The Pack http://thepack.unm.edu Student Stories at The University of New Mexico Mon, 12 Nov 2018 20:53:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 71725995 The Daily Life http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/the-daily-life/ http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/the-daily-life/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 20:51:04 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15334 So, I am down to my last full month here in India. It’s weird to have been here for almost 3 months now. It has been quite the adventure with the most random, crazy experiences. I am spending the first full weekend in my flat because I have to finish up my project so I […]

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So, I am down to my last full month here in India. It’s weird to have been here for almost 3 months now. It has been quite the adventure with the most random, crazy experiences. I am spending the first full weekend in my flat because I have to finish up my project so I decided to just write about some cool things about where I live and my day to day life.

 

I don’t really know how to put this, but I live in ashram? For those that do not know what an ashram is, it is defined as a home of a spiritual master who lives there and their devotees visit the ashram to find spiritual guidance. My university, Amrita University, was founded under the guru Mata Amritanandamayi, also known as Amma. Definitely look her up, she is a spiritual guide and a humanitarian who has done some serious good deeds in the world and she holds the Guinness world record of most hugs given set at 22 million and counting. It is definitely a rare study abroad experience to say the least to “live” at the ashram and be able to go to university here.

 

Casually enough, the university and the ashram are connected by a bridge and the guru Amma has a universal following with dozens of different ashrams in the world, but this one is the one she resides at because it is her hometown. Hundreds of international people flock to this here to get one of Amma’s famous hugs and some end up becoming devotees living here. I have had around 7 roommates, including the ones I live with now, because different students come for different projects. I currently live with 4 international students: Patricia (German), Kayla (South African), and Anais and Alexandere (French), and we are the only international students here so we are like a little family.

So, I start every morning with zero effort, compared to getting ready in the morning back home, and get some food at the canteen in front of the school. In India, we traditionally do not eat with utensils, so I have eaten with my hands every day… for every meal… for more than 3 months. It is definitely a new feeling at first, but in a way, I understand why it’s necessary to eat with your hands here. A man told me once that in Ayurvedic practices, that when you touch the food with your hands, it signals to your brain that it is going to receive food and prepares the body for it. Many say that it enhances the food experience, making you appreciate your food more and understanding the blessing it is to hold energy that sustains you in your hand. And for everyone, it is just easier to mix curry with your hands and makes it taste so much better (its true). I have eaten many different types of curry, so I cannot even tell you which ones my favorite, but I usually have potato curry, appam, and chai every morning and I enjoy this breakfast to the fullest. Also, the smell of curry on your fingers, it doesn’t go away lol.

I work in a lab called Sanitation Biotechnology with PhD students working on their own projects, but working towards clean, sustainable technology in “reinventing the toilet” (this is a Bill Gates initiative if you want to look it up) and they are doing some top-notch research. I, on the other hand, am working with water quality and studying the formation of disinfection byproducts from chlorine (this is very boring to talk about in a blog so just bear through it). I also take some lab courses like genetic engineering and medical bacteriology, so my time is pretty filled here most of the time with science.

On my off days, my roommates and I go on an adventure because you can basically maneuver your way anywhere here with rickshaws (tuk tuks), trains, and buses. If you are lucky, you can grab a seat in a train or bus, if you are unlucky (like me <3), you have stand for 3 hours on a very crowded bus (like really crowded and its more than 90 degrees and humid). We also watch a lot of random movies and since all of us speak different languages, we teach each other little things so I can now say I know how to say, “what time is it?” in German, Afrikaans, French, and Malayalam.

Life here in India Is really chill, attracting a very different crowd of people, along with having some really funny and bizarre experiences. I wish I could put it all on a blog, but some experiences can never really be written down, so if you are interested about studying abroad in India, please do it. There are so many misconceptions about this beautiful, organized chaos of a country, but you learn so much about yourself and the life that emanates from every single direction here. The people, culture, food, religion, everything about this place is mesmerizing and life here is sweet and simple. Since the theme is international education, traveling abroad expands your social awareness and breaks the traditional classroom barriers because you also get to learn lessons about yourself. I am loving every moment here, and I hope many can do the same. 🙂

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Some things about St. Petersburg http://thepack.unm.edu/zoe-c/some-things-about-st-petersburg/ http://thepack.unm.edu/zoe-c/some-things-about-st-petersburg/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 20:50:00 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15346 If someone had told me one year ago that I would be in St. Petersburg today, I would’ve been hard pressed to believe them. Without considering the convoluted relationship between the US and Russia (especially currently) logistically, traveling to Russia is complicated to say the least. My grandma once told me about an ill-fated trip […]

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If someone had told me one year ago that I would be in St. Petersburg today, I would’ve been hard pressed to believe them. Without considering the convoluted relationship between the US and Russia (especially currently) logistically, traveling to Russia is complicated to say the least. My grandma once told me about an ill-fated trip she and her friend attempted to Russia years ago, in which they never made it out of Alaska! My grandma thinks that on a previous trip her friend was accidentally blacklisted without her knowing it so when their visas didn’t come through, their travel group left Juneau without them. This isn’t to say that’s a likely situation to find yourself in, but it does require quite a bit of planning to get the visa required even for a short 3 day stay.

When I heard that it was possible for me to get around the visa requirement by taking a ferry through Finland, I jumped at the opportunity and I’m so glad I did. I feel like growing up in the US there is so much unconscious stigma toward Russia as a whole, not just politically but culturally as well. Instead of being fed everything through the bias of some media outlet or another, it’s refreshing to think about politics and consider a country in the context of actual individuals, people that you can talk to and a place you can visit. Obviously politics were on my mind some of the time especially while entering Russia and at times like when a guide mentioned Putin, but just exploring and learning about the city was an amazing chapter of my study abroad.

What I did take away from the three days I enjoyed St. Petersburg was the grandeur of the city. I was told by many people that compared to the rest of Russia, St. Petersburg is a very European-style city. I definitely did notice that, however to me the scale of the streets, plazas, buildings, and basically everything was twice that of the other European cities I’ve visited.

Add to that the Russian’s love of gilt, I was impressed by the architecture. The canals, palace lined streets, and golden domed churches adds to the winter fairytale vibe, and almost made me forget the cold gray weather and the trials of finding vegetarian food. Visiting the Hermitage museum (part of it is housed in the resplendent Winter Palace, and it’s the second biggest art museum in the world following the Louvre), and touring the Yusopov Palace and site of Rasputin’s murder were inspiring and fascinating. All in all, I felt like the dazzling art, architecture, and history was just a glimpse of what a huge city in an enormous country had to offer.

Admittedly, traveling with a group of exchange students is probably not the most immersive experience but considering the circumstances I though it felt and was safer to be with at least a few people at all times, and the experiences I had when breaking off into smaller groups and exploring the city were great.

With this trip I barely got my feet wet, but I was inspired to add Moscow to the list of cities I plan to visit, and I know to keep an eye out for further opportunities to explore Russia.

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Endless Journey http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/endless-journey/ http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/endless-journey/#respond Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:49:08 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15315 What’s up everybody I just want to start with saying China has been great to me thus far and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I’m extremely grateful for the friendships i have made and the experiences i have had. Here’s what I’ve been up to. Went to the famous DuJiangYan (都江堰)irrigation system […]

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What’s up everybody I just want to start with saying China has been great to me thus far and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I’m extremely grateful for the friendships i have made and the experiences i have had. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

  1. Went to the famous DuJiangYan (都江堰)irrigation system on a USAC field trip  
  2. Part of the irrigation system at night 
  3. One of the many meat vendors of Qiang minority village
  4. THE “China Squat” also wearing a traditional Qiang minority headset
  5. Sitting atop an archery/watchtower protected by the White Stone God
  6. Me accepting an arm wrestling challenge by a 78 year old man (read further for results)
  7. Went for a session of traditional Chinese fire cupping therapy or Baguan (拔罐)
  8. A couple of friends trying to teach me MaJiang while we buy candy from an old man 
  9. Sharing cake for one of the students birthdays at the end of class

 The DuJiangYan irrigation system is a very old and famous irrigation system in China that allowed a huge part of Sichuan province to thrive economically. It is also a very popular tourist destination for many Chinese people. Our next destination was the Qiang minority village. This village was very interesting and full of history. As you can see the meat vendors like to hang their meat on hooks outside to attract customers😋. This is a completely normal practice in China, but the head was definitely a new addition. I think the longer i stay here things i would normally think are very strange become completely normal🤷🏼‍♂️. Like the “China Squat”, its a necessity if you every have to use one of the squat toilets, and you will often see people just squatting like this anywhere. I remember one of my English students asking me if i was able to squat like that because he heard foreigners couldn’t do it 😅. The next picture is me sitting on the archery/watchtower that sat on top of the Kings house in the Qiang minority village. I’m not sure if i was supposed to do that, but one thing they told us specifically not to do was go anywhere near the White Stone God, a being that they revered in the village. It must give them some sort of strength because directly after i went down stairs and old man challenged me to an arm wrestling match. The 78 year old man then proceeded to embarrass me💪🏻 (although he did make me use my left hand). I blamed it on my Qi being out of balance😉so my Chinese friend brought me to a place where they do traditional Chinese fire cupping.  That was definitely a cool experience. I had purple circles on my back for a few days but it felt good. Supposedly it helps With circulation and relaxing the muscles. In the next few days some friends invited me out to dinner, at the restaurant was a few MaJiang tables. MaJiang is a very popular Chinese game and it is played all over the world. Since coming to China, i have wanted to learn the game and they were happy to teach🀄. While playing we went against everything i had ever learned in America and bought candy from an old man off the street😳, but the guy had a cool hat and good candy. He also used the oldest looking balance scale i had ever seen to weigh our taffy-like candy. The last picture is of me and my class celebrating one of the students birthdays! I love the school and all the little kids, i couldn’t imagine China without them. Thank you for reading! Till next time, Cheers✌🏻.

 

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Ninjas! http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/ninjas/ http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/ninjas/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 22:57:21 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15301 Hey everyone! Hope everyone is doing well! So, this past weekend was not only a culture shock but also so much fun. Mejiji Gakuin University took myself and the other exchange students to the village of Oshino-Hakkai. While visiting Oshino-Hakkai our coordinator took us to see the ninja village, as well as to lunch and […]

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Hey everyone! Hope everyone is doing well! So, this past weekend was not only a culture shock but also so much fun. Mejiji Gakuin University took myself and the other exchange students to the village of Oshino-Hakkai. While visiting Oshino-Hakkai our coordinator took us to see the ninja village, as well as to lunch and the famous Ninja Park and school.

Oshino-Hakkai is a small village, however, Mount Fuji is not too far from it and no matter where you are you can see mount Fuji very clearly. When we were arriving in Oshino-Hakkai the first thing we saw was Mount Fuji. After arriving in the town, we went to small park were vendors sell food as well where there is some beautiful wood buildings and bridges. After visiting this small park, we ate Udon at a nearby restaurant. This restaurant was not only nice but had the feeling of a traditional Japanese eating style, in that you had to sit down on the floor to eat.  After eating lunch, we went to the Ninja Park and School in Oshino-Hakkai.

Oshino-Hakkai Ninja Park and School was easily the most fun I have had in Japan. When we got there we all purchased a ticket to see the Ninja Show. This Ninja Show gave a detailed history of the Ninja way of life as well as the different weapons that Ninjas use in combat ranging from a katana sword to shuriken’s (Throwing Stars). These were done not only in a lecture form but also through acts in which two ninjas would use plastic replicas of the weapons to show how they were used. However, in the final act of this show a real shuriken was used when the two ninjas were performing their act. This  not only shocked the audience, but of course was planned by the staff running the show. After viewing the Ninja Show we then were able to explore the park aspect which was not only beautiful but had an obstacle course, maze, as well as other fun and interactive aspects that allows one to not only practice being a ninja themselves but also allows to see some of the obstacle courses that Ninjas must undergo in training. There is also a section in which one can throw shuriken’s as well as use the blow dart gun that Ninjas use for the cost of 500 yen (5 dollars). This trip was a total of 4 hours in travel, 2 there and 2 back, but so worth it. If you decided to study abroad in Japan I highly recommend checking out Oshino-Hakkai.  I have uploaded photos of all that I have described on my Instagram @isaacxmaes if you all would like to see photos.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this blog and have a wonderful rest of your day. And remember to follow @unmstudyabroad on Instagram and Facebook.

おもしろい:               Omoshiroi                   Interesting

ちいさい:                   Chīsai                          Small

おおきい                    Ōkī                              Big

しゃしん:                   Shashin                       Photo

 

 

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Morocco Trip & Thoughts on International Education http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/morocco-trip-thoughts-on-international-education/ http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/morocco-trip-thoughts-on-international-education/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 22:56:49 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15275 At first, I thought of making two different blog posts about the topics in this post, but after reflecting for a minute on my trip to Morocco and the importance of international education, I decided that they were analogous in many ways. Perhaps explaining them together will make it the relationship between both clearer to […]

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At first, I thought of making two different blog posts about the topics in this post, but after reflecting for a minute on my trip to Morocco and the importance of international education, I decided that they were analogous in many ways. Perhaps explaining them together will make it the relationship between both clearer to you and clearer to me. (Every time I sit down to write something, the act of writing and continuously thinking about a subject makes me connect thoughts easier than merely reflecting upon the same subject.) (Maybe that’s why people say journaling is good. Hmmm, interesting.) 

CityLife group photo

Anyhow, this weekend I made a big trip, one that I had been looking forward to since before I left to Spain, and one that had been on my list of things to do for quite some time, and that was to begin my exploration of the continent of Africa! (Africa is wayyy too big to say that I have been to Northern Morocco and so, therefore, I have seen Africa. I am definitely going back to see some more.) On Wednesday night (October 31), we (the CityLife Madrid tour group) began our journey to the southernmost tip of Spain (the town of Tarifa). In Tarifa we got onto a ferry, and before the afternoon on Thursday, November 1st, we were in the Kingdom of Morocco! The passport control, lines, ferry, and customs were all very interesting as I had never crossed into another country on a boat before, but it was also very boring and time-consuming. (Also the ferry was fun, but that was because I wasn’t one of the many people that got very seasick in the crossing, which I found out later had made the ferry one of the least favorite experiences for some.) 

This tannery is in the middle of the Fez medina.

The trip that I signed up for was “6 days and 5 nights” which was 4 days and 3 nights in Morocco and 2 days/nights in Spain traveling there are back. Even though the length of the trips didn’t seem long, I chose the trip because of how much we would be able to squeeze into one long weekend (we had Thursday and Friday off) as well as how many different places we could see in Morocco in the relatively short amount of time that we had. And in that aspect I was not disappointed in the least. We cover a LOT

Crossing the Strait of Gibraltar.

of ground in those “6 days and 5 nights.” The round trip distance traveled (according to Google Maps and not counting moving around in each city) was 2221 kilometers or 1380 miles. That’s like driving from Albuquerque to Portland or Chicago or Atlanta. So like a lot, but we still didn’t get all the way across the USA (that’s how I measure distance in my head: where could you get in the USA). Overall, it did feel like a crap ton of traveling but that was part of the experience as we consequently got to see a lot of the Moroccan countryside (when we were actually awake). We traveled to 4 cities in the 4 days that we were in Morocco: Rabat, Fez, Chefchaouene, and Tangier. 

Hassan Tower, Rabat

Rabat is the capital of Morocco and the political center of the country if not necessarily the economic or cultural center. When we arrived on Thursday evening, we visited the medina, which is a word used for the “old town” or old Arab section of the city, which usually has a wall around it and is a very crowded place with narrow streets, market stalls everywhere, and a lot of people. After the medina, we visited a few other nice looking places, but everything we closed due to the late hour. In the morning, we took some pictures and saw a few other places, and then we left to Fez. 

Fez is the second largest city in Morocco behind the better known Casablanca. This city, while far from being the biggest I have ever seen was one of the most compact cities I have ever seen. It was in Fez that I felt as though I was in a completely new and different place. We spent most of the tour walking through the medina in Fez, and let me tell you, it was huge. We didn’t walk through all of it, but that only made it more impressive to me.

Mohammed V mausoleum, Rabat

Our local guide in Fez told warned us right off the bat that of all the places to separate yourself from the group or try to do your own thing, this was possibly the worst place to do it. The medina in Fez has over 9500 streets… Let me say that again. 9500 streets. I honestly can’t say that I’ve been on 9500 streets in my entire life, much less in one place. She told us that last time a guy stopped to go to the bathroom a moment and got separated, the local people and guides didn’t find him for 3 hours. Some of you may be thinking that they told me wrong on the number of streets (look here), but the place is a

Overlook on the medina in Fez… it is bigger that what you can fit in the picture.

literal labyrinth, with more dead ends than streets and as soon as you’ve walked in you are lost, you can’t even see the sky anymore in lots of places. Though it was a Friday, and thus the medina was not as busy as it would normally be, there was a lot to see it was just a crazy experience. Different from anything I have ever experienced in many ways. We spent the night in New Fez, which was nothing like the medina of older Fez (founded in the year 789), but interesting none the less, and in the morning we headed off to Chefchaouene. 

Very picturesque indeed

Chefchaouene, also called the Blue Pearl, is a very small city in the mountains (2000 feet elevation) of Northern Morocco, and as its nickname may hint, it greatly painted in shades of blue. (Not all of it, but a lot of it.) No one really knows why it is painted blue, but there are stories if you look up the city on the internet. They told us that not long ago the city was more or less a secret, or overlooked place, but in our age of social media and our quest for the most picturesque photos, the blue city has become a less well guarded secret. (Don’t get me wrong the Instagram pictures do come out nice. @miguel_sabol if you want to see some.) A lot of people spoke Spanish in Chefchaouene in comparison to the French spoken in Rabat and Fez (due to their different colonial histories), which was nice because I only speak English and Spanish, and really not that much of French at all. Here we were encouraged to buy souvenirs as Chefchaouene has a very nice market with some very unique items that you can’t find in the same quantity or quality anywhere else. We were allowed a lot of free time on Saturday in this city as it was much smaller and not somewhere to easy to get lost. When we woke up in the morning, we set off for Tangier and our ferry back to the Iberian Peninsula.

Overlooking Chefchaouene after sunset

Caves of Hercules

Tangier was explained to me as “one of the most Europeanized cities in Morocco,” and to tell you the truth I could tell just by what I heard and saw in the streets. Tangier is the third largest city in Morocco and a very large port city that sits in a very good position at the mouth of the Strait of Gibraltar on the Atlantic side. When walking through the medina all I could hear was Spanish from the people there. Near Tangier, we stopped to see the Caves of Hercules and then went down to the beach for a highlight of the trip, which was getting to ride camels! It was pretty cool, and a neat experience, although the inside of my thighs tell me that I am not very meant for that form of travel. After the camel ride, we visited the medina of Tangier where we visited a local pharmacy that sold all those products that people associate with Morocco like argon oil and amber perfume and stuff like that, I did not pay attention as much as the girls in the group…my hair is already arranged beautifully and I never have to smell myself so I don’t think I need much perfume, but hey, that’s just me. I ended up buying a very very very soft and smooth scarf for myself after that though, so you can see where my priorities lie. 

Camels & I

After looking around Tangier for a few hours we headed to the port and stood in a ridiculously long line for the ferry and customs and all that nonsense then got on the ferry and headed back to Spain in the dark. I don’t know how the others felt about the second ferry ride, but soon enough we were back in Spain (where we had to stand in line again). We rode through the night on a bus and at 8:40 in the morning on Monday we stopped in a very rainy and wet Madrid, and we all set off in different directions. I had a quiz at 10:45 that same morning so I took off for home, took a [much] needed shower and then went to class for a few hours. 

My experience in Morocco was a great one, one that I would most definitely repeat in the future if I have the chance. I for sure wish to see even more places all around Africa after this. I recognize that I saw very little in comparison with the continent itself, but the amount of new, different, puzzling, and even surprising things that I saw has made me eager to see other new things and made me curious for the other things that I could learn from more experiences like this in the future. Morocco was like no place I had ever seen before, and that is part of the beauty of having these new experiences, that it expands the realm of what one has seen and makes for easier understandings and comparisons. 

Camel riding next to the Atlantic Ocean

This is where I link my Morocco trip to international education, and in the end, it is a very simple analogy. While you were reading about a simple trip that I took to a new place and you were hearing some of my thoughts and the things that I learned, you probably weren’t surprised because we have all been to new places and seen new things and probably told stories similar to the one I have just told you. Studying abroad is essentially the same thing… it is a trip that you go on, and while you’re there you see new things, learn new words (maybe a new language), visit cool places, take a lot of pictures, and have a good time. The biggest difference that it has from a complete vacation is that you continue to study while doing all of this (and maybe that you stay for a lot longer). 

Picture seems fake, but yeah, I took that

We as individuals are constantly learning new things: we take trips to new places, meet new people, learn new jobs and tasks for work, or go to school to learn something that interests up. We are constantly striving to understand more about the world that surrounds us, and each of us is on a different path. In going to different countries, studying abroad, or learning about new cultures, we have the opportunity to find out about how humans around the world live their lives, what they think, and where they wish to go. We learn about what makes each of us different, but in doing so we also begin to see all these commonalities between us. In the globalized world that we live in today, it is increasingly important that we, the citizens of various countries, make an effort to see new peoples, cultures, and places. It is not only important, but it something that I believe is necessary because in having new experiences, seeing new places, and meeting new people we open up own personal worlds to the great playground that is our Earth. 

Mirror selfie

Though it seems like a difficult mandate to learn about other cultures, meet other peoples, and go new places, it not really that bad, and usually, the hardest part is just getting there. As I like to say, as long as you can talk just a little bit, you can always make friends/meet new people, and from there, everything else comes on its own. I think everyone will agree that no one can learn all they need to know from a seat in a lecture hall or a desk, at least half the time is just about getting out there and doing it, trying it. I signed up for this trip to Morocco by myself, and I left my flat on Wednesday night without knowing a single person of the 68 people on the trip, but by the time I made it back on Monday morning, I had made more friends than I could give names to (in situations like that I am more likely to remember your story and where you are from than your name, sorry). I’m sure anyone that has ever studied abroad or gone on a trip by themselves that the best part of the experience was meeting new people and making friends that could last a lifetime. It isn’t that hard to learn, you just need to start with your name and where you’re from and hope the other person remembers one of them.

Don’t forget to eat some good food too. (FYI that little tiny pepper was one of the hottest things I have ever eaten, I couldn’t feel my tongue for 20 minutes.)

Get out there and see a bit of the world. 

Un saludo, 

Miguel Sabol

As always, feel from to email me for recommendations (msabol@unm.edu) or follow me on Instagram to see more pictures (@miguel_sabol)

 

 

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Will you vote? http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/will-you-vote/ http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/will-you-vote/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 16:11:39 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15265 Have you voted yet? A question you may have been asked many times already walking around campus. But have you held the question to value? I’ve heard so many reasons as to why people don’t vote. People argue that either they’re not political or they don’t think it will affect them. I never understood that […]

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Have you voted yet? A question you may have been asked many times already walking around campus. But have you held the question to value?

I’ve heard so many reasons as to why people don’t vote. People argue that either they’re not political or they don’t think it will affect them. I never understood that because politics is everywhere even if you don’t notice. So, if you’re a Lobo and you’re confused on how this election will impact you, I’ll spell out a few key issues that will impact everyone on campus.

For some Lobos who don’t know, UNM is ran through the Board of Regents. UNM’s Board of Regents is comprised of seven members who basically make all these decisions that impact students, staff and faculty. The next governor of New Mexico will be appointing five out of seven positions in UNM’s Board of Regents. So, the people deciding if our tuition gets raised or not, will be appointed by the new governor—and by extension our votes.

If you’re an in-state student, whoever you elect for New Mexico State Legislature will be deciding how much money you receive through the Lottery Scholarship. The past couple years, in-state students have experienced some unpredictability in how much the Lottery Scholarship will cover in tuition, however, through voting, now’s your chance to have a bit of say in that.

Lastly, let’s talk about Bond D. Bond D is at the very end of the ballot, and most people tend to forget about voting on it—but it’s so important to UNM. So, this is the gist of Bond D. We pay taxes, and now the state wants to know where we want that money to go. Bond D is giving the state government the okay to give New Mexico’s colleges, universities and specialty schools funding to ensure students have the resources they need. So that means, as Lobos we will see new renovations on campus to make our school more state of the art. Who doesn’t want that?

So basically, voting is super important. UNM has a voting poll on campus on the third floor of the SUB, and the official election day is November 6. Don’t stop at the top. Vote all the way through the ballot because what you are voting for matters!

And if you’ve already voted, and you think there is nothing left to do…Well, I have news for you. There are still ways you can be involved! Those people you’ve elected, they’re supposed to be your voice in government—so contact them and let them know what you think on issues you’re passionate about. You can email them, call them, write a letter, or even send a dang carrier pigeon if you want. Because trust me, they care about what you have to say and you could potentially sway their vote on an issue. I mean you’re the reason they’re in office to begin with, so they obviously are going to listen.

So, I voted, will you?

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My Life as a Lobo… So Far http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/my-life-as-a-lobo-so-far/ http://thepack.unm.edu/victoria-p/my-life-as-a-lobo-so-far/#respond Wed, 31 Oct 2018 22:07:37 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15236 Anyone who knows me knows that if I am doing something I am usually all in; so obviously I stan UNM. I come from a small town in Southeast New Mexico so coming to Albuquerque was a complete culture shock, and I loved it. I came from a town where there was legitimately nothing to […]

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Anyone who knows me knows that if I am doing something I am usually all in; so obviously I stan UNM. I come from a small town in Southeast New Mexico so coming to Albuquerque was a complete culture shock, and I loved it. I came from a town where there was legitimately nothing to do to a city where I have the opportunities to do whatever my heart desired. Of course, I took every advantage I could possibly get causing my life at UNM has been very eventful so far.

When I wasn’t in the classroom, my freshmen year was spent exploring Albuquerque and Northern New Mexico. Since I was a member of the Lobo Life, I was able to visit some of the most beautiful places New Mexico has to offer. Because of the Lobo Life, I have gone on trips I never even imagined going on like hiking through the snow only to swim in a boiling hot spring at the top. I was also heavily involved in ASUNM—UNM’s undergraduate student government. I planned huge events on campus including Fiestas—our annual music festival that saw over 10,000 attendees last year.

Backstage access at Fiestas 2018

San Antonio Hot Springs

My friends and I came back and better than ever causing sophomore year to be any less eventful. While I catch myself in Zim a little more this semester, my adventuring has yet to cease.  Luckily for me, a few of my classes have some fun field trips outside of Albuquerque—I know who knew field trips continued in college? Regardless, I still love going to events on campus and seeing all that New Mexico has to offer.

UNM vs. State Game

SOMOS 2018

During my time, here at UNM, I have made the best possible memories with the best possible people, and more are yet to come. So stay tuned!

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Pattu’s Wedding http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/pattus-wedding/ http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/pattus-wedding/#respond Wed, 31 Oct 2018 18:30:58 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15226 This weekend I had the honor of attending my first Indian wedding. Specifically, it was a South Indian wedding (different parts of India have different customs and traditions when it comes to wedding celebrations). It was honestly one of the coolest experiences I have had during my time here. So, a little background about South […]

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This weekend I had the honor of attending my first Indian wedding. Specifically, it was a South Indian wedding (different parts of India have different customs and traditions when it comes to wedding celebrations). It was honestly one of the coolest experiences I have had during my time here.

So, a little background about South Indian weddings that are different from other Indian weddings is that their wedding happens early in the morning at temple. They also don’t have those 7-day wedding processions like other Indian weddings, but more or less have 3 days of pre-wedding reception of both the bride and groom’s family. They do not celebrate together, rather they celebrate within their own families.

Weird story of how I came to come here, I literally was talking to all my classmates about how all I need to do in India is attend one wedding and my experience here would be set. Luckily, the day I started my project, a girl was leaving the lab the day I arrived and she invited me to her farewell dinner. I went and her mom invited me to her wedding lol and that’s the story of how I was able to attend her wedding. I, of course, attended with her friends whom I was working with so I was not a random girl just showing up to her wedding. Surprisingly, I participated in the wedding and gave her blessings and was a part of all of her wedding pictures too. I can’t really explain how these things happen to me, but they do!

Anyways, the wedding starts around 7 in the morning and the bride is adorned with what almost seems like pounds of gold and dressed in a vibrant colored saree. I was also able to wear a silk saree I bought in Bengaluru. Let me tell you, sarees are no joke. You have to prepare the night before to wear it, and then it takes another person to help you wrap it around you and pin it. Being a chaotic mess with no sense of thinking, I did the unthinkable and stuffed my saree in my bag which made a countless number of wrinkles. The friends that attended with me assisted me with putting on my saree, and were shocked and told me that a silk saree is to be treated like a baby. Luckily, they knew how to fix it and I stood there watching them try to undo my mess.

So, after an hour of all of us getting ready, we went to temple to watch the wedding. The temple was primarily based on the god Shiva, and his two sons, Ganesha (remover of obstacles) and Subramanya (god of war). I did puja (the act of worship) in the temple with my friends and received sandalwood and flowers. You usually put the sandalwood in the middle of your forehead and neck and people often put the flower on top of their head or girls in their hair. We watched the parents of the bride wash the feet of the groom and then the priest performs the ceremony.

First, everything has a meaning during the marriage rituals. The meaning is so deep and sacred that I still don’t understand after all the explanations, but there is so much beauty and life in each of their movement. The groom ties a “mangalsutra” (necklace) around his bride, gifts her a saree (symbolizing responsibility and providing for them) and they walk in a circle around the fire. I wish I could explain in more detail, but I’d get lost in the explanation. Although weddings are done differently here, the beauty and life behind has the same meaning. It was a beautiful ceremony followed by “sadhya” (feast of 25 dishes) where several curries are placed on a banana leaf and you eat a little bit of every curry. There is actually a certain way of eating which curries in a certain order, but I just ate everything. It was so good. Oh my gosh. Like the bombest. They had this dessert called payasam which is like sweet milk and flattened rice.

Unfortunately, I had to be back at school so I was only able to stay for part of the wedding and headed back for a 6-hour train ride back to my campus. I am grateful to have had such a great experience with a group of people who made me feel like family. The bride was ravishing and she was glowing the entire day with nothing but a smile on her face. Now it’s time for me to finish my project so hopefully, I can go on another adventure soon!

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Exploring Estonia http://thepack.unm.edu/zoe-c/exploring-estonia/ http://thepack.unm.edu/zoe-c/exploring-estonia/#respond Tue, 30 Oct 2018 18:13:54 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15074 Briefly about saunas… Saunas are really popular in Estonia. And I mean, most people have a personal sauna in their home, all gyms have a sauna, and my school even has two. Before coming here I’d only been in a sauna twice, and both times it was kinda this special thing that was supposed to […]

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Briefly about saunas… Saunas are really popular in Estonia. And I mean, most people have a personal sauna in their home, all gyms have a sauna, and my school even has two. Before coming here I’d only been in a sauna twice, and both times it was kinda this special thing that was supposed to help me “sweat out my toxins” according to my older sister. It was like going to a spa or something else that was a bit out of the ordinary. Here, I would compare it a bit more like having a bath — maybe you don’t have one every day because it is a bit of a time commitment, but it’s nice to relax every once in a while and sometimes it’s even a social thing (like a hot tub). The ESN group at my school had a sauna party which is where I learned we have a sauna on the 6th floor of my university. I also learned that pouring beer on the hot rocks in the sauna (this was a wet sauna where you often pour water on heated rocks to create steam), smells actually really good, like sweet bread or something. Also it’s not recommended to drink beer in the sauna as that can be quite dangerous.

In other news, the past few weeks I have finally broken out of my strictly Tallinnas existence, and seen a bit more of what Estonia has to offer. I went on a short backpacking trip with two fellow exchange students, which was an experience in itself. Seeing as Estonia is one of the flatest countries in Europe (it’s biggest “mountain”, Big Egg Mountain is 318 m above sea level, we weren’t arduously ascending mountains, but I did get some nasty blisters and realize I should really train my shoulders a bit before next time. We walked a total of 50 km in southern Estonia, near the second biggest city Tartu. The weekend after I went on my first ESN trip called “Around Estonia”. It was very literally a trip around Estonia with roughly 50 exchange students in our own bus. It was probably the best way to see a lot of the country in 3 days and two nights, and the organizers did an amazing job. We visited several cities including Haapsalu, Pӓrnu (with it’s beach on lake Peipsi, it’s considered the “summer capital”), Tartu (home to one of the oldest universities in Europe), Viljandi, and Narva (you can see Russia across the river), all of which I recommend.

All in all, October has been a busy month and we haven’t even reached Halloween yet!

Beautiful snapshots from backpacking, the bog on the right was magical

Also from backpacking, fall in southern Estonian countryside is beautiful

Some more fall pictures

Left is a raised bog, it was a bit spooky. Right is an abandoned railway station in Haapsalu

Viljandi and Pӓrnu, try to spot the completely real polar bear

Left is Pӓrnu beach (across is Russia), and other sightseeing

Right is the Russian fortress across the river from the Narva castle

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Shrines and Host Family! =D http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/shrines-and-host-family-d/ http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/shrines-and-host-family-d/#respond Mon, 29 Oct 2018 16:56:48 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15206 Hey everyone! So, the past few weeks have been so crazy but so much fun. Nikkō Tōshō-gū was so much fun and talk about a culture shock. I also met my host family and they are the nicest people I have ever met! So, a bit of history on Nikkō Tōshō-gū it is the final […]

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Hey everyone! So, the past few weeks have been so crazy but so much fun. Nikkō Tōshō-gū was so much fun and talk about a culture shock. I also met my host family and they are the nicest people I have ever met!

So, a bit of history on Nikkō Tōshō-gū it is the final resting place of the Tokugawa Ieyasu who created he Tokugawa Shogunate that Japan. Tokugawa Shogunate was law that ran Japan for 200 years. The temples, as well as the other structures, were so awesome as well as the scenery around the structures. There is also what one could call a cleansing station before you enter the main area in which you use a ladle to pour water and wash your hands as well as rinse out your mouth. That was not only interesting but a culture shock. I also saw the famous Nemuri Neko (Sleeping Cat) statue. Nemuri Neko has a whole history behind it, but the short version is that this cat sculpture represents Ieyasu’ s spirit.  After seeing Nemuri Neko, I climbed 207 steps to finally get to the final resting spot of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The climb was definitely a cardio workout but we’ll worth it. The scenery at the top was mind blowing. After that I, along with the other exchange students went to Nikki National Park. The drive up there was so beautiful, and it was foggy. Nikki National Park was nice and there was a waterfall. However, the waterfall was difficult to see because of how thick the fog was. I was able to get a couple photos though because the fog cleared up a bit for a few minutes. Overall, that trip was well worth the 6 hours on a bus. 3 hours there 3 hours back.

The weekend after that, this past weekend, I met my host family which has two sisters. Like I said earlier they are the nicest people I have ever met. My host mom picked me up from Meiji Gakuin University and she took me to the elementary school my youngest host sister attends school. This were I met my host dad. After being shown around my sister’s school my hosts parents took me back to their house where we had green tea and coconut crackers and talked to get to know each other. We talked until my youngest host sister came home.

After that my host parents took my host sister and I to an Italian restaurant to eat lunch. This Italian restaurant was so good! After lunch, my host dad and sister went home to rest and my host mom took me to Tokyo Tower. In my opinion Tokyo Tower gets better the more times you go and even though I have gone once that surreal feeling when you’re going up doesn’t go away. After Tokyo Tower my host mom took me to a Kabuki play in a park. This was probably one of the coolest performances I have ever seen! The music, the acting, everything was amazing. After that, my host mom took me to a cafe in Odaiba. The coffee was fantastic and there was a really cool Ferris wheel where Halloween decorations such as pumpkins and bats were projected.

After the cafe in Odaiba my host mom and I met my host dad and younger host sister for Okonomiyaki. My older host sister joined us as well as she had been at school all day. After dinner, my Host family and I talked and then we headed home. We had the same train on the same line to our homes, so we rode the train together as well. We parted at the station that was closer to their house and I went home because I only got a host visit not an overnight stay. When I got home not only was I tired I couldn’t stop talking Japanese for 3 hours because I had been speaking Japanese all day. Speaking Japanese all day helped immensely in my learning ability. With that said if you are thinking of studying abroad and are unsure about a host family, do it. It will not only help you learn the language your studying, but it will help you appreciate the culture even more. If you all would like to see photos of these adventures they are on my Instagram @isaacxmaes.

Tomorrow will be another adventure as I am going on a bus tower which will cover lot of different parts of Japan. I will of course be taking lots of photos and posting them on Instagram, so I can share that experience with you all. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this blog and have a wonderful rest of your day. And remember to follow @unmstudyabroad on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Japanese words of the day:

れきし                        Rekishi:                       History

おもしろい                Omoshiroi                   Interesting

かぞく                     Kazoku                                    Family

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Navaratri http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/navaratri/ http://thepack.unm.edu/yoko-k/navaratri/#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 16:39:34 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15184 It’s hard to believe that I have been in India for almost three months now! So, after two months of being in school, it was about time I had a nice adventure. Fortunately, the Hindu holiday of Navaratri was coming up and the majority of India celebrates it for 9 nights (10 days) and on […]

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It’s hard to believe that I have been in India for almost three months now! So, after two months of being in school, it was about time I had a nice adventure.

Fortunately, the Hindu holiday of Navaratri was coming up and the majority of India celebrates it for 9 nights (10 days) and on the last day comes Dusshera (Dasara). As a little overview, the celebration commemorates the victory of the god Rama over the demon king Ravana, symbolizing the victory of good over evil, and truth over lies. I absolutely love India for the stories of all their gods and goddesses, and as a foreigner it’s quite a complicated and long story, but the lesson behind it is still universally understood. My roommate and I decided to spend Dusshera in Mysore, a city in the state above ours in Karnataka. It especially famous for having the most extravagant festival, where the entire city comes alive with thousands of flowers, lights, stalls, music, drawing people from everywhere.

 

We decided to spend our time wisely, so we took a flight to Bengaluru, which is India’s own little Silicon Valley, to have a taste of Western Life in India. We were there for only 18 hours, so we did our shopping in Commercial Street, known for all the tiny goodies sold in stalls. I was able to buy a nice silk saree and shoes (even though I lost the three pairs I boughtL ). Then we headed to the first brewery opened in India called Arbor, which had their own special beer with an Indian flare. To finish the night, we went to club called “Loveshack” (lol I know) to dance and unknowingly have karaoke night. We were the only foreigners there, but it was honestly the best time I’ve ever had in a club with music from everywhere. They play a lot of Spanish music in India and a lot of old-school 2000’s bops, which I was totally down for.

 

Afterwards, we took a very crowded train ride to Mysore and met up with a friend of ours and watched the city light up at 6:30. Imagine Christmas lights but this time it’s a city dressed in dozens of colors. It was a beautiful spectacle for the city to come alive in a matter of a second. We went to Mysore Palace which is where the royal family of Mysore reside and then went to the festival market where we rode a Ferris wheel!

The next day, we went walked around until a nice man named Samir came up to us and took us to a local market and sold us some sandalwood oil. We ended up waiting on the streets with the entire city for the parade procession to start, but we had to wait three hours in the sun… on the floor… it was not fun, but again waiting is always worth it in the end. The parade lasted over 90 minutes with nonstop sound and color, and even had painted elephants roaming the street! I was lucky enough to be in India during some of its major festivals, but this one was really special to see. We stayed at an actual palace too! It’s called the Green Hotel, which was originally built to house Mysore’s princesses, but they’ve turned it into a beautiful, environmentally friendly hotel adorned with hundreds of flowers from their garden. We also got to experience the Devaraja Market, known as photographer’s paradise, and saw the process of creating real silk sarees.

Up next, we went to Wayanad, a mountainous region in Kerala, and saw wild monkeys, deer, peacocks, and elephants! It’s one of the most beautiful regions I have visited in India so far, but we were there only for a short time so we were able just to have a taste of the place. Our trip was coming to an end so we took the bus back to Kozhikode to take a bus home, but that was the craziest bus ride I have ever had. Since Wayanad is in the mountain, the bus had to go down the mountain with like 30 U turns, and he never braked once. It was really funny how casual he would turn as if he wasn’t going to run us off the mountain. Also, there’s a thing with bus drivers being the kings of cutting people off, even motorcycles. So, we survived our ride and unknowingly ended up on the beach and watched the sunset with a round of coconut juice.

 

This short, but very meaningful time traveling showed me the unexpected always has a way of giving you a good experience. I struggled hard, first losing my phone (someone returned it to me) and shoes, but I was able to meet some of the coolest people who I will never forget. The experience is everything and the stories people tell you about traveling are worth more than anything in the world. The love and happiness they share with you in such a short time was overfilling that I never went anywhere without a smile.

So, lesson of the day, TRAVEL.
Seriously.

Take some risks and just take the first step because it will lead you to the best experiences. In the end, I was able to reflect the meaning of Navaratri after all. Good over evil, truth over lies, it’s really important to put importance on such a simple perspective. If I would have been afraid from experiencing the places I have now been to and stopped myself from making new friends, my perspective would have remained skewed as it previously was. The media often times makes you scared, especially with India, but my God have I learned more about love, friendships, spirituality, and especially learning about myself that I could have back home. The truth is, beautiful experiences and friendships come from the willingness to go out there and make them. Now I’m back at the lab doing my project, but I am already planning my next trip lol.

 

Next adventure, a South Indian Wedding!

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What does it take to study abroad? http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/what-does-it-take-to-study-abroad/ http://thepack.unm.edu/miguel-s/what-does-it-take-to-study-abroad/#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 16:38:55 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15174 My mom actually suggested the topic for this blog post. It’s not that I don’t have things that I can write about, but I thought this topic could be potentially more interesting than me telling you how, even in Spain, professors make you write papers in groups and do presentations. (If you are surprised about […]

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My mom actually suggested the topic for this blog post. It’s not that I don’t have things that I can write about, but I thought this topic could be potentially more interesting than me telling you how, even in Spain, professors make you write papers in groups and do presentations. (If you are surprised about that, make sure to give me some feedback, and I can tell you allllll about it. Spoiler: It’s kinda boring.)

I liked this sign. Lavapiés, Madrid

So… What does it take to study abroad? Not that much, surprisingly. You know, besides some money and the time put in to making it happen. To me the time put in to making it happen is probably the most important. Because although you need money to fly to another country, rent a place, pay for food, and all that jazz, to get money you only have to work for it (and most people are already working, have worked, or are planning on working at some point in their life), but to put time into making something happen is infinitely more difficult. I mean, heck, we all know people that pay for the gym membership every month because they want to be in shape but won’t make time to go to the gym and actually work out. We all have the friends (and are probably part of the problem) that want to go on a trip somewhere, but everyone is too lazy to plan, organize, and actually follow through with the trip. In the end, studying abroad in college is exactly like those things. You knew at the beginning that they were going to cost money (complain about it all you want, but it is, unfortunately, the way the world works), but, for some reason, I think that the time required to actually do something is much more surprising and difficult for us. (But I mean if we knew about the money it was going to take, shouldn’t we assume that it’ll take time too?) 

I don’t want to make this blog like one of those motivational post where it’s like “Get up of your butt and go get what you want!” or “Just do it.” or something like that, but yeah, that is also kinda what I want to say. I am not a famous travel blogger on Instagram or YouTube saying like “If you want to travel, just go and travel.” But yeah, I kinda want to say all those things. Sometimes it really is that simple. But pleaaaase do not be surprised by the time that you have to put into doing something like studying abroad and moving to a different country. For all you Lobos out there, I think that the UNM GEO (Global Education Office) does a fantastic job with simplifying the steps that it takes to study abroad, and if you are thinking about studying abroad, go check it out. They break it down into 10 steps (of which one step is literally just leaving). Here is the link to that website. It is honestly such a simple process that like when people tell me, “I want to study abroad,” that my response is literally just, “Then do it.” You’d be amazed at how simple it is to get out of this country and study somewhere else. 

Here is a list of (some) things that are needed to study abroad: 

  • Money (Fees, flights, travel insurance, place to live, food, transportation, travel, etc.) 
  • Time (for getting your documentation together, going to meetings, organizing issues, etc.)
  • Effort (your mom isn’t gonna be able to do this one for you, sorry)
  • Passport (it’s gonna become your child, do NOT lose it)
  • Apply for a visa (depends on where you go, but this process can be the most difficult and time consuming)
  • Suitcase (with less clothes than you think… trust me)
  • Open mind & willingness to learn (if you don’t have this don’t go because it won’t be fun)

Getafe, Madrid

Money is very important because it adds up quickly. Try not to worry about it too much, but also you have to be prepared. Though there are a fair number of kids whose parents are paying for their stays abroad, most international students are very cost attentive and a good portion of the kids you will meet (at least in Europe) will be fairly broke, but Europe is a little nicer about giving grants than most. I know quite a few people that have told me they have had to work for a period of time and save as much as possible up in order to go abroad. It is possible. There is always a cheap way. My advice is to not only just work, but to ask people for money. Tell them what you are doing. There are tons of grants out there for American students studying abroad. Write a blog (like muah). Ask the clubs and associations you are a part of. They may be willing to pay one airline ticket or part of rent. There really is a lot of money out there for people to study in other countries, you just have to look for it. (Yeah, I know, it takes more time.) In addition, studying abroad is a good time to start keeping a good record of your spending. It really helps you look at everything that you spend every month at one time. Set yourself a limit. Look up the cost of living in a city for a month. For example, for me last month, living in Getafe, Madrid, Spain, (not the city center but near the university) it cost $430 for rent, $200 for groceries, and $20 for public transportation (and then there was all the other miscellaneous expenses that were somehow incurred… hmmmmmmmm who’s spending my money??). Now those numbers can change based on where you live, where you want to study abroad, how much food you eat, etc. If you’re living on your own/in a dorm room in college, just go find out how much your room costs and find the cost for the groceries or the meal plan. It is going to be around that price in most places (hopefully). The biggest difference is that you have to have the money for the months you are going to be gone before you leave on your trip. 

The time part is outlined a bit above in the beginnings, but just remember that there is a lot of things that need time and effort. I will list some examples: 

  • Getting your visa (paperwork is all I am going to say)
  • Get your birth certificate verified (and stamped by the Secretary of your State)
  • Check your criminal background (in an official manner) (this one takes a few weeks)
  • Getting your fingerprints (sometimes you don’t have to)
  • Apply to the school you want to go to
  • Going to meetings for study abroad students (there are a lot, try to meet people)
  • Have good grades (Like I don’t think the requirement is that high, but this something that definitely takes time and effort, you probably already know
  • Registering as a resident in the country you are going to (you do this in country, and it hasn’t been a very fun process for me)
  • Mailing things around the state/country (unfortunately no instant mailing of documents)
  • Starting (hardest part, as usual)

I was honestly very confused when I walked into this metro station. It was like a skeleton.

All of those things that are outlined in the list above are things that take time and effort, and although your mom can certainly help you with it, she can’t and won’t do it for you (nor should you or you will be lost in the country that you go to and may get deported). Also, she probably doesn’t want you to go and study abroad for any amount of time in a foreign country with no support, no experience, and no money as much as I do. But, trust me, I have your best interests at heart, too. Put some effort into it. It takes nothing for you to continue sitting there in front of your phone or computer and read about what I am doing in Spain, and it only takes a little more work for you to come do cool stuff with me in Spain… just saying. Look at where you could be. (And I haven’t even told you about the really good parts.) (;

The GEO Office had passport on their website so I put it in my blog… hopefully you understand why. And visas change depending on where you want to go, I can only give advice for people wanting to go to Spain, so email me if you need an extra advice on Spain visas. (email below)

Getafe, Madrid

Finally, I think that an open mind and willingness to learn are essential because there is a lot of value to studying outside of your home country, seeing new places, and meeting new people. If you go to a country and don’t learn at least one word of their language then you’ve done it wrong. All of having fun is learning as well, because most of the time you are finding new things to laugh about. If you don’t go into the experience willing to be taken away and learn something new then you might as well just go back to looking at the pretty travel pictures that you see on Twitter. 

That’s all I really have to say about this topic, but I did not, by any means, tell it all. If I did not cover something that you wanted to know about, let me know. Feel free to email me or comment below with any questions or things that I missed. (msabol@unm.edu)

Next month, I will be connecting this topic, namely the last part about having an open mind and a willingness to learn, to International Education Week. Stay tuned for that as well as an upcoming trip to Morocco that I am sure you will like to see pictures from. 

Un saludo, 

Miguel Sabol

P.S. If you need some inspiration for doing something cool or crazy or just like want to watch some dope videos check this video and this channel out (Yes Theory).

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Mount Emei (峨嵋山) http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/mount-emei-%e5%b3%a8%e5%b5%8b%e5%b1%b1/ http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/mount-emei-%e5%b3%a8%e5%b5%8b%e5%b1%b1/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 15:35:18 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15105 Last week we had Chinese National Holiday! In other words, no school for a week 🤘🏼. Over the week my biggest adventure was going to Mount Emei (峨嵋山). Me and five of my other classmates started this journey at 5:30 on Monday morning. We had a local friend help us buy bus tickets online. On […]

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Last week we had Chinese National Holiday! In other words, no school for a week 🤘🏼. Over the week my biggest adventure was going to Mount Emei (峨嵋山). Me and five of my other classmates started this journey at 5:30 on Monday morning. We had a local friend help us buy bus tickets online. On our way to the bus we grabbed some baozi (包子) from a lady selling them on a cart off the back of her bicycle (this is normal in China). Baozi is basically a softball size ball of bread with meat, potato or vegetable filling😍. When we started the bus ride everybody fell asleep, which is good because our expected two hour bus ride turned into a four hour one because of traffic. During the ride i also saw some of the most green terrain i had ever seen in my life! I knew it was going to be a beautiful hike. We finally arrived and started the trek up the very steep mountain. Along our path we saw many cool monasteries as well as some mountain homes that were all selling food and different goods. The fruits were always wonderful to eat when we needed a rest, but i think one of my favorite items was a monkey beating stick. We had heard so much to be careful of the monkeys for they will try to steal your stuff. I knew it was true when almost every place we passed was selling the sticks. After hours of hiking up some of the steepest stairs i have ever been on, two of our friends could go on no longer. We wanted to stay with them but then we would not be able to reach the top in time to make it home the next night. They were fine with us going on and they would meet us by bus at the top. We hiked for a lil while longer until it was too dark and cold. We stopped at the next monastery. For dinner we had 方便面 (convenient noddles). After dinner we were all extremely exhausted so we went to our rooms. The rooms were actually pretty nice with heating pads on the beds and a cool view of the city light far in the distance. Before i could even get in bed my friend nocked in the door and said, “bro you gotta check this out”. So i followed him and right near our rooms was a monk sitting practicing his calligraphy. We sat in awe for a few minutes then the monk invited us to try! We weren’t very good but it was a great experience. Afterward we all crashed to recharge for the next day of hiking. When we woke up at about 6am the monk was there to greet us and he motioned at me to follow. I followed him and he brought me to a room where a beautiful character poster lay that he made for me. It had the stamp of the mountain, the stamp of that monastery and the stamp of his name! Definitely the coolest souvenir i would bring home from the trip. After that we were stoked to get going. At the next monastery we saw our first monkeys. They looked so careless yet agile in the trees. We made sure to take care of our stuff and move on. When we finally stopped for breakfast we had some of the best noodles i have had here in China, although maybe it was because i was starving on a mountain 🤷🏼‍♂️. As we were eating these noodles a giant mule comes out of the brush and just continues on the path….wow.  As for the rest of the hike we saw some more monkeys and pushed our way to the top. The bus ride down was wonderful, wonderful because i slept the whole way. Overall, it was an amazing experience that i am so grateful to have shared with some of my classmates. Cheers! Until next time.9E35D9EB-7F2F-45F4-893C-4208EF35A2A3

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Towers, Temples and Food! http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/towers-temples-and-food/ http://thepack.unm.edu/isaac-m/towers-temples-and-food/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 15:56:36 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15090 Hey everyone, so the past few weeks have been a huge culture shock to say the least. The last time I posted I claimed I was going to Meguro, which I did, but I went to Tokyo Tower as well. The experience at Tokyo Tower was amazing. When I was going up to not only […]

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Hey everyone, so the past few weeks have been a huge culture shock to say the least. The last time I posted I claimed I was going to Meguro, which I did, but I went to Tokyo Tower as well. The experience at Tokyo Tower was amazing. When I was going up to not only the mid deck of the tower, but as well as the top deck, I felt like I was in an anime, which is probably one of the coolest feelings to have while living in Japan.  The view from the mid deck was truly awesome and there was even a sky-walking glass pane that you can stand on and look straight down and feel like you were floating. However, the view from the top deck is truly breath taking. From the top deck you can see so much of Japan. I was able to see so much ranging from Tokyo airport all the way to Mount Fuji. The really cool thing about the top deck is the way it is designed, you are able to view all of Japan in one fluid motion. I spent about an hour in the top deck just looking at Japan because of how elegant the view was. When I was done viewing Japan from the top deck I explored the inside of Tokyo Tower a little more and found a really cool section dedicated to the One-Piece anime. I did not enter though because I had to get home to study. Soon though I will return to Tokyo Tower to check it out. Pictures of Tokyo Tower are on my Instagram @isaacxmaes. Since my last post I have also been to the district of Ueno and Asakusa.

Visiting Ueno and Asakusa was also a cultural experience to say the least. I will first describe my experience of Ueno. I went to Ueno as a class trip to view Sumi-E style paintings at an art gallery. These paintings were truly mind blowing. So much emotion was portrayed only using black and white. In addition, one is able to visualize the color that would be visible with just the way in which this art is created. Upon finishing this art experience, I then went to Asakusa with some friends to check out the Sensoji Temple. The Sensoji Temple was also amazing.  While at Asakusa Temple one can have their “fortune” told for only 100 yen but the way the fortune is brought to you is awesome. So, what you do is as follows:

  • Pay the 100 yen.
  • Pick up a canister that has sticks in it with numbers on them.
  • Shake said canister.
  • Tip over the canister to have a number stick slide out.
  • Match the number on the stick with a wall of drawers.
  • Pull out a piece of paper which has your fortune.
  • Put stick back in canister.

I “fortunately” (ba dum tss =) ) got a good fortune. You can get a bad fortune, but you can tie the bad fortune paper to a poll, so you don’t have to take it with you. I then went to eat Okonomiyaki. That was also amazing. I had to sit on the floor to eat and then the food was brought to the table. However, there was a grill on the table and I and my friends had to grill the food ourselves which was so much fun. The food was also absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, I haven’t uploaded the photos of Asakusa or even Meguro to my Instagram. I will be doing that soon.

Tomorrow I am going to Nikko Toshogu with the other exchange students. It will be a long day starting at 7:45 AM and going until 7:00 PM but I know it is going to be so much fun. I will post in a few more days to share my experience of Nikko Toshogu with you all. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this blog and have a wonderful rest of your day. And remember to follow @unmstudyabroad on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Japanese words of the day:

 

おはようございます。                     Ohayōgozaimasu.        Good Morning (Polite Way)

 

たのしい                                          Tanoshī                        Fun

 

おいしい                                             Oishī                          Delicious

 

 

 

 

 

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Adventurezzz http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/adventurezzz/ http://thepack.unm.edu/devin-p/adventurezzz/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 15:56:00 +0000 http://thepack.unm.edu/?p=15087   Recent adventures: 1. Fishing at a random pond on the outskirts of the city (everyone caught fish except me😢) 2. View from Tianfu square (Center of Chengdu) 3. Night out clubbing (details not approved by my manager🤷🏼‍♂️) 4. Cool scenic area outside the city (reminds me of the turtle island from avatar 💧🔥⛰💨) 5. […]

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Recent adventures:

1. Fishing at a random pond on the outskirts of the city (everyone caught fish except me😢)

2. View from Tianfu square (Center of Chengdu)

3. Night out clubbing (details not approved by my manager🤷🏼‍♂️)

4. Cool scenic area outside the city (reminds me of the turtle island from avatar 💧🔥⛰💨)

5. Chongqing style Hot Pot (delicious, but make sure you don’t have class the next morning 😷🌶🔥🌶)

6. Me doing homework in the police station (I’ve been an illegal alien in China for about a month until yesterday)

7. Cutting the ribbon for the grand opening of a new school (if you can speak English in China, jobs find you)

While out fishing, I learned that you should always bring tissues with you in China. Not only are the toilets just holes in the ground, they sometimes don’t have toilet paper at all. I have actually learned to love the eastern style “squatty potties”(they are a very conducive apparatus), but the toilet paper is something to get used to. After seeing Tianfu square my economics teacher showed me pictures of the same place from twenty years earlier. They are completely different places. Construction is constant in China and they are very fast and efficient. For example, there was a tv store right outside our university. I was very surprised the next day to see it looking like a construction zone. I was even more surprised when I walked out and it was a bakery the day after. The next thing I have learned to live is that Chengdu is like a rainforest. You would have no idea while you are in the city, but right outside is some of the most green terrain I have ever seen! No wonder it’s such a thriving city even though it’s right in the middle of China. The perfect place to grow peppers😏🌶. The Chongqing style Hot Pot was a teacher in itself. It taught me to respect spicy food 😅. I’ve eaten a lot of spicy food since coming here, but this time even the locals eating with us were having a hard time taking the heat. The last thing I want to leave you with is a quote my Chinese friend told me. “人生没有白走的路,每一步都算数” roughly translated it means “Life has no particular direction, every step counts”.

Cheers! 

See you next time.

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cof

 

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