Updates from February, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • jhboisselle 5:48 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Asiapod Re-mix(ed) 

    Asiapod Re-mix(ed)

    For bloggers and readers alike…

    Asiapod is going to a national conference and we need your voices!  What did you like best about the initiative? Carrying the trusty iTouch? Having someone bug you to publish reflections on encounters? Did Asiapod affect your experiences in any way?  In the spirit of the program, share a  “digital story”, write a haiku, or limerick or two, sing us a song…share your Asiapod love!

    Here’s a limerick to jump-start us.

    The ‘Touch

    Seven travelers snatched a ‘Touch
    Signed up they did to sleep, shower and munch
    With it, traverse the globe
    Language learning to probe
    Gee, fantastic, they said, can it also make me lunch?

    Asiapod Re-mix(ed) awaits your contribution — please post to the main blog, per usual — with a tag “remix” and then Doug and I will collate everything to Asiapod Re-mix(ed)

    Deadline March 25

    And, yes, there will be a treat on the other end of it for you, we just aren’t sure what yet…

    Let the fun begin – Cheers, Juliet and Doug

     

    [Background photo on app screen taken by Tra To, WS ’12 .]
     
  • Hannah 3:19 pm on February 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Digital Storytelling 

    Dear Reader,

    I know I haven’t been around for a while, and expect a re-assimilation post from me soon. For now, I invite you to enjoy a short digital story about one of my favorite times in China.

    -Hannah

     
  • grenphi 9:46 pm on February 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Re-Assimilation 

    It’s been a few months that I’ve been back in the U.S., and by request, here’s a post on the experience being back.

    Transitioning back to the United States has been fairly easy. I missed American breakfasts enough to compensate for a lot of what I lost coming back from China. I may have my qualms with the United States, but omelets with hot sauce is not one of them.

    What has proven to be strange and abnormally difficult has been transitioning back to the culture at HWS. Where in Nanjing I had a community of people to go do martial arts with during my free time, here I do not. I fit in better in Nanjing as a foreigner than I do here as a student. I find a lot of the chit chat that I do trying to make friends and open doors here at HWS is boring beyond belief. I bond more with someone who’s struggling to choke me or bring my joints to breaking point than someone who tries to explain to me how funny their friends are drunk. Many of my conversations with fellow HWS students break down when I say “no, I don’t drink or smoke, I don’t party, I simply like training and being with friends”. I usually receive an awkward silence, and then a hesitant change of subject.

    Academics have been a struggle as well. First and foremost, I have to care, which I didn’t last semester. Efforts to focus and stay alert while reading and writing have renewed, and so far I’ve made it through the semester without too many problems. I’ve been fortunate to have a class that interests me, my EMS class, to keep me sane. Unfortunately, this has caused me to look at other courses much more critically. My sociological research methods professor  told me on the first day of the semester that she thinks her course is the most important in the curriculum, and that research methods courses should be taught across disciplines. In the next month I learned a myriad of definitions, read studies and accounts of studies, and have expanded both my vocabulary and knowledge about conducting research. In contrast, from EMS class I’ve learned anatomy, how and when to move injured people, take vital signs, and CPR. For whatever strange reason, EMS class seems much more important.

    I choose research methods as a comparison simply because it consumes a lot of times these days. My struggle with that class and EMS is representative my struggle with a culture of education that often times seems lost in abstraction. It’s important to research and discuss issues, but without putting your boots on the ground, no good is really being done.

    But, that’s why I returned to the U.S. I get to work and get involved, and I will make sure that my boots will hit the ground as soon as they are able. China was a nice vacation, a cool experience, but it will not compare to the life of purpose I will create here.

     
    • DougReilly 6:31 pm on March 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for this post…it has given those of us in mission control a lot to think about, especially since we’ve devoted so much energy over the years to higher ed. You’ve pointed out so many interesting tensions in that system, some things we have noticed as well. The desire to have things grounded in details and real world applications is one of the things that motivated Asiapod and our work in study abroad in general. To join the conceptual with the actual, details with underlying dynamics, etc, and to get conversations started between people with diverse experiences, to search for resonance. Anyway, bottom line is that I really appreciate your post and can empathize with your present situation! doug

  • Tatianna Jasmine 1:16 am on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Loving Viet Nam…Missing Viet Nam 

    I’ll admit it, I cried as my flight departed from Sai Gon. Why? Because I fell in love..in every way.

    I fell in love with the landscape. The rolling hills, the beautiful weather, the wet rice paddies, the beautiful rivers, the amazing wild flowers, the breathe taking mountains of Ha Long Bay, the street scape of Hanoi and Saigon, and the magnificent colors that fell across the sky at sunset.

    I fell in love with the food. Banh Xeo (fried with beef/shrimp and fresh veggies), Xoi thit Kho (sticky rice and pork cooked in a clay pot), Pho bo (beef noodle soup), Thit vit (duck meat), Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup), Com ga (chicken and rice), and most of all Nuoc Mam (fermented fish sauce).

    I fell in love with the language. Learning to speak Vietnamese was challenging, I struggled and made a fool out of myself all the time. I have not mastered pronouncing the six different tones, and often forget which pronoun I should use for myself when talking to my elders. However, I admire the respect for social relationships that is embedded in each phrase and sentence. I admire the diversity within the population- I have partially learned words/phrases from multiple dialects. Most of all, I am super proud of myself for learning the basics of the language so quickly. I still hold mini conversations with people when the opportunity comes along.

    I fell in love with the people. My fondest memories of Vietnam involve the amazing people I have met. There are little spaces in my heart reserved for the following people. Both of my language instructors were super encouraging, they took the time to work with me when I was struggling. These women were some of the best instructors I have ever had, I will always be grateful for the knowledge they have passed on to me. The women who live and work for the Van Ho pagoda were so warm and welcoming. Despite the fact that I am not a devout Buddhist, and often do not apply Buddhist philosophies to my life (although I am trying to make a better effort), these women allowed me to become apart of the family they developed for themselves. I was always greeted with a smile, fed wonderful vegetarian meals, and departed with extra affection and love. I hope/plan to visit Van Ho in the near future (when funding will allow for it). The women who ran the sidewalk food stalls were always super kind and cooked the best food! Co Tuy is a woman who sold her home cooked food one block away from the guest house I stayed at in Hanoi. Co Tuy’s food is delicious and her service was even better. After visiting her for several weeks, I finally had the courage to order my food in Vietnamese. It was an amazing experience, she engaged me with small talk every time thereafter and always helped me out when I fumbled with my words. We developed a unique relationship, she often gave me discounted prices, and I often gave her an extra tip. I also appreciate every person I encountered on the streets, strangers were always smiling and greeting me with such respect. I cherish those interactions because they reinforce my faith in the good nature of human kind. Above all, is the Vietnamese-American man who stole my heart. We were on the same study abroad program and met on our flight from NYC to S.Korea. He and I became friends instantly and spent the rest our time exploring Vietnam together. He helped me learn to speak Vietnamese by allowing me the privilege of meeting his family. This was the ultimate source of my cultural immersion. He supported me when things got rough, and was my partner in all of our excursions and adventures throughout the country. He taught me the value of the human connection, the pillars of friendship, and the unconditional love that is family. I will forever be grateful for the relationships I established in Vietnam.

    Now that I am back in the states, I spend a significant amount of time trapped in nostalgia. I miss being there, and often find myself extremely sad to no longer be so close to the people and things that I love. Sometimes I have the urge to bust out into a rant in Vietnamese, only to find myself speaking to people who cannot understand me. Despite all of this, I have learned to overcome my nostalgia by appreciating the experiences I have had, and teaching my friends small Vietnamese phrases. Although I miss living in Viet Nam, I am grateful to have had such a amazing experience, one that many people cannot relate to.

    Peace

    • TJ
     
    • DougReilly 6:58 pm on March 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      What a wonderful post! We at Mission Control agree that study abroad is about love, in many and sometimes all the ways you talked about it! What a great testament to the experience you had.

    • Christopher 1:24 pm on September 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      This is a great post. My daughter Melissa is now in Vietnam and I hope that her experience will be as fulfilling as yours. Study abroad in my mind should be about the connections made with the people and culture where one is immursed. You will always have the memories of this trip and I hope you will be able to travel back one day. Thank you for your thoughts.

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