Cosmopolitan Cape Town is a city of contrasts. Vast contrasts. At times it is all too easy to forget that only two decades ago this city was an outcast of the international system. It was the crucible of Apartheid: violent repression and desperate protest were the norm. Yet, the sheer determination of the anti-Apartheid struggle, led by the indestructible Archbishop Desmond Tutu has transformed the city...
I’m the type of person who exhaustively researches a place before arrival, both out of curiosity and a need to at least create a sense of preparation. Unsurprisingly, not all of this information proves useful during the actual trip. That said, where employment and travel mix, it’s better to be over prepared. Here are some thoughts from my summer teaching internship in Shaoxing, China.
As the end of the school year approaches (give or take a dissertation for some of us), a certain demand for summaries and conclusions is in the air. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and with the finest Hollywood internalization I feel like any minute now a pop-rock song will start playing, just in time for my final monologue. Luckily none of this is actually happening in reality; my end credits might prove embarrassingly short. But as one of many international students in St Andrews, I do feel that my soon-to-be-over studying abroad experience is worth looking into broodingly.
As the Easter weekend and the ensuing Spring (o.k., technically Autumn) Break approached I faced the grim reality of needing to submit a thesis proposal. I weighed up my options. Spending the week in the increasingly freezing library or jumping in the car and driving a 2000km round trip soaking in the sunshine of the Garden Route—one of South Africa’s top attractions. Obviously being the responsible student that I am, I chose the latter...
Gelato in Florence; my friends and I ate it with every meal. We wandered those springy alleys, marveled at the winding Renaissance architecture, and the rich, red tiled roofs and the yellowness of the buildings. We fell in love with the food, the smells, the sights, and became enchanted by the city from which the Renaissance sprung. The city was inspiring, and the scoops of gelato that we were spooned were heavenly.
In a smoky bar in the Highland city of Cusco, two rather cosmopolitan Limeans tried to explain contemporary Peru to me. So far, what with the Cusquena, the Pisco sours and loud music, their attempts were a little incoherent, if enthusiastic. Yet their stories compounded my early impressions of Peru as a country seething with variety and fusion - of nationalities, cultures, histories and religions, all intermingling with each other.
Instead of being (logically) rather creepy, the West Country greeting of ‘Arright me lover?’ hallooed by everyone from bus drivers to bank managers is strangely endearing, and a comforting sign that I have come home.
Lochs (n.b. not pronounced locks) should most definitely be on every Scottish Wanderer’s bucket list. If you're blessed with fewer deadlines this half of the semester why not take a break from the beach to enjoy some alternative bonnie Scottish scenery. Or if those essays are still getting you down, just take your work on the road to a study setting even more stunning than St Mary’s Quad…
Well, we’re back in the Bubble, and everyone’s asking: What did you do this spring break?
While many people sought refuge back in their hometowns, others used the opportunity to go city hopping around Europe. Being the diverse community of students we are, one can only expect to receive a range of exciting responses on what our friends all did during their 2013 Spring Break. After speaking with a couple of students, here are a few of the ‘hot spots’ people visited during their time away from St Andrews