Ok, so you were abroad last semester, and you’re a little confused. It’s not that you weren’t excited to come back — in fact, you couldn’t wait to eat your first spicy with in over half a year and hug it out with friends who understand lingo like “You do you” and “OMAC.” It’s just that things seem different. When you had your first “spicy with” of the semester, your stomach was NOT happy afterwards — devastatingly, you’d lost your immunity to Jo’s food. Worse, you feel disconnected from some of your friends, and hardly anyone says “You do you” anymore. You can’t help but feel like Charlie Brown moping around and asking questions about everything that feels different, weird, and new.
But the worst thing of all, the biggest challenge you’ve faced, came at you when you braved the deep dark depths of the Ratty. You were at a little joint called the Ivy Room for a late-night smoothie, and what happened when you went to put the straw in the cup? It bounced right back at you. The caps don’t have holes. What kind of sick person planned that?
Wait a minute. This Ivy Room debacle has nothing to do with your time abroad. Your friend is also horrified by it, and she was here last semester. Maybe you’re not so alone after all. Let’s face it: this concern with belonging to a community is pretty much universal, and it’s something you’ve been dealing with since middle school, when Lucinda wouldn’t let you sit at her lunch table. It’s something pretty much all of us have dealt with at some point. And a big part of belonging, of the Brown identity, seems to be related to contentedness in being here. If you’re at Brown but you don’t feel as content as everyone else in being at Brown, you might feel alienated. Then you get to those questions bigger than “Why don’t the caps have holes?” You ask, “Why isn’t everything fitting just right? Why don’t I fit just right? Why can’t I achieve the ultimate mellow of those people playing Frisbee on the quad?”
About 600 Brown students go abroad every year. Between researching, applying, and preparing, the process can be daunting. In order to help combat some of the confusion and give students a realistic look into the study abroad experience, an info session called “What I Wish I Knew: Students Perspectives on Studying Abroad” was held last week.
The program started with upperclassmen saying where they went abroad, what they wished the OIP helped more with, and what piece of advice they could give. Keep reading to find some pieces of advice that kept coming up, for any stage of the process you’re in.
Figuring out where you want to go:
No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, you have options. Maybe too many options. There are so many programs to choose from (or petition for) that you’re going to have to do some digging to find the one that fits right. One suggestion for narrowing it down is setting two goals that you want out of your abroad experience. Weigh all the programs based on those two basic criteria to start. So you want to learn a language? So you want to be fully immersed in a place without other American students? So you want to get a better understanding of foreign political systems first hand? Figure out where best you can do just that.
Here at BlogDailyHerald, we love to cover things facial hair related. However, it goes without question that it is possible for one to grow hair in more places than just your face (in fact, most of our staff members are woefully incapable of growing hair on their face). My name is Caitlin, my preferred gender pronouns are she, her, and hers, and I didn’t shave my legs last month.
I know that many women do not identify with the practice of hair removal, and this anecdote is in no way prescriptive of how anyone should behave. Put simply, the decision I made last month was special to me because I have been peer pressured into shaving my legs since I was fourteen. There have been times in the past during which I let myself go, but some hall-mate or family member would always shame me back into the cycle with “Ew Caitlin, please shave.” Not this time, amigos, not this time.
It came about by accident. Right now I am living in Denmark, and it’s really cold. Lacking even an imaginary study abroad boyfriend, and with no fashion incentive not to, I wear pants often. Constantly covered, it didn’t feel necessary to waste time on calf maintenance. Normally, I go between a week or two weeks without shaving, but this November, I said to myself, “f**k it, let’s see where this takes me.”
Studying abroad inspires spontaneous thumb wars with photographers
For some, our school is so near and dear that the idea of spending a semester off campus comes with some reluctance. Even so, studying abroad can certainly be an enlightening experience: an opportunity to develop one’s worldview through some bona fide cultural immersion and to have a great time in the process. The Study Abroad Fair held yesterday by the Brown Office of International Programs (OIP) offered Brown students a sample of those delights, as well as information on specific programs available to students. For those who couldn’t make it over to Simmons Quad, here are a few take-aways that I think you’ll find helpful:
1. Talk to Ned! I learned this one very quickly. Ned Quigley, Associate Director of the OIP, is incredibly approachable and knowledgable. He will help you with any questions you have about the study abroad process and will probably also resent me for distributing his e-mail address here: ned_quigley@Brown.edu. The OIP also has many other helpful advisors who will help guide you through the steps of applying to study abroad.
2. You can study abroad through Brown or through a Brown-approved program. You aren’t limited to programs facilitated directly by Brown. In fact most of the booths at the fair presented Brown-approved programs (e.g. Danish Institute for Study Abroad, Peace Corps, etc.). Additionally, if there is a program that you would like to see approved by Brown, but is not yet approved, you can submit an appeal to have your desired program approved by the Brown OIP.
3. Financial aid extends to study abroad. If you’re receiving financial aid, your full package, including scholarship aid, will transfer to your program. A study abroad advisor will also sit down with you individually and help you to come up with a budget for the trip. There will be more info sessions in October, so keep your eyes on that good old Morning Mail.
Despite some of our unhealthy relationships with Siri, akin to Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson in Her, technology can be an amazing tool for maintaining real-life relationships, especially sexual ones. Whether you have a vibrator that is synced to your iTunes or a pillow that allows you to hear your partner’s heartbeat wherever they are, technology can be a beautiful thing. And for those in long distance relationships, it’s a necessity.
Because we’re not living in the dark ages, where hand-written letters and the occasional phone call were the only things connecting you and your partner, we have amazing inventions to keep people closer together, even if they are a world away. Skype has grown to be every long distance relationship’s third wheel. Skype, to me, is the most sexually revolutionary product since the Pill, and Skype sex is now a luxury for couples everywhere. So whether your partner goes to a different school, is abroad this semester, or is your 35-year-old neighbor back home, read below for some tips on how to make the most of your Skype sex experience.
February 4th, 2013: First day of school on another continent.
Yes, I know it’s ridiculous that I’m starting school so late. I’ve been in Europe for almost a month, and this is the first time I have to set an alarm. I snooze it three times before I manage to get up from my bed. That’s when it hits me: so many things can go wrong today.
To calm my nerves, I made a list:
- I have no idea what the professor is saying to the class/me.
- I have no idea what the other students are saying to the professor/each other.
- I understand enough to know that I have a 15-page paper, oral presentation, midterm, and exam, on top of being in class with people I don’t understand.
- I took the train in the wrong direction, and I am now alone on the metro car with an old man yelling things at me that I don’t understand.
I put on my big girl pants, down an espresso, and text the only other Brown student that’s supposed to go to this class. I passive-aggressively tell her, “Leaving my apartment! Don’t be late.” But passive-aggressive texting is a dying art, and I’m left loitering in front of a building for 20 minutes. Thanks, friend. Continue Reading