such-and-such a bookshop, and such-and-such a used bookshop. They were all closed down. Anyone wanting to purchase books needs to go to town (literally). A town which, incidentally, has only generic chain bookshops.
And I said to my brother, “This place needs more bookstores.”
And then, “Our country needs more bookstores.”
And then, “Africa needs more bookstores.”
Penguins are one of my favourite animals (I also like geckos, and giraffes, among others). The boy made me get up super early yesterday morning to go to the Boulder’s Beach Penguin Colony. I was annoyed, because I really wanted to sleep more, but what a good day we (he) chose to go.
When we got there early it was really quiet and we got some good face time with the penguins. They are not domesticated, but they are very curious, and would prance around for us and sometimes even came quite close to us. I just wanted to cuddle them. But they’re an endangered species so I would probably get fined for that, heh.
Image courtesy of The Boy
This was the first book I bought while on Semester at Sea.
Hives in Paradise by Midge Hill Mebane was sold to me at the Hilo Farmer’s Market on our second (and final) day in Hilo, Hawai’i by the author’s son. He also sold delicious macadamia nuts and home-grown cloves, and had a lot of interesting views about Hawai’i and their people. I wish I could remember his name, because the book mentions the children a lot. It is out of print, and self-published, and I got a signed copy, which was excellent. Continue reading
When I heard about Semester at Sea for the first time, I admit it was the idea of travelling the world that attracted me. I knew from a little bit of experience that travelling would enrich my perspectives and teach me more than any classroom, but really I was just thinking about all the places I had always dreamed of visiting, that could now become a reality.
Justifying such a long absence from campus meant that I had to identify teachable moments the program could provide. I came up with a whole report which I presented to my faculty (and which they miraculously accepted). I mentioned the virtues of travelling, and the work I would have to put in to carry a double course load, and then I mentioned the research I wanted to do: experiencing first-hand the public healthcare facilities in the various countries, as well as visiting alternative healers and assessing their role in primary healthcare.
I get a lot of questions about the expense of doing Semester at Sea, and how a financially challenged student may go about experiencing this unique study-abroad opportunity.
It’s important to know that it is NOT easy. Semester at Sea is pretty expensive in American terms, and even more so when you live in a country with a much weaker economy. I would not have been able to go were it not for bursaries and my parents’ assistance in getting a loan. This means students on a budget will need to be willing to make sacrifices. Again, in the USA it may be a bit easier because many scholarships can be directly transferred from your school to SAS. Again, international students are often not so lucky. Here are some tips for cutting costs wherever you are:
This week’s challenge with The Daily Post is titled The World Through Your Eyes.
Myanmar was a fantastic country. Really like no place you’ve ever been; nothing like the rest of Asia. We were walking through a residential street (not lost, just strolling) and the sense of community in this street was strong. Everyone was having fun. Old men chewing betel nut and sharing stories (I assume), kids running around, men playing card games, men playing Foosball. For once, it seemed that people did not even notice us. I took many pictures that day, but this one is my favourite.